Tell Me — in Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel (99¢ until April 25)

Mira Tudor_Poets, Artists, Lovers. A Novel_ebook cover_blog

“Later that week Anca sent a number of poems to the magazine Literary Romania. “Tell Me” was among them. It talked of roasted potatoes and onions, rooibos tea with honey, and perky sad music on the CD player. It considered whether life is ever more than swapping stories in a kitchen over a poor man’s meal shared threeways, each bite charmed with sunlight and music. It described an intoxicating scene with a long-haired woman in a vaporous dress, pirouetting on the kitchen table to humor her boyfriend, who then grabbed her by the thighs and hips and put her down in front of the piano, where she played God knows what, for she used no sheets, and she and her man were the only musicians in the room. Finally, it mentioned her bare foot pushing the brass pedal with conviction, her launching into Chopin’s Revolutionary Etude, whirling its listeners like a tornado, and her cutting loose as more water for tea boiled on the stove, and the guests were invited to crack walnut shells for a makeshift dessert.”

Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel is now selling at $0.99 and £0.99 (until April 25).

 

 

 

With Pamfil and his music, Anca discovered a different intensity of being alive

Mira Tudor_Poets, Artists, Lovers. A Novel_ebook cover_blog_smCostineşti, August 1993, almost eight years earlier. […] Later that summer, while Marcel visited his grandparents in Sighişoara, [sixteen-year-old] Anca returned to Costineşti on her own. As if looking for something, she spent part of her time there roaming about the resort in the deafening sound of dance music blaring through every major loudspeaker—until, on the third day of her sojourn, she was approached by a guy selling cassettes with psychedelic and progressive rock, blues and blues rock, and folk music, all of it British and American.

“Care to change the music?” the vendor asked, spotting Anca’s silken black hair and her slender silhouette in the crowd.

“Pretty much,” Anca responded, amused. “What do you have?”

“The crème de la crème of 1960s and 1970s rock and folk, and some blues,” he said, taken with Anca’s expressive eyes, green with flecks of hazel.

“Surprise me,”  Anca said, basking in the stranger’s searching gaze.

“Okay . . . how about The Doors?” the vendor asked with a lopsided smile. “The Doors of Perception . . .”

Anca looked at him questioningly.

Pamfil, the vendor, gave a small laugh. “It’s a book by Aldous Huxley—who himself lifted the phrase from a poem by William Blake. Aldous Huxley is the one who wrote Brave New World. He took mescaline and entered mind-expanding trances. It inspired Jim Morrison to call his band The Doors—given that he aimed to be such a shamanic figure himself.” He then played a few songs by the Los Angeles band for her. They had Anca hooked—and stumped as to where to listen to that kind of music some more.

“You can come to my place,” Pamfil said, appraising her waifish silhouette. “I’m here with friends from the Conservatory,” he went on. “One of them left early, so we have a free bed. That way you can listen to everything.”

“You a musician?” Anca asked, suddenly very interested in Pamfil.

“I play the violin,” he responded with a smile, happy to see in her warm gaze that she might appreciate classical music as well. “So, are you coming?” he asked after a moment of reverie.

“Where?”

“To my place. To stay with us.”

“Okay,” Anca said, bringing her hands together with a clap in a thank-you gesture.

Pamfil smiled, charmed by her enthusiasm. “It’s a deal, then. I’ll tell the guys you’re coming.”

Anca smiled back, delighted. “Okay.”

With Pamfil and his music, Anca discovered a different intensity of being alive. She twirled in the room like a girl turning into a woman by magic as she listened to The Doors to her heart’s content, and several times she took that energy outside the dorm while playing their songs in her head. She didn’t know what to make of Jim Morrison’s poetry, but, like koans, his verse left her hovering in a space where she could receive new meanings and feelings.

She also fell in love with Joan Baez, and at noon, when Pamfil was selling his tapes and his friends were away for lunch, she went with determination after the folk musician’s soaring inflections, besotted with her purity of voice, richness of tone, the joy that swelled and ebbed in her music as she tackled sad stories, and her talent as a guitar player.

And then there was Led Zeppelin. Anca played their ballads over and over again, feeling them weave their way in, more beguiling with each turn and return, until they erupted from the pit of her stomach in bursts of guitar, voice, and drums. She couldn’t have enough of Jimmy Page’s guitar-picking and Robert Plant’s whispering and caterwauling, of all the drumming, strumming, screaming, and wailing.

Anca’s soul was metamorphosing in contact with this new music, and Pamfil kept the process going by supplying her with information and new songs. In the mornings, as she did stretching exercises, he provided the aural background, and in the evenings, as they took walks together, he introduced her to stories from the lives of her newly favorite musicians as well as from Woodstock—that four-day festival of August 1969, with its hundreds of thousands of flower-power hippies and the amazing lineup of musicians in their midst regaling them with some of the best rock and folk music of the late sixties, and capturing, as they did so, much of the spirit of that period. Anca soaked it all in, feeling, in turns, entranced, excited, and achingly happy.

Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel is now available on Amazon. Here it is!

 

The thoughts of a millenial

amrita sarkar_of opinions“It is so intense, it makes you want to stay alive. To keep going. To keep chasing it or trying to make it last. We call it something indefinable that goes by the name of love, but, essentially, it is a puzzle we can’t work out. I’m not sure I’d want to work it out either.”—Amrita Sarkar, Of Opinions

Fellow WordPress blogger Amrita Sarkar of ofopinions.wordpress.com has expanded her blog posts into a book of the same name, Of Opinions. With thoughts ranging from beauty to emotion and memory, anxieties, and relationships and social media, this book is a map to how a gifted twenty-something experiences and judges the world.

The essays are a sort of distilled college compositions, imbued with the insights of a student who wants to own each thesis statement. While I would have preferred conversations structured by their antecedents, there’s an urgency and freshness in Amrita Sarkar’s writing that would have been lost in a more academic essay. And it’s that approach that leads the author to some pleasant moments of discovery, and the older reader to a reconsideration of how to frame certain age-old questions and some new ones, like what is beauty, what do give and take when we’re active on social media, and how millenials engage with other people, the media, and their aspirations.

 

“I’d like to meet him again”

Mira Tudor_Poets, Artists, Lovers. A Novel_ebook cover_blog_sm“Hey! Glad you could make it!” exclaimed Henriette, enveloping her younger friend Ela in a hug and wafts of sea breeze fragrance before giving her the customary kiss on both cheeks.

Ela readjusted her glasses, amused at how exuberant Henriette still was at thirty-four.

“Should we go in?” Henriette prompted, opening the door with a flourish.

Ela stepped gingerly into the exhibition space. “Beautiful place,” she remarked, noting how the sunbeams streaming through the large glass wall glinted off the rough, irregular surfaces of bronze-cast works.

“Coffee, tea?” Henriette asked as Ela removed her scarf and trench coat.

“Tea. But I want to look at the sculptures first.”

“See if you can spot mine,” Henriette called after her.

A few moments later the bell on the door tinkled, and Pamfil, a tall, dark-eyed man with a mop of wavy black hair entered the gallery, his eyes on Henriette.

“Hello, Ettie,” he said with a smile, taking a cursory look around the gallery. Ela was by now at the other end of the room, engrossed in a sculpture depicting a hybrid between the torso of a woman and the trunk of a tree.

“Hello, Phil,” Henriette returned nonchalantly.

“How are you doing?” Pamfil asked.

“Came to see the show with a friend of mine,” Henriette responded. She grabbed a tea mug and headed with Pamfil in tow to where Ela was photographing a work displaying a heart squeezed under a tall stack of books.

“Reminds me of Har,” Ela said, taking the mug from Henriette. “He’s spending more time with books than with people.”

“He does,” Pamfil interjected carelessly, throwing the remark in Henriette’s direction.

Henriette gave him a sly smile.

“You know Haralambie?” Ela asked, turning to the new visitor with curiosity.

“Heard this and that about him,” Pamfil responded, his words slipping out slowly, carefully as he appraised Ela’s soft chestnut eyes and thick eyebrows, her dark ringlets of hair, and her petite body, inviting in a flattering dress and waist-length cardigan. His eyes lingered a moment too long on her breasts.

“Sorry, where are my manners?” Henriette blurted. “Ela, this my friend Pamfil. Pamfil, this is Ela, my very good friend.”

The two guests shook hands, their faces lit up by smiles.

Henriette looked around the room, pretending to ponder the exhibition. Her gaze returned to the heart sculpture. “So you recognized one of my pieces,” she said to Ela, while the latter sipped her hot, minty brew. “Here’s another,” she went on, pointing her guests to a Janus-faced flattened head kissing a woman on each side.

Pamfil spent a moment taking in the work. “Cute. You must have really enjoyed shrinking this guy’s brain,” he teased.

“Is that revenge on someone from your past?” Ela asked.

Henriette bypassed her friends’ last remarks. “How’s your tea, Ela?”

“Great.”

“Girls, I have to bow out,” Pamfil said. “It was nice seeing you, Ettie.”

Henriette couldn’t restrain a smirk.

Pamfil put out a hand to Ela. “Nice meeting you, Ela.”

When it was time for them, too, to leave, Ela turned to her friend. “That guy, Pamfil . . .” she started. “He’s rather handsome.”

“He is,” Henriette affirmed.

“How do you know him?” Ela asked.

“We met at a party.”

“Do you like him?”

“He’s okay,” Henriette responded, a little disconcerted.

“I’d like to meet him again,” Ela said.

Poets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel is now available on Amazon. Here it is!

 

On Art, Music, and Lovers

Mira Tudor_Poets, Artists, Lovers. A Novel_ebook cover_blog_smPoets, Artists, Lovers: A Novel is now available on Amazon. Here’s an excerpt.

“Why are you always leaving your things in the middle of the floor?” Haralambie asked. His girlfriend didn’t respond, so he stepped out of the kitchen to seek her.

He had left her in the living room, writing up an artist’s statement for a recent batch of sculptures. Now he found her there stretching in her chair, her long fingers woven through her flowing, wavy red hair. She gave him a rueful look and then settled back to get on with her work at the computer.

“Henriette, this is not just your studio. I live here too,” Haralambie said with a sigh. He crouched to gather her latest clay pieces, her sculpting utensils and plastic sheets, and took them to the balcony. Henriette helped, but halfheartedly. Her mind was on the blurb she was drafting that morning. She said as much to Haralambie, but her focus had already shifted, so when he returned to the kitchen to finish his coffee and smoke another cigarette, she put on a sixties rock ballad. Soon she was swaying gently to and fro, swinging her arms around gracefully, and twirling her hands up in the air—until she noticed Haralambie leaning against the doorframe.

“Is that what it’s like at those parties of yours?” he asked.

“No, but that’s how I like it sometimes,” she responded provocatively, a wicked smile on her lips.

Haralambie walked over to her, cupped her face in his hands, and planted a kiss on her lips. “You’re not sixteen anymore, Henriette, and you know it.”

To read more, here’s the book on Amazon!