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The Musician

original work in english Heloisa Prieto
translation to Portuguese Victor Scatolin
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Thomas was on the verge of a panic attack. Everything seemed to be madly out of control. How come? Why? He breathed slowly, his mind trying to find the exact moment when things went wrong.

Before leaving home he had carefully placed all his papers in separate suitcases. He knew something seemed out of order the moment he woke up and realized his beautiful dream had erased itself from his mind. Not a good sign.

He looked around his hall. Thomas didn't like having his space crowded with sofas and tables. Guests were rare and they would always say he was a minimalist, maybe not to tell him straight face they thought he seemed a bit unusual. Carefully piled up books and notebooks were spread around looking like small, colourful buildings. Low, wooden tables were also covered by books, except for one, Thomas used for his meals. Hardly any chairs, since he enjoyed reading, playing and eating cross legged on the shining floor covered by a few asian carpets. Numerous musical instruments were always leaning against the white walls, as if they were trees in a beautiful musical forest.

Thomas always kept his suitcases near the entrance door as if he were about to travel. The brown largest suitcase kept his journals, the black suitcase his documents, the red one for all his appointment books, old and new; the green suitcase filled with lists of so many things yet to come, finally, the grey suitcase was plenty of pictures, fragments of ideas, puzzling, visionary dreams. The smallest suit, actually a handbag, kept sketches, photos from his childhood, also his photos from skies, mountains, lake, moons, stars and the sea…

He slowly touched all his cases and somehow felt relieved. Everything seemed to be under control.

He glanced at his cell phone. Plenty of time to have a cup of coffee. Thomas looked at his luggage once more before going to the kitchen. The suitcases were all still. No creatures trying to flee away from his pages. He took a deep breath. Ever since he was a small boy he had seen and heard musical beings. He first sensed their presence as sound and shadows, while still a baby, in his crib. Moving musical shadows, so friendly and beautiful he could spend hours just watching them dancing around him. It would take him years to realize that other children, let alone adults, could not see or hear his sweet melodic friends.

“My son loves his invisible friends” his mother would tell his teachers who took him for a crazy little boy. “Many kids have invisible pals, it is quite normal” she would insist.

It was useless. Teachers never treated him as the other kids. At least this is how Thomas felt. The cell rang; a voice mail from his mother. He smiled. She seemed to guess his thoughts sometimes. Thomas left his memories aside and looked out of the window. It was such a lovely day. He put on his black coat, his black hat covering his long dark hair. He glanced at the mirror and smiled. They were always with him. Musical Creatures. Secret creatures of sound. In a glimpse, he saw several beings smiling back at him. They danced in and out the mirror so fast, he could hardly follow their cute little movements. It was a turning point day. He could sense it. A lifetime spent in the company of music had certainly enlarged his mind and heart. However, he had not entirely developed his own musical eyes. So he could sense so many things, even the future but not predict it. Eyes are supposed to see, not to hear. What can happen when they do?

Tomas took a while to decide which guitar he should play that Sunday. Each instrument held its own secret. Besides, he was not sure whether he should play music, write or draw on his notebooks. All he wanted to do was to sit on a bench by the fountain. Let his face be caressed by the sun rays. Watch his musical creatures bathe in the sparkling waters. Enjoy being alive, enjoy being himself.

Yet, he looked out of the window and saw the cab parking outside. He glanced at the hall and realized he had left his Spanish guitar leaning against the wall. That's it. It would be his companion for the day. Thomas picked up his large black suitcase, then placed his guitar on his back and got into the taxi.

Lunch time. Thomas loved watching people sitting down for family meals, chatting, taking a break from work, and sharing the daily news. How should it feel to have a normal, predictable life? Thomas was sure he would never be able to find it out. In a way, he longed to be like anyone else, living just 24 hours a day. At the same time, his curiosity for new places and lands always kept him on the road. He knew he loved to walk the path of travelling musicians. Every time he crossed borders he felt as if he wanted to enter into a timeless land. A peaceful place with no borders, no beginnings, nor endings. Life as it really is.

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original work in english Heloisa Prieto e Victor Scatolin
illustrations Daniel Bu Eno

excerpt from the book

“Every poem is a letter.

Every poem holds a tale…”

These thoughts crossed Caique´s mind as he whistled while walking down the street.

“I don´t mean a regular, beginning, middle and end tale” he thought to himself.

Poems hold on to something else.

As a fragment of one´s own life story. Let´s say, for instance, the day he sat at the bench, at the square, next to Mr. Angelo, the best guitar player in the world, at least the best one he had ever met. Or still, as the new poem that just now drew itself in his imagination, as he tried to reach back to the moment he found out about the powerful combination of words and music. Thinking about music he raised his eyes up to the sky looking for birds. To think that birds can fly far away as words in the wind. Listening to birds singing he realized their voices could be so diverse as people´s speech. Clouds… Poems can just pop up in one´s mind. The true secret is to know how to hold on to them.

Caique ran until he reached the square.

He chose the empty bench, under an old, familiar, welcoming tree. He took his notebook out of his backpack. He opened the white, empty page. He looked at the sky and drew a poem…

He smiled feeling good about himself.

He sighed.

He stood up and took his way to school. As he walked through the square, he thought about all the good things that had happened last year.

At school he was now seen as someone who had made a dream come true. His friends and teachers called him The Poet. It made him feel shy sometimes and he told them:

“How can I be a poet if I can't even rhyme?”

Caique saw poetry as something that just sprouted out of his mind, opening up his eyes to see things around him as if they were brand new…

Nothing ever bored him, because according to his own, particular way of seeing life, there was no such a thing as boredom. What would be the opposite of being bored? Being cool? What´s the difference between one and the other? Being cool and being boring were just about the same, so he thought.

Caique´s poetry was not only about beautiful things, such as the flight of birds, or even their beautiful songs. If there was one thing he could do quite well was to make a poem out of joke, a poem out of a drawing, or still a very sad poem just to make someone cry and smile at the same time. Empty poems also pleased him. Silent ones too.

Poems were everywhere to be seen.

Whenever Caique recited a poem, everyone stopped to listen to him. But there were always the ones who liked to make fun out of him. People who kept on telling him poetry is just useless at the end of the day.

Caique liked to reply:

Is our life useful after all?

What are we here for anyhow?

One day he just thought to himself:

Every living being is a poem, every poem is a living being.

imagem do da capa do livro
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The Adventures of a Dog Named Petit

Editora FTD
written by Heloisa Prieto
illustrated by Maria Eugenia
afterword by Raissa Pala Veras

excerpt from the book

The day my sister was born I felt deeply jealous of her.

She was my own doll. Nobody else could play with her. Whenever guests came to the house to see her, I found a way to distract them by acting strange, so they would not get too close to her.

“Olivia! What are you doing, my child? Why do you want to call everybody's attention like that?”

I did not want people to pay attention to me. I just did not like people to keep on holding my dear Alice. I had never imagined that a baby sister coming out from the hospital could be so pretty: her round little forehead, curly, thin hair, her tiny little hand that kept on holding my fingers to play with them.

“Alice is my sister!” I kept on telling everyone. “And she is going to sleep in my room when she grows older. Both of us are going to play, to take baths, to travel, go to school, to do everything together…”

My mother did not know how to handle me. Several months went by. Alice became prettier and my jealousy grew stronger. This is when Dad come up with an idea:

“I think I know the perfect antidote for Olivia´s jealousy! It is so very simple! She needs to have her own baby, someone else to love…”

“Oh, no, George!” Mom said “It’s definitely too early for us to have another baby!”

“A baby?” asked Dad and then just kept quiet.

I could not sleep, I was so curious about Dad. What was he scheming? Next morning, at breakfast, he told all of us:

“Tomorrow it will be dog´s day… We will take you, girls, to the dog shelter for you to adopt a puppy. And Olivia will take on full responsibility for this new baby, right, my beautiful child?” Another sleepless night.

I was so happy I could not close my eyes! I had always dreamt about having a dog and Dad had just guessed my strongest wish…

As we arrived at the shelter, Mom came out of the car first, holding Alice. I could not have guessed that a little baby like her would be so happy in this place so crowded with dogs. She would not stop laughing. She clapped her hands. She even made happy baby sounds. So we saw dogs from all sizes, colours, shapes and ages… How could we decide which one to choose?

imagem do livro mostrando Olívia e sua irmã no colo
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