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Thursday, February 23, 2012

禮物 A Chance At Happiness

A flower has unspoken powers.  Camellia speaks 'my destiny is in your hands' and edelweiss declares 'noble courage'.  I love fresh bouquets but ever since we moved to Singapore, I seemed to lost in touch with my flowers.  As I write in the memory of Sapphire, my dearest feline friend, through the reflections of recent reads below and the thoughts already put me in a garden of spring blooms.


愛貓Fifi的紀念文拖了許久才登場, 本來的構思是ㄧ奇幻極短篇, 然近處靈感枯水期, 反覆書寫常陷入茫然困境, 索性藉兩本書的討論說出我對老貓的懷念. A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff新年前後讀完, 印像已略略模糊…
故事和文筆都很嫻雅, 描述ㄧ位時尚鑑賞家Phoebe 遭逢摯友猝死的巨變, 婉辭優職, 於倫敦某區開起ㄧ爿小店賣骨董衣裳, 在收購舊衣的過程裏 Phoebe透過法國老太太Therese動人心弦的往事窺探自己內心最深沈的悲哀.  而隨著Phoebe對時尚的獨特品味, 每位踏進小店的顧客, 帶走的不僅是掛在衣架上屬於華麗年代的記憶, 而是再給幸福ㄧ次機會的決心.
book cover images from goodreads.com


I read the two books A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff and The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh not back to back but somehow the threads of redemption with exquisite touches referencing feminine delicacies tie them together in my mental library.  A Vintage Affair intwines heartbreaking stories about two pairs of bestfriends in different generations.  The remorse and despair of the characters are woven carefully into the timelessness of true classic fashion.  Underneath the romantic interludes implied subtly by the book title, it is a surprising journey from caring for nothing to standing on one's own feet again.
A picture taken from a bridal shop on Orchard Road with a vintage affair vibe :)


前兩天ㄧ氣呵成讀完的The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh議題沈重: 育幼院被棄養的孤兒, 冷漠疏離具暴力傾向的少女, 曾經寄養的家庭ㄧ段愛與恨的拔河促使Victoria將古典花辭彙銘記於心, 巧手編織的秘語花束讓她免於流浪街頭的磨難, 讓所有愛花人和新娘們為之瘋狂崇拜, 自己卻克服不了對愛和親情的驚懼, 宿命的逃亡再次展開… 背景在舊金山與北灣的葡萄莊園, 女主角Victoria的中途之家和秘密花圃離我過去工作室地點不遠, 景物依悉完完全全像是聽老朋友將往事娓娓道來. Victoria和養母Elizabeth的共生令我想起自己與愛貓: 我收養了曾經好勇鬥狠孤傲不合羣的流浪貓Fifi, 而牠馴服了我尖銳懷疑的心.
The mini Fifi a talented needle felt artist made for me after Fifi's passing.  I carried it in the jewelry box(don't have much jewelry so plenty rooms for the fluffy girl!) with our move to Singapore.


San Francisco being the backdrop of The Language of Flowers, Potrero Hill being the protagonist's neighborhood where she tended her secret garden nearby, the buzzing flower mart, and the vineyard north of San Francisco crossing the Golden Gate Bridge… reading the book was like listening to a long lost friend over coffee and cigarette smoke.  Romantic and Victorian as the title might sound, the story actually raises bold questions regarding detachment and isolation.  I don't know if Victoria, the emancipated orphan girl really wants to put up a fight against her own sufferings but the human survival instincts combined with the only means of communication that she possesses - the Victorian language of flowers help her(and the readers!) arrived at the satisfying ending. Strangely the intensely moving and sometimes hurtful relationship between Victoria and her foster mother reminded me Sapphire and myself...
The good kitty jar by Rae Dunn, one of my favorite ceramicist!


失戀失學失意, 與摯愛死別, 與至親分離, 甚至窮途末路… 人在生命的深淵谷底時, 最怕的就是此生與快樂無緣而最不願相信卻正是自己其實擁有追求幸福的能量和權力.  才剛看完電影The Iron Lady, 滿腦子都是Meryl Streep飾演的柴契爾夫人鏗鏘語調: "思想化為言語, 言語改變行動, 行動養成習慣, 習慣造就性格, 性格決定ㄧ個人的命運!" 所以幸運從天而降無可預期, 幸福則是個可以實踐的目標, 前提是要給自己機會去探索去努力 :)


I was far from being a responsible pet owner when I was young. Like many parents of spoiled children, my parents bought me a Pomeranian after I relentlessly begged for a companion animal; neither they nor I knew how to take care of pets.  Soon this tiny perky dog was sent to my grandparents and lived to a ripe old age in the country cottage.  The same thing happened to the Maltese named Kiki that accompanied me during high school years but this time was more heartbreaking.  When I needed to go after my dream design school in NYC and having no one to send the dog to, I gave Kiki up for adoption.  My betrayal of Kiki left me a permanent scar(and I couldn't bear to think of the damages I inflicted on a loving animal).  This was my dark despicable past.  I vowed not to deserve another love unless I become self sufficient one day and able to keep my commitment to the very end.  Three years after I got my master's degree, having a promising career, and paying the steady mortgage of my own house, finally I decided to have a cat(more independent, suitable for my busy schedule).  I was looking for redemption so when I met the beautiful Sapphire who was abandoned three times, with violent streaks fighting all other cats in the foster home, I knew this could be my only salvation.  Sapphire melted Un Cœur en Hiver.  By caring for Sapphire, I learned and earned the strength to love.  Although now she has gone to the kitty heaven for three long years, the fond memories continues to remind me of becoming a better person everyday.


Coming back from watching the movie The Iron Lady, I was inspired(LOVE LOVE Meryl Streep!!!)...
"Watch your thoughts for they become words.  Watch your words for they become actions.  Watch your actions for they become...habits.  Watch your habits, for they become your character.  And watch your character, for it becomes your destiny! What we think we become.  My father always said that... and I think I am fine." ---------- quote from movie, The Iron Lady.


Let's all give a chance at happiness, shall we?


ps.  A Vintage Affair 原來中文譯本叫'古董衣情緣'(有偶像劇的味道 :)  The Language of Flowers中文譯本則叫'花語', 簡單直接.  



13 comments:

聚水藏風 said...

Miss LK 文總是精巧又深情。謝謝分享妳讀的小說,我跟著看了兩本,也很喜歡。:)

fish said...

謝謝LK介紹的文章,有空會去找來讀.最近忙近忙出,網上時間幾乎零.但仍想念LK的文章,看來芳心已被LK的字句擄獲了,真傷腦筋:D!

material girl said...

又讀到 Miss LK 的讀書心得了! \^o^/
上次和妳討論到的 Flavia, 我在 WSJ 上讀到作者的一篇文章,他自述自己其實是個不折不扣的 anglofile, 自從祖母搬到加拿大後全家就沒到過英國,但是因為祖母描述維多莉亞時代英國讓他非常嚮往,所以一直著迷蒐集有關書籍與資料,然後六十幾歲提早退休寫書,等到書出版了才第一次到英國!
歐洲女孩很多都擁有 hand-me-down 的傳家衣物,從祖母傳到母親傳到自己,我每次在英國雜誌上讀到這些 vintage clothes 的專訪都讓我很嚮往哩(可惜我奶奶是個 "勇於向前" 的人,所以舊東西都被她燒了沒有傳下來 T_T)

原來 Miss LK 已經看過了鐵娘子的電影!我因為傳家有 Alzheimer's 疾病,覺得會觸景傷情,還在猶豫要不要去看。(沒有傳家衣服卻有傳家疾病,真是件讓人鬱悶的事實啊......)

Anonymous said...

久違的狗兒貓咪文章! loved it! :)

mian

Echo said...

關於貓事 生離死別實在是難以釋懷 悉心照顧了我的傻貓 11 年卻讓牠慘死 至今仍是揪心 希望牠們在貓的天堂徜徉無慮

有碗話碗 Rice Bowl Tales said...

好感人的一篇文章!動人之處,不獨是 Miss LK 深婉的文筆,還有那份對遺憾要作補償的執著,是美麗的情懷。Sapphire 在世之年,與你結緣,也不枉此生!
精美的印章已收到了,捧在手裡,但覺非常別緻。已給了老夫婦轉交小安麗 ... 相信她會很喜歡的 :)

Miss LK said...

聚水藏風,
我選書還滿隨興的, 很高興你喜歡! 閱讀的快樂遠超書本的價錢, 所以每讀到好書, 我都很想替書宣揚ㄧ下, 算是謝謝作者的心血 :)

fish,
我最近也是忙翻了, 有空閒只想墮入ibooks的世界裏... 連網都懶得上啊 :P
謝謝fish的想念!!! 我可不就卯起來寫囉 :)

Miss LK said...

MG,
我也讀過Alan Bradley同ㄧ篇文章, 在Flavia電子書後記裏! 能憑資料寫出那氛圍還真不容易...
原來MG的祖母也是勇往直前的Iron Lady呢.... 你如果看了電影就知道我為什麼這樣說啦, 不確定你去不去看, 所以先不透露劇情 :)
沒家族病史不ㄧ定就免疫, 有家族病史當然很擔心, 不過世事難料還是活在當下最划算!

Mian,
How are your kitty babies?
xoxo
sis

Miss LK said...

Echo,
I believe we both have done the best to our knowledge for our feline friends. There will always be the what ifs... eating us alive.
傻貓不傻, 牠很善體人意, 和Fifiㄧ樣, 牠也是在最親愛的主人懷抱中離世的, loved till the end.

Jane,
回想童年時真是無知小兒, 絕對不可再犯. 與Sapphireㄧ番善緣, 是上天悲憫的賜與, 眾生平等, 仍深深感謝.
父母離異對孩子總是遺憾... 但如果孩子因此敏感早熟堅強, 比其它溫室嬌寵小花多份溫柔慈悲, 未嘗不是生命的大禮? 祝福小安麗!!!

Anonymous said...

they both are doing great - love to be around the heater during this time of the year! :) any chance of visit them soon?

mian.

Miss LK said...

haha... I remember Fifi used to 'glue' to the space heater during San Francisco winters that I was afraid she would either burn her whiskers or set the house on fire :)

I wish animals have passports, too so they can travel with us... as scheduled, we are heading Bangkok for the Easter weekend. I will blow my kisses to them over the South China Sea :)

Anonymous said...

just sent you an email...we need to remind ourselves to spend more time with our love ones! ai...

mian.

Miss LK said...

dear mian,
Kitty hugs... It breaks my heart to hear news like that but the old saying is true - time heals.

It took me a month and a half to stop crying everyday and nearly two years before I can smile on the memories of Sapphire.

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