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Why this photo above all the others...                                    Taken during the Fall of 1989 at the Tour St. Jacques which marks the  departure point of El CAMINO DE SANTIAGO between Paris and Santiago de Compostela in northern Spain, the route so very many pilgrims walked on their journey to the point where St. Jacques remains are supposed to rest after his pilgrimage from Jerusalem.  Jacques, Yago, Saint Yago, Santiago. EL CAMINO DE SANTIAGO, title to one of  Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier's masterful short narratives under the title Guerra del tiempo ---Time's War. A journey I had always hoped to make and most likely will never start on, now that I am eighty-one and most of my bones hurting. My "Journey to Santiago" in so many ways remains in process, nonetheless, and this page is part of that walking always looking towards the next bend on the road.  

¿Por qué esta foto por encima de todas las demás? 

Tomada durante el otoño de 1989, al pie de la Torre de Santiago punto de partida de El CAMINO DE SANTIAGO --entre París y Santiago de Compostela donde se supone descansen los restos  de  San Yago –Santiago-- tras su (¿supuesta?) travesía desde Jerusalén;  ruta la de Compostela recorrida por tantísimos peregrinos en cumplimiento de sus promesas y, a la vez, uno de los títulos de una de las más espléndidas narrativas por parte de aquel cubano-universal que fuera Alejo Carpentier:  su incomparable, para mí, Guerra del Tiempo. Ese viaje a Santiago que yo siempre tuve la esperanza de hacer y que probablemente ya no logre tan si quiera emprender ahora que he cumplido los ochenta y un años y que la mayoría de los huesos me duelen… Pero:  mi propio viaje a “Santiago” continúa y no solo figuradamente --aunque por pura casualidad fuera concebida en Santiago, sí, aunque de Cuba, allá por agosto de 1938, y que regresar a bañarme en el sol de la lengua de mi infancia siga siendo para mí algo tan preciado como pudo ser para los medievales atravesar de cabo a rabo aquel largo-largo Camino de Santiago. Este ciclo de viajes sigue en proceso, a pesar del tiempo y las distancias, y este website resulta ser parte de ese andar que ayer ni imaginar logramos…

 

BIOGRAPHY

PhD Modern Languages and Lits. (details for Sylvia Maria Valls in FB, Valle de Bravo, Mx. LINK). with three national citizenships (by my count).   Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, 8l years ago,  at a time when Cuba and Florida were still part of a relatively unified territory. College of Wooster scholarships (1957-1959) allowed me to study while the Universidad de La Habana was closed. Spent two years there at the Faculties of Social Studies and Public Law and of  "Filosofía y Letras,"  before getting carried off to Detroit, Michigan, in Nov., 1960, by a visiting lawyer I married Sept. 19th of that year. Of the Detroit sixties I have great memories including  personally attending Martin Luther King's "I have a dream" address in Wash. D.C. and also of being a part of those "Armies of the Night" (see N. Mailer) close to invading the Pentagon  I may have been the only "commie" (or near-commie) in my family. My illusions about the "Cuban Revolution" rapidly dissolved with my only visit to Havana in July, 1986. That state capitalism should be considered "communist" is the kind of "illegitimate contradiction" that Simone Weil warned against.Having first read about her before leaving Cuba, it would still take me fifteen years to get to her writings... one of those miracles required to make sure that what she has to tell us would make sense. If you are an atheist --as I was for ten years-- you will still find everything she has to say about THIS world most sound, provocative, and inspiring. 

LSU-Shreveport, La., Spring, 1980, vol. 7,  no. 1, Student Publication.

Dedicated to "yours truly" in honor of my "certain gaiety of spirit conceived in spite of the fortuitous" (Francis RABELAIS...) DEDICADA A Dr. Goodman (otro de mis apellidos recogidos por el camino) agradeciendo mi "cierta alegría de espíritu concebida a pesar de cosas fortuitas" ... 

 
 

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