I was the first one in line to have this elegant, diplomatic gentleman with a raspy voice like a grandfather, sign one of his books for me, The Crystal Frontier. He grabbed my new, crisp just-bought-it-at-the-bookstore book, opened it to the first page, and asked my name (in Spanish of course). “Inés” I barely replied, trying to say something intelligent but instead letting him lead with questions. Where are you from? he asked, never looking up from his quick writing. I managed, “I was born in Spain, but I grew up in Nicaragua.” More quick writing and I can’t read upside down. His black ink pen scratching the page. He finally looks up, smiles, closes and returns my book, shakes my hand, and I am still starstruck, his smiling mustache saying, “next in line”. He’s probably shaken thousands of hands- including the King and Queen of Spain when they gave him that literary award in the 70’s.
I walk away. I wonder what he wrote? Our encounter didn’t take more than 15 seconds. I could’ve said something! “I am a fan of your literary work. You inspire me. Can I hug you? [someone call security]” Anything would’ve been better than nothing. I flip to the first page. Curious. I am dumbfounded. In one word- he described the depths of me that I don’t even know about myself. WOW! I stop walking and find instant “inspiration” to be disciplined in my writing (he had said in his lecture that he doesn’t believe in inspiration for writing, but rather, discipline; he never makes excuses not to write. Ouch.) He landed me the title of my next (and first) book with a marvelous adjective next to my name: Transatlantic (one). I will have to dedicate it to him. I’ll send him a signed copy one day, too. 🙂
To Inés, the Transatlantic-one, Carlos Fuentes (signed in Little Rock, 2006)
A Inés, transatlántica, Carlos Fuentes…
(this post is dedicated to my friend, Kimberly Roth, for catapulting me into writing, again, after having a delicious Dulce de Leche latte at Starbucks accompanied by authentic conversation on a chilly evening in AR) I LOVE run on sentences.