E{M}MA+/the ghost orchids (review)

E{M}MA+/the ghost orchids

Review by Mbeke Totti

In 1998 I was seriously thinking about becoming a farmer.  I searched for a nice plot of land I thought I could grow beans on.  I studied the art of bean growing.  I even bought a pair of rugged yet stylish farming boots.  I had visions of embarking on a farming adventure that so many others had embarked upon before.  Alas, it wasn’t meant to be and I gave up on my dream.  Instead I went to college and studied the art of the review: reviewing furniture and movies and food and whatever else is reviewable.  I was a general expert on all reviewable subjects and objects.   My specialty is furniture, especially outdoor furniture (e.g., lawn chairs, patio tables, bird’s baths, etc.) but I will occasionally, if asked, review the books.  Over my reviewing career I’ve had occasion to review three books.  I can’t remember two of the books I reviewed because I reviewed them a long time ago.  I remember the third book I reviewed because I’m reviewing it right now, right here.

E{M}MA+/the ghost orchids is a book that you could read as you smoke your corncob pipe and while away the afternoon in a sumptuous deck chair curved to perfectly support your supine figure.  The book is crafted with American paper (as far as one can tell) and has modern yet classic contours.  At less than 120 pages it even gives you enough time post-perusal for the delicious afternoon nap.  As you slumber you may dream about the images conjured up by this well-proportioned book.

She turns to me and I worry she’s not looking at where she’s going.  I think that she must be careful.  It’s getting dark and she’s pedaling super-fast.  Hey beautiful girl.  Slow down.  I’m just gazing at her and don’t see the curb-side which I hit with the front wheel of my bicycle.

Surprisingly, there is only one reference to outdoor furniture in this book, making this one of those rare books in which outdoor furniture is referenced only once.

At night we’ll see a lighthouse from the garden but we’ll sit in chairs and not on the grass because there are insects.

I contend that the “chairs” in question are patio chairs, although not specified by the author, because they are sitting in a garden outdoors.  The most profound parts of the book, unfortunately, are connected to indoor furniture.

In the morning I will think about leaving and then leave but only to go from the bed to the love-seat in our room.

Unless the room is an outdoor room, which given the context of that sentence is unimaginable, then we outdoor furniture lovers will have to once again read a book where outdoor furniture plays second fiddle to indoor furniture.  But we’re used to it right?

However, this book beckons us to use our imagination and so for the sake of this review I will imagine that the furniture is outdoor furniture because I imagine the room to be an outdoor room.  E{M}MA+/the ghost orchids encourages us to make the imaginable unimaginable, after all.  And that is one of its ordinary super powers (an inside joke you’ll get if you read the book).  There are also pictures in it.

So imagine the scene: you’re relaxing on a deck chair of your choice.  There is a pitcher of cold lemonade on the outdoor patio table next to you and the book E{M}MA+/the ghost orchids is resting on your chest as a light breeze moves across your face when you least expect it.  The birds flit in and out of the birdbath, the sun is shining, and all is right with the world even though everything is temporarily out of place in your head.  Not a bad way to spend an afternoon enjoying your outdoor furniture.

–Mbeke Totti


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