It’s been a week, so I guess I ought to update.
Yesterday afternoon and then again last night there were horrible strong rainstorms here in
I went out dancing with friends a couple of times last week. We’re a small group—La
(Parenthetically: I had a long rant prepared about the shocking and trashy behaviors of slutty norteamericanas who make a spectacle of themselves in dance clubs and other public places, but I’ll but it down to this: I deduce from your actions that you’re shy on self respect, so it’s a tall order but I wish you would think about how your actions reflect on the rest of us who do in fact respect ourselves and our sexuality. We are not all like you, you are just a minority, but we still have to deal with the reputation you construct for all of us, even when we’re just walking down the street. Crossing a border is not license to drink like Hemingway and dance like a cheap hooker. It reflects on all of us, and it’s your fault we have such a nasty reputation abroad, it’s your fault that “gringa” is synonymous with “cheap” and “exploitable”. I pity you and resent you.)
In further salsa news, dance lessons at school are moving along well, and I’ve got a regular partner and we’re learning to work together. He’s a nice German kid. Class went well until the storm cut the power (we have class in the basement theatre, with no windows or natural light). Also yesterday, Raúl (the instructor, and yes, he fits all the stereotypes you might have of a fruity latin dance instructor, we love him) let the cat out of the bag that we’ll be performing our routine for the rest of the students on the last day of school for those who want to participate. Amidst jokes about finding matching flowing red dresses, el alemán and I are wondering if we really want to do that. . . watch this space for updates.
Certainly the most exciting thing to happen this week is that I started the text of my novel (this is especially satisfying/consoling since my “preliminary research” isn’t coming together the way I’d hoped) I’ve only got a little so far, but I’m generally pleased with it. In my writing class (which isn’t really a creative writing class, by the way, it’s mostly mechanics and style) we went over Horacio Quiroga’s decalogue of rules for good writing, and I saw on that list the things that have been holding me up. A couple of the rules that stood out to me:
V. No empieces a escribir sin saber desde la primera palabra adónde vas. En un cuento bien logrado, las tres primeras líneas tienen casi la importancia de las tres últimas. (Don’t start writing without knowing from the first word where you’re headed. In a well-contsructed story, the first three lines are almost as important as the last three).
VIII. Toma a tus personajes de la mano y llévalos firmemente hasta el final, sin ver otra cosa que el camino que les trazaste. . . (Take your characters by the hand and lead them determinedly to the end, without being distracted by anything other than the path you’ve laid out for them. . .)
I realized I’d been trying to write without having fully developed the story line or the characters, thinking those things would magically take shape along the way. So, I spent the next several days really thinking about what I want this novel to say, and how to do that. I eliminated some elements and decided where in the tale I want to begin and end, and spent some time in character development. Yesterday I started writing the text. I’m pleased with it so far. It already needs some clean up, but I’ve started. I also realize this is going to be a longer process than I’d anticipated. It feels so good, though, to be using creative energy. I’ve missed writing. I’ve missed being creative. Yesterday between the storms I took a pause in my walk home (the streets were still somewhat flooded) to stop at a café, where I sat alone with my lunch and my laptop and wrote. I felt so good, so productive.
My husband is also astoundingly supportive of my writing. We’ve talked on the phone a couple of times about what I’m writing and the breakthroughs I’ve had, and I can hear in his voice how happy he is about it. I am the luckiest girl in the world. I miss him so much. Reva, I’m starting to get an inkling of how you felt when Jared was gone in
I’ll stop before I get too schmoopy. Suffice to say, it’s been a good, productive week, and the creative juices are flowing again. Here’s to waiting out nasty storms.