The Jester – another chapter of the story…

The Jester by Maria Montgomery, Confessions of a Dizzy Blonde

And so the mistral was blowing. They called it the “masterly” wind, but to her it always reminded her of a minstrel. A minstrel that had taken to the streets in a big way. Bringing with it the tastes, smells and memories of other towns; other people and places. It shook the heavens and cleaned the Earth. It stirred up people’s imagination and made them stay up at night; sitting curled up by the fireplace drinking cups of tea, chocolate, or hot wine.

Yes, the wind cleaned the Earth as it stirred up people’s imagination and made them empty their thoughts into the night. After they’d seen what they’d kept hidden for many months, they were cleaned. Left in the air however was the residue of thousands of voices that the wind had carried with them. Violette liked to listen to those voices. Hear little segments of what was going on in the world. Catch whiffs of the scents from places far away.

If the rain came, of course, all foreign voices were cleaned away. Instead the Earth rose into the heavens and you smelled the scent of home. Violette liked that too. She loved her home. Yet, she liked the temptation of far away lands. Of travelers’ tales. Once every month or so she’d take her carriage and drive to Avignon to stock up her cupboards with new ingredients. She could have gone less often, but she liked her produce fresh and she wanted an excuse to go there. To smell some different scents in the air. Hear foreign accents. Be intrigued by scholarly talk.

During such visits she’d often have random encounters that’d leave her smiling. Whilst some people could go to a city and not meet a soul, she found she’d often meet strangers as easily as others spent money for milk. In shops where she went often she knew the owners and they’d introduce her to fellow patrons. Sooner than she’d know it she’d be sipping tea or hot chocolate in a salon with some person she’d never met before. Though many were country folk and rather than sipping tea they’d exchange herbal recipes, tales of births and miracles; hard to cure diseases and the joy of the new harvest, or the first spring blossom.

Once on such a trip she’d met a man who had quite the air of a refined man. He was a gentleman. Yet it was clear he’d traveled the world and learned to live in ways no gentleman lived. The adventurer could never be held entirely responsible for always behaving with tact when dealing with pirates and demons in seas unknown. It made a man grounded, because rather than speak it made him live. Face the dangers and the beauty of life. It made some jaded, it made others wide awake to wonder.

This man, James, had many a story to tell. For hours he’d charmed her with tales of everything from the perfect orange blossom for perfume to the most intriguing tea ceremonies in Japan. He was intelligent, knowledgable and not one bit conceited or proud. He was a gorgeous man.

His refined manners and rough hands would charm most any woman in a skirt. And given all women wore skirts at the time, that amounted to a rather large number. She was charmed too. She wanted to stay. Listen to more tales. Yet, as someone who knew most anything from looking upon a man, she knew that he would be like a giant in her town. He’d go there. He’d rumble around. Then he’d leave, only to come back at times, always longing to go again. And she, she’d enjoy the road for a while. She’d be curious. But she had a town to care for. And there’d never be harmony between the two. He’d never fall in love with her town, even if he would with her. And she’d never fall in love with taking too many too long journeys, even if she’d adore him.

There was discord and she could feel it trembling in the Earth, like the murmur before an earthquake.

No, what she dreamed of was slightly different. A bit softer somehow. Trips that went further than she’d been, but not too far. As for a man she wanted someone who would long to return. Someone who’d love her town like it was his own, even if he traveled.

Temptation is what temptation is though. Like anyone else she was tempted. If so only for a night, but night brings morning and morning brings light. She did not want to raise a child on her own with a father unknown, although the romance of one night with a man did appeal to her. One night. One single night of life and wonder. Not long enough to see the things that in daylight would break the two of them apart liked a cracked eggshell. But one night can bring heartache if you look upon it in the eyes forever and wise as she were she did not fancy the idea. So she left, but her body was aching for more.

It had been different when she were a mere eight or nine summers old. She’s been with her grandmother to Avignon, shopping for herbs and spices, as well as special orange water. A boy had looked at her from behind a sack of potatoes in the store. His eyes were green as grass, his hair dark as a raven. His cheeks were red as if someone had pinched them, but it was only the sun. The sun and joy of life.

He’d seemed so confident, yet completely unaware of his own confidence. There was absolutely nothing frightening about him, just an intense sense of warmth and some resemblance of the beginnings of strength. He’d smiled at her. One big beautiful smile. And she’d felt butterflies fluttering in her belly.

They’d spoken and he’d taken her outside. Showed her tricks with his yo-yo, followed by all sorts of other tricks. He’d done handstands and backflips, taken a dice out from behind her ear and juggled some eggs. Not a single one broke. And just like that she’d known that she wouldn’t break around him. That he caught what he said he’d catch.

She’d never seen him again.

He was, as she understood, part of a traveling carnival. Her grandma had smiled when she spoke of him – she’d met him as she’d given them rock sugar when she exited the shop. And she’d let them play as she carried on with her errands – they’d followed her around town, but stayed outside shops when she went inside.

He’d shown her so many tricks which she’d later memorized. At least the ones she could remember. Sometimes she’d looked into his eyes instead of at the trick and forgotten what he was doing as soon as it was done. He’d made her laugh.

They’d spoken. She’d spoken about recipes and kitchen delights; he of marvelous travels along winding paths. He’d spoken about bringing people to their heart; she’d spoken about curing people with herbs and spice. He’d spoken about the joy of watching acrobats performing new tricks; she’d spoken about the joy of sitting cuddled up by the fire in the kitchen, as the scents of what was baking slowly filled the room.

To her he was beauty. Plain and simple. He’d understood her. Everyone else was a stranger with whom she shared moments. He was listening to her soul. As if he could see it and she could see his. As if they were actually touching each others souls with their hearts. It was magic. Not the pulling of coins and dice from weird places, but that feeling of being seen. Of belonging. She knew they had different lives. Different experiences. But it was as if they understood each other perfectly. They weren’t the same, but their world was the same even if they went on different journeys.

Her grandma understood her too. She belonged to the same world. Her grandma had taught her about life. About everything she knew. She’d taught her to look inside people to see what they felt and what they needed to feel better. And the boy did something similar, only in a very different way. He understood.

Some people fascinated her and struck a chord with her, like the gentleman adventurer. He was exciting, yet refined. He was intellectual and he understood her as intellectuals do, but he did not feel what she felt. The boy did. That boy from so very long ago.

By Maria Montgomery

When someone asked me to write a love story many moons ago I had no idea I would one day turn that love story into a brand called Magique. Nor did I know it was turning into a novel until an over excited house mate ran into my room after reading my brand description saying that if I were to set up that business I had to write the novel. Nor did I really have any idea where my business would take me – on trips around the world and encounters still unknown. And I certainly did not know that on the day of the brand shoot a guy that pretty much looked like my jester would walk on set and consequently be recruited as a model.

Life is funny that way. And the future is still unwritten. I don’t know where my business will take me next. But I do know that this story keeps living inside my heart. It’s the story of me. It’s all that I am…with a fictional twist, of course.

So Ladies and Gentlemen, please find my just-launched website for my business, Magique, here: www.carnavaldudesir.com Because you’d love a carnival of desire to come to your town, wouldn’t you now? A carnival of desire that will change your life forever…

The Jester

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Beautiful scars…

I’m covered in scars. Round little dots. I look quite polka dot like actually. Sounds like candy, doesn’t it?

But it isn’t candy. In recent months I’ve been covered in flea bites and there is nothing much sweet about that. Fleas don’t sound sexy. They aren’t. But I’m covered in scars from flea bites.

I never thought I’d have a flea problem. I grew up in Sweden. Never heard of it. But I work in the townships of Africa. And apparently the whole town where I live had a flea problem a few years ago. Whilst you can kill them off, it takes effort. These ones have survived several rounds of poisoning.

Flea bites don’t make you feel sexy. Not in the least. And trying to sleep in two layers of clothes and pouring various powders all over your bed to try to protect yourself isn’t sexy either. I feel like a clown. A very miserable clown at that.

I have this daydream of sleeping naked again. Freely. No worry of being bitten. No waking up in the middle of the night from itching. No looking like a polka dot. Just satin and Egyptian cotton sheets; the Santa Ana rustling the sheets, as the sunbeams do their morning dance, or the moon serenades you. I dream that dream quite a lot – home in California without fleas. And it’s only a few weeks to go, but till then…

Sleeping naked is sexy. Liberating. Some scars are sexy too. Sometimes because you love the person who bears them and you feel humility for what they’ve been through and sometimes because of what the scars represent. Before there were tattoos there were scars to show what you’d been through; initiation rites and passages of life.

I can’t say I’m enjoying these bites, but if I look at the bites as symbol for every hurdle I’ve overcome, every person I’ve helped and every dream I’ve made come true in Africa, then they change before my eyes.

Maybe polka dots don’t look great on your body, but my scars are beautiful, because I got them doing what I love. I got them fighting for something I believe in. Each scar on my body is a symbol for my strength not to give up. Each scar is a symbol for my dedication.

We all end up with wrinkles, scars and bruises. You’ll get wrinkles, scars and bruises no matter what – you can’t avoid it. The question is what will make them worth it?

Live a life that’s worth it. Then you’ll be proud of your scars. And the right kind of person will kiss your wounds and make them heal better…leaving even more beautiful scars.

Beautiful Scars

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Love…

They tell you love is this feel good kind of feeling, right? And it is. It’s something you love. Something that makes you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Something that makes you jump out of bed in the morning. Something that makes you want to live.

Love is more than that though. Love is getting up in the morning and working a day job to support yourself and your kids whilst launching a business and being on the board of two charities. Love is dedication. Love is hard work. Love is persistence. Love is sacrifice.

Love is feeding your senile grandma, or wiping a baby’s butt. Love is doing the unpleasant because you love the end result, or the person you are doing it for.

Yet, love must never become martyrdom. Then we kill the love. You can work hard your whole life without ever reaping the benefits of your love. You must learn to live your love, not just suffer for it. We can all handle periods when we work hard for an end result, but by the end of the day we need to experience that end result. We have to live the life we love.

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So, how was life today?…

Round and round we go in circles
Spinning
Who’s winning?
Maybe you, maybe me
By the end of the day it doesn’t matter
Life matters

Are you happy?
Working for tomorrow
Not living today

Are you happy?
Giving it all with nothing left to spend
Nothing left of you

Are you happy?
Never taking a chance
Never going through the rain to reach the sun

Are you happy?
Swirling through life in cascades of multicolored brand names
Living it up with coke till the crack of dawn

Are you happy?
Do you follow your heart and sing its song
Or are you wandering through shades of grey?

Is it a hope?
Is it a dream?
Or is it life?

Those are my three minute musings for today. I believe that came out in three minutes. And I’ve made a commitment to myself to randomly write again. Like I used to. In my teens. In a place called Paris. Where it was me and my book of poems, an eternal line of cafés and the beauty of the world. 

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So, how was life today?

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I love Bob Dylan…

Some words stir your soul, others drench it. Some make you shiver as they uncover a truth you don’t want to see. Others make you long, taking you to the depths of your desire, creating something almost undesirable as your body aches for that something. Some make you feel the truth in your bones, a truth that makes your heart flutter. Others crush you with a reality outside of your own that you’ve remained blind to for too long. Or not long enough.

There are some artists I’ll always feel gratitude for. They are my Sunday morning coffee mingled with sunbeams. They are my inspiration on a rainy day. They touch me. They reawaken me. They frighten me. They inspire me. They make me search inside myself for another part of me. Mostly, they just feel like home though. Like they captured a piece of life that I treasure.

Since I was a teenager when asked for my favorite musician I always said Bob Dylan. Not because I’m that into music. Not because I obsessively listen to all his music. I really don’t. He just feels like home. It’s the one sound I always return to.

Other people have stirred my soul. Jared Leto’s music always gets me. Peter Jöback brought out the musical in me. Ola Salo took me through my teenage years with his rebellious streak and glam rock. Cat Stevens is also like coming home. French music calms me; it’s a part of me. Country songs make me relax. And Don McLean makes me remember my awakening into artistry at large; making my first musical. Setting my creativity free.

No, I was never much into music, as I can’t work and listen at the same time, and I always cared more about my own work. But I love the feeling of feeling like someone else captured a piece of the life I love. I love seeing something I feel describe life as I see it…described by someone else.

And I love Bob Dylan.

“I’d like to be remembered as someone who tried to love somebody.”

“I am on a sort of crossroads in my life and I can do without that. I can feel the attraction but I can also keep myself apart. I admire beauty more than anything else but now I don’t feel I must possess it. The ideal man or woman doesn’t exist. When you look for something you are not really looking for a man or a woman. You are looking for someone who awakes something which is buried inside you and once that person does it you become familiar and you always want that and then you stay with that person. But two people who are in love are not in love just with each other. There is a third element intermingled and that third element is an ideal. Both must love the same ideal and that is what they have to share. If that doesn’t exist, then it’s not love, it’s necessity.” (Rolling Thunder Supplement, 1989)

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Caught up in white…

Life. Written on pieces of paper.

Scattered across the room.

Dreams, scribbled down. Plans made.

Caught in a storm wind of illusion.

Stuck. What’s holding you back?

Looking at pieces of white paper. Dreaming. Working.

Always working.

Thinking one day, maybe the dream will come true.

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I don’t want my friend to die…

Have you ever had that thought? That fear? You see someone you care about and you know you might never see them again? And you want to shake the world and scream…you feel like a three year old throwing a tantrum. Because you don’t want them to die.

I don’t want my friend Tony to die. I have seen him shaking and shivering for a year from cancer and I’ve read up about every cancer cure on the planet. I’ve helped where I could with foods and what have you, but I’ve also been busy with my own life. Sometimes that plagues me, together with everything else in the township that I can’t fix with a magic wand, but whenever it’s plagued me the most, he’s always sent some note via Liezl thanking me for all my help. We all had a very difficult year last year and the news about Tony was part of it. And I don’t want him to die. He has two young kids, he’s a caring father and partner and he always sorts my car out. Which in and of itself has been a life insurance for me as my car has a mind completely of its own.

I’m angry. I work in a township where people steal, rape, fight and even murder. Tony is a mechanic with two kids and his partner is one of the teachers at Little Angels who work for $50 a month to make the world a better place. And cancer had to take Tony. Why? Why not the thieves and the murderers?

Last week someone broke into Tony and his family’s shack and stole their only heater and some food. Thankfully the police found the heater, but you wonder what ass could do something like that? It must be someone who knew the heater was there. Someone who likely knew Tony was sick. Someone who knew they couldn’t make money and still they’d steal from them.

Thankfully a friend of mine on Facebook read my blog last week about Tony and his family and they decided to help out. As a result we can now buy him food and fix a leak in their very, very cold place. It was leaking into their beds. We’re making a video on Wednesday so as to try and raise some more money and also so that the kids can have it, should we loose him. He got very, very sick last week and we thought we might loose him then. He survived and I’m very thankful he did as the little support my friend gave the family has already made him feel better. At least he knows his family will be dry.

I saw Tony today, just briefly because I was in my car and stopping traffic to say hello to him. And I had this fear, this paranoia that I’d drive off and never see him again. I’d just been hugging his kids moments before as they were down at Little Angels. And he told me he thought he was dying last week and I told him he gave us all a scare and joked about my car. We decided to shoot the video on Wednesday and then I drove off. Hoping Wednesday would not be too far away.

We have another teacher at Little Angels with breast cancer. She beat it once before and just now had surgery. And sometimes I think the world is mad. And unfair. And cruel. As a spiritual person I believe we all return to each other. I believe life can be seen as a gift we know will come to an end, for this time round. But there are days when I don’t understand why animals were made to eat animals, or why wars and disease exist. And I don’t want Tony to die.

By the end of the day it’s a choice we make how we see things, and there’s a possibility to find peace in everything, but that doesn’t stop you from sometimes wishing for a miracle. Or bawling your eyes out.

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Tony’s kids today. In the township many kids wear bathrobes and onesies on top of clothes to starve off the cold. 

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