I’m glad I didn’t know then — the last time I wrote in here — what I know now. Or maybe I wish I did know, so I could make it somehow different.

I felt something big coming this year: nothing I could explain or describe, just a feeling. I couldn’t determine if it was even a good feeling. Just something distinct, different, something bigger than we would know what to do with. My sister said she felt it too, that 2013 was going to be something. We hoped those feelings meant this would be a momentous year of change for the better. It was going to be a big deal.

I wish it wasn’t. I wish it hadn’t been. I wish I could go back and change everything.


So I’m thinking of doing this again.

Or rather, I’m thinking I need to do this again.

We’ll see if I follow through. It was nice to find old fragments of myself I thought I’d lost. I’m on a completely new journey this time, but toward the same goal I thought I’d reached years ago.

It turns out “finding yourself” really is a lifelong thing. Just when you think you have it figured out – that you’ve reached the summit – the whole world turns upside down and you have another mountain to climb below.

Somewhere in there, months changed and even a season turned. I got lost in the living, which is generally a good thing.

Things are progressing well. I still love my job at the newspaper. We’re in a full-time production schedule now, and I spend more time holed up in a basement office with my coworkers than I do in the house where I’m living. When I sleep, I often dream about copy editing. This used to happen to me when I worked at Blockbuster — I would work a really crazy shift and then, as I started to fall asleep that night, I would panic and wake myself up, thinking I had customers to serve. The premise is the same now, only I jolt myself awake with the thought that I have pages to edit.

The difference is, I kinda love it now.

I know that I’m good at what I do. I’m hard on myself about most things, but this is one thing that I can’t deny. Words have always been my friends, and I’ve always been happy to lose myself in them. Right now, I am doing something that most people — especially in this economy — only dream of doing: I’m getting paid to do something I love.

I guess this is why I haven’t updated as much. I pretty much eat, sleep, live, and breathe the newspaper these days. Sometimes I even amuse my coworkers with how immersed in it I become. Yesterday, for example, I was reading up on some AP Style (the accepted style and format for publishing news) and excitedly blurted out some new thing I learned. My boss just laughed and shook her head, telling me that’s why she hired me.

As I mentioned, the seasons are changing. Or they’ve already changed. I’m not sure. The leaves are still hanging on to bits of green, but the rain and gloom of Portland winter seems to be hanging overhead already. I’m happy to welcome it, in all honesty. I enjoy the rain.

Classes and other things are going well. Many things besides the seasons are changing, but I’m just going along for the ride, for now.

Somewhere, I lost a month. June was a monster.

I got back to Portland and was nearly crippled with homesickness. It took me a few weeks to even start to feel somewhat “normal” again. I know my family doesn’t want me to be homesick, at least not to the point of near-incapacitation, but I actually would prefer that feeling never goes away. I don’t want to grow away from where I belong. I want to always feel that pull to be there.

My father’s father died almost immediately after I left home again, which made things worse. All I could think about was how badly I wanted to be there, to do whatever I could to help him through such a difficult thing, and to help my mother with whatever support she needed through it. Instead I was stuck thousands of miles away. They got through it, of course, just fine without me. My parents are brave, strong, resilient people, and inspire me every day.

Then I had finals. Papers and more papers to write. I don’t really even remember much of that week except that I didn’t sleep much. I was at the library most of every day. I was relieved when it was over.

My other grandfather had to have a surgery regarding a bout with cancer, and is recovering well. I was still a nervous wreck that day, and for a while after. I don’t even want to talk about it, really. I just wanted to acknowledge that it happened.

I started my second job at the newspaper. Long, long hours of staring at the same pages over and over again: proofreading and making changes before sending them to the production team, then proofing again for errors inserted in the production process. At the end of the day, I’ve all but memorized every story. It’s still interesting, and I’m damn good at it, so I’m happy with it.

Other than that, I’ve been writing (fiction) quite a lot. I started a side project, sort of as a joke idea, and it somehow spiraled out of control. I’m now sitting at almost 40,000 words written. To give an idea — NaNoWriMo suggests 50,000 words as a minimum completed novel. I don’t know if this will end up being something I seek any kind of publication for, or if it will simply remain something I did for my own private enjoyment. At this point, it’s not something I would share with my family or friends, but maybe eventually.

It’s late, and I’m tired… I’ve been putting in 15 hour days this week to get everything done. It’s stressful but rewarding. But for now, I’m just going to crawl into bed.

(listening to: Casey Stratton, “Still Life”)

So I told several of my friends that I would compile a list of books that they might look into for further information about Federico Garía Lorca and Salvador Dalí. I’m actually very pleased by how much interest the film Little Ashes has garnered for these two, reaching a lot of people who seemingly would otherwise never know the beauty of Lorca’s pen or Dalí’s paintbrush. I’m more than happy to contribute what I can to the cause. As I’ve mentioned, I’m certainly not a scholar or historian in the area, but I do have my own preferences for texts that I’ve found to be particularly enlightening. I hope this list is useful to some of you!


By Federico García Lorca:

· The Collected Poems: A Bilingual Edition

· Selected Poems with Parallel Spanish Text

· Blood Wedding

· In Search of Duende

· Once Five Years Pass and Other Dramatic Works

· Only Mystery: Lorca’s Poems in Word and Image

· Poet in New York: A Bilingual Edition


About Federico García Lorca:

· Lorca: A Dream of Life (Leslie Stainton)

· Federico García Lorca: A Life (Ian Gibson)

· The Death of Lorca (Ian Gibson)

· Lorca: The Theatre Beneath the Sand (Gwynne Edwards; more of a critical reading of his plays)


By Salvador Dalí:

· Virtual Dalí (not a book, but a website where you can view Dalí’s work extensively online)

· Diary of a Genius

· The Collected Writings of Salvador Dalí

· The Secret Life of Salvador Dalí


About Salvador Dalí:

· Salvador Dalí: An Illustrated Life (Gala-Salvador Dalí Foundation)

· The Persistence of Memory: A Biography of Dalí (Meredith Etherington-Smith)

· The Shameful Life of Salvador Dalí (Ian Gibson)


One that will be particularly of interest to fans or viewers of the film Little Ashes:

· Sebastian’s Arrows: Letters and Mementos of Salvador Dalí and Federico García Lorca

Another one of interest to Little Ashes fans, but is entirely in Spanish:

· Lorca-Dalí: El Amor Que No Pudo Ser (Ian Gibson)


I’m not even vaguely well-educated about Luis Buñuel, although I have found a couple of decent books on him:

· Luis Buñuel: A Critical Biography (Francisco Aranda)

· Luis Buñuel: An Introduction (Ado. Kyrou)


I also realize that these books are not all readily available at Amazon.com, and I can’t suggest where you might buy them elsewhere. The site provides the ISBN number and publishing information for each book, so you can use that information to more easily track them down in libraries or other bookstores. Personally, I’ve found all of them in university or public libraries.

And, of course, if you have any suggestions for this list, please do offer them. I’d love to hear them!

“To burn with desire and to remain silent is the greatest punishment we can inflict on ourselves.” – Federico García Lorca

My horoscope (pfft… I know…) today said that I should be even more honest than usual, if such a thing is possible. My friends have told me for years that I am the only person they can count on to always tell them the truth. Yet, it’s true that there are truths I leave unsaid — my own secrets. There are things you just don’t say sometimes, because you don’t know how to put the absolute truth into words, or because your truth and someone else’s may not always be the same. You have to live your truth, certainly, but you learn to bite your tongue.

Is it worth it? I’m not sure. Sometimes, yes. Sometimes, though, I feel like I’m suffocating myself to benefit someone else and it’s almost unbearable. What would be the outcome of revealing my secrets? Maybe it would invite good things into my life. Maybe it would bring me happiness.

It’s easier to swallow it, to gag it and keep it silent, than to risk letting it all out and face the consequences. The danger is inherent in such absolute exposure. There’s the possibility of rejection present in all human interactions. there’s the chance that the person to whom I reveal myself will be shocked, appalled, disgusted. That they will deem me not good enough. Or worse, that even with my soul exposed, I simply won’t matter to them at all.

Our culture emphasizes these points in the extremes. It’s nearly impossible to figure out where the baseline is. We are taught through the media that tabloid culture is reality and that we will never be as good as the airbrushed images on glossy pages. Alternately, “reality television” and the like impress the idea that anything is possible. They teach us to believe that if we want something bad enough, we can find a way to make it happen. The “American dream” has been encouraging that lofty ideal for over two hundred years. Which is right? What do we believe?

Certainly the latter is more appealing. A positive attitude is theoretically more likely to motivate a person toward attempting to achieve even seemingly impossible goals. Yet, there are some things that really are impossible, and once you put yourself out there, into someone else’s hands, you are no longer in control. I guess that’s the most terrifying part.

It’s hard to want something so badly I can taste it, but to know that there’s only so much I can do to bring it to fruition. It’s frustrating that I know my truth, but don’t know the right way to make it known — and acceptable, welcomed — to others. I can’t control how I am perceived, only how I present myself. I can only do my best and then simply let it go. As heartbreaking as that can be.

And so it begins…

(listening to: Ray Charles, “You Don’t Know Me”)

Okay, so I went to see Little Ashes for the second time this evening (love my student discount on the ticket price, by the way), and I’ve decided that I need to alter my review a bit. (You can see my initial review here.)

First and foremost, I said that I felt they didn’t give enough background on the war, the revolution, and the political upheaval of the time. I retract this statement because it’s not really accurate. This really is more a matter of perspective, I think. For the purposes of the film, they gave enough information about what was going on. I said that they didn’t give enough information to fully justify the characters’ reactions to the political climate, and that’s not really true either. Instead of offering a heavy-handed history lesson, the film provided the necessary details intricately laced throughout the film, giving just as much information as was necessary. I think my initial reaction was based on the voice of my inner humanitarian being upset that there was so little portrayal of some of the widespread injustice of the era. But, the film is a biopic about Lorca and Dalí, not a documentary on the Spanish Civil War. And really, I think, in the end, if they’d attempted to put in more detail, the film would’ve risked being pretentious and over-reaching. What was included was really more than enough for what the film was trying to accomplish.

Second, I stand by my dismay at not seeing more of Matthew McNulty’s Buñuel, but I think that may be more related to my appreciation of his portrayal than to the necessity of it in the film. One thing that I felt was overlooked was any attention to detail concerning Buñuel’s work. We hear Lorca’s poetry, we see Dalí’s paintings, but all we know of Buñuel is that he works in film. The only indication of anything he ever accomplished was the inclusion of his collaboration on Un Chien Andalou with Dalí. Still, this was again something that was more or less optional to the film, and I did enjoy what was given.

Something I was remiss in overlooking in my first review is Marina Gatell’s performance as Magdalena. Early in the film, I found her character to be flighty and annoying — which, in my estimation, is a fairly accurate portrayal of a college girl. (:P) The character goes through tremendous growth in the film, as do all of the major players, and Gatell holds her own in some of the most pivotal scenes in the entire film. The scene where she advises Lorca on living life has a great risk of coming out cheesey and trite, but her delivery of the lines is really beautiful. And anyway, the advice she gives Lorca is something I think everyone should take to heart. Gatell, like Pattinson and Beltrán (and McNulty in his own way), has an incredibly expressive face that she uses to her full advantage throughout the film. There are a few scenes where the entire meaning is carried by the expressions and body language of the various actors in the scene, without the use of any words at all. I find that fascinating.

And honestly, this isn’t new, but I just can’t say enough about Javier Beltrán as Lorca. He’s just… completely mesmerizing. He effuses a certain element of purity and innocence, and later the fierce determination coloured with these very qualities. He was just a ridiculously spot on Lorca, and I was so pleased. To quote my friend Janey, the man is “absolute perfection” in this role. I was in love with Lorca before the film, but if it’s possible, Beltrán makes me love him even more. He’s amazing. I simply cannot offer enough praise.

And last, but not least, there are two lines in the movie that I think will make me laugh every time I see it, thanks mostly to Robert Pattinson’s epic delivery: “I would love an enema!” and “Pardon the bear. Did you see the bear?” I broke out laughing so hard. Up there along with, “I grew this moustache.” I’ve always thought Pattinson has great comedic timing. And anyway, his Dalí is just phenomenal.

I still can’t recommend this movie enough. If you’re interested in seeing it, you can check the official website for the film to find a theatre near you. If it isn’t showing near you, I suggest checking out the ROBsessed blog site’s Little Ashes Movement and seeing what can be done about trying to recruit a local theatre. Trust me, it’s worth it.