Thursday, July 16, 2009

Finally Back

The Portuguese word for "flu" is spelled just like the English "gripe." Which is all I have felt like doing for much of the past three weeks following our move to what is now our third apartment in Garanhuns. This time we were fleeing a mold problem that seems to have followed us in a milder form. Right after moving, we went to Arcoverde to run some errands there, and to take in their local version of the Sao Joao (St. John) festival. The nearby city Caruaru is ideally the place to take in Sao Joao, but we were in Arcoverde and enjoyed a bit of the local flavor there. At first it looked like any town fair in the U.S., with various rides and concessions. But the food. The food was top notch. I missed out on much of the folk musicians, but got a small, unforgettable taste. Before we left, we passed some clowns on stilts. That's always fun. 

Here's the Wiki link to Garanhuns, where we rent our apartment. I have loved all of our apartments here despite their weaknesses (lack of running water, mold, noisy neighbors). What I love about keeping an apartment here is the solitude. Living in Arcoverde, we shared that house with family. Alienated 21st century white boy is still getting used to the close-knit Brazilian family structure. Although my Portuguese has noticeably improved, I still can hardly communicate with my new family when they are all together at once. Although if you put a beer in my hands, and some music on the stereo, I manage to falo muito portugues.  Err, actually, half-Portuguese and half-English. 

So, we moved into our new apartment, and the next day drove to Arcoverde to spend the weekend. The morning after Sao Joao, I suffered a sore throat. All I did to alleviate it was drink some near boiling water, gargling it before swallowing. I figured that would kill the germs that were setting up shop. Turns out I'm a medical moron. I developed a nasty head cold with a few flu like symptoms, the worst of which was dizziness. I managed to keep teaching classes (although my students mercifully forgot to come to one class when I was at my worst, so I waited half an hour and painfully moseyed home). I got better, but stayed up all night working on a short story draft and ended up getting sicker than before. I'm a moron. During this second bout, I took a number of over the counter flu remedies, none of which worked very well. All in all, it was a week from hell that halted my creative work. I'm still trying to get back into a rhythm. Taking time off from writing is always good for me, refreshes the batteries, but the problem is it takes forever to build up the courage to face the blank page again. 

After nearly dying of flu we went back to Arcoverde, this time to meet more family from Petrolina. Which further interrupted attempts to restart the writing schedule. We now have internet em casa, which is my biggest weakness and distraction. I have been online practically nonstop all day today. 

I hope to make posts here more often going forward. 

In publication news, the latest Naugatuck River Review is out with my poem in it. Please visit the link on this page and show a fledgling journal some support. I have a poem forthcoming in The Raintown Review as well. 

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