It’s my pleasure today, to be hosting fellow blogger, author Guilie Castillo Oriard, in support of her first solo book, THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS. To celebrate the e-book release, she is doing a virtual tour throughout November to talk about writing, the book itself, its island setting and its characters — including a 100-lb. monster dog rescued from the streets — and some of the issues MIRACLE touches on, such as the role of large and small
dogs things in the realignment of our values, and the power of place in our definition of self. Guilie and I first met two years ago, during the April A to Z Blogging Challenge and share a love of dogs, travel and music. We also both participate in a recurring contest, known as “Battle of the Bands”. More about that in a minute but first, let me introduce you to this captivating book and its talented author:
Mexican tax lawyer Luis Villalobos is lured to the tiny island of Curaçao anticipating a fast track to the cusp of an already stellar career. But the paradise we expect is so rarely the paradise we find
The author, Guilie Castillo Oriard, is a Mexican export herself; she transferred to Curaçao “for six months” — and, twelve years later, has yet to find a reason to leave. Her work has been published online and in print anthologies, such as Pure Slush’s 2014 A Year In Stories and gorge. THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS is her first book.
Last week’s edition of “Battle of the Bands” featured “MacArthur Park”, originally recorded by Richard Harris and famously covered by Donna Summer. It looks like Guilie and Luis got into quite a discussion about it! Let’s listen in…..
Guilie and Luis, On “MacArthur Park” and Relationships
by Guilie Castillo Oriard
Whoa, Debbie… That was quite a battle last week! Can you believe Luis Villalobos (main character in THE MIRACLE OF SMALL THINGS) had never heard the Richard Harris original? He might’ve known the Donna Summer version was a cover, but that’s the only one he knew. And he probably never bothered to find out—
Oh, come on. That’s unfair. And a little insulting.
Why? You’re not exactly the world’s most avid music fan.
Maybe, but the way you worded this, “never bothered to find out”… You could’ve said the same thing in a less confrontational way.
You lawyers, jeez. It wasn’t confrontational, okay?
It sounded confrontational
Fine. I apologize. Can we move on? (I’m sorry, Debbie.) I mentioned before that MacArthur Park has a special meaning for Luis, mainly because—
because he’s spent his adult—
Don’t say it.
his adult life as a—
I’m warning you. Stop. Right now.
as a SERIAL MONOGAMIST. There. I said it.
Just because I happen to like a song doesn’t mean—No, seriously. I do not appreciate being spoken of this way.
Which part do you object to? The “serial”? Or the “monogamist”?
Ha. Ha. What a freakin’ hoot.
Dude, really. I’m being kind. And more than fair.
You’re oversimplifying. You make me sound like some sort of—of—
And you think that’s not accurate?
How many women have you been with?
No gentleman is ever going to answer that. And no lady would ask.
I’ll rephrase, your Honor. Please tell the court, Mr. Hotshot Tax Attorney, how many relationships you’ve been in.
That, right there, is what I’m talking about.
What? I’m only asking for clarification. Do you mean romantic relationships, or employer-employee relationships, or client-attorney relationships, or co-worker relationships, or—
I’ll define ‘relationship’ for you. Mónica.
Come on! That was in college, man. That’s off-bounds.
I’ll start at law school, then. Wasn’t there a Rita? And Sandra, the redhead? And the gorgeous Jessica, the year you graduated?
That sounds like Mambo Number Five.
My point exactly. And Alyssa in Georgetown, and Janice in Toronto. San Francisco, Josephine and Alana and Sofiya. Sandra #2 in Zurich. Jackie in Hong Kong. Luisa and Jing in New York. Adela in Buenos Aires, those six months you spent there.
It wasn’t like that.
A list. A lumping together of names. These women were unique. Each relationship was also unique. And beautiful. And—anyway, I thought this was supposed to be about the song.
Well, yeah. Because MacArthur Park reflects your emotional reticence toward—
You authors, man. You think your characters are like some guinea pig that you can cut open in front of an audience and lecture everyone on—
I’m not lecturing. I’m trying to make a point.
That I’m a ‘serial monogamist.’ Yeah. We got that. What I don’t get is why you find it so shocking.
I don’t. I’m just—
Was I supposed to marry my high-school sweetheart? Or Mónica? I would’ve made their lives miserable. Dragging them all over the world, working 18-hour days, 7 days a week… They didn’t want that, and if they said they did, they were lying.
Or they were in love.
Right. ‘Cause that’s what love does. It makes you make decisions you’ll regret once the warm-and-fuzzies fade. And they do fade. They always fade.
You don’t know that.
I do, actually. If your list proves anything, it’s that nothing is forever. I loved those women. But—
You wouldn’t commit.
I committed just fine! I was faithful and honest—so much so that from the beginning I made sure they all understood I was leaving in a year or however long. That the relationship had a built-in ending.
“Spring was never waiting for us.”
And yet, that’s not the line of MacArthur Park that touches you deepest.
It’s a great song. Lots of great lines.
Like, “After all the loves of my life, I’ll be thinking of you—and wondering why”?
Yeah. [Clears throat]
You need a minute?
No, just—the dust, you know? It’s windy, here in Curaçao.
I’m curious, Luis. Who will you be thinking of, after all the loves of your life?
No, it’s okay. Take your time.
[Sniffles] You got me good.
I’m sorry. I didn’t mean—
It’s okay. [Blows nose] Who do I think of? You know, it’s weird, but I don’t think I’ve met her yet.
Why the emotion, then?
Because… Maybe I think I’ll meet her, and I’ll never realize how deeply she touched me, how important she was, until I’ve lost her.
Sorry, all. Luis is… He, uh, needed to go home and check on Al. Al’s the huge black dog he found on his porch not long ago, all ratty skin and pointy bones. The one he named after Alfred Prufrock. The one I keep hoping will show him that some things are forever, even when they don’t last. Thank you so much for hosting us, Debbie. It’s been an honor, and a pleasure.
Likewise, Guilie. 🙂 I’m sure everyone wants to know more about Luis, the dog and Curaçao. Not only is this a compelling story, it also paints a vivid portraitof an island paradise few people are even aware of.
The book was released in paperback this past August, and has received enthusiastic feedback:
“The combination of money and sex always creates an irresistible dynamic. Add more than a few dogs to the mix, and Guilie Castillo Oriard has created a tale as beguiling as the seductive ambiance of Curaçao itself.” ~ Peggy Vincent, author of Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife
“Curaçao is lovingly rendered, past and present, as a character itself — post-colonial, starkly beautiful, and captivating. You cannot read this book without checking airfares to Curaçao.” ~ John Wentworth Chapin, author of Alexandrite and founder of 52|250 A Year of Flash
“A richly enchanting story of lives and loves unfolding against the backdrop of the Caribbean.” ~ Silvia Villalobos, author of Stranger or Friend
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Guilie Castillo Oriard is a Mexican writer and dog rescuer living in Curaçao. She misses Mexican food and Mexican amabilidad, but the laissez-faire attitude (and the beaches) are fair exchange. And the island’s diversity provides great fodder for her obsession with culture clashes.
Her work has appeared online and, in print, as part of several anthologies. Her first book, The Miracle of Small Things (Truth Serum Press) was published in August 2015. She’s currently working on a full-length novel.
Do you feel sorry for Luis?
Would you like to visit Curaçao?
Looking forward to your comments!