Thursday, January 1, 2015

Ahhh ... The New Year Post ...

With its utter lack of creativity. Everything feels so derivative. Everybody's gung-ho, ready to make changes, ready to take tap dancing lessons, learn a new language, travel more, eat less, start a new page of a new book, try chapulines, grow a beard, and be better, stronger, prettier, more handsome,  more educated, more cultured, more of the good, less of the bad  ... And I don't have much to add to the pot.




I'm not a resolution-type person. I set goals. Some I'll set today. Some later. But there is something to be said about reflecting on who we are, the mistakes we've made (don't dwell! Dude, it's Facebook. Everybody looks like an asshole on Facebook at times.), and the possibilities we have to be better.

So, I propose an ongoing resolution policy. DON'T WAIT UNTIL DECEMBER 31, 2015 if something cool occurs to you in the next month or so. And since I'm pushing on a resolution blog on you, I'll tell you my resolutions. So here goes!

I resolve to:
  • work harder ... (I need to get up earlier to get more work done!)
  • keep taking swimming lessons ... (I learned how to swim this past year! For real! And am so happy with my swimming lessons.)
  • be kinder ...
  • be more tolerant ...
  • not judge those who selfie while trying to pretend they're acting spontaneous but, you know, from their posture and perky boobs, duck lips and coiffed hair they're really selfieholics, selfiemaniacs, selfiers in the most selfier possible way ... (Okay. They've got a three-strike selfie allowance. If, in one month, someone's selfied more than three, she's an egotistical ass. Unless she's selfie-ing in the Lost City of Atlantis, next to Amelia Earhardt's crashed plane, or the Loch Ness Monster. Then, by all means, those discoveries entitle anyone to an infinite selfie allowance.)
  • Shit ... that wasn't very tolerant.
  • Erase be more tolerant.
  • That wasn't very nice, either.
  • I'll be kinder. I won't call the selfie-prone "egotistical asses."  I'll just laugh at them to myself.
I'm not doing too hot, am I?

How's this? I'll just give you my 2015 wishes for you and everyone I meet (selfiers included)...

Make your year wonderful. Create memorable, unexpected moments. Surprise someone you love. Surprise yourself. Find your courage. Read more. Listen more. Have one of those in-the-rain kisses you see in the movies. Stomp in puddles and crunch on leaves. Hold someone's hand. Give more hugs. Climb a tree. Expect the best from everyone, from yourself. Forgive yourself. At least once every few months, eat dessert for dinner. Try something new. Stumble and get up. Value the people in your life. Value yourself.

HAPPY 2015! Let's make this year the best ... and then some!


Sunday, December 21, 2014

A book (every other) day! Day 21 and contemporary Colombian authors!

When we think about Colombian literature, we think Gabriel Garcia Marquez. But that tends to be tunnel vision, as if we were to only think about American lit and Ernest Hemingway.
Contemporary Colombian authors have added to the body of Latin American literature in phenomenal ways to paint Colombian life with words, stories, and such far-fetched tales of truth that you'd think that you were reading about another place on another planet.
One of Colombia's challenges as a place to project its talent is the lack of a major publishing house. So there are many voices lost to the fact that there's no major distribution for some pretty spectacular works. That said, Colombian authors looking for a bigger platform have to look into Spain, Mexico and Argentina.As with the arts, it's an uphill battle to get things out there, but the ones who have managed to break through the barriers and hurdle obstacles are noteworthy.

Here are three of my favorite, contemporary Colombian authors:

Jorge Franco is best known for Rosario Tijeras, the tale of a woman sicario (the motorcycle-riding hitmen in the 1980s) and the dark side of life in Medellin during the 1980 and 1990s. One of my favorites of his, though, is Paraiso Travel, the story of two young Colombians who go through the "hueco" in Mexico to get to New York, then get separated and lose each other. The story of an illegal immigrant in the States is powerful. Franco's voice is a gift in the world of literature and one that explores contemporary Colombian realities.

German Castro Caycedo, like Gabo, has a background in journalism. He's written many chronicles about the curious, folkloric, and inconceivable realities of Colombia -- everything from a gypsy witch's power in Colombian politics and with local drug lords in la Bruja to the dangerous illegal crossing to the United States in el Hueco. He's written about unresolved mysteries and anecdotal historical events that weave great investigative journalism with the magic that's so proper to Colombian writing.

Laura Restrepo is, to date, the most well-known contemporary female voice in Colombian literature. She's had an extensive career, even writing a children's book. (So she must be good because only the best write for children).  Delirium, her 2004 novel about a man who returns from a business trip to find his wife completely mad, is the novel that gave her the extra push into the spotlight she deserves.

Happy reading!




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