"Dreams are necessary to life."
Ananis Nin 1903-1977 The Diary of Anais Nin volII 1967 (June 1936, a letter to her mother)
Well, the big "V" day has come and gone with all the sentimentality and nostalgic it always invokes. I didn't get chocolates ( W.W. would cheer!) I didn't get flowers (bought myself a bouquet of red and purple tulips the next day) But I did get lots of calls from family and friends, a couple of e-cards, an invitation to get together for a glass of wine (from my pal Cliffy) and I met my Havana Buddy to listen to some cool, romantic jazz. After all, didn't St. Val intend on it to be a day to remember friends and loved ones? Not the huge commercialized fuss that it has become.
Then next day at my Memoir group we did some writing about "romance" and seduction. How do you like to be seduced ? Pause for thought. At this point in time, most 'seduction' is purely imaginary. Or is it?
There's something romantically appealing about a candlelight dinner, just me and a special guy friend: good wine, delicious food and quiet romantic music playing in the background. To me, this could be an ideal prelude to seduction. But in recent years it's usually just me and a girlfriend engaged in girl-talk in that kind of setting, Or, more likely, just me, alone at a table at a sea-side taverna in Greece, Shirley Valentine style.
Recently I was writing up a travel story about my visit to a little town called Koroni, in the Peloponnese where I'd gone a couple of years ago on a quest to explore Venetian castles in Greece. In remembering and writing about that occasion I realized just how 'romantic' it had been, even though I was alone. Picture this: a sky full of twinkling stars with Mars blinking its red beacon, a full moon shining a path over the sea, and the castle as a backdrop, all lit by a pale green light. I was alone at a sea-side table, just me and my journal, a tasty meal of kalamaria and a carafe of wine, oblivious to the couples at other tables around me. Of course at such times I tend to get sentimental and nostalgic, but I've grown accostomed to this solitary life style and have learned to make my own 'romantic' moments. In that case, seduced by the romantic setting.
I recall many romantic moments of the past, spent with men. Could I ever top those days with Hakki in Istanbul? He was my charming fairy-tale prince. ( Once, a few years later, I was with friends at the Topkapi in the restaurant and realized I was sitting in the exact place where I'd sat when I was with him.) Or how about those unexpected romantic moments on the mountain in Greece when I'd run into my shepherd Mitso on the roadside and we'd stop awhile for an intimate chat. Or, more recently, the seductive gentle touch of my Chilean friend's hand on my arm, his smile...Yes, I think I am easily seduced by smiles. Hakki's flashed with gold, Mitso's was carefree and crinkle-eyed, Anibal's beamed, lighting up the whole room.
All those physicial moments linger in my memory, but mostly I think I am seduced by words.
I remember long talks over wine with Khadar, my Palestinian friend, mesmerized by his stories. I still have letters Hakki wrote to me. ("You are an estimable woman.") I recall snatches of conversation (in Greek) on the mountainside or at the village wine shop with Mitso. I often sat enthralled listening to Anibal's tales of Chile and the revolution. Even going back farther...to my childhood and my youth...the Welsh voice of my father telling me about his life, or preaching his Sunday sermons...my mother's stories at bedtime. I grew up with a love of words, and at a very young age began to write them down, spin my own tales, dream of other exotic worlds. With those worlds, my imaginary life began to unfold...My seduction...My romantic life.
"It's all right for a woman to be, above all, human. I am a woman first of all..."
"Let men tremble to win the hand of a woman, unless they win along with it the utmost passion of her heart."
Nathaniel Hawhorne 1804-1864 "The Scarlet Letter" 1852 "The Custom House."