Day 23. Brevity is the soul of wit #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 23rd

Sometimes I think I am witty, but as my daughter always tells me, it’s the sort of wit that only I can understand.

I want to talk about my friend and author Manuel Valderrama Donaire, that I have mentioned already in another slice of life. He is a fan of our writer’s workshop and once in a while he pops in to see how we are doing and shares his latest work in progress. It’s always fun to hear what he has to say. He is an avid reader and knows a lot about literature and history. A good writer has to be a good reader, he says. He has a radio show called the irreverent reader, but he is also an irreverent writer.

Three years ago, I read one of his three novels, Uno de los vuestros (PeZsapo, 2016), a very witty and sarcastic short novel where he touches on the Spanish 21st century economic crisis and corruption in a humorous way. Through the life of Juan Anselmo, the protagonist, Manuel calls into question the entire society, and the things that people can do to be what is considered ¨successful and  powerful.” I went to the launching of this book at the public library of my town, where I met Manuel for the first time and learned that we live very close by.

Despite living in the same small town, I never saw Manuel again until I joined the writer’s workshop last October. Then I realized he has published a third and more ambitious novel, Egolatría [Egotism]. I kept thinking I should read it since I was seeing him more often. I was being cheap, and decided to check his book out at the public library. I already had so many books to read that never opened it. Then I thought, I should buy the book and support local authors. He is the type of writer that I want to keep publishing.

I pushed away the temptation of grabbing my phone and getting the novel in one click, and probably cheaper, via Amazon. Instead, at the beginning of March, I stopped by at the local bookstore, had a nice chat with the owner, and bought the last copy. It felt good. I saw Manuel two times after my purchase. I knocked my head on the wall for not having the book with me, so he can sign it.

Last Thursday, I had the hunch he was going to join us at our workshop, so I put the book in my already full backpack. And voilá, when I entered in the room, there he was! I got the autograph! The book is now in my suitcase, and will fly with me to the States. When I finish it, I promise I will write about it.

Manuel also fed my own “egotism” by writing a very nice dedication on the title page. I feel flattered and humbled at the same time, and so inspired. Now I need to write a novel since I can´t be brief. I hope I keep my wit, even if I am the only one that understands it.

A mi compañera escritor y amiga, Pía, que lleva el metrónomo de una novelista insertada en su prosa. Mil gracias y un besazo, Manuel VD” [To my fellow writer and friend, Pia, who carries the metronome of a novelist inserted in her prose. A thousand thanks and a big kiss, Manuel VD]

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Day 15. Thursday’s sins #sol19 #solsc

slice-of-life_individualMarch 15th:

The seven cardinal, or deadly sins are famous among Spaniards’ Catholic tradition. To combat one against temptation from them are the seven virtues of chastity, temperance, charity, diligence, patience, kindness, and humility.

I remember my dad knew them by heart, and every time we started a conversation about sins and virtues he recited:

Contra soberbia, humildad. [Against pride, humility]
Contra avaricia, generosidad.[Against greed, charity]
Contra lujuria, castidad.[Against lust, chastity]
Contra ira, paciencia.[Against wrath, patience]
Contra gula, templanza.(Against gluttony, temperance]
Contra envidia, caridad.[Against Envy, kindness]
Contra pereza, diligencia. [Against sloth, diligence]

In his late years, he always finished this litany with pride and a grin. As saying, I still remember…and probably being transported to the 1940s when he was sent to a somber Catholic boarding school for boys in a small town in Southern Chile. It was not a happy boarding school. Not like the one for rich and famous for sure. There he learned about the deadly sins and how to battle them. He was ten.

Spaniards have a great sense of humor and love to laugh about themselves. For this reason, they are more attracted to the deadly sins than their counterparts virtues.

Around two years ago, María, the leader of my writing workshop, pushed its members to their limits and invited them to write a book about the seven capital sins. Each of the nine members, including María, who is an amazing writer, wrote seven short stories, one for each sin. Yesterday at the public library of my town, was the launching of the book Los pecados de los jueves (Thursday´s sinsby Triskel ediciones.  It was presented by Manuel Valderrama Donaire, a local writer. I just acquired his last book called Egolatría (Egotism). Now, you have to read it told me my husband when I arrived proudly with the book, hehehe. Anyway, Manuel is a big fan of our workshop and every now and then shows up casually to listen to our stories and share some of his writings. It was captivating to hear him talking about the capital sins, and how they can be related to writers and literature. And of course, to each of the nine authors of Thursday’s Sins.

Lust (lujuria), who hasn’t committed it? Valderrama asked, and everybody smiled.

Gluttony (gula), Alexander Dumas and Jules Verne met while they were arguing about how to make a real Nantes Omelette. At least this is what the legend says.

Greed (avaricia) if you write to be rich you chose the wrong path.

Pereza (Sloth). Micro-stories, aphorisms are to certain degree when writers sin of sloth.

Wrath (Ira). According to Wikipedia, Filippo Argenti, a politician from 13th century Florence made it into the fifth circle of  Hell in the Inferno, the first part of Dante Alighieri’s Divine Comedy as one of  the wrathful in the river Styx.

Envy (envidia). The rivalry between Cervantes and Lope de Vega is well known. Surprisingly, it seems that Lope de Vega was more envied by Cervantes than the other way around.

Pride (soberbia), all writers to certain degree have sinned of pride. Who doesn’t like to be read or have thought at least once that what they wrote is better than anybody else?


Some of my colleagues read their stories aloud, and shared their experiences in the beloved Thursday Writing Workshop. Thursday´s Sins is their second book. The first one was published in 2016 by Ulzama Digital, and is called La espuma de los jueves (Thursday´s Foam). Yesterday, I was lucky enough to get a signed copy of this rare book by five of the authors that are still members of the Thursday writing workshop, and one former member who was present at the launching.

I joined this workshop last October, so I wasn´t part of the book. I hope I will in the next one, that María is already plotting.

 

 

 

About writing: The oak that shook the world

Writing exercise 01Writing exercise 02Writing exercise 03

When I was finishing my MLIS at CUA in April 2006, one of the tasks we have to do was to prepare a portfolio with all the classes we had taken that somehow reflected our expertise in school libraries.

Today I was looking for something else and found that analog portfolio. I started browsing it, and caught my attention this piece I wrote (see above picture). I didn’t remember doing it, until little by little my brain started to put pieces together and recalling the details of it.

In the Fall of 2003, I was working as a resource assistant (interpreter and translator) at Barrett Elementary school, in Arlington, Virginia. My job was OK, have lots of interactions with parents, and worked very closely with the parent liaison leading workshop together for Hispanic parents around the Washington DC area. She became my best and lasting friend. Sometimes, though, I was buried in my office translating 600 reports cards comments. So, I was always looking for ways of learning more, and seeing ways of crossing the limitations of my position as an assistant .

When I learnt the teaching staff was going to take a class called The teaching of Writing, PK-6 with Jane Hansen, author of When writers read, and professor at the Curry School of Education from the University of Virginia, I remember running into the principal’s office (who at that time was now retired Terry Bratt), begging her to let me take the course. She looked and smiled at me, and was kind enough to let me participate. Thank you Terry!!!

All what I remember from now on it’s speculative. When I looked at the piece I wrote (and made), my guess was that we needed to write a book review of Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life by Natalie Goldberg, (Bantam, 1990). Probably, one of the exercises that Golberg (or our professor) was suggesting to do for writing was to cut unfinished sentences from magazines and glue them randomly, but in lines with space in between, on a piece of paper, and then…fill in the blanks without too much thinking. Probably that’s what I did (lot’s of grammar mistakes, but that’s just me, a life long ESOL ).

Here is a transcription of my piece. In bold and colored are the unfinished sentences from magazines (I kept the original upper and lower cases of the magazines).

Wild Mind: Living the Writer’s Life

by Natalie Goldberg,
(Bantam, 1990)

The Last Word of Goldberg’s book is write.
The first word is Life.
That’s what to certain degree reflects the idea of this book.
Writing is Life. Life is Writing.
Golberg is A Writer Who Beat the Odds of redundancy.
In Chile When Times Were difficult, we used to help each other.
There are True tales from her life. She loves to hear her voice. That’s for sure.
Why Even Try to write or dedicate your life to teach writing if you don’t write? DON’T BE so stuffy. Just let it go. Keep your hand moving, and let it run as smoothly as possible. Don’t let the editor to interrupt. How can we make the flow flow?

Tough, We Went ‘Bare’ riding bareback. That doesn’t make sense.

Anyway, while I’m sitting in my office I’m thinking in all the clothes I need to fold. Is your laundry amount as ours?
WHAT’S IN A NAME? 
Creativity, a history of searching.
Mine MAKE PEOPLE’S
 eyes pop out. It’s so difficult to pronounce [my name]. They say: “What a pretty name”, but I know what they really are saying is “What a strange name!”
The original or The Imitation?
I don’t want to divide our lives in your world and my world.
We are are two. We need TO RIDE together.  He looked at me with such a pain in his eyes, I felt a poison arrow in my chest. I hit him hard.
I was talking  about a culture on the verge of collapse. I was thinking that he LIVES BETTER. Calm, wise, firm, tender. All the characteristics of a good human being.
Everybody is accelerated.
We should pay more attention to MAGIC. Otherwise, There’s no relief in sight.
Everyday life has lost its sight. If true, we’re all in trouble. Where did we leave our dreams?
I do is to easy to say when you get married. Then Expect The Incomparable.
It’s like salt and pepper. Shake them well, and maintain them even. Don’t put too much though.
A FREE spirit doesn’t mean you have to destroy your opponent, to say mean words.
Slamming the others won’t take you anywhere.
I have to BURN BAD KARMA. An evil is inside my mind and makes me say mean words and be unhappy.
They were LEFT BEHIND! Why you didn’t wait for them? I JUST GO TO the laundry room. Remember? I have to do my laundry.
Now it’s My Turn of doing the dishes. Really? That’s nice, you know?
What a Long, and dreadful day I have today.

The jobless people in the States can survive. In Chile they don’t. Destiny or Disaster? Who knows.
If the shoe fits I will make Donna happy. The best thing to do is to get them as a birthday present.
“ALL OF WHAT I do, I do it for you. Liar! You do it for you. I WORK EVERY DAY to bring food to this table and never receive any kind gesture from your part. Why are we being so negative? Might be these words.Have a good trip AND ENJOY IT.”We will have time TO GROW older together.

WHY’S THE SKY BLUE? Because the elephant was tired of the gray firmament, put blue paint in his trunk and tossed it in the sky. The next morning the whole space was blue, cerulean blue.
The cereal is here. But it is too high. I cannot reach it, Mami! Go AND HELP your brother! Don’t you see I am busy? I have TO DELIVER this package, I have TO FEED the dog, and still you expect me to run immediately and get your cereal?

Oh well, IT’S GOOD anyway.
What?
The book. Kind of redundant. Yet Another source of inspiration. Some paragraphs are very entertaining and other are useful. It’s a Strange Trip to Golberg’s life. (Sometimes I couldn’t stand her examples). She wanted TO ILLUMINATE us, poor beginners.
Yeah! Look how good a writer I am.
You are mad.
No, maybe envious :).
(RE)COLOR MY WORLD. Give me a break.
And Now You Know what to say.
Rest in Peace?
No way. I need TO MEET my voice, my hidden voice. It’s Just the Beginning. Mix feeling of reading. If you like to look at my point as a way TO THRIVE in your writings.

An oak is massive. And firm. THAT SHOOK THE WORLD


 

Fifteen years have passed by. Certainly this was a fun exercise I would like to try again with students or with myself. Probably, I will have a tougher time finding the unfinished sentences from magazines. I might get a dentist appointment and steal some of them from the waiting room.

Las cosas que perdemos

Hace cinco días he perdido mis gafas para nadar en alguna parte de mi pueblo. A las nueve de la mañana fui a nadar a la piscina del polideportivo. Había ido en bici, por lo que llevaba las gafas colgando de una mano. Al salir de la piscina me fui a tomar desayuno a un bar y se alargó tanto la conversación que tuve que irme directamente a una cita de rutina que tenía al doctor con el bañador mojado y las mismas gafas junto con la toalla colgando al cuello. Al volver a mi casa, me di cuenta que ya no las tenía. Me dio mucha pena, pues eran unas gafas que me había comprado en un outlet en EEUU por 12 dólares y que al fin me quedaban bien, es decir, que no tenía que parar en cada brasada porque me entraba agua a los ojos. Debo confesar que nunca había gastado tanto en unas gafas, pues mientras mis hijos y mi marido siempre se compraban lo mejorcito, yo me contentaba con las gafas que ellos desechaban y bueno, siempre resultaban un poco mierdecillas. Por lo mismo, me sentía orgullosa de finalmente haber dedicado parte del presupuesto familiar a la compra egoista de unas gafas para mi. Además tenían un plus, el diseño del marco tenía la bandera de EEUU, cosa que me hacía sentir parte del equipo de natación estadounidense de los juegos olímpicos y estar nadando a la altura de Michel Phelps. o Katie Ledecky .

LGSPLUSA-642_4
Ahora que veo en TYR Sports que el precio de esta joyita es casi de US$30, más rabia me da

Repasé todas mis vueltas en bicicleta desde las nueve de la mañana, pregunté en el bar donde desayuné, y en el ambulatorio y dejé encargado en la piscina a los monitores que si veían a un seudo Michel Phelps por las inmediaciones, lo interrogaran. En fin, en el bar me miraron con cara de que estaban escondiendo las gafas debajo del mesón, en el ambulatorio el doctor que me atendió me dijo que el ponía en venta todo lo que dejaban sus pacientes en su consulta y los monitores, cuando les dije cómo eran las gafas, me dijeron que si eran “chulas”, me olvidara de ellas.

Volví a la casa muy desalentada. Cuando estaba abriendo la puerta de entrada se me vino a la cabeza el pensamiento recurrente que tengo cada vez que pierdo algo, que es un vivo deseo que me gustaría que se me cumpliera cuando me muera. Una vez se lo comenté a mi familia y consideraron que yo le pedía muy poco a la muerte. Pero no sé por qué, a mi me gustaría, en el momento de mi muerte, que me pasaran una película no de mi vida, ni de lo que hice o dejé de hacer, sino más bien de dónde fueron a parar todas las cosas que se me han perdido o, para asumir mi responsabilidad, que he perdido y que recuerdo vívidamente su pérdida.

¿Dónde fueron a parar los múltiples aritos que he perdido y han hecho que en los últimos cinco años haya decidido ponerme aros diferentes en cada oreja y que la gente me mire  y me diga, perdona, se te ha perdido un aro? ¿O que la ayudante del laboratorio de ciencias del cole donde trabajaba, cuando le dije que me gustaba usar aritos diferentes, me dijera que era muy rara? Esta última observación francamente me hizo pensar en lo aburrida que debía ser la vida de esta persona, si me encontraba rara por esta nimiedad cuando en la calle circula gente con unos tatuajes enormes, aretes gigantes en los labios, la lengua, los pezones y la nariz y vestimenta muchísimo más estrafalaria que la mía.

Una de mis cuñadas muy queridas siempre me ha regalado aritos de gran artesanía y de lugares donde ella ha vivido. Uno de estos pares fueron unos aritos de la República Checa. Era julio del 2009 e íbamos a San Francisco al consulado español, para conseguir nuestras visas para mudarnos a España. A mi se me perdió uno de los aros checos en nuestro coche, un Nissan Pathfinder rojo, durante este trajecto. Sé que fue adentro del coche durante el viaje, quizás en una de las paradas a repostar o comprarnos un balde de coca-cola o café para seguir conduciendo. No hubo caso que revisáramos los asientos y el suelo mil y una vez; el aro nunca fue encontrado. En recuerdo de esta pérdida que me recordaba tanto a mi cuñada, nunca me saqué a su pareja de la oreja, hasta hace unos meses, en que no sé dónde ni cómo lo he perdido. Cuando mi cuñada supo que ya no tenía uno de los aros, me regaló otro par, también muy bonito, de una piedra y técnica peculiar de Georgia, el país donde estaba viviendo el 2011 y dónde habíamos ido a pasar la Navidad. Uno de esos aros lo perdí al año siguiente, en la habitación en la que alojábamos en la casa de mi otra cuñada cerca de Seattle. Recuerdo que también pusimos todo patas arriba, desarmamos la cama y buscamos en la alfombra sin éxito. Decidí decirle a mi cuñada que desistiera de regalarme aros, pues era un caso perdido.

Arito
Sacarse un selfie de un aro es muy difícil

El año pasado, otra de mis cuñadas que es profesora de arte y muy artista, al oir estas historias y saber que yo siempre llevaba aros desparejados, me regaló uno suelto hecho por ella y que nunca había tenido pareja, por lo que a las dos nos pareció la combinación perfecta. Ahora lo llevo puesto. Ya llevo un año sin sacármelo ni perderlo, pues ese es el truco y la condición: solo puedo usar aritos que no necesite cambiarme ni sacarme nunca, ni siquiera en la ducha, la piscina o en la práctica de algún deporte. Creo que solamente me he sacado los aros cuando he presentado una obra de teatro o me lo ha pedido mi propia instructora de teatro, o hace poco yo misma, cuando aprendía a hacer surf, pues después de haberme doblado el dedo meñique con la tabla, no me pareció muy alentador circular con un lóbulo sangrante.

 

 

Hace muchísimo tiempo, ya casi 25 años, cuando Steve y yo vivíamos recién casados en Arlington, Virginia, decidimos ofrecernos de voluntarios para ir en kayak por el río Potomac a limpiar parte de sus riberas. La verdad es que quedé tan impresionada de la cantidad de pelotas de tenis que encontramos que le dije a Steve que desde ese momento ya sabía adónde iban a parar todas las pelotas del mundo. Recuerdo que nos sacamos con el grupo una foto con una montaña de basura consistente en su mayoría en un montón de neumáticos, desechos varios y las mentadas pelotas de tenis. Veinte años después quise replicar esa iniciativa en el cole donde trabajaba, para que los estudiantes crearan consciencia de la cantidad de porquerías que producíamos, a través de una excursión a las playas de la costa de la luz en España, donde recogeríamos basura en las playas. Quedé impresionada de la poca aceptación que tuvo mi iniciativa entre alguno de los alumnos. Yo creía que todos iban a saltar de alegría al saber que estaban cooperando con un granito de arena casi literal a hacer de nuestro planeta y espacio un lugar menos sucio.

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Una foto muy similar a ésta nos sacamos en 1994, cuando fuimos a limpiar el río Potomac con Steve y nuestros vecinos de Arlington, Seth y Julie. ¿Qué será de ellos? Esta foto, sin embargo, es de una limpieza en kayak que organizó el Northern Virginia Conservation Trust en el arroyo de Hunting  en septiembre 2017

¿Y no les pasa, cuando recogen la ropa después de lavarla, y se dan cuenta que tienen millones de calcetines perdidos, solitarios incapaces de reunirse con su pareja, y ustedes son incapaces a resignarse a tirarlos a la basura? A mi me ocurre todo el tiempo. En alguna ocasión, ante la alternativa de contaminar aún más, se los di a mi hija para que los convirtiera en unos títeres muy tiernos.  Hay calcetines que guardo con la esperanza de encontrar su pareja veinte años después, cuando ya mis hijos se han ido de la casa y el calcetín no les cabría ni en el dedo gordo del pie. ¿Y no les gustaría saber dónde se han ido? A mi si, me encantaría que estuvieran incluídos en la película que me va a mostrar cuando me esté muriendo una directora como la Sofía Coppola, quien me explicará con imagenes contundentes el paradero de estos objetos pertinaces.

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Mis calcetines huachos

Como todas las películas buenas y marketeras tienen segundas partes, también me gustaría saber cómo han llegado a mi poder chalecos, camisetas, toallas y algunos adminículos de cocina que yo no recuerdo haber comprado o que me los hayan regalado.

Mi vida es una película constante. Creo que empezaré una serie y se la venderé a HBO.

PD: Steve quiere que añada dónde se van las tapas de las ruedas de nuestro auto, que según los amigos de Vincent, son de cani.

 

Once upon a typewriter: from analog to digital

My analog life…

I think my professional development started from the day I was born.

I grew up in a family of readers where all the discussions at the dinner table ended up with a dictionary or an encyclopedia. My first memories of 4 or 5 years old are from my dad’s made up oral stories, and the books he made  for us with cardboard, newspaper clips and cartoons. My parents also have “los palos de los domingos” which was basically a wicker basket filled with a bunch of wooden blocks that they gave us to play with only on Sundays. I remember looking at my mom getting to the highest part of her closet to get the basket and give it to my younger brother and I. What a treat! I thought it was a huge basket. Years later I saw it, and it was not more like the size of a paper basket we have now in our bedroom and use as a garbage bin.

Diary
An old photo of my best friend since 3rd grade that I glued in my diary of 1975

During school, —besides books—-, notebooks, pen and pencils played a big role in my development. I really liked to write. I started a diary at age 10, and didn’t stop writing periodically on it until I was around 32 when I got my first, very own, desktop computer.

Snail mail served me immensely to expand my horizons. At age 10, I got on the quest of reading the entire collection of Enyd Blyton’s books, and with the help of my dad, I started to import them from Spain. I don’t remember the details of how we got the books to our house, but still checking a list from an editor from Spain, and striking out from it any new book I was receiving. At age 12, I started to have pen pals from all over the Americas. I remember especially one from Argentina who was very cute, and another one who wrote me from the US. His name was Modesto Mamani. He wrote me with a typewriter filled with Spanish grammar and spelling errors, and ink stains all over. He was quite old for me also. Nonetheless, I received letter, paper clips, photos and a lively interchange that was also the delight of my brothers who enjoy reading and laughing at me and my “love letters”.

c58932e831d42c8be2c0cad35a35ffb6In high school, almost all our work was done handwritten. In special occasions, our dad brought his typewriter home, and we could type on it, part of our work. When he upgraded his typewriter, we, children inherited, and shared during our last years of high school and first years of undergraduate school, a black Underwood typewriter which letter “h” always got stuck. Being a History major, I hated when I messed up with a footnote, since I needed to start almost all over again. After losing a couple of stories because of giving away the originals, I kept a folder with carbon copies. It was always a challenge aligning the three papers together, and changing the ribbon was always a mess.

The Xerox machine was also one of our allies. Around Campus, it was a mafia of photocopy machines businesses that profited of book-hungry students. We photocopied articles, books, classmates notes… Copyright laws were not enforced and when a book needed to be shared with 100 students, we forgot about them.

Around 1984, a big change in how delivering papers happen. The electric typewriter arrived in our household. And also wite-out correctors. Nonetheless, I was not an expert typewriter, and have to give my undergraduate thesis to a secretary to write it nice and neatly. It ended up with a bunch of typos anyway.

Not too far on the road we got our first household computer and printer. It was one of those continuous-feed punched hole paper printers with just one font. Our computer had floppy disk drives. During finals, and paper deadlines approaching, I remember chilling out or procrastinating by playing Digger which was addicting. Floppy disks was the start of a career collecting mountains of them and explore other ways of storing the massive amount of information that we were accumulating.

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Source: Sandra Schoen at Pixabay

Presentations were made with posters, and manual prompts. In my family we were really fans of slides, and preferred them over printed photos. It was also an excused to get together with family and friends, and show our latest adventure through a slide projector in the living room of our home. We even went into audio-media presentations by putting texts on hand made slides, and finding music that we recorded in the newly discovered technology: tape recorders.

In 1990, I went with a Fulbright scholarship to the US. Writing papers became easier and easier thanks to word processors. We still relied heavily on paper, and the World Wide Web was just starting. Faxes were the thing of the time to communicate with my family since phone calls were expensive, and regular mail too slow.

The 1990s was the starting of the information explosion but still it was only one way. We started to find more information on the internet, and by the mid 1990s,  Eudora email was in full blast for interchanging information. I remember working with a project in the Southern part of Chile to train 41 rural high school teachers to work with their students collaboratively via emails. Now,  that I think about it, we were quite the pioneers.

In 1993,  when I wrote my first book, I still did a lot of the research with pen and paper, and photocopying many XIX century sources from the National Library in Chile. When came the time to write the actual chapters, I remember being so excited since I could cut and paste, and put footnotes and citation at my leisure. At the end, the editor asked me to removed them all since the book was aimed to the layman and woman. Another thing was the storage of the chapters. The famous floppy disks started to be too small for the entire book. Backing the information up became a nightmare, and you never wanted to be in the situation of inserting the disk, and hear a sound like a non greasy wheel.

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Eudora Mail Interface

And then “puff!” we became digital…

By the early 21st century, things started to change rapidly. In year 2000 I moved with my family to the US. I have my own laptop, and did all the search for work on the internet at my remote mother-in-law ranch house in Montana. Eventually we ended up in the East coast, where I worked as education coordinator for a Hispanic NGO and parent liaison and translator for an elementary school. We were still pretty analog. Cell phones were pretty basics and still analog for us (we couldn’t afford a digital one until  the next decade). In 2004, when I started my Master in Library Science, I had two small children and was working full time. By the time, I got my first Ipod. I had so much reading to do, that if it wasn’t for the time spent listening to books on my ipod while commuting to work or class, I wouldn’t have been able to finish all the assignments. I remember driving after classes late at night through Constitution Ave. in Washington DC, listening to a conference where they talked about Ipod_1Gthe democratization of knowledge, and Thomas F. Friedman’s book The world is flat.

Since I was working full time, I was exposed for the first time to online classes which I found fascinating and daunting, depending on your professor’s experience on understanding this new way of delivering. I remember while visiting my family during Christmas break, I listen to the entire book The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, while driving on a remote gravel road in Chile trying to find internet access to fulfill one of the requirements of one of my online classes.

When I finished my MLIS in 2006, the digital world was already on. I started to work as a brand new school librarian in Oregon. Being an information specialist, this new world did matter very much to me. One of my major concerns while doing my master though, was the digital divide. I thought that libraries where the answer despite the fact that my professor of CLSC 557 Libraries and Societies told me, when he handed me back my book analysis paper: “The report you chose has nothing to do with libraries, but you managed to make the connection.”  My “book” was a 2003 [brick] report from Cepal,  Building an Information Society: A Latin American and Caribbean Perspective. It still bugs me that he thought that it didn’t have a clear and straight connection with libraries and societies. I think it’s more and more relevant.

analogvsdigital
Source: Stux at Pixabay

Anyway, that point I started to go to conferences where the integration of technology was “the thing” ( see my post 🙂 I felt a little bit left behind since making the leap was through fancy cell phones, and I couldn’t even think of having one digital. I just wanted to have one to practice. Nonetheless, I tackled things in an unorthodox way, and joined the e-coach community at the district level  where a bunch of nerd teachers shared their wisdom about technology and form cohorts to help other teachers to integrate it in their own practice. As a librarian, I gave my thoughts about digital citizenship, academic honesty and responsible use of information, so both, teachers and students understood the cycle of information and the importance of having a respectable digital footprint. It was the time of edublogs, wikis, and all things 2.0. that pretty soon became 3.0 and beyond.

Now, as a proud owner of a decent digital phone (thanks to my techie brother, who, last year, gave me one since he couldn’t believe that I was surviving in the world with a Samsung Galaxy Core Prime), I can do over the phone all the things that I did one by one  in my life-span: read books,  schedule and have online professional and personal meetings, communicate with people via email, whatsapp, instagram, facebook, twitter, skype, make decent videos in less that an hour, track the sales of our online store GringoCool, watch movies on Netflix, track my bike rides, prepare online workshops, grade online projects, find interesting professionals to follow, attend conferences, take amazing photos, check my blog posts, track the weather or find the cheapest time to run the dishwasher or dryer…to name just a few…

phone world
Source: Geralt at Pixabay

With my laptop, I can do those things and more. I can develop content online, prepare audio visual presentations, participate in writing clubs like #CCCWrite, obtain my virtual digital certification from UC, Irvine without moving from my desk in Spain, participate in a wider learning community that makes me connect in real time with people all over the world. I have so much agency (another fad word) of my own learning. How can we teach our students in this world that we are still learning how to navigate ourselves? Still, the concepts are the same: life long learning, critical thinking, collaboration, reading, writing, analyzing… Is it just a new format? Is it just new wine into old wineskins or old wine in new bottles?

With all these, my concerns are different: I think I am losing focus, and not finding the time to do all the things I would like to do, in both, the analog and digital world.

Time to rewire my brain again…

Multitasking
Source: Geralt at Pixabay

Conferences: fairy tales, thrillers or crime novels?

I am a slow thinker, and when everybody else is moving to the next page, I am still mulling on the first, and usually when I arrive home, is when I have the best comments of something that already happen. If I go for a run, or a bike ride, then, everything is clear and crisp. Being in Spain is giving me the advantage that I am 9 hours ahead of California, so I can feel that I am posting my second blog entry for the Reflective Writing Club on time #CCCWrite

I haven’t attended too many conferences because my position as a school librarian is difficult to fund by schools. Conferences are expensive, you don’t only have to pay the fees but also room and board during the days that the conference last, and ask for leave days which are a nightmare for administrators.

In the early 1990s,

I remember when I was a graduate history student at SUNY, Stony Brook. I attended a history conference in New York city. Paying the fee was very affordable as a Fulbright student. I was very excited. There were so many lecture options to attend, and they were so many books and papers given away, that at the end of each day, I could barely walk with all the weight I was carrying. I got overwhelm by the amount of information and possibilities. I couldn’t stand the fact that two sessions I was interested in, where given at the same time.  Soon enough I realized that almost all the presentations were very boring. Professor just sat in front of an audience, and read their papers out loud in a monotone voice. I couldn’t stand it. I figured out that the best way spending my time at the conference was by going to the rooms of the lectures I was interested in, and collect a print copy of the papers that they were giving away, and read them at home. I still have great memories of them. I learned that I can be more exciting that an old professor, and thankful that now papers and conferences can be posted and found online.

In the  mid 2000s,

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As a  certified teacher-librarian in Oregon, I had a very supportive principal and attended three very exciting and engaging conferences in which I met authors such as Susan Patron (The higher power of lucky) (Making Waves, OASL 2007 Conference Seaside, OR),  or Frank McCourt (Angela’s ashes), John Green, Pete Hautman, and Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye, at the joint OASL/WLMA 2008 Conference in Portland, Oregon, exactly 5 days after I ran the full Portland marathon with my sister-in-law;

MarcoTorresatworkor at the Instructional Technology Strategies Conference (ITSC) sponsored by OETC in February 2009, in Portland, Oregon where I heard keynote speaker Ken Robinson, and attended a workshop with high school history-film teacher, storyteller, and guru Marco Torres . Funny thing was that when this last conference was over, I was laid off by my school district due to the economic crisis, where school librarians and newbies like me were the first one in letting go.

All these experiences, I tried to transmit them in my daily routine, by joining committees in my school district, collaborating with other organizations in the community, helping teachers integrating technology in their classrooms, and exposing my students with new readings, authors and ideas.

In the 2010s,

Here in Spain I have to rely on my own capacity for attending conferences. The last two I attended where in October and November of last year. In both cases, I was able to attend just because I am taking a year of leave, so I have the time to go without fighting with the system for going, and also because they were affordable for my pocket. Actually, one was free and in the same area I live in (II Jornadas de formación para la promoción de la lectura y escritura, Sevilla), and the other one, only two hours away (XIX Jornadas Bibliotecarias de Andalucia in Huelva).

In the latter, I found the cheapest room in Airbnb that I could find, and talked to the public librarian from my town (who I knew was going), to catch a ride with her. Fortunately, I am not very picky with food, and my stomach gets full very rapidly. I just need to get a coffee in the morning, and then I  can survive anything.  I can mostly fill myself with the snacks they give you at conferences and keep going.

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In both conferences I got really enthusiastic, and fired up. I have to confess though, that I am not very picky.  I appreciate any opportunity outside of the work routine, even if they are boring. I think they are a chance to get out, to think, to meet people, to establish contacts, and relationships. To hear other perspectives and ideas, and to learn to be more flexible.

The only thing I have found in every event I have attended as a long ranger is that I am an outsider. I would love to contribute and collaborate with people, but I am not sponsored by anybody or come with any group. The social part is also tough. It seems that everybody knows each other, and it’s difficult to break through. I try to find my own way by exploring other aspects of the whole experience.

I love to see other cities by discovering the daily life and atmosphere of the place. The best way for my budget (and also because I enjoy doing it that way)  is by walking, entering in little stores or local markets, buying food in supermarkets, talking to locals, trying to get out of the touristic section) or going to the touristic section undercover), and by taking public transportation (taxis are not allowed if it’s possible). I also enjoy taking photos, so any opportunity I have to travel due to a workshop or a conference, I take photos and post them in Instagram and Facebook, and also keep them in my files to help me illustrate later my own presentations. I also love to go for a run either early morning or in the evenings. It’s a great way to see a city when you don’t have too much free time outside of the conference, and also helps to get rid of all the stiffness caused by the amount of sitting time spent during them.

I remember one time I went for a three day IB training in Geneva, Switzerland. The hotel and site for the training was very far from downtown (at least 5 miles), with not very good transportation. The training was so intense, that we didn’t have time in the evenings. The only way I had to see the city was by running at 5:30 in the morning. It was dark, but still I got to see a little bit of a somber and quiet downtown. At least, I saw it. Part of going to conferences away from your home is learning from people and places.

I have thought that maybe I can attend a conference by giving a paper or a workshop but never have very clear what should I talk about, since I see so many wonderful professionals so knowledgeable and prepared. Last week,  I saw one call for papers at an international school librarian conference, and I decided to apply. I started thinking what are my skills and strengths as school librarian, and came up with a very fun workshop (I won’t give details, because it’s on review). Probably I won’t get picked, since I am not sponsored by any institution but by myself, and who will believe that I am good? Nobody but me. But I am not giving up. If I get to present, I will be so excited! It will be like being called to be cast as an extra for a Netflix series.

Conferences are mostly like a fairy tale, dreaming on attending one, sometimes being successful, sometimes not. If you are in, there are like a thriller, you get so pumped up! When your district sent you to this nice or expensive conference, and then doesn’t have time for you to share your experience, or doesn’t care less, is just like being in a dark crime novel.  I am hoping for more thrillers in the late 2010s and early 2020s.

21 de Marzo, día mundial de la poesía

Con motivo del día mundial de la poesía he ideado una actividad para todo el que se sienta motivado a seguirla. Siguiendo la línea de Neruda pregunta, los niños responden …, pensé que sería interesante hacerla involucrando a todo el colegio, pero ahora, inspirada en el día internacional de la mujer, utilizando preguntas que se han hecho en sus poemas, poetisas de todos los tiempos. Para realizar la tarea me fui a la sección de poesía de la biblioteca y comencé a buscar todos los libros escritos por mujeres o bien los poemas escritos por mujeres incluidos en antologías. Al realizar esta tarea, me di cuenta de dos cosas: una, que no teníamos mucha poesia femenina, más bien muy poca. En algunas de las antologías de poesía en español que miré, encontré solo un poema de mujer y no tenía preguntas. Este ejercicio ha sido por lo tanto bueno, para analizar nuestro fondo poético y por de pronto dar algunas sugerencias para ampliarlo.

La otra cosa de la que tomé consciencia fue que no era tan fácil encontrar preguntas abiertas dentro de los poemas, pero cuando las encontré, me quedé sorprendida de solo imaginar las posibles respuestas.

Flyer poetisasLa actividad la he diseñado de tal manera que se colgarán letreros como si fueran uno de esos avisos en los que se arranca el contacto de la persona, que en este caso será la pregunta de una poetisa. Los carteles se colgarán en cada clase y espacios comunes del colegio. La persona que se sienta motivada sacará una de las tiras con una pregunta y entregará su respuesta en la biblioteca. Sortearemos libros sorpresa entre las mejores respuestas.

poetisasactivityCada pregunta tiene el nombre del poema donde la encontré y la referencia del libro. Además, como la idea era también promover los fondos propios de nuestra biblioteca, no quise buscar poemas en internet, y por lo mismo añadí al final de la referencia, la signatura del libro, para saber dónde encontrarlo en nuestra biblioteca, a ver si a más de alguno lo animamos a leer poesía.

Por si a alguien le interesara reciclar esta actividad, Preguntas de poetisas se las dejo en formato word para descargar, y así la puedan adaptar a las propias necesidades de sus comunidades. Yo, a cambio, les pido que me sugieran libros de poesía femenina, especialmente para inspirar a niños y adolescentes, y por qué no, a sus padres.

Después de haber publicado esta entrada inicialmente, me enteré que mi amigo Jorge Morell, como padre del Colegio Huerta Santa Ana (HSA) se entusiasmó tanto que llevó la idea al cole de sus hijas. HSA invitó a toda la comunidad educativa a celebrar la magia de la poesía. Según el mismo Jorge me contó, las respuestas fueron tantas, que aún los propios iniciadores se sorprendieron. Ojalá compartan sus respuestas, para así yo poner un enlace de ellas.

Aquí están las preguntas que logré encontrar para mi cole…

delia¿Dónde está el orgullo coraza que la herrumbe lame?
(En poema “Pueblo de mujeres solas” p. 50. Sexteto para violín y agua de Delia Cabrera Marky. Sediento, 2012. P CAB sex

Me adentré a los abismos de mí misma para ver lo que había, ¿y sabes lo que encontré?
En poema “Mis abismos “ p. 17. Poemario de Esther Calvillo Nieto. Sediento, 2012. P CAL poe

¿Abuelito ¿de quién es esa estrella que siempre con amor estoy mirando? 10359011_744866212201154_2797578182148893914_o53b2ffaec636d_300h
En Poema “Abuelo y nieto p. 85 Poemario de Esther Calvillo Nieto. Sediento, 2012. P CAL poe

¿Por qué cada vez que me abraza el tormento de la rosa desfallezco como pasión exhausta?
En Poema “Tormentos” de Amal Al Ajdar en Antología de la poesía femenina marroquí  ed Antonio Reyes Ruiz. P. 45. P ant

¿Por qué cada vez que duermo sobre la voz de mi alegría me asechan, a escondidas los sables de la noche?
En Poema “Tormentos” de Amal Al Ajdar en Antología de la poesía femenina marroquí  ed Antonio Reyes Ruiz. Alfar, 2007. p. 45. P ant

9788478982615¿Para qué sirve la queja si no hay quien te escuche?
En poema “Niño errante” de Turía Sakkat  en Antología de la poesía femenina marroquí  ed Antonio Reyes Ruiz. Alfar, 2007. p. 135. P ant

¿Dónde estoy entre tanta basura?
En poema “Niño errante” de Turía Sakkat en  Antología de la poesía femenina marroquí  ed Antonio Reyes Ruiz. Alfar, 2007. p. 133. P ant

¿Acaso vivo entre los desperdicios de la gente perdida?
En poema “Niño errante” de Turía Sakkat Antología de la poesía femenina marroquí  ed Antonio Reyes Ruiz. Alfar, 2007. p. 133. P ant

¿Por qué, madre, duermo sin comer?
En poema “Niño errante” de Turía Sakkat. En Antología de la poesía femenina marroquí  ed Antonio Reyes Ruiz. Alfar, 2007. p. 133. P ant

¿Y son todas las tardes un estruendo que pasa?
En Poema “Tormentos” de Amal Al Ajdar en Antología de la poesía femenina marroquí  ed Antonio Reyes Ruiz. P. 45. P ant

¿Cuál es el secreto del origen de la vida?
En Poema “La soledad de la arena” de Aïcha Bassry en Antología de la poesía femenina marroquí  ed Antonio Reyes Ruiz. P. 59. P ant

¿Cuál es el secreto de la arena, que sus granos no se asemejan?
En Poema “La soledad de la arena” de Aïcha Bassry en Antología de la poesía femenina marroquí  ed Antonio Reyes Ruiz. P. 59. P ant

¿Qué hay después del precipicio de la muerte y el fin de la eternidad?
Poema “La soledad de la arena” de Aïcha Bassry en Antología de la poesía femenina marroquí  ed Antonio Reyes Ruiz. P. 59. P ant

¿Será tu destino un dedo de tempestad o de calma?
Poema “Anillo” de Delmira Agustini en Poesía completa, edición y prólogo de Martha L. Canfield p. 195 Sibilina, 2009. P AGU poe

31kh1hl-cil-_sy344_bo1204203200_¿Dónde encontrar el alma que en su entraña sombría prenda como una inmensa semilla de cristal?
Poema “Diario espiritual” de Delmira Agustini en Poesía completa, edición y prólogo de Martha L. Canfield p. 193 Sibilina, 2009. P AGU poe

Eros, ¿acaso no sentiste nunca  piedad de las estatuas?…
Poema “Plegaria” de Delmira Agustini en Poesía completa, edición y prólogo de Martha L. Canfield p. 176 Sibilina, 2009 P AGU poe

 ¿En qué tela de fuego me envolvieron las arañas de nieve de tus manos?
Poema “Para tus manos” de Delmira Agustini. Poesía completa, edición y prólogo de Martha L. Canfield p. 170 Sibilina, 2009. P AGU poe

But where exactly on me is this torn-off stem?
¿Pero en qué parte de mí está exactamente el tallo arrancado?
Poema “Europe on $5 a day” (Europa con cinco dólares al día) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 20-23 P ATW pue

Why do dead cats call up such ludicrous tears?
¿Por qué los gatos muertos provocan lágrimas tan ridículas?
En Poema  “Mourning for cats” (Luto por los gatos) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 40-41 P ATW pue

What´s the use anyway of calling the dead back, moving stones, or making animals cry?
Y en cualquier caso, para qué sirve invocar a los muertos, mover piedras o hacer que los animales griten?
En poema  “Owl and pussycat, some years later” (Búho y gatita algunos años después) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 76-77 P ATW pue

What does the mud says?
¿Qué está escrito en el barro?
En poema  “A poor woman learns to write” (Una mujer podre aprende a escribir) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 100-101 P ATW pue

Why is the tree dying?
¿Por qué se está muriendo el árbol?
En poema  “War photo 2”(Foto de guerra 2 ) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 146-147 P ATW pue

cubierta_lapuerta_desarrollo Where is the fearful beast who runs the show and longs for kisses?
¿Dónde está la bestia temible que dirige la función y anhelan que la besen?
En poema  “Ice palace” (Palacio de hielo) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 126-127 P ATW pue

Who has blocked up the Wells of truth?
¿Quién ha tapado los pozos de la verdad?
En poema  “War photo 2”(Foto de guerra 2 ) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 146-147 P ATW pue

What if they kill all those with no guns?
¿Qué pasa si matan a los que no tienen pistolas?
En poema  “War photo 2”(Foto de guerra 2 ) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 146-147 P ATW pue

 Why did you feel so hurt then, and so curious, and also happy, and also set free?
¿Por qué te sentiste tan dolida, y tan curiosa, y al mismo tiempo tan feliz, y también tan libre?
En poema  “”You heard the man you love” (Has oído al hombre que amas)”( ) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 250-251 P ATW pue

When will there be compassion?
¿Cuándo habrá compasión?
En poema  “War photo 2”(Foto de guerra 2 ) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 148-149 P ATW pue

When will the dead tree flower?
¿Cuándo florecerá el árbol muerto?
En poema  “War photo 2”(Foto de guerra 2 ) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 148-149 P ATW pue

Where are the bodies that were once attached to all those hands?
¿Dónde [están] los cuerpos que una vez estuvieron unidos a esas manos?
En poema  “Ice palace” (Palacio de hielo) de Margaret Atwood en La puerta , Bruguera, 2009, pp. 126-127 P ATW pue

What do you mean onions and peppers, are too crunchy when you chew?
En “Eat your Veg” de Valerie Bloom )” en Hot like fire and other poems de Valerie Bloom. NY: Bloomsbury, 2000, p. 57  JP BLO hot

512bt0nfntmlToday has been so special, how can I keep it here?
En poema “I hope tomorrow never comes” de Valerie Bloom  en Hot like fire and other poems de Valerie Bloom. NY: Bloomsbury, 2000, p. 72 JP BLO hot

How do I ask for a parakeet?
En poema “How to ask for a Hamster (for Tamara)” en Hot like fire and other poems de Valerie Bloom. NY: Bloomsbury, 2000, p. 25. JP BLO hot

When water turns to vapour where does it go?
En poema “Ten O´Clock Bell” de Valerie Bloom. En Hot like fire and other poems de Valerie Bloom. NY: Bloomsbury, 2000, p. 92 JP BLO hot

Does acid turn litmus blue, pink or red?
En poema “Ten O´Clock Bell  en Hot like fire and other poems de Valerie Bloom. NY: Bloomsbury, 2000, p. 92 JP BLO hot

A fly is sitting on the table. What makes you think I´m bored?
En poema “Today is so exciting” de Valerie Bloom. En Hot like fire and other poems de Valerie Bloom. NY: Bloomsbury, 2000, p. 121 JP BLO hot

¿Pues cómo ha de estar templada la que vuestro amor pretende, si la que es ingrata ofende y la que es fácil enfada?
En poema “Hombres necios que acusáis…” de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. En entre_clavel_rosa_new

 ¿Cuál mayor culpa ha tenido en una pasión errada, la que cae de rogada o el que ruega de caído?
En poema “Hombres necios que acusáis…” de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. En Entre el clavel y la rosa: Antología de poesía española. Madrid: Espasa, 2001, p.127

¿O cuál es más de culpar, aunque cualquiera mal haga: la que peca por la paga o el que paga por pecar?
En poema “Hombres necios que acusáis…” de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz. En Entre el clavel y la rosa: Antología de poesía española. Madrid: Espasa, 2001, p.127

¿Cómo dar aire si yo no lo tenía?
En “El clavillo del abanico . En Historia de Gloria: amor, humor y desamor. Madrid: Cátedra, 1981 p. 82

9788437602417-es-300¿De qué valen millones de amigos-conocidos, si sólo sola y sola me tengo que acostar?
En “Castilla es una espada” de Gloria Fuertes. En Historia de Gloria: amor, humor y desamor. Madrid: Cátedra, 1981 p. 111

¿Quién esta tarde está dispuesto a quedarse tuerto, para que mañana vea un ciego?
“Entre ético y poético” de Gloria Fuertes. En Historia de Gloria: amor, humor y desamor. Madrid: Cátedra, 1981 p. 141

¿De qué vale la fama, la popularidad, si sólo sola y sola me tengo que apañar?
En “Castilla es una espada” de Gloria Fuertes. En Historia de Gloria: amor, humor y desamor. Madrid: Cátedra, 1981 p. 111

gloria30Qué comes si sólo hay hielo pajarito de las nieves?
En “Pajarito de las nieves” de Gloria Fuertes. En  Animales geniales: leer y volar todo es empezar. Madrid: Escuela española, 1989, p. 28

¿Cuáles son las vacas mejores de la tierra?51yg61yr9bl-_sx345_bo1204203200_
En “Otra de vacas” de Gloria Fuertes. En  La Pata mete la pata.  Madrid: Susaeta, 1992, p. 95

¿Qué culpa tiene el burro de ser burro?
En “¡Pobre burro!” de Gloria Fuertes. En  La Pata mete la pata.  Madrid: Susaeta, 1992, p. 112

¿Cómo miraban tus ojos cuando aún tenían alma?

III. Dolor. 24. Coplas de Gabriela Mistral. En Poesías completas.  Madrid: Aguilar, 1958, P. 107

mistral_completas_1958¿Adónde buscar tu cara, si ahora ya tienes polvo hasta dentro de mi alma?
III. Dolor. 24. Coplas de Gabriela Mistral. En Poesías completas.  Madrid: Aguilar, 1958, P. 110

Una niña que es inválida dijo: ¿Cómo danzo yo?
En VI. Rondas. 8. Los que no danzan. de Gabriela Mistral En Poesías completas.  Madrid: Aguilar, 1958, P. 227

 

 

 

 

 

Neruda asks, Barrett responds…

sbarrett_logo-homeAquí están las respuestas de la comunidad educativa de K.W.Barrett Elementary School a las preguntas de Neruda hechas el primer semestre del año escolar del 2002. Las respuestas son de profesores, alumnos de 5º de primaria y una madre de una niña de kinder de la clase de Ms. Henderson.Las respuestas que están en español e inglés son de personas que respondieron en español, pues ese era su idioma materno, y por de pronto el idioma en el que Neruda escribió las preguntas.

2e3f480
The Ché-riff of Mathland
ela0ylrz
Connie Quinzio, profe de 3º de primaria

Recuerdo que para que los profesores respondieran, dedicamos parte de una sesión de la clase de escritura de Ms. Vawter para hacerlo. Seleccioné las preguntas que me parecieron más inspiradoras y cada uno respondía las que quería. Creo que de los profesores solo Ché Abdeljawad y Connie Quinzio siguen enseñando en Barrett.

En el caso de los niños, me acuerdo que las profes de quinto, especialmente los de ELL, generosamente me ofrecieron una hora en la que presenté el proyecto y los niños respondieron. Fue gratificante ver como los niños que no sabían bien inglés recibían con alegría este proyecto.

En el caso de la mamá, no me acuerdo exactamente cómo llegó su respuesta. Solo recuerdo a la profe de la hija, Ms. Henderson, quien estaba en mi clase de escritura.

Ahora, cuando leo las respuestas robadas a horas lectivas, me admiro de la facilidad que tiene Neruda para sacarnos lo mejor nuestro.

NERUDA ASKS, BARRETT RESPONDS…A Poetry Project

by Piedad Alliende (Children´s Literature Class, Instructor: Jacki Vawter  (EDIS 731, UVA), December 2002)

art_porque080213145xBased on “Libro de preguntas- Question Book, 1974” in Pablo Neruda. Late and Posthumous Poems 1968-1974. Edited and translated by Ben Belitt. Bilingual ed. New York: Grove Press, 1988. pages 174-201, and Neruda, Pablo. El libro de las preguntas: Selección. Santiago: Andrés Bello, 1988. Illustrations by Eduardo Osorio.

 

img_9859-small

Quiénes gritaron de alegría
Cuando nació el color azul?

Who screamed with joy
when color blue was born?

Everyone who loves the sea and the sky on a sunny day screamed with joy when the color blue was born.

Robin Jameson

The dusty necked black man
                     toiling his land
                          free now
                                     But bound in blue
screams for joy
                             that his song will be heard

Ché Abdeljawad

Miles Davis
The Mediterranean
B.B. King
Sadness
A robin´s breast
A mountain pool
A blue bonnet
A cobalt mine
Indigo dye
A Bethlehem night sky

Esther Haynes

The eagle soaring over the horizon screamed with joy when the color blue was born!
The humpback whale swimming in the depths of the ocean screamed with joy when the color blue was born.
The baby with the blue boots screamed with joy when the color blue was born!

Amy Sack

The earth and clouds rejoiced, for now they had reason to unite and mingle.

Sunee Kelly

This is a clever question—I honestly don´t know.

Joanna Kang

Yes I screamed with joy when the color blue was born.
Yes that bluejay that sings in the late spring afternoon. Yes I screamed with joy at the luscious taste of fresh picked blueberries on a mid July day.
Yes I scream with joy at the light of the sparkling blue waters of Frenchmens Bay.

Connie Quinzio

The sky screamed with joy when the color blue was born. “Just the color I was waiting for!” the sky shouted.

Terry Bratt

The jay (explanation
                      Bird —bluejays
                                     scream)

Nancy Rodeheaver

St. Ann, for she was the mother of Mary. St. Ann for saw the importance her daughter would play in Church history—being the virgin mother of Jesus. To honor this woman—mother of Mary, Grandmother of Jesus—God the Father said blue would be our Lady´s Holy Color.

Linda Carter

The sky screamed with joy when the color blue was born.

Mary Lou Rubé

God is in His Heaven
Alls right with the world

Joyce G. Gamse

Every new parent who was shocked to see the color of their son before he took his first breath.

Jennifer Heatherington

White is the mother of all the colors. Her screams welcome all others into the world.

Mike Henrickson

The clouds, for now they were free to break apart and dance.

Stephanie Hanna

The clouds screamed with joy. Finally they could show their beauty against the right background when before they were mixed with the messy gray swirl of creation.

Sudie McGahuey

The sky announced,
“I´ll take that!”
The ocean said,
“Me too!”
The robin´s eggsbell quietly asked,
“Is there any left for me?”

Jacki Vawter

The whole Earth!

Gustavo Villazón, 10 years, 5th grade

Because the world is blue

Alieta O. 10 years, 5th grade

img_6111-small

Si todos los ríos son dulces
De dónde saca sal el mar?

If all rivers are fresh water
Where does the sea get its salt?

The oceans swallowed all our sorrow, soaking in the salt of our tears.

Sunee Kelly.

From the river beds tears—As the river water leaves it´s home; Earth, the river bed cries. First in loneliness—missing her children; Second in pride—the river water becomes part of a larger world.

Linda Carter

From the tears of all the whales that have been slaughtered on its shores.

Stephanie Hanna

When the fresh water evaporates, the tears of the drowned and lost are left behind.

Sudie McGahuey

The salt of the sea comes from the tears of lost sailors and mermaids who long for feet for freedom.

Jacki Vawter

La sal de los mares es como la ternura en las personas, algunas la tienen, otros no, las que la tienen son como los ríos dulces.
The salt of the oceans is like tenderness in people; some have it, some don´t; those who have it are like sweet rivers

Jimena Antelo, mother of Andrea Cardozo, K, Ms. Henderson.

The sea gets its salt from a woman. That woman came to the shore of the sea. She asked the sea “Who are you?” and the sea answered “Come in, you will find who I am”. She didn´t go in. Then she came back the next day. She asked the sea “Who are you?” and the sea answered “Come in, you will find who I am”. She went in this time she dissolved because she was made of salt and that is why the sea has salt.

Cinthy Villarroel, 5th grade

img_8414

Por qué me muevo sin querer,
Por qué no puedo estar inmóvil?

Why do I move without wanting to,
Why can´t I stand still?

I move without wanting to because I am a tiny pinpoint on a ball whirling and hurling through space.

Robin Jameson

ADHD

Nancy Rodeheaver

It beckons and calls the early morning air—“come come see what I offer you.” The smell of fallen leaves the tip of the morning just opening its eyes, the sound of asalter beginning.

Connie Quinzio

I think that he wants to stand still because he wants to see the ocean forever like she said he loves the sea, the ocean.

Daniela Estivariz, 10, 5th grade

Is it because I jump when I have joy or is it because I run for fear? Why am I moving? Please, please tell me why.

Elias, 5th grade

I think that I am not standing still because I have joy in my Heart or I am nervous. I don´t know why I am not standing still, but maybe I am mad. I wish I knew, I really want to know.

Carlos Mendoza, 5th grade.

img_5328

A quién engaña la magnolia
con su fragancia de limones?

Who´s the magnolia kidding
With its lemon aroma?

Absolutely no one! We know you´re there, sweetening the early days of summer.

Jacki Vawter

pink-bush-in-autumm-by-stanley-zimny

Cómo saben las estaciones
que deben cambiar de camisas?

How do the seasons know
when do they have to change shirts?

The seasons know they have to change shirts when suddenly they realize things have been the same color for just too long…

Robin Jameson

The seasons change when the birds tell them to—by flying away or coming home again.

Joyce G. Gamse

As autumn approaches, the earth is chilled. Trees drop their leaves to use as a sweater. As winter approaches the world is cold. The clouds drop their snow to use as a blanket.

Mike Henrickson

The seasons know when they have to change shirts by the hotness and the coldness.
When the sun comes out and the moon goes home
And when the moon comes out again and the sun goes home
When the lights go on and the go off
When it gets windy
When it snow and when it rains
When there is storm
When children make something with snow and then it melts
That´s how the seasons know.

Rubi Guevara, 5th grade

the-girld-and-the-shark-by-wolfgangfoto

Por qué no ataca el tiburón
a las impávidas sirenas?

Why doesn´t the shark attack
the fearless mermaids?

Shark sense fear, while mermaids fear none.

Mike Henrickson

The shark respect the audacity and cunning of the fearless mermaids as he shares these same qualities.

Terry Bratt

The shark doesn´t attack the fearless mermaids because they want to look at the pretty mermaids.

Mary Lou Rubé

El tiburón no ataca porque la sirena es sagrada y la sirena es conocida por todos porque vive en el agua.
The shark doesn´t attack the mermaid because the mermaid is sacred y known for everybody to live in the water.

John, 5th grade

Shark doesn´t attack fearless mermaids because they are pretty and sing beautiful and their voices hypnotize the shark to be fearless.

No name, 5th grade

tumblr_n6o4plaf9z1qm9y99o1_5001

Dime, la rosa está desnuda
o sólo tiene ese vestido?

Tell me, is the rose naked
Or does it just have only one dress?

The rose is adorned with such beauty as Jesus said in parable
Consider the lilies of the field
Neither do they weave nor toil
Yet Solomon in all his glory
Is not attired as well as these.

Joyce G. Gamse

Rose knows she looks fantastic in her red dress so why should she chose another?

Linda Carter

Yes, I guess the rose is already wearing a layered dress.

Vilma Yarisa, 11, 5th grade

La rosa está desnuda porque todavía es una semilla pequeñita que está recién sembrada para crecer.
La rosa tiene un vestido porque es una Barbie que se llama Rosa y que está usando un vestido bonito.
The rose is naked because she is still a tiny seed that is just planted for growing.
The rose has a dress because she is a Barbie doll and her name is Rose and she is wearing a pretty dress.

Heydi Tejeda Maldonado, 5th grade

aleppo-ride-through-the-city-by-hakan-t

En qué idioma cae la lluvia
sobre ciudades dolorosas?

In what language does the rain fall
over hurting cities?

The language falls in all different languages over the hurting cities.

Mary Lou Rubé

The language is Chinese, German, Japanese, and language of destruction.

Gustavo Villazón, 10 years, 5th grade

The rain speaks in every language especially in a hurting city. The rain speaks the language of happiness to the poor in a hurting city. The rain talks to the running away citizen and bring hope in every drop. The rain reminds the flowers to wake. And at last the rain speaks to the sun telling it to let the rainbow shine and telling it to shine over the hurting cities.

Suchana Costa, 5th grade

It falls in the language of tears because the cities are deeply hurting by all that´s happened.

Brayan Ortega, 5th grade

El 4 es 4 para todos?
Son todos los sietes iguales?

Is 4 always 4 for everybody?
Are all 7´s equal?

It depends on who you ask!

Jennifer Heatherington

311_0724-small

Por qué voy rodando sin ruedas,
Volando sin alas ni plumas?

Why do I roll around without wheels
And fly without feathers or wings?

Because I am human. I have no regard for the laws of nature. They do not apply to me.

Jennifer Heatherington

a2b8636bd3e6400bea7c81dd46be465e.jpg

Cómo se llama una flor
que vuela de pájaro en pájaro?

What´s the name of the flower
That flies from bird to bird?

That sweet-smelling flower is me!

Sunee Kelly

sheep

Cómo se llama la tristeza
en una oveja solitaria?

What´s the word for sadness
in a sheep that is alone?

Solituuuuuuuuuuuuuddddde

Stephanie Hanna

I have not “herd”

Nancy Rodeheaver

Sheep sadness that is alone might be alone—herd, alone stands for an animal or person that is lonely, and herd stands for a big crowd of something in one space. Now that´s how a sheep that´s sad must really feel of being all alone.

Jennifer C. Romero, 5th grade

fly-by-daswebweib

Si las moscas fabrican miel
Ofenderán a las abejas?

If flies fabricate honey
Should the bees be offended?

Absolutely! They must not have gotten the memo on the current union rules: flies drone, irritate, interfere with people and animals and hang out in filthy places. Bees are orderly, teach each other dances and are the makers of quintessential sweetness.

Sudie McGahuey

The bees should be offended if flies made honey because the bees work hard coming up of the idea of honey and work hard making honey. It´s also not good if someone stold your invention or idea.

Roxana Mejía, 5th grade

img_6777-small

Por qué lloran tanto las nubes
y cada vez son más alegres?

Why do the clouds cry so much,
and each time are happier?

The clouds cry because they lone the feeling of joy that accompany crying.

Terry Bratt

Because they have been able to clean the streets and the roads with their tears. I always feel that rain makes everything feel clean and fresh.

Joanna Kang

Yo pienso que ellas lloran porque cuando algo feliz pasa ellas se ponen más felices y empiezan a llorar. O ellas lloran cuando algo malo o triste pasa en el mundo.

I think they cry because when something happen on the world they get more happier and start to cry. Or they start to cry when something bad happen.

Gianina Corrales, 5th grade

Las nubes lloran porque están tristes que venga un tornado y que destruya la ciudad donde viven las personas. Las nubes lloran porque tiene que llover para estar todo fresco del calor. Las nubes lloran porque están muy tristes. Las nubes lloran porque tiene que llover cuando el tiempo está mal.

Clouds cry because they are sad that a tornado might come and destroy the city where the people live. Clouds cry because has to rain in order that everything is fresh of heat. Clouds cry because has to rain when is bad weather.

Maria Claure Soto, 5th grade

Clouds cry when a person dies. The clouds get scared and start to cry when there is lightning. Sometimes clouds don´t cry because all the grownups and kids are okay: clouds don´t cry because the sun comes up and talk to them.

No name, 5th grade

hojas

Por qué se suicidan las hojas
cuando se sienten amarillas?

Why do the leaves kill themselves
As soon as they feel yellow?

They don´t kill themselves—they just need new clothes.

Joanna Kang

Because they hate living

Caleb, 10 years, 5th grade.

The leaves can´t live without their signature color, they know they´re fading. So they race with the sun to see who is more yellow, and as soon as they see that the sun´s brilliance outshines them, they sadly kill themselves.

Fawad Ahmad, 5th grade

The leaves feel blue when they turn yellow.
The leaves don´t look so pretty so they jump off of their branches.
They can´t survive the cold.

Saima, 5th grade

vincent-con-tortuga

Cómo le digo a la tortuga
que yo le gano en lentitud?

How can I tell the turtle
that I won in slowness?

Hey – turtle- I came in second!

Nancy Rodeheaver

I could pay the clock to stop and show the turtle the time that he spent running!

After the race, I could tell the cameraman to fast-forward when the race shows the turtle in the video of it!

Jesse Wood, 5th grade

ueves

Pero por qué no se convence el Jueves de ir después del Viernes?

But why isn´t Thursday convinced to go after Friday?

Because Thursday is scared of Saturday.

Adrian F. 10 and Caleb, 11, 5th grade

Thursday isn´t convinced to go after Friday because Thursday is afraid to go after Friday.
Thursday can´t stand being next to Saturday.

Judy So, 5th grade

bread-by-alexmontjohn

Si se termina el amarillo
con qué vamos a hacer el pan?

If all the yellow is used up,
with what shall we make bread?

If there is no more yellow then I should use the wolves tongue to bake bread.

Miguel Rodríguez, 5th grade

The moon will send down a yellow beam which will turn weeds into wheat and the people will eat.
The bees will lend their yellow clothing and honey and the people will eat and dance.
Daffodils will sneeze out shiny pollen into the bowl which will become yellow paint and the people will paint their faces and eat and dance and enjoy.

Camelia Rubalcava, 5th grade

swallos-by-pipilongstockings

Qué pasa con las golondrinas
que llegan tarde al colegio?

What happens to the swallows
When they´re tardy for school?

Lo que le pasa a las golondrinas que llegan tarde al colegio es que ese día no van al colegio.
What happen to the swallows when they are tardy for school is that that day they don´t go to school.

Andrea C. 10 years, 5th Grade

They get punished and get spanked by the teachers scaly, terrible, tail. The fishes drip there small soggy tears down to the endless sea floor.

George, 5th grade

They don´t learn how to migrate.

Piedad Alliende

salt-by-corentin-derory

En el desierto de la sal
cómo se puede florecer?

In the desert of salt
How can you bloom?

Si se podría hacer que una flor florezca la regaría con agua dulce.
“La regaría con dulzura”

If one can make that a flower blooms I would water it with sweet water. I would water it with sweetness.

Jimena Antelo, mother of Andrea Cardozo, K, Ms. Henderson´s class.

The flower can be white. A little princess comes to the desert and cries, cries, cries her eyes out. Her tears make a river that flows through the desert so the white flower can bloom and other plants too. The little princess was happy when she saw the plants grow. She got a little flower so she can always remember that day.

Patricia, 5th grade

just-another-letter-on-the-board-by-dave-edens

Qué letras conoce la abeja
para saber su itinerario?

What letters does know the bee
To learn its itinerary?

No conoce las letras, pero conoce sus obligaciones y derechos.

It doen´t know the letters, but knows its obligations and rights.

Jimena Antelo, mother of Andrea Cardozo, K, Ms. Henderson´s class.

He needs to know the letters to te key words that make them famous.
H-O-N-E-Y and S-T-I-N-G.
B-U-Z-Z-Z–z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z

Sam DelGiudia, 5th grade

blog

Es verdad que reparten cartas
Transparentes, por todo el cielo?

Is it true they spread transparent
letters through all over the sky?

Yes, it is. That is why clouds are white. They are envelopes holding the secrets of rain. And the North wind blows the secret of the rain to the people of the Earth.

Eric Perez, 5th grade

rice-alexis-breaux

Y a quién le sonríe el arroz
con infinitos dientes blancos?

At whom is the rice grinning
With its infinite white teeth?

The rice is grinning at the other colors and also at white for giving its color to the rice.

Eric Ramírez, 5th grade

The rice is grinning at all it´s enemies like the great white shark, the lion, and the wolf. The rice is bragging that it has whiter and sharper teeth than the beasts of the animal kingdom.

Edwin Funes, 5th grade

At boiling water and chirping oil. At the puzzled teacher who cannot explain the concept of infinitude.

Piedad Alliende

bald-eagle-edit-by-steven-kersting

Dónde deja el puñal el águila
cuando se acuesta en una nube?

Where does the eagle leave its dagger
When its rest on a cloud?

In the Rockies, the Andes, and the mountains of Kathmandu.
Beyond the Alps, the Apennines, and the Black Sea.
Twirled in its nest
Waiting to wake up…
And use it again
To survive

Piedad Alliende

lluvia

Por qué razón o sinrazón
llora la lluvia su alegría?

Why does the rain weep with joy,
with or without cause?

He is crying with joy because it´s a good day to rain. He weeps with joy for his good day. But sometimes, the rain cries because the sun or clouds hurt his feelings.

Elvia, 5th grade

Finally it can get rid of the clouds.
Likes to be free
Slides down
Drips,
drips,
drips,
drips
Ha,
ha,
ha.

Piedad Alliende

img_0505-small

Quién canta en el fondo del agua
en la laguna abandonada?

Who sings from the bottom of the water
in the abandoned lagoon?

En la laguna abandonada canta el sapo porque está contento y porque le quiere a una sapa. El está contento ahí debajo de la laguna porque ahí están sus amigos y el puede cantar para sus amigos

In the abandoned lagoon sings the frog because he is happy and because he likes another frog. He is happy at the bottom of the lagoon because there are his friends and he can sing for his friends.

Erika Quiroz, 5th grade

The fish sings an opera with itsr bubbles to all the other fishes.
The wind dives down, rushes through the water and sings to the seaweed.
The hissing of the electric eels sings to the sand.

Malayika Cincotta, 5th grade

watermelon_smile_popofatticus

De qué ríe la sandía
Cuando la están asesinando?
What is the watermelon laughing about
When it´s being killed?

I don´t know. Maybe he thinks it tickles. Also he wants to share his red juicy self.

Jake Huston, 5th grade.

mariposa

Cuándo lee la mariposa
lo que vuela escrito en sus alas?

When does the butterfly read
What flies written in its wings?

I am too busy to read
I am flying
Pollinating
Being important
And silly
Escaping from the kid´s trap
Or the bug collector
I don´t have time to read
Only to escape.

Piedad Alliende

Y ustedes ¿se animan a responderle a Neruda?

 

Neruda pregunta, los niños responden …

preguntas
Portada “Libro de las preguntas”, ediciones Media Vaca. Ilustraciones de Isidro Ferrer, 2006

 

Hace un mes comencé un curso de animación a la lectura que me hizo recordar un proyecto que hice el año 2002, para un curso de literatura infantil que ofrecía la Universidad de Virginia a los profesores del colegio donde yo trabajaba en Arlington como intérprete y al que la directora, que también participaba en el curso, graciosamente me dejó formar parte. El proyecto lo hice inspirada en otro que había hecho en 1984 la profesora de mi primo Tomás (en ese entonces de 8 años)  en el Colegio San Francisco de Miranda en Santiago, Chile. Vicky Castro con el escritor Alfonso Alcalde publicaron una edición artesanal del trabajo que habían realizado con Tomás y sus 28 compañeros de curso. Recuerdo haber visto el libro publicado por ediciones El Árbol de la palabra como Neruda pregunta, los niños responden y quedar prendada de la idea, con tal enamoramiento que 18 años después, lo quise hacer con niños  y profesores donde yo trabajaba en EEUU.

 

Algunas de las respuestas del proyecto original de 1984 las pude rescatar de Ignacio Valente (José Miguel Ibáñez Langlois) en su artículo del suplemento Revista de Libros de El Mercurio de Santiago del 28 de mayo 1989 Los niños saben más que Neruda.

libro-de-las-preguntas-1
Il. Isidro Ferrer

“¿Por qué los aviones no se pasean con sus hijos?”

“Porque los aviones no se reproducen, por eso no tienen hijos”.
Luis: “Por temor a que un ovni pueda raptarse a sus avioncitos”.

 

 

tumblr_n6o4plaf9z1qm9y99o1_5001” ¿La rosa está desnuda o sólo tiene un vestido? “

Eduardo: “Sólo tiene dos vestidos, pero los dos son iguales”
María José: “Se pone un vestido nuevo cada vez que la miramos”.

 

 

 

 

libropreguntas3
Il. Isidro Ferrer

 “¿Por qué los árboles esconden el esplendor de sus raíces?”

Loreto: “Porque les da verguenza mostrar sus várices”.
Varinia: “Porque los árboles crecen dentro de la tierra”.
Emi : “Porque son muy pitucos y no quieren que se las roben”.
Sabina: “Los árboles no esconden el esplendor de sus raíces.

 

hojas
Foto Pia Alliende

“¿Por qué se suicidan las hojas cuando se sienten amarillas?”.

Paloma: “Porque significa que llegó el señor otoño y cuando él llega todas las hojas se tiran a sus pies”.
Bárbara:”Porque es un color muy hermoso. Entonces es tan lindo que se muere de lindo”.

“Si los ríos son dulces, ¿de dónde saca sal el mar?”

Tomás [mi primo]: “De los saleros que Dios bota de sus comidas”.
Jorge: “De las lágrimas de los pobres”.

 

 

neruda1
Il. Isidro Ferrer

“¿A dónde van las cosas que soñamos?”

Sabina: “Van donde Dios para que las haga realidad”.

¿Por qué no enseñan a sacar miel del Sol a los helicópteros?

Felipe: “porque los helicópteros prefieren sacar queso de la Luna”.
Cristóbal:”Porque el Sol se apagaría y sería una ofensa para los planetas hermanos”.
María José: “¿Acaso ya no lo hacen?”

 

“¿Cómo saben las estaciones que deben cambiar de camisa?”

Varinia: “Porque el Sol les dice: Hey, primavera sale a trabajar que es tu turno y se te hace tarde”.

 

neruda2
Il. Isidro Ferrer

¿A quién le puedo preguntar qué vine a hacer a este mundo?”

Paloma: “A tu papá y a tu mamá”.
Tomás [mi primo] : “A mí, que vine a pasarlo bien por el paraíso desnudo”.
Fernanda: “A la oficina de informaciones”.
Bárbara: “Le tengo que preguntar al amor qué viniste a hacer a este mundo”.
Sabina: “Yo sé a quién le puedes preguntar. ¡Al libro de las respuestas!”

“¿Dónde van las cosas del suelo?”

Cristián: “Donde Cristo y Dios”.
Eduardo: “Se van a la mente, cerca del cerebro”.
Bárbara: “A un gran archivo que Dios lo guarda y que cuando nos muramos lo volvamos a soñar”.
Varinia: “Van donde Dios, el que se las da a las demás personas que ni tienen sobre qué pensar”.
Carlos: “El mundo al revés”.
Sabina: “Van donde Dios, para ver si las puede hacer realidad”.

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA
“Libro de las preguntas” ilustrado por Daniela Hevia Jaramillo

Hoy decidí hurgar antiguos archivos y rescatar mi trabajo del 2002, pues a pesar que intenté hace unos meses con fotos preguntar a mis amigos de Facebook una de las preguntas de Neruda no tuve mucho éxito (solo 3 respuestas) lo que me llevó a preguntarme como Ignacio Valente en 1989, “qué ocurre, 10 o 15 años después, con estos niños del tercer año básico del colegio Francisco de Miranda, una vez que han perdido la influencia creadora de Vicky Castro y han acumulado suficiente saber enciclopédico y trivial. Se convierten tal vez en aburridos adultos: los civilizamos, los empobrecemos, los liquidamos.” A veces creo que como adultos perdemos un poco la inocencia y el juego lúdico, pero creo que en el caso de mi experimento facebookiano se debió más bien  a que soy un fracaso como social media influencer y mis amigos de Facebook no me tiran la menor pelota.

Desde 1984, Vicky Castro ha inspirado a muchos profesores a hacer lo mismo con sus alumnos, yo siendo uno de ellos, pero como ya esta entrada está muy larga, en la próxima pondré mi trabajo del 2002, Neruda asks, Barrett responds…

Lo que a mi me encantaría saber ahora es qué le ha ocurrido a mi primo Tomás y qué recuerdos tiene de una experiencia que ocurrió hace más de 30 años. La Pia pregunta y Tomás responde… 

tomas-y-yo
Tomás, la Fran y yo en Medellín, Colombia, 1975

Lecturas de febrero…a la velocidad del rayo

9788483835838La verdad sea dicha, en febrero me he dejado estar con las lecturas y solo he leido dos novelas y un libro de poemas, todos, eso sí,  de un solo sentón. El primero que me leí, The Unquiet de John Connolly, lo leí sin parar un domingo de lluvia. Era un libro asisgnado para el club de lectura de la biblioteca pública de mi pueblo, cuya reunión era al martes siguiente,  y no había abierto sus páginas hasta el sábado en la noche en que lo comencé leyendo en inglés con la oferta de Amazon de leer los primeros capítulos en el ipad para ver si te gusta y lo compras. Esto me duró muy poco, por lo que el domingo, que llovía incansablemente, me sirvió de excusa para abrir la copia que me habían dado en español (cuyo título es Los atormentados), y terminarla de un sentón esa misma tarde. Fue una lectura intensa, reconozco que al final no leía por premura sino porque me tenía enganchada. Mientras leía, me comí sin darme cuenta y de pura ansiedad un paquete entero de papitas fritas, ante el estupor de mi marido.

De todas formas, como leí en alguna crítica, Connolly no es para leerlo seguido, pues puede saturar. En el hecho The unquiet es el sexto libro de la serie del detective Charlie Parker cuya entrega Nº15  A game of ghosts, está prevista para abril de este año. Si bien me gustó, creo que dejaré reposar su estilo, con la satisfacción de que al saber que es un escritor prolífico, en cualquier momento, cuando esté seca de lecturas o sin ganas de pensar en algo nuevo, puedo encontrar  uno de sus libros sabiendo que me van a enganchar. Es una novela negra, con el típico detective con fracasos amorosos como los de Kurt Wallander de Henning Mankell, el inspector Erlendur de Arnaldur Indriðasono o el comisario Morante de Mario Valdivia, pero con una pizca de paranormalidad y unas descripciones increíbles del paisaje de Maine, que hace que la atmósfera sea muy tensa. Además, me encantó la manera como describe sentimientos o personas con un puntito de humor algo irónico, como por ejemplo, escribir que alguien tenía la cara “como dueño de funeraria al que se le ha perdido un cadáver”.

9788420664088-uk-300El segundo libro que leí fue el viernes recién pasado y más bien fue una relectura muy veloz (en 50 minutos incluido el prólogo) de Veinte poemas de amor y una canción desesperada de Pablo Neruda, libro que estaba asignado en el club de lectura en español para extranjeros de la Biblioteca pública de mi pueblo vecino, Gines y cuya reunión era este mismo viernes a las 6 pm. Me leí la versión de Alianza Editorial (3ª reimpresión, 2015) con prólogo de Jorge Edwards que siempre resulta interesante gracias a lo bien que este escritor conocía a Neruda. (Recomiendo leer Adios, Poeta (1990) de este autor, que leí en EEUU en febrero de 1991 y me hizo reencontrarme nuevamente con Neruda y mi lengua materna)

Durante la reunión del club de lectura de este viernes, me di cuenta lo mal que lo había releído a Neruda y lo maravilloso que puede ser leer algo con ojos limpios. Así fue la fantástica interpretación que le dio una de las integrantes del club, Kristine, de nacionalidad estadounidense, quien nunca había leído a Neruda y que quedó prendada de los poemas de amor. Yo, acostumbrada a leerlos por separado, nunca había abordado estos poemas como una totalidad. En la década de mis veinte, época de amores tortuosos y dolidos me fascinaba el Poema Nº 10, especialmente la pregunta ¿Por qué se me vendrá todo el amor de golpe cuando me siento triste, y te siento lejana? Me acuerdo haberme torturado leyendo y releyendo estos poemas, pero siempre cada poema por separado.  Y ahora Kristine comenta el libro como quien ha leído una novela, donde hay un solo hombre y una sola mujer, donde en los primeros poemas hay un amor carnal que paulatinamente comienza a profundizarse en uno más entero para finalmente perderse, con todo el sentimiento y el dolor de los años universitarios, que remueve el pasado juvenil de Kristine y la hace también añorar.

Como chilenos, creo que más de alguna vez hemos regalado o recibido este libro como regalo. Yo se lo regalé en inglés a mi marido en 1993 cuando estábamos de novios y tuvimos que estar separados producto de mi visa J1 que me obligaba a regresar a mi país después de finalizada mi beca Fulbright. Y por esas cosas locas de la vida, lo recibí de regalo de cumpleaños de parte de un ex novio, cuando cumplí los 30 años en noviembre 1991. Lo más curioso es que el libro viajó desde Chile a EEUU, pues este ex se empeñó en enviármelo después de tres años de haber roto con él y yo estar estudiando historia en la SUNY de Stony Brook. Nunca supe como dió con mi dirección y mi teléfono, pero ahí llegó el libro y luego una llamada que yo encontré de lo más desubicada. Estos poemas despertaron y seguirán despertando nuestros sentimientos más dulces y más tristes. Definitivamente tendré que releerlos de nuevo con esta nueva mirada de Kristine.

amadoamoFinalmente, esta mañana me he leído el libro de 1988 de Rosa Montero, Amado amo. Mi mayor motivación fue que Rosa Montero viene a la reunión anual de los clubes de lectura del  Aljarafe el 15 de marzo, y fuera de La carne (2016) no he leído nada más de ella, por lo que tenía interés en saber cómo era su estilo. En la reunión del club de lectura de extranjeros me habían dicho que Amado Amo era uno de sus libros más conocidos. El libro es breve, no más de 150 páginas. Por de pronto, he encontrado ciertas similitudes entre el protagonista de Amado Amo, el cuarentón César Miranda, y el de La carne, la sesentona Soledad Alegre. Ambos son personajes en crisis, neuróticos, sin familia, con infancias tristes y medias traumáticas, que sienten que el piso profesional se lo aserruchan y que los amores se escapan, con una inseguridad infinita y un algo que los hace que los detestemos o nos llenen de compasión intermitente.

En fin, poca lectura en febrero, pero arrebatada. Y quien sabe, todavía quedan dos días del mes.