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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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