Monday, May 14, 2012

serenades and time machines

I've been listening to Mexican music all day. These songs are in my blood and bones, they inhabit my language and emotions as my father has been singing them my entire life. My preferences change over the years and my favorites rotate. Yesterday I sat on the porch at my sister's house with my grandmother and dad and my dad and I sang "No Volvere." I won't return. We were clouds the wind blew apart, we were rocks crashing into each other, drops of water the sun dried out, inebriation that ever ended. The lyrics sound much better in Spanish. I'm leaving on the train of absence.

I'm listening to Mexican music to try to invigorate my brain as I work on a short story that takes place in Mexico. It is part of a series of stories I've been working on that are inspired by the songs my dad has been singing my entire life, and I borrow from the crazy mythology of my family, the paternal side.

There was, and is still, a tradition in Mexico of the serenata, the serenade. A man who was courting a woman would bring a guitar or friends with guitars to sing under the woman's window as a declaration of love. I love this idea and have always had a fantasy of it happening to me, thought I doubt it will ever happen. In the early 1970s my dad serenaded my mom under her window in Brooklyn. The neighbor's didn't appreciate it and yelled at him to shut the fuck up and the like. But he was in love and super-romantic.

Saturday morning I woke up with a terrible ache in my elbow that become worse as the day progressed. I woke up yesterday morning with a huge bump on my elbow. I have bursitis, probably from working out too hard. Ugly and painful. The doctor told me I can't work out my arm for at least two weeks. Of course. Less than two weeks until my sister's wedding and I can't work out my arms. I know there are worse things but damn, my arms were starting to look really good.

Yesterday for Mother's Day we watched old home movies with my mom, aunt and grandmother. So, so strange to see myself. I get so sad for my younger self, she was such a nerd. I watch the movies knowing what she's going through at school and in her many lonely moments. In the videos I always have a book in hand. I'm skinny skinny skinny with huge glasses and feet too big for my body. In the videos we watched I was about to enter junior high school. I cried when I came home yesterday for the kid I was. I was so strange and lonely, incredibly socially awkward. I wanted so badly to connect to others but didn't know how. Kids weren't particularly mean to me but they didn't know what to do with me, how to interact. When I look at the novel I'm working on I realize I'm writing it for that girl, the weird kid, the nerd; to make her less lonely, to plant seeds that one day she'll grow up and feel loved.

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