Thursday, January 20, 2005

Museums

Museums
Today is my wedding anniversary. So, I suggested that we go see Jaulabra. Jaulabra is an installation project created by the Puerto Rican artist Antonio Martorell. We left the house around 1:30 and set out to San Juan. We were both certain that the project which we had seen reviewed on TV and the newspapers would be at the Museo de Puerto Rico. When we got there and after we had already paid the entrance fee, we were told that the Martorell piece we went searching for was at the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. We had already paid and our last visit to the MAp had been some three or four years ago so we figured we'd see the new stuff. I'm certainly glad we did for there was an interesting exhibit by an artist named José Alicea. It was dedicated to Neruda, the Chilean poet, but there were pieces that were about Lorca and Che Guevara. His work has a political edge that appeals to me. There is a denunciation of the war and the many tyrannies in Spain, and South America. Moving pieces with fragments of newspapers, real ones, plastered in with the rest of the work.

We then dashed over to MAC. When we got there we were told they closed at four, and as luck would have it, it was five to four. The woman at the reception noticed our frustration and asked us if we couldn't come by tomorrow. We told her we come from far. She relented and let us go upstairs in hopes that we could convince the person in charge to let us see Jaulabra if nothing else. We were satisfied since that was the object of our trip after all. But what do you know? When we reached the second floor, the woman in charge, Aurora, ushered us into the room and even gave us a tour, allowed us to touch the pieces and even wear the robes. Afterwards she even asked if we might be interested in watching "the making of." These people were just great! A young guy called Ramón who turned out to be a site designer for the museum took us to all of the other exhibits that would be leaving the museum soon. We were in awe. These people really wanted us to see the museum and enjoy the experience. I truly recommend the place.

I've failed to talk about Jaulabra so here's a link that will explain it: http://www.wrtu.org/articulo.php?id=714. OR http://zonai.com/noticia_mainm.asp?ZONAI:69111&pos=b&title=PALABRAS+DE+ALIENTO&catid=49

I also recommend the museum page. It takes a while to download so be patient. http://www.museocontemporaneopr.org/

Monday, January 17, 2005

On faith

What can I talk about today? Here’s something: I’m not a religious person but I grew up in a family that went to church on Sundays. And oh I almost forgot, I went to a Catholic school when I was young. I actually went to two different ones: St Thomas of Canterbury and St. Josaphat. Yeah, who the hell was St. Josaphat? I had never thought of that before…hmm. Well the thought came because Dalia (my husband’s cousin) convinced her father to re-marry her mother, but this time in a Catholic church. The argument she used to convince him was “Mom is a devout Catholic and she can’t take communion.” He readily agreed though he usually avoids church like the plague. I thought that was touching. It also got me thinking about how important that must have been for Gloria all these years wanting to fully participate of the church going experience and not being able to. I know other people not married by the church who take communion, but I guess it takes true devotion to your faith not to, even though no one would even know or care whether you did or not.

Another similar thing happened to my father. A priest once said during mass that no sinner should take communion. Dad took it to heart and has never ever taken communion again. Eventually he even dropped mass altogether. I always thought that a big gesture on his part—not taking communion. So many sinners do. But then if people really recognized their sins, petty as some may be, two things would have to happen: the priest would (1) choke on the communion bread himself and (2) he would not have anyone to offer it to.

So now I have to find out who that Josaphat guy is.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

On the future

Today, I will comment a column by Mayra Montero. She is a Cuban writer who lives in Puerto Rico and who writes about Puerto Rico. In today’s paper (she has a weekly column in El Nuevo Día) she wrote about how people dare to complain about bats that are mainly inoffensive but do not say anything about the destruction of the environment. Mayra is like Anna Quindlen once was, a voice that needs to be heard. She has no party affiliations and is willing to offend those who she considers vermin. Her complaint today made me think that we are leaving future generations a very sorry looking planet. In science fiction anti-utopias the world is a gray place where color is secured only for a few, the ones who control the world. That’s how I see the future, a bleak place where the sound of a bird chirping on a bright sunny morning is only a faint memory or a recorded sound only a few have access to. Mayra said a very wise thing again and I quote “al verdadero gobierno, que es el poder económico, nadie le vota en contra porque no se presenta a elecciones. Lo sagrado no está en juego. Y por eso se derriban 4,000 árboles de una sentada.”( I won’t translate because I am assuming that if you are interested in this log you are either a Puerto Rican or can read Spanish. ) Here she was griping about the politicians and their petty fights and squabbles. She argues that they are, in the big picture, meaningless. The ones who really control our destinies are the ones who control the big money.

Roberto Carlos (Brazilian singer/songwriter) wrote a song about how would we explain the ecological disaster to our children: "Los niños te preguntarán que es lo que sabes, de las ballenas que cruzaban viejos mares.....o en los libros o en imágenes de archivos de un programa vespertino de televisión, responderás con el silencio de tu boca, recordaras batiendo el mar con furia loca,....una proa expuesta al viento y en sus últimos momentos, un recuerdo es un trofeo en forma de arpón" I wonder...

Friday, January 14, 2005

Harry Potter anyone?

I think that this blog thing is cool. It allows me some precious and needed writing time. Perhaps after the first two weeks are up, we/ I can move onto other things without dropping the writing exercise. What do you think? Still haven’t seen anyone else’s writing. I wonder how it will go after we become involved in school work etc.

I noticed that the new Harry Potter book, HP and the Half-blood Prince will be out in July. When I first assigned that book, the first one, to my classes, that must have been like in 1998-99, I did so because it was being read widely by college students in the US and it was on the list of censured books. There was a ruckus about the book in the states. Some school boards were prohibiting it because of the wizardry and others for God knows why. So, of course it was a book I wanted to read and introduce to my students (always the devil’s advocate). So, I bought it from scholastic for about $5.99. I talked to my son about the book but he showed no interest, so I talked to my sister who has always loved science fiction and fantastical literature. She read it and loved it. Only then did my son decide to read it and then my Dad and it became a family thing. My students, the ones who actually bothered to read it, also loved it. Some went on to read the others (only two books then). Now it has become common knowledge. Everyone knows who HP is and has either heard or read the novels or watched the films. (There’s nothing like Hollywood to promote a book.) Confession: I never got passed book I, but I have seen the films.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Do I need a title?

This is my second entry. I wonder if I could delete these entries after a while. I need to check that out.

Yesterday, my husband and I went La Tertulia, in case you don't know the place, it's a bookstore in Ponce De León, Rio Piedras, close to the UPR. At first, I thought I don't really want to go in there because I can't afford to buy another book (not economically, but time wise). I haven't read a novel I didn't have to in what seems like ages. Well that 's not absolutely true. I read a novel during Xmas vacation just to please my sister, Emily's Secret. It's a fictional account of the true reason behind Emily Bronte's death (the English writer, author of Wuthering Heights). It was as I suspected it would be, more romantic crap than real research into the writer's life. There was a lot of description about how their hearts longed to be together and that kind of thing. The kind of thing I read for the thrill in High School. One of my favorite writers in HS was Barbara Cartland. I know that is terrible, but I got over her and her virginal heroines. Then I moved to Victoria Holt. These were pseudo gothic fiction. I actually even re-read some of those. I still remember Holt with affection. I must have read twenty or twenty-five of her novels. Sounds like a lot right. Well, don't be impressed. I read somewhere that the woman--a millionaire I am sure, died just a couple of years ago--had written 500 novels. How about that?

So anyway back to La Tertulia... we ended up buying four novels. But really only one for me. I might tell you about it after I read it. I don't recall the title right now. My husband--why do I remember his novels and not the one I bought for me?--bought Delirio by Laura Restrepo, La Mujer del Sombrero Panama by Edgardo Rodriguez Julia and got stumped... Tell you later.

BTW, I noticed and I think I will do that myself now that you can write into a word document and then paste the entry into the Blog. That way it's easier to spell check.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

CW101

I created this blog hoping to encourage my students to do the same. It was kind of bewildering at first, but I'm sure we'll get the hang of it. It is not as invasive, of privacy that is, as I thought it would be. It also will show you, my students, how keeping a log of your writing may go. Hopefully your log will be much more creative than mine. If you take a look at some of the blogs created, you'll realize that almost anything goes in a BLOG. I would rather that for now you kept it as a notebook in which you make regular entries about the things that can help you become more prolific..that is the things that will help you write more and better. If you start thinking that you have nothing to write about, write about that. I once wrote an essay--I can share later--on how I could'nt come up for anything to write about and the professor (that was in New York some moons ago) loved the piece. SO you see, I 've already written this much without really having any thing major to write about.

Now to something more substantial. Susan Sontag passed away last week. She was a really interesting character. She had been living with another outstanding character for many years, Annie Leibovitz. As I saw a picture of Sontag on the insert of Claridad, I figured that the photograph, a striking picture of Sontag in her later years must have been taken by Leibovitz. Leibovitz was the photographer of the artists. You can check out the picture at http://chueca.com/fotos/200501/0411442901.htm So one of the big issues after Sontag's death was the gay community's criticism of her obituary because the major newspapers who covered her death failed to mention that she was a lesbian. I wonder whether that should be stressed and how would she feel about being outed after death. It wasn't like she kept her relationship with Leibovitz a secret. But then I'm not a lesbian, maybe people need to know that this controversial woman so many people admired, so many people hated, was a lesbian. That perhaps adds some degree of normalcy to their lives. Perhaps in that way people will understand that lesbianism is not synonymous with perversity that gays, lesbians et al are human too.