Thursday, January 7, 2010

Freak Snow Storm and impromptu photoshoots.

First there was a blizzard, and I watched from the bus window as cars crept along like mourners and massive machinery pulled and pushed and built and the soft snow flakes came in through the window and clouded the lines in between me and everyone else with snow-tuft. It mesmerised me. I could have easily lost my heart to the snow today, or my head. I've been a pillager of my Mother's new books. She must have found a treasure chest book shop because she had picked up a beautiful edition of Hans Christian Andersen's complete fairy tales. Last night I read the Snow Queen. This is my favourite bit:

In the evening, when little Kay was at home and half undressed, he clambered upon the chair by the window, and looked through the little hole. A few flakes of snow were falling outside, and one of them, the largest of them all, remained lying on the edge of one of the flower-boxes. The snowflake grew larger and larger, and at last became a maiden clothed in the finest white gauze, made out of millions of starry flakes. She was beautiful and delicate, but of ice - of shining, glittering ice. Yet she was alive; her eyes flashed like two clear stars, but there was no peace or rest in them. She nodded towards the window, and beckoned with her hand. The little boy was frightened, and sprang down from the chair; then it seemed as if a great bird flew by outside, in front of the window.
(p. 272/ 273 Wordsworth Library Edition)

And today when I ventured into the city and beyond to Templeogue for an interview, I joined Rick Taylor for an impromptu photoshoot in Bushy Park. If you are like me, then you will empathise with poor little Kay forgetting his head with the snow queen... This it seems, is the nascent beginning of narcissism, but more of that tomorrow...

The other book I stole from MOM is The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde. I am a huge fan of Oscar's beautiful and tragic niece Dolly Wilde who is one of two dead people I am sorry I will never meet (the other is John McGahern). Wilde's longest relationship was with an American heiress named Natalie Clifford Barney who hosted "the most important Parisian literary salon of the 20th century". Dolly was known as a performer and conversationalist, "an artist of the spoken word" who would imitate in performance her famous uncle Oscar. Her only written legacy is her correspondence. Joan Schenkar wrote Dolly's biography which was published in 2000 called Truly Wilde: The Unsettling Story of Dolly Wilde, Oscar's Unusual Niece.

But Dorian is the first book of Oscar's I have ever read and conveniently it fits right in my pocket, making this next photo that bit more Gothic-gay-boy than black crows against snow:


  1. I used to love the Snow Queen - scared the bejaysus out of me as a kid (assuming I had some bejaysus to start with, of course). There was a cartoon of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe where the White Witch was very Snow Queen-y and pretty terrifying, too. We're talking the pre-Maebh days here, so I was wee... I don't remember her being wrapped in gauze, though. The Snow Queen was an Ice Mummy?

    It's all coming back to me now, all that ice-shard in the heart stuff. No, that's still damn scary!

  2. yeah the devil's mirror... very freaky. Nice way of philosophizing depression and bad naturedness though (or is that a contradiction?). Anyways, I never knew the snow queen existed before C.S. Lewis so it kinda blew my mind. I just love the simplicity yet effectiveness of Andersen's language. Like the description of the great bird flying past the window as little Kay falls down - you can just picture it, that motion. Very creepy!