My mum went to Mexico when I was a kid. And when she came back, it opened my eyes to other realms that I think fueled my interests in creating other worlds in fiction to this day.
She brought back:
(a) a gorgeous red and green skirt made from green satin and a red felt, with shining silver, red and green sequins and beads, shaped into the form of an eagle
(b) crummy photos taken out of dirty windows of a Cessna airplane she had traveled in to get to more remote areas where she went exploring
(c) shocking images of statues that were bizarre, even some that were grotesque, along with lurid and bloody tales of what happened there in the form of human sacrifices -- i.e., supposedly one of the statues of a reclining god that had a hole in its stomach. the sacrificial victim's head was inserted in the hole and cut off.
There were slides of pyramids, walls with carvings in turquoise, jade and lapis, terra cotta tiles, rough floors, and all showing up large and lifelike for a three year old, on the huge old fashioned reflective fabric screen.
And then, there was "Montezuma's Revenge" -- apparently, my mum learned first hand not to drink the water or to eat the salsas and chips put out on the table of the cheap restaurants where she ate.
She also told me about the "mansion" where she stayed at one of my grandma's friends in Mexico City -- apparently made of pink marble, with glass topped stone or adobe walls, a huge sweeping wrought iron sided staircase, it sounded more like a PALACE than a mere mansion, like I had seen in Hope Ranch before. The lady who lived there had closets of clothes, multiple entire outfits for every occasion for every day.
And she told me about slums, where people lived in garbage dumps in cardboard houses, like I played in out in the back yard. One summer, me and my little friends went garbage jumping on a daily basis, diving into dumpsters at the apartment complex to see what kind of stuff might be in there. naturally, when my mom found out, she put a stop to it -- but that was for discovery and exploration -- to live in the equivalent of a garbage dump? My tiny mind recoiled.
I think my mind expanded the size of several universes living vicariously through the experiences she brought back from her discoveries -- her health issues (she was put on medicine for weeks, more than a month to recover, because she couldn't retain ANY food and was losing a dangerous amount of weight).
I started building questions --
How could there be a palace, like in a Disney book -- and a slum -- in the same place?
How could a people who literally festooned every wall with amazing art, who had such amazing skills -- how could they make blood sacrifices? Of PEOPLE, maybe a friend, or neighbor, or little kid? How did they choose???
What else was out there?
It also made me aware of something else -- that THOSE people, the sacrificers -- lived in A TIME AND PLACE -- and went away.
And I somehow became aware ME AND THOSE AROUND ME IN THIS TIME AND PLACE -- have a lot to offer. Will we leave reminders of violence -- terrible sacrifices -- unreasonable superstitions -- and garbage dump slums and illness -- or will we bring healing -- cleanliness -- and appreciation for the individual and his or her contributions?
How do you want this time to be remembered? How can we make that happen? :)
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