I’ve done some pretty scary things in my life. I ran off a mountain in Venezuela’s Colonia Tovar to set in motion a paragliding tour in the skies under which I was born. I’ve white water rafted down the Class IV Sarapiqui River in Costa Rica…without knowing how to swim. More than once, I have spoken in front of an audience of over 3,000 people. And while I thoroughly enjoyed the combination of adrenaline and panic, I’d never really ever been scared. I attribute this fearlessness to the upbringing I have had.
With all the buzz surrounding back to school activities this week, I have to be honest and say that there is a certain nostalgia felt in the month of August when one is no longer a teacher. True, there are things that will never be missed. For example, the muscle pain that invades your body after the first day of teaching Kindergarten, a pain that can rival fibromyalgia. Nor will I miss parents grunting below their breaths knowing full well a teacher is walking behind them, “why do teachers need so many supplies, this stuff is so expensive!” The debate that follows in your mind, “should I turn around and explain that the education system does not account for the price it costs to make my classroom functional and their child motivated, and because I am neither provided with the resources nor the salary to be able to afford it, I have to begrudgingly ask parents for it? Or, should I smile and nod?” I will not miss the fact that since it is the first day, I just smile and nod, and feel like a smaller lesser human being for it. That, I will not miss.
Parque Tayrona is in the Sierra Nevada, which is a 3-4 hour drive North of Cartagena. I arrive clad in brand new white sneakers and a vintage Louis Vuitton backpack in which I’m smuggling wine and Aguaardiente. I feel more than prepared for what should be a “short walk” to our accommodations. Being in good company and having done hikes before, how long could it take to hike up a few kilometers?
Pisar dentro de Cartagena de Indias, la ciudad amurallada, es ser transportado automáticamente a una época llena de ambición y posibilidad. De pronto respiras un aire salado impregnado con coco y pescado frito y no solo das fuerzas a tus pulmones sino a tus sueños irrealizados también. Al exhalar, el sonido de un acordeón en la lejanía le hace armonía al deambular de un caballo. Un vendedor ambulante suena como metrónomo de una canción <<Botero, Botero, Botero>> en la que todos somos participes haciéndole los acompañamientos con nuestras conversaciones plurilingües. Te sientes inseguro, y sin saber el porqué.
I was 13 years old when the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal caused the impeachment of her husband, President Clinton, in 1998. I was just a teenager who did not fully understand the magnitude of what spousal betrayal and utter humiliation entailed. Still, I remember being in complete awe of Hillary Clinton and her decision to stay. The older I become, the more I admire her resilience. The latest of her public debacles is the court-ordered release of another batch of emails from Hillary’s private email server. Analysts nationwide have spent the past week thoroughly reading and scrutinizing tens of thousands of pages worth of emails Hillary probably never thought twice about sending. Some analysts have made predictions about what this might do to her presidential campaign, while others have used the emails to turn Hillary into the punchline of some very sour jokes. Let’s face it, warm socks and not knowing how to use a fax machine can be funny.
Have you ever been driving for so long that you start to tune out your surroundings? Maybe fatigue, monotony, and boredom have settled in as your mind maunders in thoughts of the past or the future. You completely ignore your present while you are propelled forward by inertia and through no motivation of your own. Then, abruptly, without realizing the subtle swerve you just maneuvered, the rumble strips shock you into alertness. Suddenly, your heart rate has shot up, your mind refocuses, and you are immediately filled with dread of what might have happened had it not been for those uncomfortable bumps on the emergency lane. You’re awake now and, the question is, for how long?
Even before arriving at Vanity Projects, I was already feeling the pressure of writing this post; pressure which manifested itself in the form of worry, anxiety, and fear; three emotional states which have become synonymous with me in the past year. I knew for my first blog post I had to choose something that felt as though it represented Miami, while at the same time, it had to be a project that resonated with me personally. So, I chose Vanity Projects to write about for a simple reason: any friend of poetry is a friend of mine. Their involvement at O, Miami’s annual month-long poetry festival inspired me to think about art in a new way. I never thought to unite art with vanity. In this case, uniting the written word with aesthetic vanity would never have appealed to me because in the past that had seemed so, well…vain.