The GradLife Diaries: Stealing Flowers


This afternoon I read the most delightful passage from Michael Ondaatje's Running in the Family.

She stole flowers compulsively, even in the owner's presence. As she spoke with someone her straying left hand would pull up a prize rose along with the roots, all so that she could appreciate it for that one moment, gaze into it with complete pleasure, swallow its qualities whole, and then hand the flower, discarding it, to the owner. She ravaged some of the best gardens in Colombo and Nuwara Eliya (pg 104).

Black-eyed Susans. Photo taken in October, 2013.


Ondaatje's novel is one of his two memoirs, and the scene being described belongs to the personality of his grandmother, Lalla. He describes her as a "lyrical socialist" and that her claim to fame was that "she was the first woman in Ceylon to have a mastectomy". Her character is humourous, and so the description of her, plucking the flowers to "swallow [their] qualities whole" is positively delightful.

I read this passage and was reminded of a bouquet of flowers my own mom picked for me, quite shamelessly I might add, from the gardens of the retirement community in my hometown. The flowers - black-eyed susans - are my favourite flower in the whole world. They are unassuming, and do not demand the attention of their sunflower or gerber-daisy cousins. They were also the flower of choice that my grandfather loved to grow in his own gardens when I was a child. And so, the image of this woman ravaging the gardens of Colombo made me laugh as I pictured my own mom, in her Sunday outfit, sandals held in her hands, mischieviously pulling the blossoms from the impeccably groomed gardens. I am sure that I scowled at her for embarassment on my part, but oh, how I was so flattered that the dozen lovely blooms were brought home just for me.

~ // ~

In conversations with some other bloggers and readers, I have been greatly encouraged by the positive reactions to Monday Mentionables. It seems that you, dear readers, enjoy the more descriptive and contemplative side of who I am. It surprised me, because so many people in our fast-paced information addicted culture do not have the interest or capability to read longer posts, or books - regardless of how eloquently (or not) they are written. We live in the world of Twitter and Facebook, and that means we need to grab your attention in a second and keep it for 20 more. If we've accomplished this, we consider ourselves to be a success.

I, however, did not desire this blog to conform to that 140 characters or less outline. Granted, I see that system's benefits, and I will use it on occassion; however, I am convinced that there are many of you who do desire blog posts which go beyond our instant - and when I say instant, I mean instant - selves.


Cover of Mythologies by Roland Barthes

So, I've created a new post label which will (I hope) satisfy my desire to write thought-provoking and literary inspired content, and be the exception to the [hashtag]instalife rule: The GradLife Diaries.

The GradLife Diaries will never be about fashion, or beauty, or diy projects in the conventional sense, if at all. Where Monday Mentionables has been designed to be a weekly pick-me-up for you, my readers (and for myself - I like smiling on the mundane Monday morning), I hope that The GradLife Diaries posts can be a place where you can get to know me better. I am, after all, a student of History and Literature, and these are loves of mine which I desire to share with you on a grander scale.

You may not love these posts. You may skip over them because they have nothing to say about the topics in which you're actually interested.

And that is fine.

But if you are interested, these are the posts which will take you into the written worlds of scholars and thinkers that I come across in my studies and that I have let steep in my soul like a lovely cup of Earl Grey tea. These posts will not have a moral, nor a necessarily pleasant demeanour. The GradLife Diaries will simply be an account of the thoughts and discussions which accessorize my life.

I look forward to sharing these with you.


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