Things that make me ping are love, women, classical music, good writings, unique ideas, childlike innocence, fair play, beauty...and this blog is about these lovely things...

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Chapter 2: A Capitalist and a Communist I

They got to know each other for the first time three weeks ago, in the virtual world. Shiny and Patrick, each on their own decided -- within two days from each other, they later found out -- to give online dating a try. Like many in this information age, they thought it was easier, or perhaps safer, to find love through a façade, at least initially.

Patrick was an up-and-coming young banker. Careerwise, one can say he has been having a sweet ride, being just promoted to the number two position in an international bank in Hong Kong, overseeing fourteen branches, all in his mid-30’s. This promise, however, was hardly detected in his first couple of decades of life.

As a student, he didn’t seem to be outstandingly bright. He was no big pushover, sure, but his academic performance, or any other performances, had ever seared a distinct impression with his teachers or peers. It didn’t help that he was unusually quiet. He could be active and showed glimpses of leadership when doing something he liked and was good at, like playing basketball. But other than that, he was bland and detached. In school, he has never really had many friends either, preferring to be on his own, mulling over his own thoughts.

He took up the hobby – passion, really -- of daydreaming in his early teens. Unlike most youngsters who harbored similar disposition, he actually thought he had talents in this undertaking and pursued it quite seriously for a long number of years. In college, although his inclination was to explore ideas, he tried to study medicine at the Chinese University of Hong Kong to accommodate his parents’ wishes. Blood and the gloominess of illness so traumatized him he quickly turned to philosophy, something he thought he could find peace at.

But shortly, he found out that formalizing his hobby was not as fun, nor particularly easy, as treating it his private entertainment. In his sophomore year, metaphysics first helped cast doubts on the existence of his self-believed talents.

In the class he argued with his bearded professor about the identity of matters, contending that the identity was revealed in the relation among every and all matters, and that the identity was borne in the relation itself only, not on matters themselves, as matters independent of or in the absence of relation bore no identity. His contention that relation was the only existence and, therefore, the identity of matters, was met with amusement but unsupportive acquiescence from the professor. He passed the subject but barely.

Later, it was Wittgenstein who did the trick. He was completely lost in trying to make sense out of Tractatus. Disappointed at himself, he switched to business and graduated with a double major.

His first forage for jobs hadn’t shown the least sign of success he later enjoyed either. It took him almost a year to land his first formal job, working in the shipping department of a shipping company, which nicely called itself a logistics corporation. His title was shipping assistant manager, but he functioned more like an all-purpose errand boy for different departments.

(to be continued...)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Chapter 1: The Encounter IV

Half sitting on the bed, he held her up in his arms and kissed her fervently all over, on the lips, the face, the nose, the ears, the neck, the hair...While he was kissing her, his right hand slipped inside her red turtleneck and felt her body. It’s a lean and firm body. He ran his fingers along the silky smooth expanse of her back, touched her bra strap, moved the hand up to her shoulders and felt her collar bones. She had distinct collar bones.

As his right hand was feeling around her back, his left arm was holding her close to him. She, with half of her back on the bed, put her arms around his neck, tilted her head and kissed him. She kissed with passion. Her tongue courted his lips, slipped through his front teeth and went inside, tempting, exploring, searching. She was looking for love and for a man she could enjoy and depend on.

But no, no, not this fast. Only one time in her life had she sought out sex for sex’s sake and she regretted it to this day. She felt like a whore whenever she thought of it. The slightly bald image of the man and his smell from smoking flashed back to her and he felt her tongue hesitated. She couldn’t risk ruining this—not this time, not with him. This was a man she could care for and love and she could not make any mistakes. She didn’t want him to think she was an easy woman either. Mustering all her will, she tried to break the kiss and started to loosen her hold on his neck.

He felt her change. He didn’t know why but thought he should respect it. He slightly relaxed the grip of his left arm and let the kiss go. As his mouth was moving away from hers, he caught her eyes and saw the disappointment in them before a look of craving and vulnerability filled them. “Oh, I love you, I love you, I love you!” he whispered his soul into her ear and once again buried his lips into hers.

This time she let go and enjoyed his affection happily. The air was charged with both of their wants. As he caressed and sucked her tongue, she knew she could no longer resist the desire of her heart, her body. She wanted him. Once that thought became clear to her, she decided to give herself to him.

Their long, intense kiss was electrifying. He was hard. Flushed, he held her up, knelt beside her, and helped her off with her turtleneck. Then her trousers. Then her panties. And finally, her bra. She blushed, and instinctively put her arms over her chest. He knew he must not let her feel anything but respect and affection. He cupped her head gently and touched a kiss on her forehead.

Then and there, with that kiss, she knew he was her man.

When both of them were completely naked, they hugged and caressed each other’s body. His hand moved up to her breast and he touched the soft skin with his fingertips. Upon the touch, she quivered and moaned. It excited him. She had small but firm breasts. Her nipples were stimulated and hard. He buried his head into her chest and sucked at her excited nipples. She let out a happy, sensual groan, and pressed his head into her bosom...

(to be continued...)


Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Chapter 1: The Encounter III

Her quiet femininity had an air of mystic attraction. She had a demeanor that looked oddly familiar but he couldn’t quite place it. He lay down on his side next to her, his head propped up on his left elbow, and began running his right hand fingers through her satiny long hair, absently looking at her curved silhouette.

“Thinking something?”

“Uhh?...No, ah, yes,” he was recalled. “You know the physicist Isaac Newton, right?”

“Don’t know him…heard of him,” she was slightly miffed that he didn’t tell the truth.

“Right, right,” he blamed himself for the semantic slip, and was a bit surprised at the tone of her response.

“What about him?” she turned her head toward him and asked softly, conscious of the nuances in her tone.

“Well,” he straightened up a bit, “Newton was a great genius, of course, with his three laws of motion and his discovery of gravity, but personally, he was also an oddball.”

“Really? How?” She turned to her side and faced him. The interest in her eyes gave him a sense of camaraderie that he hadn’t noticed. He was heartened by the prospect that they might have more things to share in common.

“Well...” he was debating if he should kill the story he had had in mind and replace it with another one not so obvious. “Newton was a famously distracted person. It was reported that when he got up in the morning, he had a habit of swinging his feet out of bed, but sometimes right in the middle of it he would amazingly be immobilized by a sudden rush of thoughts to his head, and he would remain in that position for hours, thinking of his ideas...”

“You mean all the while when his feet were out of the bed...”

“Yeah...and just hanging there for hours...”

She turned to her back and gazed at the ceiling, absorbed in her own thought. She was intrigued by the idea that someone could be this distracted. She found the behavior fascinating, and Newton lovable. She decided to read up some on the man. Maggie would love it. The thought of her daughter brought a smile on her face. “Do you have any book you can recommend on Newton? A primer, possibly?”

Her seriousness surprised him. He thought she had been thinking about the hanging feet. “I don’t know much about Newton, actually. I’ve never read his original works...I’ll get you Will Durant’s volume on Newton.”

The frown on her face alerted him. The feminine woman he had kind of taken for granted was suddenly making judgment on him. There was an unexpected threat, but at the same time, he relished the challenge.

“Will Durant has written a great work called The Story of Civilization,” he sat himself up with his back to the bedhead, lightly touching her hair, while she lay next to him. “It’s an eleven-volume work of a lifetime, covering history east and west. It’s still unfinished, though, when Durant died in his 90s.”

“What does it has to do with Newton?”

“Oh, I’m sorry,” he liked her persistence. “Whenever I’m talking about Durant, I’ll get carried away. He has a volume in which he talked about Newton.”

“You mean a volume in that...ehh...Civilization something?”

“Yes. The Story of Civilization.” He was usually sharper. He didn’t know what has happened to him tonight.

“And you have the whole set?”

“Well, yes,” he said, and sensed a tone in her question he couldn’t quite make of it. “I got a free set when I bought the Encyclopedia Britannica.”

“You bought a whole set of the Encyclopedia Britannica?”

She actually began to think he was kind of a nut. She has never heard of anyone buying a whole set of the EB. These things were to be looked up in the library. That’s what the library was for, wasn’t it?

“Well, I’m sorry," she realized she sounded a bit crude. "You like books, right?”

“That’s okay. I’m a bookworm,” he began to feel sorry for the whole conversation, perhaps the whole evening.

(to be amended…)


Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Chapter 1: The Encounter II

She felt his touch and him studying her. The sensuousness of his touch on her face was mesmerizing: the lightness of his fingers breezed down the forehead to the tip of her nose, then to her lips, went around them, slipped past the chin to the base of her throat and the top of her chest, hesitated, and then glided back up. She appreciated the courtesy of his fingers. She knew she was haunted by his touch. What she didn’t know was how much of her soul was devoured by his eyes.

Lying next to her, his face was just a few inches from hers. He could hear her breathe. When she breathed her nostrils flared slightly. He didn’t know if she realized this little charm of hers herself. The breathing was even and smooth. He knew she felt comfortable with him even this close. Suddenly, he was overcome with a sense of sadness. His brows twitched, and he felt a lump in his throat...

He quickly gathered himself, and felt filled with tenderness toward the woman in front of him. With the soft touch of his middle finger, he skimmed the lines of her lips with emotion. He noticed she did not have lipstick on. Her lips had a light rosy hue. One of her front teeth peeked out slightly through her lips. He found that very sexy, lowered his head, and wanted to kiss it with the tip of his tongue.

The wetness startled her and she opened her eyes. He wanted to apologize but also felt he didn’t have to. So he just smiled and kissed her on the cheek.

The disruption made him notice that they were lying on the bed in an awkward position. Half of their feet were hanging outside of the bed. It was not comfortable, sort of Newtonian though.

He climbed up and saw that she did not have her shoes on. He, on the other hand, had his right shoe on but not his left.

"Aww, look at how clumsy I'm!" he smirked at her sheepishly, signaling with his head in the direction of his feet.

She arched her head up and looked at his feet and smiled, without saying a word.

He got up and took off his right shoe, climbed back up onto the bed, and slid her gently to the head of the bed in the middle. All the while she did not say anything. She just looked at him tenderly with a slight smile and let him do whatever he wanted to do.

(to be continued...)


Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Chapter 1: The Encounter I

It was close to eleven. She said it was time for her to go home.

"Right," he nodded, "I’ll take you downstairs." And he went right to putting his shoes on.

As he was sitting on the end of the bed, bending down to put on his New Balance, he thought of the difficulty of getting a taxi. Just now when they were on the street outside the hotel, they couldn’t get a taxi to a restaurant and ended up eating at the hotel. Perhaps he should ask the front desk to call a taxi…

"Don’t you want me to stay?" her voice came from the back.

His left shoulder shuddered a tiniest bit. A number of thoughts flashed across his mind while his hands froze in the middle of tying the shoe lace of his right shoe. One thought that was clear was that whatever he would say or do in response, he must make sure that she knew she was respected.

He stood up and turned to her. She was standing on the left side of the bed, looking at him, a small smile on her beautiful face. He moved forward, limping a bit, until he was close enough to gently put his lips onto hers, and kissed her.

"Of course I want you to stay," he murmured into her ear, and noticed that she shivered.

They were now both standing next to the bed. Instinctively, he placed his left arm around her back and softly laid her down. Then, with his arms spread on either side of her, he set himself down lightly on top, and showered her lips and face with kisses.

She closed her eyes, her face relaxed, wearing a slight smile. It was the first time he was this close to her. With his left elbow now supporting the weight of his body, he used the free hand to begin tracing the contour of her face, gliding it with the soft tips of his fingers. When closed, her eyes were those of a buddha. He wanted to kiss those eyes but her glasses were in the way. The eyebrows were defined and shapely, with a nice arch. There was no noticeable makeup. She had a natural glow of beauty about her. There were a few little spots on that pretty face. There was one on the lower side of the forehead, just above the eyebrows; another one on her left cheek…

(to be continued...)


Monday, June 27, 2011

To Shiny No. 9 More on Writing


I’ve always believed that good writing should be free from the use of too many trite words or generic forms of expression. If we want to say someone is nice, write specifically how he is nice, rather than just to say “he is nice,” or worse, “he is very nice.” If he is sad, fine, skip the over-used word “sad” and then try to describe in subtle, meticulous words either his look or his mental state or both to convey his state of sadness. This of course is easier said than done. I’ve asked my students to go out and watch how people eat and then write short descriptions of different people eating. It’s called practicing the basics, like painting students painting still life objects, or piano students going over the keys.

Andy Rooney of the “60 Minutes” fame is good in using simple words to describe physical forms and movements. These two passages are my Rooney examples to students on crossing legs. If you want to write about people crossing their legs, don’t just stop there, write more and show how different people actually cross their legs. Here are Rooney’s observations:

“They crossed their legs, twisted them like pretzels, put their arms over the back of the chair next to them, squirmed continuously. Some of the college girls curled one leg up under themselves and sat on that.”

“If chairs were comfortable and supportive of us where we most want support, we would not feel that great urge to lift one foot off the floor and hook the back of the knee over the other knee. Men often don’t actually cross their legs, they place one ankle on top of the knee of the other leg and simultaneously rest the palm of one hand on the ankle that is on the knee.”

As a student of writing, I have a selection of these passages saved. From time to time, I would dig them out and repeat aloud the passages a number of times, trying first to remember them, then to forget them. I’ve told myself this is a way to learn great writings through the act of the subconscious.

Rooney’s hero, E. B. White, whom Rooney allowed as a writer who “may have written the English language more gracefully than any American who ever lived,” liked animals and liked writing about animals. Here are his lines describing a guinea chicken:

“I solved perpetual motion last July when my youngest grandson gave me a guinea chick on my birthday. The chick was only three days old and he, or she, immediately accepted me as his, or her, mother. I still function in that capacity. The guinea is now full grown, in full plumage, and in perpetual motion. He hates my bicycle, mounts me when I kneel, chases cars and trucks, gooses my terriers, and befouls my woodshed. Except at night when he is roosting, his head is never still a minute. And his curiosity is insatiable. I named him Jack, and in another couple of months he will probably be laying eggs—which I won’t know what to do with…”

I love him for his childlike curiosity, admire him of his intricate observation, and adore his ability to be able to arrange words in such captivating fashion.


Saturday, June 25, 2011

To Shiny No. 8 On Writing


Writers are a kind of people who have an insatiable urge to write. They are those who like to write and want to write, and write disregard anyone pays any heed. They enjoy writing, and find enjoyment in writing itself. Some may even be addicted to writing. I’m not that. I’ve never had much great desire in penning creatively, nor do I have the talents. The only one that I know who has written hundreds of pages of material at a tender age is Maggie. I’ve thought of telling Maggie of E.B. White’s counsel to a group of fourth-graders about writing a book. White wrote to the kids the following:

“First, you have to want to write one very much. Then, you have to know of something that you want to write about. Then, you have to begin. And, once you have started, you have to keep going.”

I think Maggie must have something she wanted to write about very much for her to have written so much material. I once had the idea of sharing with her my thoughts on writing, and thought that if she did have the natural talents in this endeavor, she should be encouraged to fully realize her talents.

Now that I’ve started writing myself, albeit at a senior age, I’ve begun to notice a thing or two about this craft, and have become more conscious of some of its demands and intricacies. I would continue to think of some of the words or forms of expression used, for example, even after the piece is sent. This process has invariably resulted in mistakes being spotted, or better replacements detected. Writing has never come natural to me. It’s laborious and slow, sometimes disgustingly so. All the pieces that were sent to you have since gone through various degrees of rewriting. In the last piece, for example, in describing rainfall, the word “drizzles” was misspelled as “sizzles,” and the whole line has since been reworded to “Shortly after I was there, rain began to fall, first in drizzles, soon after it came down in torrents.” There are over ten places in the “Random thoughts” piece that have since been revised.

In my experience I have found that I'm more compelled to write when I feel terrible than when I feel great. I didn’t, or perhaps I couldn’t, write the story of love between a communist and a capitalist when I was in heaven, enjoying the tenderness and care and affection of the love of my life. Now that I’m torn in purgatory, the creative juices are more ready.

This of course is not what things of any merit could have come about. Any endeavor that is worth anything requires efforts applied consistently and persistently. A small step taken one day at a time, continued in each and every day, day after day…yes, I know this. And this I will do.