Musings & Thoughts for Monday, November 23, 2020, or: Dead End for NaNoWriMo & Unsettling News from Miami

Photo by the author

Hello, Dear Reader. It’s late afternoon here in New Hometown, Florida on Monday, November 23, 2020. Currently, the temperature is 76˚F (24˚C) under sunny skies. With humidity at 55% and the wind blowing from the north-northeast at 9 MPH (15 KM/H), the heat index is 76 ˚F (24˚C). The forecast for tonight calls for clear skies and a low of 59˚F (15˚C).

I don’t have much in the way of news. I’m still – regrettably – single and not happy about that, and I haven’t made any progress on The Tonic of Our Victory for NaNoWriMo 2020, either. I thought that having a project to work on would give my mind something…if not exactly fun…creative to focus on, I would be distracted and wouldn’t feel so…so…disillusioned about relationships, people, and life in general.

And, let’s face it, November 2020 was not an auspicious time for me to take on a write-50K-words-in-30-days challenge. When I convinced myself to sign up for this year’s NaNoWriMo contest in November of last year, we didn’t have a Presidential election, a global pandemic caused by a novel coronavirus, and I had a happier home life than I do now. Plus I was also busy with the script for what eventually became Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss, which is my favorite of the four film projects I’ve been involved in over the past 18 months.

So even though I started NaNoWriMo with the best of intentions, all of the negative energies from the breakup, having to live with a Trump-supporting caregiver, the effects of not going anywhere fun since March,[1] having to get used to sleeping on a futon in my once comfy study, and the never-ending political shenanigans of one Donald John Trump, President of the United States and Con-Man-in-Chief became a hurricane of stress and angst so powerful that even my desire to write a novel couldn’t withstand it.

So with only a week to go before the NaNoWriMo challenge ends, I have decided to not push myself to try to write 43,000 words in such a short period of time and just write as much as I can without stressing over it or punishing myself for not trying harder to work on The Tonic of Their Victory with more determination and enthusiasm. I will continue working on the manuscript, but I’m not going to do what I used to do sometimes when I was in college and write the bulk of a World War II-set action-adventure story in a couple of marathon writing sessions over the next six days.

In Other News

Juan Manuel Pereira via Facebook

Last week I was notified that my half-sister’s cousin – on her father’s side – Juan Manuel Pereira died in late October, shortly before Halloween. He was the only one of Vicky’s paternal cousins who still deigned to contact me via email to see how I was doing – mostly, I hope, because he still cared about me on a certain level, but I also suspect that he might have been passing bits of info to my half-sister, from whom I have been estranged since Mom died a little over five years ago.

It was through Juan Manuel (or, as I sometimes called him, JM) that I found out that Vicky had fallen and  broken her hip twice (which, of course, meant that she went through the same operation twice within a short period of time) and that he and his two Miami-bound brothers (Andres and Mauricio) were her main caregivers. I can’t say that I was heartbroken when I got the news about Vicky’s health issues; I am where I am now mostly because she wasn’t going to help me keep my former home and had already started making my life a living hell before I moved out to New Hometown in 2016. I wasn’t overjoyed, either – but I do think that karma bit Vicky in the behind after all the negativity and mental suffering she put both our mom and me through since we moved back to Miami from Bogota in 1972.

I’m not sure how I feel about JM’s passing, though. He was smart, elegant, and was often kind to both my mother and me. On the other hand, he did nothing to curb my half-sister’s underhanded scheme to wrest control of my half of our mother’s estate and was one of the three individuals – his brother Mauricio was another, and Vicky was the third – who knows the whereabouts of three family photos that Vicky was supposed to have made copies of so we could both have a set.  A few years ago, in one of our infrequent email exchanges, he claimed that Vicky told him that the person she gave the original photos to lost them.

I know Vicky well, and one of her least admirable traits is her penchant for lying about everything. (She is like Donald Trump in that respect!) There is no way that Vicky would have willingly handed over three irreplaceable family photos in the hands of a shady person, and since my mom was not a famous celebrity, there would have been no incentive for this non-existent thief to, well, steal them. Vicky is an extremely selfish and vindictive person, and because two of the three photos were of my father and our mom together in Paris, she knew they were valuable to me.

I think that, at the very least, JM should have asked Vicky to tell him the truth about the photos and convince her to keep her end of the bargain and have copies made so we could both enjoy the pictures. That he did not speaks volumes, although I can’t be sure if he knew that Vicky was lying or if Vicky had lied to him and he believed her tale of the purloined photos.

Well, I don’t have anything else to report today, so I will close for now. So until next time, Dear Reader, stay safe, stay healthy, and I’ll catch you on the sunny side of things!   


[1] Except for one meal at a nearby Cracker Barrel in October.

Published by Alex Diaz-Granados

Alex Diaz-Granados (1963- ) began writing movie reviews as a staff writer and Entertainment Editor for his high school newspaper in the early 1980s and was the Diversions editor for Miami-Dade Community College, South Campus' student newspaper for one semester. Using his experiences in those publications, Alex has been raving and ranting about the movies online since 2003 at various web sites, including Amazon, Ciao and Epinions. In addition to writing reviews, Alex has written or co-written three films ("A Simple Ad," "Clown 345," and "Ronnie and the Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss") for actor-director Juan Carlos Hernandez. You can find his reviews and essays on his blogs, A Certain Point of View and A Certain Point of View, Too.

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