Il giardino dei tarocchi

Since I’ve only taken two panoramas in my life, I call my sister to the rescue. She has at least three, and they rock. I’m not sure if they are supposed to be so… tiny. Anyway, Sylvain wants them for his challenge and here they are. First both of mine:

Largo di Santa Susanna in Roma

Il giardino dei tarocchi.

Photo: a © signature mmm production

And these are my sister’s:

Vatican

Inside the Pantheon, Roma

Porto Ercole

Photo: Klu

For Sylvain Landry’s SL-WEEK 40: Panorama

WPC: Dinnertime, children

There was the subject of cook for another challenge not so long ago, so today let me concentrate on the places where we also eat when we don’t eat at home, even though there are some photos from there as well. More info in the captions. Buon appetito!

Photo: a © signature mmm production

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: Dinnertime

SL-WEEK 38: Yellow WordPress

Sylvain said that he would be gone and we had two weeks to deliver our yellow pages. And I thought, ahh, that’s a long time.

Alas, just like in school, even the longest time passes. He is back with a new theme, and I’m stuck with so many yellow photos gathered! Let me post them anyway, even if late.

I think this is the longest gallery on my blog. Yellow is my blog’s background colour, after all, and the colour of the wall in my bedroom. Location info is in the captions.

Photo: a © signature mmm production

For Sylvain Landry’s SL-WEEK 38: Yellow

Thursday Doors, April 7

Many visits to Il giardino dei tarocchi (Tarot Garden by Niki de Saint Phalle) had to pass before I realised that there too were doors. Some are just more hidden than others.

Some are just like an aperture on the female body.

Some are hidden more than others, such as the shaft below, and still stylish.

Sometimes there are merely holes.

Some mark off the territory that is not allowed to roam.

Some mean the end of the road.

And some hide in Niki’s living room.

Photo: a © signature mmm production

For Norm Frampton’s Thursday Doors challenge.

Ikigai

This is something that has been troubling me my whole life. I know, I’m a bit old to not have it sorted out yet. Ah, well.

I’ve come across this neat little scheme a while ago. It struck an instant chord.

In my profile it says that I’m “living in order to learn to earn”. I realise what a luxury this is, most people are pushed into a direction, not necessarily ideal, by circumstances, early in life. But each day I am closer to the centre. Ikigai! Sounds like a war cry.

Let’s see what all I have tried so far:

Natural habitat and pose.

Yes, I excel at this too.

Smoke and coffee (even without a boat)? Tried it. Liked it for 20 years. Don’t like it any more.

Well, yes, but the system can do that alone just fine.

Well… not closing any doors.

No, no, this is mom’s thing. (She made these during her last visit out of the blue!)

No, really no, believe me.

This is more like it…

…while he told me to do it so long ago. And I don’t mean drinking.

But they don’t let me forget my natural calling here. I’ve come to the right country. Etruscans – my spirit animals.

Be as it may, the sanest meaning of life that I’ve heard recently comes paraphrased via C. G. Jung:

Our job in life is to become the person we are when we die.

Photo: a © signature mmm production

WPC: Sexing the Cherry, no half light about it

What follows are three out of twelve dancing princesses telling their stories about what happened after they married three of 12 princes, from the book “Sexing the Cherry” by Jeanette Winterson. They are one of the reasons why this book is my favourite.

***

We all slept in the same room, my sisters and I, and that room was narrower than a new river and longer than the beard of the prophet.

So you see exactly the kind of quarters we had.

We slept in white beds with white sheets and the moon shone through the window and made white shadows on the floor.

From this room, every night, we flew to a silver city where no one ate or drank. The occupation of the people was to dance. We wore out our dresses and slippers dancing, but because we were always sound asleep when our father came to wake us in the morning it was impossible to fathom where we had been or how.

You know that eventually a clever prince caught us flying through the window. We had given him a sleeping draught but he only pretended to drink it. He had eleven brothers and we were all given in marriage, one to each brother, and as it says lived happily ever after. We did, but not with our husbands.

I have always enjoyed swimming, and it was in deep waters one day that I came to a coral cave and saw a mermaid combing her hair. I fell in love with her at once, and after a few months of illicit meetings, my husband complaining all the time that I stank of fish, I ran away and began housekeeping with her in perfect salty bliss.

For some years I did not hear from my sisters, and then, by a strange eventuality, I discovered that we had all, in one way or another, parted from the glorious princes and were living scattered, according to our tastes.

We bought this house and we share it. You will find my sisters as you walk about. As you can see, I live in the well.

“We bought this house and we share it. You will find my sisters as you walk about.” Roma.

***

You may have heard of Rapunzel.

Against the wishes of her family, who can best be described by their passion for collecting miniature dolls, she went to live in a tower with an older woman.

Her family were so incensed by her refusal to marry the prince next door that they vilified the couple, calling one a witch and the other a little girl. Not content with names, they ceaselessly tried to break into the tower, so much so that the happy pair had to seal up any entrance that was not on a level with the sky. The lover got in by climbing up Rapunzel’s hair, and Rapunzel got in by nailing a wig to the floor and shinning up the tresses flung out of the window. Both of them could have used a ladder, but they were in love.

One day the prince, who had always liked to borrow his mother’s frocks, dressed up as Rapunzel’s lover and dragged himself into the tower. Once inside he tied her up and waited for the wicked witch to arrive. The moment she leaped through the window, bringing their dinner for the evening, the prince hit her over the head and threw her out again. Then he carried Rapunzel down the rope he had brought with him and forced her to watch while he blinded her broken lover in a field of thorns.

After that they lived happily every after, of course.

As for me, my body healed, though my eyes never did, and eventually I was found by my sisters, who had come in their various ways to live on this estate.

My own husband?

Oh well, the first time I kissed him he turned into a frog.

There he is, just by your foot. His name’s Anton.

“Oh well, the first time I kissed him he turned into a frog.” Il giardino dei tarocchi, Niki de Saint Phalle.

***

When my husband had an affair with someone else I watched his eyes glaze over when we ate dinner together and I heard him singing to himself without me, and when he tended the garden it was not for me.

He was courteous and polite; he enjoyed being at home, but in the fantasy of his home I was not the one who sat opposite him and laughed at his jokes. He didn’t want to change anything; he liked his life. The only thing he wanted to change was me.

It would have been better if he had hated me, or if he had abused me, or if he had packed his new suitcases and left.

As it was he continued to put his arm round me and talk about building a new wall to replace the rotten fence that divided our garden from his vegetable patch. I knew he would never leave our house. He had worked for it.

Day by day I felt myself disappearing. For my husband I was no longer a reality, I was one of the things around him. I was the fence which needed to be replaced. I watched myself in the mirror and saw that I was no longer vivid and exciting. I was worn and grey like an old sweater you can’t throw out but won’t put on.

He admitted he was in love with her, but he said he loved me.

Translated, that means, I want everything. Translated, that means, I don’t want to hurt you yet. Translated, that means, I don’t know what to do, give me time.

Why, why should I give you time? What time are you giving me? I am in a cell waiting to be called for execution.

I loved him and I was in love with him. I didn’t use language to make a war-zone of my heart.

‘You’re so simple and good,’ he said, brushing the hair from my face.

He meant, Your emotions are not complex like mine. My dilemma is poetic.

But there was no dilemma. He no longer wanted me, but he wanted our life

Eventually, when he had been away with her for a few days and returned restless and conciliatory, I decided not to wait in my cell any longer. I went to where he was sleeping in another room and I asked him to leave. Very patiently he asked me to remember that the house was his home, that he couldn’t be expected to make himself homeless because he was in love.

‘Medea did,’ I said, ‘and Romeo and Juliet and Cressida, and Ruth in the Bible.’

He asked me to shut up. He wasn’t a hero.

‘Then why should I be a heroine?’

He didn’t answer, he plucked at the blanket.

I considered my choices.

I could stay and be unhappy and humiliated.

I could leave and be unhappy and dignified.

I could beg him to touch me again.

I could live in hope and die of bitterness.

I took some things and left. It wasn’t easy, it was my home too.

I hear he’s replaced the back fence.

“I was the fence which needed to be replaced.”

***

Photo: a © signature mmm production

Related: My open letter to Jeanette Winterson

I have never thought to add my photographs to a literary work. I’m glad I did it now for Jeanette and:

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: Half-Light

SL-WEEK 36: Women of Niki’s Tarot Garden

Today I bring you the unmistakable femininity of Niki de Saint Phalle’s statues from her Tarot Garden, Il giardino dei tarocchi, which I by some strange strike of luck have in my immediate vicinity. Since Sylvain said Women. Do I hear like attracts like?

The Garden is free every first Saturday in the months from November to March and I do my best to visit each time. Sometimes with an extra Devil. Whereas Ninja still has to be made into a tarot card. What can I say… it’s refreshing. I especially recommend the visit to any female who has ever struck her hip bones wishing they would just disappear, or wiggle her sedere in frustration because it ain’t going anywhere. This is our place of worship. Thank you, Niki!

More information on the statues in the captions. Here is an interesting paper on Niki and the Garden that I have just found.

Photo: a © signature mmm production

For Sylvain Landry’s SL-WEEK 36: Women

Hey you, dragging the halo-
how about a holiday in the islands of grief?

Tongue is the word I wish to have with you.
Your eyes are so blue they leak.

Your legs are longer than a prisoner’s
last night on death row.
I’m filthier than the coal miner’s bathtub
and nastier than the breath of Charles Bukowski.

You’re a dirty little windshield.

I’m standing behind you on the subway,
hard as calculus. My breath
be sticking to your neck like graffiti.

I’m sitting opposite you in the bar,
waiting for you to uncross your boundaries.

I want to rip off your logic
and make passionate sense to you.

I want to ride in the swing of your hips.

My fingers will dig in you like quotation marks,
blazing your limbs into parts of speech.

But with me for a lover, you won’t need
catastrophes. What attracted me in the first place
will ultimately make me resent you.

I’ll start telling you lies,
and my lies will sparkle,
become the bad stars you chart your life by.

I’ll stare at other women so blatantly
you’ll hear my eyes peeling,

because sex with you is like Great Britain:
cold, groggy, and a little uptight.

Your bed is a big, soft calculator
where my problems multiply.

Your brain is a garage
I park my bullshit in, for free.

You’re not really my new girlfriend,
just another flop sequel of the first one,
who was based on the true story of my mother.

You’re so ugly I forgot how to spell.

I’ll cheat on you like a ninth grade math test,
break your heart just for the sound it makes.

You’re the ‘this’ we need to put an end to.
The more you apologize, the less I forgive you.

So how about it?

Jeffrey McDaniel, The Jerk

La morte, Il giardino dei tarocchi, Niki de Saint Phalle.
Photo: a © signature mmm production

MM 2-44: Monochrome Madness Moon

La luna is one of the statues in the Tarot Garden, Il giardino dei tarocchi in the south of Tuscany, the home and artwork by French artist Niki de Saint Phalle.

Above is my contribution to this week’s Leanne Cole’s Monochrome Madness 2-44, and below is first the same image in colour and then some other images of La luna taken during my many visits to the Garden. If you wish to go there with me, just follow the Il giardino dei tarocchi tag (well, for now).

Photo: MM

Good luck knocking

I buy my gifts as if the whole world was available; I just have to look where my hand is about to reach.

Then I know for whom it is too.

So when it is a heart-shaped mirror, it must be sis.

But she is spending her Christmas and months around it in Peru.

After a consultation with my father I leave it gift-wrapped on top of her mail pile that is waiting for her at our parents’ house.

A few days before she is bound to return to this hemisphere for now, mom writes: “What is this heart-shaped mirror that I found on the shelf?”

“Wrap it back, mom. Not for you! Don’t you and dad ever talk?” Dad feigns ignorance and low recollection powers, he must have been on computer.

When sis returns, she must have opened it because she writes, with a heart:

“Oh, just to inform you that as I was packing to return, my old little mirror broke.”

“Sorry about that, had to do it,” I reply.

While in reality it was good luck knocking. I had merely known it would.

≈ Manja Maksimovič ≈

And these are some other, Niki’s hearts from my yesterday’s visit to Il giardino dei tarocchi. Next time we go together.

Photo: MM

WPC: Alfabetagamadelta

Alfabetagamadelta, or from A to Ž, in my language. Letters are the root of everything. More sense in captions.

Let’s take my favourite letter, because MMM

Add another very useful one (Mengeš, Slovenia)

And a whole bunch of them, just not my own (Il giardino dei tarocchi)

Find five seemingly random ones on the beach

Love can also be spelled with 3

Sometimes they are mysterious

Other times less so

And some know what to do with them more than others (Album for my father’s birthday years ago, the photo from Paris metro station)

…and line them up really effectively.

And sometimes your dog really really wants to tell you something – but you don’t know the alphabet.

Photo: MM

In response to The Daily Post’s weekly photo challenge: Alphabet