Thursday, December 04, 2008


I'm giving myself 15 minutes: 7 Unusual Things About Me, complements of San's dodgeball:

1. My middle name is Murat; hence, my blog title. Joachim Murat was one of Napoleon's marshals; he and wife Caroline Bonaparte (Nappy's sister) were later named King and Queen of Naples by the little tyrant. Murat was later executed by the Italians. His last words, "Spare the face!" I come by the narcissism naturally.

2. As embarrassing as it may sound, one of my top 5 movies is "A Little Princess." The newer version, not the old Shirley Temple one. The descent into despair and re-emergence through the assistance of the Indian servant/sage breaks me up as much as Call on his lonely journey back to Texas to bury Gus in Lonesome Dove.

3. I've written two unpublished novels: Scarred Angels and Galilee.

4. My favorite PE "test" in the old skool daze was the shuttle run: quick dashing back and forth across the gym four times, picking up and depositing blackboard erasers. Speedy!

5. Though I chose to go to Harvard, I was offered (sight unseen) (obviously) a four-year scholarship to Mississippi College for Women (Eudora Welty's alma mater). The invitation was to Miss Pat Booker. Pat is my shoddy lifelong nickname for my actual first name of Paschal.

6. I have a bad habit of rooting for teams I should not root for. Here in San Antonio, I root for the Lakers (for Phil Jackson, actually). My graduate degree is from UT-Austin; I root for the Oklahoma Sooners in the Red River Rivalry. Other sports fanatics consider this an indication of poor upbringing. I chalk it up to habitual contrarianism.

7. A niece suggested the name Pascal Picasso Sevart Booker for our son when he was in utero. I thought it a pretty cool moniker (yes, I was psychotic). After two weeks of this nonsense, Tina informed me that our son did not like the name, to which I replied, "You mean you don't like the name," which was true, but beside the point, the babe had telepathically passed the word and wanted something done about his fool for a father. My insanity subsided and we both independently came up with Walden (keeping the Sevart: "black rose" in Armenian; Karagulian is the Turkish-Armenian version of same). I say that he was named after a book; Tina says he was named after a pond.

Jump in, tag-ees, the water's fine...



Blogger jsd said...

i never cease to be amazed :) I could so see you at Mississippi College for Women.

8:51 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

jsd: Apparently they could, too. I was such a southern belle in those daze.

10:03 AM  
Blogger alt said...

Okay, you don’t have to be a Spurs fan, but the Lakers?! Man, that’s just wrong. My Mom always roots for the underdog, which means she tends to switch sides several times during a game depending on who’s losing. I tell her she misses the point. Go Spurs Go!

10:11 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

ALT: There's no excuse for the behavior, I grant you that. It gets worse: I grew up a Celtics fan, then when the Celts turned to endless trash, I got on the Phil Jackson / Bulls bandwagon, then PJ goes (please no, please no) to the dreaded Lakers: oh crap.

Full circle, of course, to last spring's Lakers/Celtics finals.

I'm not even a fan anyway, just a nasty contrarian shameless bandwagonist.

10:29 AM  
Blogger anno said...

I think you would have had a great time at MCW... I'm surprised you passed on the opportunity.

10:54 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

anno: I was flummoxed by the prom dress thing. I wouldn't be now:

12:04 PM  
Blogger San said...

Since you have so many babes flocking to your blog, I'm downright surprised you forwent the opportunity of being surrounded by Southern belles tuition-free. Don't tell me. You were young and foolish. Today, offered the same opp, you'd be a lay-down.

Never saw "A Little Princess." Is the Indian servant/sage something along the lines of the Chinese cook Hop Sing in "Bonanza"?

Looking forward to the next installment of Galilee.

My own favorite PE test was sit-ups. I could do more than any gal in the class. That was about 36 years and pounds ago.

Tina is wise. The playground kids would've made mincemeat of Li'l Paschal Picasso.

2:40 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Sister San: Careful about them double entendres, and no, Hop Sing is nowhere near the awesomeness of the sage in ALP. You check out the feast he conjures: he is wonderful.

Thanks for the game of tag.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

I just can not picture you as Pat, not at all, not a tiny bit. I can picture you at an all girls school, I can picture you rooting for the underdog, your son named after a pond, yes, your name murat or paschal, yes, Pat - nope. Still it Pat did get you a very unique invite and a great tale to tell.

11:53 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Tammie: Had I less fear of the odd name of Paschal as a young Texas boy in the 1950s, I'd be comfortably ensconced in my given name in my "could give a shit" middle ages, but that little chigger of a name is dug in plenty deep by now.

It must be VERY cold up there while you are reading this! Stay warm.

12:09 AM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

A name is but a name, and Pat is a fine name. I was attempting to say, I find you to be a colorfully creative and unique a man as the name paschal or murat might suggest. Also because I know you as Paschal or Murat11.

Too bad kids can be so hard on one another teasing over names and clothing.I was concerned about my son Jesper being teased. Concerned enough to let adults uncomfortable with this name call him Jesse. But at age 4 or 5 he informed them his name was Jesper and that was that.

Tis cold, but no longer 5F, we are up around 32F this A.M.

9:38 AM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Tammie: It's funny, though I use the name Pat, I really don't even think of my name as Pat. All writing and art work is by Paschal or Pascal. Even with Pat, more often my name is "Patbooker," one word, both names run together. I think that happens a lot with one syllable first names. Added to this, here in San Antonio, one of the exits off of I-35 is Pat Booker Road, named for my grandfather, so that throws the names together around here, too. Some folks just call me Road, for short.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Tammie Lee said...

Oh I love that, a man with many names.

6:55 PM  
Blogger Devil Mood said...

Is there a Geminian origin to all these names of yours? Do you know about Fernando Pessoa and his heteronyms? You'll be enchanted to enter his world. Beware because you'll never come out!!!

4:41 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

DM: My sage Sag, at least you gave me fair warning; just a quick look at Pessoa online last night, it was clear I'd be taking up residence in that world for a while.

I'm not sure about the Geminian origins. Quick check of my chart shows Jupiter in Gemini. No planets in my third house. The little blip I read about J in G suggests fluency in many languages. I'm too undisciplined for that, but I do have, I think, a writing fluency: many styles, many voices.

I've never consciously delineated the names. Let's see: typically introduce myself as Patbooker; Pat is the name for pizza orders (the name, please? Pat); pascal is for artwork (occasionally, a poem); paschal for writing. Obviously, I hid under Murat for blogging, but earlier discussions about names led to my using paschal here, too. It just occured to me that Pat is my Aquarius Rising name, but paschal is the name of the scorpion. Pat will get my attention, but it always just feels like a knock on the door; Paschal means I'm fully there. Or something like that.

I was going to say that "paschal" can write in several voices (it appears Pessoa had different writing personalities), but what seems more accurate is that paschal channels the voices.

Merry Christmas, amiga.

8:05 AM  
Blogger Devil Mood said...

These days with our presence in the online world, it seems easier to find people using nicknames and pseudonyms, but I'm not sure these are as significant as yours, for example. I like how you define them and put them into their place.
Yes, Pessoa had several writing personalities (heteronyms), he would go as far as to write them their own biography and create their astrological chart (yes!).

7:14 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

DM: You were right: the man (the men) is/are fascinating. I've begun reading The Book of Disquiet (excerpts from his thirty-year journal) and a book of his (their) poetry. My old friend Harold Bloom puts Pessoa with Neruda as the most representative poets of the twentieth century; coming from Bloom, that's high praise.

In my latter years as a therapist in New Orleans, I worked with a handful of clients who deemed themselves to be multiple personalities. One of the discoveries for me was that, in exploring their lives, I came to see that there are multiplicities in all of us (that our inherent structure is multiple), though there are some for whom the structure is essential, as it allows the compartmentalization of the effects of devastating trauma; we all tend to compartmentalize, as a coping mechanism, but the effect and awareness and necessity may not be as pronounced.

Much of what Pessoa says (in my reading so far) sounds akin to the internal mapping that my own clients engaged in, though it's not clear to me just yet if there was necessity in his mapping (there was significant disruption in his early years), or, perhaps differently, a creative discovery that carried him along his way. (Of course, my clients were creative discoverers, too, so I'm not sure that there is an actual real difference here at all.)

Whatever the case may be, I've loved reading about Pessoa's understanding of the differences between his poets, their "births," the strengths of one versus the weaknesses of another, and that they had such discrete boundaries of self and creativity. Another gift from the sage Sag.

7:53 AM  

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