Yesterday we watched “Hamlet”, a performance at the Odeon amphitheater by English troupe London Globe. The performance brought to my mind one of the first paintings I ever loved, which was of Ophelia.
I may have been 6 or 7, and the painting was the star of a “Spot the differences” gimmick in Majalet Majed or something like that. I didn’t know what Hamlet was at that point of course, nor was I familiar with Millais. But even though I was so young, I fell in love with the beautiful layering of hair, tulle, and flowers floating on water. I couldn’t understand how the artist made them flow that way. So I cut that page and saved it.
It was years later that I became familiar with Shakespeare, Ophelia, and Millais.
It’s still one of my favorite paintings.
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element; but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
It was always one of my favorite things in the world. A book covering my face while lounging under the hot, hot sun. My nose buried in pages that smell like chlorine and salt water, dog eared, wrinkled like wavy sand dunes. The sound of crashing waves mixed with a plot line. Pinning the wet book for a week under a mound of hardcovers to try to salvage it back into straightness.
I am not one to romanticize books over e-readers. I love my e-reader more than I love a lot of (arguably) very important things.
The only instance when I miss physical books is when my Kindle is safely tucked away at home, protected from the elements and splashing kids of the beach or the pool. That’s the only time I miss a book.
This is a really awesome event happening tonight in Jabal Al Weibdeh, 6:00PM till midnight.
From the event page: “For years now, Jabal Al Weibdeh has been the heart of Jordan’s creative community. A community which continues to grow each year with more artists taking up residence in the neighborhood, opening up studios, galleries, and creative spaces. In an effort to celebrate the thriving creative nature of Jabal Al Weibdeh, Malahi Entertainment Inc. is organizing KAZDARA, an annual Jabal Al Weibdeh Art Walk. All participating galleries, studios, cafes and organizations are given the opportunity to open their doors to the public for an eventful night. The goal of the walk is to create awareness for the creative work being done in the neighborhood, giving artists and organizations the chance to display their work to the general public.