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Friday, August 16, 2013

The Importance of Being Oscar: for Toads


A Ballad on the Importance of Being Oscar

To love oneself is the beginning
of a lifelong romance.
I have the simplest tastes:
I am alway satisfied with the best.
I am so clever that sometimes I don’t
understand a single word of what I’m saying.
There is only one thing in life
worse than being talked about,
and that is not being talked about.
It is better to be beautiful than to be good,
but it is better to be good than to be ugly.
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live,
it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.
It is absurd to divide people into good and bad:
people are either charming or tedious.
I can resist everything except temptation.
A man who does not think for himself
does not think at all.
A little sincerity is a dangerous thing,
and a great deal of it is absolutely fatal.
Oscar Wilde quotations, brainyquotes.com

There is no need to write anything about Oscar Wilde: he has written about himself so many times, one need only string a few of his quotations together in order to paint a portrait of the man: a flamboyant, controversial, irreverent poet, author, and playwright, who made an enemy of the Marquess of Queensberry (yes, he of the rules of boxing) by having an affair with the man's son. Not long after that, Wilde was sent to prison for homosexual activities, then quite illegal. From his two years' imprisonment came his long poem, The Ballad of Reading Gaol. Other titles familiar even to many who aren't Wilde fans are Lady Windermere's Fan, The Picture of Dorian Gray, and the oft-performed play, The Importance of Being Earnest.

Marian has told us about a new opera based on the life of Oscar Wilde which is now playing in Santa Fe, starring acclaimed countertenor David Daniels, and asked us to write about whatever she has mentioned in her challenge, as our contribution to The Imaginary Garden with Real Toads today.
Wikipedia photo

Oscar Wilde went to Santa Fe
he went there on a very hot day
he was forced to remove his coat
which then was eaten by a goat,
revealing undressedness beneath,
and Oscar Wilde was forced to say
in a very North American way:
"This, my dear, is all she wrote." *

not a quotation from Oscar Wilde


One of my favorite Oscar Wilde sayings has always been this wry statement: "To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."
I could say that to my parents when they were young and I, of course, younger, and they would laugh. After they died, I couldn't have said it at all. Now that they've been gone a few years, and I've come to grips with the situation, I can say it again.

Thus we have Oscar Wilde, the man for whom the Academy Award statue may or may not have been named—nobody knows for sure. And, to sum it up, "Life imitates art
far more than art imitates life."

15 comments:

Kerry O'Connor said...

This is a wonderful selection of Wilde's quotes. He was a brilliant mind.

Yamini MacLean said...

Hari OM
A great 'snapshot' of a large character. I love how you cobbled together the quotes! YAM xx

Marian said...

Kay, i love this post from beginning to end, truly madly deeply! which also has nothing to do with Oscar Wilde. except that surely, he was those things. hah! love it.

HOOTIN ANNI said...

I like this!!! And your contribution/prose/poem is great!! Job well done.

And I love what is soaring above you in your skywatch too.

It's really NICE seeing you pay a visit at Hootin' Anni's.

Susan said...

Riveting, my dear! Whatever emotions he felt inside, he was able to find the laughter behind words and bring it out of the closet. I like your naked-under-the-coat take on him and your quote-filled essay.

Mama Zen said...

This is so much fun, Kay!

Sherry Blue Sky said...

You always make me smile, Kay. Loved the poem of quotes.

Hannah said...

Nicely done, Kay!! You've brought this poets colors out vividly!!

Kay said...

Well, he must definitely never have been tedious. No kidding? The Oscar might have been named for him?

Susie Clevenger said...

Love it! You have captured Oscar superbly. My youngest daughter was in a community theater production of The Importance of being Earnest. It was one of the reasons she went on to get a Bachelor's and Master's degree in theater.

Jennifer A. Jilks said...

An enjoyable post, Kay.
When we know more we do better. Except, of course, Russia, who make such activities illegal again. sigh.
Cheers from Cottage Country!

clarior e tenebris said...

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Even his and your observations on losing a parent, which stings me from both directions.

sharplittlepencil.com said...

This was a wonderful idea, to let the self-admitted egotist talk about himself for a while!

Wilde was the first man, I believe, to be jailed for the term they didn't coin until the 1860s: 'homosexuality.' Those of you whose Bibles use that word, take heed: You are reading an unscholarly translation of the Book. Jesus was talking about pederasty.

Thanks for a GREAT take on the prompt! Amy

Helen said...

How very clever of you, Kay! Awesome post .....

Fireblossom said...

Very witty, Wilde!