Thursday, July 05, 2007
I am a spider spinning webs of words and fantasy in the forest of dreams across a vast fertile space anchored by two twigs: truth and observation.
Just as I cannot remember the first word I learned to spell or the first book I read, I cannot remember when I could not read and write. I do, however, remember the first book I wrote living at the edge of a dark jungle that I believed held a lost city overgrown by time just waiting for me to venture away from the trimmed lawn around the apartment building on stilts where I lived to rediscover its secrets.
I was eight years old when my father gave me a perfectly square slab of blank paper contained between red cardboard covers and stabbed through the spine with a steel fastener. I filled the pages with black spider webs spun of words on sunny days at the edge of the jungle and on rainy days in the carport a few yards away.
Drunk on Homer and Edgar Rice Burroughs, I plunged into the jungle down the bloody clay banks next to the cage built to house Chico and Chica, my pet marmoset monkeys. That is where the everyday world ceased to exist. I unlocked their cages, took their tiny hands and lifted them onto my shoulders. I climbed and slid down the slimy blank, getting its sweaty red blood on my hands. I took my father’s machete from its worn leather scabbard belted at my waist and plunged into the steaming leafy green darkness to find the city and chronicle my adventures.
Long decades lie between those dreams beside a Panamanian jungle and now, but I still spin webs of words and dreams. I am a writer.