The next Postcard From Cuba comes tomorrow; today, my eldest son turns 14; today, it is 14 years since I was first called mother by the world.
14 years since I learned how to love.
14 years on this journey, my little love…
…little boy with a man’s voice, a man’s shoulders—already taller than me, and he’s only just started growing…
Happiest of birthdays, son.
In the photographs I take of my children, while I’m documenting their journey, our journey, I often take this angle, have you noticed:
This is very, very important.
Walk on, my son.
Every step you take is your journey, not mine.
Every step I take is mine, not yours.
A few days before my son turned 14, I turned 42. Compared to 14, 42 is insignificant—it’s just a number. But, of course, if you are a Douglas Adams’ fan, you know 42 is the answer. I can’t wait…
Flora: “Congratulations, Mom, you’re one year closer to death.”
Jane: “Thank you, babe. I cannot wait.”
Not true, of course—I say that to tease. But this, this is true: I cannot wait for the next year, for the next decade. Do you remember, it wasn’t raining but it felt like it should have been, and you were so unhappy, and he was dying, and you said that thing you sometimes say about us getting older and closer to the end and I shook my head, “Fuck no, me, I’m just getting started.”
That’s tied into that motherhood thing, 14 years of.
You sent me so many birthday wishes.
I sent you gratitude:
You know, do you not, that everything I write is a love letter to my children? To you? On the days when I am feeling particularly human, the world?
Today’s love letter, though, is just for my son.
Happiest of birthdays, you incredible human.
So you know the spiel that follows & if you’re reading and you haven’t yet put a PayPal click where your heart is, it was just my birthday last week, d’ya wanna buy me a birthday coffee?
The best things in life and on the Internet are free, but content creators need to pay for groceries with money. If you enjoy the Postcards project, please express your delight and support by making a donation via PayPal:
You: “But how much should I give?”
Jane: “I get $1 each time a sell a traditionally published book, so my bar’s set really low, love. Want to buy me a cup of coffee? That’s $4.75 if you’ll spring for a mocha or latte. Bottle of wine? My palate’s unsophisticated: $19.95 will more than cover it.”
If you’d like to make a contribution but have PayPal issues, email me at nothingbythebook@ gmail.com and we’ll work something out.
Or, ya know. Just hang out with us and enjoy. That be cool too.
NothingByTheBook.com / Tweet tweet @NothingBTBook / Instagram NothingByTheBook
#postcardsfromcuba catch up
I was in Cuba before Obama. And I want to tell you all about it… in pictures… in words… through sound:
So, I introduce the project, and then…
…I shower you with pictures:
Then (drum roll, please) release the first listening postcard:
PfC: blame it on Hemingway (post + photographs + podcast)
It’s not really about Hemingway, but you know, #hemingway is a good hashtag.
Next I show you:
& then I teach you some
PfC: Cuban math (post + photographs + podcast) & I also pick up / get picked up by a 25 year old Cuban boy. Seriously. Check it out, and then check out
PfC: this is also Havana (image)
& find out why I’m going to hell:
PfC: Necropolis (images + riffs)
after which you can watch how the entire country of Cuba is trying to prevent me from buying eggs:
PfC: egg hunt (post + photographs + podcast)
then try to figure out what this photo’s all about:
PfC: the view from here (image)
& then pray for me. Just pray:
PfC: we will survive (post + photographs + podcast)
Thank you. Now come with me to a beach. No, not that kind of the beach. The kind of beach that isn’t kept pristine for tourists:
& now you’ve got to meet Jack Gilbert, and understand what having children (in Cuba, anywhere) really means:
PfC: and she asks, is being childless good for a poet (post + photographs + podcast)
Now, have a look at a haunted house:
PfC: haunted house (image)
& then cringe as I explain to Flora the relationship between poverty and crime:
PfC: but is it safe? (post + photographs + podcast)
Then meditate on this photo
PfC: through bent bars (image)
& listen to me try to buy matches:
PfC: matches (post + totally unrelated photographs + podcast)
then take on a hustler:
& then fall in love:
PfC: Lazaro’s farm (post + photographs + podcast)
and then decompress with:
Now get ready to get all political and cultural with:
PfC: flora, fauna + waiting (post+ images + podcast)
then look at pretty things:
PfC: behind closed eyelids (images)
& take a ride…
PfC: on the bus (short podcast + post + images)
to explore a castle: PfC: castillo means castle (slideshow + postcard images)
& look at some boats.
And how you’re caught up.
Until next tomorrow.