Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Think twice before painting a whole nation with broad strokes, avoid the ‘single story’ trap

am-dirtThe last thing I’m going to do is review a book I’ve not read.

Plenty of people are pouncing all over “American Dirt,” especially Latino writers. They don’t need another old white guy to wade in.

The major complaints seem to be around author Jeanine Cummins’ tone-deaf characterizations of immigrants, Mexicans mostly. Her characters could have been more nuanced, more richly detailed, less stereotypical, the critics say.

Some also resent that she made an extraordinary amount of money for writing this story, as though her seven-figure payoff sucked the oxygen right out of the cultural-literary writing room — money that maybe could have gone to authentic Latin/Mexican writers.

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

I started the day by rescuing a hummingbird

IMG_8883I started the day by rescuing a hummingbird

That had been locked in the atrium all night

And was exhausted from beating

Its wings and head

Against the glass.

It rejected my offer of help last night.

Exhaustion and a cold night made it wiser today.

And freedom is its reward.

And then I walked Moppit, the philosopher dog

While counting the hot-air balloons in the sky.

And took a Pilates class.

And stopped at Buonforno’s for a latte

With Bastoncito de avellanas.

Delicious.

I wrote something funny/mean about Donald Trump

That I do not regret

And something important for a friend

Who is not happy with

The way this world is today

And wants to do something about it.

I gave another friend

Directions to the laundry.

A laundry.

There are so many.

All morning, I said

“Buenos Dias” and “Hola”

To everyone I met and didn’t care

If they returned my smile,

Though nearly everyone does.

And now it is nearly noon.

I could have stopped

At “I started the day by rescuing a hummingbird,”

But I’m glad I didn’t.

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San Miguel de Allende

Miss the parade? Well, just hang around for a while …

IMG_9970Well, I missed the civic and military parade today.

As I turned on to the Ancha, I could see in the distance the bright green uniforms of the municipal sanitation crew, standing politely — and at a distance — behind the last of the horseback riders.

The horses always take up the rear of any San Miguel de Allende parade. And for good reason.

This parade celebrates the 1769 birth of Ignacio Allende — the city’s namesake and among the heroes who launched the War of Independence in 1810 that eventually drove Spain from the country. Continue reading

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized, Writings

Poem: A writer’s lament during the holidays

img_9813That moment when you realize the offbeat lead to a blog post that you have been struggling with since Thanksgiving isn’t really the lead to a blog post, but an offbeat poem that celebrates the particular insanity that grips us between Halloween and Boxer Day.

I say this, fully cognizant of the fact that I am not a poet.

So you must draw your own conclusions:

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, Rants and raves, Uncategorized, Writings

Dream sequence: Walking the Length of the Erie Canal

map-erie canalI have been asked today to discuss the proper way to traverse the Erie Canal, the 363-mile waterway that links Albany, New York, to Buffalo and the Great Lakes. 

Before we go any further, it is important for you to know that I was asked to deliver this talk in a dream.

I know.

It shocked me too.

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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, San Miguel de Allende, Uncategorized

Broken hearts, mescal dreams, and torch songs

San Miguel torch singer María Sánchez gave a stunning concert under the trees near Parque Juarez on Saturday, backed by the talent-rich Usual Suspects including Julián Arcos, Rubén Olivera, and Victor Monterrubio.

She is a wonderful singer for whom, my wife says, I carry a big crush. “He moans when she sings,” she tells friends.

Maybe so, on both accounts.

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María Sánchez with her beautiful new granddaughter, Olivia, after her performance.

Her singing does something to me. I can’t deny it. But I am mature enough to separate the singer from the song, from the real person beneath it all. I think. I mean, I was wondering “What on earth is María Sánchez doing singing outside, and at 1 p.m.?” So my imagination does slip in through the backdoor when she sings.

In my mind, she is a torch meant to burn only in the night when the heart and soul are at their darkest and most lonely. Obviously, I do have fantasies about María Sánchez. 

Rather than spoil her concert by trying to describe it, below is the story that wrote itself as I sat in the bright sunlight, listening to her sing. Any relationship to people living or dead is strictly coincidental. Blame it on mescal: Continue reading

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San Miguel de Allende, Writings

In the face of so many who died, ‘I am not resigned. I am not resigned. I am not resigned’

img_9851I have never been good with deaths, weddings, baptisms, or birthdays. Even holidays. Christmas always felt designed to highlight my personal ineptitude at selecting presents for people I love but should get to know better.

Lately, deaths seem to overshadow all else.

I don’t know about you, but I lost an awful lot of good colleagues and friends in 2019. Continue reading

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