recently went to Indianapolis to give a talk at Butler University
being a creative writer. Before my presentation, I had a tele-
phone interview with a reporter from the Indianapolis Star, Diana
Penner. She opened with a question about how I felt now that I am
a visiting professor at the University of Maryland, College Park,
and Oliver North has a radio program in Virginia. We were both
on opposite sides of the same history, and now we were neighbors.
She told me: ‘‘You, who lost the presidential elections in 1996, and
North, who failed as a senatorial candidate in 1994.’’
She laughed as she asked me the question, and I responded in
the same manner. Life, I told her, is like a stage. The actors enter
and exit, sometimes wearing different costumes. And in politics,
the audience assigns the roles. They did not give one to me in the
last election, and I hope it stays that way forever.
She also asked me if, at this point, I believed that the revolution
had been worthwhile, and I responded with my reflection at the
beginning of this book: I am troubled by the very idea that I could
have been born a bit sooner or a bit later so that I would have
missed it because it continues giving me satisfaction despite all the
I remember one afternoon in 1998 when I had a book signing
for my novel Margarita, How Beautiful the Sea. It was at the Cál-
amo Bookstore in Zaragoza, part of a promotional tour through-
out Spain. As my fellow authors know, those formalities are always
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