Water heart, ice heart

So there I was, back in my hometown, being paid a spontaneous tribute by my country folk for having returned from my endless journeys around the globe; a casual open-air meeting in the middle of the street, where I was welcomed by everybody in an atmosphere of brotherly harmony that I had not seen before; approached by all, shaking hands, people patting my back and uttering warm words of recognition or praise, same my friends or my acquaintances and even those who never liked me (a fair majority, I must say), they all wanted to talk to me and greet the prodigal son; though curiously, far from sounding hypocritical or phony, their signs of affection were real–I mean, as real as such an odd meeting could be. Among them, there were also a few friends I had made abroad, friends who couldn’t possibly be in Spain, who have not been there in their lives and who won’t likely ever visit my hometown, although in that moment those little details didn’t seem implausible to me: neither the presence of my foreign friends nor the sincere well meaning of my country folks.

And there I was too, simultaneously (mark, reader: simultaneously), sitting–so to say–at the director’s chair and directing the scene, exchanging opinions with an invisible assistant, making small changes and improvements we thought of on the go: that character a bit farther, that one yonder a bit closer, this here to say something different, the other to speak earlier; and with every touching up of the script it was me again, and at the same time, interpreting what was taking place for real (albeit it wasn’t really happening); not an actor in a shooting, not alike those movie stars who become directors for directing themselves (though obviously they can’t do both things at a time), but as a true demiurge of an episode in which I was truly involved: dreamer and dreamed within my own dream.

And while being there, in the middle of the street, among my old neighbours and my foreign friends, I was told a few times that because in the mornings I was like water and in the evenings I was like ice –as absurd and wrong-headed a metaphor as can there be, although I then took it as valid and even accounted for it as true–, they had decided to call my dream with the title Water heart, ice heart.

Of the unabridged argument of that story, a complete one which took place from beginning to end in my dream, the next morning I could only recall the title, because the director Me had urged my subconscious to remember for when I woked up. Water heart, ice heart; a beautiful, evocative and sonorous title that I offer for free to whomever reads this and has both the fantasy and the will to write something to which it can fit, since I, unfortunately, cannot.

Ah, how I envy that dreamer Me, capable of inventing touching stories that the awaken Me can’t even dream of!

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IX. Pueblos que sestean sobre el litoral

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VIII. La sorprendente duna de Pilat

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VII. Vasconia cántabra, marinera y turística

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On Lem’s Pericalypsis

perfectVacuumIn the foreword of that joke book that is Perfect Vacuum, where its author, the Polish essayist Stanislaw Lem, reviews a series of nonexistent literary works (they reside only in the universe of his boundless imagination), the prologue writer tells us that, with this, Lem tries to give life to — or perhaps get rid of some of his overabundant ideas, considering that he has much more literary projects than biological lifespan to accomplish them. Thus, by the resource of ‘reviewing’ a few novels that, attributed to equally fictitious authors, he would’ve written himself were his life to last longer, he at least can offer to us the thought arguments or plots, along with the possible, suggested controversy or debate the hypotetical lecturers of the nonexistent books might have come up with. By the way, and for icing the cake, by the end of the foreword we are hinted to suspect that this, too — the foreword itself — is, in turn, Lem’s own craft, and not another person’s. Quite a feat of literary juggling.

Perfect Vacuum is an excellent work; a display of dialectic dexterity, intelligence, logic, and fantasy in equal measure with imagination, all of which at some passages has made me swoon.

And because I have so much liked it, I’m quoting here four of such paragraphs; not necessarily the best, but in any case remarkable ones, most of all considering the decade (the 70’s) they were written, which should suffice to give us an idea of Lem’s amazing clearvoyance and prophetic dowry. All four quotes belong to Perycalipsis, one of the book ‘reviews’ featured in the volume. Continue »

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VI. Comillas y un exclave cántabro en Vizcaya

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The ‘Time passed away’ carol

villancicosWhen passing by the function room at the Orthodox Institute, the man hears a choir of child-like voices, and –curious– peeps through the laces of the glass doors. He sees a group of children rehearsing Christmas carols, conducted by a young teacher. Not that young, actually, but for the last few years almost everyone seems young to him, and this -he says to himself- can only mean one thing…

Ditching with a shrug such untimely trend of thought, he quietly opens the door and steals into the large room, takes a seat on one of the rear chairs and, unnoticed, listens to the rehearsal. The atmosphere is warm, absorbing, snug like a womb must be. Outdoors, behind the windows, some feeble snowflakes fall softly against the dark background, putting on the night a white Christmas touch.

After a few carols have been sung, and when the pure and innocent mouths of the children (they are indeed young!) intone the melancholy notes of Silent Night, two lonely tears roll down the man’s cheeks. But it’s not this carol’s particular sadness, by itself, what made those tears well up, Continue »

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Tres ermitas

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