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LITERARY STYLE INSPIRATION: THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN

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ROLLING WITH JAMES JOYCE ON AN IRISH HILL

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ODE TO THE BOOKISH GIRLS

The Circus

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Winter is welcomed in a spectacular manner in my village darling as the circus comes and settles here for some time. You should see the villagers during this time ­— pacing around their houses slowly, talking in whispers, as they wait for the first reverberations of the circus crew to hit the cobble stone streets of the village.

The day the circus arrived on the first winter morning, I recalled the time the gypsies had come a while back, as the villagers gathered in the piazza the way they had done on that day, and watched the crew unload and bring the circus to life.

I had been in the garden all day on this first winter morning; playing with my tea cup and looking at the lilies floating in the pond, unable to do anything else. It was only when Eduardo del Mar came that I knew it was time to make myself useful and show him what circuses look like in my village.

Donning my Giambattista Valli lace embroidered dress, I led Eduardo towards the piazza to find a large tent made of glass and broken mirror pieces that shimmered with the light of the moon. Eduardo looked at me with the same face as the one when I took him to review the latest haute couture collections at the Cathedral.

“The couturiers kept running out of fabric for the stars of the show darling and so they started using the fabric of the tent for the costumes.”

The whole village was inside that tent. Some of the villagers were donning cotton candy hues and standing next to the cotton candy stand; girls in short dresses following the elephant man and the men in their long thick coats, watching in terror-stricken awe the man who wore a watch on his wrist in another corner of the tent ­— the man who moved to the time on the clock rather than to the time of the mind.

Eduardo and I stood there as a wooden skeletal being, almost reaching the height of the tent, walked amid the crowd, looking poised and graceful despite his large stature. There were trapeze artists in playsuits floating above our heads and a woman riding a horse in haute couture.

I stepped on the velvet carpet and walked about passing jugglers in lace jumpsuits and clowns in five inch heels with their faces being as dreary and dark as the weather in the village. There was an enclosed space in one part of the tent, bearing the same smell of the flower hoarder’s back garden when piles of dead flowers are gathered there.

I stepped in and found a woman wearing a Maison Martin Margiela mask; her hands bore no wrinkles as they rested on a table, the fingers entwined around a set of cards.

maison martin margiela_crystal mask_3“Would you like to see what your future looks like pretty lady?” she said, her voice wispy and weak from under the mask.

“Oh darling, I have lived through a thousand and one scenarios already, so I would rather wait and be surprised.”

I left her, and her pungent smell behind, and roamed around the circus for an immeasurable time. Eduardo had started following the incredibly strong man around; he waved at me with excitement in his eyes as he passed me by.

Story credits: Images via Vogue Italia.

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