I’m holding a copy of the reprint of Sinning Across Spain. I may be a long way from having a publishing phenomenon on my hands, but I feel such gratitude that the book has found people who have enjoyed it and told others about it and given it to friends. It’s such a wonder to me that it has made its way into the world – and that now, with this reprint, it can continue to do that. Thank you with all my heart for support and encouragement.
It seems a long time ago that I set off to walk the Camino Mozarabe. There are moments now when I think I am another person. But then I open my mouth to speak about it, and I am back there again, walking the dusty white trails lined with poppies, smelling the neroli in Córdoba or tasting the heat of a sip of sol y sombra at day’s end.
Recently, I found this piece of Rilke.
I know. I always seem to be finding Rilke.
But I wanted to pass it on, because it is such a spur. It reminds us to trust that it’s only by living, sucking up every bit of the juice of life, the sweet and the sour, and then letting it distill and transform, and waiting, waiting, waiting…that writing will come.
That all good will come.
And so I’m trying to heed Mr Rilke. Living, tasting, waiting. Being patient and grateful.
And offering this up to you. I hope it fills you as it does me.
“For the sake of a few lines one must see many cities, men and things. One must know the animals, one must feel how the birds fly and know the gesture with which the small flowers open in the morning. One must be able to think back to roads in unknown regions, to unexpected meetings and to partings which one had long seen coming; to days of childhood that are still unexplained, to parents that one had to hurt when they brought one some joy and one did not grasp it (it was joy for someone else); to childhood illness that so strangely began with a number of profound and grave transformations, to days in rooms withdrawn and quiet and to mornings by the sea, to the sea itself, to seas, to nights of travel that rushed along on high and flew with all the stars-and it is not enough if one may think all of this. One must have memories of many nights of love, none of which was like the others, of the screams of women in labor, and of light, white, sleeping women in childbed, closing again. But one must also have been beside the dying, one must have sat beside the dead in the room with the open window and the fitful noises. And still it is not enough to have memories. One must be able to forget them when they are many, and one must have the great patience to wait until they come again. For it is not yet the memories themselves. Not until they have turned to blood within us, to glance, to gesture, nameless and no longer to be distinguished from ourselves-not until then can it happen that in a most rare hour the first word of a verse arises in their midst and goes forth from them.”
And in my memories, in my blood, in newfound gestures and glances, are pieces of every person who has helped or listened or written to me, or offered advice or consolation or encouragement. We are still making a road together. You are making the road for me.
Gracias. Into the blue sky we go…