A Conversation with Carlos
by Artemis J, Jones
Present Day, Miami Beach, Florida
Lummus park, always a relaxing place, at the heart of this jewel in the south. You can sit here and enjoy the morning sun, unstressed, while the sounds of a day in the making are created for your ears. Those sounds, la turistas, chatting and the blend of delivery trucks making there rounds to all the restaurants along Ocean Drive. Rollerbladers, most, barely dressed females, streaking by and weaving through the dog walkers and a few homeless lugs on the sidewalk. Later some musicians will appear on the street, playing some rhythms and melodies from transcendent cultures deep in Latin America. The sounds of a Latin Guitar riding on the light breeze from the ocean, perfect!
Far off in the park, there is a mirage and a distant image of a man walking towards me. No one else notices him, disguised in his fedora, and dark glasses. He is holding a rolled up newspaper, probably El Tiempo, or maybe the Herald. He sees me on the bench and points right at me while shaking his newspaper. It is Carlos and he is upset with me. Carlos starts talking, I mean yelling, first.
“Gringo, it was your dumb luck we met in the hospital last year. You’re all alike. Stupid! Always putting the cart before the horse”
“What are you ranting about now, you old Mexican.”
“Your blog, I was looking at it yesterday. I think it is stupid. Who cares about story development? In my day I sat down, with a pen & paper, writing from eight a.m. to one p.m. After I finished I gave my work to a publisher and they did they rest.”
“So you think my blog is stupid, because I am posting stories before they are completed. Carlos, you were a unique pre-modern writer. But times are different and I am showing readers, especially young readers, the process of writing. For me it starts with a story outline, then I write a first draft, maybe a second draft. Then I ask for opinions from a critique group. I make changes and send the story to a line editor.”
“So that’s it? You’re a Gringo for sure. Cart before the horse mentality. You’re a writer, you write, the publisher makes sure the story is edited, proof read, and begins to sell and market your book. I know how it works, I have done it many times, very successfully! Have you forgotten, Where the air is clear & The Old Gringo?”
“Carlos, the horse is the story. It is always first. Publishers are, the cart, which all Indie Authors must be on their own. My Blog is the first step in marketing my stories. I explain to the readers the status of each story, as it goes through development. I also write some notes on why I am writing the story.
“So now you’re an Indie writer? Bullshit! Breaking into writing with a new model for Indie writers. Pila de mierda.”
“Tranquilo, me amigo! I have a lot of work to do. I have an outline for Story Development.
After I publish my current works in progress, I will post the first paragraphs and pages of each story and a link to the web site to purchase the story or the collection.”
“Gringo, entonces que. Everyone is doing that … I should care!”
“Yes, great philandering Author God! When my next series of stories start. I will post the outlines with the corresponding first draft, later adding critique notes from esteemed Author Gods like you. Next I will post edited versions with more critique notes. Before those stories get published, I will post beta versions for a short time, then publish and start the process all over again.”
“Who gave you this strategy, was it one of my Cuban Author friends?”
“You do not have any Cuban friends, remember? … No great Carlos, it was you. I read about your early writing, always challenging everyone, always trying to be different and irreverent at the same time. You’re last book, is inspiring me to write a novel. My work in progress, will be about the biggest challenge faced in my life, a challenge that many are facing, and suffering through every day. I loved the way you used, sarcasm and knowledge, blending both elements so well together. Pure Artistry!”
“So, my American friend, you’re going to show other aspiring writers the need to have patience and work through the process, not publishing until the process is complete.”
“Tu eres correcto! Spoke the old man with both feet in the grave. Now you are catching on, it is a different world out there for writers.
Carlos, do you remember when we met last year? I had just finished reading your book in the hospital, I fell asleep and you came into my room. The book about the starlet you met, while she was filming in Mexico.”
“I was a real dumbass for going with her. Mucho machismo!”
Carlos got up, shaking his head a little, and waved goodbye. He walked south towards Fifth Street and slowly disappeared into the mirage that he walked out of earlier.
Dedicated to the work of Carlos Fuentes, 1928-2012,
Carlos Fuentes Macías was a Mexican novelist and essayist. Among his works are The Death of Artemio Cruz, Aura, Terra Nostra, The Old Gringo and Christopher Unborn. Wikipedia
© Copyright Artemis J Jones 2014
Artemis J, Jones is a young writer. He described himself as a thought provocateur, writer, and traveler. He lives in Miami Beach, Florida with his wife, Helena, an artist from Medellin Colombia. Artemis writes fiction, urban poetry, short stories. He is a cancer survivor.