Posts Tagged ‘Death in Venice’

What’s in a title?

January 3, 2016

The year is now nicely steaming along. Even my dread of Sunday and their difficult afternoons have past. We watched the documentary on David Hockney. A great piece of film making. A work of art on its own. We went to bed at midnight after we heard rain pelting down joyfully on our metal roof. During the documentary a hauntingly beautiful piece of music was being played. I was overjoyed to recognise it instantly as, una furtiva lacrima, by Donizetti. Last week I could not remember Mahler’s slow movement in Death in Venice. All in all, not a bad ending to the Sunday, really. Also, the encouraging words by Hilary that the episodic memories are the ones to leave us last was so heartily taken in. Thank you Hilary. I am still here.

Over 70,000 words have now been cobbled together waiting for a title of which I thought of asking  your opinions. How important is the title? The book, (or rather my book,) will be published by hook but more by crook. I am now overloaded by words. I will let them rest and allow time  for some bedding down. In the meantime a search for a title with hopefully some input by you!

Helvi thought of ‘Migrant’s Vignettes.’ This what I have titled it for the time being.

The book  kicks off with a lengthy introduction. ‘Those first two years on Own block of Land’ before it jauntily starts in earnest with many shorts bits of all that entails a migrant’s life. One of those bits is called ‘Erectile dysfunctional benefits.’ I rather like that as a title.  It has an optimistic timbre and pitch about it, together with a hint of a societal medical quandary. It also seems to give hope. They say sex sells. I mean, men especially are obsessed with their potency, flagging or otherwise. Doctor’s surgeries are chockers with balding men seeking to renew their prescriptions on Viagra while pretending to read a well thumbed Women’s Weekly.

What about women though? Would that title be enticing enough? What age group of women would be drawn to such a title? Don’t forget that women outlive men. Eventide Home and Autumnal Haven for the aging are often sadly lacking in men. Have they have all succumbed to the worry of their dysfunctional erections? Would a book with such a title be stocked in retirement homes? Perhaps a quiet read in the evening for those women whose men had left them so prematurely? Would the book give them some solace?

In 2015 the WordPress annual report stated that during the year  A nostalgic look back at my Colonoscopy was the most read and responded to, with 121 views. That says a lot about what draws readers to my pieces, doesn’t it? There clearly is a hunkering after the good old days. How would that go down as a good title? I personally think it might be too medical. Then again, the word ‘nostalgic’ conjures up yearnings for what has been.  The previous title with the word ‘erectile’ included seems to have rigidity or an unyieldingness about it. What do you think?

What about artistic merit or integrity reflected somehow in the title? So much to ponder.

I would be so grateful if you could spare some time and advise.


Romantic notions in vain.

April 10, 2014
Gustav Aschenbach

Gustav Aschenbach

I have been fortunate that a Jack Russell attracts the attention more than I. It leaves me free to enjoy in observing the people squatting down while patting Milo. I would be lying in denying that at times I also get drawn into looking at attractive ladies. The drawing down includes, especially in summer, a peek inside their blouse. What sort of etiquette would be expected to be observed? What can I do? Should I glance at the passing traffic or upwards towards the sun, start reading a good book? No, I feign compassion towards Milo as well and partake in making comments about his age and other general chit chat.

In fact, last week I lamented again to a nice lady that a dog gets patted so much…and left the obvious answer ..why not the owner?; to be contemplated by the patter. She just gave me a lovely smile and I knew she took the hint. She understood, which was nice. It doesn’t take a lot to get a friendly exchange. Thank you Milo, you make an old man happy.

I have always thought ‘happiness’ was over-rated. Mainly by the west and especially by the US. Many make millions by writing books about how to attain ‘happiness’. Advertisers really know and understand the dichotomy of the aim for happiness and the reality of life’s struggles and pain. They cleverly exploit this endless and utterly futile aim by linking happiness with a product. We queue up to buy the product because we seek ‘happy’.

I do like tranquillity and I suppose it is really a balance between both happiness and sadness. They are like the ocean’s waves. They come and go. It is like breathing and the reason for our existence.

Would endless ‘happy’ not be very boring? I like experiencing and growing towards finding some truth or reason why we live. That includes a lot of joy including laughter and a lot of pain or sadness which includes tears.

In my new resolution to seek more tranquillity and joy than pain (and save money) I decided to cancel my teeth implants. It wasn’t that difficult. Those graphic photos of jaws being drilled into with screws inserted in the holes was all the incentive needed to cancel the appointment. The secretary was somewhat miffed. It was still over a week for the appointment and I fibbed in telling her I was going overseas. I always had trouble cancelling promises. It must date to childhood. I so much wanted to please my parents, especially my mother. Kids are different now. They say ‘get fucked’ easily to their peers, including even their parents.

My vanity in providing a better smile to the public bending to pat Milo is now taking a step back, I know. But in my seventies, and considering the missing two teeth are downstairs in my lower jaw and generally not visible when smiling with lips closed, I am willing to forego the perceived uptick in my visual public persona.

I so remember Gustav Aschenbach ( Gustav Mahler) in Thomas Mann’s filmed version of ‘Death in Venice’ dyeing his hair black in his pityfull attempt to still be found attractive to the young Polish boy Tadzio. That scene on the beach with the dying Aschenbach, sunk in his deckchair, while Tadzio, wading in the water with his hand raised, as if to say goodbye. Unforgettable scene. His blackened hair finally did not help or save him.