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

viernes, 1 de agosto de 2008

Fascination



30th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook

August 01:
Born10 -BC- Claudius 4th Roman emperor (41-54 AD) the best source for Etruscan history126 Publius Helvius Pertinax Roman emperor (193 AD,so brief the poor chap, reigning for three months after Commodus got drowned by an athlete in his pool, we hardly remember him s more than assassinated due to the avarice of soldiers
1779 Francis Scott Key composer (Star-Spangled Banner)lawyer,wanted to be a poet, but did he sing the anthem off key?
1818 Maria Mitchell 1st American woman astronomer on Nantucket Island 1819 Herman Melville US, author (Moby Dick, Billy Budd) one of the greatest American writers1889 Dr John F Mahoney developed pencillin treatment of syphilis
1936 Yves Saint-Laurent fashion designer (Opium, Obsesión)Algerian born
Events
1834 Slavery abolished in British empire, was it really?
1861 Brazil recognizes Confederacy, ooooops another faux pas from the colonial Braganzas who could never keep their boots out of the mud
1521 German reformer Martin Luther wrote in a letter: 'Be a sinner and sin boldly, but believe and rejoice in Christ even more boldly, for He is victorious over sin, death, and the world.' Which explains the double nature of many preachers from Protestant churches, who believe their female flock should always be growing and multiplying thanks to the powers of their fertility and profligacy

AMID A SHAWL OF CLOUDS

The flight is ready. Everyone who has to be there goes on board vercingètorix 325, the helicopter assigned for this mission. WE are going to the land of two mountains, which is what Ometepe means in nahualt, our aboriginal language from long before the Spaniards came with their syphillis, religion, prudery and greed. It is a clear morning with no trace of rainclouds, blue-poster-perfect skies and gentle wind. Somehow the laptop incorporated here doesn`t seem to want anything to do with an internet connection and for the moment I am technically cut off from you. Technically only, my most faithful of all readers. How can I be cut off from my own thought which is to say the same?
Below us gapes Asese, the lake port at Granada. The islets are like a cluster of scattered emeralds and jades on the blue sapphire of Lake Cocibolca. Once upon a time it was the only freshwater body in the whole world where you could find sharks, who swam their way from the Caribbean Sea into the lake by means of the San Juan River. You can go there by ferry but we arrive by means of this helicopter, and there she is. I always think of the island as a woman. The two volcanoes,Concepciòn and Maderas,give this island its name.Land of two mountains. Maderas already holds a lagoon,and is considered dormant or extinct.
But Concepciòn hasn`t yet forgotten her temper tantrums. She is still a female to be reckoned with, who smokes her pipe once in a while and wears elegant shawls made of gossamer clouds to look even more beautiful.
I can`t take my eyes off her, and this takes me to think about what fascination can be.
Concepciòn is a common name mostly for girls in Nicaragua, and the apocopation of it is Concha, Conchita. I am in love with Conchita. I had passed by her on several occasions on visits to my lover, the San Juan River, way down south. But I had never stopped to greet her formally until now. She ouffs on her pipe ,another small cloud of ash. Yes, it is fascination. What are the formulae for this? How does the mechanics for coup de foudre function? If they do? I walk around dazed, wondering how I had missed so much beauty after 48 years of being in this world, in this real valley of tears but also of laughter.
How many people have had the perfect soulmate for their lives sitting right next to them and have died without realizing what it was all about? Or worse, realizing it was so until the other person has died?
The memory of Augusto comes back to me. Ouch, that hurt. A smiling gladiator`s kick in the stomach, a snatched bite from your back into the mouth of a cougar. Fortunately, memory`s lesions don`t bleed or we would all be wearing a permanent red fluid suit, if we only had as much blood as bigot Mel Gibson assumed poor Jesus had in order to make the flogging scene gory- perfect.
Augusto Gomez was the general manager of the still-state-owned ENITEL, the telephone and internet company of Nicaragua. Among the students that I had, one of his technicians was the best one, yet he would sometimes be absent. When I refused to replace a test for the guy, he asked if a letter of justification from his boss would ease things and jump over the boulder of my incredulity. I gave a half-hearted yes. The following day, he appeared not only with the leteer, but also with summons from his boss for me. Augusto wanted to meet me. Big deal.Why should I go to HIM, and not the other way around?Well, I told myself swallowing my lion`s pride, Mohammed-who was far wiser than myself-said that iof the mountain won`t come to you, you might as well start walking and get to the mountain yourself. So two days later, after I had fixed the appointment by phone, I arrived. He didn`t make me wait. This 60-ish man who looked like a swarthy version of the Japanese genius of the synthesizer Isao Tomita almost broke my bones in a bear hug and point-blank asked me about Charles de Gaulle, not the French dictator but my own beloved pet ocelot I had when I was an adolescent. He disarmed me. I told him the ocelot had been donated to the Juigalpa zoo because his hormones had gotten out of hand, an upon arriving at the zoo he had gotten randy with the two females in heat he found there, giving my parents and I the dubious benefit of watching a porn flick right there.He burst out laughing and said I hadn`t changed much, and explained he was one of the people who came on Thursday evenings to play chess with my dad and then commit unspeakable acts of piggery when my mom served his heavenly and abundant food.
WE talked about his underling and the solution was instantly given. Then he showed me something that soothed my ego: all the history articles I had published in a local newspaper were neatly bound in leather-covered tomes. The 5 books on history that I had already published and were being used as texts in schools and universities were there too. Several pictures of me that had been taken by diverse photographers including the peerless Franco Peñalba Cara were there. I swallowed hard. To top it off, this man made me an offer I couldn`t refuse,as Mario Puzo said through Don Corleone in The Godfather. He wanted me to make a website on history for his company. He would pay me well.
I was still in the stage in which I mistrusted computers intensely, surely because I could handle them even less than I can now(which isn`t much either). I had come to solve a problem with a student, not to get an offer I couldn`t refuse from a man who had obviously been hit by a thunderbolt upon seeing me. I replied that I would sleep on it.
I had sat in the back yard under the mango tree with my cat Ostoche and my turtle Torquemada after I came home from Augusto`s office. They seemed to be giving me the go-ahead.
Two days later the plan for the website La Historia Segùn Cecilia(History according to Cecilia)was being tailored. The fee I would get was spoken about,and a schedule to get working was fixed. Augusto got me the best web designers he had, arranged a desk for me on the second floor of the building where he was, and introduced me around to everyone.
The tall and ugly spokeswoman hated me at first sight. This tender feeling was reciprocal.
I started gathering all my articles and illustrations. But sometimes I worked more with Augusto himself than with the designers, because he insisted on doing the work himself. He confessed he had become an engineer to please his dad, that what he really had wanted to be was either historian or circus juggler.I have to admit that sometimes it made me so self-conscious working with a guy who never took his eyes off me. He was learning about history so rapidly. On one occasion, when I was very tired, he said I could leave the 500 illustrations there in a diskette and he would do the job of identifying the personalities. I thought he was just bragging and since men love to brag like peacocks, I let him be. So great was my surprise when I came back after the weekend and found all pictures neatly labelled. Correctly, except two pictures that were almost identical:King Edward VIII of England and the last tsar of Russia, the useless and stinky Nicholas II. Even I could have confused them, so great was the similarity. Working at such an accelerated pace, this webpage was launched in September before our national holidays. Once on the air, the summons from Augusto`s boss came. He wanted another website, this time only containing information, trivia, poems,biography and pictures of our national bard Rubèn Darìo, known internationally as the Prince of Castillian Letters. I started to sweat. I have always liked Darìo`s poetry, but messing around with a full site on him ws no joke. I had never labelled myself Darian, as do all those pseudointellectuals who want to live off Darìo by asking for donations to live well themselves, something our poet never did. Augusto and I would be working on that, and the webhosting would fall upon my lap. It was also an offer I couldn`t turn down.
Working again with Augusto was a merry-go-round of strange feelings, including moments of perfect understanding that accounted for bliss. Nothing to do with bed, people. I lost track of time and my birthday, October 4th,Animal`s Day came.I was so busy I had forgotten about it. When I came into what was my niche in the top floor, I almost had a heart attack. “Who died?” was the only thing I asked. Looked like a gangster`s funeral.
Augusto quickly explained that since he had not yet gotten around to asking me which were my favourite flowers, he made sure not to miss by buying all the flowers he could get…dandelions,gladioli,roses,wisterias,lilies,calas,orchids, chrysanthemums,daisies,violets and sunflowers. I was overwhelmed, blushing and laughing. Then someone came up with an enormous cake,ice cream and sodas to celebrate my birthday. At home, I had srill gotten nothing, not even a kiss. Fascination is the constant drop of water that falls on a stony heart and makes a small hole which may be getting warmer, and bigger and worst of all, tender.
What would become of me? I couldn`t sleep properly. The website on Rubèn Darìo was coming okay, more than okay. I wasn`t sure of what I wanted. I knew that sooner or later I would have to apply the same solution that poet Robert Frost did in his poem The Road not Taken. How to give up so much sweetness when you had never known it before?
The decision was taken out of my hands by kismet,fate. Kismet acted like a jealous woman who cannot tolerate to see anyone happy. Two weeks or so after my birthday, Augusto caught the flu. He didn`t think much of it. He didn`t even bother to take care of himself.
But on a Wednesday, he was taken to a hospital. He was running a high fever. I continued working on the website. Then, on Friday, I was asked by his secretary to please go and see him at the hospital. Back then I was teaching English on Friday evenings at a local private university, and that Friday I had a very important test with me students starting at 6 p.m. At 430 I went to the hospital and I was appalled to see him in bed, completely emaciated and looking 30 years older. He had an intravenous needle into the inside part of his elbow I sat next to his bed and we chatted about several ideas for the Rubèn Darìo Homepage. Then at 5¨30 I got up and said I had to get going because my students had a test. That did him in.
Weak as he was, he sat up in bed and accused me of being a cold intellectual machine who never had time for anything or anyone. He was so angry he threw the glass of water that was on top of his night table and nearly missed me, I was scared.I just told him I would come to see him again the following day after I finished teaching at 2 p,m. for the Saturday English courses. He told me not to bother because he would be dead by then.
The following day I was uneasy. During one of the breaks, my students said that while I was buying a soda at he cafeteria, an Oriental-looking man with glasses and wearing jeans and a plaid shirt came to look for me. He left after grumbling that I would never be there.
That was at eleven a.m. Later on, I had to stay over for a teacher`s seminar ,and it ended at 5 p.m.
I went straight home. On Sunday I had so many things to do that I forgot about Augusto. It wasn`t until I went to my office on Monday that life slapped me around. I hadn`t read the newspaper at home, but when I saw it, there it was on the first page. His picture, with an obituary, He had died on Saturday morning at 11 a.m. from hemorrhagic flu. I started howling like a shot wolf, long painful howls without tears. Sorry.folks,this Teeny Tune has no happy ending. I had to finish the Rubèn Darìo Homepage alone. Never in tears,because I have never had talent for tears. But it was a job well done. I refused to continue doing anything in Telematix Internet. It took a while to get my wages paid, but finally they did pay. I hate to confess that other friends would tell me,sigh with relief,you didn`t have to do anything. Don`t carry a coffin with your heart in it. I tried my best to forget but since I am a historian I couldn`t. Writing about it has not diminished the pain,regret and guilt I feel. Time hasn`t been able to close that soft spot I still have for the blind,overwhelming and overt fascination that this man had for me-it was beyond any crush. I tried exorcising the whole thing by writing my short story The Road Not Taken(Pìdele al tiempo que vuelva) and this entry into my Scrapbook. But this lesson that life taught me has perhaps given me a dose of humility, and the capacity to understand fascination. If I hadn`t gone through this experience, dearest reader, I wouldn`t be able to explain so many things. And I wouldn`t have fallen in love with this fascinating cone-shaped volcano who at any moment may burst into tears of lava, or choke up on her own ashes. I wouldn`t compare her to a beautiful indigenous princess wearing her shawl of clouds, wispy cirrus about her ashen shoulders.
Love never damages, people, although it may hurt more than an ingrown toenail. I was not only valued as a historian, feeling proud to belong to the same timeless guild as emperor Claudius, princess Anna Conmnena of Byziantium or proud Winston Churchill but also as the person who can shed crystal tears although nobody will catch me doing it if I can help it..