Tras haber creado mi anterior blog cecilmundo varias personas, muchos de ellos mis alumnos, me sugirieron que creara una secciòn dentro de cecilmundo para publicar mis obras de docencia de idiomas. Dado que la cantidad de documentos de explicaciones, ejercicios y exàmenes de inglès son muy numerosos porque tengo màs de 30 años del ejercicio de la docencia, preferì estrenar blog con mis alumnos a como ellos realmente merecen. En este blog planetcecil no solo iràn mis documentos didàcticos de inglès, sino tambièn la producciòn literaria de varios alumnos que se destacan en las letras. Tambièn darè oportunidad a aquellos que tienen excelentes obras pero que no han logrado publicarlas ya que en mi paìs Nicaragua todo se mueve por la marrana polìtica, y si una no pertenece a determinado partido no verà jamàs publicado su opus. Tambièn tenemos la desgracia de contar con seudoeditores quienes al no conocer verdaderamente de literatura se convierten en mercenarios de la imprenta solo para llenarse ellos mismo de dinero y fama a costillas de los escritores. Todos aquellos que deseen participar en este blog, denlo de antemano por suyo. Aunque lleve mi nombre en un arranque de egolatrìa, yo soy sencillamente vuestra servidora.Cecilia

Las alas de la educación

Las alas de la educación
La educación es un viaje sin final.

La lección de física

La lección de física
Casi aprendida

domingo, 31 de agosto de 2008


44th entry to the Colonel´s Scrapbook
Birthdates which occurred on August 31:
__12 Caligula (Gaius Caesar), 3rd Roman emperor (37-41 AD) what a charming pervert he was,but he was wise to name his steed Incitatus a consul, at least the horse had more sense than politicians do

1811 Theophile Gautier Tarbas France, writer/poet (Albertus) , enough to inspire anyone

1834 Amilcare Ponchielli Paderno Italy, composer (I Lituani, La Gioconda) poor chap, just remembered by his heavenly Dance of the Hours

1870 Maria Montessori Italy, educator (spontaneous response) ,the hings she had to tolerate for being a single mom

1928 James Coburn Laurel Nebraska, actor (Our Man Flint, Magnificent Seven,The Iron Cross)one hell of an actor!

Deaths which occurred on August 31:
1057 Leofric husband of Lady Godiva, dies, but not because he saw her riding naked
1964 Rocky Marciano former heavyweight champ, dies in a plane crash,what a loss
On this day...
1535 Pope Paul II deposed & excommunicated King Henry VIII,who would proceed to create the Anglican church in order to marry his already pregnant Anne Boleyn


The white page, completely in blank, is the greatest challenge for us the writers,dearest reader. After a period of absence, several days, I am back at your desk,with the pen in my hand. I t has been so hard staying away from you,from writing to you. Some things never wear off. I continue starry-eyed after I try to evict you from my thoughts,and not even those magical four stars formed with gold from our Siuna La Luz mine have the effect that a single word from you does. I look at them in their fine velvet case and I don ´t recognize myself in them. I think of the miners who left their lungs,punctured with tuberculosis, in order to wrench this gold from the entrails of the ground,and feel the slow blush of shame rush to my yet unwrinkled cheeks. They deserve these stars more than I do.
Sometimes, when we get something that life gives us,we wonder what we did to deserve it. Getting you into my life was the greatest reward I have ever had,but I still don´t know why I got this prize in this life. I haven´t won any battle beyond learning to walk again when all doctors reached a consensus that I would never step on my soles again.
Erica Jong, one of my favorite authors, said in a poem she hadn´t won a holy war nor invented anything useful to be rewarded with the YOU of her poem in this life. I face the same situation. I know every time someone gets pinged with an award, a medal or distinction, the person to whom it least belongs is to him or her. How many deaths, how many tears, how many pounds of guilt are behind that award or rank you get?
How many steps until I got there? How many ghosts in my closet? I run down the extension of my body.Did it begin with my head, with the topknot I wore imitating Marie of the Aristocats?
I wore green hair for only 5 hours. It was back in 1984, shortly after I had gotten shot in Jalapa while climbing into the helicopter. When I had gotten back to Managua,bathed in my own blood, I had realized I was beginning a bout of depression. I don´t know why we Jews are so prone to depression. It is nobody´s fault that we have gotten into so much trouble along time´s long snake body. Slowly, my wounded knee mended,and to this day I have a barely perceptible scar. But I must have been quite off colour in order to get myself into a beauty parlour and bought myself the greenest hair money could buy. It fills me with curiosity and astonishment because I hate beauty parlours, have always regarded them as huts full of mirrors and gossip, where the lotions and smells are the incense of that useless temple of vanity where the shape of the hairdo matters more than the ideas in the head beneath all that coiffed hair. I hate being touched by the hairstylists,so artificially mellifluous calling you lovey when they don´t even know your name. So I had my long hair tinted lime green. It cost me 20 dollars,and I headed back to the bunker with my still wet hair under a cap. My boss wasn´t at the office when I returned from the beauty shop. When he came in 5 hours later the shit literally hit the fan. He was striding into his enormous bureau when a tendril of my barely moist green hair escaped from my tight cap. He stopped with one leg in the air. He turned around and audibly gasped. Next he roared at me. He refused to have his translatress with green hair like an alien. Where he got the idea that aliens had that color of hair still fathoms me. He almost had a stroke, then fished around in his wallet with his poor wretched hands and threw a 100 dollar bill at me,demanding that I get my tiger-striped hair back again. He was livid with rage and he frightened me. His driver took me back to the place where I had gotten my green hair. The doyenne there was appalled. I have never had hair all the same color, it has been naturally streaked. It was going to be hard to restore my original color, said the owner of the beauty shop, but she would try hard to do it. The combination of the acrid odor from the strong chemicals of the tint and my anger worked together,and while the hairdresser worked on my scalded scalp, tears of rage streaked silently down my face. Once back in the office, my scalp stung and I was in the foulest mood possible. By then my boss´ fury had appeased, and when I went into his office to give him two more translations, he gave me a warm smile. I was so angry I just saluted and got out before I would have the shame of having him see me cry again.
Now I wonder, if I had refused to change my hair color, would things have been the same? Was I spineless? Had no pride, no stubbornness? Once in a while I miss that glorious sense of liberty that came with the green hair I only had for 5 hours. It was a lesson in what I would have to sacrifice on the long stairway into a red heaven or a blue-green hell. Or both.
My wrists,now always bejeweled,were once bare. So proudly bare, Until I made the mistake to drive a truck when I couldn´t even ride a motorbike, and catapulted my truck into a pit and I had to put my wrists on the steering wheel so it wouldn´t barge into my thorax. That was shortly after I lost Rubendarío Ramírez, the military service recruit with green eyes with whom I was destined to have twins but who died a few hours after I met him already wounded and doomed. I was in a state of walking limbo, still dumbfounded at how sarcastic kismet could be. I had the nerve to watch the surgical procedure by which a blond Soviet doctor mended my wrists in a cold,almost bloodless stainless steel surgical tray. I had bone loss in the right wrist, where I now wear my extravagant glass, lapislazuli and French rose beaded bracelets. So much pain and loss beneath all that glamour. One step up Or into hell. That missing shard of bone sometimes pulls at the scarf I wear around my neck and over the heart nobody knows I have,calls me in the middle of the night to say I´m here, walks over the rest of my skeleton as a ghost. I never saw what was removed from my wrist. I shouldn´t ask.I can still write and type. Let´s day it got metamorphosed into the gold medal that my boss´wrecked, hurtful scrunched hands misplaced on me that sunny morning,when instead of pinning the gold medal on my shirt he went right through the skin of my left breast and secured the distinction there while I bled silently without screaming in the midst of excruciating pain. When I removed the bloody clothing, along with the medal, I was left with a sense of free-floating emotionalism for a week, but I told myself to shut up because it was premenstrual tension. I still have the two tiny dots where the pin of the medal went through. Like playing domino, one step up,go and collect. But what did I collect then? Am not I still reaping the rewards or the penalties?
Looking at a full body x ray of myself, you could say I must get more stars than 4. That is why I wish I would have met Mexican artist Frida Kahlo,who is the only person I know of who had a more broken column than mine. The missions to La Penca left me with shrapnels fit to be the back buttons of a sexy black dress og the death we all carry in our stomach, an irrational fear towards moonflowers and a broken vertebra almost getting to my voluminous ass. It left me crying over Rubendarío Ramírez´s premature death although I never confessed it to anyone up until now that I do confide in you. True, I had already washed out the honour of lady war correspondents, sorely mangled when one of us got pregnant during a mission by one top officer with blond hair who thought love was a Battlefield even before Pat Benatar had the idea to give one of her songs that title. Honor, oh code of Bushido translated into local Spanish! I had washed it with my own blood and sweat. But the problem is that those precious substances cannot be bought at the corner shop where you can buy an ice-cold Cocacola. One ring down into hell, would say my friend Dante. Or up into that heaven that may exist only for Boticelli but not for atheists. Sorry, messed up again. Pinged with another star.
Where did I go wrong?
Or why did I go right? Was spreading my own brain as a thick layer of butter on the toast of so many students the answer? Or the fact that I never got airsick when airborne?
Did shooting with a tank without forgetting to wear the ear protectors help? Was it how magnetic I looked in the all-white suit fit for a corvette captain? Like a fly wallowing in a cup of milk? I look at myself in the mirror,and see the beginning of wrinkles that the cavalier camera still doesn´t pick up. Then again, I stare at the velvet box with the four gold stars.They never shine as much as the stars in my eyes when I pick up a pen or slide the keyboard in order to write to you, for you and you through me.

domingo, 24 de agosto de 2008

In Rose or in Red

August 21st,
43rd entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Birthdates which occurred on August 21:
1165 Philip II Augustus 1st great Capetian king of France (1179-1223),what did he see on his wedding night to his Danish wife that he was so appalled?
1765 William IV king of England (1830-37),sailor king whose profile could have been improved
1938 Kenny Rogers singer (Lady) actor (Coward of the County)Wow, never believed this chap was so old
1982 Benigno S Aquino Jr Philippines opposition leader, killed in Manila,his widow`s tears, like those of Violeta Barrios in Nicaragua and Sirimavo Bandanaraike in Sri Lanka, took her to power
Birthdates occurred on August 22:
1862 Claude Debussy St Germain-en-Laye, composer (La Mer, Clair de lune), por guy,such a good cat lover but always enmeshed in so many scandals from the day Leo Delibes boxed his ears at the Paris Conservatory
On this day...
565 St Columba reported seeing monster in Loch Ness ,or in his mug of beer?1454 Jews are expelled from Brunn Moravia by order of King Ladislaus while proclaiming he was sooooo enlightened1485 Richard III slain at Bosworth Field-last of Plantagenets, it was about time he left this world into which he should have never steeped 1762 1st female (Ann Franklin) US newspaper editor, Newport RI, Mercury, of course, she worte better than any man 1775 King George III proclaims colonies to be in open rebellion
But his doctor has already proclaimed the king to be in open madness
Deaths which occurred on August 22:
1818 Warren Hastings 1st governor-general of India (1773-84), dies at 85 ,why did he deserve to do so much damage?1922 Michael Collins Sinn Fein leader, killed by rebels after having been too naive1978 Jomo Kenyatta president of Kenya, witch doctor and patriot, dies at 83,what a beautiful man he was!
Birthdates which occurred on August 23:
1754 Louis XVI Versailles, king of France (1774-92); guillotined after being the most useless cuckold in history
Deaths which occurred on August 23:
1926 Rodolpho Alfonzo Rafaello Pietro Filiberto Guglieimi Di Valentina D'Antonguolla (Rudolph Valentino), silent movie idol, dies in NY at 31 of appendicitis while women mourn in choir1927 Nicola Sacco & Bartolomeo Vanzetti executed in Massachussetts,remember all aliens are thieves and criminals for USA 1960 Oscar Hammerstein II Broadway librettist, dies at 65 , thanks for creating such a distorted view of King Mongkut of Siam, no wonder they hate The King and I in Thailand


The fact that I –exactly like my dad-have been a faithful fan of Edith Piaf, the greatest romantic singer that France has ever produced, and that La Vie en Rose takes me into a state of Nirvana doesn`t mean that I am a hopeless romantic. Endless years of stuffing my skull with so much philosophy has been like a vaccine that has prevented me from getting into such ridiculous situations in the name of love, as most of my friends have made the mistake. La Vie en Rose is good fro song, but you just try to act it out in real life and I would rather recommend you flush yourself down a big toilet wearing your wedding tuxedo. I never stop marvelling at what some people can do in the name of love. Or what they define is love, because there are so many definitions that it is an easy job to get confused.
In every couple there is the kicked and the kicker. Generally the one who loves the least or doesn`t love at all is the one who scores the goals. As a rule of thumb the lover is the one fit to grovel while the other places his foot on his or her neck. Many people would rather die than admit it, but feeling the other`s heel on their nape might also be a source of pleasure. Sick? Maybe, as Annie Lennox of the Eurhythmics stated in her hit song Sweet Dreams, we ll have the wildest assortments of dreams to be fulfilled. When I stated that a few years ago in my not so short tale Taylor, I got accused of being jaded and promoting perversions. I just meant well, because I hate saying it but few authors have been diving as further into that tortuous world of dreams and secret anxieties as I did in that short story.
I know you must be picking at your eyebrows,in that tic that has become so familiar to me now, wondering what I could know about love if I have spent all my life punching Cupid. I seem to be particularly unloving sometimes, you might want to add, `particularly with a sardonic grin...Like REM mentioned in their hit Losing my Religion, that`s me in the corner. Which is something puzzling to me, why me, being in this little corner with my hat, my Makarov gun, my spoiled cats and my love for Vivaldi`s music and French perfume, can receive so many emails making reference to the things I write in this scrapbook that may be considered almost like a sighing weapon. I have never found infatuation appealing, but rather ridiculous. The things humans do when they deem themselves in love can make me want to visit a gastroenterologist. Asking someone to please talk your ex girlfriend into answering her phone after you called her a whore is beyond my comprehension. That the marriage certificate becomes a license that allows you to hurt the beloved in the most diverse ways in the shortest time possible is another thing that astounds me. Why someone who is crazy to get you in bed runs away so often from you is another. We could go on forever mentioning ridiculous,laughable,pathetic,sad and even unique cases. How someone can get kicked so many times and still come back for more is one of the greatest mysteries for me, but then again, Einstein said that one of the few certain things in life was human stupidity. He himself was rather stupid in his first marriage,to say the least, which is probably why he ended up advising not to have children because they mess your divorce even further. Some people seem to have reincarnated in this life as humans, but remember that in another previous life they were dogs and they still behave like “man`s best friend”, who undoubtedly lacks dignity because many times you brush him away and comes again to get brushed off anew.
In the name of love, we can commit so many follies. We witness crown Prince of the Habsburgs, Rudolf, going into Mayerling with his lover Marìa Vetsera to never come out alive from the fatidic bedroom where they last made love. Joan the Mad,queen of Spain, rushes through all Spain carrying the rotting corpse of her husband Philip the Handsome(I call him the Useless) because she refuses to bury the onlyman she ever loved with such a galloping passion. True, Ambrose Bierce, you had the truth by its tail when you expressed that we should keep our eyes wide open before we marry and half closed afterwards. Poor Joan didn`t remember to do that. I guess neither did you, nor I for that matter, dearest of all readers, even when love matches sound like the ultimate kick or the impossible disaster. We do the most incredible things to convince the partner how vachement mordu(expression in French that means head over heels in love,not that the cow bit you) we are when we are courting, leave webcams open to be watched while sleeping, howl love you`s that sound like Whitney Houston with her hit song from The Bodyguard, roll around in bed shamelessly naked except for a smattering of body hair that only grows like that in the Semites, lend credit cards and offer ten million dollars only if you please,superplease, or the awful chat version of plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz, you can,might,could,should,probably love little me. We ask for minutes like asking for more butter, a trip to Toronto or Chechenia or Dubai, mobile numbers that never respond, or lower that a bit more so I can see you, monkey business with cat walks, and we moon in class while being tested on the order of adjectives and olympically flunk the quiz because we are in love. That is why love sounds like a virus, a disease like combining AIDS with ebola and leukemia. People don`t die of love, we both know that as survivors, people die due to their own hallucinating stupidity. But it will always sound sexier to say that the world loves a lover, perhaps because the world always needs one more joke. So perhaps the laughter we derive is what keeps us moving onward, although at the end we know it is all hopeless.

miércoles, 20 de agosto de 2008

Uniform or shroud

August 19th and 20th, 42 entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook

1631 John Dryden 1st poet laureate of England (Absalom & Achitophel) metaphysical poet, taught me a truth or two1946 Bill Clinton 42nd US President. (Former Little Rock Attorney),so sexy,so womanizing and so nice
1871 Orville Wright aviator ,one of the two siblings who taught us how far we could fly1881 Georges Enesco (or Enescu) Romania, composer (Romanian Rhapsodies)
14 -BC- Octavian [Augustus] Roman general and first emperor, dies at 48 1493 Frederick III Innsbruck Austria, German Emperor (1440-1493) , he was a headache even onto himself1929 Sergei P Diaghilev Russia, dance master (Imperial Ballet), dies at 57,after having ruined Vaslav Nijinsky`s life

1099 Crusaders beat Saracens in Battle of Ascalon ,all this bloodshed in the name of god…!1263 King James I of Aragon censors Hebrew writings, so enlightened he thought he was

Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of August 20:
1778 Bernardo O'Higgins won independence for Chile,but didn`t quitemake him happy
1890 H.P. Lovecraft US, Gothic novelist (At the Mountains of Madness)he sure had more grip on reality than our tragedies have
1921 Jacqueline Susann Phila Pa, author (Valley of the Dolls)wonderful novelist
1931 Don King boxing promoter, shocking hairstyle…he doubledeals boxers,then has the decency to get his hair to stand on end ,appalled at what he did!
1944 Rajiv Gandhi PM of India (1984-1991 )his vanity killed him,he saw the lady with the bouquet and tought,”another female in heat over me”POP went the bomb

1940 Leon Trotsky icepicked by Ramon Mercader after having had a rambunctious affair with his host Frida Kahlo


Today I just wanted to homage George Enesco,Romanian composer whose Romanian Rhapsody number one sends me flying through the most Olympic clouds of glee. I wanted to say, thank you George, for all the happiness your pentagram has given me and continues to give me, for the race of incense in my bloodstream when I hear your music, for the understanding what I feel when I evoke all that your country means in history. Judged by cerebralists as a minor talent, Georges Enesco only gets adjectives above outstanding from his fans and myself heading the parade.
But life sometimes gets twisted around our ankles by circumstances you would have never imagined in your wildest dreams or worst nightmares. You were going in one direction and all the monkeys of Gibraltar fall on you as a horde full of hair? Why are we always emitting verdicts? History emits her own verdicts to judge you after the worms have eaten the ones who were judged, or the ashes were sprayed around, or the body never appeared. But we also sentence to our indifference, wear the judge`s wig of our anger, or the robe of our prejudice when we emit judgements about others.
Who gives us that right may end up being a good question, an as the loudmouth that I am, I certainly feel I should wriggle my little finger around in the festering sore.
What are the parameters for a verdict? What evidence has to be brought to the ones doing the judging? Are we loudmouths at loss?I know for some other things we are,walking bombs on the verge of detonation all the time. Spilling shards of smiles, debris of toxic enthusiasm that may bring down the wall of indifference. Not afraid of exclaiming and wailing in public even if our picture-perfect makeup may smudge.
Our adrenaline runs wild as we hang from trees as the monkeys at the Mombacho volcano do, while others wonder what got into our heads. No matter how many addresses we may have in our mailbox, we walk alone along the thinnest thread the moon has spun with its own shade. We may admit we are not sure what we may desire at the moment,but that doesn`t make us weak or puny. We descend into hell, helped by Virgil or maybe bearded Empedocles of Agrigento as when he went into the crater of Mount Etna, knowing we may not come back alive from our questioning. We get rebuked, told to be quiet, being gushy isn`t chic, you know…
Of course you know. But does the wound continue or not to bleed, gaping open, just because you hurt?
We are fit to be judged always ahead of time, or at the precise moment when we least expected it. Leon Davidovich Bronski,best known as Trotsky, knew that Stalin would never let him go scot-free, but the judgement was passed onto him not on a silver tray but by the icepick piercing his head but never his thoughts on a day like today. Did he expect that so soon in that way?He never gave an inkling about knowing. Like Trostky, we get punished for thinking. Being thinkers is our capital sin and we must pay through the nose. We get chastised for carrying our hearts in our fist, when not on the sleeve, so we learn to go emotionally sleeveless from then on. We delete things from the hard disk of our feelings,memories or notions. Or learn to stay away from those who consider us a hand grenade about to blow up their pants`pocket, a definition which might include the whole world for all we know. Are we ready for that?Is that the outer limit for alienation, or for self-reliance ? I remember reading s tale by Virginia Woolf, Solid Objects. I still strongly suspect I was the only one in the classroom full of spoiled brats that really understood it. For saying I liked it, I was judged as crazy. As absurd as being judged for overbold when there is no nudity or bad words in a blog but the same ones who criticize you promote promiscuity,perverts and other unsavoury long as they are done by whites who sport names like sexchick or d and p. Double standards always prevail as long as the one in the judge`s robe has blond hair.

I don`t know if this entry is a rite of passage. When stars multiply and have a baby on your epaulets champagne should be the celebration, and pictures for the newspapers,and look at the freak purple lion, a woman in Roman sandals. At least the church to which I don`t belong simply won`t burn me as a witch for cross-dressing(that was one of the accusations against Joan of Arc). Every uniform is a shroud, because you can get buried in it with all the medals you got on your way into the grave. Have you ever realized that whenever a man wears a tuxedo, something very awful awaits for him? He may marry, or become a dignitary, or be thrown into the expensive anti-ecological casket in order to be buried. Yes it was T.S. Eliot, my perennial favourite, who wrote “there is no end to so much sadness spilling…”Well, there is no end to so much doubt spilling over the sleeves of a gala uniform. Can a general kill a writer, or can they cohabit in the same body as Pierre Choderlos de Laclos did?
I push away the goblet of champagne, not because I reject Dom Perignon`s wonderful invention. I refuse to drink poison, in the full sense of the word. Nevermore,chimes the raven from Poe`s poem into my ear that only wants to hear Enesco`s music. I am shooting at the clouds of a horizon, bringing them down for not holding rainfall for me. Along with them, bleeding a haze of sleet, may fall fake angels sighted while the helicopter was still airborne and I tried to be religious for the last ridiculous time in my life. Pain?No, sir, only a spreading, iridescent numbness along the place wher my crystal heart used to live. It fills up slowly with some kind of noble gas, lighter than xenon but brighter than neon. Ethereal, I breathe free of charge. No matter what happens, whatever kismet may have for me, I am non-guilty. A rivulet of bitterness has passed from my hazel irises onto a smile. My shoulders which are to wear such a burden of glitter instinctively shrug. Solid objects, dear readers. To paraphrase Mrs. Woolf. No ether. No storm. No disconnection from the real world. No hope beyond silliness or giddiness over a plan that is not in the left pocket above my heart òf my uniform. The choice is made. In the new version of the fairy tale the princess won`t marry the frog, although she was tempted to do so and live in a faraway tower full of desert dust washing his clothes. To conclude this folk tale, because it is not a rosy ending fairy tale, she took him to her cook and… Later on, she ate at succulent dish of frog`s legs for lunch. And as Hannah and Barbera said at the end of Tiny Toons, that`s all for now, folks! Because the day of judgement could arrive any minute,and I don`t want to get caught with my gun down when the Bogeyman starts to waltz.

lunes, 18 de agosto de 2008

The eye of limerence

41st entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
August 18th

1904 Max Factor Jr CEO (Max Factor Cosmetics
1750 Antonio Salieri Italy, composer (Tatare)
1933 Roman Polanski director (Knife in the Water, Repulsion) 1934 Roberto Clemente pro baseball player (Pittsburgh Pirates) 1937 Robert Redford Calif, actor (Sting, Candidate, Natural, Great Gatsby)

Deaths which occurred on August 18:
1227 Genghis Khan Mongol conqueror, died


1572 Margot de Valois marries against her will against Henri de Navarre,future king of France

On a day like today, August 18th,but in 1572,one of the greatest mèsalliances of history took place. the 19 year old Marguerite married Henry de Bourbon, who had become King of Navarre on the death of his mother. The groom, a Huguenot, remained outside the church for much of the wedding. It was reported that during the ceremony, the bride and groom stared straight ahead, never looking at each other. Obviously ,they were not in love. Their bodies were being used by the state to try the impossible: gain peace and end the strife between Catholics and Protestants(Huguenots)in France. Just six days after the wedding, on Saint Bartholomew's Day, a massacre of Huguenots was conducted by Parisian mobs. Some of them had been feasting and dancing at Marguerite`s wedding. Even Genghis Khan,the great Mongol king and warlord, who had died inn a day like this, would have been nauseated to see innocent blood running down the gutters of Paris.
Weddings have always scared me.They sshare many things in common with burials. Does the interrment of love begin with a wedding? Not always ,if there is no love itself to begin with what are you going to kill and bury ?No body, no crime would say a corrupt cop.yesterday you and I were chatting about a king who loved his minion so much that the love they shared was the minion`s downfall and death. A violent death because the minion had been beheaded in front of the future king. I was asking you, if Frederick the Great would have lived in this age,with internet and webcams, would he have done something as touching as leaving his webcam connected so that his lover,connected elsewhere,could watch over his sleep? You said you wouldn`t do it,andldn`t do it either.My intimacy,my sleep,that stretch of time that belongs only to my dreams and nightmares and snoring if I ever get to admit I do it too, put into someone else`s lap and eyes? No my gentle sir. Love is one thing,another is the internet version of D Day with the Allies trampling into Normandie`s tender soil. No, even if you may shake your long hair`s dark locks in dismay, as Rod McKuen said I only own myself but all of me is mine! Not my sleep.It is my San Juan River, to be forever inviolate and unpolluted by the dirty Costaricans who want to navigate him and pollute him and turn him into a miserable strip of toxic mud. But it has been done, dearest. I know that it comes as a surprising,cloying, chioking,suffocating and hot wave of tenderness from the very quick of your body,from the center of your heart which bears no name yet. Imagine Hans Hermann von Katte, in jeans and smoking a cigarrette or taking a soothing draft of grapefruit juice,after he has finished chatting with his Frederick,realizes the king`s camera is still on and sees him sleeping there, probably without pajamas, recognizing each hair on his lover`s chest, seeing him sleeping peacefully as a lion cub. Marguerite de Valois would have never felt that for he husband Henri, whom she considered a tough and dumb oaf. Do feelings make sense?
There are sunflowers that bloom only on the skin of love. Moonflowers that sprout only on the tender vines of love`s tendrils. Exclusively on love`s nimble feet do the first footprints of spring come, and the last autumn leaves before the snow. Sometimes its whisper is heard in the strangest places and on the most common of nights. The problem is that if our ears and senses are not tuned to it, it may pass as a ghost sighs from the farthest corner of the old house, and we may never learn it was there until we let is slip by. One day we simply ask ourselves when did it all begin.Can you pinpoint a date, what your cat was doing at the moment you were aware that love had intoxicated you at last, or an arrangement of cumulunimbus clouds in the sky when you realized you were finally there? You know one day you stopped resisting, let yourself be conducted by the zephyr of roses you had never smelled before, while you discovered new senses you were not aware of using, and you got there unwittingly.
Moments make up the parure of love.It is not a huge empty sky gaping at the moon, dearest reader. Don`t ever let anyone fool you with that. Moments are pearls strung on that necklace you will wear in your memory, beads of luster and yearning never to be forgotten as long as you live. Joan Manuel Serrat knew it when he wrote Those Small Things. One believes they had been killed by time and absence,but their train had bought a round trip and they are back with us any moment. They pounce on you from behind the door of everydays,like a smart thief who knows it was your payday today. Your necklace of iriscent fire opals will always carry that first impression, the last smile,or the word you shouldn`t have said.
Margot de Valois went down in history as the woman who spent more time feeling infatuated,the bad thing turned out that it wasn`t always with the same person. She was a huntress of magic instants, a collector of kisses, with a basket of stolen embraces. She would say that if you wanted to kill a temptation you should give in finally.
One day,reaching into the blue pool depths of my oniric world, I shall find you slowly drifting in sleep, ether angels crowning your dark forehead, asleep. The webcam will not be necessary, nor a thousand roses or a dozen of silver bullets to pierce your heart with the gunpowder of limerence. By then hope will have brought you somewhere near the last angle of my broken left wrist,and I will only have to stretch my arm to touch you. Meanwhile, the ink flows out and spills bloodily over this page,which is that white battlefield on which the sub machinegun of my inspiration dances, ambushes,fights against its shadow and wrenches victory out of circumnstance`s hands. At the end, we are all victors.
One more page goes up into the blog, one more mail goes into your hands.Others see the words fly by as a parade of fireflies at midnight,andwonder so many things, compare the cards on their hands,and wonder how I got to find out so many of their secrets, how I heard too many of their sighs.
I was just watching into their webcam when they were sleeping,and as Archimedes put it so long ago,”Give me one site to lean on, and Iwill move the whole world”.

domingo, 17 de agosto de 2008

Sans souci?

40th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook

Birthdates which occurred on August 17:
1786 Davy Crockett US, frontiersman/adventurer/politician ,the Alamo wil always be his historical tomb
1892 Mae West Brooklyn, actress (Go up & see her sometime)one of the sexiest ladies I have ever seen
Deaths which occurred on August 17:
1850 Jose Francisco de San Martin South American revolutionary hero, dies, another Latin America who should have realized how useless it is to chase freedom for so long
1786 dies Frederick II of Prussia, one of the most perfect men of history,my Fritzlr
and in events we have that

1896 Gold is discovered on Klondike River and everyone goes beserk


“Excellent et pas mèchant” was the description given ny my father about King Frederick II of Prussia, known as the Great. By age 4 I knew he existed. He possessed that devotion to excellence we need so much in my country- The colonel admires him,worships him
And the writer of fiction wrote him Fritz when she was still getting out of her wheelchair. When you were in Germany,dearest of all my readers and for whom on repeated occcasions I will mention as having the paternity of this scrapbook, you were aware how loved he still is by his people. I, without even knowing how to speak German, tip my hat to this almost perfect of all men. The reason why I have always had a crush on this majesty lies not only in his obvious great physical and intellectual attributes, but his will to overcome even the most bloody events of his life and continue on.
While being in a wheelchair in 2003, Fritz,as he was called by those who loved him, was always there by my side. When I got called by the fat slob of a ministress of social insecurity of Nicaragua “a heap of beautiful meat and broken bones made useless” and my spouse fled the house on two Saturdays for the whole day to avoid seeing the kind of worn dishtowel I had become, the gentle phantom of Fritz would stand by me. Remember I survived the loss of Hans, he would whisper into my ear with a sardonic smile of conspiration. Up and around my officer. I will never desert you,not the kind of man who wood run into the woods.
Today when we were talking ,I told you that the idea of all round excellence was taken by me from Fritz. He had everything against him:a homosexual in times when gays were discriminated against, a mom who was terrified of her husband, and his father was the worst king of punishment nature could have inflicted on this man. A brash overfed perfectionist, Frederick William I goes down in history as the soldier king who may have harboresd some homosexual tendencies which came out when he collected gigantic Teutonic soldiers for the first professional army Prusia was to have, of course under his rule. His favourite pastime was hitting Fritz,who preferred to speak French(of course, you can`t deny that the chap had good taste) and write poems instead of drilling continuously.
Fritz was his punching bag. No wonder the kid hated him. Very close to his also gifted sister Wilhelmina, Fritz grew up with music lessons and he adored his teacher Joachim Quantz. A gifted flute player, Fritz would compose 100 sonatas for this instrument.
In his teenage years he was to find the man who would be the love of his life, the officer Hans Hermann von Katte, of aristocratic origin. They were destined to fall wildly in love and to be discovered by Frederick`s bullying father when they were going to escape together to Great Britain. Katte lost his head in the whole affair,and I mean literally. Fritz`s fatso father demanded to court martial the guy and as an end result, the officer was beheaded in front of Fritz in the Kustrin fortress.After his death Fritz would never mention him in public, but he never loved anybody else with the same intensity.
I took this episode of the king`s life and converted it into a short story which I obviously called Fritz. I was still in the process of trying to stand up and walk out of the wheelchair. I felt more or less like Fritz must have felt after losing Katte. I knew I was a terrible burden to my family, including Grozny,the gentle mongrel dog who would help me get in and ut of the shower. I held onto the example of excellence given by Fritz as a raft to get me out of a shark-.infested sea. The day I sat to write Fritz something hinged into functioning in my bloated mind. Fighting the painful neuropathies that my diabetes gave me, I decided I was not going to lose this battle. Wobbling on shaky legs, I would somehow get myself into a cab and go for the daily torture sessions with my doctor,who so far was the only person alive who believed I would walk again. My physiatrist believed in hard work, just like Frederick. If it brought pain, great.No pain no gain. Pain, my dear, is always underestimated. With labor pains at least you have an immediate result:the beautiful baby.
Once she is out of your belly,all pains leave. There is no anesthetic as pride in what you gave birth to. But the pains of rehabilitation know no bounds, and your results are seen slowly. I think, no I feel, I believe one muscle twitched.No, it was my imagination. Cats have lion imaginations,so I who cannot walk dream of being Abebe Bikila running the marathon barefoot on a balmy Roman night towards victory. If that doesn`t sound like a wet dream you tell me what that is.
But one night, I finished eatingmy supper and glared at the saucer next to my glass of water. Tramadol, for the pain.Laxifen to relax my muscles. And the expensive Neurontin, to recoat with myelin the frayed lining of my neurons,which was why I had neuropathies.
So expensive.No wonder my family saw me as a coin machine in Las vegas,just swallowing up money. NO. So help me Fritz but I refuse.I have the right to say no. I evoked the sad life of a distant relative who fafter being shot in Olama y Mollejones by the guerrilla in the fifties, had to depend on morphine for the rest of his life. NO. I left the pills on the saucer to the amazement of husband and daughter. NO,I refuse. They would call the doctor. Oh big deal,Boo. The little sheep Nancy again saying in her stupid girlie voice,”WOLF”. I refused to take the pills.
Somehow I wobbled into my bed and Joseph, mu husband`s kitten,followed me into the bed and nestled onto the hollow of my neck, that particularly warm hollow between neck and clavicles we have. He approved and was ready to soothe me. I didn’t sleep to be truthful.Pretended only,so my husband would stop nagging. I had shooting pains in the pelvis and legs.But I didn`t give in. I wasn`t going to end up hooked on painkillers. I was also tired of getting reminded that all the money disappeared down my gullet. It was a question of having my ego survive somehow and still in one piece
On the 10th night sleep came naturally and the pain diminished. That is when Frederick came in my dream. He looked at the droll Pikachu pillow I had under my buttocks and asked me to listen to him. He threatened to stick his hand into my spine again as he did when trying to get my attention. He poured out his heart over the Katte episode. I was able to understand him. As soon as I woke up I had to find a computer so I could write what he had told me and convert it into a short story.
From the moment the tale was written, it has been like a lighting rod for good luck.It was published shortly afterwards. By now it has been translated into German, English, French and Arabic. It seems to have feet of its own. Who would have told the same somnambulist who once walked into the kitchen in Potsdam while profoundly asleep, almost tipped a huge cauldron of soup and went back to bed without realizing what he had done that he had tiptoed into my mind, stirred up the angry lion of my inspiration, and forced me to fall in love again with my own integrity? How would I know that he would be my guardian angel dressed in his Prussian blue uniform of soldier king, wearing that selfsame colour he invented for his troops? He drilled me into walking again, along with my doctor who was the only person alive who was sure I would defy all diagnoses and get back on my flat feet again. He was the same who said don’t be suspicious of happiness, but of those who deny it to you. Wasn`t he right,after all? After my full recovery life has dealt me other blows that hurt more than a simple diabetic neuropathy or a fracture. But I have also become like a soldier-king, like the enlightened Frederick that took things in stride until finally death was too jealous of his power and took him with her on a day like today.
When I visited his burial site in Potsdam, being a young exchange student, I knew I had a lot to learn from him. I was far away from the woes that would make my 40s such a conflictive time of my life. I had no inkling that all those binges at Fauchon and bad eating habits would land me into the warm and sweet lap of diabetes. It`s funny that the selfsame disease that renders your bloodstream so sweet can embitter your life so drastically if you don`t overcome the naked temptation of self pity. But as DGH Lawrence once said,”You can see a bird freeze in the middle of a blizzard until he drops dead but he will never have felt a moment of self-compassion.”
Fritz would have loudly cheered for Lawrence having said that. That would have made two of us.

sábado, 16 de agosto de 2008

Fleur de Lune

August 15th, 38th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Born on a day like today
1688 Frederick-William I king of Prussia (1713-1740), father of the wonderful Frederick II the Great. Upon feeling he was going to die this stern fatso yelled at hiw wife,”You disgusting pig of a woman,at least today get up early because today I shall die!”A few hours later he croaked off. 1769 Napoleon Bonaparte resident of Elba (emperor 1804-13, 1814-15) born in the living room of his mom`s house in Ajaccio, he is strongly hated in his rocky island because he never did anything for Corsican independence1771 Sir Walter Scott Scotland, novelist/poet (Lady of Lake) at least he made money from his oversweet romanticism

1057 Macbeth, King of Scotland, slain by son of King Duncan, tragedy blown up by that gossipmonger that was Willy Shakespeare. Dysfunctional families are good topics for stories and plays.1519 Panama City founded, some say backwards and without latrines
1914 Panama Canal opens (under cost)thanks to Teddy Roosevelt

Born August 16th

1897 Robert Ringling circus master, he knew every country deserved a three ring circus
1913 Menachem Begin Israeli PM (1977-83, Nobel 1978) he always began a good fight
1930 Ted Hughes England, poet laureate (1984- )he couldn`t even keep his wife Sylvia Plath motivated enough to stay alive nd not poke her head into the oven
1815 Birth of St. John Bosco, Italian educator. Poverty among the children in the city of Turin led him in 1859 to establish the Society of St. Francis of Sales (the Salesians). Bosco was canonized by Pius XI in 1934.
1948 Babe Ruth Baseball legend, dies in NY at 53 , he was so incredible1977 Elvis Presley dies of heart ailment at Graceland at 42,found dead on the toilet
1829 Siamese twins Chang & Eng Bunker arrive in Boston to be exhibited,so you she, United States loves to make a freak out of anyone
1863 Emancipation Proclamation signed.,,,but did this end prejudice against African-Americans?


In October 1976 the Mexican guitarist Carlos Santana recorded his hit Moonflower. In 1977 the album containing this masterpiece was released. It hit double platinum. I am not surprised. I have always liked Santana`s music,even before he composed Moonflower.In fact,when he came to Nicaragua in 1974 he filled the stadium and I was there, with my best friend next to me on the bleachers, and our compatriot Chepito Areas as the percussionist of this group. But in 1977 when I went to Centro Musical Andino to buy the album Moonflower after having heard it on the radio, a magical hand stretched out from Santanà s
Guitar into my senses. Back then I already played with the symphony orchestra and I believed that most music outside classical music was garbage in its purest state. I couldn`t fathom why that particular piece of music could touch me so. A future goose running over my grave to be?
Life has such strange ways of leading us along the most haunted paths. What can be a stone we pick up one day can end up being Gibraltar next week. Or almost ten years later. That was the year of Double playing The Captain of her Heart, my doomed engagement and my broken column. I remember my mother`s moonflower vine during a starry night,the subtle fragrance of the moonflowers and I return to that time.
It was our last night in the San Juan River department, in the town of San MIguelito. Wartime. We were lodged at an inn that had a huge vine that at night was covered with moonflowers. The smell of these flowers was so strong at night that while I tried to sleep, it made me gasp for breath and feel dizzy. It was a sensation of suffocation. Silken mist of a hand around my neck, not Bartòk`s hand seductively going down my nape as so many years ago in France. Here was only the last fringe of fear attached. Fear of what? Well, let me explain, my ever faithful reader in a world where nobody has loyalty for anyone. Dear has its own stages and mechanisms. I am an expert at that, for I have been writing horror tales since I was a kid. It is a process, as many things are in life. It can begin as simple as this.
You are in bed,trying to sleep.Morpheus, the Greek god of sleep, nibbles at you eyelids in a poetic languor. You have been at peace with your liver, in good terms with your stomach and perfect synch with your heart. But suddenly, a small leprechaun seems to have entered your brain. Through the ear, up a nostril,no matter how. And you become aware that one of your feet is uncovered.Who wants covers with this heat? That is good reasoning. But your foot looks so defenceless there, naked, with its collection of hurts and corns,with its ingrown toenail that you haven`t had time for. Outside, the moon glares reddishly through your window. And there is your foot,lying so vulnerably,uncovered.
No.It`s silly.But you cover your foot with the sheet you refuse to use to cover the rest of the body. But you are uneasy.The small slug of doubt is working its way up your spine, leaving its tiny trail of phosphorescent slime into your mind. Yes, the moon did look strange tonight and the smell of the moonflowers is getting stronger. You have a sense of foreboding that is branching into galloping trepidation. Dammit, something has filtered into your room, there is a presence coming from that dark tree. You get up, and sweat runs in rivulets from your armpits to your thighs, but a slow night breeze half dries you up.It feels like the caress of an angel wing, barely brushing by you. Or the wing of a bat that only exists in your imagination, but has the power to scare you. The worst thing is that you hate to admit you want to look under the bed. There must be something there. It is humiliating but you have to look. And you do.You would never confess it to anyone. The sense of foreboding didn`t leave me alone all night.I know why I describe this is such a detailed fashion. Because the odour of the moonflowers had somehow seeped into my feverish brain and would only be a prelude to the strangest encounter I would have the following day, after being unable to sleep.
My trip back to my capital city would be finished by taking the yacht Gustavo Orozco on its maiden voyage. A small shiver went down my back when I climbed onto the ship. It wasn`t that I didn`t trust the captain or the crew. After I had simply put all my bags where they should be, I went outside to enjoy the breeze. I was almost dozing off when the same guy I had seen the night before at the diner where we had supper came over to say hello.After we chatted for a while, he went back to his duties since he was part of the boat`s crew. Then I finally dozed off.Only to see the lake Cocibolca on which we were navigating turn blood red. I woke up screaming. The guy with whom I had been chatting would rush to get me some hot tea and he tried to calm me down the best way he could. I told him about the lack of sleep the night before, and the strong odour of the moonflowers outside my bedroom window. He said moonflowers were hypnotic plants. It was only lack of sleep.
Several weeks later he came to visit me in Managua. He told me the isolated,air conditioned soft environment of my office at the bunker scared him. After three days in Managua he was bored and went back to his job at ENICAB, the company which had several yachts cruising the biggest lake we have here. I told myself my friend was just a sailor who couldn`t be out of the water for long,like fish. Just shrugged my shoulders and kept on working,but every time I heard Santanàs Moonflower I would feel something no other music evoked in me.
I never saw Carlos,for that was his name,again.One day I heard on the radio a greeting from him to someone. Tried to track him down, wanted to know if he was okay. Offer a job or a cup of coffee. Things you do for friends of whom you are fond but for whom you don`t have much time. I learned he was from the northern city of Jinotega. Some years later,chatting with a flower shop owner who got her supplies from Jinotega,she told me of the horrible death of a guy who had swallowed moonflower seeds,which are highly poisonous. It was the second time oemthing like that happened in Jinotega. Years ago, a man named Carlos had done the same.He had ingested them in 1986, but his mother had never recovered from the suicide.She was still alive. He had gone to her house after a three day visit to Managua, gone straight to the garden and picked up a whole cup of the seeds, and ate them. He had left nothing but a note in which he scribbled I am so unnecessary.
In Nicaragua the decade of the 80s left many people with something disconnected in their heads, no doubt. Many suicides occurred,and Carlos`demise was one more. I felt my heart heavy in my chest. As if I had swallowed not moonflower seeds but a whole strip of ammunition for an M60 submachine gun.
The I remembered that my mom had always been proud of her moonflower vine,but never had she been more puzzled when one night, all the blossoms had been reddish, like the moon disturbing my sleep on the last night in San Miguelito. Only one night had her vine given her reddish moonflowers. It had been back at the end of March in 1986.
My pragmatic, realistic side of my nature refuses to connect incidents and facts that have apparently no connection. I still love moonflowers,but I would never for anything in the world have a vine full of them in my house`s garden. Nevertheless, sometimes I feel I have to listen to Santana`s Moonflower in order to continue living at pace with my memories.Something which the sailor who died eating their seeds obviously couldn`t do.

viernes, 15 de agosto de 2008


August 12th, 37th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook

1762 George IV king of England (1820-30), who was the biggest slob England ever had
1866 Jacinto Benavente y Martìnez Spanish dramatist (Nobel 1922),who was so right when he said that new loves are like newborn babes, not until they shed tears do you know if they are alive
1911 Cantinflas (Mario Moreno) Mexico, actor (Around World in 80 Days)smoking like a chimney, he made us laugh as only he could do it

1508 Ponce de Leòn arrives in Puerto Rico ,worst thing to ever happen to them except when USA stepped on them1553 Pope Julius III orders confiscation & burning of the Talmud, knavish and superstitious old fart who created his own harem of guys in the Swiss Guards
1851 Isaac Singer granted patent for his sewing machine, had to be a Jewsih guy
1898 Hawaii formally annexed to US ,while poor former queen Liliuokalani made quilts under arrest1898 Peace protocol ends Spanish-American War, signed,but Spain had Guam,Philippines and Cuba torn off her side

13 August

1655 Johann Christoph Denner inventor (clarinet)how did he made it sound so smooth?
1860 Annie Oakley Drake Ohio, frontierswoman (Buffalo Bill's Wild West)as a sniper,I admire her 1888 John Logie Baird Scotland, inventor (father of TV),was he aware of the damage being created?
1899 Alfred Hitchcock London, director (Psycho, Birds, Rear Window)genius,genius,thanks Alf for all the ideas you gave me

Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of August 14:
1774 Meriwether Lewis Charlottsville VA, capt of Lewis & Clark Expedition, a good sexist who believed Sacajawea only belonged in the kitchen
1867 John Galsworthy England, author (Forsyte Saga-Nobel 1932) ,if you want a good read get this guy`s books1869 Armas Jarnefelt Vyborg Finland, composer (Berceuse),lovely tunes
Deaths which occurred on August 14:
1936 Rainey Bethea hung, last US public execution 1951 William Randolph Hearst newspaper publisher, dies in Beverly Hills, what a sense of ridicule he had, he knew his mistress Marion Davies liked Charles Chaplin better, but played the role of cuckold,and once threw a tantrum because he couldn`t buy the Louvre

1988 Enzo Ferrari Italy, sportscar manufacturer (Ferrari), dies at 90,what a heartless womanizer he was!
410 Alaric sacks Rome, and had so much fin doing it
1842 Seminole War ends; Indians removed from Florida to Oklahoma ,in what could only be called the trail of tears and blood.White man`s greed, as usual creating havoc for everyone1846 Henry David Thoreau jailed for tax resistance, I agree with him,would have done the same

1941 Atlantic Charter signed by FDR & Churchill ,the NATO is born1945 V-J Day; Japan surrenders unconditionally to end WW II 1947 India granted independence within British Commonwealth


I have always said that sometimes fiction writes in blood many stories that are worse than those we may create in fiction. As a horror story writer since infancy, I know what this means. My own life has had such violent roller coaster movements that I can avow this is true for real life too. But is there a thin red line, like the movie?I call it the purple line of imaginary ether that separates reality from fiction. Writers of fiction really understand what I am talking about. I often get the question: how do you manage to keep your imagination and your historical writings divorced one from the other? In first place I never knew that my two fields of writing had ever been married,least of all to each other.But the question I get most often is where does my fiction begin and where does the author take off from.
Being a person with a lively imagination hasn`t been easy. Many people lead a safe life precisely because they do not have a lively imagination,so they stay away from harm.
I have always written short stories, and I had a little book of them called The Book of the Dead,which was lost when my parents`properties were confiscated by Daniel Ortega in 1989. So officially my short-story writing began while I was the musicologist at the classical radio station Radio Gueguense, where I had enough silence and isolation, apart from a very understanding boss, to allow my concentration. There I wrote The Messenger from Nowhere,based on Mozart`s death legend. My boss, Lorenzo, who had always wanted to write himself but hadn`t ever had time to do so due to his paternal duties,would just draw a stool next to my desk and watch me enthralled while I wrote. He wouldn`t even blink.
He was the first to read the tales as they came out steaming from the old typewriter, and afterwards, from the computer. He would read them, peruse them, give his opinion, and save a copy. As they came forward, he would tie them together with powder-blue ribbons.
I didn`t know he did that until one night that we were working hard on a new program, he sent me to fetch something out of his enormous metal desk. In the drawer where he had several folders, I saw my short stories ina neat little pile,tied with a silken ribbon. I said nothing to him, but later, while cooking at home, I realized this was the first show of fan worship I would get as a writer. It was a different satisfaction than the one I got bymaking chicken lasagne and having someone tell me it was as good as the one my mother made(my mom was a chef).
It was obvious that my first topics would be related to the rarefied environment of classical music. After all, in 1992 I was still composing a few pieces of music for piano on my own.
In this period in which I was deserted from the army, music was very important to me.
I was even teaching my daughter her first lessons with music, like the alphabet with the Alphabet Song by Cri Cri the Singing Cricket. I would continue to sing to the food so it would have a good flavour, as my mom used to say. I would even sing to my daughter and my cats. I still do, only now it embarrasses the hell out of her if I do it in front of her boyfriend or classmates. Once Franz peter Schubert said that the first symphonies,as the weak puppies of a first litter by aprize bitchm should be drowned or given away. Maybe the drowning sounds too drastic for my taste, but my first stories could have been better. Which is why I think I shouldn`t have published them in a small volume of 13 horror tales under the title of The Succubus. It was too premature. Not that they are bad, mind you, but dearest among all my readers, now I look back on them and see they could have been better.
As I began publishing in magazines and newspapers, and then in my own websites, I realized that most people confuse the writer`s life with that of his or her characters. Although it is true that many things I poured into my tales have a relationship with my own life events and landmarks, I cannot by anything in the world be like Salvador Allende`s pompous little niece Isabel who even details to her writers how she wipes herself when she goes to the bathroom. That it the outward limit! But when I wrote and published the humongous Taylor, about a gently born medic who clones herself to give the clone to her demonic lover, so many people wrote to me commiserating on my awful woes and offering sympathies, free abortion coupons at a clinic and tickets for the newest premieres. I have drawn inspiration from the most assorted sources you can imagine, which is why one of my students says I have several muses in blue jeans and windswept saris. Some of them come in a block of three, like the sequence which contains The Violoncello of Serbia , My Own Telltale Heart and the Letter from the Russian Heart. Although one is not the sequel of the other, the role model for the main character is the same person in both of them. The woman in the tale MY Own Telltale Heart is the only person who has been fit to be our chanceller in my country, too bad she passed away from breast cancer without really having a chance to tell her how much I cared for her. As usual, too late, too late, I would say to Nora Astorga, our extraordinary chancellor. Everything I couldn`t verbally express in real life was poured into those short stories. Too bad I cannot acknowledge the paternity or maternity of most of my tales or I would have World War III starting at home. As usual,men have had the liberty to write without restrictions, but the married writer who is a woman must be tactful enough not to offend the dignity of her husband who prefers her in the kitchen cooking up filet mignon instead of “wasting time” at the computer keyboard.
When I changed the keyboard of a Wurlitzer piano for that of a Compaq computer, I guess I took a wise step for myself. I have been able to pour not only knowledge but also all those feelings and sensations that are usually censored in a woman`s life. Like Mary Shelley who was able to produce her Frankenstein in one single night at age 19, as if foreshadowing all the anguish and doubts she would experiment while being pregnant several times, all my war traumas and painful memories have gone into a genre that fits me as snugly as a Frederick`s of Hollywood negligee. History has been incorporated into my tales, and many characters like Queen Margot of Valois, King Stefan Cel Mare of Moldavia, Radu Cel Frumos of Wallachia and his infamous Vlad III Tepes(who was really the best thing that ever happened to Romania),Edgar Allan Poe, Frederick the Great of Prussia, the regent Philippe D`Orleans of France, and Modest Mussorgsky have been brought into our times by my very peculiar time machine. I have tried to exorcise the gentle ghost of my dead friends Oscar Cortes Marìn and Augusto Gòmez, and it has been good therapy.
Fiction.How much of it is really true and how much just a lion figment of my cat imagination? Many tales still linger in the fertile womb of my imagination. How many yet to be inmortalized? Who knows? Maybe it is true that life is a we remember it, not as it happened, as says Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez. But I wouldn`t have it any other way.

lunes, 11 de agosto de 2008

Real frogs in imaginary ponds

36th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
August 10th,2008
Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of August 10:
1810 Camilio Benso di Cavour Italy, PM ,unifier of Italy along with Guiseppe Garibaldi1865 Alexander Glazunov St Petersburg Russia, composer (Chopiniana),laziest among composers,never produce The Firebird for Diaghilev,so Igor Stravinsky became famous and not him
1912 Jorge Amado Brazilian novelist,author of Doña Flor and her Two Husbands.Outspoken, a communist,cat lover,the perfect guy
1519 Magellan's 5 ship set sail to circumnavigate the Earth,unknowing he would never return,the religious bigot would get snacked upon in Mactam by the natives
1792 Mobs in Paris attack the palace of Louis XVI, who was just a flabby,impotent pathetic cuckolded husband of Marie Antoinette
1831 Former slave Nat Turner led violent insurrection against slavery…it was about time
1866 Transatlantic cable laid - Former President of the US Buchanan communicates over it to Queen Victoria of England,what a chat those two prudes must have had
August 11th
1952 Hussein proclaimed king of Jordan,he was a good king although his taste in women is rather,um,improvable


Last Saturday,on my way home from the job,the taxi that brought me passed through the huge neighbourhood of San Judas, in the southwestern corner of Managua. The taxi slowly got into the neighbourhood, ready to drop its first passenger, a pregnant girl. I was going home early,the sun was still warm and I traced my thoughts back to 1986.
That was a very accidented year for me. During that violent year, there was a fast pace to the war, I had broken my column while in action, and my two wrists had been reconstructed after I had an accident driving an IFA truck. I wasn`t sure I wanted to go into an arranged marriage with a constant philanderer 4 years my junior and I was very busy with the newly created engineering machines battalions, composed mostly of reserve recruits from the six major construction companies from our capital city. To sum it up, I was in a period of turmoil,I didn`t belong to myself. One day my boss told me he would momentarily pull me out ,for two weeks to be exact, from the engineering project and I would have to serve another battalion from the reserve instead, because he didn`t want hassles with the battalion commander who had protested over my lack of attention. I didn`t dare to question what he was doing, but he must have sensed I had some sort of qualms, because he mentioned that the commander of this battalion was a very peculiar yet brave person who had also been in several battles, and despite my misgivings I should support him in everything he asked from me. The people that I usually worked with were unhappy, but they understood orders were orders and it was after all, only for a fortnight.
The house where the physical installations of the battalion was located at the end of San Judas. It was a two-story house made of wood,painted in white. A shiver of something akin to fright ran down my recently broken spine. I really couldn`t explain why I felt so unquiet,edgy. I came in,the door was open. On the first floor was an enormous bathroom,with a tub, old Victorian-style tub. There was someone in the tub. I decided to be discreet and sat on a stool to wait for someone to come to the main office. A few moments later I heard footsteps walking towards me. I stood up to greet the man in charge of the battalion. The sensation of fright grew to fear.There was something eerie,unnatural about this young man.Pale as ivory,with matted red hair and the strangest black eyes I have ever seen, he was tall and slim and the veins could be seen through his pale skin. I had the impression he had no blood in his body. He gave me a sarcastic welcome,”So finally the general`s high and mighty translator comes down into the world. How many languages do you speak,dolly?”
If there is one thing I hate is being called dolly,or dear or honey. Miguel was starting off on the wrong foot. We were not going to get along,I knew it in my broken bones. A sexist,of course,and someone who would resent my origins. I hated him on sight.Sometimes in the army you have to work with people with whom you have no affinity. Nevertheless you must work with them. Orders are meant to be followed. We sat down to plan our task at hand. He had no idea how to do what he was demanded to do by plan. And beneath the strong smell of his cheap skin bracer I could smell something else,like a faint odor of formaldehyde. Sweet and nauseating at the same time. Would I have to be working with that odor all the time? This wasn`t going to work properly!
Miguel was coarse,ill-mannered and knew nothing about planning anything. I had to put my ideas in such a way so he believed they had come from his own slow,clumsy mind. He had the habit of walking barefoot around the house, so I never knew where he was and he would approach me from behind without making any noise. It was like working with a ghost. A nasty ghost. Once I saw him talking animatedly on the phone. Then I came in and he slammed the phone down. Then a sly smile lit up his face.”Regards from your fiancé,dolly.”
I was flabbergasted.He had told my boyfriend I wasn`t there. He wasn`t allowing me any contact with anybody. Enraged, I just stomped out of the room and left the place. Taking a taxi, I went home. My mom wasn`t there. I felt safe, but I needed to talk to at the office,mom out on business. I found the gentle old gardener weeding some rosebeds.
He smiled with his usual warm greeting,and asked me what was wrong. He always read me so perfectly. I told him what had happened and he paled visibly. His craggy old face wore a grim look. He put down his implements and got up. He looked worried. He asked me how I had gotten assigned to work with the people from that particular battalion, and inquired about details of the house where it was. When I described everything, he gasped. He was really alarming me. He looked scared. He told me a strange urban legend about that house.
Last year a promising young lieutenant had been chosen for a mission, and he had gone. He had made a deal with the moon to come back no matter what. He did return, in a plastic bag. Then everyone in San Judas said that a strange ghost lived in the battalion house and it came out on moonlit nights to walk in the garden,or peek over the balcony. Strange grey moths would fly over the balcony and descend on his bare feet.
I was scared now. Believe me I was beginning to wonder if I was losing my mind. I paid a visit to the old files of a local newspaper. I had gotten the approximate date of the death in combat of Miguel Urrutia. I started searching. Until I found the newspaper. There it was.The picture of Miguel Urrutia,and the obituary.Dead at 26 in La Penca,southern border of Nicaragua.1985.It was him. Not much was said,only he had fallen in combat.Who could give me some more information? Yes!I had overheard a conversation between him and Armando.When he said I wasn`t there.
For the first time in our accidented courtship,I looked forward to seeing Armando again. Not a bad chap, but hopelessly immature,filthy rich,handsome and hare-brained. He came back that weekend and he was so happy to see me again. I had not returned to the battalion`s house in San Judas. When we were having lunch together, I asked him how had he found out that I was on loan over at Miguel Urrutia`s military unit. His face went white.
“Darling kitten, you cannot be at the military unit where Miguel Urrutia was.he died over a year ago in La Penca. I called at your headquarters and your boss said you were on leave.You were sick, so he let you go for 2 weeks before you return to your engineering machines unit. Is something wrong?”he asked me.
I told him the whole story. For the first time in my life since we met as children in the American Nicaraguan School I saw his impeccable face frown with worry. He never worried about anything because he had everything. Or so he supposed. He asked me to take him to the place where I was working. We got into his jeep and I told him the address. The queer thing was that we tried to find it but there was an empty lot where the house had been. It didn`t make sense. When we asked the neighbors,they all said the house didn`t exist, or that there was the devil living in it and promptly crossed themselves. Armando then took me to my military unit and my boss asked me if I felt better. I said he had sent me to assist the unit where Miguel Urrutia was. Armando and my boss exchanged worried glances. My boss told me to go back home and rest,I was surely exhausted. I retorted that he had sent me in first place, but he said I was terribly confused. I felt stupid.
Optical illusion? Lunacy? What was wrong with me? I went back home feeling humiliated and sick.But the following week, I returned to my job and got back to giving my engineering unit their prioritary attention. But I didn`t feel the same. I had crying bouts when nobody could see me. I was so terribly frightened. I feared for my sanity.
I felt worse on moonlit nights.I had to sleep with my nightlamp on because the sheer and ghostly shade of the moonlight was enough to frighten me. My black Manx cat Charles II
Never left my side. He was skittish too,as if something would sprout a black hand out of nowhere and grab both of us. As Mary Shelley,authoress of Frankenstein,once said, our fears will continue visiting us despite everything,change of mood, time passing…whatever.
This story has no ending, folks.I didn`t marry Armando. I never knew what produced such a strange phenomenon. I could never find the house in San Judas. I never gave any specialized attention to any military unit that wasn`t the one composed of my safe,gentle engineers, architects and builders, all those bricklayers and crane operators, some of whom had known me since infancy, They realized something had been terribly wrong with me.
I remitted my own case into a file titled Unfinished Business,and I wondered why I put it there.
Did I know, and please tell me, you my most beloved of readers, that one Saturday when I would already be a married matron, going home early from my job, I would pass there by accident and see the house where the moon`s dead lieutenant refused to loosen his grip on life? I almost stopped the car and got off. That almost made the big difference. But the shiver down my long-broken spine held me back. What if I entered that house and never got out again to give you this spooky story in which real frogs croak in the shadowy imaginary black pond of my worst nightmares?

sábado, 9 de agosto de 2008

Our everyday angels

35 th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
August 9th
1776 Amedeo Avogadro Turin Italy, 6.022 x 10 ^ 23 (Avogadro's Law), I had some of the worst migraines in life due to this chap and his blessed law
1896 Jean Piaget Switzerland, pioneer developmental psychologist/zoologist, some people say he finished screwing up our minds 1896 Leonide Massine choreographer (Diaghilev Ballet Russe 1914-20)one of the greatest choreographers of history, impressing in The 3Cornered Hat
1902 Zino Francescatti Marseilles France, violinist (NY Phil-1939),this guy could charm lions into eating vegetable soup with his playing
Deaths which occurred on August 09:
1896 Otto Liilenthal killed during a glider test,we owe him the helicopter, he just went splat on the ground but since he had no exoskeleton like arthropods do,he did sound splat
1969 Sharon Tate actress, killed by Charles Manson's gang, poor girl was pregnant,they didn`t even take that into consideration

378 Battle of Adrianople, Visigoth Calvary defeats Roman Army, what a mess.That is how the world ends,not with a bang but with a whimper said TS Eliot and with that whimper the Roman Empire started hiding its head like an ostrich 480 -BC- Persia defeats Spartan king Leonidas at Thermopylae, the things we do in the name of heroism
1778 Capt James Cook passes through Bering Strait ,should have stayed there.Little did he know that less than one year later he was bound to be eaten for unch by the natives of Hawaii on Valentine`s Day1786 1st ascent of Mt Blanc, how many people had scraped their asses raw before?
1854 Henry David Thoreau publishes "Walden", one of the books everyone should read
Japan 1945: Nagasaki receives US`s second gift of a bomb, Hiroshima had been destroyed three days before
On a day like today my cat Nagasaki was born,and he took his name to honor all those lovely cats who had died along with their humans when the United States threw the second bomb over Japan. Through the years that have passed since I lost him, I can never forget his bright green eyes that saw through me into a soul I didn`t know and still don`t have any idea that I have inside. It`s curious how you choose to remember the things that you hold as true about things,people or animals that have been so important in your life. Life is as you remember it, not as it was, says Colombian writer Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez in his autobiographical work Live to Tell. I shall never forget my faithful Nagasaki waiting for me under the front porch until I came home from the job. Then,waving his fluffy grey tail, he would escort me into the house. Cats! Oh cats! I have always thought that if god existed,he should be a cat. Only a cat spells perfection.Cat is poetry and prose all wrapped into paws,whiskers and fur. Like French composer Claude Debussy, I cannot live without cats.
I have been blessed from infancy by the presence of cats. I was a sorry sight when I was finally born after the doctor almost killed me extracting me out of mom with forceps at the premature age of six months and 3 weeks ofpregnancy. I was expected to die. Canned into an incubator for one month, for days I was touch and go. When finally extracted from the incubator and taken home by my parents(who might have wondered what they did wrong the night they made me, because I was so ugly and small), I had the best welcome committee I could ever hope for: a round, fat,hairy Persian cat named Morpheus(after the god of sleep) loudly purred and accepted without qualms. As soon as I was put into the crib, in went Morpheus to warm me up.My living pillow. Could there be any stronger bond than that? He was my first nanny. Perhaps the only one to be considered as such. It was a blind(he must have been somewhat short-sighted not to notice what an ugly little leprechaun I was), passionate and everlasting bond. Mutual adoration. Morpheus was there when the fat baby I was finally took the first steps. If he laughed at my stumbling steps or sound landings on my fat ass, he was discreet enough to do his laughing beyond my earshot. He applied that powerful axiom mentioned by the great bard Jean Aleixandre de Normandie,”If your cat falls out of a tree or ridicules himself in public in any way whatsoever, make sure you laugh at him but far away from him.” Morpheus had time for ridicule and for love ,too.When I was two and a half years old, he paid a courteous visit to an orange Abyssinian queen who lived close to us, and as a result of this, he sired three lovely kittens. The grateful partner of the mother cat gave us the pick of the litter, and that way Morpheus had his daughter Eleanor of Aquitaine come to live with us when she was finally weaned. Mind you, we never called her by her standard name, it was only something that went on her vet`s control card. Deliciously auburn, we named her Torta or cake. That name was to remain with her forever.
Somewhere between my first steps, my music listening sessions with Morpheo and his daughter next to me on the sofa, but before getting smacked in the most useless and expensive school of Nicaragua, Morpheo`s health started to fail. During a rainy season, he almost drowned when he had been out and the heavy currents rolling down the gutter almost took him to Lake Managua,where the sewers unwisely empty. He was fetched by an anxious neighbour who knew how beloved the cat was. Cold after cold ruined his health and one day, his daughter, my mom and I had the sad occasion of burying him under a fig tree with full military honors, Chopin`s Funeral March playing on our stereo, and I howling like a speeding ambulance. For months,every time it rained I would hear Morpheo meowing in the rain.I guess he came from Nevermore to remind me he was guarding over me. I was the only one at school who had the dubious distinction of having a black cat as a guardian angel, devil custodian or both. I sought refuge in my redhaired Torta and I sure did find it. Whoever tells you that you can replace one pet with another is undoubtedly stupid, because Morpheo still lives in my heart and mind, unsusbstituted by none of the many cats who have owned me. Torta and I became true comrades as only two females can, understanding each other with something akin to sixth sense.
She was my unconditional accomplice. My mom, always frightened because I had been born premature, always worried and fretted over my health. My doctor had recommended that she give me an awfully oily and foul-smelling tonic called Scott Cod Liver Oil Emulsion, never will forget the illustration on the bottle with a guy carrying a huge cod over his back. I hated it when my mom would call me in her drill sergeant`s voice,with a huge spoon ready to fed me the ugly potion. Torta would watch the whole ceremony, commiserating with me and probably envying that I got to drink liquid fish and she wanted some for herself. So when I tricked my dad into ordering my mom to trust me,that I would take the medicine by myself without any prodding, Torta reaped the benefits of my deceit. My mom saw the level of the liquid in the bottle go down,so she assumed I drank my everyday dose. The reality was that I would take half a cup of cooked rice, or freshly baked bread, dip the thing in cod liver oil, and feed it to the overjoyed cat. This ploy wasn`t known by my mother until once,during a heated row I had with her at age 25, I finally confessed that Torta had swallowed all the cod liver oil meant for me. She said that no wonder the cat was so fat and healthy.
Torta was an essentially mischievous grande dame. Conscious of her great beauty, she loved to pose. I would study with her draped over my belly. Her genius for pranks knew no limits. She shared my same taste for classical music but neither of us were Beatlemaniacs.
Butter was great,chocolate was wonderful and pork was a no-no. She used to sleep on my bed, or behind the toilet in my bathroom. The whole bathroom was carpeted, and the toilet top had a carpet-like fake fur covering,which made my bathroom look like one you could find in an expensive Parisian brothel. Usually the lid of the toilet remained closed,so Torta could sleep on this as if on a platform. My sister carelessly left the lid open one morning and suddenly, my cat, used to the lid being always closed,didn`t check,took a mortal leap and landed splashing into the blue water of the impeccable toilet. She was struggling not to drown, so I pulled her out and was about to towel-dry her when she just shook me off and now dove under my bed. She spent the whole day mulling over her shame,and I was about to pull her out by the tail to get her to the vet when my dad explained to me about the cat`s sense of pride.Although not as big as lions, they had an ego the same size. At 7 pm the lady meow finally felt her stomach on fire,and swallowing her pride,now totally dry, she went to the kitchen to wolf down her food. It was not the only time her mischief landed her into a disastrous fix.
My dad had brought an old cuckoo clock from his native Normandie. He cherished the old thing . But Torta had declared war on it. It was the enemy. It had to die. She hated the birdie that came out emitting a musically silly cuckoo. Torta planned her attack carefully. Not even Hannibal the Carthaginian,combined with Queen Nzingha of Ndong and Matamba and Araucano chieftain Lautaro could have been more strategically clever. She observed the little birdie for hours,days,and weeks. Finally she calculated from which easy chair would the attack be more exact and one morning,when the birdie came i¡out it was his swan song. The enormous structure of flesh,bone,fat and hair that was my lovely cat flew through the air,pounced on the birdie and fell to the floor with a loud crash,grabbing the birdie in her mouth. The clock immediately followed after. Torta inmediatelyu got up and started slapping the birdie on the floor, while the clock`s mechanism got stuck and a series of hysterical cuckoo cuckoo cuckoo continued loudly sounding. This brought my parents to the living room while Torta insisted on slapping the dead birdie. The pieces from this wreckage were promptly carried away by my mother while my father just glared at my cat.
The satisfaction on Torta`s face was so real that my poor dad had no choice but to laugh raucuously.He picked her up,kissed her soundly on her forehead and said,”A great markscat,truly a sniper.” The clock got repaired, but the cuckoo was gone forever.It would be a very precise clock for more years, but Torta had made her kill. She got to keep the dead birdie as a trophy,and she often played with its painted wooden corpse.
Torta enjoyed a great longevity,bearing only two kittens. She died of old age in 1976 whn I was a teenager. I wore black for her for one full month. She was buried in our back yard with military honors like her father, and with the beautiful Emperor waltz by Johann Strauss playing from our record player as a farewell. She had always loved waltzes.
After Torta, many cats have honoured me with their presence. I have been owned by some of the most beautiful and charming creatures that nature has laid to walk on earth. Bcause you don`t own cats,they own you in body and soul and breath. You are their loving servants. You call them,they take the message and call you back if they feel it is fit to do so.
But when a cat gives you its heart, the gates to heaven are freely opened. No friendship, human or otherwise,will ever compare to the infinite sweetness a cat can add to your life.
Although I know there is no afterlife when we die, I wouldn`t mind to be proven wrong, and my ideal paradise would consist of a long valley filled with all the cats I have ever loved,waiting for me, with my adored Antonio Vivaldi conducting an orchestra made up of cats. All my cats will have arrived by means of a rainbow bridge,and we would eternally be together,romping and playing and listening to classical music.
Erica JOng in a poem once said thyat all the dogs who had ever loved her carry her coffin.I love dogs,my I must have been the Egyptian goddess Bakst sometime ago.Cats are really the angels that life intended us to have all along, and those who don`t realize this will reincarnate in mice and be chased by an angry mischievous cat like any of the beauties that have made me their ever willing slave forever.

viernes, 8 de agosto de 2008

The child in me

34th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
August 7th


1870 19 kittens born to Tarawood Antigone (4 still born) ,as Abe Lincoln said,”No matter how much cats fight,there will always be lots of kittens.”
1876 Mata Hari dancer/courtesan/spy (WW I)born as Gertrude Margarett Zelle, was stupid enough to believe in Vadim de Masslof`s love chants
1941 Rabindranath Tagore, Noble Prize 1913, greatest Indian poet, have always had a crush on him
0117 Death of Marcus Trajan, 65, Roman emperor from A.D. 98-117. His attitude toward Christianity gradually changed from toleration to persecution. It was during Trajan's rule that Apostolic Father Ignatius of Antioch was martyred. Maybe he had a foreshadowing of how evil religion could be

1620 Kepler's mother arrested for witchcraft, showing how ignorant the Inquisitors were 1782 George Washington creates Order of the Purple Heart, while chewing on a feather with his wooden teeth
1819 Battle of Boyac ; Bol¡var defeats Spanish in Colombia, but he always thought that Central Americans should be bartered for freedom1820 1st potatoes planted in Hawaii , potatoes are from America originally
1409 The Council of Pisa closed. Convened to end the Great Schism (1378-1417) caused by two rival popes, the Council in fact elected a third pope, Alexander V (afterwards regarded as an antipope). How holy can a church be if they have always been quarrelling?

August 8th
1879 Emiliano Zapata Mexican revolutionary, peasant leader, nice mustache1884 Sara Teasdale US, poet (1st Pulitzer Prize-1918-"Love Songs"),not fit for diabetics,oversweet

1815 Napoleon Bonaparte set sail for exile on St Helena,it was about time someone put this nasty dwarf where he wouldn`t bother anyone
1844 Brigham Young chosen Mormon Church head following Joseph Smith death(lynched) and would be on his way to getting his when his 27th wife Eliza Anne Webb would give him a sound lesson

"Leave just a bit of myself with me so I can call you my everything.”Rabindranath Tagore
"Why did the flower wither and kilt?It did because I hugged her too strongly against my heart,that is why.” Rabindranath Tagore

The child in me is rejoicing. No sir, I am not pregnant, with a baby turning somersaults of glee inside me. I have always carried a child all the time, the kid I was, the one who sat hours on end listening to classical music while her cat also became a melomaniac feline,too. I have just finished listening to the symphonic tale Peter and the Wolf by Ukrainian composer and pianist Sergei Prokofiev, yes you are right, the same one who died of chagrin after Joseph Stalin and the Central Committee of the Communist Party decreed that his music was decadent, too cerebral and with westernizing tendencies unfit for the lofty proletariat of Russia. He had no choice but to bow out gracelessly with an embolia. But Sergei left us with so many beautiful masterworks, and Peter and the Wolf immediately flies me on wings of song, as Jewish Mendelssohn would sing, to my childhood. Classical music and the poetry of Bengal bard Rabindranath Tagore have that almost magical power. We all have a child inside and whoever tries to deny that is a fool and will only end up hurting himself. Peter and the Wolf has always had the power to take me back to when I was happy and undocumented, to paraphrase another favourite author Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez, also Nobel.prize winner.
It is so easy to forget being a child amidst our everyday chores or sudden leaves on missions that were not written on my work plan sheet that dozes its unquiet slumber in the pocket of my jacket, smack over my heart. The stress of our globalized times –although we have been globalized for long ages but we prefer to save this candy for the century we live in now-doesn`t allow us But once in a while someone falls off the navy yacht on which we are aboard and gets fished out by the silk net and the moment has a levity of its own. The formalities are broken, a smile gallops fast into a peal of laughter,and although the crow`s feet at my eye`s corner comes out, there it is. That is the sensation I get while whistling Peter and the Wolf, although it may bring me memories of a friend who was my dear boss, but who died in 2001 and is no longer here to call me with the theme from Peter. May Lorenzo, my former boss at the classical radio where I worked for years, be having a nice conversation with Sergei Prokofiev over a good shot of vodka.
The child in us is determined by how much freedom of movement or speech we get. As adults, we are expected to fulfil our promises, do our duty and always be in charge. The stability of a family falls on the woman`s shoulders, so we get to disguise the kid we have in us as much as it`s possible. Because there will always be something that only mom can do, or a favour only the wife can do for the guy. I chose two quotes from Tagore to start this entry, and they weren`t chosen by accident. When somebody affirms,declares,states,vos,etc. that he is in love with you,dearest reader among all, he wants to swallow you whole, with the child inside. He may even perform a routine abortion on that permanent embryo of glee that we all have inside,and his scalpel or curette of vacuum instrument may be repression,callousness, or jealousy. When Tagore says that he needs his lover to leave him a bit of himself so he can call her his everything it means no smothering, no asphyxia, no strangling the couple to be under the ball of your foot gasping for breath. The child by existing in ourselves doesn`t mean we have a proclivity towards unfaithfulness or that we are some kind of jaded pervert. Not every secret we harbour has a sex symbol in it.So what Tagore says about not smothering the flower by crushing it against your heart is valid too.
The child we were will be with us all our life, whether we like it or not. It will poke his little face out when we least expect it. Look at Mao Tse Tung showing his lack of underwear to several diplomats when it was so hot in China that flies would drop dead from the sweltering heat while in flight in midair. Or Nikita Krushchev pounding his meaty fist on the podium during one general assembly with his Central Committee because they refused to listen. He bawled like a baby ,but surely got their attention. Or King Stefan Cel Mare,the great Moldavian fighter against the Turks, picking his nose inpublic in the middle of a Sunday sermon in church, while his third wife Maria Voichita blushed furiously at what her spouse was doing. The child in us refreshes any moment we are in, particularly when we are feeling mousy and tired and bored by it all. It makes us wonder what would happen if we let out the child to play with the people who are with us at that moment.
Tagore accompanied me since I was 5.I learned to read at age 3,like my compatriot bard Ruben Dario. A reading child doesn`t mean he will never play,he will play as an adult.Take my word for it. It only takes time to realize how much we were missing out on when we refused to join the game. Sooner or later, whatever we decide to play-even something as macabre as playing god-we will join in. Laughter in the classroom has proven to be one of the best learning methods, because not only the teacher brings her own child in but all the students rescue theirs from oblivion. And as we know,children always learn faster. Perhaps because they are never afraid of making mistakes, and even when they fall they pick themselves up faster than we do.As adults,we have a sense of ridicule and many times that is what prevents us from learning properly, or assimilating our own mistakes to draw a lesson from them.
I work at keeping my child alive inside me. Even in my tragic situations, I can laugh at my own shortcomings,pains and disappointments. That is the best balm to heal all wounds,because you know that even a child with a scraped knee or bloody nose, always returns to the playground. And sporting the best smile he or she can give.