Where the Dew Drops Cry and the Cats Meow

A former student of mine just sent me this photo, from her recent trip to England.

It’s sublime.

The sublime isn’t truly happy without the ridiculous, its badly behaved twin. So as I gazed at this photo of Stonehenge, all shivery with awe, I found myself thinking about This is Spinal Tap

—which in turn led me to Woody Allen’s Love and Death. I’m not sure why. Without overthinking it: This is Spinal Tap satirizes a musical genre; Love and Death satirizes a literary genre. Both do their satirizing with uncanny brilliance. Both make me laugh, a lot.

And here’s a funny thing: when I consulted Wikipedia for the sort of random yet pertinent details that only Wikipedia can provide (details of which my younger daughter says, “You can never ever believe them”), I stumbled upon this quote, under “ridiculous”:

“Napoleon, reflecting on the state of his existence following his retreat from Moscow in 1812, famously remarked to Polish ambassador D.G. De Pradt: Du sublime au ridicule il n’ya qu’un pas (There is only one step from the sublime to the ridiculous).”

Love and Death takes place during the Napoleonic invasion of Russia. Coincidence or convergence? Doesn’t really matter.

The Stonehenge of Chiara’s wonderful photo and the dwarf Stonehenge of Spinal Tap. Napoleon’s sublime and ridiculous and Woody Allen’s. Twinned images, all—two faces on the same body.

Which brings me to my final image of this peripatetic entry. (I swear I didn’t intend to write half of this, when I started it.)

Strong, silent Janus—god of time past and time to come, and that strange, eternal place between.

It’s December 31. The sun (such as it was, today) is setting. I’ve got Baileys and egg nog in a glass at one elbow and at least one cat at the other. (The number and combination of cats varies.) The tall science fiction writer whom I married in 2011 is just beyond one of said elbows, tapping away at his own laptop, sipping his own ‘ggnog. This is Spinal Tap and Love and Death are all cued up. Perhaps we’ll graduate to bubbly as Derek gets stuck in his pod; perhaps we’ll time the popping of the cork to Boris’ last—and eternal—dance.

Happy New Year.

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Photo by Rebecca Springett

Release Date - October 2015

Published by: ChiZine Publications

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