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, 28 de septiembre de 2008

Wolfie takes me

54th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook

Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of September 27:
1601 Louis XIII king of France (1610-43) one of the sorriest cuckolds of history through Queen Anne`s hot crinolines, not Just, but the daddy of Louis XIV, barely a dash between the womanizing Henri IV and the Sun King1657 Sophia regent of Russia (1682-89)did she have an iron hand!
1783 Agust¡n I de Iturbide, artificial and screaming emperor of Mexico (1822-23)
1792 George Cruikshank England, illustrator for Charles Dickens, he had an ncredible flair for drama too!
Deaths which occurred on September 27:
1660 St Vincent de Paul Vincentian Congregation founder, very useful saint, dies
1540 Society of Jesus (Jesuits) founded by opinionated and weak. kneed Ignatius Loyola
World Day of Tourism
Mozart`s Andantino for the Harp and flute concerto in C major
Music is well said to be the speech of angels, but not all music is spoken by the archangels. Mozart was way up beside Gabriel or Michael when he was composing, and his andantino movement from his Concerto for Flute,Harp and Orchestra in C major is one of those pieces so magically conceived that I simply have to mention it. Cardinal sin it would be not to say anything about it. But there is an ironic story behind this angelic piece of music. I lament it, dearest of all my readers,but itr wasn`t conceived with Mozart in love. It was a very basic and down to earth pecuniary transaction. Wolfie, as I so familiarly call my adored Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, simply had a stomach and he had to fill it somehow…just like the rest of us. Life has a certain way of making sure that the term democracy coined by the Greeks so long ago can really exist although not as a fictitious form of government so trumpeted by both bastardly capitalists or abusive socialists. We all have to eat, and Wolfie had to find a wat to be able to wolf down a plate of soup, and a French nobleman and his daughters happened to be amateur players who wanted to show off in front of their friends with a piece made just for them. So, not being particularly inspired by any lady who could put his pheromones to work(like in the case of Schubert, who was really running wild over a common prostitute and that is why he conceived such beautiful movements for his Unfinished Symphony and then left it tail-less because the inspiration hadn`t precisely run out but the money had), No wild sex,sorry,my most cherished reader, sorry, I owe you the testosterone or whatever it normally makes a man like Hèctor Berlioz dedicate the Symphonie Fantastique to a vile British actress named Henrietta Smithson (who wasn`t even there on the premiere of the masterwork and later became his wife in order to peel money off him). This masterwork by Wolfie was simply and mechanically prepared as an expert cook goes through the steps to produce a marvelous meal. No heart rinds were poured into it, contrary to what I do every time an entry to this scrapbook is written, then sent to you, blogged and then read by so many who would probably like to make the same question as a pair of journalists did a few weeks ago. Who is the reader? Creen que lo digo todo, que me juego la vida, porque no te conocen nit e sienten, Cuban troubadour Silvio Rodriguez sang that in Te Doy Una Cancion(I give you a song). They think I say everything, that i put my life in jeopardy, because they don`t know you nor do they feel you. Wow, how many examples in music and literature, we could go on forever. But there is the second movement of Mozart`s Flute and Harp Concerto and somehow it reminds me of so many things the perfect grammarian with tiger striped hair or the stone cold military who looks like a doll dressed in drab cannot express, least of all in public. These are pocket knives that enter the prisoner`s clink. You introduce them, with the complicity of Wolfie. And they are instruments for actual plotting. I become a conspirator for my own sake, I am seeking the way out, because quetzals cannot live in a cage and even if they do sing, their song is so mournful that ordinary people would ask them to shut up. Why is kismet so ironic that Wolfie, who was never happy in love, could mechanically produce the seamless and magnificent andantino we are talking about without having a love affair like an ace up his laced sleeve?
I come home almost dragging my worn and swollen feet, those feet that have been fractured and snake bitten, after a hard day in which I was forced to yell like a drill sergeant(although it goes against my teaching policy),tired and hungry and it is enough to sit at my PC which is disconnected from internet, and it is enough only to listen to the music and I am there, no pain holds me back, no anger clouds my pen, although I know life sometimes abuses me through those who surround me although they never could touché my inner fiendish core. I don`t believe in souls because I am not religious so I can`t send you what I don`t believe in, but something which is what makes me myself and not my cat Timurlenk, shakes free of this sad carcass of broken bones and weary muscles and evaporates through thick air to land onto your lap so far away, bringing an imaginary sunflower to you because I couldn`t find one that was real on the way. Wolfie, I would like to ask, why? There are no tears or sadness in this, just a bronze-colored iridescent certainty that somehow space will shrink betwixt us to the point that I could only reach out and touch your long locks and smile into your eyes. Imagine if there really is afterlife when we have been reduced to ashes, or my heart thrown into the San Juan River, and there is Wolfie with his ugly physical profile, so I may go to him and humbly kiss the hand with which he took the quill and wrote on his music sheets?I just hear the andantino and I fly over oceans and rivers, not caring if, like Vinicius de Moraes once mentioned in his poetry that it may be eternal while it lasts, or if eternity is wiped out by one single AK47 bullet…Wolfie reminds me that there can be an annex written to my favourite line by Agathon about the gods not being able to change the past, or like my friend the writer Ricardo Pasos who says that as we grow old, if great is our age we dream it wee(parodying Rubèn Darìo who said that if our homeland is small we dream of greatness for her).
I now understand Vlaimir Ilitch Uliànov, Lenin, of course the bogeyman for revolting capitalists. Lenin said he hated classical music, not because he had poor taste(he had a great taste, he loved cats, like I do, and good taste has always been on the left wing and never for elites with Swiss accounts), but because it reminded him that he had a heart.
I was barely around 4 years old when my mother sat me and my cat Torta to listen to Wolfie`s andantino to the flute and harp concerto for the first time. We had been giving her hell with some visitors. We both started drooling while quietly listening, I rolled up in a Viennese wicker chair, and the heavy tawny cat on top of my lap. I had already started liking Wolfie as a baby, when my mother would lay me in my crib and softly,the stereo would waft his 40th Symphony. The final coup de foudre came that afternoon with my fat cat in lap, and this proves a crush can last forever. One week short of my 49th birthday,still without menopause and preferring to have stars in my eyes than on my shoulders, I simply had to write about it, and I don`t know if you can fully understand how much this andantino means to me. I don`t want to verbalize it anymore, I know my nouns and verbs and descriptives fall too short. Whenever you have the chance, listen to it. Then look upon your left shoulder and you will feel me ensconced there, because through the wings that Wolfie confectioned, I am there.

IN red ink

53rd entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of September 24:
1896 F Scott Fitzgerald ,born in St Paul, Minnesotta, author (Great Gatsby), one of the greatest masochists I have known, not only for putting up with Zelda but also for being a barfly
1870 Georges Claude inventor (neon light)Las Vegas really thanks him, among other metropoli
Deaths which occurred on September 24:
1180 Manuel I Comnenus Byzantine emperor (1143-80), dies, finally got some rest1815 John Sevier Indian fighter, dies at 70, and what a fight he led1951 Phillippus Paracelsus physician/alchemist, dies at 48, no matter what never managed to produce gold out of garbage
Commemoration of Our Lady of Ransom, patroness of our City of Leon in Nicaragua.Roosters born in Leòn are credited to crow Merceditas
To Curse or not to curse
I had promised myself not to write about the process through which more than half of humanity goes during many years during those days when I am just a bleeding piece of womanunkind, because I was not going to be objective about it. Menstruation, despite its particular raw smell and discomfort, does make me feel deified for almost a week, wearing an invisible crown that weighs more that your long locks that I so yearn for every day, dearest reader. So today, 11 days after my last period has gone and nearing what gynecologists would call ovulation, I sit down at my pc without the boots, jacket slung over the chair, stars on the epaulets but more in my eyes, and I prepare myself to make an analysis that promises to be objective but will most probably not be so.
Curse. Only superstitious people could call it so, or religious gents. Which ends up being the same, excuse me, sorry if I hurt anyone`s feelings,but the thin divisory line between religion and superstition many times is wonderfully diffuse, not to say inexistent. Supposedly an angry and moody Adonai, pissed off because Adam and his second wife Eve (remember the first one was the never submissive and sexy Lilith, queen of the succubi) discovered how much fun they had been missing by just staring at each other, decided to punish the woman for inducing her mate to eat the apple, or papaw or whatever the hell grew on the tree of knowledge. Amidst pains thou shalt bear children, and thy husband shalt feel revulsion every month at seeing thee menstruate! What a male chauvinist bastard Shaddai could be when he had a hangover, so as usual, if anything goes wrong it is the woman`s fault, and Eve had to find a way not to look like a walking crime had happened betwixt her legs. Curse?Maybe the cramps make us feel as if we had really been cursed, but I guess after the temper tantrum wore off,Yahvè-if it was really his doing- must have realized he had completed the most perfect living machine, in women. Butter-slick with envy he must have been, because our genital instruments-unlike those of men who use the same hole to piss and ejaculate alternately- are highly specialized for three holes do work much better than a single one.
Ok, ok, I don`t want to get sidetracked. A few months ago a very immature middle-aged American I had the misfortune to meet emitted a very ignorant YUCK when I told him I was a little crampy because I had my period. If you analyze what menstrual flow is made up of, all of us who have some weakness or anemia or whatever, we would beg the next menstruating woman we find along the path to let us have her menses. Stained bright red by a portion of blood, my dear, menstrual flow is a super combination of vitamins, minerals, proteins and the richest nutrients a woman has been culling from her nutrition to put it into her uterus, where it is stored into the endometrium. Powerful soup. All of us have consumed that wonderfully rich soup that mommy had in her uterus when we were not even an embryo, but a pitiful-looking blastocyte reaching what would be our first home, sticking to the endometrium and gobbling the delicious nutrients there accumulated so we could have the strength to spout a placenta later on. So a YUCK can only come from a tremendously stupid ignoramus who may have never had sexual education-or any kind of learning for all I know. We base our first growth on the menstrual flow that our mothers didn`t have (and this fact announced the reality of the onslaught of pregnancy).
In 1992 I was still working for the major newspaper of Nicaragua, where Ilament to inform that now my daughter works as an exploited reporter. I was sent to make an interview of our internationally renowned Masayan composer and singer Hernaldo Zuniga. A few years before in one of his albums he had published a song called Once Per Month, and it was about menstruation. I had never particularly enjoyed that popular ballad, and my dislike was made worse by the fact that he had stolen several bars from a piece by Dmitri Kabalevsky for the introduction before the singing begins. Red roses from an inner garden, punctual or irregular. And the soppy Woman I love you,woman my love. I was dressed to kill for that interview. I had never liked the singer too much, thought him a mealy-mouthed idiot who didn`t even have a good singing voice, nothing to do with the rampant rumours about liking boys. So I just started the prize fight-worthy of applause, like when my darling Muhammad Ali almost sent Geroge Foreman flying out of the ring in Africa back in the seventies. I was blind with outrage, swimming in hatred. How dared a mere male of the species, an imperfect MAN who would never know labor pains and all the abuse women go through when we give birth, dare to express anything about menstruation? So I asked him if he knew how awful it felt to be walking around feeling like you mixed ketchup with Elmer`s glue and smeared it on your pubic hair, would he like to feel one of my menstrual cramps(more or less like a 7th degree in the Ritcher scale for a quake)? How could such an inferior specimen idealize something so uncomfortable and then end up with the paternalistic, apologetical “woman I love you, woman my love”? Like commiserating for what we go through, as if saying, “okay you are icky, yucky like the boorish American Rizq Beckett said to me, but we can put it up we can tolerate it poor little beast”? I felt I had a personal grudge against Hernaldo, as if he had seen me writhing in pain on my first day and then opened the door and asked all people with penis to come and laugh at me! Once I finished my harangue, I was breathless, really winded, hot and sweating, my chest heaving, worn out as if I had run the marathon faster than Abebe Bikila running barefoot on a calm Roman summer evening in the Olympic Games. Hernaldo, who anyways has huge popped out eyes, was just gaping at me, unaware that so much venom could be stored inside one single person, fat little me. He was frightened. He must have thought he had stoned a beehive of Africanized rabid bees. He started by stammering an apology and that cooled me down. I will not be a hypocrite to say I was ashamed or that a gust of benevolence oozed out of me.I don`t kill and then go to mourn at the wake or cry at the funeral, like George Bush sr. did when Indira Gandhi was killed by the sikh who was paid by the CIA in 1984. I don`t know if Hernaldo ever regretted writing that song to please his rich brat wife Lorenza or what, but I am sure that if there was a matador and the interview was a bullfight, the sacrificed buill and not a Miura at that was him, ok, let`s say ox if you want. The worst part of the story is that I wasn`t even menstruating that day that I demolished Hernaldo.
Whatever I may say, that I want my menopause and nature refuses to give it to me although next week I will turn 49 on Animals`Day, behind my yowl at the toilet when I see the stain of my panties is a secret smile. I love my period. I sweat more, but my best short stories have come to my while I have been menstruating. True, my heart, a real writer can write at any time, whether the Male Muse is there or not, but being in menstrual cramps does help to get the goriest ideas you may produce. My imagination sparks up, pain becomes a stimulant and the words flow out quicker. Mary Shelley was menstruating the night when she created her masterpiece Frankenstein, being only 19 years old and stigmatized as Percy Bysshe Shelley`s mistress and not yet wife. In reality she was only Mary Godwin at the moment she gave birth to her frightful monster Frankenstein. The great mother of horror as we know it now. Only a woman could have done it. A menstruating woman, at the height of her powers. No wonder in many societies and cultures-like with the Celts- a menstruating woman is a being to be feared, or worshipped. Some civilizations shun women with their periods, confine them. My mom said her meringues could never reach snow point if she was with her period, but her soups would be more delicious when the peerless Juana of mine seasoned them while she wore her pad. My maternal grandmother Mercedes broke the whole gallery of mirrors at her husband`s barber shop in a fit of jealousy back in 1935 upon finding a brazen slut who was trying to seduce her spouse. Fact. She was menstruating, a telekinetic in all her powers.
The other side is one that I don`t like: the free-floating, cloying and awful emotionalism that comes with the flow. Belly cries blood, eyes weep tears, used to say Khurrem Khadija, favorite wife of Ottoman sultan Suleyman the Magnificent. Which one hurts the most, the flow or the tear?While I have been a war correspondent, I have never declined a mission just because I am in those days.
But I will never forget my menstruation in the eighties, when I was sent to La Penca, worst of all war zones, and came back with the corpse of Rubendario Ramirez, the draft recruit who had been destined to be mine and died before anything could come of the mutual sense of identificationm of that suffocating feeling that brings the words to your lips like where the hell have you been in my life until now?. After I took him home to his mother, met his cats and confirmed that all the data he had given me during the night-long yarn at San Carlos, not even my father`s monkey antics could stop my tears. Nor the flow. I was hospitalized for one day, under strict observation, while my life essence poured from my belly and the tears silently dripped into the pillow without being able to do anything to staunch either flow or tears.
Calendar-punctual, aromatic and steady, my period is something to be thankful for. It is my badge of superiority, the condecoration that nature has given me for being a highly specialized, very thinking being, It was consumed by the person I love the most in the world, my daughter, although at her age she still is unaware enough of what this bond we share really means. MY period is more than any medal in gold with the name of some hero who drowned or was betrayed. The day it goes I will never bury her in my memory or discard the benefits she gave me. Men will never quite understand that despite the discomfort, the moodiness, the cramps it brings, we women would be miserable if we didn`t have her. Males can only limit themselves to stand in awe at that masterpiece of mother nature, and all reverential tributes or minimal attentions are always welcome. Maybe those who don`t have it aren`t cursed, but they will always just have to be spectators in the dance of life and fertility that nature has given us women as the steering wheels of the car of life.

Pas de Neumatique

Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of September 21:
1415 Frederick III Innsbruck Austria, German Emperor (1440-1493) 1452 Girolamo Savonarola Florentine monk/preacher/reformer
1866 H(erbert) G(eorge) Wells Bromley, England (War of the Worlds) 1874 Gustav Holst Cheltenham, England, composer (Planets)
1947 Stephen King suspense writer (Shining, Kujo )

Deaths which occurred on September 21:
1327 Edward II king of England (1307-1327), dies at 43,after his own wife Isabella ordered his death by getting a red hot iron rod pushed "there" as revenge for all the slights he made her
1956 Anastasio Somoza Nicaraguan dictator, assassinated by Rigoberto Lopez
1957 Haakon VII king of Norway, dies, Olaf succeeds him
1974 Jacqueline Susann author (Valley of the Dolls), dies at 53 of cancer
1348 Jews in Zurich Switzerland are accused of poisoning wells 1451 Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa orders Jews of Holland to wear a badge 1776 Great fire in NY 1780 Benedict Arnold gives British Major Andr‚ plans to West Point52d entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
September 21st
Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of September 21:
1415 Frederick III Innsbruck Austria, German Emperor (1440-1493) 1452 Girolamo Savonarola Florentine monk/preacher/reformer
1866 H(erbert) G(eorge) Wells Bromley, England (War of the Worlds) 1874 Gustav Holst Cheltenham, England, composer (Planets)
1947 Stephen King suspense writer (Shining, Kujo

Deaths which occurred on September 21:
1327 Edward II king of England (1307-1327), dies at 43
1956 Anastasio Somoza Nicaraguan dictator, assassinated by Roliberto Lopez 1957 Haakon VII king of Norway, dies, Olaf succeeds him
1974 Jacqueline Susann author (Valley of the Dolls), dies at 53 of cancer

1348 Jews in Zurich Switzerland are accused of poisoning wells 1451 Cardinal Nicholas of Cusa orders Jews of Holland to wear a badge 1776 Great fire in NY 1780 Benedict Arnold gives British Major Andr‚ plans to West Point

Some time ago, I was watching the Disney Channel and by chance I saw an animated film about a tiny mouse who does everything he can to be reunited with his loved ones. The theme song of the cartoon movie was sung by James Ingram and Linda Ronstadt, and it was titled “Somewhere Out There.” It was on the hit parade list for son long and I partially learned the lyrics. Funny, I memorize lyrics of syrupy songs but that doesn`t mean I wallow in romantic honey most of the time. Sorry, dearest reader, not that kind of fly specimen for me. But is funny that now, that I am cut off from you due to a net failure, and I cannot even mail this entry to you just after I finish it(like a steaming tortilla out of the clay dish where it was made, or nan in your country)like I usually do before blogging it, that I should be remembering that corny cartoon story and the song. Being cut off from you,even when it is a temporary thing for which I cannot blame a hectic schedule or anything else, onlymakes me aware of the fact that there is like an unwritten and invisible umbilical cord going from me to you. The consumer of 12 coca-colas simply didn`t take a sip of one today. Now I know what drunkards feel when they get delirium tremens or blue devils whipping their tails. The Impatient Patience, said a guerrilla leader turned into a capitalist frog here in Nicaragua.
It is not that I believe you will never be again there for me, no sir. It is a gentler anguish, a more iridescent anxiety that still has no name, although I promise I will work harder to give it a name. Preferrably in French, which is the language of my dreams and my even, unparalleled digestion. It is just the fact that you have become one of the nicest habits of my unadorned days, and just the fact of being able to reach out for the keyboard and finding you there makes the corners of my mouth turn up automatically. Nothing, not thiamine, not any drug, not a shot of poteen for the Irish, can equal a normal dosage of you, with your dark locks and in any color you choose to wear, because for my envy you look good in all of them. If you could market your power, the stimulus you give hormones, you could sell it as a pill and be a rich man so fast you wouldn`t know what hit you. I know somehow you will always be there for me, as I will always belong to you although I may have refused to say it until now. It is not a fatidic sense of loss. But when you shower everyday, you feel sticky and yucky the day you don`t do it. More or less, that is the sensation I have while I sit here writing, in a sad PC that misses the spark of the internet. I could bet on it and win a wager that at this moment you have nothing else in your mind but me. I have become your lifeblood through the ether of wireless communications, and there goes my spark flying, swimming through the Caribbean, pulling a monkey`s tail at Gibraltar, diving through the Mediterranean Sea, barely missing a warhead over Israel, watching the blueness of the Caspian Sea, evaporating slightly over Iran so I won`t be asked to cover my head and bow my forehead, and I land there in your lap. But I am already there to meet the me that you have concocted in your everyday dreams, so my spark and your memory of me fuse into someone more resistant, a bit more gentle and completely more unique than the I who is writing at this moment on the keyboard here.

I will never forget when I was studying at the university, we read the confessions of the Scots beauty who believed herself a witch, Isobel Gowdie. This lady was burned at the stake by orders of the witch hunters in Inverness. Before being roasted alive, the enchanting sorceress confessed that the worst feeling she had experimented while she was into deviltry was a sense of loss, of feeling cut off from what she considered to be God`s grace. Not being able to speak with god was what drove her like crazy to seek reconciliation with the church. Well, in my case, not being religious, I can still understand the sensation Isobel Gowdie mentioned. I am into it right now. My oxygen supply has been cut. I still have something like helium in my brain, and I repeat to myself like a mantra all the things we have said to each other. My hopes are full of Noble gases, and if I want,I can ignite the phosphorescent glow of hope inside me. I am like the beam of a lighthouse ready to guide myself into your presence. I have the certainty of being with you again. But that period in between, that is the fix. I have to fill it with something,and I am groping at words and impressions in order to continue existing.Who said the shortest distance between two points is a straight line? They forgot to say it was the hardest path too. Makes sense, doesn`t it? It has to. Forgetfulness is not an alternative in any case. I could make such an Herculean effort to try to forget you that what I will do is bury you deeply into my longing.
Nicolàs Guillèn,black Cuban poet, once put it so well in his short poem in which he mentions there is no connection at the moment he wants to send a communication to Paris,where his beloved is. Pas de pneumatique. And that was so long ago that he could have never believed Internet would exist. He died in the year the world web was made, pas de pneumatique, Nicolàs.
I don`t want to have symptoms of withdrawal because no matter what I am not giving you up. They may sound poetic,for all I know. But I won`t have them. I will only have fleeting dreams that will leave me more agitated, almost nightmares in which you fall into a lotus pond and I become a frog to fish you out. Missing someone is a curious science,but it is also an art. It has nuances that don`t appear in color guides, and shades that still have no name. Pining can be turned into a monument by a virtuoso,and it can sound better than the Mephistowaltz by Liszt played by Philippe Entremont. I only know one thing:I am missing you and that is the end of the line.

viernes, 19 de septiembre de 2008

The Muse to be acknowledged

51st entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Born on September 19th:
86 Antoninus Pius 15th Roman emperor (138-161),benign rule1922 Dana Zatopek Czechoslavakia, javelin thrower (Olympic-gold-1952) extraordinary athlete and wife od Emil1922 Emil Zatopek Czechoslavakia, 5K/10K/marathon (Olympic-gold-1952)the human locative,deserved the statesman`s funeral he was given
1802 Louis Kossuth Hungary, President of Hungary (1849), general and playwright, an elegant patriot

Deaths which occurred on September 19:
1881 James A Garfield US president, dies of gunshot wound which was not mortal,buyt between the doc and even Alex Graham Bell with his metal detector,he was done in
On this day...
1356 English defeat French at Battle of Poitiers during the 100 Years war
1846 Elizabeth Barrett & Robert Browning elope,after a long correspondence romance…isn`t that dangerous?


Journalists have one thing:they love sitting you on a wet towel. The wetter the better! Any excuse is good enough,whether it is an award you won or that you slipped and fell on a pile of dogshit on the street. But they are always there,at your feet, initially licking,then biting like the awful Pitbull monster I have at home and who just had the indecency of tearing two quilts to shreds. Bad comparison,maybe,but I am still sweating after an interview a pair of Mexican newsmen realized on me yesterday,trying to make a profile that is scandalous enough to titillate the magazine`s readers,but not so unpresentable that everyone will run away screaming, like when you see a roadside accident in which the victim`s bowels are all spread over the pavement.
First of all, the fact that my short story in which I homage my hero Josip Broz Tito of the former Yugoslavia, The Violoncello of Serbia, and a 5th entry from my chronicle book The Colonel`s Scrapbook, won a distinction at an international level fill should be enough to boost my ego, right? I am supposed to make up for the photo, look picture-smart but not so much the whole male population of the world hates me on sight. Thanks to the Violoncello, I have been called everything from pervert to genius. That is a wide range of adjectives, believe me. I get told it has all the right ingredients,from sex to myth,music to politics,and so much suspense. I get asked if I ever felt the passion Dara does for her wicked Milan, and I burst out laughing. Here you have another example of how people mistake the author for his or her characters. I may have admired Tito to distraction,wept bitterly at his grave when his widow Jovanka found me there, but I have no demon driven Serb in my past. Hard job to convince journalists that you are one thing and the character is another one. You end up apologizing for having a wild imagination. Even though people enjoy a writer`s imagination, at they end they make you pay through the nose for having it. So according to some of my readers, I am a woman to be pitied if they take every character`s experience as my own. In real life, I have never been exiled, tortured, cloned, raped and then broken into pieces. No thanks.
Private words said in public, said the Nobel Prize winner Thomas Stearns Eliot nin asmall poem dedicated to his second wife(because wuith the first wife he would rather have nothing to do with). I am caught with my garter belt which I don`t wear around my ankles, sweating in the toilet of my private life, and the question is asked. Madame, who is the dearest reader in your diary-like chronicle The Colonel`s Scrapbook? There is the whole Gibraltar stuck in the Adam`s apple that I as a female don`t have. There is an unwritten rule that states that a writer with a husband must by law or by hook or by crook dedicate all her work to the understanding hubby who postpones a delicious dinner when writing.He lets her do it. So in payment,all her works must be dedicated to him. Sexist etiquette demands that! Viriginia Leonard became Virginia Woolf so that her husband also got credit for her work, even though she was a card-carrying lesbian who didn`t relish bedsport with her hubby. A trickle of sweat runs down my uncrooked yet broken spine and lands there, at the mere ass.
Sordid details:the Colonel`s Scrapbook was conceived during flight in a helicopter,at thousands of feet from the ground,at the end of a thunderstorm that left all the afternoon sky with a glittering golden haze. It was made on a laptop that shouldn`t have been there,specially in a country where half our children`s population eats every two days,and then not what the paediatrician would prescribe. It was begotten outside the dutiful marriage bed. Bed,and what do I mention bed for.No bed. Like the mysterious incubus that lands on the most virtuous virgin during her unconfessed wet dream, the inspiration came in a cloud of internet ether at the end of June, after having finally found the coin that Beethoven lost and which motivated him to write his famous piano rondo over the lost penny. But he is not a penny, he is the mines of King Solomon all put together,with the veil of a queen studded with pearls, and all the dreams anyone may have in his head throughout 7 lifetimes. Is that enough? Do I have to mention out loud the long locks you already heard about, when it is now known he is not imaginary like Anne Frank`s Kitty in her Diary? Need an address,and phone number? The journalists blush purple.They didn`t expect me to be so bold. So brazen,would say my own boss later when he heard the tape that was made of my interview,and he made the gross mistake of saying that ERmily Bronte had based her passionate Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights after her husband. Don`t ever try to sound scholarly if you are not,I retorted,remembering that of the Bronte sisters it was Charlotte,who gave us Jane Eyre, who had a husband and he so mistreated her that she died in her fifth month of pregnancy. Emily died a virgin and where she got the model for her dark hero, we will probably never know for sure. So,as Gabriel Garcia Marquez said, “those who breakfast with too much pride shall lunch with their own shame.” Lesson learned,boss? Probably, even though he confessed he envied me for the feeling that must exist in order to create such a masterpiece.Ok,his words,not mine.
Dearest reader. What a misleading phrase. I will probably never have any more children because even though I have no menopause, that is a wild possibility in theelbow of kismet, I have born a freak child in words:my Colonel`s Scrapbook. I have combined the historian with the military,and the woman with the critic. It will continue being unique because it has no limits,and there I reflect all the spectrum of feelings and concepts that run through my macabre mind. It really is the essence of my life philosophy,wit included. Nobody but the dear reader will ever be able to fathom exactly what this person is about. Others may have inklings of what I mean. Of all the muses in jeans or uniforms, or in kingly robes and no sandals, that I have had, I guess the dear reader is the one that has brought the best out of me. I don`t say it to flatter, because I know some people are so great that flattery just slides off their shoulders because they are well oiled by tons of self-esteem. Like me, it is realistic, unromantic and multi-sided. Not even my own daughter looks so much like me, so I can catalog it as my written clone. That is something journalists will never understand.
Pictures were taken, compliments were given at the end of the interview. I knew my declarations were going to be like shit hitting a fast fan. At this point of life, a few days before hitting my 49 th birthday on October 4th.Animals`Day, I am way past caring what people may say or believe. I don`t know how many pages it will have.It is all being blogged so that if I die tomorrow, the evidence that I was so superbly inspired is there. I don`t want to promise a happy ending because it is not a sweet novel,or even if I will ever sit together for supper with the dear reader. If I do, may kismet bless the stars who follow us. If not, the purpose has been achieved. I have learned the lesson that by being true to yourself you can then be true to those you love. Not before. Without truth, love loses its letters and becomes just a four-letter word.

martes, 16 de septiembre de 2008

Viva Mexico

50th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of September 16:
1387 Henry V king of England (1413-22), good warrior king but had the bad luck of seing his poor mom die in childbirth
1887 Nadia Boulanger Paris, music teacher (Lasir‚ne Ideology),icono f classical music,great ones studied with her,including Aaron Copland(who obviously didn’t learn much)
1945- Camilo Sesto Spain, Spanish singer (Amore Libre, Agenda de Baile), so vain that he never tells his age
1924 Lauren Bacall Staten Island, actress (Dark Passage, Key Largo),Humphrey Bogart`s great love
Deaths which occurred on September 16:
1498 Tomas de Torquemada inquisitor who burned 10,000 people, dies, confessor of the bitch Isablla the Catholic,should have been aborted1672 Anne Bradstreet American poet, dies after having to combine pen with cooking spoon
1977 Maria Callas American-born prima donna of Greek origins lover of rude moneybag Ari Onassis, dies in Paris at 53

Mexican Independence: 1810 Hidalgo begins Mexican revolt against Spain (National Day)
He was one of the few useful priests I know of

The Mexico of my Heart

One of the countries I fell in love with most has been Mexico.And not only for its obscenely glorious food,but because Mexico is a nationalist nation from which Nicaragua could learn the art of national self esteem.As a patriot, I bow my charro hat to them. Mexico is for the Mexicans and you have to be extremely wily or talented to be a success there. My mother`s younger brother Silvio Josè went to live there when he was recently wedded to his fiery half Irish blonde beauty Karylam Farmer because all of his brothers and sisters(except my mom,who was more open-minded) declared war on his new wife. Already with his first born in arms, he went to live over there and soon got himself a job while his wife ventured into radio.They started at popular Colonia Narvarte and now they live at Chapultepec,a very elegant district. As an inmigrant,he had lots of hassles. But Mexico was good to him because he was a hard worker,and Mexicans will always appreciate anyone who puts his shoulder to the wheel as he and his wife did.
My first visit to Mexico was in the seventies,as a teenager. Coming from a city like Managua that isn’t located at a high altitude, Mexico DF`s elevation hit me hard as soon as I arrived. Combined with the smog and the hard water, I couldn`t go to the bathroom for 5 days,until a doctor gave a a laxative. The altitude gave me a bit of dizziness.
For the historian that I was destined to be,believe me dearest of my readers, nothing in America can compare to Mexico. I spent hours at the Fine Arts building drinking in the murals painted by Diego Rivera, Frida Kahlo`s philandering and gluttonous husband who ended up dying of cancer of the penis. One thing is to see them in a lithograph and another to gape at them in their full majesty and colourful strokes. Visiting Frida Kahlo`s blue house in Coyoacàn only set my heart to love her even more. I had always admired her paintings but now I was fascinated by the paintress herself as a human being.
How Frida Kahlo climbed along with Trotsky to the Pyramid of the Sun is a mystery to me.She had been crippled all her life,and I with my two good legs couldn`t manage to get to the top.I was winded. Even from the place where I sat down to catch my breath,the view was fantastic.
I was still far away from visiting Venice with its truly murky waters when I went to the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco in Mexico. The waters were really strange,but I knew it would be an enormous faux pas to mention it. Eating at the Tepito market was another experience,specially when I tasted the piping hot chile de palo, which made my mouth get on fire. But the most amazing thing I would see on another visit to Mexico was theuir national celebration of All Deads`Day on November 2d.It is a full feast,with altars, delicious food and a whole pageantry at the cemetery.Mexicans revere death in a bantering,healthy way. I was given candy skulls with my name on it,and a steaming cup of coffee,with pan de muerto, a pastry filled with sugar and nuts,one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten.
I visited a grave and ate there with the family,who was remembering their long lost grandfather. Mariachis were everywhere serenading, and it was a memorable festivity.
Mexico,my gentlest reader.Someday I will take you there,and how gallant you will look wearing a charro sombrero,with your long tresses. A great nation,and more so because they love their country more than anything else,and for the patriot that I am,that couldn`t be a better thing to do.

lunes, 15 de septiembre de 2008


49th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Birthdates which occurred on September 15:
53 Trajan 13th Roman emperor (98-117), conqueror of Ctesiphon ,animal killer par excellence with his disgusting bloody circus1613 Francois duc de la Rochefoucald Paris France, writer (Memoires) ,read them,they are worth it1789 James Fenimore Cooper 1st major American novelist (Prairie), James Martin taught me how to enjoy his works, thank you teacher 1830 Porfirio D¡az soldier, president of Mexico (1877-1911) really a dictator1857 William Howard Taft Cin, (R) 27th pres (1909-13), chief justice , could have ruled a bit better1876 Bruno Walter (B.W. Schlesinger), Berlin Germany, conductor (NY),had a surefire magic baton
1890 Dame Agatha Christie mystery writer (Murder on the Orient Express, her spouse was so envious of her
On this day...
608 St Boniface IV begins his reign as Catholic Pope, ready to have double headaches1620 Mayflower departs from Plymouth, England with 102 pilgrims, who would spend their voyage drinking beer
1821 Costa Rica El Salvador Guatemala Honduras & Nicaragua gain independence,if Orly figuratively
1916 first tank used in war,Little Willie, and there tank techniques would be born
1885 the loveliest elephant in the world,Jumbo,gets killed in Ontario by a stray train
1901 Mercedes Patria de la Rosa Aburto,great Nicaraguan chef,is born in Managua,my lovely,unique grandmother

September 15th

The patriot in me could afford to get sentimental today over the birthyday of our 5 Central American nations, particularly Nicaragua where I had the enormous blessing to be born, but the truth is that besides celebrating our rather fictitious independence that is so often misrespected by foreign powers, I have a reason to write today. In 1901 one of the most beautiful and talented women of Nicaraguan history was born but also on this day 1885 the most beautiful elephant of history was killed. The lovely woman born in 1901 introduced me to him when I was only four years old, describing him in her stories as the most profitable creature on earth. The exquisite lady was Mercedes Patria de la Rosa Aburto, my mother`s mom, and one of the foremost chefs of all Central America. One day when my parents were travelling in Europe and I was in her tender care, she took me to her huge iron bed and although both of us were frightened by the thunderstorm, she spoke to me about th Most Profitable Elephant in History. That bed became a magical place that night, my cat Torta,my grandmother and I. What a trio!
Mercedes told me Jumbo had been born in the Frenchpart of Africa that is now Sudan, and had been taken first to Paris,then to England,where the kids,including the child Winston Churchill, fell in love with him. Queen Victoria, who had good taste in men and animals,but a louse temper,also fell under his spell and often sent him a good bottle of her own whisky to keep him warm from inside out. The villain of the story was American capital,and as usual dollars barked loud whn Phineas T Barnum decided to take the elephant from London to have an American Dream that would end in nightmare. The circus entrepreneur paid a king`s ransom for the poor animal,who had to be put into a drunken state so he could be loaded onto the ship that would take him to stardom and death. Once in the United States,capitalism made him a star.When he arrived at New York, the usually bombastic Americans waited for him with their noisy bands, crowds and cheerfulness. Then he became the equivalent of our rock stars. Everyone wanted to see him,he was Jumbo,supposedly the biggest elephant on earth. He certainly ended up reaping so much money for Barnum. He was definitely the most profitable elephant in history,more even than the one Charlemagne had had as a pet. The circus was in Ontario,Canada, that fateful September 15th,1885 when death also fell in love with Jumbo. As a woman in love,she couldn`t allow him to stay out of her reach, so in the afternoon, a stray locomotive came out of nowhere,and banged into Jumbo`s fabulous presence. He died in great pain,and by the time my grandma told me this two of the three females on that bed were in tears,my cat soundly snoring. Jumbo died at a train marshalling yard in St. Thomas, Ontario, Canada, where he was crushed by a locomotive. A life-size statue of the elephant in St. Thomas commemorates the tragedy. Many metallic objects were found in the elephant's stomach, including pennies, nickels, dimes, keys, and rivets. Barnum afterwards told the story that Jumbo died saving a young circus elephant, Tom Thumb, from being hit by the locomotive, but other witnesses did not support this.
Jumbo's skeleton was donated to the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The elephant's heart was sold to Cornell University. Jumbo's hide was stuffed by William J. Critchley and Carl Akeley, both of Ward's Natural Science, and the mounted specimen traveled with Barnum's circus for a number of years,which was the utmost lack of respect. In 1889, Barnum donated the stuffed Jumbo to Tufts University, where it was displayed until destroyed by a fire in 1975, coincidentally a fate that befell many of Barnum's exhibits during his own lifetime. The great elephant's ashes are kept in a 14-ounce Peter Pan Crunchy Peanut Butter jar in the office of the Tufts athletic director. A statue of "Jumbo" was purchased from an amusement park and placed on the Tufts campus after the fire. Jumbo became the university's mascot, and remains such to this day.
As a result of Barnum's publicity the word "jumbo" is now synonymous with "large" or "huge": a large hot dog sausage may be called a "jumbo hot dog"; the Boeing 747 is known as the "Jumbo Jet",as my wise grandmother explained. Soon the thunderbolts had lessened and she told me that somewhere in heaven,Jumbo was sleeping tightly and was happy that we still remembered him with love and respect.
My grandmother Mercedes was a unique person,and I also learned from her to be an animal lover. When she had eloped with my grandfather,Castulo, who was one of the sexiest men alive at that time, she took with her the two Angora cats she had as a teenager, jumping out a balcony with the two animals shut tight and meowing in a basket. As soon as theyw ere married and they reached the marriage bed, Castulo was to receive the most scandalous session of bites and scratches when the cats were let out of the basket, but he was too excited to mind. He had other things to do than worry that his ofrearms had been reduced to mincemeat by the angry furry darlings belonging to his new fifteen-year old redheaded bride. Mercedes had protagonized a sound scandal by running away with the dark handsome barber my grandpa was. Nothing fit for such a prissy miss that she had been raised to become. Mercedes and Castulo loved each other fiercely all their life,producing a brood of 8 kids. She became a great chef and he was the most elegant barber of old Managua, patronized even by presidents. A stroke ended all that felicity and she was left a rich widow who refused to marry again, although she was still sexy in her maturity. Defying conventions about what a matron should be, she learned French with a private tutor who was a renegade Jesuit, became great friends with the national actress Pilar Aguirre, and traveled to several exotic destinations like Egypt and India. And became the most eccentric and doting grandmother I could have ever asked for.
So it was a tragedy that she would end up assassinated by one of her own daughters. In her sixties she had been diagnosed as diabetic, but as age advanced her complications grew worse. When she started having neuropathies in her 80s, only my mother paid any attention to her.All the other sons and daughters,sought to rid themselves of her. Her neuropathies landed her in a wheelchair due to lack of care from her abusive children, who were swift to take her money but slow to ever care for her. Despite my duties in the army,I tried to spend the most time I could with her, making her favorite meals, playing piano for her and just plain yarning about her memories. Some of my artist friends would come to cheer her up,among them Pablo Martìnez Tèllez-an excellent singer composer of working class extraction-and the poet Silvio Alejandro Cortez. When she came to live with her daughters Elda and Merceditas, her ordeal began. Shew was often hit and pushed around when I wasn`t around,and blue welts appeared on her back,belly and legs. Her long hair was chopped off by her namesake daughter, one of the most aggressive and nasty people I have ever had the misfortune of knowing. My grandmother wept bitterly over her lost tresses.
My grandmother had always kept a bank account in a foreign bank. In order to garner some indulgence from the two daughters who were taking bad care of her, she had mentioned that she would leave all to them when she died. This only whetted her eldest daughter`s insatiable lust for money, and one afternoon,June 21st 1988,while my husband and I were at the market (we began our married life living with my grandmother,who was crazy for my spouse and adored him as if he were her own son), my grandmother was killed. A pillow had been used to snuff out her last breath while she took a nap.Nobody else was in the house. When we returned from the market,my husband and I heard Merceditas-her eldest daughhter-screaming in the porch,”hey,swear to god I didn’t do it,she just died in my hands,she died!” We rushed in and there was my grandmother on her bed, with an expression of pain on her face,her lips blue,her eyes still open but glassy. A sorry sight. The other daughter who supposedly cared for her was called from her job at the National Socoal Security Institute. Neither of them wished to dress her up.My husband decided to do it while I asked a doctor to come so the death certificate could be drafted. An unscrupulous endocrinologist by the name of Bolaños, a complete sot and corrupted imbecile, was called, bribed to put that she had had a heart attack,and gotten rid of soon. I was two months pregnant expecting my daughter Elizabeth and superstition held that if I dressed her I would lose the child. During the funeral,scandal broke out when my aunts-the killer included-forbade my mom and dad to be there during the wake. I was sent to the kitchen to make coffee and the following day we buried her. No autopsy was allowed,although my mother and I demanded for one. The killer was sorely disappointed to find that she had killed her own mother over nothing,because the bank account she longed for was already empty and there was nothing but a silver bracelet which lacked several links.
The pain was too great for crying. My grandmother had always considered me her favorite grandchild,and now she was gone. A sense of guilt,that I should have done more for her, overwhelmed me. The house was so empty without her. Even Chingo, the Manx cat I had back then,missed her.He would go to her empty bed and meow piteously for her. I would think of what it would have been like if she had lived long enough to see my baby born. Life had been cruel at the end to this grand lady who had once been a great matron,a wonderful chef and the most original grandparent anyone could ever ask for. Even now,20 years after she was murdered, I cannot bear to see her killer,who went scot free and still lives in Managua. She is a presence in my life,in every moment that I have lived trying to learn her lessons. Mercedes Patria,who was also a patriot like me and had refused to kiss Lindbergh when he came here to Managua, has been the rose,as her third name was, to perfume my memories of what being a happy child was like. She introduced me to the sound things of life, to good food and good taste, to Jumbo and animals she loved, to Verdi operas and guitar playing. I want to become a believer for her, and think that Saint Peter asked her no visa or passport into heaven. But I guess that although her poor remains are ina grave at the General cemetery in Monseñor Lezcano here in Managua, she will be forever inmortal in my heart because in reality, I have never even thought of burying her in forgetfulness,which is the last frontier of oblivion where we remit our dead.

sábado, 13 de septiembre de 2008

When it rains on your parades

48th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Birthdates which occurred on September 13:
1739 Grigory Potemkin army officer, statesman, Catherine II's lover, a real bantam
1819 Clara Schumann (n‚e Wieck) Leipzig, Germany, pianist/composer, unfaithful wife of composer Robert Schumann.When he lost his marbles,she took up with his protégée,Johannes Brahms1851 Walter Reed US Army Surgeon, proved mosquitoes transmit yellow fever…it was about time 1857 Milton S Hershey , chocolate manufacturer/philanthropist ,thank you for all the delicious moments1860 Gen John J (Blackjack) Pershing US commander in WW I,wonderful military,the `Pershing missiles were named after him
1874 Arnold Schonberg Vienna Austria, composer (Second Quartet),poor Bellow, spent his whole life fighting

Deaths which occurred on September 13:
1321 Dante Alighieri author of the Divine Comedy, dies,without ever having a chance to bed his Beatrice 1598 Philip II King of Spain (1556-98), dies at 71,the best things that ever happened to him.He should have been stillborn
1977 Leopold Stokowski symphonic conductor, dies in England, at 95,he was a champion for plagiarizing and for wooing rich girls


Today has been one of those days when you believe you should have never gotten up from your warm, strange-smelling and comfy bed. We have all had these kind of days when you know that if you boil water, it will taste smoked or it will fall all over you while still hot. Everything started by the fact that I got up late. Simply did not have the stamina necessary to cleanly get up chirpy and full of beans…sure signal that age is biting at your heels even though you photograph much younger simply because your bones were adequately placed on your face by a clever mom. Getting up late is a cardinal sin in my house, because husband and daughter just follow the pattern set by me. Shooing a family to get up, bathe, breakfast and get ready for work or study is something you shouldn`t wish for anyone to do, and that includes your worst foes. Nobody deserves the irritation, annoyance and impatience a human or animal can derive from having your relatives play havoc with your time. Finally, when we had already gotten ready, I whisked my daughter out of the house and took her with me on the taxi that would drive her to the French learning center where she goes each Saturday and then to the English language center where I work on Saturdays from 7:30 am to almost 6 p.m.
The taxi driver chose his slowest wheels to get me to the center,and when I arrived there, the front gate was closed because a water tube had broken at the entrance,water was rushing out and it was impossible to get in there without swimming. So on through the back door we were sent, and as usual,I arrived late. I had missed the early morning teacher`s meeting.
I punched my card in red, I was 11 minutes late. Somehow,dearest of all readers, those minutes you punch in red are more costly than those when you do your job.A huge bleeding chunk off your salary gets bitten off, and I haven`t been able to figure out how they make the calculations so that the minutes you missed weigh much more. Once in the classroom, when I asked for the homework one of the younger student unabashedly said he had too many social duties to bother with something as base,dumb and boring as homework.
The best part came during the 15 minute break we have at 10 a.m.I went to get a snack with one of my former students,who was wearing a lovely white dress. WE got our snacks and drinks and were walking to my classroom so we could sit down and eat when a little 7 year old thin girl got out of a broom closet(she should have never been there,where was her teacher?)and ran into us,spilling our drinks and foods all over our dresses.Luckily I was wearing a flowered dress in dark hues,so cleaning up was easier for me than for my friend.
That is why I seldom wear white clothes,because something is always bound to happen to me(soup spilled, dog barfs on me, cats piss and mistake me for a toilet, my period comes while I am sitting down, or my marker breaks and the ink goes all over my garments). The shit hit the fan when the supervisor heard that an incident had happened,and the begligent teacher was called to order.
Going out to lunch at the neighboring cafeteria was another headache. I ate only noodles with cheese but was charged as if I had eaten the whole lobster supply to New York`s Delmonico. Feeling fat, full, flatulent ,ripped off and sleepy, I waded out of the cafeteria only to get splashed by a station wagon that ran too fast over a puddle. Another bath! But I barely had time to clean up.I had a class at 1:15 and after fighting with the internet and the yahoo messenger because I wanted to establish contact with you, I gave up and went into my classroom with the same sheepish expression on my face that cows wear when they go into the slaughterhouse line.
Feeling thirsty during the first break,which is at 3 pm, I went to the center`s bar and got sold a soda that was hot,while I observed the people who drank coffee complained it was cold. This was the first day for the bar owner and he was already driving his customers away. A cloud of flies gathered over the counter,guaranteeing a surefire diarrhea for the consumers, not to mention a fat probability of cholera.
How far can you go into a day in which everything seems to be against you? How bad can things get? But not even the worst day is completely without light or flowers along the way home. I managed to get in contact with you, my so important you, despite anything that could have happened to me, or being chased by an angry dog when finally dragging my feet to walk home. No quarrel, no delay, no hassle can take away from me the fact that I could finally get my message across, sending it navigating on a moon bug and making way among roses and their thorns, electric eels of lightning in an angry sky, and so many miles
that somehow have not succeeded in interfering with joy. Bad days will always come, most beloved of readers, to remind us of the good ones yet to come. We use them as thermometers to gauge the right temperature of our felicity, they are litmus tests of the acid and alkaline balance that must be between weeping with joy and laughing in anger. Not all the grains of sand going in an hourglass clock are the same, but all together make time…was it the great Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz who said that ? No wonder he won a Nobel Prize. Sweat runs down my back while this most hectic and conflictive day among days reaches its end. Even my fan has been taken away “for my own good” in order to force me to go to bed early,but I don`t need to lie prone to dream. So many people say they want what is best for you and then proceed to commit the worst cruelties against you, like whn you want you animal not to suffer so you take him for a quickie sleeping injection over at the vet`s, telling yourself you have no more money to keep him with you and it is for his benefit. For his eternal well-being, we hear people say. No wonder emperor Tito of Rome sometimes would snarl out loud,”Family sucks!” Bitter reality? Yes but those to whom you can`t relate are often those that you are related to by blood or affinity(which has a way of wearing off frightfully over the years, familiarity does breed contempt in some cases,sorry)Sometimes they are the ones who served your bad day on a silver platter, perhaps because they know best where to hit so it counts.
I am at the end of what was a very ugly day. Internet cuts, the embryo of a quarrel that didn`t become full fledged combat simply because the two fighters were so down in the dumps that neither had the energy to slash at each other`s throats. Bad days are necessary when we need to remind ourselves to cherish the precious moments we have of glee,mirth and tenderness. No champagne in my fridge to toast the bad day I have,so ginger ale will do. I raise the goblet of my life, full of ale,to toast the fact that if I have a bad day is because if I would be dead, I wouldn`t have either good or bad days,or anything.

miércoles, 10 de septiembre de 2008

On wings of history

47 entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of September 09:
1585 Cardinal A Jean de Plessicide de Richelieu Louis XIIIs chief minister,cat lover par excellence, founder of the French Academy,and he said in any sentence written by a man he could find the most diverse reasons to send him to jail or the gallows, atta boy !
1828 Leo Tolstoy Russia, novelist (War & Peace, Anna Karenina), a very enlightened man 1850 Harishchandra India, poet/dramatist/father of modern Hindi, one of the greatest in Asia

Deaths which occurred on September 09:
1087 William I The Conqueror, King of England, & Duke of Normandy, dies and goes on to make a postmortem ridicule when someone tried to fit him into a too small coffin and his rotting corpse exploded,sorry folks,barely the truth even though he was my ancestor,sorry sweet Willie
1976 Mao Tse-Tung Chinese communist party chairman (1949-76), dies at 82,after having delighted several years before, a handful of diplomats by showing them his smooth pink butt

Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of September 10:
1487 Julius III Counter-Reformation pope (1550-55)poor chap he really had no choice
Deaths which occurred on September 10:
1419 John the Fearless Burgundy France, warrior, murdered at 48
1898 Empress Elisabeth “Sissi” is murdered in Switzerland by an anarchist
1991 Yves Montand actor (Lets Make Love, Z), dies at 70,he refused to leave his wife Simone Signoret to marry his mistress Marylin Monroe
1349 Jews who survived a massacre in Constance Germany are burned to death
Oh kismet,when born a pig,the knife falls from the sky
1846 Elias Howe patents the sewing machine, great help for women finally
1960 Running barefoot, Ethiopian Imperial Guard Abebe Bikila wins Rome Olympic marathon, showing us the natural superiority of the black race

Once Gabriel Garcìa Màrquez said that journalism was the loveliest occupation in the world. If history didn`t exist I would agree with him, having a daughter who decided to shun timelines in order to study journalism. Due to the fact that most journalists in Nicaragua tend to be boozies and floozies who never read,boast a lot about their militant ignorance and tend to be the clowns of the three ring circus which is my country,when Elizabeth told me she would study journalism, I almost told her that I would get a red bulb and plug it outside our home, because for me most journalists here in my country would feel at home in a brothel. Well, someday I hope she will realize that history is the sexy stepmother of journalism,and that if I wouldn`t have been a historian, I would probably not even exist biologically speaking. Today,still jubilant after having had a lot of time in your company,dearest reader, I ask myself what twists and turns of lady history`s ballerina feet could have been changed for the better or the worst. These days are so full of events,births,deaths.We say in Nicaragua that September is the month of our homeland,forgetting that we cannot truly be patriots if we only pluck one month per year and then forget about the other 11 to be total knaves against our country.
I spray rose attar on my broken,reconstructed and awkwardly thin wrists and Elisabeth of Wittelsbach, better known as empress Sissi by her marriage to Franz Josef of the Habsburgs,slips into my mind. She loved an adoptive country that wasn`t her own of course, Hungary. Did she learn to love it in bed with hr lover Gyula Andrassy, or by going there incognito?The reality was that the Hungarians loved her right back,asking her to be their queen. She always felt half Magyar in Hungary.Too bad that final episode of the sharpened file stabbed deeply into her breast,ending her life with tragedy.
History. I knew I was going to be a historian since I was 5 years old.When tucking me into bed, covering me with those wonderful eiderdowns, my dad spoke not of Perrault nor Grimm brothers nor anything else as a bedtime story. He used his own epic participation in Operation Overlord, the famous D Day during Worl War II, so he could finally put the wee devil I was into the arms of Morpheus. Like the best soap operas, his tale would come to an exciting climax and leave me hanging there until the following night, when my Bernard would become a green-eyed Schehèrazade of real life, and spin the magic of what happened after he got caught with his pants down by the Germans…and how he managed to survive the war,the capture,the time he spent at Auschwitz, until he realized he was more committed to staying alive than most others were. So is it small wonder why I decided to become a historian?I never needed fairy tales, and I still don`t believe in them. My dad took care of that, giving me the toasted seeds of pragmatism, along with his sense of humour,so I could digest life as it came.
In history I found people like me, who would wilt in exile but flourish at home,declaring steadfastly that I am not exportable in any sense. I found my daily inspiration in the Vercingetorix, Tecumseh and Lautaro figures of all times, fell passionately in love with kings like Henri IV of France or emperor Pacchacuti of the Inca empire, and managed to feel an enormous gratitude and tenderness for the spiritual mother of the pill which liberated me from sexual servitude,Margaret Sanger. The chocolate core of my heart that no one has dared to say they saw was melted to the quick by Guillaume D`Aquitaine,Khalil Gibran and Yukio Mishima, and I secretly cried over Oda Nobunaga`s death burned alive in the temple and when Edith Piaf lost her lover Marcel Cerdan. I still dream of meeting Antonio Vivaldi and taking off his soutane slowly before I braid his long red hair, and I have not found my own Genghis Khan to leave my incredible incredulity blood-splotched and quivering on the steppe of my everlasting disbelief. Where is the Simon Bar Kochba that my grandmother Mercedes de la Rosa promised me while we sipped a hot toddy in a cool December evening,sitting under our porch each one with a cat nestled on her lap? What happened to the rebellious Trung sisters of Vietnam who lived under my elbow, or the strong queen Kaahumanu of Hawaii that was supposed to dance upon my pulse?
History has made my life possible,although I have to admit that knowing the mistakes which others made hasn`t prevented me from making my own and perhaps in worse dimensions. I have laughed with queen Nzingha of Ndongo and Matamba playing with her war elephant Diat, experimented a demolishing crush over the great Elephant Shaka Zulu and his three cat colonels, and felt a great solidarity for Manuela Sàenz, Bolìvar`s lover although I can`t quite understand how such a superior female could see anything sexy in him.
I have wanted to kick George Armstrong Custer in the balls, or bitten Theodore Roosevelt`s burly biceps. I have felt the heartbreak of Sha Jehan losing his Mumtaz Mahal in her fourteenth childbirth even when love has always skirted my path and stayed at a safe distance so I cannot smooch its face with kisses. Emperor Marcus Aurelius of Rome`s cat Luna has tiptoed into my dreams as I lay in bed in the few hours of sleep I allow myself, but Marcus`teachings that he put into his Meditations have been like a continuous lesson for me.
History.I couldn`t live without all the kings,empresses and whores of history. Never could forget the birthdates of so many scientists, criminals,gays and war horses. It continues to be the only thing to which I have been faithful other than my own integrity. I wonder, so beloved reader, if you can understand. Maybe,now that you are written into my history with the same attar of roses that brings Sissi to me as soon as I close my eyes and step into the thin,gossamer butterfly wing that gravitates beneath my eyelids.

domingo, 7 de septiembre de 2008


46th entry to the Colonel`s Scrapbook
Birthdates which occurred on September 04:
1768 Fran‡ois Ren‚ de Chateaubriand France, poet/novelist/statesman
1872 Darius Milhaud Aix-en-Provence France, composer (Maximilien, La Creation du Monde, Le Bœuf sur le Toit)
Deaths which occurred on September 04:
1553 Cornelia da Nomatalcino monk converted to Judaism, burned at stake 1965 Albert Schweitzer,organist and humanitarian who adored cats, dies
1907 Edvard Hagerup Grieg,Norwegian composer dies, is buried in a fjord

476 Romulus Augustulus, last Roman emperor in west, is deposed ,,poor teenager, having gotten a job,lost it so soon1609 Navigator Henry Hudson discovers island of Manhattan
1886 Geronimo is captured, ending last major US-Indian war ,later he would be displayed like a trophy yet still alive on a motorcade by Teddy Roosevelt1888 George Eastman patents 1st roll-film camera & registers "Kodak",that is the origin for this photomania we have now, George you created a monster in me
Birthdates which occurred on September 05:
1187 Louis VIII king of France (1223-26) ,poor guy,not only was he destined to be the father of a saint through his marriage with the termagant Blanche of Castille, but also to die spilling his guts loose due to dysentery1638 Louis XIV the great, king of France (1643-1715)mthe sexiest,most alluring king of all times, the sun king I would have never said no to 1735 Johann Christian Bach composer, son of JS Bach (English Bach),these Bachs you find them everywhere 1791 Giacomo Meyerbeer Vogelsdorf Germany, composer (Golt Und Die Natur),was this guy so bombastic! Had to be a Jew! 1847 Jesse James Missouri, outlaw, so infamous

1877 Crazy Horse, Sioux leader, is assassinated by US soldiers after he beat the shit out of Custer on the Battle of Little Bighorn one year earlier,Whites never forgive us dark ones who have more brains or balls than they do

1757 Marquis de Lafayette American patriot, French revolutionary, one of Marie Antoinette`s favourite chevaliers 1766 John Dalton chemist, developed atomic theory of matter
Deaths which occurred on September 06:
1701 James II king of England (1685-88), dies at 68 ,still living as a kept man in the court of Louis XIV, doing nothing as usual1901 Pres William McKinley assassinated by Leon Czologosz in Buffalo, NY,and his death let rambunctious Teddy Roosevelt into the White House.McKinley`s death was instigated by William Randolph GHeart`s editorials in which he asked for a “quick removal of that criminal.”

Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of September 07:
1533 Queen Elizabeth I England, (1558-1603) daughter of Henry VIII,greatest stateswoman of all times, a wonderful lady after whom I named my own daughter

1714 Treaty of Baden-French retain Alsace, Austria gets right bank of Rhine ,poor Alsatians, no wonder everyone calls them the Regurgitated Ones1822 Brazil declares independence from Portugal (National Day)and begins life as the Empire of Brazil,the Amazon Throne

" Ours is a world where people don`t know what they want and are willing to go through hell to get it. " Howard Hughes,aviator,playboy and millionaire


On a day like today, the woman I have most admired in history was born, and under very tight circumstances. Her dad had defied everyone in order to get Ann Boleyn,her mom,pregnant and was now hated by the Holy Roman See after he had rejected his first wife Catherine of Aragon,daughter of Spain`s Catholic Majesties to live the passionate love affaire of his life with Anne Boleyn. It may be a logical consequence that as an adult,Elizabeth Tudor would always shy off from passion,perhaps because her dad`s passion for her mom was the greatest love disaster of English history. As a stateswoman, she was unrivalled.As a woman,any guy would go mad for her. As a scholar, I wish I could speak the 7 languages she mastered. For all this,I named my only kid Elizabeth after her.

You are not surprised that after days of being away from the keyboard,my dearest reader, I can write about someone who has been in my dreams ever since I discovered that she had existed. We are prone to all types of obsession,as you well know. You are the authority on that, because I cannot write anything if you are not there to read it. So you can understand that from age three I was obsessed with Elizabeth.
It was my grandmother`s fault. I learned to read at age 3,like our bard Rubèn Darìo. The first book she placed in my hands to read was a version for children of Elizabeth`s biography. The sweetened, glossy biography only made me ask more questions,and there came the difficult part for my granny. How to explain so many things that biographers change or omit about her biography, thinking it is best in the name of “proper history”. Questions,questions, I have always been told I ask too many questions! That hasn`t stopped me from asking more.
Elizabeth, more than a fixed statement,was always a question mark for me.The eternal enigma. So many years after her death in March 1603,while she still kept a letter to her in her night table drawer from the last man she had loved, I still have the urge to ask her so many things. Is it true,madam, I would ask, that we always end up killing in one way or the other, those we love the most? The fact that she signed the execution order for the man she most loved in her life gives me an idea how she must have suffered, and my heart goes out to her. I know about difficult decisions. The wrenching pain of divorcing your emotions from your practical orientations. The holding back that must go on,when one has to do what one doesn`t want to do. Long time ago, one of my best friends wrote a poem about restraint,and he said he had to double knot his emotions so they wouldn`t rush out to meet the beloved. I recall the poem was called The Chinese Empress,and it was written by one of the most pragmatic and scholarly attorneys we have in Nicaragua nowadays. How many times did Elizabeth have to do that?
I think Elizabeth was wise in never marryring anyone. Marriage has a way of putting an ankle over the woman`s nape as nothing else can, and in the case of s stateswoman having a man twisting her arm because he shares her bedroom is the worst thing that can happen. Whether she was a virgin or not,that was her own business,which is why it angers me how often cheap and sexist historians resort to this topic in order to belittle Elizabeth.
While I remained blissfully single,I promised myself that as soon as I married and had a baby girl, I would name her Elizabeth for Elizabeth Tudor. I still have many unanswered questions about her,despite having gotten a pH D in history.
Women are always an enigma,we are, but the enigma grows bigger when you find someone like Elizabeth Tudor.

lunes, 1 de septiembre de 2008

To My Sir Salvador with Love

45th entry to the Colonel´s Scrapbook

Birthdates which occurred on your SELECTED date of September 01:
1854 Engelbert Humperdinck Germany, opera composer (Hansel and Gretel)
1866 James "Gentleman Jim" Corbett heavyweight champion boxer (1892-97)one of the greatest heavyweights 1875 Edgar Rice Burroughs novelist (Tarzan, Mars Saga),creator of Chitah
1922 Vittorio Gassman actor (War & Peace) ,one of the best masterpieces Italy has produced1923 Rocky Marciano heavyweight champion boxer (1952-56)too bad he didn´t get to celebrate his last birthday 1935 Seiji Ozawa Hoten Manchuria, conductor (Boston Symphony Orchestra),great musician
Deaths which occurred on September 01:
1159 Adrian IV only English pope (1154-59), dies .He was a walking headache1557 Jacques Cartier French explorer, dies ,we owe him so much1715 Louis XIV the great, king of France (1643-1715), dies at 76,telling his second wife Francoise that she shouldn´t have believed so much in his immortality as a living god
1988 dies Salvador Cardenal Arguello, foremost musicologist of Central America,of course, Nicaraguan, my teacher, my sponsor,my surrogate father
1838 William Clark 2nd lt of Lewis & Clark Expedition, dies at 68, he really did believe women should be barefoot and pregnant
1865 Joseph Lister performs 1st antiseptic surgery, something still unheard of in Nicaraguan hospitals 1870 Napoleon III captured at Sedan,lost his throne and finally stopped being ridiculous trying to imitate his famous uncle
1939 WW II starts, Germany invades Poland, takes Danzig,and sends all Jews “dancing” 1941 Yellow star becomes obligatory for Jews in the Reich to wear, and I would proudly wear mine if necessary in anti-Semitic Nicaragua 1945 Japan surrenders ending WW II (US date, 9/2 in Japan)aboard the Missouri, and this gave MacArthur the idea that he was a kissing cousin to god


“If you have the privilege of looking the way you do, then you must do everything to make your mind outshine that face”,were the first words said to me by Salvador Cardenal Arguello, foremost musicologist not only of Nicaragua but of all Central America. He had come to the National Conservatory to take the pick of the litter, only to seek two star pupils and I got chosen along with the future poet,composer and novelist Silvio Alejandro Cortez, who was one year older than myself. Both of us were teenagers considered by composer Julio Max Blanco as “very promising”. Who hadn´t heard of him, the owner of Radio Gueguense, the only classical music station in Nicaragua? We worshipped him, an accountant who had taught himself music.
Getting to know my teacher was a fascinating life experience, day to day. It was impossible not to love him. Stern and very scholarly, he was a marvelous human being.he adored his green-eyed wife,Ofelia, with whom he had a torrid lifelong romance which produced 10 kids.
I open a jar of jam and he is there,in all his sweetness and gentleness. How can I foget him jumping into the cookie jar when his wife wasn´t around,because he was a diabetic yet wasn´t immune to temptations. Little was I to know that I would also behave the same way when I got my diabetes diagnosed in my 43rd year of age. He taught me what it was about having an iron fist in a silken glove. Vivaldi shed his soutane for me through his words, and Beethoven became much more than a grumpy old man having a fit over a lost penny. Salvador became the catalyst for the fire of friendship to ignite between quiet,smiling Silvio Alejandro and myself. He had the charming knack of making you feel comfortable with yourself,while demanding the near impossible in order to achieve excellence. “Why get a 90 if you can have 100,” he would ask.
Never to be forgotten,when he became the first one to work towards getting me a scholarship so I could study in France. He stood firmly behind me Never stopped believing in my potential. Loved me as if I were his own daughter, demanded more excellence and gave his own example as something to be followed. I learned so many things through him that I can safely say that he melded stone and clay to create a new me.
Sometimes I would catch him gazing at me,unflickering dark currant eyes. A Renaissance man himself, he could paint,sculpt and do many things at once. One day before leaving opn my scholarship stage to France, he showed me a painting he had created. He had titled it Reina Planetaria.Planetarium Queen.and had inserted me into Saturn as if wearing a broad brimmed hat. He said he would finally give it to me after I had returned from competing my studies in France. He would need it to keep him company while I was away. He had never deserted me,something which I cannot say for load of men which have ornamented or hampered my life. When several members of a now well known but still deficient chamber group demanded the minister of culture to strip me of my scholarship because I was a rich man´s daughter and they needed to go instead, Salvador gathered all my documents and proved that I met all the requirements and more. The minister,a cousin of Salvador, just paid no heed to the envious half.boiled musicians and was happy to see me off. While on the Concorde that took me from New York to Paris, I chuckled over the anecdote of Russians´proverbial penchant for envy that Salvador had told me before Ileft Managua. Vladimir had a cow, he had told me, and he got yogurt,curd,cheese and butter from its milk. Vladimir´s neighbor Vadim was always angry to see how happy Vladimir was with his cow. So one day while God was having a picnic on earth, Vadim stumbled into Him while the deity was swimming naked on the Dnieper River. God asked Vadim what he could do for him while they had a shot of vodka together.A horse?A farm?A cow like Vladimir´s? No had said, Vadim.I want only one favor,I want Vladimir´s cow to die. More than Ruyssian envy, it spoke of some Nicaraguan´s intense desire for mediocrity. That was my teacher, my friend,my protector. So I promised Salvador I would write every day,something which I didn´t but which I tried hard,despite my hectic schedule as an exchange student. I sent the first cards to my parents and Salvador upon arriving in Paris.
When I had a chance at the National Conservatory of France, I handed in his Pequeñas Lecciones de Música Para Aficionados de un Aficionado.Small Music Lessons for amateurs from an amateur. What kind of amateur was that?I had translated his work and the people at the conservatory were amazed at the fine confection of his work. Amateur?He was a genius. I felt so proud the day I heard comments about his lessons,and I wrote to him about it. One day later I got a call from his wife,in joyous tears.”you have made my husband deliriously happy.” That is when I had an inkling of what true love could be if it existed. Ofelia and Salvador,blessed may they be, had it with them.
When I returned with my degrees under my armpit, he had a job for me. All my letters and postcards were tied in neat little piles with pink ribbons. Even though I was obligatorily drafted into the army as a translatress,something which he didn´t like, I always managed to have time to help him around in his radio. He would always call me when he had visitors who spoke no Spanish so I would translate for him. He refused to see me in uniform. So I always kept my Sunday best for him.
One day the Czech cultural attaché was coming for a visit.He spoke a tentative Spanish, but he also spoke good English, so I was there for the encounter. My teacher pronounced the last name of composer Anton Dvorak exactly as it was written,mispronounced. He continued to do so throughout the interview, although I emphasized on pronouncing it the way the Czechs do. I gently tried to nudge Salvador into doing the same,but he wouldn´t budge. When the visit was over, and mi professor led the Czech to the door, things changed. Salvador was furious,saying to me that I had dared to correct him just because I had a load of diplomas and he didn´t. He immediately took out his belt and took me to his office, where he administered three sound belt whacks on my ass. Arrogant, don’t ever forget I made you, he hissed. I was dumbfounded. He reminded me that army captain or not, he was still the guy in charge.
I fled in tears. He followed up the beating with a call to my parents,who were appalled at my boldness and temerity:correcting Salvador Cardenal in public!Who did I think I was? So back I went to his office and apologized, but after we had made up, I reminded him that Czechs indeed did pronounce it differently! He laughed and said I reminded him of Galileo Galielei, whispering angrily,”But it does move,” after the Inquisition had arm twisted him into recanting his theses about the earth moving.
Nowadays, I think he did well to smack me. He meant well. He always worried about my welfare,giving me sound advice for everything from eye makeup(get that black eyeliner off,Kitten,you look like a raccoon) to my taste in men(no,no,no,Kitten, he is an ignoramus and ignorance is transmitted like a venereal disease,in bed!get rid of him).
At least when I married(on his birthday,October 29th)he finally heaved a sigh of relief.When I got pregnant,I visited him and he started daydreaming about training mu child. But he was already very sick and depressed because his wife had died a year ago.
His diabetes was running rampant.
ON September 1st,1988, while I was on a trip with my husband to Chinandega and I was already 5months pregnant, he died. When I came back on the train I read the news on the papers,and was frantic to get back to Managua. I rushed to his house, a block away from mine. His funeral was already been over The pain was so great I almost lost the baby. One week later, his son Lorenzo,who would be in charge of the radio now, called me to ask for my help. That would be the beginning of one of the strangest yet sweetest relationships in my life,but let´s stick to the story here. Salvador was gone, but I would do anything necessary to honor the great man,citizen and musicologist he was.
For months, I would feel a warm hand run over my button nose-the kitty snout as he would call it while tweaking it softly- or his hand upon my shoulder. Love has a way of never letting you out of its viselike grip. I leave off here,dearest reader of mine.Tears are coming to my eyes as I write this. But I still smile.He would have never had it any other way.