Who knew my mindless viewing of beauty/fashion YouTube videos would result in discovering wonderful music? Fantasy by Alina Baraz & Galimatias is dreamy, gauzy escape music. When Baraz croons underneath the palm trees/you can leave your worries in her seductive voice, you can almost smell the salt in the air and the sand in your toes. But this isn’t one of those upbeat happy songs that you’d hear on a Caribbean island. Instead, Fantasy is full of calming and relaxing lust, yet is passionate at the same time.
The whole album (also named Fantasy) is amazing but the title track is just so alluring that I keep coming back to it. Pop it in and enjoy… preferably with a partner ;)
I gulped down the last of my coffee and looked at her for a few moments without saying anything. I thought about how much I wanted to lose myself in those evasive eyes. I thought about the loneliness that would take hold of me that night when I said good-bye to her, once I had run out of tricks or stories to make her stay with me any longer. I thought about how little I had to offer her and how much I wanted from her.
― Carlos Ruiz Zafón, The Shadow of the Wind
Before my love of literature blossomed, no read was more satisfying than a memoir. Memoirs challenge you to confront another’s own lived experiences, and the fact that what you are reading is something true, makes it all the more devastating (or uplifting, or whatever the intended mood is). It’s often the very best memoirs that balance the line of telling a painful experience without self-pity. Piri Thomas’s Down These Mean Streets achieves that in just the right way.
Piri Thomas grew up in the streets of Spanish Harlem in in the 40s and 50s, and this book tells his tale of growing up in poverty, fighting in street gangs, facing racism and classism, drug-addiction, and crime, the latter two lead to eventual incarceration. Much of the book focuses on Piri’s internal struggle as a dark-skinned Afro-Latino – he is Puerto Rican and Cuban but his own family rejects the African-ness of the ancestry. Thus, Piri ends up contemplating his racial and ethnic identity for much of his young life – this even leads to a trip to the South.
You feel his suffering but Thomas never reaches the point of self-pity. It’s a valuable lesson for young people and a great reminder that it’s never too late to change. While Thomas did end up in jail for several years, that was his turning point, as he went on to use his street and prison know-how to reach at-risk youth. Thomas went on to write more works, but his 1967 memoir is still what he is remembered for the most. Well written, well crafted and highly intelligent – I can’t recommend it enough.
“It is necessary to find one’s own way in New York. New York City is not hospitable. She is very big and she has no heart. She is not charming. She is not sympathetic. She is rushed and noisy and unkempt, a hard, ambitious, irresolute place, not very lively, and never gay. When she glitters she is very, very bright, and when she does not glitter she is dirty. New York does nothing for those of us who are inclined to love her except implant in our hearts a homesickness that baffles us until we go away from her, and then we realize why we are restless. At home or away, we are homesick for New York not because New York used to be better and not because she used to be worse but because the city holds us and we don’t know why.”
― Maeve Brennan
“Take it all back. Life is boring, except for flowers, sunshine, your perfect legs. A glass of cold water when you are really thirsty. The way bodies fit together. Fresh and young and sweet. Coffee in the morning. There are just moments. I struggle with the in-betweens. I just want to never stop loving like there is nothing else to do, because what else is there to do?”
– Pablo Neruda
God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.
– Marcus Garvey
It’s been quite a while since I’ve written which is unusual for me, but sometimes life and work get in the way. The life part has been a bit funner lately with a milestone birthday. To celebrate that a group of my nearest and dearest girlfriends took a trip to the Isla Verde aka Puerto Rico. That’s where this song of the day makes it’s entrance.
While Ricky Martin is known for his Spanglish music in the States, I’ve always been a fan of his Spanish music. The song of the day Isla Bella is a beautiful Spanish ode to his home, you guessed it – Puerto Rico. I can tell you, the song is just as gorgeous as his home.