Friday, April 11, 2008

Reviving Waters in The Valley

Okay folks, I’m back from the dead, almost literally. I’m on an extended “vacation” in beautiful Puerto Rico. (Just trying to keep the Board of Tourism happy you know.) It really depends where you are in Puerto Rico if you can say if it’s beautiful or not, much like anywhere else I suppose. But do they really want us to “Explore Beyond the Shore?” Because folks, that’s where the beauty starts and ends in my opinion. (Easy, native Puertoricans, don’t get your flags in a bunch but it’s the least I can do for all the taunting I got because of my fair skin when I was in High School here. And what’s with the lame phone lines filled with static? Its signal depends on which way the wind blows.

I am staying with my Mom, not far from the Arecibo Observatory and believe me, I need the almighty signals from that gigantic Dish Radio Telescope to get a decent internet connection in this area.

And as far as beauty goes; my mother’s house is nicely landscaped and gardened with a variety of colorful plants and evergreens but just across from her, her sister’s house looks like a nuclear blast has just gone off in front of her house. I’m still looking for the mushroom cloud above it. Nothing but truncated trees, rocks and grey sandy soil. Barely a green leaf in sight. Even the trees are bare. I’d love to show a split photo but of course I lost my camera cable so I can’t upload them. You’ll have to see this to believe it. My mother says that she’s just as fastidious about keeping everything bare as she is cultivating her colorful garden. And there you have it. Puerto Rico is beautiful. It just depends which side of the road you’re looking at. Go figure. I’ve never seen anything like it. (BTW my aunt is a sweetheart. I always thought she looks like a Spanish Marilyn Monroe. At least when she was younger. Thank God she won’t read this. It’s all in the hair after all)

Okay, so what am I doing in beautiful Puerto Rico? Uhh…my ex-wife kicked me out on the street? Yeah, that works. It’s funny anyway. It would be even funnier if it weren’t true. But don’t cry for me Argentina, I’m still alive and well and basking in the proverbial sun. Astray in the midst of a primrose path, as Shakespeare might say. But what the hell. Three home-cooked squares and all the sleep I can get. (God bless my mother) Just what the doctor ordered. Like I said, I’m back from the dead. Trying to get some rest in the back of my truck in a Walmart parking lot for a week is more than I care to ever venture. Those vacuum sweepers at midnight are awfully noisy you know.

So here’s the lesson in writing. (And you thought I was only venting) Don’t hold anything back. Spill it all out. We’ve all been through it before and if not yet, most of us are on our way sooner or later. There’s no shame in adversity. We’re all human and nobody is immune to the hardships in life. As my wonderful 76 year old mom says: You even pay for the laughter in this world. God sees it all.

These are the lessons that make you a better writer. A better person. Find the truth in all your stories. Tell that truth and tell it well. Write it down in blood. Bare your heart and soul because everything you’re exposing is already known to all of us and by confirming everything human within us, we validate our experiences and connect with our readers in special ways. There’s nothing new under the sun. It’s all been done before. And as writers, our goal is to say it like only we can say it; in a way only we can express it. In our style. In our own manner. With our own voice.

And everyone said: AMEN.

Next installment: Uhh...I'm still working on that but stay tuned because even the spacebar on my laptop conspires againstmethese days. (See what I mean?)

Me; paranoid and superstitious?'s all in your head. I've crossed the Atlantic. Those Haitian spells can't touch me.