Monday, April 30, 2012
My sister (Jen) told me a story the other day. She says she has told me this story before, but I don't remember. You'd think I would, since it's fairly amazing.
The reason she repeated it to me the other day is that I said to her, during a conversation about what the hell I was going to do with myself in Mexico for a year, that I have decided it would be an excellent time to buckle down and finally write the book I have been thinking about writing for a decade or so. The book about how Homero and I met and married, the book I call in my head "the ongoing saaaaaaga of a man, a woman, and the the INS: a romance spanning all of North America, two generations, and the third part of a decade." Cumbersome, I know.
Jen told me "Oh, you're going to write it all right. Remember the prediction?"
"No," I said, bewildered. "what prediction?"
"The palm reader! Remember?"
"Um, no," I said. "What's all this?"
She sighed and shook her head at my notoriously awful memory. Then she told me this story. When she and her now-husband had been going out for a very short time, like only a couple of weeks, they were at the Pike Place Market and on a whim, decided to step into Tenzing Momo (the most fabulous magical apothecary on the west coast) and see the palm reader.
They spent the next half hour writhing in an agony of embarrassment and awkwardness, as the first thing woman told them was that they would get married and have babies. After all, neither one of them was legally able to drink yet, and they had met each other less than a month before. But of course, the woman was right about that. She also said several other things which my sister says turned out to be true, and in retrospect Jen considers it one hell of an accurate reading.
One thing the palm reader told her was "you are going to go live in a Spanish speaking country, and you will write a book there that will be published."
Jen said "that sounds like my sister, not me! Could you be talking about my sister?"
"Sometimes that happens," the palm reader shrugged.
"So you see," Jen told me, "you are going to write the book."
I will take whatever encouragement I can get, and the word of some psychic lady I never met is as good as anybody's.
It is a great story - the one I plan to tell in the book, I mean, although my sister's story is good too. There's romance, sex, adventure, and the struggle of love against high odds and a monolithic bureaucracy. There's the timely and controversial theme of illegal immigration, a couple of daring feats of illegal border crossing, and descriptions of the epic roadtrip from Vancouver B.C. to Oaxaca, Mexico by way of Atlanta and Tucson. There's a young child (Rowan) trying to adapt to life in a foreign country. There's all of us, me, Homero, and our families, trying to understand each other and create a bicultural, blended family. There are humorous incidents and serious disappointments. Oh, and maybe some recipes.
Besides the fact that I've been wanting to write this book for a quarter of my life, and the curious supernatural compulsion of it having been foretold, there's another reason this would be a good time to finally write this book. One of my readers, Andy Brown of Anubis Bard suggested that I give my Mexican relatives a convenient "hook" to hang me on. Meaning, a "thing" as in, "birdwatching is Andy's thing." This makes everybody more comfortable and gives him (or me) a nice easy explanation or excuse in all sorts of circumstances that gives no offense to anybody. "Come up with a hobby slash project that gives people a handle on what they should do with this alien in their midst," Andy suggested. " Whenever things are feeling crowded or hectic... I can just take my binoculars and have an excuse to clear out."
This struck me as an excellent idea. I am a fairly private person, even here in America. In Mexico, my need for solitude borders on anti-social. If I don't get an hour or so of alone time every day, I start to go nuts. Here in my own house, I tend to get that time by taking a paperback book and disappearing into a long hot bath. That's not an option there - no bathtub for one thing, and one bathroom for seven people for another. Writing, however, is an inherently solitary activity.
Two birds with one stone. Maybe even three. I get to take a stab at something I've always wanted to do - write an entire book - and I identify a discrete project and an explanation (for others and for myself) of what I plan to do with myself day. And, perhaps most importantly of all, I have a safety valve and a sanity protector in the form of a valid reason to lock myself up in a room alone once a day.