Quiroga, Horacio

Three Letters… and a Footnote

This is on the lighter end of Horacio Quiroga’s stories, which (of those I’ve read) tend to have more to do with death and desolation than the streetcar indiscretions we’ve got here. But it’s March, and I’m springing forward and bringing you with me, merrily because there’s no unsightly wad of money in our pockets to weigh us down, by hook or by crook.

Which is just to say, the best way to enjoy this one is on the portable music player of your choice, while skipping through a jasmine field with a ribbon in your hair.

Palma, Ricardo

How the Devil Lost His Poncho

A question too often asked of me: how is a specific story or specific author on a specific day selected?

Rather than answer the question directly (because what’s the use of renting one’s own outdoor space if not to desultorily blather around or plant cobwebbish morning glories around it?), I thought I would instead give you insight into the metrics, processes, and rationale behind today’s selection. Steel yourselves:

I had been thinking about Peru. For no other reason than thinking about most places lately is just too depressing; it was a random thought. Peru. Nothing special, and nothing more than that. I then decided that I fancied reading to you, and since Peru was freshly ground on my bean, a Peruvian (also purveyors of mightyfine beans, to extend the metaphor) would do. Palma came to mind, and I naturally reached for Peruvian Traditions, which is magnificent. But then instead remembered this story, a story so great and with a title so clever that had it not been a work of fiction, it might be an urban children’s toy or an instant indy rock classic. And so it was decided.

Does that answer the question? Enjoy!

Gorodischer, Angelica

Camera Obscura

I’ve just spent the past hour editing down today’s podcast while witnessing the almost compulsive bathing, brushing, trimming, grooming, and otherwise torturing my beast by someone who claims to enjoy this sort of thing. Really, it was a sort of dayspa pampering that I myself have never experienced. And, as a rule, the beasts who share my environs also share my lifestyle (more or less; I mean, I pay the rent), which means that, while I throw a bucket of water on the beast every once in a while (when she gets so covered in filth that I have to remind myself what species she is), she certainly hasn’t experienced any of this sort of treatment.

And you know, I never thought it would happen, but I’m actually a little jealous, surprisingly enough. All the indulgent coddling, the massaging fingers running through the hair, the relaxing aromatherapeutic lavenders… why am I not a part of this??

I’ve decided that tomorrow, then, I will personally treat her to a pedicure and an exfoliating facial. Then we’ll be even.

(For Pablo in Argentina (thank you for possibly the kindest email ever sent this way…))

Valenzuela, Luisa

I’m Your Horse in the Night

Ow. It hurts to type this right now, and I’m not talking about the endless afflictions of emotional pain. This is not something I’m especially proud of, no way, but to be entirely honest with you, because I like you: a little too much had been drunk last night (and I’m not talking about water), by me. But again: this isn’t to be taken boastfully — quite the opposite, in fact: consider yourselves warned, and let you never follow in these plodding footsteps. This got me thinking: someone recently sent an email, pointing out that he can always tell my mood from my voice, and so I wonder if today’s podcast sounds anything close to the running theme of today’s mood, which if voiced, might have sounded like this: “ow.” Which is awfully close to “ohm,” and, as I’ve recently discovered, equally meditative. Ow.