Last night I watched the fi1m, “Night Train to Lisbon” with Jeremy Irons, based on the book by Pascal Mercier.
My head is still swirling with the beautiful, important images spun by the words of Portuguese Doctor, Amadeu de Prado. The dictatorship of Salazar impacted his life, thoughts and words from his years as a student to his premature death at the age of 53 years. I was riveted to the screen.
I was not the only one.
E. L. Fay was influenced by the book, ‘Night Train to Lisbon’. Her 2009 blog “This Book and I Could be Friends” sums up my feelings on the topic of Amadeu de Prado.
She writes from the book:
“Was it possible that the best way to make sure of yourself was to know and understand someone else? One whose life had been completely different and had had a completely different logic than your own? How did curiosity for another life go together with the awareness that your own time was running out?”
E.L.Fay describes herself as a “Progressive bibliophile recovering from a sordid conservative past.”
Featuring in Pascal Mercier‘s philosophical novel Night Train to Lisbon (later adapted into a film starring Jeremy Irons), Amadeu de Prado was born a judge’s son in the Portugal of Salazar. He heavily criticized Salazar’s dictature in his speech given upon graduating as a doctor. His only book was self-published posthumously in 1975, entitled Um ourives des palavras (Portuguese for “A Goldsmith of Words”, a phrase alluding to Friedrich Nietzsche).
‘A Goldsmith of Words’-“Life” in the Words of Amadeu de Prado from Ashok Kumar Taduri on Vimeo.
Night Train to Lisbon, in which the story of Gregorius and quotes from de Prado’s book are woven together, can be considered a literary reflection of Peter Bieri’s philosophical works (the man behind the Mercier pseudonym). The art of life and authenticity are important themes in his works.
Wonderful Quotes of Amadeu de Prado:
“We live here and now, Everything before and in other places is past and mostly forgotten”.
“What could – what should be done, with all the time that lies ahead of us? Open and unshaped, feather light in its freedom and lead-heavy in its uncertainty? Is it a wish, dreamlike and nostalgic, to stand once again at that point in life, and be able to take a completely different direction to the one which has made us who we are?”
“We leave something of ourselves behind, only leave a place, we stay there even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there. We travel to ourselves when we go to a place though we have covered a stretch of our life, no matter how brief it may have been. But by travelling to ourselves|we must confront our own loneliness. And isn’t it so everything we do is done out of fear of loneliness? Isn’t that why we renounce all the things we will regret at the end of our lives?”
“When dictatorship is a fact, revolution is a duty”.
“Is it ultimately a question of self-image that determining idea one has made for oneselve of what has to be accomplished and experienced so that one can approve the life one has lived? If this is the case, the fear of death might be described as the fear of not been able to become whom one planned to be. If the certainty befalls us that it will never be achieved… this homeness, you suddenly don’t know how to live the time, that can no longer be part of a whole life”.
“The real director of life is accident, a director full of cruelty compassion and bewitching charm.”
“The decisive moments of life, when its direction changes forever, are not always marked by large and shown dramatics. In truth, the dramatic moments of a life determining experience, are often unbelieveable low key. When it unfolds its revolutionary effects and insures that a life is revealed in a brand new light, it does that silently. And in this wonderful silence resides its special nobility.”
“In youth, we live as if we were immortal, Knowledge of mortality dances around us like a brittle paper ribbon that barely touches our skin. When, in life does that change? When does the ribbon tighten, until finally it strangles us?”
Amadeu de Prado died in 1973 of the rupture of an aneurysm in his brain, of which he’d been long aware.”
I loved the fabulous Katherine Hepburn – an intelligent, classy, strong woman who spoke her mind ruthlessly, laughed easily, lived daringly.
I have lost (or misplaced) my new Midori paraphernalia. As a result I have spent the past two hours searching my desk area, every nook and cranny, and I scrounged through the garbage inside, and in the garage where wet coffee grounds, orange peels covered the paper garbage. But no sight of the small, zip-locked bag with my new Midori elastics and treasures. My notebook is so new, I can’t even remember what was in the bag.
I have a lovely wooden, cedar-lined, humidor ready to store Midori stuff, but alas, no stuff to store. Hopefully it will turn up (It sure is not the first time I tucked something away for safe-keeping, only to be ‘lost’ for more than a year). Not a catastrophic event, but a good day to remember …
I have a new granddaughter in utero. A sweet wee baby girl developing and growing so as to be ready to come into this wondrous world full of dichotomies – joy / sadness; ups / downs; highs / lows; you know, clouds – with a silver lining; every day is a new day.
Sometimes it helps to remember the old sayings that contain proven truisms. Over the years, I have been fascinated with quotations that have meaning for me. I am recording them so they may help others, including my nine grandchildren and the tenth who will make an appearance in a few months. We can all benefit from others who have found words to help navigate life’s journey.
“You and I live on a minor planet attached to a minor star, at the far end of a minor galaxy. We live here briefly, and when we’re gone, we’re forgotten. The only mortality that makes sense is to do something useful with the brief time we’re allotted.”
JAMES A. MITCHENER: “Space”
“Living is practice. You have to practice living all the time.”
ADRIENNE CLARKSON: former Canadian Governor General, T-V host
“We don’t see things as they are. We see them as we are.”
“Show up in your life as yourself and not as an imitation of someone else.”
To our newest grandchild,
You have a large family waiting to welcome you.
We are here to share some of your journey in this world and offer love and support.
It has been a year and a half in our new home, in a new community, and we still love it here in Wasaga Beach, Ontario. This lovely, lake-front town on the southern shore or Georgian Bay feels like home.
BOTTOM – We are gathered around ‘The Robertson’s’ sign made by my brother, Steve. L-R Steph, Dad, Andrew behind, Mom, me, Greg Jr, Jo, my brother Greg (yup! – 3 Greg’s in the family). Carrie is missing from last 2 photos – she was working at Clevelands House in the Muskokas that summer.
All our 40 years in Waterloo Ontario, where my husband Greg and I settled and raised our family, I never felt at home – that is … I felt at home in my homes, but not in the community. Does that make sense? And it was a lovely community, clean, tidy, progressive with two universities, but it was land locked. It did not feel like home to me. And I didn’t even realize it until we moved here, to Wasaga Beach in 2012.
I knew I had missed water. My soul yearned for a lake or river or a boardwalk along water. I knew that. I knew I felt restless. Looking back, I think that is one reason I initiated change – we moved throughout Waterloo Region every 5 to 12 years. But, until we moved here on the South Shore of Georgian Bay, I didn’t realize the need was so fundamental. Sounds as though I was sad, but I wasn’t. There was a longing though.
We enjoyed raising our family in Kitchener-Waterloo. We had lovely homes and lived our lives full of happy and the inevitable miserable times promised us in life …
Our nine adorable Grandchildren 2004
We have enjoyed lifelong friendships … a few, really good friends, who stuck with us through all our joys and frailties …
Nursing friends for 51 years – Gerda, Jan, Ellie, Sue & me.
Greg and I are both homebodies who love home more than anywhere in the world, but we also love to visit, party and enjoy our family and friends.
However, in my case, it is the solitude that has allowed me to publish four genealogy volumes over the years while raising five children, working part-time, enjoying needlepoint, crewel work, art; moving too many times; and being involved in community organizations.
So, here we are, full circle for me, back to a home near the water I love. You know, from inside my home on a windy day (with windows open), I can hear the waves crashing against the shore. On a Saturday summer night, I can hear the music wafting through the air, the couple of blocks from the beach to our home.
What I have learned is that home is really important. And even more so … if you are fortunate (as I realize I am), the people who fill your life can enrich it immeasurably.
One of life’s perfect days! Joanna & I
The loves of my life- Carrie, Greg Sr, Stephanie, me, Joanna, Andrew & Greg Jr front. They are my home my joy. Each is a ‘good’ person, socially responsible, industrious, committed to family, proud, fun loving. How lucky am I!
My heart and home are where my family and friends are.
I AM STILL HAUNTED BY THE PHOTO IN MY POST YESTERDAY, ‘This is Hunger This is Pain’ … of the heartbreaking yet incredibly beautiful, and so personal, mother’s good-bye to her child.
The sight of the wee baby in that meticulously dug hole makes me shudder – NOT at the sight of the child in its grave, but at the elaborate funeral frippery we in NorthAmerica have come to think is OK. Modern funerals and funeral homes completely remove us from death, from our goodbye. It wasn’t many decades ago that our dead were placed in simple coffins in our living rooms for a day of so of viewing and good-byes before burial. This is still the practice in many countries.
I am not saying I want us to revert to burying our dead in our back yards, but there must be a more honest, more real, way. Even the language of some people have removed the words of death from their lexicon. I cringe when I hear the elaborate ways people have of avoiding the reality. – just watch television for a few hours and the avoidance pounces at you.
Death is a part of life. We are born. We live. We die.
How do I want to depart this life? I am still thinking on this. But what I do not want is a metal-lined, heavy as a tree trunk, sterile coffin. I am not a fan of incineration either, whoops – cremation. Nor do I love the ideas of the circle-of-life process in the ground before inevitably returning to earth. All in all, none of the options is great.
Death is not an easy topic, but it should be. It is inevitable. It happens to each and every one of us. So, I prefer to think on it and make decisions about my farewell to those I love.
So, I choose …
. A simple, non-religious funeral with photos of me (in case you have already forgotten :), and photos with family and friends – photos of my life.
. Flowers – there have to be flowers – a few lovely bouquets of flowers – not ‘ funeral arrangements’, but pastel flowers in season and a few gorgeous long-stem roses, all in gorgeous vases.
. My four genealogy volumes lying about for people to glance through and remember those in my life, those who helped shape it, those alive and dead.
. And music – music I love. Music that fills my soul and so will hopefully ease the pain of my family. (That’s assuming they will experience pain. Tho’ I have learned ‘never assume’. Sorry guys – a bit of levity is in order here). So just play my iPod or iPhone. That will do it.
. It would be nice to have the loves of my life speak at my funeral – of love and lots of laughter please. I am not above ridicule. So remember the good times, the funny times. Remember it all.
. Then watch my ashes catch the breeze across beautiful Georgian Bay.
Rose-breasted Grosbeak feeding on my bird feeder after his long flight from South, or perhaps Central, America
Blogger, twenty-one year old Sophie Naz is very wise for her years.(www.TheLazySlinky.wordpress.com) She wrote:
“In some sense now I can understand why growing old is so frightening. It’s not about wrinkles or health entirely. It may not even be entirely about fear of death. It’s a fear of being left behind…”.
You get it girl!
So I replied to her: “OMG when I read that, bells went off. That is exactly what I feel. At 69 I am madly racing against the clock. Oooohhhhh, I feel a new blog coming on! Thank you.”
I have been on a treadmill for the past several years – not one of the huge black, dust collector machines, but the treadmill in my mind. I am constantly trying to experience all I can, enjoy whatever years I have left in this incredible world. I am also attempting to keep up with some of the technology of my grandchildrens’ era. This is an impossible feat, but I feel I must scrape the surface … I enjoy the opportunities and the challenges. It amazes me how I can ‘publish’ a blog and it is instantly everywhere – not just on my blog, but on Facebook (on my separate ‘writing’ page); on Twitter, and on LinkedIn. This is fascinating me. The younger generations take these new innovations for granted.
I am eager each day to see the new readers and followers of my blog. I am so gratified and amazed that people are actually reading what I write. And I am equally curious about those people, their lives, their perspectives. I am in awe of the number of writers with ‘real’ talent out there. I am buoyed by their happy experiences; I am travelling to points previously unknown to me, via the written word and accompanying photos. I am experiencing their experiences, their thoughts, and seeing parts of the world which time, or circumstance, does not permit me to encounter. Some blogs are beautiful, some are true eye candy. What a treat.
At this point in my life that is what makes me happy. I know there are tremendous problems and hateful people sharing this life with us (there always has been and always will be) but that is not the kind of blog that will catch my eye and beg me to linger.
I have many friends and acquaintances who want no part of social media, not even email. I cannot relate. Communicating with the world is exciting now. And I am thrilled to still be alive for these experiences. After all, when I was in school, we wrote everything long-hand with a pen (no, not a quill and nib).
I remember when my parents bought the newest innovation of its time – a television. It was the 1950’s. Our boxy television had only one channel and programming didn’t begin until 8 PM. A stationary and soundless ‘test pattern’ was the only picture on it the rest of the time. (remember the Indian head within circles)
‘Test Pattern’ on early televisions, before programming began
Technology continued to advance. I remember my first Commodore computer. It was a step up from an electronic typewriter but with an ability to save documents. A few years after that, my husband bought me one of the first iPods Apple designed. He purchased it on a business trip to the US and brought it home to me in Ontario, Canada. Exciting.
And so on … more powerful and complex computers, my first MacBook Pro, my first iPhone, and then I felt so incredibly satisfied with my iPad 2.
So the continuum into the world of blogging is a natural progression. I love writing my thoughts, memories, dreams. I love being fascinated, surprised, energised and in awe from the wonders I experience in the writing of fellow bloggers.
I have a decade-changing birthday approaching, so I rush headlong into new adventures, experiencing as much as possible within my own little part of the world, while I am still in it!
Blogger, Sophie Naz, ‘The Lazy Slinky’, is right – I dread being left behind. I do not want to miss anything. I am a believer in the philosophy that “every day above ground is a good one”. Today is a good day … and I am blogging!
Feeding Frenzie Outside My Window – I Don’t want to miss That!