Wednesday, August 1, 2012

A Nice Kick in the Face

While I was at Tita's house and Tita was in California, I had an afternoon of pizza and pastelitos and story telling and story gathering with my cousins, the children of Abuelo's sister Tia Fifi.

By the time they were leaving  mind was full, I knew something I hadn't known before, and the old and new pieces of the story - our story - and I wanted to push pause and sit down and start writing and rewriting right then.

But of course I couldn't, even though I had my Mac, my faculties, my imagination (but no red wine because as a guest in my Mom's house I was afraid of opening the wrong bottle, the expensive one) but not one drop of the miraculous God-particle of intention, the force which makes stories go from imaginary to material.

I knew that after they left I would clean up, I would call my Mom and tell her about the day, and then I would sit with Abuelo at dusk watching the birds. I knew I would fall into another quiet writingless evening, the latest in a long streak of silence and I had no problem at all with that.

As Eduardo walked out the door, in between hugs, he asked again when my next book would be done.

I said I was working on it, I'd know when I had an ending. I said something like  "Just like Marvin's Book, I knew when it was over.  I'm sure I'll know the ending to this when I see it. Or it hits me. I'm open to that."

I thought he would nod, I thought he would be pleased by that. He was my older cousin, so mature and worldly in ways both Cuban and Miami.

He frowned a little and proclaimed, "I'll tell you one thing I know for sure. My father didn't spend 18 years as a political prisoner in Cuba for you to just have some nice visits to Cuba."

I held my hand up to my own cheek and said ow, thanks, I think that's just the kick I needed to get writing. 

He laughed and left, they all left, and later I again didn't write.

Not that night or the next night, or the next few nights when I slept with the balcony door open to ocean and let myself be deafened to sleep by the her relentless roar.

A week later the pain in my jaw, the numbness on half my face, the invisible swelling I've attributed to an invisible punch and not something worse, has improved.

With every word I write it feels a little better, like I've chosen the right thing to believe in.