sábado, 25 de diciembre de 2010

Why, when, and how I started writing Pandemic of Lies: the Exile

Living in South America is quite different from doing so in the United States. I am a U. S. citizen who was born in Cuba and became a naturalized American. I was educated in the United States, except for the first four grades in grammar school when I attended the Colegio Champagnat run by Marist brothers in Caibarién, Cuba. When I moved south of the Border, I was shocked almost on a daily basis by what I saw and heard.

Residing in Ecuador, I became disenchanted above all with the “revolutionary” events that were taking place in various countries in Latin America. From my adolescence onward, I had kept myself well informed of what was happening in Cuba. Thus, I knew that, if the cancer of Fidel’s communist revolution and tyrannical style of ruling began to spill over to other Latin American countries, it would be fatal for the people living within those nations. They would suffer at least a half century of economic backwardness and misery, loss of basic freedoms, and relentless, cruel dictatorship. In the case that several such countries became infected with the communist-fascist virus emanating from Cuba, they could very well link up and form diabolical alliances to impose an unbreakable noose around the neck of Latin America and its people. Angry, inspired, and at the same time convinced of the possibility of my apocalyptic vision for that part of the world, I started writing Pandemic of Lies: the Exile.

I began the novel at the beginning of March, 2009. I started things in medias res, that is to say, in the middle of things. The protagonist Manuel Cruz is hiding out in a remote hut at the edge of a swamp beside a river and some rice fields. Raúl has come to make his weekly visit and bring his friend the usual provisions Manuel needs to stay alive out there in the middle of nowhere. I set up a modest writing pace at first and then gradually, as I warmed up to the narrative, increased the tempo. By late December of 2009, I was finished with the first draft of the novel. It contained 432 pages at that point. The book went through three revisions until it reached the present length of 536 pages in May of 2010.

Since I travel a lot and own two homes in two different provinces in Ecuador, I wrote on a daily basis and sent the saved novel to my hotmail address. If I transferred myself from one of my homes to the other, I could easily retrieve the steadily growing manuscript from my email address at either location. It was like throwing a high, long pass into the clouds and then catching it miles away as it fell softly into my waiting arms. Internet permitted me to be quarterback and receiver at the same time in any part of the globe. I kept a different laptop computer at each house of mine, obviating my having to carry a PC with me inside my SUV. On a couple of occasions my Nissan Patrol had been broken into by petty thieves who thought the briefcase I had left inside the vehicle contained a laptop computer. Now I hardly ever carry a briefcase, with or without a laptop, inside my new SUV, a hybrid Highlander. I learned my lesson. You have to adapt to the situation—and quickly—around these parts of the world.

Finishing Pandemic of lie: the Exile provided me with one of the greatest satisfactions in my entire life. Seeing my novel posted on various websites across the cyber world, from China to France, from the United Kingdom to South Korea, from Canada to Germany, and from Japan to the USA, fulfilled an old dream of mine.

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