Subscribe to Jessica's exclusive newsletter

Subscribe to Jessica's newsletter

* indicates required

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Three Brown-Haired Loves: The Trip of a Lifetime, Part 1

Three men, all brown-haired, brown-eyed, and handsome down to their souls, have received my lifelong devotion. One is Alfonso X, el Sabio, whom I “met” in 1995, 711 years after he died. The most important is my husband, Stanley, who, as you probably know, passed away in July 2016. Last summer, I lived a lifetime of lows—and highs. Stanley left the world suddenly, and only two months before, we experienced the best two weeks of a marriage that had already doubled the world’s happiness quotient.

I’ve been learning about the therapeutic uses of writing about happy times, so I'm going to turn this blog into a travel narrative of those awesome two weeks in Spain in May 2016. I have to lay the groundwork with yet more happy things, namely my third love, Manolo García.


If I had a dollar for every unit of how much I love Manolo García, a lot of people would never have to worry about money. My family would be set forever. Several universities and millions of hungry people would benefit from my love of Manolo García as much as I do, and the cycle would continue. Yes, Manolo García is the key to world peace and full bellies. 

He’s primarily a musician, with an illustrious career on the Spanish pop scene. I love his melodies and his voice, and of course, that mysterious alchemy when he was making music with Quimi Portet. The writer in me appreciates his surrealist, poetic lyrics. They come from pure inspiration. They either make no sense at all or they make perfect sense. Below is my translation of the song that makes the most sense to me.

“Rosa de Alejandría” Nunca el tiempo es perdido (2000)

Rose of Alexandria, yellow rose. 

I want to get away. To go deep into silence. 
I want to get away
from this life I live unconvinced,
and delve into the time of lights,
raw clay jars lit by the hand of the mysterious potter. 

I want to get away. Go deep into silence. 
Walk calmly. Abandon this path.

I want to get away.
Make a nest in the eaves
with the blue-feathered swallows.
Become a measuring cup for bushels, liters, gallons,
be wheat on the threshing floor,
never dust on the pavement. 

Rose of Alexandria, yellow rose.
Today you must be my guide, the shining light.
Midday lighthouse, simple rose
Rose of Alexandria, yellow rose.

With flowers in a flaming field
like a Saint Francis [of Assisi], I live among the thickets
crawling with lizards. 
I feed on chimeras
and content myself with simple things.

Maidens with smiling faces find me at peace,
like a perfect Góngora [poet of sixteenth- and seventeenth- century Córdoba, complex imagery, revolutionized the Baroque style, longing for the peace of the countryside]
surviving far from the hubbub. 
With my yellow rose, with my rose from the precipices. 

I want to get away. Go deep into silence. 
I want to get away. Abandon this path. 
I want to get away.

Rose of Alexandria, yellow rose.
Today you must be my guide, path between islands. 

Midday lighthouse, simple rose.
Rose of Alexandria, yellow rose.

His more recent work has been a lot less angst-ridden, but no less beautiful. Manolo García is a huge influence on me and my writing, because I try to tap into that mystical place of creation he accesses with his words and look for the most beautiful images, the ones that would make him proud.

Also he's a wonderful person and loves living creatures. But those are matters for the coming posts, in which I will describe how the great Manolo García bookended my magnificent married life with Stanley, and our stunning last trip to my beloved Spain, complete with photos and videos. 

Keep track of all the posts in this series here.