May 20, 2013
The air was charged with electricity as the crowd held their breath in suspense. Both men took their left hands, which were wrapped in their shirts, and put them behind their backs. They then held their machetes out in their right hands and approached one another. It looked like an ancient duel...and it was. It was a real life duel with swords. No rules. Real swords. May the best man win.
--FROM MACHETE FIGHTS TO PARADISE
Daniel DiMarzio's book about the machete fighters in the Dominican Republic intrigued me from the first, because it was ...real. These fighters and these "duels" are happening today, in our lifetime, on a tropical paradise, and they are to the death!
"When I first heard of sword fights in the Dominican Republic," writes Daniel, "I was very skeptical. I thought maybe I was hearing about a freak occurrence or a story that was blown out of proportion. But, then I heard another story…and another. All of them about machete fights. Not just one person with a machete attacking some unarmed person either, these were stories of two people wielding machetes. Two people dueling with real, live swords. Then, I actually went there and met people who had been in machete fights and had the scars to prove it."
Having lived in Japan and being a student of martial arts, Daniel has always been fascinated with ancient sword fights. He laments that today's sword fights are more of a choreographed ballet, as opposed to the real down and dirty, fight to the death of old Samurai. But times have changed and the old sword dues are no more. Well, at least not in Japan.
It turns out that in the tropical island of the Dominican Republic, men are still fighting with swords, and are still fighting in real life and death situations. This is sword fighting in its purest form, according to Daniel. The examples and tales he shares are horrific and bloody, but fascinating in a macabre sort of way. And for more gruesome fare, do visit his website for live videos of machete fighting. (They are not for the weak of heart or weak of stomach!)
Like Daniel states in his book, there is nothing romantic about these "machete fighters." They are not a club, they don't do demonstrations, they don't have competitions. These are real-life fights over honor, over money, over women. The reward is survival and the "scars to prove it."
Don't try this at home.... or anywhere.
Visit Daniel at www.danieldimarzio.com to learn more about the machete fighters and the Japanese Samurai.###
Daniel DiMarzio was born on the Army Base in Fort Campbell, Kentucky in 1982. He graduated from Peirce College in 2006 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Concentration in Management and is a member of Delta Mu Delta, International Honor Society in Business Administration. He is also a graduate of the Pennsylvania School of Muscle Therapy. Daniel lived in Japan for two years where he owned and operated a business in the Kanto region. While living in Japan he continued his study of the martial arts. He has also spent time in the Dominican Republic, studying the use of the machete (and knives) there. Daniel is also the owner of the Winds of Japan Shop, and author of A Story of Life, Fate, and Finding the Lost Art of Koka Ninjutsu in Japan; Finding the Real Japan, Stories from the Land of the Rising Sun; and From Machete Fights to Paradise, The Machete Fighters of the Dominican Republic.
DISCLAIMER: Book provided by the author. A good review was not guaranteed.
May 12, 2013
May 6, 2013
Do you believe in Angels?
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways.
Angels are a big part of Christian religions, and are known to be messengers of God. The big ones every knows -- Michael, Rafael, Gabriel, Lucifer. But have you ever seen one? Tomie Gomez has. In her autobiographical book, GOD, PLEASE SEND ME ANGELS, Ms. Gomez shares her experiences with angels and how they help saved her and her family.
BIO: Tomasita Gomez is a retired teacher from Yabucoa, Puerto Rico. Her 35 years in the education field span from Puerto Rico to Connecticut, Texas and California in elementary and college levels. You can “Like” her on Facebook by clicking here.
May 3, 2013
Here's another picture from one of the bronze plaques on New York's Literary Way, which is on 41st Street between Fifth and Park. Happy Friday!
by Emily Dickinson from 1212
May 1, 2013
The Latina Book Club's mission is to promote Latina / Latino authors, which we do through book reviews, author interviews, publicity announcements, book of the month selections, etc. A new feature we are adding is "Writers Wednesdays." The first Wednesday of each month we will feature a writer talking about .....writing. Enjoy!
ENRICHING THE JOURNEY: DISCOVERING MY MUSE IN LATER LIFE
by Beatriz F. Fernandez
During my youth I wrote poetry fitfully, occasionally hitting a good note but never feeling totally satisfied with the results. At 48, I felt as though my writing was at a standstill. One day I brought out the newspaper clipping again, thought to look up the poet’s website and discovered she offered distance tutorials. On the off chance she might be available, I emailed her about my struggles to improve my poetry. And so began my journey to become a poet at midlife.
I embarked on a series of a combination of email/phone sessions in which Andrea would send me an assignment and I would email her some poems and then we would meet via phone to discuss them. At first I balked at writing formal poems at which I had never been successful: sonnets, villanelles, ghazals. Accustomed to free verse, writing in form felt restrictive to the point of bewilderment. I felt as if I was asked to crack a secret code!
Writing in the voice of others: Dante, Nefertiti, Hypatia, Irene Adler, has helped me find my own voice when I approach new poems written in the first person about personal subjects. After a cousin visited from Puerto Rico bearing bad news, I was able to transmute the shock and pain into a poem:
Parkinson’s at 60
You tell me your bad news at breakfast,
standing shirtless in my blue kitchen,
brightly lit as an empty stage
waiting for actors to appear—
but there is only you, my cousin,
deep brown eyes like fishing holes
in the frozen lake of your face.
Later we spoke of the old days,
a family trip to La Parguera,
our kayaks slipping silent
through the black waters
of the phosphorescent bay.
I remember trailing my fingers
in the dying light of our wake,
watching the bright fish
spiral down and disappear
into that substantia nigra—
like stars drowned out by the sun.
Memories ripple in concentric circles
away from us, away from this moment,
from every tremor of your fingers,
every soft cadence of your voice—
that voice once so crisp and clear,
those fingers that once tap-danced
on your thighs, jangling your keys,
as your impatient mind raced ahead.
We both know the bay’s magical glow
died out long ago, poisoned by gas-powered
motorboats spewing their oily fumes
into the black waters—but all I remember
are our paddles dipping in molten night,
dark-shouldered mountains shrugging
around us in the distance and the lights
from faraway hill-top houses winking out,
one by one, as dawn grew near.
Sometimes I wonder why I was unable to devote myself to creating poems when I was 20, or 30, or even 40? Did I waste years that I could have spent building a writing career? Maybe so, maybe so, but I can’t help feeling that discovering the power to express myself effectively in poetry is enriching my life in ways that I would not have appreciated earlier, or welcomed properly. The anguish of self-doubt would have weighed down the pure joy that I find buoying up my daily life now.
At 50+ I can claim many freedoms I did not possess before—my hair is thinner but my skin is thicker—I can take rejection and criticism and stand my ground better, I can risk being laughed at or ignored, I have no urgent need for validation or recognition, and I can appreciate others’ writing without fear of becoming a mere imitator. In other words, I can truly enjoy the process of writing poetry!
Another advantage not previously available: online education, which offers training and guidance where and when you need it, often with individualized instruction. Without the advent of online instruction, I never would have found a mentor like Andrea, who is both a gifted poet and teacher, but who lives on the opposite coast!
Andrea has taught me that a poem is a journey of discovery, which must take the reader to a place neither the reader nor the writer (sometimes!) expects. My personal writing journey has taken on a new glow of excitement and adventure with surprising twists and turns. It took some courage to take that first step towards my true desire, and I may not foresee where I will end up, but now I know that the life I had lived only in my mind can become real through my poetry.♥
Beatriz F. Fernandez is a Reference Librarian at Florida International University in Miami, where she’s lived for the past 20 years. She was born in Philadelphia to a Puerto Rican father and a Peruvian mother and at age five moved to Guaynabo, Puerto Rico, where she grew up. She was the grand prize winner of the 2nd annual Writer’s Digest poetry award and has been published by Writer’s Digest, Verse Wisconsin, Lorelei Signal and Spellbound. Visit her blog, Blog as if No One is Reading, at http://www.beasbooks.blogspot.com/. Follow and Friend her at www.facebook.com/beaffernandez and www.twitter.com/nebula61.
Andrea Hollander’s website: www.andreahollander.net.