and other creative types. From the stupendous Maria Popova at Brain Pickings:
Famous authors are notorious for their daily routines — sometimes outrageous, usually obsessive, invariably peculiar. In Odd Type Writers: From Joyce and Dickens to Wharton and Welty, the Obsessive Habits and Quirky Techniques of Great Authors (public library) — the more dimensional and thoroughly researched counterpart to Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals — Brooklyn-based writer Celia Blue Johnson takes us on a guided tour of great writers’ unusual techniques, prompts, and customs of committing thought to paper, from their ambitious daily word quotas to their superstitions to their inventive procrastination and multitasking methods.
WHO ARE YOU? You Asked.
I am the light behind your clouds,
a true believer at your church,
the earliest singer celebrating
what your life would become.
I am each distinctive brushstroke
in the portrait of your hands,
as they pray to know the answer
to the questions that you face.
I am the last few pages of a book
you read alone in bed. The words
you remember the next morning,
when the blue of your eyes awake.
A childhood friend, a lost pet found
a decade later in the afternoon rain.
A forgiving thought for an old hurt,
the healed wound, this is who I am.
Your Sunday paper. The roll of waves
laying their passion at Jersey’s edge.
The morning craving of coffee.
Long afternoon walks by yourself.
I’m laughter now. Tears then.
We met before and meet today.
Apart we walked these roads—
together we’ll walk them again.
I am the cabin that sits by your lake,
the light when the dawn breaks.
The voice you trust, the hand you held.
Yesterday. Tomorrow. And today.
I am your eternal companion.
An optimist blessing your fate.
Your improvised poet. Your expert lover.
Your tireless supporter. Your soul mate.
Author’s Note: I published this entry on my father’s birthday for the first time in 2009. I still miss him and not only on his birthday, so I post it again today. This is the one post that gets picked up most by search engines. Other folks who missed their departed dads come here to read about mine. If you’re reading this, I wish that you were as lucky as I was in having known someone like my dad Gilberto. Blessings to yours and mine.
If my Dad was alive, today would have been his 81st birthday. He died in a car accident in Cuba in 1979. He was 47 years old. I almost died with him.
On a day like today, I am remembering his courage and his grace.
I would love to tell you a little bit about both.
We were in Cuba visiting the family we had left behind a decade earlier. We were one of the first groups to travel back to Cuba under the Family Reunification Act. This was an agreement entered into by both the Cuban and American governments to allow family members living in the US the opportunity to visit relatives on the island.
Like a lot of Cuban families, ours had been split along political lines. After supporting the Revolution from its infancy, my Dad broke with it in the early Sixties. He felt the original promises of the Revolution — a return to democracy after Batista, with the Constitution of 1940 as guide — had been betrayed. He called the Castro gang the real counter-revolutionaries. After the nationalization of private property — including my Dad’s humble-single pump Sinclair station — and the declaration by Castro that communism, not democracy was the future for Cuba, Dad filed the necessary paperwork to emigrate to this country. I can only imagine the pain Dad must have felt leaving his family and friends behind and move to a country that spoke a different language and lived a different culture. He was only allowed to take with him the clothes on his back.
About a quarter of my family did the same thing. The other three quarters stayed behind with different degrees of involvement in the Castro government. Some close relatives, believers in and defenders of the Revolution, were high up in governmental circles. I loved these people as much as I loved the ones that made it across the Florida Straits. My Dad taught me that. I never heard him say one negative, unloving thing about any family member that had chosen differently than him. He had a big, accepting heart.
to my beloved. Absent still.
My eyes cloud these nights
not from lack of sleep,
but from not resting upon her instead.
Sweet apparition of mine, completion
of life, a full century between us,
a warm, undulating sea between us,
the stoic rocky coastline north and
south the deserted beach.
Continents have been known to drift,
—apart some, yet others
a fused land mass become,
diamonds for offsprings,
new moon lighting their path.
It’s past midnight
the new day has begun—
light awaits its turn in the dark.
Well, here’s a serious, informed discussion “with Ted Henken, a professor in the Department of Black and Latino Studies at Baruch College at the City University of New York; and Alexis Romay, an author and member of the board of directors of the human rights organization, Cuba Archive.” On Tiempo.
Via Alexis Romay