Homage to a Master

Memorable images are often mysterious. This photograph is hardly memorable, but it manages to pose some questions: Did this man with the brush paint the landscape? If the answer is “yes,” he seems oddly indifferent (or perhaps sad?) about his accomplishment. On the other hand, if the answer is “no,” then why is he posing with brush and palette?

The answer is, no, he did not paint it. The artist who did was an obscure Spanish painter named Pastor, and the man’s expression reveals an inner conflict: He has been asked to do something he does not want to do: his closest friend has asked him to destroy Pastor’s painting.

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Our Lady of Gunpowder

Paco was yelling at me, but the gunshots were so deafening I couldn’t hear a word. He finally managed to push through the crowd and cupped his hands around my ear. “No matter what, Miguel, keep your mouth open. There’s less risk of damage to your eardrums.”

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Alive in Two Worlds

The past is never dead. It’s not even past: William Faulkner

It is impossible to wander the streets of Valencia without being shadowed by memories, all of them beautiful, like the city itself. Each memory carries feelings of peace and comfort, because during the months when I first lived here, an unexpected new world revealed itself. It was not only the Spanish language — a new way of thinking — but also new friends and a Spain that was beyond the horizon of my American imagination.

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