Sunday, May 23, 2010

Carpe Diem

In the garden, the delphiniums were in flower. Through scented twilight the girl in the white dress walked with a step as light as a cobweb. That evening, she hadn't a care in the world.

Mrs. Delahunty, My House in Umbria

Mrs. Delahunty: I may be dead next month. The moon may have crashed into the earth. Who knows what dreadful things may come to pass? But at the moment, I'm happy. What else matters?

Colonal: Carpe Diem

Mrs. Delahunty: I'm never really sure just what that means.

Colonal: Oh. Seize the day. Embrace the present. Enjoy life while you've got the chance.

Mrs. Delahunty: Carpe Diem. I'll remember that.

My House in Umbria

Lately, I am aware that I have to do just that, carpe diem, because everything seems to have a feeling of impermanence. Not in a dark somber way but in the way that you feel that some thing's moving, some thing's changing.

I wonder what it is about life that after you hit a certain age, you wake up with memories of people and places that you haven't thought about in a long time. And fragments of youth-inspired dreams come back to your mind with a strong force. When I was a teen, I wanted to travel to Europe, and I did. I think my early obsession with travel was connected to my romance novel addiction. The love story inclination was left in the past, while the enjoyment of other lands and people remained.

I think that's why I love Maggie Smith in My House in Umbria. She's a writer of romance novels who has a calling to help people. She quirkily entertains us by her thriving imagination about the people who stay with her after they all are involved in a train explosion. (I wanted to post a link here but it's difficult to find a positive evaluation- to many spoilers. ) Nevertheless, I love the movie and the character that Maggie Smith plays, Mrs. Emily Delahunty- who has many other delightful nom de plumes.

The movie is set in Italy and if you can watch it and not yearn for travel to Italy, you are a strong person. It has magical views and entertaining cultural moments. If you are having an Italian themed movie night, you might rent Under the Tuscan Sun or go out to see Letters to Juliet. Both of these movies will make you feel as though you have been in Italy -or that it's essential for you to go there now!

I have read the memoir, Under the Tuscan Sun (Frances Mayes), and found it to be richly satisfying-and NOT A ROMANCE. I loaned this book to a close friend who found it tedious with detail about the Italian countryside, garden restorations and house renovations. However, I like these boring details of ordinary life. I like to see how people make decisions and what occupies their time. I'm interested in both real and spruced up life. (A little magic making fantasy is fine with me.) Another popular book that has an enchanting section on an extended vacation in Italy is Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir, Eat, Pray, Love. Did you know that Julie Roberts is going to play Gilbert in the movie? (Scheduled to be released in August.) There is another saturate-yourself-in=Italy movie that I have already mentioned in previous blogs, Enchanted April, which documents a life transforming month in an Italian Medieval castle. Gorgeous scenery! If you want to explore Italy this summer, or imagine yourself there in real life, try Rick Steves' link to travel.
As for myself, I plan to stay in Puerto Rico, cook vegetarian lasagna, solve concrete everyday problems and at every moment-carpe diem! If that doesn't excite, think about my lovely gardenia bush that finally bloomed after three years of waiting, hoping, and supplementing with coffee grounds. Finally, it has a fragrant white bloom! Maybe it foretells of positive moments yet to come? ~~~~~~~~


  1. I have yet to get to Italy, but you've cataloged some of my favorite films. I am going to put the Maggie Smith on the netflix queue right away! Unless it's out in the theaters now. I'll have to investigate this.

    Another great movie set in Italy: Bread and Tulips. It's a gentle, uplifting comedy with quirky characters and a clever plot. You'll love it!

  2. Wow, San! That sounds like a great film! I will have to look for it, too. House in Um was an HBO movie. If you like Maggie Smith, you should see Ladies in Lavender. So nice...I love the violin and it's featured but I don't want to give that part away...and Judy Dench plays Maggie's sister...they find a young man washed up on the shore near their house.

    He's the trigger that causes them both to remember lost loves and lost chances. It's adorable. It's set on the English coast during the war. Maybe you've seen it?

  3. I came across this movie on a fateful day at british council library exactly an year ago.. And when I picked it up i thought it might be a boring movie but i simply loved it.. It tought be to live and be deeply happy with the idea of living in every moment ... The word carpe diem was always the motto of my life ,,, but this film quite made me rediscover it !

    And I'd like to thank u to evoke my memories of watching the movie with your graceful words .. loved ur blog .. keep on writing :)

  4. Thank you for visiting, Moonstruck. I delighted in your comments and fun approach to "a boring movie"! Carpe diem, onward!

  5. Good words to live by! My favorite Italian vacation romance was “A Little Romance,” but you’ve listed some gems here. Love the gardenia and parallels in cyberspace – From the House of Edward blogged about them too. You are a lucky woman to have such gorgeous blooms waiting for you. In that last image you have indeed seized the moment. No need to travel if you already live in paradise.

  6. I found reading Under The Tuscan Sun for hours on end slightly tedious, because it isn't plot driven. Maybe that's why your friend didn't like it? A little section a day took me away from the English winter to the Italian sun and got me through some depressing days.

  7. Sarah, thanks, I think you live in paradise too!

    Just, I appreciate your visit! I think you are right about the intention of a plot either. Once you accept the journal-feel, it's a much better read. Thanks for reading Oasis!


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