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My Bovine Tissue Wouldn’t Write

Friends, when I was forced to exchange one of my heart valves for one made from cow tissue, about a year ago now, I figured the recovery would be long and difficult; it was.

But I had hopes that since I would probably be slowed down for a while, I would take advantage of the down time to catch up on all the pending themes I was preparing to offer in

When, just three months into recovery I wrote and posted Sideways 3; Chile, and then a month later From El Rio Calle Calle to Lago Pirihueco, I felt I would surely be pumping out interesting postings on this blog, especially since our annual three month escape to Chile was imminent and being in Chile has always, up to now, released my desire to explain and describe this wonderful country that has become my second home (maybe even first, November 8 pending).

Sideways 3; Chile was easy to write. I love the movie, the books, and the theme; wine and Chile. No problem. I had to write From El Rio Calle Calle to Lago Pirihueco, because we had made that rushed but fantastic trip into the Valdivian region of southern Chile with very good Chilean friends, Luisa and Lionel Bascur, almost a year prior and, since we were returning to visit Chile soon, I was bothered by the unkept promise I had made to write about that trip. Forced by a guilty conscience, it happened.

But our last visit to Chile came and went, and even though we spent several days travelling through southern Chile with Lee and John (Peace Corps buddies of mine), I just could not seem to focus on my writing for Daveschile. Frustrated by this writer’s block, I gave in to the idea that maybe I just wasn’t going to be able, or inclined, to write again. I did a lot more reading than before, but I was repeatedly reminded of the piles of clippings and notes , organized by themes like wine, agriculture, politics, economy, tourism, on the floor surrounding my unused desk just waiting to be sifted and melded into a Daveschile posting.

Most of those piles of information, opinion, data, and ideas followed us home to the US, and now agonizes around my desk at our home in Leesburg, Virginia. I continue to struggle to get this laptop humming again; I think through all sorts of postings as I take my morning walk, but nothing has happened, until today.  A breakthrough. I am updating my laptop, and will attempt to send this posting out today, with very little editing and “fixing up”, just to get it out. Maybe writing is like getting ketchup out of the jar. We shall see.

If this posting does, and I hope it does, end up being the first of many, I think I know why. There is a wonderfully descriptive Chilean saying made famous by Folklorist Tito Fernandez: Esa es la madre del cordero“. (closest non-religious translation would be “That’s the mother of the lamb.”) It is most appropriately used when you believe you have found the root cause of a problem, or the basis of some sticky dilemma.

From the day I received my bovine tissue valve, my loving wife, my Iranian cardiologist, and of course medical science and prudence, have together ganged up on me and applied a very strick alcohol-free regimen, ostensibly due to a couple of drugs I was taking. Those of you who also write, or at least try to, know that different stimulants (coffee, weed, and alcohol) can, if used carefully, open up, broaden, even deepen ones creative thinking.

Recently, I have been freed of those wonderfully curative drugs, so am able to discreetly imbibe once more, and am doing so with great pleasure. If this leads to a new life for, then I believe we have discovered why: my bovine tissue valve has, from the start, been greatly inhibited by this limitation, but now is becoming more creative with an increased albeit measured relationship with the grape. And that’s La madre del cordero!

Be back to you soon. Salud!


Posted on September 1, 2016, in Leesburg, Virginia.

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David Joslyn
David Joslyn, after a 45-year career in international development with USAID, Peace Corps, The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation on Agriculture (IICA), The Chicago Council on Global Affairs, and private sector consulting firms, divides his time between his homes in Virginia and Chile. Since 2010, David has been writing about Chile and Chileans, often based upon his experience with the Peace Corps in Chile and his many travels throughout the country with family and friends.
David Joslyn

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12 thoughts on “My Bovine Tissue Wouldn’t Write”

  1. Avatar
    Doug Pool says:

    Dave: Call it what you want, but the bottom line is that you’ve found a fix to unleash your writing. Keep up the good work. I love this blog.

    Un fuerte abrazo,


  2. Avatar
    James Schlotfeldt says:

    Good to know that you have taken that “first step” back to writing.

    “Adversity is the stone on which I sharpen my blade.”

    Jim Schlotfeldt

  3. Avatar
    Carmen says:

    I am happy you are writing again!

  4. Avatar
    Blanca says:

    Your postings are always a great read, Dave. We look forward to your next one.

  5. Avatar
    Dawson says:

    Been thinking about you. Glad you got through your procedure OK and are back on top of the barrel so to speak. No wonder you had trouble writing. Miss your blogs. Keep up the good work.
    My regards to Xemina.

  6. Avatar
    David Mather says:

    Hi Dave,

    As a friend of mine crudely said to me once, ‘I smell what you’re stepping in.’ Am glad that you’re writing again. I also can relate to all your comments, especially the grape. I, too, take those morning walks which are great for generating ideas. However, by the time I return to the house, they have mostly evaporated. I have started walking with pen and mini notebook…

    Just entertained Ron and Nada (I kept the sheep hidden), then the next day Brad and Sue who are biking from northern N.H., (via a bike trail beginning in Albany along the Erie Canal) to Buffalo, N.Y. Talk about hard core, especially considering that they have their ailments, too.

    The next 12 hours will be interesting for Lindy and me as Hurricane Hermine will slam our Florida home pretty much dead on. Expecting a 6′ tidal surge. Never a dull moment…..

    Heard a great line from a country western song the other day: “You look like I need a drink.”
    I look forward to your upcoming blogs…abrazos, D.

  7. Avatar
    Melica Heuser says:

    Makes total sense! I’m so glad you’ve figured this all out. Who knows all of the ways your “cow heart part” could change you. You might find your better at skydiving. Who knows?!?! Oh the mysteries of modern medicine!

    1. Dave
      Dave says:

      Mostly, I “eet mor chiken”.

      1. David Joslyn
        David Joslyn says:


  8. Avatar
    Carl Gallegos says:

    Gustazo de verte en la silla de nuevo, viejo! Look forward to reading more of your missives regarding Chile lindo. Un abrazo fuerte.

  9. Avatar
    Ned Strong says:

    Dave, We missed your blog and glad it’s back again. Too bad about the Yankees this year, but very glad about the Copa.

    1. David Joslyn
      David Joslyn says:

      Ned, between today and tomorrow, the “copa” that you should be focusing on is the copa de vino tinto Chileno, to wash down a legitimate empanada de pino. Feliz 18 de Septiembre. Un abrazo, Dave

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