·Feeding land, melting ice
Friday, December 28, 2007
·Feeding land, melting ice
Posted by Awen at 9:06 pm
Thursday, December 20, 2007
2. Sex in the morning, afternoon or night?
Posted by Awen at 5:36 pm
Monday, December 17, 2007
I'm for the first time in my life experiencing the gradual withering of Nature. I can see a long shadow projected on the ground at noon, most trees have no leaves anymore, it sleeted just the other day, peaches have disappeared from the grocery. It's a bit strange to witness all this without creating a whole ritual with a group, or chanting invocations and prayers. Just letting Nature do Its work. Winter, and its brand new order, finally begin to finds its way to my life.
The Light shows signs of wanting to be born again, yeah, though the ice is still on the way. On Thursday, I attended a panel about Homossexuality and Religion in a local university. One of the participants represented Wicca. I felt much more connected to what most of the catholics said, and didn't really feel represented in the Wiccan talk, so I decided to take a chance at the end of the event when everybody was done speaking (Spaniard style, I'd say) to mention that contrary to the idea the Wiccan on stage gave, Pagan traditions are very much community-oriented and, yes, Love is also paramount on my Path. I think I got to actually close the night when I quote Doreen Valiente's bit of the Charge: "All acts of love and pleasure are my rituals". I just had to add my two cents, that's me. Nevertheless, I got the contacts of the speaker and am still to get in touch with him.
On Saturday night, Lady Bartlett hosted the Faerie Heart Circle. I was all excited for it, left my gay meditation group early to attend it, but in the end, I let shame, guilt and the boyfriend all together ruin the experience for me. The group is to meet again. I'll hope I know better next time.
The Osho Zen Tarot I bought on Amazon.com finally arrived and I started playing with it this weekend. I'm doing the card-a-day thing till I light up all the symbols in there and assimilate the whole vision behind that deck, which by the way is SO beautiful. I first used that deck in an Osho meditations workshop I got some five years ago in Rio. Now I finally own it.
So, I could bet that I am now just before the break of Dawn. Sometime soon, the Sun will rise again and the Light will be back. Meanwhile, I coccoon and hold the vision.
Posted by Awen at 2:56 pm
Tuesday, December 04, 2007
At this point of my life, with already a great deal of my identity figured out, much of my talents and personal weaknesses uncovered and a vision of what I want to do with my life pretty clear, I figure that the Red Thread's tossed me across the Ocean all by myself and partially language-deprived to force me to learn how to sort through levels of relationships. Specifically, to try to figure out how relationships and that mind-boggling 1+1=3 effect that you get more often than advisable for a predictable social life or the preservation of innocence.
I'm writing with a specific scene in mind, and while the topic of the writing is new, the scene itself is not. Yes, it's one of those meals with Jose's friends I'm still totally unused to and generally deprived of means to live through without feeling like an emotional mess afterwards. Last Saturday night, which is traditionally NOT my favourite part of the week, the topic was me. Me, overeating at the table; me, and the bad choice vegetarianism is; me and my tummy; me and how I am one of those people that love appearing on photos and everything else petty people love to talk about. I recall one of these cheesy posters with landscape backgrounds and pocket-wisdom sayings in cursive fonts that have always been pretty popular in Brazil from when I was a kid:
"Pessoas grandes falam de idéias. Pessoas medianas falam de fatos. Pessoas pequenas falam de pessoas."
[Big people talk about ideas. Medium people talk about facts. Small people talk about people.]
I can relate. And maybe due to seeing that poster so many times over and over, it probably sank in for good, and just staying in an environment where other people are the topic makes me sick. Being the topic is even worse. Let alone the little fluency in the language that frustrates a profoundly language-oriented person like myself. There were days when it used to be pretty simple. Back in my teens, when I was a loner, or in my early adulthood, when anytime I found myself in a freak show I simply phased out and moved on to swim in healthier waters. A frustrated coven, workmates, feri witchcraft, neighbourhood gossipers and--the ultimate crucible--extended family are people you can easily forward somewhere else you're precisely avoiding to be. Leaving money for your share of the bill, standing up and walking away used to be so easy.
In a good deal of not-so-recent, teenage, witchcraft-theme films, samples of the collective hysteria that a group in which relationships deeper than the intelligence of individuals comprised therein brews seem pretty much veracious and have been proven very much truthful and true in my own experience. And after a certain point in your life, when life becomes a little more complex, the risk is still present, but the on-off relationship switch ain't so close at hand.
It is possible that what makes people's irrationality looks worse and worse over time is the contrast you feel with your own level of (un)awareness(?) and sensitivy to your own Shadow, but I'm actually inclined to blame it on the 1+1=3 equation. When you take somebody else into your life and slowly begin to live life as two, you're necessarily bringing in whatever life they've lived so far. Bad luck it's a bunch of fossiles from the eighties, obsessed with looks, driven by the extremely old-fashioned perfect-body craze and heeding no spiritual callings whatsoever. Legacy. Dowry.
I'm pretty glad I've lived my own life before moving in up here, and I comprehend it's probably hard for him, too. Taking wonderstock again, I realise that too much of what I've been writing and musing about is actually the part of my life that used to not be my life. I might just as well use all my powers to deal with the new 'past' as I successfully did with my personal-individual one.
Posted by Awen at 9:43 am
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
The Travelling God rules over Wednesday, but I've come to realise that the old nursery rhyme is more accurate. We, Thursday babies, have Far-to-go in our genetic programme. At least, I do. And the further I walk, the closer I am to a spiritual home.
Over these past two blogless months I have trodden many roads. In motion, roots naturally grow stronger: my relationships are more solid and mature and I finally get a sense of serenity around me, if only a bit over half of the time.
I have a job now. I can't believe I haven't been able to record this here in the Book of Crossroads yet, but here it is. Probably the biggest achievement I could've gotten in this first phase of my settling in Madrid. I do subtitles for Portuguese television, Fox channel. I used to be translating, but they decided my Brazilian flavour on the language is not welcome here in the Developed World, and now I'm just synchronizing the text the Europeans translate with the US actors' voices.
The office is way far from my home and due to bureaucracy and other visa issues, I'm having a real hard time getting my hands on my money (I still haven't received the October payment yet), but at least I have got a huge window behind my computer screen, wherethrough I can lay my eyes and let my spirit take off above the oak grove every now and then.
I dumped the old vocal coach. Too much shit to take from a very unprofessional person, to whom I had to pay 20 euros an hour, so I just decided that Der Abschied was in order. Because the Red Thread is always there, about two weeks later I got a heads-up for a more interesting (if only more expensive) vocal coach.
Speaking of which, I finally debuted as a working artist here in Spain. Last Saturday, I performed with my choir in a wedding ceremony in a small, well-off village just outside Madrid. The Wheel does start spinning after you say the first Yes.
And besides having some needs met, after two months of broken computer I've confirmed how important it is for me to write and to remain in touch with this Otherworld that the Internet is. It connects me to my kin across the Ocean and makes my world larger, giving me more room to roam. It performs a sort of chiropractic on the road ahead.
And the farther I wander, the more aware I get. The clearer I have what I want and what I need. If the Ways of the Land are my Religion of choice, I can certainly listen to the answers the Land gives me and I caress it with my moving feet.
On I walk. No Merry-go-rounds.
Image: The symbol of Camino de Santiago, the most important pilgrimage in the Western World, going through the beautiful city of León. Shot on one of my many trips this Autumn.
Posted by Awen at 4:15 pm
Friday, September 14, 2007
2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart? Not always. In Sampa, when shopping at the HUGE supermarket, there was no means to return the car by myself when leaving the super-busy place. When at the small version two blocks from my old home, I always did. In Spain we don't use carts.
3. If you had to kiss the last person you kissed, would you? Yes.
4. Has someone ever sang a song to you? Yes. I had a boyfriend who was a singer-songwriter once, and he used to sing to me everything he wrote. I was probably the only person who had ever heard his songs by then.
5. Do you play Sudoku? No, and I feel secretly guilty for that. I simply can't buy this brain-boosting hysteria that's swept over the whole of Humanity now. Besides, I hate mathematics. I can't concentrate enough to do calculus.
6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness would you survive? Not one day.
7. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you would do? Cry for help.
8. Who was the last person you shared a bed with? My boyfriend.
9. Who do you text the most? Mobile, Diane. Internet, everybody I know except for my boyfriend.
10. Who last said they loved you? Does 'me, too' count as 'I love you'??
11. What color are your eyes? Today, they are (estar) golden hazel. But they are (ser) everchanging colours along the brown-yellow spectrum.
12. How tall are you? 1.79 m.
13. Do you like your parents? Yeah, from this distance, yes, I do.
14. Do you secretly like someone? No. Not secretly.
15. Why did your last relationship end? Tired of the abuse.
16. Who was the last person you said you loved on the phone? Mom.
17. Favorite ex-Beatle? George. I'm original, and I'm scared of hippies now.
18. Where was the furthest place you traveled? To the South, Buenos Aires. To the North, Galicia. To the East, Cuenca. To the West, Minas Gerais.
19. Do you like mustard? Yes, very much.
20. Do you prefer to sleep or eat? What kind of question is this?
21. Do you look like your mom or dad? No. But I was told I look like my grandfather. I disagre, though.
22. How long does it take you in the shower? Long, very long. I know I'm wrong and that it's ecologically awful, but fuck, I don't smoke, don't eat meat, always use public transport, don't abuse anybody. I deserve long showers everyday. Sue me.
23. Can you do splits? No. I'm inflexible, weak and clumsy. Physically. And emotionally too, come to think of it.
24. What movie do you want to see right now? Almost all of them. But the new Harry Potter and Shrek 3rd are really calling me.
25. What did you do for New Year's Eve? Wore a t-shirt where I wrote, 'I write my own History' with a marker and my own hands.
26. Do you think The Grudge was crappy? No idea.
27. Was your mom a cheerleader? Probably she would if there were things like that in Brazil. Popularity, appearance and approval is what she lives and dies for.
28. What's the last letter of your middle name? O. Not middle name. First Surname.
29. How many hours of sleep do you get a night? 8 or 9. Sometimes, I sleep even more.
30. Do you like Care Bears? Yes, especially when the other animals joined. I liked the elephant, the bunny, the cat, etc. Diversity.
31. What do you buy at the Movies? Mint. I think it's awful to carry food and drinks to the projection room.
32. Do you know how to play poker? No, I don't.
33. Do you wear your seatbelt? Yeah.
34. What do you wear to sleep? Tee-shirt and underwear.
35. Anything big ever happen in your town? Yeah, I suppose.
36. Is your hair straight or curly? More curly than straight.
37. Is your tongue pierced? No.
38. Do you like Liver and Onions? Yes, onions.
39. Do you like funny or serious people better? Funny. Serious people's way of being funny is irony and sarcasm, and lately I'm on a zero tolerance politics for ppl who can't get a point made straight and clear.
40. Ever been to L.A.? No. Neither NYC.
41. Who or what is on your mind right now? Cool people who are in LA and NYC right now.
42. Any plans for tonight? A world music concert downtown, with music from the countries along the Silk Road.
43. What's your favorite song at the moment? 'Down By the Salley Gardens' (Irish folk), a song I sang in my performance last year's Pagan Pride Day in Sampa.
44. Do you hate chocolate? No.
45. Are you in college? No.
46. Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy? I remember being happy before without a boyfriend, so I suppose I don't need one.
47. If you could have any job what would it be? I'd say a Care Bear, but I don't think it'd work in a world like this. So, no jobs, just a wonderful income out of the blue, so I could live my life on selfish hobbies and narcisistic creative projects.
48. Are you easy to get along with? Probably not. I'm too stupid and gullible.
49. What is your favorite time of day? Early evening, just after sunset.
50. Are you a generally happy person? Yes!
Posted by Awen at 11:47 am
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
(Dougie MacLean – ‘Solid Ground’)
Today we recall an icon of capitalist achievement being destroyed by its very worst nature.
Six years on Ground Zero. May the tragedy of being forced to hit the ground from the highest height we had reached by them teach us to bring to ashes whatever walls and towers separates us from each other and from the Land.
Today we celebrate that what brings us together is stronger, more unbreakable than what keeps us apart.
Posted by Awen at 6:48 pm
Saturday, September 08, 2007
***You Would Be a Pet Monkey***
Smart and unbridled, you are truly unpredictable... and a little crazy.You're very playful and funny, but you're also moody and aggressive.You're have the personality of a wild animal, which is both scary and entertaining.
Why you would make a great pet: You're very smart and you know how to charm people
Why you would make a bad pet: When you don't get your way, you're a bit of a monster
What you would love about being a monkey: Playing interesting games with humans
What you would hate about being a monkey: Not being quite smart enough to be a human!
What Kind of Pet Would You Be?http://www.blogthings.com/whatkindofpetwouldyoubequiz/
Posted by Awen at 8:22 pm
Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Synchronicity means that the world outside conforms to match what’s going on in the world within. I have had many proofs throughout my life that the biggest contribution I can make is writing far and deep. As I stir shit of my own, it’s like an exorcism goes on in the collective subconscious, and because no accusation is being made, people seem to tune to the momentum more easily and with less shock.
The kind of kid I was usually grows up to be the losers, the evil rulers and the rapists of the world. The reasons why are extensive and probably too disturbing to be disclosed here, but I can only be profoundly relieved and honestly proud that I grew up to be a healthy gay man with a very clear role in his community, wherever he is. Humble to address his imperfections, proud to stand stronger than they.
Free from dogma, we are able to understand why the Goddess, through Doreen Valiente, wishes there is both Pride and Humility in us. Only with the combination of what is taught to be antagonisms, we are free to come to our full Power, which is Her own.
(Gee, does anybody say ‘Iron Pentacle’?)
Image: Reikian symbol Sei He Ki, used to clear deep issues and promote emotional healing.
Posted by Awen at 10:07 am
Monday, September 03, 2007
After four months landing, feeling stifled and isolated, and living in a place where the attitude towards shame is radically the opposite from my native land, I’ve been having a really hard time. Old (hurt) feelings have been arising all the time, taking my sleep from me, or inundating me with painful memories of guilt, resentment, ridicule and failure. And, Gods, I have many.
I can only suppose that since leaving Rio, I was doing pretty well in this, in overcoming and outgrowing the Shame that was branding-ironed on me through my whole, horrible upbringing. I found my place as a bard in my Pagan Community, my head was light and working at full speed, my vision was clear, my phisical body en-light-ened almost 36 lbs (16 Kgs) off, I felt the sincere need to help the Oneness I’m generally part of with my actual gifts and charms, and I opened myself to truly fall in love for the first time. I had other motives and other motions. I was a lot less afraid. I had finally come to a place where I gained lots of social and inner approval, probably for the first time in my life, and I quit being a numbed out, selfish brat causing commotion and taking over everywhere I went. No surprise then, that everytime I was visitting with my parents, nightmares and synchronicities made the shit resurface.
Moving to Madrid was definetely far from being a retrocession; more accurately it was an advance, and it catapulted me overnight to a point where I’d have to learn how to pluck this from the root, and put my tools to use. Quite literally.
I live now in a place people have gone far and away from a place of shame a long time ago. I suppose there are some very clear reasons for that, or at least I can think of some, but it just doesn’t matter. The thing is that seeing people looking and acting totally disconsiderate of others and feeling fine about that (e.g., smoking in a restaurant while other people eat, parking the car anywhere, throwing a noisy party at the cinema while the film is being projected, walking up and down with their unleashed dogs messing with other people and other dogs) has bred in me a type of vicarious shame, where I feel bad and constrained for everyone around me, who don’t give a damn if they’re ruining somebody else’s day (or life!) or not. Because I took a bit too long to realise that, and because I haven’t had a day job for too long now, I began to let shameful memories and feelings from my past to reemerge. And that stinks big time.
I suppose there are many quick-and-easy ways out there to overcome shame: the Iron Pentacle, the Love-Over-Fear panacea, a healthy relationship with God, healing abusive relationships from your past, a superb community, writing, venting, airing, ventilating. They all might work, but without constant vigilance, Shame resurfaces and without being dealt with URGENTLY, it takes over your day and your night, and is most likely to take over your relationships, too. Because a person who is controlled by her own Shame will try (and succeed) to make other people ashamed of themselves, too, no matter how good the intentions are. I know that too well, from being both on the giving and the receiving end of the Chain of Shame.
Posted by Awen at 3:38 pm
Friday, August 31, 2007
I was in her place for two whole hours, in which I told her about my previous training, my plans, and my needs; and she told me about her own background, how she can help me, and we burnt CDs with scores and recordings of great performances of a piece we’ll be studying together—Schubert’s ‘Die Schöne Wüllerin’ song cycle. We did vocalizes, so that she could check my voice, and worked on an arietta I’d been working to exhaustion with my previous vocal coach in Sao Paulo, Giordani’s ‘Caro Mio Ben’.
The teacher is from Cuba, where she had most of her training, so she’s already warned she’s strict and demanding. Not that it was necessary, because while we were doing ‘Caro Mio Ben’, she went through each musical phrase, making sure I got everything in perfect tune. She also made me control my unquiet, ever-swinging body during the exercises. However militar, she was pretty nice and generous—gave me TWO lessons in a row for the price of one!!
I got home, burnt some Ian Bostridge MP3s, checked some of the scores she burnt for me, sorted through my collection of classical singers and studied the first verse in the first lied she assigned me.
So far, it’s working!!
Image: Daniel Taylor, a Canadian counter-tenor my ex-vocal coach adores, playing the part of Oberon in Britten’s musical setting to ‘Midsummer’s Night Dream’ by Shakespeare, in Pittsburgh. Celena Shafer is Tytania, and Justin Brill is Puck.
Posted by Awen at 1:06 pm
Thursday, August 30, 2007
Image: Italian tenor Roberto Alagna performing at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert.
Posted by Awen at 2:52 pm
Monday, August 27, 2007
I had been keeping records of my Otherworld visits, synchronicities, skills learnt, tools acquired and general experiences since when I was 11 years old, but I made that a solid habit and a diligent procedure in 2003, which was perfect timing, right when I went really down with one of the hugest depression crises to date.
Taking stock opens the doors to Wonders. Clowns, faeries, ghosts, and all the fantastic fauna pressed and squashed between the pages are able to breathe again, and come together with you, to heal, recover, and retrieve a natural and very healthy sense of Pride. The kind that usually fades out when you move in with somebody else, a long way from the place you first called home.
All lives are filled with wonder. We all fly to the Stars, excavate ancient treasures and swim the Waters of Life on a regular basis; we are just not trained to remember that when quotidian life tramples over the delicate signals we receive all the time. Without a travel log, it is easy to forget how a hazelnut guaranteed the passage to the Mystic Grove, and how a shower with water of white roses prepared one to meet the Lady of the Lake in Her underwater castle.
But as you recollect and reminisce, you marvel at how present the wisdom and the learning of it all has always followed you, everywhere and all the time.
Plans to expand the circumference of my praxis magica have already been put to practice. And some others for a more systematized Book of Stars are soon to be, too. As I have grown denser and more comprehensive with age, I feel the need of a corresponding travel log, especially for easier reference and wiser record keeping. I’ll probably be glad I did it another four years in the Future.
Onward, I turn. Spiralwise.
Image: One of Lady Cottington’s victims, displayed in her ‘Pressed Fairy Book’, by Brian Froud. Do not pity him. As soon as the book is open, he’ll be alive again.
Posted by Awen at 1:30 pm
Sunday, August 12, 2007
After a while you learn
the subtle difference between
holding a hand and chaining a soul
and you learn
that love doesn’t mean leaning
and company doesn’t always mean security.
And you begin to learn
that kisses aren’t contracts
and presents aren’t promises
and you begin to accept your defeats
with your head up and your eyes ahead
with the grace of woman, not the grief of a child
and you learn
to build all your roads on today
because tomorrow’s ground is
too uncertain for plans
and futures have a way of falling down
After a while you learn
that even sunshine burns
if you get too much
so you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul
instead of waiting for someone
to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really can endure
you really are strong
you really do have worth
and you learn
and you learn
with every goodbye, you learn…
(Veronica A. Shoffstal, 1971)
I feel homesick, tribeless, and profoundly free.
There is a paradox somewhere in the process of getting what you need, because when you do, you miss your old life. It must be, though, in the tiny print at the bottom of the contract. However, it kinda teaches you that all lives and ways of living have their blessings, and all blessings should be treasured. They’re what brings more in.
Part of the Wisdom of the Crossroads is that, once you choose your path, you need to carry on. Looking back may be useful and warming, but holding back won't let you have either of the crossed ways.
What are the blessings of your life as it is now?
Posted by Awen at 4:59 pm
Saturday, August 11, 2007
1. First name and middle name? Middle names are uncommon where I come from.
2. What holiday is your birthday closest to? Spring Equinox (in North Hemisphere).
3. Favorite fruit? Any berry, but lately bilberry is the chart topper in my fridge.
4. Does it bother you when someone says they'll call you and they don't? Lately, I’ve been happy nobody calls me. Peace rules!
5. Are you allergic to anything? Anise.
6. Is there someone/something you want? Yeah, all the time. Also, I’m usually working on getting them.
7. When was the last time you went swimming? I can’t swim.
8. How many U.S states have you been to? None.
9. How many states have you lived in? Two. RJ and SP.
10. Have you ever lived outside the U.S.? Yeah, my whole life! :D
11. What's your favorite kind of alcoholic drink? Morangoska, I guess (Strawberry caipiroska, a very Brazilian thing: squashed strawberry, sugar/honey and vodka!)
12. Does anyone like you? Hell, yeah!
13. Do you have any strange pets? My boyfriend.
14. What is your dream car? A zeppellin. How do you spell that?
15. What'd you do yesterday? Wrote a poem, composed a blog entry, listened to Julia Cameron’s CDs ‘Reflections on the Artist’s Way’. I also gave my boyfriend head in the morning.
16. Are you bipolar? Yeah, but fortunately, I’ve truly learnt to live without the worst part of it.
17. So do you and your ex's have a good relationship? Yes, with ALL of them, except for one—who doesn’t have a good relationship with anybody except for his dog. Come to think of it, I’ve got more than enough reasons to believe that dog lovers are usually sociopaths to some degree…
18. Where would you want to go on a date? Neuschwanstein Castle, on a romantic date, but there’s no chance my boyfriend would enjoy that, so I guess the only time in my life I’ll be able to be romantic is when I go to a scorching hot nudist beach with roving dogs and no trees around. Or a place with tecnically perfect eighteen-century architecture and smoker-allowed restaurants. On a dream solo Artist Date, I’d choose Alex Grey’s Church of Sacred Mirrors, in NY.
19. When's the last time you were kissed? 40 minutes ago or so.
20. Has anyone ever sang or played for you personally? Yeah.
21. Ever been kissed under fireworks? No. I’ll have to try that one, but being kissed under the rain is marvellous!
22. What was the last text message you received? In the mobile, Diane telling me it was ok that I didn’t come that morning due to a last-minute change of plans here. Online, Somebody telling me his husband wanted to have a shower with me! :D
23. Have you ever bungee jumped? Oh, Gods, NO, but it’s on my to-do-before-I-die list!!
24. Have you ever kayaked? No.
25. Has anyone ten years older than you ever hit on you? All the time. They seem to like me better than ppl my age.
26. Are you an extreme racist? No, I am not.
27. What sound are you listening to right now? Nothing. Jose asked me to put his favourite singer, a VERY BORING greek moaner, and I pretended I didn’t hear him, so we’re in silence. The more I can postpone haris alexiou, the merrier!
28. What's your favorite song at the moment? Bon Jovi’s ‘It’s My Life’. After moving from my parents’ house, I lost much of my grunge roots and now I find myself loving one of the most anti-grunge groups of the 90s…
29. What was the last movie you watched? A documentary about Dragons.
30. When was the last time you went on a trip? I think two weeks ago, we went to a miserable, hot, dry village in the middle of España Profunda called La Seca.
31. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property? Only companies I worked for. No, serious, I have received much more damage then caused my whole life.
32. Have you ever been punched? Yeah, at school, several times x(
33. What's the first thing you notice about the same sex? Lips.
35. What do you usually order from Olive Garden? Ok, no Olive Garden anywhere I’ve lived, so I’ll tell you what I order from Chinese deliveries: Fried Tou-fu/Tofu with spicy sauce.
36. Say something totally random about yourself? I hate the heat.
38. Has anyone ever said you looked like a celebrity? In Zaadz about every two weeks somebody totally unknown came out of the blue to tell me I look like Orlando Bloom. In a way, I agree. Do you?
39. Do you have freckles? No, since when I was a kid. My shoulders used to be all freckled.
40. Are you comfortable with your height? Yeah. Now, I am.
41. Do you love someone right now? Yes.
42. How tall are you? 1,79 m. I think that’s 5’ 10” in English.
43. Do you speak any other language other than English? Yeah, lots o’ them!
44. Have you ever ridden in a limo? No, I’ll do what on my Oscar evening.
45. Has anyone you were really close to passed away? Hm, I’m not sure I was close to my grandparents.
46. Do you watch MTV? Only when I’m in somebody else’s house, in a party.
47. What TV show do you hate? Anything too heterosexual.
48. What's something that really annoys you? Well, everything I can think of right now is the average Madrilean habits. Smoking like there’s no tomorrow, angry shouting, spending over six hours sitting down spilling useless opinions on the table, general empty vanity, inability to truly listen, conservativeness and unleashed, uneducated dogs.
49. Do you think Paris deserved jail time? I don’t care.
50. Do you have a celebrity crush? Kinda. Not strong enough to be called a ‘crush’, though…
51. Do you have a pet? No.
52. What is behind you? Clothes Jose hangs on the back of the chair.
53. Do you drive when you go on long trips? No, I hate driving.
54. What's the latest you have ever stayed out? Well after sunrise, at university.
55. Have you ever thought that you were honestly going to die? Yeah, when I had the Dengue fever. The sensation is the worst possible, because your whole body inflammates, and when you take any medicine, it’s even worse.
56. Were you ever rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room? Yeah, less than 4 months ago!
57. What are you wearing? Yellow t-shirt and underwear. My uniform.
58. Who do you live with? Don José.
59. What color is your hair? Brown.
60. What color are your eyes? Hazel.
[Image: me in La Seca. Even there, the Moon shines, and the underground river flows. Despite the Drought.]
Posted by Awen at 4:52 pm
An underground river flows. The tepid waters won't leave us in need, and the flow itself connects all of us, despite our selfishness and greed.
And above, over the ice, we glide.
Brian Boitano again, doing Nessum Dorma (performed by Pavarotti).
Posted by Awen at 4:42 pm
Friday, August 10, 2007
Brian Boitano performing Gypsy Kings' 'Un Amor' on solid ice. Beauty glides.
Posted by Awen at 4:39 pm
Monday, August 06, 2007
Losses are for real. And a certain quantity of them can’t be made up, compensated, fixed, forgotten, forgiven, and not even substituted. Some things only come once in your life, and once they’re taken away no matter how hard one tries, sooner or later it has to be admitted: you lost something/someone dear. And you even though are can travel back in time to experience what you lost in your imagination, you cannot freeze time there, and you don’t have the power to un-do what has been done. You certainly can go ahead and revive what you lost ten years after, but that brings an awful feeling of retardation and immaturity that makes the whole experience even worse than it would be to just admit the loss.
I don’t think our culture is equipped with what it takes to deal with the feelings that an actual loss generates, and sadly there’s no disguise to the hard pain that an actual loss is. So we just use our best intentions and the sharpest knife culture equips us with: Denial.
When I share the pain of an actual loss with somebody, I am sometimes showered with reparation plans, make-up for the scar tissue and general useless Denial tools; or, more usually, I’m labeled with the victim-complex-that-lives-in-the-past thing. All in all, I’m in actuality unable to share the painful reality that I am living, so I just make the decision to not attempt it again. And another consequence of actual loss arises: loneliness.
When you lose, you’re alone in your loss. That’s how things go, and I don’t think it’s because people don’t want to share the loss, it is just that they can’t. A loss is ultimately an experience of radical inability to commune and communicate, a deprivation that cannot be fulfilled. That’s why to lose is the opposite of to win, and in turn that’s why when you win, you feel in community.
Rainer Maria Rilke, in his essential ‘Letters to a Young Poet’, wrote that we are all alone, and that this loneliness must be loved and trusted, because it teaches us to not demand counsel or rely on understanding. Furthermore, it gives us space to grow.
That way, embracing the loneliness, we are still not able to unwrite what has been written, but we can certainly garner the power to freely write our story from now on. The pain is there, what was lost isn’t; however, you guarantee that the real cause of actual losses—overboard interference in your natural processes—won’t ever again do you harm.
Therefore, just this time, I would like to ask that nobody leaves a comment here in my blog. Just for this entry. All your comments on my other posts are welcome, and have a profoundly positive influence on me, but this time I wish to savour the protective power of my loneliness.
Thanks for understanding.
Posted by Awen at 4:29 pm
Sunday, August 05, 2007
Posted by Awen at 4:20 pm
Saturday, August 04, 2007
I remember when I moved to São Paulo, lots of secret doors opening for me where many people took for granted as solid walls. Once, on a quite magical day, my mother went to visit me, and we went to the Japanese district. Passing by a huge fenced gate with a thick wall of treetops behind it, I ringed the bell. That’s an odd (if not risky!) thing to do, but it’s certainly something that sounds like me. Somebody must have pressed a remote-control button inside, because with a buzz, the fenced gate opened wide. I checked to see if there were dogs, and entered. Inside, I discovered a temple of Sukyo Mahikari, a pretty young Japanese religious tradition whose practice of Okiyome helped me ground, cleanse and break free from much of the garbage I had with me from my previous life experience for the whole first half of my São Paulo days.
I love these moments when my impulsiveness leads me to great discoveries. I sure feel that they are my connection to something higher than me, something that has received many names, but is much more of what brings us together than what tears us apart. A nimble and compassionate intelligence that sees us through and follows us so close that we very seldom acknowledge its presence.
My story here in Madrid, although a bit harder, at last begins to reveal this Red Thread weaving pieces of it all together, too, it seems. First, I take a free magazine on the bar. I always picks these up around here in Madrid, that’s how I give the Thread a helping hand (but the neverchanging skeptic Jose calls this a symptom of Diogenes Syndrome—when he’s generous, otherwise it’s just ‘collecting junk’). It all began with an article in a magazine about a place that has exhibitions, concerts, events and, my favourite thing to do in public, workshops! I took a workshop there on Sufi Poetry and Music, met Iñaki, who mentioned some weekly Harmonic Choir meetings almost for free downtown. There, I got the heads-up for a Tensegrity group on holidays for the Summer, but that will start again in September.
The other Red Thread I can track by now began with the Europride events. At the parade, some people were distributing fliers nobody took. I took them all, and looked to check what they offered. Of course 99% were those boring barbie sex parties with drag queen performances and ultra-expensive tickets, but one was about a group of gay buddhists who meet twice a month for yoga and walking meditation. For free, too. Today, I took the heart to go to the first meeting. Since I left São Paulo, I haven’t seen so many nice people together in one single place!
I’m confident more good things will come from there, if I stick to them. If I ever ‘made sense’ and said no to any of these, I’d have broken the chain, and blocked my own unfolding. The Red Thread is always there, and it takes you as far as you keep saying yes to it. Say no, and you cut yourself short of your promising blessings.
[Disclaimer: The Diogenes Syndrome entry on Wikipedia says that frontal lobe injury may be a cause. Don’t tell anybody, because everytime I talk to my mom she asks everything twice to test me and check if I had permanent injury from the accident in late April. I’d rather be collecting junk than being considered impaired by people a lot less capable than myself!]
Here’s a song I wish to dedicate to the omnipresent, multinamed Presence that guides, inspires, opens doors and weaves bits of the story of our lives together in one single piece. Written and performed by the great Dougie MacLean, ‘She Will Find Me’:
He walks he does not run
He has no overwhelming need to fly
His heart remains unbroken
no need to search the sky
But me I’ve found that place
I wander recklessly ..and
I know that she will find me
I know that she will find me
Even if I vanish without trace
O and though I’m running blindly
I know that she will find me
Hiding with the shadows that I chase
No-one can rock his boat or make standing
waves upon his sea
Everything is calm and even steady safe
as it can be
But me I’ve never found that place
I wander recklessly …but
Sometimes we search too deep
that’s when the darkness feeds our fear
We turn away from one another
just in case we get too near
Me I stand this mountain top
I shout so she can hear …and
Posted by Awen at 4:08 pm
Thursday, August 02, 2007
Today is the full moon here in Madrid, so I figure this is the right time to wish everybody a happy harvest season. May you treasure all your goodies, count your blessings and honour your achievements. It is my considered opinion and personal experience that we're all usually more blessed than we can understand.
I wish you a merry Lúnasa, whatever you call it. Lammas, Thanksgiving or Croquet Party. :)
Posted by Awen at 4:00 pm
Wednesday, August 01, 2007
Yesterday I had one of those depressing five-hour meals with Jose’s theatre group, late night and a LONG way from home. Honestly, I should’ve known better by now that these things have a more devastating effect on me than staying alone at home eating ice cream. (Yum! By the way, I’ve tried Ben & Jerry’s this week, and feel in love!) But I’m always concerned about disappointing Jose, because I know that these things are very important to him, and he loves having me around. But I should’ve been cockier (this one’s for you, K!), and just declined when the invitation came. But the fact that I didn’t do my Morning Pages yesterday certainly didn’t help get me through the day without major emotional damage.
The whole talk went as usual, with the wisdom being judged by the volume of the voice, and although this time they fortunately took a couple of hours before starting talking about the two guys who left the group last month in bad terms, the first half of the meal was centred in the fact that I don’t cook meat for Jose and Jose cooks vegetarian food for me.
[Cultural Shock Interlude: In Spain, everybody is supposed to cook like a master chef, and every household features at least three cuisine books. In bookshops, a large, hardcover wonder full of pictures and printed in glossy paper costs about one-fourth of the cover price of an ordinary pocket novel or self-help book.]
Honestly, from the bottom of my heart, there’s a thousand things I can come up with from the very top of my mind that feels worse than cooking corpse pieces, so I don’t think I’d refuse cooking meat for him, but as I worked my way in defense, through all the shouting from all sides in tandem, the cigarettes and the AWFUL sandwich I paid lots of euros for that didn’t taste good or fed me (besides having TUNA when the menu said it was a VEGETABLE sandwich!), I didn’t know if it was more depressing to continue shouting or to just ignore everybody, keep fanning myself with my hand fan and be still. Naturally, for me the first possibility was the easiest, however high the price turned out to be. Again.
I could totally have survived the bizarre situation that’s somewhat part of my routine now in Spain, but as I shouted and remembered everything I cooked that Jose so promptly labels as ‘Feces’, including my first night here in Spain, when Jose invited his friends to eat my risotto and NOBODY at the table liked it, and made sure I KNEW they didn’t, I liberated emotional garbage I had been accumulating for the past three months. The torrential outflow of hurt feelings just covered the table. Of course I am aware that that kind of ride is usually a downward spiral. I didn’t surrender to it due to ignorance, though, but due to lack of strength to hold alone all the weight I had on by then. And down I went.
After midnight, we simply had to go, because very fortunately the metro here closes at half past one a.m., and Jose had to work early this morning. On the LONG journey home, the downward wild ride went on and on, and the haunting ghosts gained power. I realised how stupid I was for not fastening my seatbelt before the devastating experience of an extended meal with Spaniards, and felt worse. Then, I remembered some of the precedents. And especially, I began to resent Toledo’s procession in Spring, when they cover the city streets with thyme blossoms. It sounds like an impressive experience. We were in Toledo that day, but not for the procession. We were having a whole-day meal in about seven different bars and restaurants talking mean about people I have no idea of.
That metro ride was long enough to give me a waking-life nightmare.
This morning, I received a lovely private letter from a friend here on Tribe. He confessed calling me cocky in a private conversation with somebody else. I was immediately healed some because I knew at least somebody thought that high of me. Even though I put too little salt or too much cummin in it.
I need drumming, and I need the Bitch Medicine. To consult with the Bitchy One in the Otherworld. But alas, it’s too hot to lie down for fifteen minutes.
Image Disclaimer: Alas, no fruits last night. Only fish, meat and, thanks Gods, fried potato!!
Posted by Awen at 3:50 pm
Friday, July 27, 2007
Diane ordered me an extremely bittersweet task: a comparative review of two of my favourite chocolate truffles around, Trader Joe’s Truffle Bar and the brand-new Hershey’s Truffle Kisses, and provided me with the materials to deliver a good job. So, I took on the mission of trying both ambrosiae and enlighten those stuck with the tough choice.
Hershey’s is probably my favourite industrialized chocolate, and it’s one of the things I miss the most in Spain. Everytime they release something new, it’s certainly worth trying, because being such a small-town-America mentality company, if they’re releasing something, it’s gotta be good! Recently, I was amazed to discover that they exist only in three countries outside North America. I felt really blessed for being brought up in one of them. So, just imagine all the resistance new projects for new chocolate has to overcome within the company’s board of directors before it reaches the candy shop. Like babies born before the 18th century, every new treat from Hershey’s is victorious just for making it to the factory.
Trader Joe’s apparently has tons of neat stuff to try, and looks pretty experimental, risk-taking and avant-guarde from a distance, especially by the reports Diane deliver me regularly, so the fact that the Truffle Bar stood out within the wealthy and colourful treasure chest is worth notice. It’s definetely my favourite bar available, and probably the coolest idea in the history of Chocolate since the English added milk to it.
So, I was basically torn. However, while the Hershey’s Truffle Kisses are certainly delicious, I decided to stick to the Trader Joe’s Truffle Bar, for a myriad of reasons. First, because a bar truffle is certainly more innovative than a kiss truffle. TJ’s definetely has some merit in inventing a new way to deliver my favourite variety of chocolate.
Moreover, the filling of the bar is more creamy and less solid, like truffle fillings are supposed to be. When you bite a truffle, you’re expecting your teeth to sink slowly in the thick, silky core of dark chocolate and fat after it breaks through the hard shell of milk chocolate. Yum… The Kiss, however, feels too homogeneous on the way to its core. So one more point for the Bar!
Finally, I’ll risk to say the Bar has a merit in taste, too. Again, the Truffle Kiss is for sure a real delight, but it doesn’t taste like an actual truffle as much as the Bar does. There’s a bitterness to the traditional truffle that apparently Milton’s heirs were not able to reproduce faithfully in their new product. Trader Joe’s candidate, on the other hand, even when refrigerated, renders the exact sensual experience a homemade truffle would.
So, if you cannot get both, I say: go for the Bar! And ship me some if you like this review and find it helpful.
Or get me a job as a chocolate conoisseur. I have what it takes.
Posted by Awen at 3:35 pm
Wednesday, July 25, 2007
Something pretty neat happened yesterday in La Seca, a miserable village in the middle of the Castillan desert (a/k/a nowhere), a thirsty and sweaty two-hour drive from Madrid.
Two months ago, my boyfriend, his army of Very Serious Persons and me went to see a low-budget production of ‘Bodas de Sangre’, a play written by national playwright Frederico Garcia Lorca. The cast was all Cuban, so was the director, and producers, therefore the company obviously got around the way they could, inventing different (and cheap) ways to render works written by a hispanophonic writer Very Serious Persons love to petrify, to set on stone.
After the play, the VSPs army went all down on Julian, one of the actors in the company. Juan, his boyfriend, began the gangbang: “Julian, ¡es horrible!” Then down came the other two with their blades craving for creative-busting bloodshed. I was asked what I thought of the work. I happened to have enjoyed the show, and told them the truth. But certainly, according to them I was the Brazilian illiterate who didn’t know anything about Lorca’s genious and the definitive way it should be rendered. Experimentation and creativity is the original sin for VSPs.
They went on, smoking like their lungs are toys from the Chinese junk shop, drinking a barrel of beer, and trying to destroy Julian’s company, about twenty minutes after the performance we all won the tickets to watch as a generous gift.
Yesterday, in a awards ceremony for amateur theatre groups, Julian’s group won several awards, including best production, and Julian himself got a best actor in supporting role award. Jose’s group got only one award—for best actress.
The Very Serious People lost.
About twenty minutes ago, Jose and I were talking about how my sister likes to feel like a diva dancing in parties. He says everybody wants to feel like a diva, and I told him I have been one. He asked when, and I told him about Sampa, and my regular storytelling and singing to 150-200 people. He told me people never really paid attention to me, they were bored and looking in other directions. Mind you, Jose has never ever watched my performance on stage, and already had such a destructive idea on it.
Very Serious People have addictive, irrational behaviours, and never learn.
I just decided I’d post this entry. Jose won’t mind, because he knows nobody reads me, or looks at me, or even knows who I am.
Posted by Awen at 3:24 pm
Monday, July 23, 2007
Very few places are as beautiful as a Ren Faire, and now I understand why so many people in the US are addicted to it. The one we had here in Carabanchel probably isn’t as cool and large as the SCA events in North America and Australia, but I certainly had a good time listening to the band of minstrels, which featured Gallician bagpipes!, laughing with the many clowns, watching the poi dancers and ribbon spinners, walking past the colourful lamps and under the flags hoisted, seeing the exquisite stuff for sale (I bought an ocarina, a bag, and a magical red dragon who holds up papers with notes that I’m going to use for Magic and self-programming), enjoying the actual antique surroundings of the faire (something SCA people don’t have!) and feeling generally thankful. There was a falconry there, too, and they offered pictures with one of the giant owls, a vulture, a blinded falcon or a barn owl. Alas, the high price of the photo (6€) and my (let’s say) discomfort with the birds of prey I had never seen live (except for the vulture) made me refrain from taking it. Maybe next time I’ll take one?? There’s a huge medieval market in Toledo, I heard once.
Song: ‘Renaissance Faire’, by Blackmore’s Night, a band that usually inspires new posts here in the Book of Crossroads.
Image: a photo I took at the Mercado Medieval y Renascentista de Carabanchel. One of many!
Posted by Awen at 3:13 pm
Thursday, July 19, 2007
2. What song describes your relationship status? "You Were Meant for Me", by Jewel. (I'm obviously trying hard to forget the above-mentioned incident!)
3. How much does your dog weigh? No dogs.
4. Who are you thinking about right now? Ortigueira assholes. :(
5. Ever been skinny dipping? Yeah, as a kid, I'd do that all summer long.
6. Earrings or necklace? Necklace, for I ain't got pierced ears.
7. Who have you texted the most lately? Diane :D
10. Color of your shirt? White, with a BEAUTIFUL painting showing a Shaman, his Totem (The Eagle) and an ancestor in the clouds. It's actually the t-shirt I was wearing on 9-11. I now use it to sleep. Ain't I creepy?
11. How many years have you taken a language? A foreign language, I suppose is what you mean. English, for 18 years now.
12. Who’s on speed dial 2? N/a
13. What color is your background on your computer mainscreen? Dark Blue. It's default, I suppose, because everything my gross boyfriend owns is default setting. Or grey.
14. Do you wish on 11:11? I didn't know about this one!! Hey, another wishmaking superstition to the list, YAY!!!!
15. Good advice if you ever go camping? Book a hotel room. Prostitute if you need, but do book an actual room. It's totally worth it.
16. Are you A BAD influence? Depends on the criteria. Those influenced by me always love me and are always thankful.
17. What color are your eyes? Today, brown. But they change.
18. Would you rather have your name or your siblings’s name? Call me Awen, but about civil names, it's a tough choice: either the world's most famous active soccer player or Juliana.
20. Have you ever been called a bitch? That'd probably be my middle name if I had two names on the Internet :D
21. Favorite color? Shine yellow!
22. Do you use smiley faces on the computer? Yeah, they're irresistible!
23. What song is playing? Oh my Gods, no song's on! I'm probably sick, or TOO angry ...
52. Do you eat all the servings in the food groups on a daily basis? No. I eat too much dairy and milk, and no meat at all.
53. Are you ever a freak about cleanliness or organization? Hah, all my acquaintances would have a LAUGH at this question being asked to me!
54. Have you ever been to South America or Africa? Yeah, I'be been to several places in South America.
55. Do you know how to knit? No.
56. Do you have a cell phone or iPod with a patterned cover? Nopes.
57. Have you ever written love song lyrics yourself and put them in a song? Yeah! :D
58. Do you keep a diary or journal online? Yuppers, and glad I do!
59. When you open your closet, what is the dominant color? Here in Madrid, Beige. But I remember in Sampa I had a lot of baby blue.
60. Baskin Robbins or Coldstone? No idea what they are, and too angry to check online.
61. Physics or Chemistry? I used to hate Chemistry, but after taking a degree in Journalism, I really think I should've studied either Chemical Engineering or Pharmacy at university! (Given that I could not study what I wanted, which was Psychology)
62. Earphones or headphones? Earphones, as long as I don't have to share them.
63. Pink or teal? Pink. Neon pink.
64. Earrings or a ring? A red agatha ring. A very Brazilian gem, symbol of knowledge and magic.
66. Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, or Star Wars? Harry Potter. I'm too young for the other two! :D
67. Fly or road trip? Road trip!! Nothing like the landscapes!!
68. Starbucks? Dunkin' Donuts!
69. What kind of toothpaste do you use? My favourite is Close-up Wild Berry, but they don't have that here in Spain, so I use one of those old-fag whitening-action pastes my boyfriend loves. Grrrrr...
70. Have you ever bought clothing at Nordstrom? No.
Posted by Awen at 3:05 pm
Sunday, July 15, 2007
When you are able to look close enough with the priviledge of immersion, it becomes pretty evident why Spain is the country that invented the most perfect icon of the dreamer who, against everybody else, fights for a cause only he sees. Like the Japanese Godzilla reflects Japanese national obsession with size and destitution of space, Don Quijote is a persona so suppressed in the average Spaniard’s psyche that no other nation would be able to so beautifully translate the faith in the Quest against all commonsense into a literary character like Don Quixote de La Mancha.
Listening to Blackmore’s Night song ‘Windmills’, dedicated to the valiant knight who sees powerful giants where commonsensers see mere windmills, an uncourted noble lady where average eyes see a filthy prostitute, and the urgency of a noble quest in a world gone meaningless for everybody else, I am reminded of my Friday late-night talk with my boyfriend´s pal Brunno, a Spanishman in love with the plastic Brazil I have never met other than on TV and touristic brochures here in Spain.
Brunno is an academic researcher dedicated to Brazil. He’s recently published a book on the diplomatic relationship between my native country and my current home, and is particularly enthusiasted about everything Brazil that is part of the tourists’ routine and have never really whetted my appetite. He acted surprised when I told him I don’t listen to samba in the house, and that I can’t cook feijoada. He was expecting to enjoy a circus ring freak show when Jose invited him to meet his Brazilian boyfriend and was caught surprised when he met an actual person committed to his own 3-D Humanity.
Brunno, as curious about me as almost everybody I’ve met here in Spain, asked me lots of questions about how I felt about my racial inheritance, about Internet relationships, about Brazilian politics, and many other things he already had particularly cristallized visions on. Everytime I gave a very personal reply and told him my personal stories, he put everything in check with statistical facts, remote historical distorted information, and vivid descriptions of how things were about 30 years ago, pulling me down from my flight, back to the black-n-white lenses Spaniards have permanently on. He was so invested in contradicting me he didn’t mind at all contradicting himself twice or three times in every point I made and he wanted to refute.
Sitting there on our balcony, making me speak my heart out to try to wetblanket everything I said, Brunno was the perfect picture of the stereotype I’ve designed for Spaniards over the past two months. Suave, confident, too sure of his convictions for his own good, ever ready for a good verbal time-out and profoundly envious of my sensitivity.
After a long chat, Brunno did acknowledge in private to Jose I’m very Brazilian. Maybe because I retain the abnormal sensitivity to the Unseen and an irresistible attraction to spiritual things, being from one of the spiritually wealthiest nations on Earth, something the average Spaniard deep inside seems to crave for. And deny.
Here’s the lyrics to the song ‘Windmills’, written by Candice Night on a melody by Ritchie Blackmore:
Far from the worn path of reason
Further away from the sane
He battles his shadows and demons
Fighting to light the way
And the dust and the dirt cloud his vision
Onward he rides unafraid
He fights the good fight for good reason
A star that refuses to fade
Still he braves his path…
Windmills only laugh
She was wounded and wild when he found her
He saw her through child’s eyes
She fell for the spell he was under
Each day a brand new surprise
And she watches with strange curiosity
She wants so much to believe
Trying to break the chains of reality
Dying to set herself free
Though he may appear tattered and broken
His clothes are shabby and bare
Still he glows like the light from a candle
With passion of one who still cares
There was always a rhyme to the reason
Peering out from tired eyes
The truth finally came in treason
So wrong, but so justified…
So wrong but so justified…
Windmills close their eyes…
Image: Don Quixote and Sancho with Miguel de Cervantes (their creator) on top, and my sharp eye. A beautiful monument in Plaza de España.
Posted by Awen at 2:58 pm
Saturday, July 14, 2007
Yesterday, I concluded my week-long Sufi Poetry and Music workshop watching a terrific recital with Rumi poems read live in Farsi, the magical sounds of Santur, and the best live percussion in the world, the Iranian. I made new acquaintances here in Spain, got heads-up for a weekly harmonic singing group downtown, and got a signed copy of the musicians’ album. Luck begins to smile on me again.
Best thing I experienced was an adapted udu drum. One of the two percussionists created a brand new instrument by adding a skin drum to the front of the clay jar, adding more possibilities of sounds to one single instrument. Iranians rock.
Image: Good looking, percussion virtuoso Reza Samani playing the modified udu. Check the other pics in my Tribe.net album.
Posted by Awen at 8:40 pm
Friday, July 13, 2007
2. What color is your shower curtain? I have glass here in Madrid. In Sampa it was transparent with blue and yellow flowers/stars
3. What is the closest thing to you right now that is red? My specs!
4. What is your ringtone? When I last had a mobile, it used to be just a whistle. One single note sustained, no rythmnic beats.
5. Does anything hurt on your body right now? No.
6. What color is your favorite pillow? Light Yellow.
7. What is your favorite video game? California Games, from good ol' Master System.
8. Had a nap today? No.
9. Gold or Silver? Gold.
10. Is there an animal that creeps you out? Dogs!!!
11. Who was the last person you rode an elevator with? A cute guy with whom I take the Sufi Poetry and Music workshop at La Casa Encendida
12. Did you go ice skating as a kid? yeah. I loved it, but it was very expensive in Brazil, and only available in the winter.
13. Ever have stitches? Yeah.
14. Favorite non-alcoholic drink? Is Gazpacho considered a drink? If not, I guess wild berry milk shake.
15. How long ago did you hug someone? Last night.
16. What's something you want to do before you die? Win an award for something I write.
17. Have you ever caught something on fire? No.
18. Have you ever seen a ghost? Yes.
19. Have you ever seen northern lights? Not yet! I've JUST moved to the Northern Hemisphere.
20. Do you know how to use chop sticks? Yep, pretty well.
21. Name something good that happened today? I found four MP3 that were missing to complete the album 'Pipedreams', by Davy Spillane.
22. What room are you in? Bedroom.
23. Are you worried about something you can't control? Not really.
24. Do you take daily medications? No, no.
25. Ever been in a fight? Yeah.
26. Are you wearing nail polish? Nah.
27.What time is it? Noontime.
28. Innie or Outie? Innie
29. Ever used a Ouija board? Yes, and it sucks and didn't feel like a right thing to do.
30. Sweet or Sour? The sweeter the merrier!
31. Sun or Moon? Moon.
32.Coke or Pepsi? Soda.
33. Favorite eye color of the opposite/same sex? Hazel.
34. Can you sew? Yeah, I suppose. But not professionally, just to fix something.
35. Can you cook? Yes, I used to. But here in Spain I haven't anymore.
36. Time of day you were born? Quarter to eight in the morning.
37. Do you know your blood type? Yeah. A PLUS! Quite proud of it!
38. Do you know how to kill a zombie? Yes, of course. Just use healing magic. I got that from Final Fantasy III, in Supernintendo.
39. What's your star sign? Pisces.
40. What would you spend 5,000 dollars on right now if you were handed it? A trip to Ireland, and pay in advance a whole year of vocal coaching.
41. Do you like fog? Yeah! It's actually my favourite weather since early childhood!
42. Which animal(s) remind you of yourself? White Swan, Monarch Butterfly, Unicorn.
43.What's an animal that flirts a lot? No idea.
43. What’s your background on your pc? 'Verdure', from DigitalBlasphemy.com
44. Did you grow up in the city or country? Small town, but I suppose it was more City than Country.
45. Would you ever consider going on a reality tv show if offered a large sum of money? Depends on the Reality Show. I'd certainly do 'Fame Academy/Operación Triunfo/Fama' or 'O Aprendiz', but never anything like 'Survivor/No Limite' or, worst of all, 'Big Brother'!
46. Have you flown in your dreams? All the time.
47. What's one thing you're really good at cooking? I LOVE my risotto. Or anything I do with cheese.
48. Kisses or hugs? Hugs.
49. You have 10 dollars to spend in the dollar store... what do you get? Morning Page Supplies (pens and notebooks), a fan, batteries.
50. Slurpee flavor? Cherry.
Posted by Awen at 8:37 pm
Saturday, July 07, 2007
Since I had borrowed Juan’s tent, Jose’s sleeping bag and Ángel’s sleeping pad, and I was fully equipped even with an incredibly handy guide and checklist Diane prepared me to ensure the greatest camping experience possible, I decided I would get to Ortigueira as early as I could to enjoy every second of the bagpipes. But since Thursday early morning, when I arrived in Ortigueira, I had undeniable signs that the longer I stayed there, the worst I’d feel with myself.
It started with all the loud reggae and hip hop playing. Frankly, back in the early 2000’s, I was one of the people most excited with the hip hop culture I knew. But the hip hop overdose everywhere lately has taken me to the opposite end of the spectrum, and now everywhere that has hip hop playing gets my immediate frown. But ok, I decided I’d put up with that, even though I had faced eight hours of road to listen to bagpipes, fiddles and wirestrung harps.
Then, my tent was set, and I was really proud of that, being my first camping experience, and I was all by myself. I looked around, took a pic of my home of the range, and noticed two idiots arriving with five dogs. I looked around again, and noticed that early Thursday morning, that camping area was fraught with dogs. Really, there could’ve been almost fifty of them. Obviously, not the vaccinated type, held by ropes or chains. They were rovering free among the tents, covering the land with their urine and feces, eating other people’s food. For a caniphobic person like me, it was a sure sign that the whole experience now was going to be an undeniable disaster, but I’m not famous for being reasonable, so I just decided I’d stay there and put up even with the risk of being bitten by one of those hippy mongrels and getting rabies.
Since all brands of music were so loud (except for Celtic, which was nowhere), I understood I’d not be able to take my sleep of the just that morning, and I went to look for the shower. There were no hot water showers there, only cold pipes from which water fell without any walls surrounding it. I decided I’d then face the whole festival without showering, because it was just out of question that I’d put my Brazilian skin under that cold water in Galician open air. Galicia is one of the coldest parts of Spain.
I went for a walk to air my head, and saw that the city, too, was infested with the many filthy dogs the filthy savages had brought. They were everywhere, playing with the skirts of female bagpipe players during the performances, pulling the fabric of vendor tents, harassing the dogs of the locals, fanning their tails for anybody eating anything in the street, begging for food. Those unwashed vagabond hippies were clearly insane and lacking total respect for themselves, for the city who so generously received them, for other people who came to listen to the actual Celtic music and for anybody else. Even large German Pastors were running free on the concert area. Suffering from dog-phobia fits, I was confined to a half of the city where there was no lawn or anywhere dogs were expect to be found frolicking and defecating.
Obviously, I didn’t find vegetarian food there, as I had expected and been warned, but I managed with fresh fruit, yoghurt and junk food from the grocery.
And I fed on what I went there for!
The music was divine. The experience of seeing the Passarrúas (Galician pipers marching on the city streets, playing local tunes, dressed in typical clothes) was really awesome, exciting and deeply enchanting. Really, it transports you to another dimension. The main concerts at night were also fabulous, with some of the finest performers of the new generation of Celtic music, not just from Galicia. Between the acts, the small amount of people on the audience (the other 17 thousand were the hippies who stayed in the camping area with hip hop and reggae, drugging themselves to death) pulled fiddles, pandeiretas, vieiras and – of course – bagpipes, to improvise little jams while the stage for following band was being prepared. Heaven.
The landscape, as expected, was also a balm for the Spirit. No wonder the Celts produced some of the most marvellous legacy of Music and Tales in the World. The Land certainly was generous enough with them, to fill their Spirits with wondrous Beauty on a daily basis. The stage was set with a magnificent view of the Ría that surrounds Cabo Ortegal, and experiencing that with the wonderful music was more than a blessing. I took several pics of many places, and worked out some pretty nice self-portraits, my current creative obsession.
I managed to use the Casa do Concello’s loo to have my #2’s. There, I also saw a great exhibition on the history of Galicia as a country, called ‘Nazón de Breogán’, drawing inspiration from one of the many versions of how Ireland was first colonized, which states that Galician warriors crossed the Bay of Bizcay before Common Era. If you feel like trying your Galego, try the print version of the exhibition here: http://vicepresidencia.xunta.es/documentos/nazon.pdf . Also, I bought a pair of Tejoletas for myself. Tejoletas are a typical percussive instrument from Galicia and Asturias that are believed to be the ancestors of castanets (castañuelas), or at least their relatives. The local largest newspaper, La Voz de Galicia also gifted me with a novel in Galego (‘Papaventos’, about weathercocks, but not printed in green ink!), a galician cuisine book, a book that taught Galician riddles and folk games, and the BEST CD by Susana Seivane, a great bagpiper born and raised in Barcelona, but dedicated to Galician and Celtic folk. She currently plays with Sud ar Su, who also performed in Ortigueira this year.
The farthest I was from that miserable improvised camping area, the better I felt, and had I found a way to stay there in Galicia (but not among the savages and their untrained beasts), I’d have had the most healing experience in this lifetime. But alas, the concert ended, and I was back to Mozouros, where the nightmares and my tent were, to faint asleep.
Despite the non-stop, eardrum-torturing reggae and hip hop, I managed to fall unconscious until half past seven in the morning yesterday (Friday). I picked up my stuff for the day, managed to leave the camp without being harassed by the hordes of dogs or stepping on the shit they left on the ground, and spent the whole day in the city and going to El Ferrol, where the bus station back to Madrid was, to book my trip back.
Early morning in Galicia is something extraordinary. The heavy dew shrouds and protects the land like a mantle, encompassing everybody in what felt like ultimate compassion to me. The irregular and crooked designs on the shorelines, called Rías, had a feeling of home to them that made me want to weep in profound reverence, and let the moisture in my tears feed and expand the moisture in the dew, and mingle forever with that magical, verdant place by the miracles of water in the air, and fire in the water.
During the day, I managed to watch another Passarrúas (the Escola de Gaitas de Ladrido), and went back to the camping area to get my photo camera for more photos.
I saw that one of those many beasts the savages has brought to infest the place had pissed on my tent. Now, there’s only so much a person can take, and despite letting everything screw my trip bit by bit, I was not going to sleep on a tent where some freaking filthy hippy dog had urinated on, and risk falling sick in a strange land where I was all alone and had no valid medical insurance. So, before I became a Republican voter, a convict neo-fascist dedicating my life to purge the world of the freak show concentrated on that miserable place and let hate take over me, I collected everything I had taken, took the BEAUTIFUL train ride back to Ferrol, surrendered my spirit to the incredible, faery-touched vistas, and as an emergency measure, I took the bus back home. That was an odd moment, feeling a strange cocktail of relief and disgrace for leaving behind such a fabulous place on Earth.
I was back to Madrid this morning, to finally have my hot shower and brush my teeth—four days later.
I really want to go back to Galicia. That place, and it’s lovely people, are an oasis in Spain. I don’t know when I’ll be able to, but it certainly is in my plans, and should be in the plans of everybody who hears the call of Celtic mystique. It thrives there.
I’ll now pay the 15€ tax to another workshop I got at La Casa Encendida, wash the urine from Juan’s tent, unpack, and upload my photos to my album here on Tribe. Keep an eye on it.
Image: Passarrúas on Thursday at noon, opening the festival.
Posted by Awen at 6:49 pm