Today Octavo Cerco marks a year of existence and if I could use the laptop to blow out the candles on a cake I would. Not only have I met many people whom I will love for the rest of my days, but I’ve also faced, at times, the painful task of writing without having the slightest idea how to do it. Now it’s like a vice, a challenge and a sense of freedom that delivers me from all ties and classifications: I write but I am not a writer, I report but I am not a journalist, I slip through to the network but I am not a computer expert, I criticize the government but I have no party, and I say what I please but I know I am not free.
I look at the balance of these last 12 months, and even though Ciro says that blogs don’t have birthdays I think they do, my life has taken a 180 degree turn and I have to celebrate it. But freedom is enigmatic and my cowardice, I have to admit it, has not turned to the same degree. I continue to close the windows, speak softly so strangers can’t hear me, with the same paranoia as always. However there is something good, now when I am most afraid is when I most throw myself into it, and that is something.
For the birthday I’ve received a gift: two strangers in the street stopped to talk to me about my blog. I can’t express the combination of terror and joy I felt, though I can’t adapt to the idea that people see me in the street and know that I am literally “in the thick of it”; I know in time I’ll get used to it. For now, I live in the moment, my blog is part of my life and as I said one day to Ivan when he hadn’t yet started his blog Desde la Habana: you will feel like it’s your child, you will not abandon it.
This is an excerpt to a version of the song, Epitaph for Vladimir Visotski by Karsmarski Jacek (Polish dissident songwriter), which includes Ciro Diaz in his latest album, The Blue Slug, that I listened to compulsively for at least two months, especially on the street with my mp3 inherited from a friend who now has an I-pod. (Download the lyrics here) (Download the recording and album cover here) The song (in summary, which runs about ten minutes) is about a desperate artist going through the circles of hell in search of an answer or death, and at the end of his journey there is only loneliness and the weight of the supreme power above himself. So I found myself at times catching the bus across Havana at 12 noon in August under the perennial sunshine and with the distressing feeling of not going anywhere, or arriving too late, or going for pleasure ... I feel that I have already arrived at the eighth enclosure (this is the finale of the song) where there is nothing, and I feel useless and empty, and I look at people without faith who walk along the street and who have so much fear that they no longer know they're afraid, and who have seen so many Roundtables and so many news broadcasts that they no longer know what belongs to reality or just to the TV screen. They cannot discern that they no longer believe, but cannot disbelieve either, and just move along past me not going anywhere.