THE IMPERFECT SHOW NOTES
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Jaime Manrique 00:00
He had a loft on 25th Street and Seventh Avenue and pretty big loft and so he like coordinate of the loft team had a desk there and a chair and whatever and that’s what he does for newbies sit down every day and write. And that’s how you become a writer
Achim Nowak 00:22
Hey, this is Achim Nowak, executive coach and host of the MY FOURTH ACT podcast. If life is a five act play, how will you spend your FOURTH ACT? I have conversations with exceptional humans who have created bold and unexpected fourth acts, listen, and to be inspired. And please rate us and subscribe on whatever platform you are listening on. Let’s get started. I am so delighted to welcome Jaime Mandraki to the MY FOURTH ACT podcast. Jaime is a Colombian born novelist, poet, essayist, and translator who writes in both English and Spanish. Jaime’s work has been translated into 15 languages. Among his publications in English, other novels Latin moon and Manhattan, Twilight at the equator, our lives at the rivers and Surbana Street. Jaime has also published a delicious memoir called eminent by CONUS arenas LOGCAP we can meet Jaime has been hailed as the most accomplished gay Latino writer of his generation. His honors include Colombia’s National Poetry award, the 2007, International Latino Book Award, a Guggenheim Fellowship, fellowship, and the publishing triangles, Bill Whitehead Award for Lifetime Achievement. He’s a distinguished language lecturer in the Department of modern and classical languages and literature’s at the City College of New York. And I’m just scratching the surface all of this to say you’re an incredibly wonderful writer, ridiculously accomplished. And I’m so happy we get to speak. Hi, Amy, welcome.
Jaime Manrique 02:14
Thank you. Thank you. It’s wonderful to see you again. It’s really one.
Achim Nowak 02:18
Yes. So just acknowledge, you know, we lived for a while in the same neighborhood in Manhattan in the West Village, and we crossed paths. And we occasionally hung out, which I’m really grateful. Now, I just read this introduction. You just recently turned 73 years old. Also, what’s it like to listen to somebody like me read all of these accomplishments? Well,
Jaime Manrique 02:45
nearly facts. I mean, I’ve done those things. I am some of those things. I mean, some things I’m like, I remember when I did, the Washington Post had that article saying that there was the most accomplished leader of my generation, I thought it was funny, because I saw how many Latino writers that in my generation, whenever to, so to make the most of such a big deal, that now now they have more. So I don’t know, if I’m still the most accomplished writer of my generation. Right now.
Achim Nowak 03:16
There are other generations that follow you now, right? I’m really curious, because you grew up in Colombia, you came as, as I understand, as a teenager to to Florida, with your mom, when you are a young boy or teenager? What was your sense of what you wanted to do or be when you grow up?
Jaime Manrique 03:37
When I was a boy, I wanted to be a veterinarian, because I loved animals. So I saw a lot of be happy, you know, like, working with animals and that kind of stuff. Then a little later, I think a few years later, like when I was 12, or 13, one of my teachers in school, sort of simple, Jaime, you would like you would be a good writer or something. You know, he took an interest in me and, and then I thought I should you might become a writer someday. And then I thought I wanted to be a writer, but I didn’t know really what he meant. I mean, I read a lot that, you know, been a journalist who’s been a writer, which it is, but it’s not that I wanted to do. I wanted to write stories and poems and not articles, you know. So that’s what I wanted to be when I was when I was a boy. Yeah.
Achim Nowak 04:27
What strikes me as you’re talking is, because you’re also a teacher now at the university level. The power of a teacher’s saying something like that, which can inspire ideas and can be hopeful and can get the mind going, right. I mean, that’s the beauty of a teacher saying something like that to you, isn’t it?
Jaime Manrique 04:51
Um, yes, yes. The encouragement that young people get is when taken seriously as young people are It makes a difference, a big difference. And that’s why I try to take very seriously my students and their struggles and what they’re trying to do when they do, right. And this I know that for me, I’m, you know, like, Darn it all like that sense that they’re beginning. And so encouragement, I think even might be really truly valuable for them. And I’m going to keep going and growing. That’s probably the most wonderful part about teaching.
Achim Nowak 05:28
Because of my podcast, we play with a metaphor different X Men life is not tidally separated into x at all often overlaps. But when I first met you in Manhattan, I also met Bill Sullivan, who was your longtime partner, and you had been together as I understand it for over three decades. Even though I know you I did some research for this conversation. And what what made me chuckle, which I didn’t know it said, you both met in Julius’s, which is famous old gay bar in Manhattan, was the fourth of July, the Fourth of July. Wow. How beautiful is that? What do you remember of your first meeting with Bill Solomon?
Jaime Manrique 06:16
I was reading a book of essays by Santa Jana. That was my way of, you know, that tracking electoral boyfriend said that reading enables the AEC approach instead, I’ve never seen anybody reading a book in it in a bar. And I said, Well, that’s what I do here. You know, when we started chatting them, it was a good way to catch the attention of like intelligent boyfriends, you know, they would approach what are you really you know, and usually didn’t matter what I was reading was just trying to make Floyd look intellectual.
Achim Nowak 06:49
I remember being in Fire Island in the pines and, and walking down the beach. And the fellow was passing me walking on the beach reading Shakespeare now that this is not the place to reach experience. But we we struck up a conversation and we had a lovely summer affair and experience sparked it. What interests me as a fellow gay man, you had a long relationship with Bill, because relationships go through stages and then evolve when they change? Yeah, if you want to talk about maybe your the depth of your connection with Bill but also how the relationship changed over time?
Jaime Manrique 07:38
Well, I would think is probably the defining relationship in my life with a man because we were together for so long, although the last 10 years of his life, we didn’t live together all the time, when I moved down to the village, he stayed in Midtown, and then he moved to Hudson, but I wouldn’t go to Hudson every summer, spend the summers there. And often, I went for a weekend to Clemson so so and the last year of his life, I live with him because I knew he was ill. And he said, Why don’t you come here and stay here? Because, you know, we don’t know what’s going to happen. So maybe we want to stay spend some time together. And I always say that, you know, love is what remains? What the end that’s love, you know, however you stay together, why you stay together. And the rest is just not a conversation really, you know, but it was, it was it was difficult, in many ways, extremely difficult. Because he was a difficult person, I’m told that I am too. So I believe it. Still, to temperaments clashing, often, but he taught me a lot in the middle seven years older than me. And he knew tons of things that he didn’t know, you know, he had had an Ivy League education. You know, I studied at a public university in Florida. And he had been in the front and Tommy was little that he had really made, you know, famous painters and people in the arts with us, you know, that game for me later. So it was much more sophisticated than I was, in the beginning was like learning about things that I didn’t want to learn about New York, you know, how do you become an artist in New York? What does an artist do to survive in New York, and he took it very seriously when we started living together. You know, he had a loft on 25th Street and Seventh Avenue. And it was pretty big loft. And so he like coordinate of the law team, had a desk there and a chair and whatever. And that’s sort of you, that’s where you can sit down every day and write and that’s how you become a writer. And I thought, How wonderful, you know, like, like, I had this coordinate where I had a desk and my own desk and I mean, I lived to have that my blood cells to the beach was like New York. You know, the big thing. We’re surrounded by artists, that to do it like more systematically writing what to say Good. Whenever they go, they’re not. He told me I think that you have discipline with discipline. Yeah, how wonderful
Achim Nowak 10:07
to have a partner who celebrates the artist in you and supports you. And that’s just a beautiful story. Yes, that’s
Jaime Manrique 10:16
a beautiful story, you will slay that till the very end when he like, published in this country, two books of poems, and both are published by Bill, you know, because I had pointed things that are pleasing, you know, like, why not publish a book, you know, like, whatever I said, Oh, you know, I don’t know, you know, a lot of work to put these two forms together, to finally sort of like, you know, like, maybe get, give him a bunch of points. And then he had started just displays, a painter lift press. Yeah. I think there was a second book, you publish my book of poems. And then he later he published another one. So the two books of poems that poetry have published in this country, he published them. Because he really believed in me, I support
Achim Nowak 10:58
painterly press, which is one of the main things I admire about Bill is published some really beautiful work. Yeah, amazing queer writers, the fact that Bill who was essentially a visual artist, and created a platform for writers, it’s just,
Jaime Manrique 11:14
yeah, you love poetry. It really did love poetry and so loved, loved being around poets. And so when his father died, you know, inherited the house and whatever. So then he sold everything. And you decided, I’m going to start the press, publish poetry, of course, in a few years, he was totally broke. So, but he was very happy, you know, like some of those books, won awards and stuff like that. And
Achim Nowak 11:44
you mentioned being in his circle as a younger man and a writer who was celebrated by his partner and in meeting other famous people. And one little tidbit that I love about you and love you to talk about is you. You met a really well known film critic Pauline Kael. I think of you as having the gift of friendship. So you became friends with Pauline Dale. And you’ve written about her that relationship what’s and she was just a really a fixture in Manhattan. What was it like for you to be friends with this woman who was a celebrated film critic.
Jaime Manrique 12:26
It was one of the main chapters of my life. And I met Pauline before I met Bill, and we remain in touch, I would call him when I was in New York. He says, oh, yeah, remember you you have that afro. And you know, you were wearing that red shirt and, and stuff like that. And the first day that I was in New York, the second day, I called the New Yorker. And I said, May I speak with Pauline Kael? And then I said, Oh, may I say, is calling and says, I’m we’re friends, and then the person at the reception? Oh, you must be that the French director, who was here the other day said, that one, called him. And so I started talking, and she remembered me from the letters that we had exchanged. And then she said, What made me a little drunk when I have no idea what that was, I had procurement domain, but I wasn’t really sure that, you know, something, but there was a particular the Indian steel company Indians, but I found out what it was, and I went there. And but they wouldn’t let me because I was not wearing a jacket. The point you had to wear a jacket and a tie. And you know, that was wearing sneakers, or whatever, you know, and I have to wait for polling. And then when she when she arrived, I’ll bring him a jacket. And so they brought the objective mute, and I put the jacket on, we can go in. And so you know, I think she I think she was amused by me many ways. You know, and I adore that. I looked at work so much. And she loved young people, you know, she loves to young people. She didn’t like being around bold people. You know?
Achim Nowak 13:57
Well, well, somebody else who adores you. And it just mentioned this because this is a woman who first told me about you is a brilliant writer Jessica Hargadon. Oh yeah. And I had taken a writing workshop with her in the early 90s in Manhattan. And she said, Oh, there’s this wider and a tiny man weekend, he published this novel Latin moon in Manhattan, and I think you would really like it. And of course, I adored that book, just because
Jaime Manrique 14:25
my really good friend I mean, she’s just a neighbor. And we see each other often a new friendship now many, many years. Yeah, yeah.
Achim Nowak 14:36
But that because that novel had a gay protagonist. I’m sure the assumption was that this is semi autobiographical, and it’s Jaime novel form. And you wrote a wonderful novel called Twilight at the equator and then you wrote this delicious short memoir, called the blurry corners where you place yourself in the orbit it with some other really famous gay Latino writers Manuel Queeg. For listeners who don’t know him, he wrote kiss of the Spider Woman Ronaldo aren arenas who was even born Xcelerator for nightfalls is his best known book in the United States. Federico Garcia Lorca. Obviously, I have a different generation, you probably know this. And me and you exactly. You were joking the other day when we spoke, he said, Oh, yeah, that was my second act was the gay Latino writer and I think a lot of your identity or how people wrote about you was that because you wrote about it? They were friends with some of these writers that are crystal are great writers, but iconic and beloved. So they’re waiting.
Jaime Manrique 15:47
No more Kathy died long before I do
Achim Nowak 15:49
work at it. Yes. We know you’re 73 Now we communicate with Mark I telepathically understood. But Manuel tweak who you also became friends with in my mind similarly to Pauline Caitlin away, right. He was an older established writer. Yeah. Getting to you and what stands out for you about Manuel tween.
Jaime Manrique 16:22
Well, my global study democratic and he was invited to teach at Columbia University in the MFA program. And he said, Well, I will teach but I don’t, you know, I, I will choose the students. And they write to me and show me what they’re reading. And I’ll say whether they can study with me or not. And they don’t have to enroll in the university or when any bureaucracy I just saw, I’d read that I was Macondo bookstore and I saw that there was this thing saying Monroe pick up a workshop, do anybody with rice in the city, and what was the food with him? Say to him the the chapter of the first novel I had written, and then he yelled, the next day he called me he said, Oh, yeah, electroplating because if you write under the from your epidemics, and so I thought, oh, what’s next thing to say? You know, I had the Neurocore to me. I was briefly in the workshop. And that’s how we became friends.
Achim Nowak 17:17
Now Renaldo, RNs was my night and 1990. So he died young. It was the time of AIDS. He became was celebrated on this post humorously before nightfalls came on afterwards. How did you come across Ronaldo arenas.
Jaime Manrique 17:35
We have the same agent, Thomas Cole chi. And you have heard about renowned, of course, because he was famous in Latin America, math, he was well known. And I said, and especially should listen. And, and so my agent offered to introduce me to him. I said, Sure, I’d love to meet him. And he lived around the corner from where I live with Bill on 43rd street and we live on 43rd Street and Eighth Avenue. I remember living on the coordinate room for a fourth and also the coordinate of days. So your neighbors and you know, this, like began a friendship of Ruby onto the diet, I guess. Something like 10 years.
Achim Nowak 18:15
When I hear the word friendship and putting myself in New York state of mind, does that mean you went out together and partied you went to Reno and what did you do as friends together
Jaime Manrique 18:25
the one time that we did have a party was when Cuban brave so they also do is the Orca with his lover, Francoise bow, I think it was the publisher of sale additions in comparison, and they will work with him. And then we will go to a bar in most hospitals bottom 42nd street called the bay market and 14/44 Street. And so that time we I think we went there and you know, we’re like having a good time and drinking and you know, looking at the boys whatever. We did put it that way but but mostly let the lay down was listen differently was a metal, I ran into him at the post office in the in the supermarket with at the pier on 42nd street and you know, the river. And when he Polish used to bonus newspapers and magazines all the time, which usually lasted like one issue and then they would go on there because he didn’t have any money. But he always asked me for something. So I would give him a ball and watch something and polish them. And I remember review the the first book of his that came out during that time to say long epic porn. They loved the book. And so I guess that’s sort of cemented the relationship, the friendship, you know, you know, so I used to run into him at the the porn theaters and 42nd street and stuff like that. And you know, and at the end, you know, my agent for me when they said no, I think the ring now is dying. And you know, I think you’d like to see you and would you like to come in and said yes, what’s never been seen. So when does him. A few days later, he killed himself. And so as
Achim Nowak 20:04
you’re speaking, and I lived in New York at the time, I’m and I remember being in Bill Sullivan’s apartment on, but when you talk about 41st and 42nd and 44th You know, that was a very different world 30
Jaime Manrique 20:21
Achim Nowak 20:23
elite mansion that today,
Jaime Manrique 20:25
what do you get told me? You have to be insane to live here?
Achim Nowak 20:31
Yeah, but it was inexpensive to live there wasn’t it?
Jaime Manrique 20:34
Immovable humans, we never paid rent and we’d always hidden behind the brim. The owner of this is Donald, God bless your soul. Okay, well.
Achim Nowak 20:46
I love the Bohemians excuse I know, before I moved to New York, a, I would always wait until I got the eviction notice before I paid around. And when I would, after a year, I would always find another apartment and not pay the last few months around. And I’m proud of that. But that was that was my modus operandi
Jaime Manrique 21:05
that most of the artists I knew back then most of them were poor, you know, like we were they lived in the in the Lower East Side, and you know, and then even buildings, you know, that have been, you know, invaded by settlers or something. It’s not like now that you in order to live in New York, you have to have make money. In other words, the days of wikimedians, that those days are over a long time ago.
Achim Nowak 21:33
A word from your sponsor, that’s me. I invite you to go to the website associated with this podcast www.my, fourth active.com, you will find other equally inspiring conversation with great humans. And you will also learn more about the my fourth act mastermind groups where cool people figure out how to chart their own fourth acts. Please check it out. And now back to the conversation. One thing I’m curious about, you’ve written this beautiful, sweeping historical novels, what prompted you to want to write those?
Jaime Manrique 22:17
Well, I have written like, I think three or four books, in which you know, they were semi autobiographical. And I scrubbed them in the first person in the eye, and then they get tired of that. And I thought, I’m tired of my life. I’m sick of my life. And I know you’re desperate. They wrote a book about Manuela science’s heroine of Colombian independence. But I admire her a lot. And actually, when Bill first read about her, in the beginning of relationships, Amy read this book, and I think maybe someday you’d like to write about it. And I’ve read the biography that he wanted me to read. And since then, there have been, you know, like, three years went by, no, I got more obsessed with Manuela. And finally, I decided to, to go where she had lived and died, I think was turning 50 that year. And I called bill and said, Bill, I’m going I’m leaving tomorrow for Peru, because I want to go to the town where Manuela died. And he said, to me, that’s so wonderful, because most people are your age, that given up on the dreams, and you’re still dreaming very, very hard. And so I went and, you know, so I drove that.
Achim Nowak 23:24
What a beautiful thing. Bill to say, and
Jaime Manrique 23:29
the beautiful and sad, you know, like, Oh, my God, I’m 50 but I’m having you up, I want to read this thing. And so that’s that was the beginning of and then I dropped the one about Cervantes. But by then, you know, I really enjoy the process of writing a book about real people because real novels about real people, and I love doing research and traveling to the places where they live and Bureau spray he would do a lot of the research for me he was an avid reader. So he would go to the library and read everything on Manuela bring me all these books. Listen, read these and bring these and print this and the CD actually did that with with Manuela with sort of answers to a lesser extent but did you know for me always
Achim Nowak 24:17
the beautiful thing I would imagine is that at some point the research stops in you make up all sorts of other stuff in a beautiful kind of way your imagination gets her on wild again, right?
Jaime Manrique 24:32
Yeah, he was he was good he liberated me from from myself from you know like being obsessed with myself and writing about me all the time and and it was painful on my own all my friends die but we’ll die in on all Manuel died of AIDS tomorrow with better ways to and so you know, just was really painful. And I’d be limited by the corners and other things and and I just wanted to escaping into the past. someplace far away from my life that moment, which was unbearably sad.
Achim Nowak 25:06
It makes so much sense to me. In Twilight at the equator, you’re right about a sister committing suicide. And I have a brother who committed suicide. And I’m assuming that’s autobiographical. Is that correct? No, my
Jaime Manrique 25:22
sister in Nashville committed suicide. No.
Achim Nowak 25:25
Interesting. So what prompted you to put that in as a plot twist?
Jaime Manrique 25:29
Well, it’s not so much based on my sister, but my aunt of mine, she was much younger than my mother, and she lived with us. I don’t know, my mother believes it’s a very painful thing my mother used to mistreat her horribly, when, when I was growing up. Mostly think that she was black. She was a half sister of hers. And then later on later in life sort of lost her mind, but she’s still alive with. And now it’s very old. I don’t know, such a tragic story. And I felt so guilty that growing up with her, you know, I didn’t protect her more, because my mother was really, you know, she was great in the sense of standard Schoology, given a place to live and all that stuff, that she really, you know, like treated here soon inferior or something. And it always haunted me.
Achim Nowak 26:22
One of the things that always always intrigues me about your, you’re talking about being like many artists, and certainly at some point, not having a lot of money. But we’ve been teaching for decades and many different institutions. And some of the more famous ones that our listeners when I was you were professor at Columbia, you taught at Rutgers, your distinguished lecturer, lecturer at City University in New York, where you’ve been for a while. And I’d love for you to maybe paint a picture for us. If you think of a moment or two way, go, this is why I love teaching. you’ve alluded to it already a little earlier about what do you love about it or where you go? This is what I like about it. But also, being a teacher in institutions can also have its challenges, right? So what is what are moments when might become frustrating for you?
Jaime Manrique 27:15
Well, well, Columbia was an associate professor in the MFA for seven years. And they ended up denying me tenure at Columbia was very difficult being there really, I mean, that would be the faculty in which like, Snake Pit, you know, like, I will say that it’s a den of King cobras, you know, because everybody was so poisonous, because also this huge egos and whatever, I don’t know, was the first lap in Latino able to teach in the MFA in writing. So they, you know, they had never had a manual, but he was not, it was not the full time or anything he just needs to teach now. And then whenever he was in the city, that was the first full time professor, Latino professor in that department. And it was a lot to absorb the rewarding thing. Finally, the students, the students really liked me and I got to work with some students later to have become very well known. And, but not even earlier, we started with teaching at the St. Mark’s Church, very broad, you know, like taught translation and poetry was something. And from that time, I still have former students who now have become professional translators of brighter something. And we’re still close, we still see each other, we’re still friends. So over the years, all the places that have gone through, have always made, you know, students who became sort of part of my family, you know, and it’s like, you know, and so like, there are a lot of them now, you know, like, I always see from before I publish a book, but I’m writing a book, I don’t know, it’s very legible. And they all say, Oh, you were such a wonderful writer, teacher used to say this, and that, and the other. I don’t remember seeing anything like that. But. And then, as I said, I took them seriously, you know, I mean, I realized that they to them that this meant everything, you know, they were desperate to become writers, and they were paying a lot of money, especially at Columbia to be there. And they didn’t know what was going to happen once they, so they were desperate to write and publish. And it was like, extremely, you know, almost like a matter of life and death to them. And so, you know, I poured myself into it. And it was it was interesting to see how I could take good help. I don’t know some talent I had that. You didn’t know that I have Yeah.
Achim Nowak 29:33
I just love what you end that that phrases. It was a talent I knew I didn’t have and you clearly have it and the fact that students felt nurtured by you as powerful. i When you talked about the Columbia experience. I want to just test something with you. Because Jessica Hargadon was an early teacher of mine in the 90s. And she was very much I would say in the Jaime Manrique event. She was nurturing. She was generous. She celebrated the best in you and helped you be better. I also studied a year later with a really famous queer waiter, I won’t mention him. And in the class, I was in a class with him with other really famous queer waiters. And it was one exercise on what I call star fucking ego driven, impressing this person impressing each other, trying to outdo each other. And I know that can be the underbelly of alcoholic artistic insecurity. And so putting yourself in competition with others.
Jaime Manrique 30:35
writers would maniacs that would write because egomaniacs that you would think, would think that whatever we have to say, is important enough to write it down, and maybe other people, but most writers are like, very self involved. They just don’t, you know, they teach they don’t like it or you know, like the dislike, but don’t do it for any other reason. Because writing, even when you teach in a very prestigious university never pays all that will eventually one point you realize a newness because I really enjoy it. But it’s very demanding. It’s very draining takes all from you, you know, when, when I remember going to workshop, he was always so I was terrified. Because I knew that three hours later, when the workshop was over for the day, you know, like I had nothing left I was like, nothing in the tank, I would go home and collapse and still on the ceiling, because they needed so much. And they wanted so much from me. And I have could really think of early
Achim Nowak 31:29
in our conversation just now when you spoke up and Bill Sullivan. You use the phrase, I’m paraphrasing, but in the end, it’s there. It’s just love, there’s love, we were neighbors in the village, we would sometimes plan to get together. But I also would also just run into you, when I would ask you how you’re doing it. And there will be a little sigh. And you would say, Oh, I’m in love. I’ve heard your Free Will you say that? And so I’m in my mind, I think Jaime is in love with being in love. And he loves being in love with people. Would you talk about a little bit? Is it just my perception? Or does that match reality?
Jaime Manrique 32:08
No, it’s true. It’s true. You know, it’s like, you know, it’s like Donkey Kong, falls in love with this country girl that takes care of pigs. And she but she thinks she’s a princess, Princess Bucha Neela Dawson, he makes him in his mind is a princess you know, and, and then he devotes himself his life to better service and to, to this this brave woman who is like really like a girl who, you know, took care of the idea of love, I think is more powerful than dependency, often than the than the last object. Because when we love, you know, we idealize the other person. And I always think, oh, it’s perfect that this and that. And the more I talk about it, the more perfect he becomes, you know, but of course, nobody’s perfect. You know, being in love is very difficult, I found my relationship would be extremely difficult, you know, as I said, but also, you know, and sometimes I was deeply unhappy. But we had this bond that was, you know, I care about him, he cared about me, we care deeply about what we did our best. And I was one point that realize, no matter what happens, I’m always going to be with Bill, you know, I’m not going to abandon him, I’m not going to go off and say goodbye, you know, if you saw it, and I was happy that at the end that when it died, the last minute break before he died, I was terrible, you know, like with him, and he opened his eyes, and he’s so be in. And he knew that I had been dead all the time, you know. And so I was very proud of that type even, you know, despite everything I never, you know, abandoned him because I knew that importance he had in my life, which was more than greater than just romance. He was like a mentor. You know, like, my first fan. You know, like, I was his best friend. He was my best fan too. As I said that earlier, I think that what writers need is like, without grace without encouragement, we die, you know that we need you. We need somebody who’s always there because in the world of arts, the arts, nobody’s is running after you to praise you have to say oh, you’re brave, you’re wonderful, whatever. Is like most people have like, you know, like, colleagues can be very nasty or something that work can be very cutthroat. But you know, but if you have somebody who’s always behind you, this very British thing you can move forward. What a young artist I think
Achim Nowak 34:39
now you’re recently turned 73 You You live in this lovely apartment on a choice block in the West Village of Manhattan for 30 years you you teach at City College, when I look in from the outside I go this is a this is a very sweet and enchanted life, you’re celebrated for work, you don’t have to do anything to prove yourself to anybody. You’re acknowledged for the exquisite writer that you are. If you look to the future, other desires are the things you want to explore you have and how do you think about moving forward and what that looks like for you?
Jaime Manrique 35:24
I don’t know. The other day I interviewed Sandra Cisneros the writer and they said, Well, would you like to do the recurring donation, or I like to do voiceovers, I want to do a movie went to write a piece and went to Auckland. So as I said, don’t you and I said no, no, no, no way. I don’t want to do anything. You know, I think I’ve done you know what I’ve done. Plenty. I don’t have a desire to, to do like, I wanted to write one more book, and then I update I get around to doing it. And I’ll probably find a book, although, there have been saying that for 20 years. And I still mean if I’m still alive. But nowadays, what is it for me to I don’t know, the the idea of companionship is very important to me. And I wasn’t, I mean, I’m still I’m kind of, well, I mean, I wasn’t loving for five, six years, and also recently a new muscle, we’re still incredibly close. And I love him very much, but I’m no longer in love, you know, and he was much younger, and you know, he has his own life and whatever. And it took me it was hard to let balls say, Okay, now you’re in another continent, you have another wife that let go, human would remain, you know, excellent friends. I like companionship, it’s I think it’s the most important thing in a relationship that I would like to probably have. Especially when you grow older, you you need the people around, you know, you need, you know, you cannot, you’re isolated, you stop dying. And I’m sort of used to the idea of like, always having somebody in my life, you know, like, who’s there constantly. It’s like the mirror in which I seem like the witness of my life and not somebody or somebody knows I’m alive. And he talks you know, like, tonight? Probably You’ll find out tomorrow at some.
Achim Nowak 37:10
Thank you for celebrating the power of companionship and and to celebrate it at any age. Well, yes, yes. Because one of the gifts from the left Manhattan, you know, 18 years ago and live in South Florida. And the cliche is that there are lots of old people here. And there are lots of young people here. But there are also lots of old people and people love at every age in Florida. So the notion that at some point, it stops, that’s out the window where I live.
Jaime Manrique 37:42
I think when we stop loving, really dying, you know this moment when we die in so you have to I mean, at least I have to be not this idea of the I don’t know when I’m in love, I’m usually happy. And I think happy people are not destructive people not really sure that putting is probably miserable. That’s why getting paid in countries and killing people. If you were in love, you wouldn’t be doing that, you know. So it’s like Love makes you normal. You know, you’re more reconciled to live life with them more benign. Eyes, and you know, you feel good about loving somebody and being loved. So it’s like, the only thing that really last finally, at the end is love. You know, it could be romantic love or not any kind of love. But it should be sustaining for us.
Achim Nowak 38:34
Based on your journey in life, the many extraordinary things you’ve done and experience listeners of the podcast or folks who may go oh, I’ve always wanted to write something or I always wanted to do this or that. But how we talk ourselves out of it or especially with writing can be well, everything has already been written also why you should write something else. Every great love story already exists or as a teacher and mentor. If their listeners are going I have an inkling to write. But maybe I’m tool to write a book. I only started when he was in his 20s What would you say to them? Well,
Jaime Manrique 39:14
I said nonsense, right? When you’re really in sometimes people start writing when they’re old and other writers who didn’t work when they’re very old or something when they’re very young, but it’s not that there is no time limit. It’s like you never retired from writing, you can prepare from everything, but not from writing because it’s like this is something that the new glide need to do in order to to breathe, you know, like it’s like, otherwise I started choking, you know, because I have all these things near here that I acknowledge that but I don’t know exactly what they are until I write down. Actually the best some of the best students I had. were older students, you know, people in the 40s 50s and 60s, because they were number three with all the nonsense of being Yoga, you know, whatever. And then they, you know, like so they Okay, I’m going to write and then they brought different books and and they did it because just they wanted to do it you know this like they have been waiting for a long time to do it and so they did them
Achim Nowak 40:15
and every conversation by ask my guests to, to possibly send our listeners to places where they can learn more about them. In your case, your what you’ve written is very public you know you can you can go to many bookstores and your books are actually there, you can certainly get them on Amazon, and other bookstores. If anybody is listening to the go, oh, I want to learn more about Jaime Minh weekend and what he does, is there any other place where you would like to send them to discover more about you?
Jaime Manrique 40:47
It depends what they want to discover, you know, I guess people we, you know, when I was young, and you know, there were writers say admired and adored, and they wanted to know everything about them. And that’s true. I’m not that famous that people you know, went, but I didn’t I have friends, people who come here and for many countries to write to me and whatever, and write beautiful letters. And if you want to, you don’t need to know me to learn more about me, you know, slipping about maybe the things that you need to know about how can you be a better person in the world? How can you be more loving? How can you be kinder? How can you be more serious because it’s important to be serious in life, although I’m always joking, but you know, like, take life seriously. And the world in which we live, you know, I you know, it’s impossible not to suffer. And when I see like, more or less incredible in justices, I’m glad that I did they affect me because, you know, that also is another sign that you know that I’m not jaded right. Now that I’m you know, that that is still a lot. Life is a mystery as Lorca said, and I think it’s a nice life is extremely mysterious. Like, I don’t really know know what’s going to happen next, maybe when I’m, you know, much older or whatever else, they Okay, tomorrow, it’s gonna be certainly like today, you know, come in a coma or something. But otherwise, you know, there is always a possibility of anything, you know, like, watching a wonderful movie, oh, my God, a beautiful, or listen to some music that is really touches you and have you read some book that you know, it’s like, whatever, but you meet a person. The other day, I was walking out of the movie theater, and walked out of out of Elvis is the worst movie I’ve ever seen in my life. I couldn’t stand. So I walked out. And it was across the street, there was a man with a sign like this in Iraq, veteran, homeless, hungry or something like that. And I thought, okay, and what was kind of like, people say, well don’t give money to beggars. But I know that the biggest need but they need it, you know, otherwise they wouldn’t do it. So I gave him a bill. And the reason I looked at him was because I thought this is really good looking damage with selfishness on my protector would have been looking, you know, sold for musalia. And so I give him the bill. And then he looked at me, Gary, you know, hadn’t seen his eyes and you look at me and get the most beautiful blue eyes firstling so luminous, you know, they would like astonishing, the beautiful. And he said in Spanish gracias. And I thought well, you know, if I hadn’t stopped, I would have noticed that incredible look that he gave me which there was so much beauty so much hope so something that you know, touched me very deeply. And he was astonished that you know somebody was giving us
Achim Nowak 43:39
thank you on ending on this. This beautiful moment, random moment with a stranger which is available to us anytime, anytime. I thank you for this conversation, Jaime, and goodbye for now. Like what you heard, please go to my fourth act.com And subscribe to receive my updates on upcoming episodes. Please also subscribe to us on the platform of your choice. Rate us give us a review and let us all create some magical fourth acts together. Ciao