Magical Realism, Writing, Fiction, Politics, Haiku, Books

miércoles, noviembre 30, 2005

Like Aunt Julia And The Scriptwriter

I've always loved Mario Vargas Llosa's Aunt Julia And The Scriptwriter, particularly the way some characters migrate from one story line to another. This is a very funny, very enjoyable book, and I recommend it.

And if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, sometime I'd like Manuel Acero to migrate from desde Desdemona and The Dream Antilles into my nonfiction writing to infuse it with greater passion. I'd like that especially this week, because the upcoming 1000th execution in the United States, now scheduled for 2 am on 12/2, is something he and I both want passionately to denounce. How, we wonder, can we pretend to be civilized when we fill our minds and our time with such barbarism? What do we have to do so that we can refuse to be our worst selves? Isn't killing 1,000 people too much by far?

martes, noviembre 29, 2005

Volcanic Eruption

This amazing photograph is not of San Sebastian's fictional volcano. This is a picture of Soufriere, just across from Montserrat. And this is a photo of its eruption. There was a huge one in 1995. You can read about it here. And yes, there was an evacuation. It was even on CNN. Is any of this somewhat familiar?

Isn't it amazing how art imitates life?

Why You And I Need desde Desdemona Badly, Part 8

Why You And I Need desde Desdemona Badly, Part 7

Why You And I Need desde Desdemona Badly, Part 6

Why You And I Need desde Desdemona Badly, Part 5

New Orleans, 11/29/05

domingo, noviembre 27, 2005

Two Heroes

Alejo Carpentier (1904-1980)

Novelista, ensayista y musicólogo cubano, que influyó notablemente en el desarrollo de la literatura latinoamericana, en particular a través de su estilo de escritura, que incorpora todas las dimensiones de la imaginación —sueños, mitos, magia y religión— en su idea de la realidad.

Is there any wonder he's a hero? And why, oh why have so few Norteamericanos read his work? It's been translated, and though the translation has to lose some of his inventions, it's still fabulous reading. I'm recommending The Lost Steps and The Kingdom Of This World for starters. I want everyone to experience, marvel and enjoy his idea de la realidad.

And then there's Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986). His total output is small, and someone has written it comes to less than a page a month for his life. But it's so completely extraordinary. It's all must read. I'm recommending The Aleph And Other Stories as a starter. These are small, jewel like works, and each can explode your mind.

And, of course, you don't have to buy these works on line. Remember: we want to support our local booksellers.

Why You And I Need desde Desdemona Badly, Part 4

viernes, noviembre 25, 2005

Two December Readings

Please join me for two readings from The Dream Antilles in December. The first will be in Hudson on December 9, 2005 from 5 pm to 7 pm at Spotty Dog Books and Ale, 440 Warren Street. As its name suggests, Spotty Dog has books and beer. It also has a great collection of art supplies. This will be a fun reading in a lively venue.

Then, on December 17, 2005, from 2 pm to 4 pm at Red Maple Books, 1191 Route 21 C, Harlemville, Ghent, New York, I'll be reading again. The store is just around the bend from the Hawthorne Valley School and Store. I'm honored to be the first person to read at this new book store, which opens this weekend. Congratulations to Nicole Furnee for finishing up the renovations and opening up!!

I'll be happy to sign your books (The Dream Antilles would be best, but I'll also sign anything else you want also) at these readings, and it'll be fun just to meet and talk. Bring your friends!

Why You And I Need desde Desdemona Badly, Part 3

jueves, noviembre 24, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving From desde Desdemona

Om Tara Tuttare Ture Svaha! Om Tara Tuttare Ture Svaha! Om Tara Tuttare Ture Svaha!

miércoles, noviembre 23, 2005

Why You And I Need desde Desdemona Badly, Part 2

martes, noviembre 22, 2005

Garcia Marquez, What's Up?

Garcia Marquez's new book, Memories of My Melancholy Whores, according to this review in the New York Times "turns out not to have been worth the wait." Ouch. And ouch again.

It's a small book, and at 115 pages, is much shorter than The Dream Antilles. So of course, we'll read it anyway, and hope that we find some pleasure in it. But we'll wait until we're sitting on the beach in desde Desdemona, and we'll remember that we love Garcia Marquez for all he's done in the past, before we open this slender volume. That way, we know that we're reading an old friend just for pleasure, not for snarkiness, nor for analysis. Just for ourselves.

Put another way, just because an icon receives a bad review in the Times doesn't remove him from our Pantheon. To get removed, you have to commit literary high crimes and misdemeanors, not just have a work not pan out. But don't worry: the names of those we've removed aren't going to be disclosed here. We've already forgotten that they existed.

Why You And I Need desde Desdemona Badly, Part 1

lunes, noviembre 21, 2005

The Great Mother Turtle

Oh what a joy! The facts about green turtles are here. What amazing creatures! It fills me with delight to look at them. And snorkeling near them as they graze on sea grass is as good an underwater experience as I can imagine. Enjoy!

viernes, noviembre 18, 2005

Dragonflies As Never Before

For the most remarkable photographs of dragonflies, like the ones who visit Bardo, just click here and click away to find species and then enlarge! So breathtaking I'm buzzing.

miércoles, noviembre 16, 2005

A Win For Trinidad Is A Win For desde Desdemona

John Coltrane Ramirez is completely overjoyed. His smile has been permanently affixed to his face since this morning. Why? you ask. In his morning newspaper he found the following article of great soccer importance:

MANAMA, Bahrain (AP) -- Trinidad and Tobago qualified for the World Cup for the first time, beating Bahrain 1-0 Wednesday to advance with a 2-1 aggregate.

Dennis Lawrence scored the only goal in the 49th minute. Trinidad rallied for a 1-1 tie in the first leg of the playoff series on Saturday at home.

Trinidad will be the least populated country at next year's World Cup in Germany. The Caribbean country has a population of about 1.3 million.

Bahrain earlier beat Uzbekistan in an Asian playoff, while Trinidad finished fourth in the final CONCACAF qualifying group from which the United States made the tournament. It is the first time CONCACAF has four teams in the World Cup.

Previously, the closest Trinidad came to qualifying was for the 1990 tournament. Needing a tie at home in its final game, the Soca Warriors lost 1-0 to the United States, which thus qualified for the event for the first time since 1950.

Trinidadians clad in their national colors -- red, white and black -- took to the streets of the capital, Port-of-Spain, jumping and screaming, while others cried over their first entry to the World Cup.

''I am overwhelmed. This is history: Trinidad and Tobago, we going to Germany, Oh God!'' said David Frederick, a 37-year-old construction worker.

Thousands of people left work after the victory and were celebrating on nearly every street corner in the capital, waving their country's flag. Motorists punctuated the carnival-like atmosphere by blowing their horns.

Nutor Blair, 30, a Guyanese man celebrating the victory outside a pub and holding a Trinidad flag, said: ''I am Guyanese, but a win for Trinidad is a win for the Caribbean.''

Other Caribbean teams to make the tournament were Cuba in 1938, Haiti in 1974 and Jamaica in 1998.

Bahrain went 1-5-4 in its final 10 qualifiers.

Yes, a win for Trinidad, according to John Coltrane Ramirez, is a win for desde Desdemona. He too is overwhelmed. He is delighted by the play of Dennis Lawrence and Jones Kenwyne (pictured here), even though they are strikers and antelopes. And he knows that even though desde Desdemona has fewer than 1.3 million people, you just cannot rule out its chances some day for World Cup play.

lunes, noviembre 14, 2005

Same Idea, Another Ocean

No, it's not the Caribbean. No, it's not desde Desdemona. That's the wrong ocean. This is Bora Bora. Yet another iteration of Paradise. This one touches me deeply, but not quite as deeply as desde Desdemona. You can book airfare to Bora Bora in French Poynesia. Try it to desde Desdemona. The difference isn't just remoteness.

And then, there's this. Same idea in Myanmar.

Only it's on a lake. Another iteration of Paradise. A different flavor. But so beautiful.

viernes, noviembre 11, 2005

Reading In Lenox Mass: Saturday, 11/12/05

I'll be reading from The Dream Antilles at The Bookstore, Housatonic Street, Lenox, Massachusetts between 2 and 4 pm on Saturday, November 12, 2005, tomorrow. This is a great bookstore, and there will be wine, refreshments, good company, a chance to visit, an opportunity to get books signed (I will sign books written by others as well). Matthew Tannenbaum, who owned the Bookstore for nearly 30 years, informs me that he's just received more than 200 different jazz cd's which will be for sale tonight and tomorrow. Please join us for a good time! And if you can't make it, and have friends who are nearby and might like to come, be sure to tell them about this.

lunes, noviembre 07, 2005

A Short Review And A Reading

Writing in The Paper for November, 2005, Ruth Bass includes The Dream Antilles in The Paper's "annual attempt to round up the regional authors who have produced a new book in the past 12 months." About The Dream Antilles, she writes:

David Seth Michaels, who lives and works in Spencertown, NY, is working on several levels here. He entertains, he teaches lessons, he provokes thought, as he takes the reader to a fantastical Caribbean island that is trying to stay out of sight.

The island's people live in tree houses because periodic high tides totally submerge the island and would wash away any other kind of housing. Their unit of money is called a Sonrise, and it's printed in rainbow colors, decorated with a dolphin, a dugout canoe and a local fruit.

The book offers a new view of reality from folks who are hanging on to their isolation, people who think "simple things, like catching a bass, were intended to be more delightful than castles and gold."

It's not every day that Manuel Acero's father gets quoted in the Berkshires and in English. A special thanks to The Paper and to Ruth Bass for this kind mention.

And speaking of the Berkshires, on Saturday, November 12, 2005, at 2 pm I'll be at the Bookstore on Housatonic Street, in Lenox reading from The Dream Antilles. Proprietor Matthew Tannebaum has a wonderful bookstore worth a detour, some upscale Cabernet, and a fascinating group of patrons. Join us!!

sábado, noviembre 05, 2005

Mar Del Plata

When you're sitting in the US and looking toward South America, it's hard to know what the US looks like from there. And then every once in a while something happens, Mar del Plata is an example, and you can see exactly what US foreign policy looks like from South America and how it feels.

I don't approve of violence. But it's really important to inquire, "Why are these people feeling like this? Exactly what role does the US play in their lives? Why are these people so angry?" A hint: do you know whether there is or is not electricity today in Cancun Centro? And if by chance you don't know, do you know how to find out?

jueves, noviembre 03, 2005

A Great Offer

Our friends at Amazon are making an incredible offer today. If you buy The Dream Antilles from them, they give you a great deal on Gabriel Cousen's wonderful raw food "cook" book, Rainbow Green Live-Food Cuisine. Click here for that. This I am sure will propel The Dream Antilles into today's best selling 150,000 books!!! If it doesn't, you can still make an incredible raw desert with the directions in Rainbow Green Live Food. How can you lose? Yippie!!

martes, noviembre 01, 2005

Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay

This is my chair. I sit in it and look for stories. When I look into the sea in front of me, I see the stories. Some of the stories are in ancient languages that nobody now recognizes, let alone speaks. Some look like beer pretzels. Some are just fragments. Some are so wonderful that I involuntarily say, "Ahh," when I examine them. Those are the ones I want to harvest, bring up onto the beach, and harvest. It's not a secret that this is how I find my stories. And it's not a secret that the sea is brimming with them. All you have to do is look.

Sometimes I think finding the stories in the sea is a lot like The Polar Express. You have to believe in the stories to see them.