Frustrated with hearing incorrect words, un when it should have been una, and the always scrambled ser and estar come haltingly out of my mouth on my two recent trips to Mexico, I felt like finding a new home far from mine for my expensive RosettaStone CDs. Often it seems my addled brain has posted a “No Occupancy” sign, refusing to admit one more fact into the inn.
Indirectly, John Phillip Santos, whose The Farthest Home is in an Empire of Fire: A Tejano Elegy is due out in April, makes me feel compelled to put the headset on again, when only the computer can hear me and indicate my pronunciation was wrong yet again. In an interview by Mo Saidi in the current edition of Voices de la Luna, Santos says:
I’m in favor of promiscuous proliferation of language instruction. The biggest error of my youth was thinking the world was perfectly fathomable with just English and Spanish…. The more languages Americans speak, the more likely we’ll have a chance to imagine perpetual peace.
The biggest mistake of my youth was being born in in a city where English was the only tongue heard. My development was stunted by this event beyond my control. In my teens, I idealistically thought Esperanto was key to world peace, but its proliferation is snail-like.
So, I’m back where I left off before my trips, coincidentally, “El nino escribe arabe.”
May my neurons make many promiscuous synapses.
Note: Every time I bump into Jim LaVilla-Havelin (April reading at Bihl Haus), he is bursting with enthusiasm for San Antonio’s celebration of National Poetry Month. A partial calendar of events can be found on the website of Voices de la Luna. Mo Saidi will be reading at The Twig on March 29, and remember to put a Poem in Your Pocket on April 29.
Note added on April 5: Steve Bennett interviews Santos, and Robert Bonazzi reviews The Farthest Home in the San Antonio Express-News.