For years, I felt like my writer’s life had gone adrift and I would never take it back.
Welcome to the Eight installment in the Rainbow series, where episodes inspired by my Brazil journal are told weekly.
How I abandoned my writer’s life.
In the last days before travelling to the inland of Brazil, where I would spend three stunning and unbelievable years, I had resigned to not having neither the time nor the inspiration to write a single sentence. Family life had demanded my full attention but even more, our economic and health issues , along with other problems regarding the kids didn’t leave space for much more.
So when I arrived in Brazil, the last grip I had on my ideal pen loosened and I simply let my life get a hold on me. I forgot I was a writer, forgot the quarrels and arguments with my wife Persefone due to my frustration for the lack of time to write and put every dream and project aside. I let my new life lead the way.
How my writer’s life took me back.
I forgot I had a novel to finish and that I wrote novels in the first place and I simply started to enjoy the new world around me. In the end, self-inflicted pain was of no use. Before I knew it, I was jotting down everything I saw and experienced, all that was new to me ended up on paper. Since there was nothing I was used to, my hand never stopped writing and paper was never enough.
As a result, by the end of the day my wrist hurt, but my notebook had ten-to-thirty new pages.
There is no way for you to abandon or ignore what you are; it takes you back in strange and mysterious ways. What follows is a mosaic of what I saw in less than four days in the town I spent the first part of my life in Brazil, the town Persefone lived her early years. This little mosaic helped me took back my craft when I thought I had none of it left inside of me anymore. Actually, I didn’t need to take it back, it was the other way around.
Please enjoy the Beam:
February 1-3, 2013
I saw beehives the size of a bag full of potatoes, an owl in the early morning and at first I drew back, suspicious; in my land, owls mean bad luck. Perse explained to me that you can spot tens of them all day long and they bring good fortune.
Big and tall coconut’s trees with bushy foliage at the very top of them raised in bunches from the waters of the lake opposite Perse’s lot, they were the buritis and they spawned only where there was water. The office where we had to go to set up Jurema’s school document would open after lunch. I asked Perse if that meant 12:30 pm or 1:00 pm and she laughed, telling me that there, “after lunch” only meant “after lunch”.
I saw a banner that said “ouro branco”, “white gold”, and I remembered a sprayed sentence near the kid’s school, which was “é só o ôro”, that is “it is only gold”. I asked Perse how “gold” was written in proper Portuguese, if “ouro” or “ôro”. She and Eloise told me that the first one was the correct form but the sentence “é só o ôro”, with the word for gold written with circumflex accent, is a saying in Goiás and quite popular in Piracanjuba, where people use it to mean: “It couldn’t be better!”.
Perse showed me the house where she raised her kids, we just stopped in front of it and I kept looking at the facade. It was falling to pieces, windows were black holes, the paint on the wall had no proper color anymore and the roof was broken in many spots. In the front courtyard, weeds had grown and some litter had been thrown. It looked impossible that even hobos could live in there. Perse assured me there was a family inside.
Rizatriptan, 2:27 am.
Cars which in Italy would be piled up in scrap tanks, here they are taped with iron wire and used until the last breath; actual rubbish on four wheels being driven in the town of Piracanjuba, or, like a friend of Eloise’s said, “Buracanjuba”, from “buraco”, that is “hole”, which the town’s streets are full. Rich men here drive pick-up trucks all red-dusted with dirt, for they drive it through the countryside to supervise the work in their properties. Here, dirt means rich.
Mundane events are announced through big and ridiculously loud speakers tied on top of the aforementioned rubbish on four wheels, rolling all day on the broken streets. Boys still impress girls lowering down the windows of their cars and pumping up the volume to the max on their radios. Obviously they do this bare-chested and not just because of the hot climate. But something’s wrong here; the volume is about ten times louder than average car radios could afford, there’s no such means supporting those decibels. Here’s why: it is not radios they have installed in their cars, but armchair-sized speakers they put in the back. Perse tells me it works: girls go crazy.
There’s a woman who hits the road every day with a basket full of homemade goodies, selling them at a low price to people and shop assistants. There are pastel, coxinha and other traditional yummies. I buy some too. Once the basket is empty, she goes back home, prepares a mango or orange juice and exits again for the second shift in a row. Geovana’s neighbor puts out a cart on the sidewalk in front of his house door every afternoon and sells picolés, which are what we call icicles.
Here, soap operas are called novelas and are as popular as tv shows in the US; deep-cleavaged and angelical actresses act in them; their beauty reaches levels so high you could call it unearthly.
When the sun sets, the sky darkens fast and before you could say “wow”, it is night already. When dusk is in, the sky gets purple on the horizon, then orange and suddenly the sun is up there, in its shiny and burning glory. Today, people took me for my wife’s son twice in a row. When someone has to move home, they do it with a wooden carriage and a horse and the expert in town here is Mixirica (literally, tangerine). Perse told me that one day, he was hitting a nail with a hammer and somehow the nail bounced in his right eye, blinding it. He is one of the milestones in “Buracanjuba”.
Here, every woman has a light within herself and shines it through. Almost all of them are beautiful. Many of them are very beautiful. Some are gorgeous. A few are stunning. One, is the most beautiful I have ever seen in my life.
Topiramato, 10:59 pm.
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