When I started to research the Spanish Civil War, I had not yet fallen in love with Federico Garcia Lorca. In fact, my knowledge of him was non-existent. But as I delved into the archives of this infamous period of Spanish history, where poets, artists and writers like George Orwell and Ernest Hemingway fought for freedom in the face of a rising Fascism, Lorca’s name kept on coming up, like a beacon.
I became entranced by him and his story, murdered as he was by the Fascists because of the power of his pen and left in an unmarked grave. He seeped into my pores and crawled into my heart to take up residence there.
When I started researching my novella, The Poet & the Angel, where I bring him back to life, I decided to travel into Granada, Spain where he was ultimately executed. I walked with him through the ancient alleyways of the Albaicin district, I looked for him in the cafes, I cried for him in his ancestral home where he wrote most of his work and I openly wept for him when I visited the home of his closest friend where he was arrested.
He became part of me and began to haunt my dreams. In fact, as I wrote the novella, I wept at the same time.
When it was almost complete, I traveled with my friend Robert back into Granada. Our apartment was in the Albaicin overlooking the Alhambra. One night I decided to do a reading and we sat down, wine glasses in hand, candle light and soft music. I began.
I was only a few sentences into the text when I felt the energy in the room change. Wisps of nostalgia and plaintive regret, deep love, seemed to permeate the space around us. I felt a touch on my cheek and a breath in my hair. Soon the room was full of these energies, standing room only, pulsating from the walls of the Casa.
I stopped and looked at Robert. He was sitting forward now, rigid and staring at me intently. He is an empath, like I am.
“Feel this?" I asked.
“Yep” he responded.
“But good I think."
“Yes”, he said, “definitely good."
And so I kept reading and crying my way through my book, and at the part when the Poet himself wept as he tried to reach through the veil to touch his mother and family to comfort them, the entire room froze in a kind of melancholic agony. Agony, but also peace and a strong sense of gratitude.
Outside our window, the lights of the Alhambra shone upon all of us, like a benediction.