2010: Resolutions

As promised, my resolutions for this year 2010.

1. History of architecture and urbanism in Latin America: Complete draft of Part II, the colonial period, 1492 to 1810 or 1820 (or in the case of Brazil, to 1822), and the rest of it soon after. (Draft of Part I, pre-columbian cities and architecture, has already been turned in to the publisher.)

2. Novel, A Gift for the Sultan: publish before the end of February, in two editions: a print and a free electronic version.

3. Spanish contradictions: a series of essays to appear on this blog. Focus will be on contemporary (post-Franco) Spain, but taking into account the legacies of the civil war and earlier conflicts to explain such puzzling features as the unresolved territorial organization and powers (so that Catalonia, the Basque Country and even Galicia and Navarra are neither integrated nor subdued), causes and consequences of the corruption scandals, the struggles over sexuality and gender, etc. I propose to post these essays weekly, beginning next Sunday, 17 January.

4. Some new short stories.

Blowing my own horn:
Besides my presence on this blog and other sites (FaceBook, Twitter, the Red Room, etc.), I plan to make more of my previously published stories more accessible. I've already started to do this, with stories and essays on Scribd and BookRix (where I just posted a little book today).

Personal projects:
More fluent French, at least minimal conversational and reading ability in German, better guitar-playing (got to get those fingers to move faster and more surely)

In short, you'll be able to read more of me, and I should be able to speak to more people and maybe even entertain a crowd on guitar (though that's probably the most challenging thing on my list -- it doesn't come easily, which is part of why I do it).

Photo of hornblower in Congress Park, Saratoga Springs, by MIKECNY.

Happy 3 Kings Day!

Apologies for my long absence. Been busy, here in Madrid for Old Year Night (Noche Vieja) and New Year's, with shows, friends, and a splendid New Year's Eve dinner at the Café de la Ópera, four course meal with wine, champagne and arias -- a joy to hear such strong sopranos, tenors and two baritones singing right next to your table. And last night with a good Madrid friend, we watched (as well as we could, over the heads of the big crowd) Madrid's spectacular Cabalgata de los Reyes, the Three Kings' Parade. Melchor, Gaspar and Baltasar (the three Reyes Magos, or magician kings) steal into the houses at night, with their camels (they're magicians, after all) to leave toys in the shoes of good girls and boys, or lumps of coal for those who have been bad. We grownups just get a virtual hug and a virtual lick from the rough tongue of a royal camel.

But as my gift for you, I leave you Two Stories from Naples: Italica, by Geoffrey Fox. I hope you enjoy them. They're at least better than lumps of coal. Or a camel-lick either, for that matter. See you later, and have a great year! I'll be back soon, later today I hope, to share with you my New Year's resolutions.