Sick and Tired – But there may be an incentive to get out of bed more often!

Sick and tired.  Yes, that’s my state of mind.  Of what?  Literally, sick and tired. I am sick and I am tired!

I admire my dear friend Elli. She is in much worse shape, and has to undergo many treatments constantly.  She hardly ever complains. She writes all the time, and I have to ask her how she is. We were able to finally get together on Skype. They could see us but we could not see them… I would like to be like her. I keep trying. It ain’t easy, though…

Anyway, I am sick and tired. Have I already said this? 😉  Today, for some reason, I could hardly get out of bed for meals. Don’t like to have them in bed.  Never! And it makes me go down and up the stairs, good exercise!  But I could not read nor listen to music nor write much.

Since I had not written here in a looong time, and people have started to ask why, I’ll do it. This way I can reach many, and they will not have to complain.

I had been quite busy as a beta reader for two writers, and we are somewhat done now. I felt bad, as it had been an intellectual challenge, and I loved it! What to do next? I turned my attention to another matter.  A couple of years ago, they contacted me by e-mail from the literary agency Carmen Balcells of Spain. They were in the process of collecting the letters that Argentine writer Julio Cortázar had written, and wondered if I had any.  I do. I have about 43 letters spanning 15 years – 1968 to 1983, a year before Cortázar died.   So, I asked a former student to be my research assistant.  She scanned the letters and arranged them in alphabetical order.  Almost done?  No. I realized I’d have to edit them.  Time went by. The letters are still in their envelopes (two sets, just in case), and I have not sent them out. Nor had I reread them…

When I was discussing this for the second time with a good friend, Andrés Avellaneda, he again insisted I must do it. He added that I could easily get them published in Argentina, as the younger generation is captivated by Cortázar, even more than by Borges.  Andrés also volunteered to help, asking questions readers would ask, and perhaps willing to write an introduction. This means I’ll have to write an explanatory note for each letter, but I guess this makes sense. If the people from Balcells had published them as they are, with just a brief general introduction from me, most readers would have no idea about what they were reading.  I myself could not answer some of Andrés’s questions on a letter I had sent him as a sample!  Who can remember after 29 years???

Still, another small obstacle– I can’t find the CD-ROM where my student had also stored the letters. I am trying to use a conjuring trick I had used in the past for finding objects, but it is not working. My brain is probably not up to it.  But it can be done.  Gaby will either find the material in her files, or she’ll have to scan all the letters again and transfer them. Not too bad, I think (I am being optimistic, what’s wrong?)  Somehow, this project may become reality.  But, as I started to reread the letters, which I had not done in so many years, I was overwhelmed by a sense of loss and intense nostalgia.  Not easy to read them.

I had originally thought I could not share letters that had been sent to me, but was told that they show a side of Cortázar that people will appreciate – his kind, humble side, as when he even sent some lines to Valerie (Julia at that time, before she started using her middle name), in reply to a drawing she had sent him!

Whether this process comes to fruition or not, I cannot tell.  I will get started and see where and how and if it ends.  At least, this may be an incentive to get out of bed more often!!!  Although, come to think about it,  I can do a lot while in bed 😉


About martisima

After over 50 years of teaching literature to undergraduate and graduate students, I feel I have earned my retirement (it happened when I was 72, five years ago). I do miss the classroom, however, but not the meetings and all other requirements of the profession. I love teaching, and wish I could still do it. But now I read for pleasure, and watch films, and listen to all kinds of music (no TV, though). I love to travel, and hope I can resume doing it soon. I need to get over my health issues caused by thyroid surgery three years ago!
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9 Responses to Sick and Tired – But there may be an incentive to get out of bed more often!

  1. Sounds like a great project, you should definitely do it!

  2. Kat McLaughlin says:

    Do it, Dearest! I know you can! You’ve helped me so much, this is right up your alley! A memory exercise – Lay comfortably down on the bed or couch and close your eyes. Go back to the last day your assistant was over. Replay the discussion you had with her. Watch where in the house you are, where she is. Replay any conversation you had with her, including the scenario of where you were. Feel it with all your senses. What did you smell? How did you feel? What did you see? What could be heard? Allow your subconscious to wander… You may find where she or you put the CD-Rom…

    • martisima says:

      My dear Kat – I have tried several “tricks” I know, and still the disk remains hidden… It may not want to be found, in which case all efforts are in vain. I’ll try your method next and we’ll see. Thanks for giving me another go!

    • martisima says:

      Actually, I have two hard copies of the letters, and they will serve better than any disc! My friend can read them and so can I, at the same time. Why didn’t i think of this before??????

  3. Valerie says:

    I would love to read those letters – I didn’t remember that he wrote anything to me, but I do still have the postcard that he sent me.

    Instead of loss and nostalgia, try to focus on how nice the memory is, and how lucky you were to have spent time in the presence of so many great people over the years! And to be spending time (virtually) with this new generation of writers.

    • martisima says:

      P.S. Talking about “great people”, do you realize that the only book Umberto Eco signed when he was here is dedicated to YOU, my dear daughter???

      • Kat McLaughlin says:

        When I studied film art and film criticism, I became familiar with Umberto Eco regarding his work in semiotics. What a glorious connection, M.! And Valerie is so blessed with being the only soul with a dedication from Mr. Eco! I miss you, Sweetie! When my Dr. Godwin Q & A is over today, and I’m all caught up with Army of Angels of work tomorrow, I’ll catch up with you on Thursday when my caregiver is over and she’s out shopping. My first day off in a while! See you then, dearest! ~Kat~

  4. martisima says:

    You have a postcard too? I thought I had it! Can you scan it and send it to me? If it is different from the one I have we should include it. It also helped that at the time you were still using your first name, Julia 😉

    I love your second paragraph. You are right (and you do write very well!)

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