Photo: Malcom (LFR’s son)
I owe this interview to Armando Añel, who conceived it as a photograph, like a portrait drawn from the words that I say. It’s like returning to the times of the African Griots [West African historians, storytellers, singers, poets and/or musicians], when only the actions and words of those who spoke from the heart flowed from them.
Definitions 2012: Luis Felipe Rojas
NEO CLUB PRESS: The definition is, in itself, a portrait of the person doing the defining. In its primordial essence, it reveals the personality of the one who issues it with an almost photographic fidelity. So in this new series of interviews that we propose to our readers, we will try to define our interviewees — all of them creators or animators of culture living in Miami, the city that grows, diversifies, with ever more bifurcations culturally speaking — through their definitions.
On this occasion Luis Felipe Rojas, writer, blogger and dissident Cuban newcomer to Miami, kindly responds.
NCP. Define for me please, what Miami is for you.
LFR. Is the yard where my kids play freely. It’s where I read poetry in public and walk without looking over my shoulder for the shadows that haunted me just two months ago. Miami is the Universal Bookstore where I no longer have to look at a copy of the paper from a distance, without touching it, touching the books and magazines. Miami is a sidewalk cafe, standing, and seeing Cuba walk by going to work every day. I may sound a bit nostalgic or rose-colored, but my life, as you may have noticed, is closely linked to these sensations.
LFR. What, that predestined for me? Where the gods guided me or where I was putting it together piece by piece, blow by blow, behind every kiss, every handshake? I couldn’t sum up life in a long career but rather in segments broken up by hate and love, by bravery and fear of getting up everyday and doing something for me and mine. I am a peasant anchored in two or three hobbies that make up my routine: looking, listening and hoping; I think hoping has been one of my most effective resources, because I believe there is a third will that we always have something prepared.
LFR. Pfffff! I do not believe in that concept, I believe in the alignments of the times, in which everything is subject to a blow at the precipice. From an unknown place ’someone’ pushed a book of Borges and we discover ourselves. ’Something’ made a being like Tarantino slink between that happening you spoke of earlier. In this universal chaos, these stones of history will always surprise you. Anyone who works thinking about transcendence is fried … literally.
LFR. A diabolical tool to get into the lives of others. To make things bad for their own sake.
NCP. That which never says no.
LFR. A friendship, whatever its source. Many will claim this is to be gullible, I assume that weight. Love, substantial or childish, I like to love and that has taken me more than once to the pillory, but I don’t have any remedy but to accept that I am bound to love and to my friends.
NCP. A scandal
LFR. When I wrote my first newspaper articles under my own name. When I got arrested by the police the first time in my house. When I said No publicly and others were saying Yes hanging their heads. When my daughter Brenda was born and everyone said contradictorily that she was cute… And she looked it to me, ha ha ha!
NCP. A trap
LFR. To believe I could change the world putting together a literary magazine in the early years of my youth. Surrendering myself completely to a woman who crumpled up my work and threw it in the sea and crossed the ocean.
NCP. A dog
LFR. Sulti, the first. Marshmallow, who accompanied my sleepless nights waiting for the worst to come and he was still there, faithful.
NCP. A cultural jinetero [hustler].
LFR. A mediocre person who can’t be creative or a promoter of anything, an abject being who neither does nor stops doing.
NCP. The year 2012
LFR. The year of the rabbit, not in the Chinese calendar, but by the pole jump that got me and my family from a remote village on the maps of God, like St. Germain, to this crazy Miami and space for everyone.
December 19 2012