Poetry In Words: What It Means To Be Beautiful

If I could be nothing else

But a memory

Cherished into a multitude of memories

In my heart

My eternally human heart

I know

That then

Truly

I’ll be beautiful

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Book Whore’s Literary Digest: Writes Like A Genius

Sometimes to be perfectly honest, writing can be fucking beautiful. I say this confidently as a reader, writer, and self-proclaimed literary goddess. When I come across a piece of word-wizardry, I am always held in a state of awe, which is pretty rare as I am rarely in awe of anything. However what I’ve come to realize of late is what distinguishes a good writer from a great writer. Good writers can tell a good story, while a great writer knows how to tell a good story; presentation in packaging must never be ignored.

My recent excursion into a literary orgasm was by recent discovery—thanks to the sage advice of a good friend—of master word smith Gabriel García Márquez. If you’ve heard of him, you should already know what I’m about to say—and if you don’t know him I will not bore you with endless pages upon pages of ceaseless declarations of genius. His noble prize, discussions on magical realism, can all be researched online and discussed in an academic paper for those interested enough. Instead what I’d like to do—succinctly—is express just how profoundly he has affected me.

On the two books of his which I had the pleasure to read, One Hundred Years of Solitude and Love In The Time Of Cholera, he has already altered my perception of writing. Quite frankly, he is the first writer in my thirty years of existence that I have a sincere desire to imitate. Although I have been inspired by many, his is the first that I can say truly influences how I think about writing. When I read the book One Hundred Years of Solitude I came away with the overwhelming desire to write like that: simply beautiful.

Beautiful is a ridiculously abused word but honestly there is no other term for it. He writes with a fluid dexterity that in nearly every phrase reaffirms the author’s unabashed love for life. This love is not necessarily something that is seen in a blatant optimism—his writings actually have a melancholy bent—but rather in his precise and nuanced details that capture so perfectly all of the quirks, poignancy, and eloquence encapsulated in the milieu of everyday living. There is feeling that cuts so deep that it is profoundly moving. But more than that, you get lost and most certainly seduced, by the elegance which Márquez writes. At the end of the book it becomes less and less important the content of the story—which has a tremendous sense of merit on its own—but rather how he told it to you. He was the first person in a long time that left me bereft for want of his writing. If I was left with nothing else but the warmth of a cool breeze, the roar of an ever blue turquoise waters, and the poetry spoken in blissfully accented glory of Márquez’s writing—I think honestly—as an artist—I would need nothing more.

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Poetry In Words: Inspiring Self With Self

I must confess

like so many things

to a dizzying array

of self-deprecation

unconscious aggrandizing

of self-perverted injuries

In fact

to enormous self-indulgence

of the worst kind

There are so many things

that I can blame

Except myself

Because even as my self

I doubt my own ability

of inner-implosion

just as I doubt the greatness

that would appear

If only I believed

I am

If I dare to admit

a masochist

drunken with the orgy-like glories

of my most decadent pain

But if

If I

Only

If I can

Believe

That I am

All that I allow myself to believe

Then maybe

I should

I can

I will

BEGIN

To organize

a metamorphosis of my mind

into an abundance

of un-mitigating

un-relenting

and un-doubting

un-conditional

self-love

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The danger of a single story: Chimamanda Adichie on TED.com

As a fellow storyteller and a woman who passionately believes that there is always more than ONE story–this really resonated with me.

TED Blog

Our lives, our cultures, are composed of many overlapping stories. Novelist Chimamanda Adichie tells the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice — and warns that if we hear only a single story about another person or country, we risk a critical misunderstanding. (Recorded at TEDGlobal, July 2009, Oxford, UK. Duration: 18:49)

Twitter URL: http://on.ted.com/3k

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Succeeding At Life And Other Things: Inspiration on a Monday

In order to talk about success, or more aptly, have the audacity to talk about success, one must first be honest; really honest—and honesty takes nudity. Whether you want to take this as a figure of speech, it is my opinion that the only true way to be honest is to take your clothes off, stand straight up, allow your flabby gut to extend itself uninhibited by obnoxious breath deprivations, and stare straight on—and look, truly look—without flinching, without obscuring—look at yourself for what you truly are.

So since it is I who has decided to take pen to paper and fingers to keyboard in order to post this on my little old blog, I suppose then I should start by taking my clothes off first. Since I am writing about success I suppose it is necessary for disclaimer purposes, that I should state in advance that what you’re about to read is not the story of a woman , who after many years of relentless struggle has now reached the vaulted “pinnacle” of success—at least not yet. Or the story of how as an independent author I discovered a way to corner the literary market and now despite all odds, am a best-selling author—at least not yet. No, none of the typical accoutrements of success can currently be ascribed to me. For many, this would automatically disqualify me from speaking on it; why talk about success when, in not so polite verbiage, you are a loser. There is plenty of that, going on already.  My counter-retort to that inevitable answer is that success is achieved even before it is realized; the proverbial I think therefore I am. What do I mean? Well let me first start by explaining my nudity.

Throughout my life I have experienced a series of events, both big and small, that have been classified in my psyche as failings. This could be seen in my successive loss of friendships, inability to form any meaningful romantic relationships, inability to find meaningful employment, and a myriad of other small events that have pricked my heart and soul. With each successive “failure” it seemed to reinforce all the past and actual future failings.  This was and still is not, something that is directly obvious about my person. I can, when putting effort, carry myself remarkably well. But underneath, I was moving like Cain, with the mark of “LOSER” on my forehead, and for those who bothered to pay the slightest attention to me I am convinced that they could either see it, or feel it, because I do believe in such a thing as energy.

The other thing I’ve come to realize and truly comprehend is that I take failure very badly. Now I’m not just talking about the “Big Things”; I mean any type of failings, because in my mind, even the smallest failing links back to the myriad of other failings—and well that just doesn’t sit well with me. Now this isn’t something I just admit to anyone—not even my self—but it is in fact, although I hate to acknowledge it, the truth that I have known all along. It is in fact this open acknowledgment of this truth that enabled me to realize—remarkably clear—the key to success. It is belief—more aptly—self-belief. Sounds stupidly cliché and simple right—I know; however let me proceed to demonstrate how simplicity in essence, is not always that simple and that the answers already exists even before you think of the question.

WHAT IT MEANS TO TRULY BELIEVE

Belief is kind of a tricky thing. It is one of those words, like love, hope, beautiful, that gets thrown around far too lightly without any genuine comprehension of the meaning. What does it mean to truly believe in yourself—i.e. have perfect self-confidence par excellence (I love that phrase). The first thing is to distinguish between phantom or half-hearted self-belief with the real one. How does one make such a distinction? Well I’ll use myself again, as an example. One of the things that I hated said to me when I have failed to achieve a certain goal is that I didn’t believe hard enough. Aside from being what I perceived to be insulting, I thought this was patently untrue. I did believe—in fact I did nothing but hope and pray fervently. I saw the success; I wanted it; but when I sit and think about it honestly I didn’t believe it, because belief requires more than just a lot of hope, a lot of prayer, and desperate wanting. True belief is knowing that the answer is already there and having the unflinching confidence in yourself that tells you that you can get that answer. It is that single aspect more than anything that determines whether or not you will achieve what you set out to do.

Many people see this type of belief in action and call it drive. When you say that someone is driven it means that person has determined that no matter what—they will get that answer. To achieve that level of determination is not something you can just will into existence. It actually requires several things. Principally it requires an acute and accurate appraisal of all the obstacles that you can foresee that are in your way and methodically, sometimes slavishly, try to find a solution to each of those obstacles. It is also an acknowledgment that there will also be obstacles that will not be foreseen and when those obstacles do arise, you must be confident that you will be able to face them with the same determination as you did the ones you did foresee.

The second factor is not acquiescing to defeat. You may not realize this but subconsciously you may have conceded to your own failure. You could have wanted something, dreamed of something, and even prayed for it—but deep down didn’t believe it would happen. And because you didn’t believe—truly believe—you didn’t work correctly to put it into effect. What do I mean by working correctly? I mean putting everything that you have in the direction that you see and know will happen. The vision takes work—and work is pretty damn hard.

BELIEF IS LIKE MATH

You might think I’m saying this because you’re supposing that I—like a multitude of others—suck at math and therefore am equating the difficulty of math with true self-belief. This is only partly true; I do in fact suck at math, but I actually have another intention. If you think about math, it is really just a numerical expression of logic. No matter how seemingly complex the equation, mathematics by definition, already assumes that there is an answer to every equation, and that correct answer is definitive. It is not important how this answer is derived and that is actually the beauty of it. There can be many ways that the correct result can be reached, even if it takes an enormous struggle—the fact is the answer to the solution is there. It is also a fact that the best mathematicians in the world are those who are able to derive the most simple and effective ways to attack the problem. They apply logic and if you want an example of logic think of riddles. The key to solving a riddle is to look at the obviousness of its statement without over applying your own thoughts upon it.  Take something as simple as what is black and white and red all over: a newspaper. Or the stupid easy one that every kid knows—why does the chicken cross the road; to get to the other side. The answer lies in the question itself, and this is the nature of belief.

To bring in a literary reference in Oedipus Rex, the reason why Oedipus was able to solve the Sphinx’s riddle “what walks on four feet in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three at night,” is because he—unlike seemingly the entire town—came in determined that no matter what he would be able to solve that riddle and when he operated on that principal and allowed his mind to look at the thing dead straight, the obvious, i.e. “Man”—became clear. This is life. Life is a riddle, and like math, the most brilliant at it, are not those who are dazzlingly complex, but rather those who know that when they look at a problem dead on, that they can solve anything.

IT IS WRITTEN

Does all that I’m saying sound ridiculously familiar and cliché? I would hope so; because it all is. The thing about clichés is that they tend to be truths that get repeated so often that their meaning gets lost. Like “you can do anything you set your mind to,” sounds great—but what does that actually mean anyway.

I will openly admit that I am not a religious person. While I respect organized religion I am generally not a true adherent to it. However what I do believe—fervently actually—is that all religions whether they be the large formally accepted ones, small community based ones, revolve around sacred texts, or words of wisdom passed on from an elder—within them contains some profound truth about life. I believe this because just like my previous examples on logic, math, and riddles—that the answer is always there.

I’ll use The Bible, as this is the text I’m most familiar with, as an example. If you read the New Testament, most especially the Gospels, there is one message that gets pounded over and over again, and that is belief. Of course everyone thinks this is in reference to Christ and God, but that’s not what I’m actually talking about. As much as there is that, there is just as much about “self-belief.” Think for example the famous walking on water episode. While nearly everyone recalls the part of Jesus walking on water they forget that the apostle Peter also walked—in fact the moment that he stopped believing in this remarkable ability he began to sink, and thus Jesus had to save him from drowning. One of the things he says to Peter is, why did you stop believing? There are actually several episodes like this, one for example when he states, if you say to mountain it will move it will. In fact if you follow everything Jesus does, you’ll realize the apostles, ordinary folks, can also do those very same things. Now my point is not to state that you can fly in the air if you dream it so, but rather without taking it literally—it speaks to having confidence in yourself and that defeat happens when you concede to it in your mind.

PROOF’S IN THE PUDDING

So aside from exemplary words or other’s words, what form of evidence do I offer? I place before you Exhibit A: my mother. Now I know that you don’t know the woman. She is in fact my mother—nevertheless she is my closest example of what it means to have perfect confidence.  Numerous times in her life and sometimes in view of others, my mother has made declarations that due to her particular circumstances, others have deemed outrageous. When she was young and severely economically challenged without a husband who was employed, she stated that the next time she moved she was going to buy a house. With her salary, and her position, everyone thought it was laughable; so what did she do—she bought a house. A few years later, having achieved that, she then told my father the next home she bought, she’d own it. Again laughable—but now she does. For years she told me that she would own her own business, and without a job, considerable financial or familial support, before my eyes she became a business owner.

This uncanny ability of hers to declare things and then see them into action is downright comical at times. Once when we were in her store and had a particularly bad week in terms of lack of sales and customers, that Saturday, after another empty day, she looked at me and stated that before we closed that day she would make a sale—even though we had none that week. We close at 5:00 pm on Saturdays, and a little after 4pm, a woman walked in and within five minutes bought something; that was almost scary.

Now I use these examples not to make my mother into some type of supernova—or witch. In fact I am the only person who has seen her at her lowest, seen when that confidence wasn’t there, and like she’s done for me innumerable times, picked her up off the floor when she was at the depths of despair. Everything—and I do mean everything—that my mother earned was by incredible strength, hard work, and at times agony. However none of it could be accomplished without her ceaseless belief in herself. When she tells me now that one day she and her business will be known I believe—because I see the power of self-confidence.

YOU EITHER PRAY OR WORRY. BUT DON’T DO BOTH.”

This quote from Curtis Jackson, aka 50 Cent, is one of the simplest, most profound, and most difficult to achieve. Don’t think as I write about this perfect self-confidence and belief that I have managed to achieved that, because I haven’t—not by a long shot. I still suffer from a crippling lack of confidence that was years in the making and will take years to unravel. However what I do realize and what I wanted to share was that the answer, just like most things, was right in front of me all along. You can be your greatest friend or your greatest enemy—for many years I was my own enemy. Your greatness, i.e. your success, is there, if you choose to believe it, and act relentlessly in accordance with that belief to see it through.

Conceit, an inverted form of lack of confidence, just as depression is an unexpressed form of rage, self-doubt, anxiety, past failures, and other’s past failures, are all obstacles you have to fight and continue to fight for the remainder of your life. But if you want to succeed, you can choose to do nothing else.

P.S.

Truth be told, I wrote this and many pieces like this, for myself as much as for that random person who reads it and is able to find some meaning and strength from it. This is for the moments when I forget I had the answer all along. I hope it is the same for you.

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Book Whore’s Reader’s Digest: A Literary Flavor Of Life

So I’ve decided to spice up my life—in a literary sense (although on a personal sense that wouldn’t be so bad either—life’s a doldrums—sigh). For the longest time I have wanted to expand my literary repertoire and read past the academic selections of the literary canon or my own, at times, vulgar taste. My premier destination of choice currently is Latin America.

My selection of this cultural region, and I mean that in a very broad non-regional sense—has  a very specific purpose, which has much to do with the subject matter of my novels and my writing. It is a culture, which although I am not part of, I grew up around and has always fascinated me. The second motive stems from my dissatisfaction with the American focus on primarily authors from the US or England, and not the cultures and regions closest to it (I mean not even Canadian writers get a mention). Since we are one of the most ethnically diverse cultures in the world, I feel our literary selections should be more reflective of that.

So my first author of choice is a man widely touted as being Brazil’s finest and most celebrated—regionally and internationally—author, Jorge Amado. Although his name rarely, if ever, gets dropped in American literary circles, internationally he is respected and admired, and in Brazil he is almost an institution. So who is Jorge Amado? His bio in a nutshell: he was born in 1912, the son of a cacao (cocoa) planter in the region of Itabuna, Bahia. He grew up however in Ilhéus, a nearby city which plays subject to quite a few of his novels. He went onto study journalism and law, and began his literary career in the 1930s. His earlier writing was heavily influenced by his political alignments—which was leftist—something which forced him to flee the country several times, until the late 1950s when he abandoned his political activities altogether and focused primarily on his writing until his death in 2001.

Amado’s most famous books internationally are, Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon and Dona Flor and Her Two Husbands. Both books were turned into movies and even a television series, with the latter being for a time, the highest grossing film in Brazilian history. For my literary journey I decided to read the celebrated Gabriela and an earlier, lesser known work, The Violent Land.

The novels, although published well-over a decade apart with The Violent Land coming out in 1943 and Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon published in 1958, feel very much like Volume I and Volume II of the same story, which based on its overall theme, should really be called—Ilhéus, A Love Story. While both novels are heavily peppered with a large menagerie of fascinating and often-times humorous characters, the clear character and star is Ilhéus.

In The Violent Land, the setting is around 1913, when the last great cacao wars take place. The novel opens with a group of passengers boarding a ship in Salvador, Bahia the capital of the state of Bahia, situated in the north-eastern region of Brazil (note: although the capital is Salvador, within the novel and assumingly in common parlance, it’s just referred to as Bahia). They are headed  toward the then town of Ilhéus—a land we are told by the various passengers, all basing it off the stories they have heard, as being rich with cacao, overflowing with money, and where a man with enough courage—i.e. balls, i.e. can kill without compulsion or guilt—can make his fortune.

Each of the characters on the boat all have their story, which in the various interlaced plots, gets played out in the novel. There are those aboard the ship who are going to Ilhéus based off the lure of supposed easy-money, still some for revenge, another, in the case of a gorgeous blonde prostitute to reunite with her lover, and another going back home to expand his family’s empire.

Once they arrive you are now introduced to the main character of the novel, Ilhéus, which in many ways resembles both the world of the Southern plantocracy married to the lawlessness of Dodge City and the Wild West, topped with its own unique twist. Traditional values to what we understand them to be, and actually even in the Brazilian sense as this is explicitly noted, is perverted here. Courage is a man who can kill another man who stands in his way in the expansion of his empire, or affronts his masculinity in any way—which can be as simple as a misunderstanding exaggerated into a scandal by malicious gossip, or sleeps with his wife, to which the wife also earns an automatic death sentence—a facet mentioned here, but that Amado goes into much greater detail in Gabriela.

Of course the double standard of male promiscuity is gone over in glorious detail, as the town’s overwhelming sexism, machismo, misogyny—however you want to term it—is laid down in blunt detail. A man’s right to fuck around on his wife is unquestionable; it is a vice—but one that only he is allowed to indulge in. The curious thing, which is a facet seen in both novels, is the classification of three types of women; the prostitute, the wife, and the concubine. Prostitutes, are prostitutes—so for the men, not much is said about them, only that at this time marriageable women are scarce, and in the cabarets and bordellos, they serve a much needed function. The wives are supposed to be content in their ivory towers, as the exclusive properties of their husbands, but concubines are another story. To a certain extent the concubine, or the kept woman, is the freest woman. In a world where women are really not allowed to exist independently of men, the concubine is the only one permitted to fuck around—that is that by doing so she doesn’t automatically earn a death sentence. Indeed because she is not entirely his, other men are free to court on her (depending on which man she belongs to, as that does vary), and if she is beautiful enough can reap some rewarding financial offers. She is pampered, paid more attention to, and often times treated better than the wives, who aside from her clothes, last name, wealth, and the sanctity of her home and respectability—things which many cling onto voraciously—she has nothing else.

By the middle of the novel, the story begins to move into one direction, which is the war that rages between the largest cacao planters in the region, Colonel Horacio and the Badaros clan. It is an all-out battle over the conquest of the Sequeiro Grande forest, an area of land, which once cleared, promises to be the most fertile region for planting cacao. The war is bloody—deemed the bloodiest ever—and for me this when the novel really starts to pick up as that, along with other smaller but equally interesting plot lines start to unfold and in the end there is only one winner.

The beauty of this piece and Amado’s writing in general is the detail and complexity of his characterization. He paints a portrait so rich in color that you feel, just by reading it, that you are there. He is also quite humorous, and although I feel, just by the wording, that the novel would be funnier in Portuguese if you understood the cultural context—his writing is such that the comic aspect does not get lost in translation.

In Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon, you revisit this incredible town again, now in 1925, twelve years from where The Violent Land ends. The word of the day is progress, progress, progress! (Seriously that word gets dropped so often I almost felt as I was reading, like I was going over some Sesame Street word of the day). Progress, however has various meanings to various people, and is something that is questioned and bitterly fought over. The novel opens with two particular events. One is Colonel Mendonça discovering his wife in bed with a prominent dentist and proceeding to engage in his marital right as the cuckolded husband, by shooting them both to death; and the lesser, but to the character personally significant problem, one that earns the book its title, of Nacib’s—invariably titled “The Arab” or “The Turk”—he is in fact Syrian—cook finally carrying out her long-standing threat  of quitting her job to join her son,  leaving him stranded, two days before he is supposed to host a big dinner in his bar. This single event leads to what is termed the great “love story.”

Although I can go into so many details for brevity’s sake let me just say that the novel basically goes into two basic directions. The overarching story of the struggle for progress in Ilhéus, embodied in the person of Mundinho, an outsider coming from an illustrious family in Rio, who does more for the town in four years than some of the colonels (Note: the title colonel is more an honorary one given to the planter class; it is not actually reflective of a military rank) have done in decades, and the old bastion of power Colonel Ramiro, the undisputed ruler of Ilhéus. He appears to be a reincarnated version of the character Horatio in The Violent Land.

The second story and the one that nearly everyone who has read the novel focuses on (which is funny, given the fact that the novel—despite the title—is far more devoted to the first story) is the love story of Nacib and Gabriela, a poor migrant worker who comes to Ilhéus after a devastating drought has ravaged the region where she was from. Interwoven between both stories are smaller stories and characters which in some ways I found at times to be funnier and more interesting than either of the main threads.

Without giving away too many plot details let me just come out and say that I am not in love with the love story of Nacib and Gabriela. It is unconventional in its flow and ultimately conclusion, at least from where the book ends, but my main problem is that I am not really in love with those two characters. Nacib, arguably the more significant (which again, the title of the book suggests otherwise) is a tall, very fat (he is described as having a big fat face, and nine-month belly) is amiable enough, but is still invested with the raging sexism of the town, although in comparison to the violence of the other men, is seen as being more “civilized” than the others. Nevertheless upon listening to the discussion of Medonça killing his wife—something that is unanimously seen as  justified by everyone—Nacib, whom you later learn is appalled by this event, still decided to add his own tall tale that in his father’s country men chop women up into pieces, and the offending men get their penises hacked off. This is a bold-faced lie, but exaggeration is the grapiúna (term for a resident of Ilhéus, learned this in The Violent Land) way.

Gabriela for her part impresses me even less. I am perhaps the only person who has read this book, based off what I can pick up from the reviews, that is immune to her charms. But my modern-woman sensibility just can’t seem to get over the fact that outside her cinnamon-brown skin, great beauty, fabulous almost legendary cooking skills, and free-spirited sexual attitude, that there is absolutely nothing deep going on with this character. Her “child-like” innocence seems to me like a sweet code word—for Gabriela, in spite of her indiscretions and questionable choices is never mal-intended—for a patent imbecile. In fact without her beauty, she has nothing to offer, something which is funny enough displayed when Nacib first meets her. He finds her at the slave market (called so, due to the poverty and desperation of the migrants who appear there looking for work) when he goes on his desperate search for a cook. She is filthy and covered in dust so he can’t see her beauty—or even determine if she is young or old. Her incessant laughing puts him off, because it singles out her lack of maturity or i.e. that she’s an idiot–and he actually turns around and passes on her. It is only when he overhears her say that he is a “beautiful man”—which shocks him, as neither he, apparently no one in his life, nor even you as a reader, based off his physical description if you are going in the conventional sense—would deem him to be beautiful. But Gabriela saw differently and that is what makes him change his mind on her. When he discovers, after she is cleaned off, that it is she that is the great beauty, things really begin for them.

Gabriela ultimately feels like a man’s—a somewhat sexist man’s (and I do believe in spite of Amado’s rich and varied portrayals of women that he is sexist—in the same way in spite of his inclusion and in many ways celebration of Afro-Brazilian culture is also paternalistically racist) ultimate dream woman. She is gorgeous, is a brilliant cook, keeps a perfect house, really desires nothing more than to cook and clean for her man, is averse to materialism, loves cheap things, doesn’t care if he fucks around, and has on her own, an inexhaustible sexual appetite (in spite of cooking and cleaning all day) and loves to fuck her man all night long with gusto; that she is also somewhat daft, makes her all the more perfect.

The only thing, other than her lack of cultivation of any type, that keeps her from being the perfect wife, is that although she has no problem with her man sleeping with other women, she also wants to sleep with other men. She is like a man—in the traditional sense—capable of having sex purely for the pleasure it brings without any emotional attachments. Actually it is the men that are more attached and broken up over her, in terms of the sex, than she is to them. She sees nothing wrong with sleeping with any man she deems beautiful and young, two key things as Gabriela is patently anti-materialism, so she isn’t seduced like traditional concubines by offers of wealth and will categorically refuse to sleep with old and ugly men. This element about her makes her quite interesting and will ultimately serve as a major tension in her relationship with Nacib that ultimately gets worked out in a bizarre way—but I won’t give that part away.

Not to totally denigrate Gabriela, as she does have her good points (aside from her looks, fucking, and cooking). Her “purity” in a way stands against the blatant hypocrisy engaged in by everyone and her desire to just live and enjoy life in the simplest, most unaffected way is something to take note of. She is truly a free spirit.

The problem though is that as it relates to Nacib and Gabriela—is that they never truly “see” each other. Gabriela seems mentally incapable of understanding why Nacib feels the way he does on certain things or his desire for acceptance, particular her acceptance, into society, as she is much too centered on pleasure. Nacib for his part sees her mostly for pleasure and when he tried to change her, it backfires in a terrible way.

Overall I found that I enjoyed The Violent Land much better (although I’m sure there would be plenty who would disagree on that point) as I felt that it had more going on story wise, but both books are well worth a read, especially together. As a literary craftsman, Jorge Amado is one of the best, and I highly recommend him to anyone looking to get lost in the richness and detail of the culture and world that he so gloriously displays.

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Poetic Reflection: Making Love To Beauty

If I am nothing more, than a nameless phantom, walking in beauty—fucking in my ecstasy, could there be nothing more that I ask from you—in all fairness—than your undying and most endless love.

I am a lover

In that I trip

Symbolically

In all my metaphorical flourish

Over love’s greatest progeny

Seducing

Simulating

Symmetrical

Sensations

into a literal similes

and I smile

Magnanimously

So that I can dance naked under the sun

Exhaling parables

Of my mind’s effervescent emotion

Closing my eyes

As my heart

Plays out my greatest love story

If I could wish one thing

One dream

One hope

Pinned-on emphatically

Whispered secretly

It would be

The ability

To make love

Passionately

Furiously

Endlessly

To the life

Which I’m so gifted to breathe

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