Bright Landscapes

My first (and, hopefully, not last) collection of short stories has gone to print and we are now open for local orders.

cover

The book costs RM25, plus postage (RM8 for Semenanjung and RM10 for Sabah/Sarawak). Whatsapp +60172644521 to order, if you are in Malaysia.

If you’re overseas and want to get this book, stay tuned for details.

Thank you!

Ma Belle

I was listening to this Beatles song and it’s strange how I’ve all but forgotten that I was baptised Michelle. My aunt/godmother chose it because she was a Beatles fan and because the priest who baptised me (Father Martin) was French.

When I was little, family members would randomly sing this song to me. Listening to ‘Michelle’ again really takes me back.

I haven’t been called Michelle for years. I don’t miss it. I’ve never really liked the name, but I do love this song despite its extreme cheesiness and silly lyrics.

Michelle
Michelle, ma belle
These are words that go together well
My Michelle
Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
Tres bien ensemble
I love you, I love you, I love you
That’s all I want to say
Until I find a way
I will say the only words I know that
You’ll understand
Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
Tres bien ensemble
I need to, I need to, I need to
I need to make you see
Oh, what you mean to me
Until I do I’m hoping you will
Know what I mean
I love you
I want you, I want you, I want you
I think you know by now
I’ll get to you somehow
Until I do I’m telling you so
You’ll understand
Michelle, ma belle
Sont des mots qui vont tres bien ensemble
Tres bien ensemble
I will say the only words I know
That you’ll understand, my Michelle
Songwriters: LENNON JOHN WINSTON / MCCARTNEY PAUL JAMES

The Summer is in Full Bloom

Hotarubi no Mori

I’ve just watched this anime called Hotarubi no Mori e (Into the Forest of Fireflies) based on a manga by Yuki Midorikawa.

It is so perfect and beautiful, but I am heartbroken.

This is the song that plays at the end of the film. I’ve included two sets of lyrics, the first is a poetic, freeform translation, used in the subtitles (in the film and also in the YouTube video embedded below); the second is a more literal translation. I think they each have strengths and weaknesses. And I’m sure there are Japanese idioms, metaphors etc that are lost in translation.

 

I Was Watching Summer

~ Written by Makoto Yoshimori

~ Sung by Shizuru Otaka

The cicadas laugh out in song
To the red evening sunset
The way back home is Long
But I promise to come here again tomorrow.
The summer is in full bloom.
Making you look more beautiful than ever.

I thought the tale would never end
But I realise now that something comes after
The crows too took flight
And went somewhere far, far away
The summer flies by
To hide away it’s treasures til next year.

I’ll never ever forget
Those golden summer days
That summer which brought joy
To my boring everyday life.
And look! Summer is here again
To help me keep my promise of that day.
The summer is still in bloom
Making you look more beautiful than ever.

More literal translation:

The laughter of the cicada’s song
The crimson color of sunset
The detour on the way back home
The promise to ‘See you tomorrow’.
I’m only in full bloom in the summer
To brighten up your life.

In this story without end
Before I realised it
The crows all disappeared
And flew off somewhere.
I only run by you in the summer
To keep your treasure.

I am forever nostalgic
For those golden days,
That casual daily life
Which lit up the corners.
Summer is yet to come
So keep your promise.
I’m only in full bloom in the summer
To brighten up your life.

(This translation is from Moonlight Summoner’s Anime Lyrics blog.)

The Big Pym-Re-Read:A Glass of Blessings

April was balmy and delicious, and cruel in the way the poet did mean, mingling memory and desire. The memory was of other springs, the desire unformulated, unrecognized almost, pushed away because there seemed to be no place for it in the life I had chosen for myself.

One day Rowena and I met to have a cosy women’s shopping lunch together. She had come up to town to buy new clothes for the children, but when I met her in our favourite restaurant she admitted that she had spent the whole morning buying things for herself and nothing for the children at all.

‘And this afternoon we’re having our hair done,’ I reminded her, for we were going together to my hairdresser who was to create elegant new hairstyles for us.

‘Oh this weather,’ Rowena sighed, pulling off her pale yellow gloves. ‘It makes one so unsettled. One ought to be in Venice with a lover!’

‘Of course,’ I agreed. ‘Whom would you choose?’

There was a pause, then we both burst out simultaneously, ‘Rocky Napier!’
and dissolved into helpless giggles.

Read More »

The Big Pym-Re-Read: Jane and Prudence

jane and prudence(This is definitely going to be less rambling than the post I wrote for Excellent Women! I shall try to keep it short.)

Jane and Prudence are friends who met at university when Jane was Prudence’s tutor.

The book opens with Jane and Prudence at a college reunion. Jane is forty-one, Prudence twenty-nine. The former is married to her university sweetheart, Nicholas Cleveland, now a Church of England vicar. Prudence is personal assistant to an academic, Arthur Grampian, and is in love with him.Read More »