Monday, January 18, 2021

About These Long Silences . . .

 It seems my posts these days are punctuated with long silences in between. Life has been so eventful that everytime I plan to sit down and blog about it, something new happens. Originally I was going to post about the beautiful murals around town, you may recall, before I rewrote a new collection of poems. (And believe me, when the obsession to write strikes again after a long dry spell, I seize the moment.) Then there was our anniversary and then Xmas - both wonderful but celebrated indoors quietly. 

The poems are finished. Now I have to decide where to submit them. This is a little more complicated than usual, because . . . we are moving to Braga, Portugal. Next month. (February 21st.) And I'm wondering how to submit to American markets from Portugal, and to European markets in English. 

I know, I know, we just moved last summer, leaving our home in Midtown of 22 years! But Portugal has been on our minds and in our hearts for quite some time. We started going to Braga in 2014, and we went every year until Covid-19 struck the world. We've talked about moving there soooo many times, then talked ourselves out of it, then back into it, then out of it . . . which is why we decided a wiser move would be to the smaller condo downtown. But Portugal wouldn't let go of us. So we've decided if the desire to move there is going to keep recurring, we'd better just do it. The shippers came last Monday, and Thursday and Friday our wonderful real estate agent and her assistants staged the condo. It's on the market. 

So, I was going to write about that, and then the whole "stolen election" drum beat started overtaking the news with the projected march on Washington that culminated in the horrific coup attempt last Wednesday. The National Guard has beefed up  security this week-end and until the inauguration in all 50 states as well as DC. I'm sure that dissuaded planned armed protests, but what happens after the inauguration when the NG troops go home? Are isurrectionists going to vanish in a puff of smoke? I've been hearbroken over this.I never thought I would see such a thing happen in my country. And I don't think the trouble is over.

Not to mention the death toll of Covid-19. It's been hard to think about all of these things and whip out a  cheery post, but despite that last paragraph, I am feeling hopeful. 

Meanwhile, the weather has turned into early spring weather here. I took my walk along the river yesterday and families were out. The neighbors next door were having a barbecue and the grilled-meat smell floated over which, vegetarian that I am, doesn't really bother me. In the river yesterday, small boats were out. Along streets, people were raking leaves and weeding their flowers. And today was very similar regarding the leaves and flowers. If you stayed away from the Capitol (which I did), you would never know it was surrounded with Guards and a kabillion police. But blocks away from it, where I walked, two national guardsman were patrolling every federal building I passed. It was surreal. And so sad.

But beauty lingers still, no matter what is happening in the world. That is really what keeps us going, isn't it! So I leave you with pictures of the beautiful murals around downtown. (They are all over Midtown as well, but these are mainly in downtown.) They are also taken in different weather, but . . . better late than never.









And then there are the buildings. A whole building at "The Metropol," an apartment building, has been painted with scenes:




And across from Roosevelt Park on 10th Street, from P to Q Streets, the 10th Street face of an entire residence complex has been painted in a continuous scene. Below are cafes and a cleaners; above are residences: 









It's quite a surrealistic mural that wanders across the faces of the buildings from one street to the other, but delightful to see. 


How has your December/January been? I hope this finds all of you safe and well. What have your biggest concerns have been during this period?

22 comments:

Elephant's Child said...

Hope is a fragile essential isn't it? Thank you for sharing the beauty around you - and good luck with your move.
From the other side of the world I have been watching events in your current country in horror - and in fear. And yes, it will take more than one day to quell this beast.

Natalie Aguirre said...

It sounds like you have a lot going on, especially with your upcoming move. Good luck with it. And FYI, I think you can just query agents and publishers here even if you live in Europe. I've interviewed a number of authors who live in Canada or Europe who have debuted in the U.S.

writing and living by Richard P Hughes said...

Interesting you're moving to Portugal. Seems like the right thing to do. Your posts about the country have been entertaining. You can now do more of those kinds of posts. I'll be watching for them.

Kenda Turner said...

Wishing you all the best in your move and as you settle into a new life in Portugal :-) I'm sure you'll be surrounded with inspiration for all kinds of poetry!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Good morning, EC, so nice of you to stop by and sharing your own thoughts. I've been struck by how friends all over Europe are equally dismayed by what has happened over the last 4 years in the US and aghast at the insurrection attempt. I don't usually get political on this blog, but Biden is such a breath of normal air again.
Meanwhile, thanks for the good wishes, and I'm glad you liked the pictures.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Natalie, thanks so much for your insights about submitting to publishers. That's great news. My regular publisher of my last three (fictional) books is fine with the move, but I wasn't sure about poetry publishers. Thanks, too, for the good wishes. Now that the time is so near, we are finally getting excited. (Until now, we've been too busy!)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Richard. I hope all is going well with both your writing and your painting. I'm glad you'll be watching for more posts about Portugal. I'll certainly be writing them and also posting about Galicia. Braga is about a 2&1/2 hour drive to Monforte, our part of Galicia, so we'll be visiting our friends there, too. Hope you have a great day.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Kenda, you are right about that! Inspiration for poetry, and also great research for my next mystery. "Deadly Vintage" was set in Braga (which is how we discovered Braga 6 years ago), and teh sequel mystery is also set in Braga. It's a great city, and over time we've made some really wonderful friends there — although it will be hard to part with friends and family here.

Mirka Breen said...

Nice to read you back online, Elizabeth.
Yes, we all wonder, when this period passes, how much of what took so much of our attention will seem like noise and what will be understood as an historical watershed moment. We're still on the ground, so we do not have a bird's eye view.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Mirka, What an interesting way to put it. I think both are true, rather than either/or. But I'm glad it's almost over. I look forward to something approaching normalcy in weeks and years to come.

Susan Kane said...

The idea of Portugal has such appeal! Photos would not do it justice. For me, it would be Ireland.

I looked at my teenager gr-daughters and wondered what the future holds for them.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

HI, Susan, thanks for coming by. I want to visit Ireland one day. My sister-in-law is from Galway. Actually originally from a little fishing village called Roundstone. BTW, Portugal has some Celtic history. It's an interesting blend historically.

Sandra Cox said...

Wishing you much joy in your new location. I'm assuming living expenses are very reasonable there. Correct or no?
If that's where your heart lies, that's where you should be.

Rosi said...

I am feeling hopeful as well. What a terrible couple weeks it has been. I hope your move goes well and that your condo sells quickly. Thanks for the pictures of the murals. I haven't seen most of these. I will have to check them out.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Sandra, that's pretty true. Some things are about the same (clothing and shoes, for instance), but groceries and restaurants are much less expensive. Home prices are less expensive. We won't be there until February 22nd, but the time is drawing near, and we are enthused. Meanwhile, we are both so happy after watchingn today's inauguration. Feeling so uplifed.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Rosi, thanks for the good wishes about the move. Things are progressing very well, and the listing has generated a lot of activity. Meanwhile, I'll move with great peace of mind, knowing our country is in good hands again. Today's inauguration lifted my spirit in so many ways, and many times I was brought to tears — of happiness and relief.

Mark said...

Glad life's moving forward for you, but we'll miss you in California :)

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Mark. Once the Covid crisis is over, we will come back for a visit. We ahve so many friends and loved ones here. But we are excited about the move. On another note, I hope we can still exchange manuscripts . . . Take care, and hope you and your wife and little rascals are all safe and well.

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

Having spent so much time in Portugal, it seems your decision to move there was not that much of a stretch. It's good you have capable individuals who can facilitate that move, too. I'm truly happy for you because I know that's where your heart lies.

You found some incredible murals. Some are clever, others, as you admitted felt surrealistic. I certainly enjoyed all of them, though.

I was mortified by the events of January 6. I was saddened that this country that I was born and raised in has turned into such a divided and divisive place. And to think it was racists, bigots, and white idiots who caused this pain, killing, and suffering. I can only hope we can pull ourselves out of the quagmire we got ourselves into and can find our way back to sanity. It already feels more sane after seeing how brilliantly the inauguration was conducted.

Stay safe and let us know when you land in Portugal. We will be watching for some update, even if it is just a few short words announcing your arrival, dear Elizabeth.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Elizabeth (& Bleubeard), I always love it when you stop by. The time is certainly slipping by. We are finally getting excited. You are right that our hearts seem to lie in Iberia. We love both Portugal and Galicia (I've written a collection of poems to our years going to Galicia) and now we will be in one of the places we love and 2&1/2 hours away from the other place we love.

Meanwhile, I, too, was so saddened by the events of January 6th, but so relieved the insurrection wasn't successful.) Watching American getting closer and closer to the ideals of "a more perfect union" was part of my "coming of age" as a young adult and a continuing concern all of my adult life, and I have just been broken hearted at how haters have repressed and smashed so much of the progress. But I am still hopeful that out of the wreckage our democracy can emerge stronger than ever.

I will post on arrival and take some pictures. Hard to believe 4 weeks from tomorrow we leave. Much to do before then, but I think I can squeeze in one more post before we go.

Vicki Lane said...

How exciting this must be! May all go smoothly!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, Vicki. Up to now, we've been too busy to be excited, if that makes sense. But now we've accepted an offer on the condo, the contract has been signed,we have a buyer for our car, in 2 weeks we move to a B&B so that we can clear out the condo, and then three weeks from today we should be arriving in Portugal. So now we ARE excited. And so ready to board that plane. Up to now, life has been a list and a calendar scrawled with "to-do's."