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February

A stunningly moving memoir

Once truth emerges from the mounds of lies and excuses piled up over the years, neither can facts be hidden nor denied again.

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Manuscript

Memoirs
Valladolid
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Me

I am not an expert on marketing, but I am an expert on writing for I had already published a couple of books in Spanish, my mother language, gathered good critics, achieved prestige and reached a bunch of faithful readers. To my own amazement, I decided some months ago to write a memoir in a foreign language. I suffer from ADHD, so reading was impossible for me for almost twenty years. One day I picked up an English book, a Graham Greene's novel. Deciphering the few lines of the first paragraph took me one agonizing hour and gave me a headache, thus I gave up. Yet next day I could not help opening the same volume stubbornly. I had decided to read in English even if I was only capable of understanding a few words. Using a dictionary for every single word, as I had done the day before, was not going to be my modus operandi. I only allowed myself to look up in the dictionary when a word was often repeated. It was better to become familiar with grammar structures than understanding vocabulary. I kept turning pages without a clear idea of what the characters were doing or saying; there were hints but not facts.

Graham Greene's novel was the beginning of my obsession with English and was followed by hundreds of books. At first, I just read bestsellers because they were easier to understand, but after a couple of years I was ready for better staff. I read the complete novels of Jane Austen among other authors and became acquainted with the best British and American writers. Reading in English was such a source of pleasure that I just could not stop devouring books. To justify my peculiar fixation, I must confess that I usually despise easy tasks and fall in love with difficult jobs; my mind demands a range of challenging and extravagant works to function properly, regardless of exertion and exhaustion. Slavering over laborious details carries with it a great deal of joy and satisfaction. Since I decided that writing in English could be a possibility, despite of being discouraged by friends, family and acquaintance, I only permitted me to read in English. I was determined to go beyond common sense and let insanity lead my way.

Several American and British friends have already read an excerpt of my manuscript and have encouraged me to embark on this audacious adventure. In their opinion, my experience could help others to face adversities, to confront the upheavals of life. Regarding the quality of the text, a friend of mine told me that some of my descriptions were not far from the ones of well-known authors. He compared my depictions of winter, poverty and loneliness with the ones of Hemingway, Bolaño and Bulgakov for my words, in his opinion, described images that were as strong as theirs.

I do love challenges and writing in English is undeniably more difficult, but also more thrilling than writing in my mother language. As a matter of fact, I have tried to translate a few paragraphs into Spanish without success. The translation was deprived of beauty and strength. Spanish is a beautiful and rich language, but English sonority is softer and heavenly for it always transports me to a breezy summer evening. And, who would not love being caressed by gentle breezes? I am a very passionate woman and writing without ardor would seem like a burden, like a nightmare with no bliss or spangle.


You probably want to know what my book is about. It is a memoir that I have been considering for a long time. I have been postponing it for too long on account of my fears. Doubtless, this book will have grave consequences for my life. If this manuscript comes to light, I will have to move to New Zealand to feel safe. I am not afraid of the effects that this story will inevitably have on my life. I had already been through a lot and I really need to tell my story to free myself from the past, from all those demons that smothered my spirit to make me feel as an villain who only deserved to be punished. However, dark influences did not prevailed and one day I decided to enter into a paradise of impossible possibilities for I believed in miracles.

This book is intended to reach as many readers as possible. However, I have learned that people between 40 and 68 are my potential readers. I am planning to improve my author platform. Aside from my Spanish blog, I opened an English blog a year ago. I have almost 600 suscriptors. If I post more often, I will probably get more readers. So, updating my English blog will be a priority from now on to build a community and a larger mailing list. My Twitter followers are mostly Anglo-Saxon for I usually tweet in English. My Facebook followers are mostly Spanish. I have already used mailing lists for my former books very successfully. The video will also help, even if my spoken English might sound a little weird. More of all, I am stubborn, I am persuasive and I am anything but a quitter.



Searching for beauty and excellence has always been my motto. Regarding words, I am a wordsmith. Since I started to think of this project, my English has dramatically improved. I have reasons to believe that at the end of this adventure, my English will be incredibly good. Believe or not, I am finding hard to write in Spanish because my mind has become English in just a couple of months. So far, I have only written 35 pages and they are just part of the first draft. Things have lately been a little complicated. I lost my home last November and I lost my father a few weeks ago. These losses have provided me with incredible experiences which will also be part of "February". Despite the pain, I am at peace and in good spirits. I know for sure I will write an amazing and breathtaking book. If I could not do it, I would not be a writer in the first place and I could not be here asking for your financial support. It would be against my principles. Behind excellence, there are always long hours of hard work as well as a meticulous attention to detail. Nothing matters to me more than work. And "February" is the result of years of efforts, and the accomplishment of my most vital hopes.

I am not fond of following rigid patterns. In fact, I tend to improvise without thinking too much in advance. Nevertheless my apparent disorganization, all my texts are outstandingly rational for my heart and my mind work in unison to achieve a harmonious balance. The book will be structured in three parts:

  • First book spans from childhood to college years.
  • Second book describes my twenties and thirties.
  • Third Book attaches to all the happenings that took place during my forties.

Benefits from reading "February".

1. Learning to live a life of details, caring only about the here and now for past and future only exist in our imagination, for we can recreate them as much as we wish. Learning likewise to be who we really are; there is always a best version of ourselves hidden somewhere that, curiously, coincide with our inner selves.

2. Looking at your flaws and other's flaws with tenderness. Feeling fondness for people.

3. Thinking big since only hope and faith in us can save us and, consequently, save the world.

4. Letting goodness guide your life is a wise option for the ultimate price we pay for attaching to lies and hatred is too high for being taken into consideration. Dreams that are built on fear or selflessness are not worthy and only bring trouble.

5. Dreams come true even if you cling to your principles. Once you become determined to get enough faith to achieve your hopes, nothing will stop you. Nothing at all.

6. We are stronger than we think and can endure anything. Acceptance turns sufferings into enriched experiences that make us more valuable and more interesting. Leading an interesting life demands joys, but also sorrows.

7. Wisdom only comes with humbleness.

8. There is no trouble that love cannot solve.

9. Happiness means also freedom and freedom requires courage.

10. Enjoying a compelling and poignant story full of honesty, beauty and compassion while surprising at the unexpected capacities of language to mold love, life and survival.


In 1956, Harper Lee's friend Michael Brown and a number of other friends clubbed together and gave her a year's wages for Christmas: 'You have one year off from your job to write whatever you please. Merry Christmas.' She used the year off work to write "To Kill a Mockingbird". If you support me and help me to face my hateful bills, I will give "February" all my attention and effort. Considering that I am very perfectionist, that I am writing in a foreign language and living in a foreign country, I think that two years will be enough. I will keep you updated and post videos now and then. As you can see, I make minor mistakes, but nothing serious to impede the flow of my writing and to make myself understood. In fact, I could have edited this very text, but I wanted to show you who I am and what I am capable of despite my errors. Anyway, all writers need an editor. You can work on a paragraph for hours and make a silly mistake over and over again. Therefore an editor is not a luxury, but a necessity. After the editing process or maybe before, I will find a publishing house; I have a couple of publishers in mind. Literary contests could also be a good alternative. In any case, I can always publish "February" in Amazon and have a digital and a paperback version of the book. I am choosy about covers and if you take a look at my web page, you will see what I am talking about. I have always been involved in the design of the cover. So far, my books have been blue, but my "Blue Period", which was beautiful but also full of melancholy and blue tones, is over and this new phase of my life and work requires a different hue, a pale pinkish shade. Likewise Picasso, "February" will signal a new period, my "Rose Period". And I promise I will not succumb to the temptation of Cubism.

I need to sustain myself for two years and get urgently a new computer since mine is dying and it will not probably survive this summer. I need both a laptop and a desktop computer. For a large part of my day is spent staring at my screen and I usually keep several windows open on my screen, I need a good and big monitor. Apart from being farsighted, presbyopia is killing me and I am not getting any younger. On the other hand, I love working everywhere. Therefore, I also need a laptop, a very light one since I have two slipped disks. Now I am using a very old laptop whose screen blacked out a few months ago. In order to keep on working, I borrowed a keyboard and a monitor which had been connected to my dreadful and heavy laptop. This is a temporary solution and I desperately need a permanent one. Writing with this slow and trying machine is quite exasperating. Wasting my energy in fighting against an old and silly HP is senseless. All the troubles I had been suffering with my laptop have made me detest Windows. Mac will be the answer to my prayers and to all my technical inconveniences. I have been checking prices and Mac is even cheaper than the PC and laptop I would need in case I decided to remain faithful to Windows. Without your support, I could never buy new devices and write the book I had always dreamed of. I badly need you!!!!!!!!!!



Since I have reasons to be optimistic, "February" will be a great success and I will have no choice but traveling to different countries to attend presentations and give lectures on how this amazing book was once forged thanks to the generosity of a handful of visionary enthusiasts who believed in me, in my book, in my ability for creating something different. I will do my best to meet you. If you were a thousand, I could not name all of you in every conference, but I would thank you anyhow. I will always be grateful to you. Always. We all deserve honors and, trust me, I will find the way to honor you, to make you feel proud of yourself. You will never regret your support.

Thanks a million!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Samples

*

February sunlight shines on my window. From an old wicker chair I can see pieces of tissue paper swaying to and fro gracefully, whirling gently here and there. I draw the curtains back to catch better sight of the fascinating dancing. To my surprise, the charming dancers are just dirty-frayed pieces of paper and plastic, debris from a nearby construction site quivering in the wind. I draw the curtains and the ballet attracts my attention again. I heat my hands with a cup of coffee, turn on the electric blanket covering my legs; a shiver runs down my spine. Sharp images are not always pleasant. In the fear of running unexpectedly into the truth, we draw veils over unsettling events and leave them in the shadows, in the hope of shutting them out. For we know that once truth emerges from the mounds of lies and excuses piled up over the years, neither can facts be hidden nor denied again. And if we unwisely persist in ignoring the truth, she will find the way to shake us until we come to terms with reality. The idea of living with her nevertheless was too terrifying; so I fled and ran tirelessly without knowing that the tenacious lady would haunt me to the ends of the earth. I was blind to truth, and therefore I was blind to beauty; life was just damnation. For two long decades I lived in darkness, in a ferocious fear, in a frightful loneliness, into the bleakness of an eternal winter that deprived me of light and hope. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, to the rest of my life was not a privilege I could enjoy.


Light was shed where shadows lingered on and beauty is no longer an enemy to be feared and fought. So, it is time to tell my story, to uncover my past. I cannot modify it, but I can accept it and give it a meaning. Acceptance soothes even the most painful and embarrassing memories.
Acceptance teaches us to look to the long chain of events that assembles life with tenderness and compassion, to gaze on our very beings with love. As trees shed their leaves in fall, I slowly undress at the end of February, when winter starts to decline and glimpses of spring make their way in the world despite blankets, despite cold. I admit that life was a dire nightmare I wanted to escape from before I surrendered to the truth, before I stopped fighting against myself. As in dreams, fleeing from danger got me lost over and over. It was impossible to get rid of all those savage specters that were always ready to bend me to their moody will, to punish me for their own frustrations and whose determination to distract the attention from their own mistakes remained unabated. Dawns found me exhausted, sweaty and out of breath. After endless battles in a dream world which seemed dazzling-real, a dark reality which seemed unreal, on account of its harshness and merciless manners, awaited me and persisted in shattering me.


Reliving my sufferings as if they were still alive, as if they were not part of the past but of the present is a wise way to put an end to this stage of my life. Telling of them without shuddering, without the anguish that used to dry my mouth and made me stammer whereas my eyes were ablaze and my mind so confused that I could not remember who I was anymore. No fear will stop me from stripping myself of all those veils that had been wrapping up my hurt soul after nearly four decades just for keeping up appearances, for going on living a lie, for fear of rejection. It is incredible how much energy we waste in avoiding truth, in avoiding pain. Once you are released from fear, pain has no longer power over you, so I have no interest in fooling myself with lies. Furthermore, I find pleasure in being naked, in being free, in being me. I like nudity, I like who I am, and I like the peace and joy that freedom brings with it. Anyhow, at this point it would be unthinkable to make an effort to disguise myself as I did for too many years. Too strenuous, too foolish. I would be lying if I said I had so much confidence in myself that giving up was never an option to me. Quite to the contrary, the process of being who I already was without my knowledge was so arduous that I was often tempted to throw in the towel. Refraining from struggling against me was difficult too. In addition, circumstances did not seem very encouraging. Solitude and frustration were my constant companions. To make things worse, poverty paid me a long visit shortly afterwards. Being completely alone with my thoughts, having nothing and no one left, failing in all my attempts of winning my bread, facing the failure of my projects and expectations time and again were the components of a weird and effective diet I followed for several years. My travails were my best allies after all. Without the company of loneliness and defeats, I would have never listened to my own silence, to my own sounds, to the rumble of my long-ago repressed moans. Quiet rooms are by far the greatest places to find words to name terrors and dreams.


Now, while typing these lines, I only feel gratitude in spite of all I went through. Sometimes you need to lose everything to find yourself again, to recognize the very person you are. There were ugly moments and despair showed up from time to time, but at least during the last two years I never let it engulf me, because I knew how a disheartening attitude can drag you into a bottomless pit of guilt, sourness and self-destruction. I was revived with reason and faith, with truth and beauty, and with loads of setbacks. I needed eight years to sort myself out.


Sticking to the passing of the years will keep this narrative within the rules of logic and will help me not to lose my way on feeder roads. Because if I only regarded those moments when blindness left me, the essence of my life's history would go astray in a maze of sensations and experiences; events would be entangled in a web of folly and nonsense. Without forgetting that in every story characters are initially taken by surprise and need a preamble to adjust themselves to the new scenario ahead of them, which is just a scheme devised by the author to make them feel at home. Only when they find their surroundings snug and nice, do they loosen up and show their very nature. Therefore, I must go back to the birth of a girl in a middle class family, within a marriage where it might have been love but no understanding, in a small Spanish town called Vinosa.

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  • Update #5 - First Draft Aug. 9, 2016

    Hi everyone!

    Yesterday, I finished the first draft of "February". I had written more than 500 pages. The next step will be polishing the whole manuscript ...


  • Update #4 - 23 hours left Aug. 7, 2015

    Just 23 hours left to preorder "February"!


  • Update #3 - February's title July 22, 2015

    "February" had initally another title. Last February I gave the manuscript a new beginning, a new title and and a new voice. A epiphany and ...


  • Update #2 - February's cover July 17, 2015

    February's cover was initially a picture taken by me in February of 2013. A friend of mine, @Bypils, used it for designing the cover ...


  • Update #1 - PayPal account July 16, 2015

    If you want to preorder "February", you only need a PayPal account. It is free, safe and fast. In case you haven't got one ...


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Nuria Marugán

Nuria Marugán

I was born in Spain in 1966. By studying History, I made myself unemployable. I always knew I had talent for acting, but I did not have the courage to give it a try for I was afraid of failure. During a crazy summer in NYC I went to several auditions and I even got an agent. I was good at it, but the price was too high. Therefore, I left my supposed golden chance and flew back to Spain. I had everything a girl would have dreamed of, but I could not handle life. The world was a threating place where I did not fit no matter how hard I tried. I spent most of my youth jumping from one depression to another.

Regarding my professional experience, I have done all sorts of weird things from selling cosmetics to guide tourists round an old church where I spent a few months. Nothing fulfillmed me until I discovered writing. I started to write my first book when I was 39 and I got it published in 2012. Aside from five short stories, the book contains a letter I wrote to my niece when she was born for I was going to be her godmother. The second book, "Cuadernos Azules", came out in December of 2013 and was made of diaries written along the years. Since I published my books, I had given lectures on happiness.

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