So here's where we're at.
It was freakishly cold in Mexico City this week -- shivering, daytime darkness, hoodies over hats, austere wool ladies' coats cold -- and it's not even winter yet. Congress, as expected, finally passed the Pemex privatization reforms, with only nominal lefty resistance. The Mexican market is teetering and, surprise, the narco cartels were revealed to have deeply infiltrated the government. Yet the airwaves are littered with offensively cynical public service announcements basically telling Mexicans to strap up and be patriotic. The realities are far more sobering. "To say so with total clarity," the president, in a rare moment of clarity, declared at an Iberoamerican economic summit in San Salvador on Thursday, "Youth today don't believe in anything." Whatever who cares DJ Mehdi played Pasaje America that night.
Today, Day of the Dead, marks the one-year anniversary of my open-ended arrival to Mexico City. It's time to take stock, and party. We're turning Intersections off until 2009.
Call it an equation of resources. I moved here to write a book chronicling my journey through the underground and youth subcultures of D.F., but also to savor a different way of life. The Mexican way of day-to-day living, where there is nothing more valuable -- not money (or its lacking), not prestige, not portfolios -- than family and friends, food and drink, and the ritual of the fiesta. It is the only proper response when death is everywhere and the world around you is crumbling or decomposing, happily approaching rebirth. With this in mind, we will be celebrating two birthdays, Halloween, Dia de los Muertos, and pretty much everything else tonight in my building. There will be an ofrenda, and a doorman.
The occasion is as good as any to pull the curtain on Intersections until next year, to focus entirely on completing the draft of my manuscript and shipping the thing to my editor in New York. In 365 days I've scribbled through dozens of notebooks, typed more than 300 pages, taken hundreds of photographs, clipped through too many piles of newspapers, and recorded hours upon hours of audio. In the same time-span I wrote for a bunch of magazines in English and Spanish, as well as for television, for a website, and for radio.
In addition, I grew a dedicated reader base for this blog, bringing steady links and clicks from every human-populated continent and as of this week more than a thousand daily page views, which is not bad for a one-man labor of love. On December 20, 2008, Intersections turns two years old. I ask that you wait up, not forget us. Like the legs of a compass returning to its fixed center, as Donne might offer, we'll be reunited again. In the meantime, you can sniff around the archives at your leisure. The book, in amoeba form, is lurking in there.
And how is the book going? It's coming along fine, in line with the processes and challenges that I envisioned from the start. My operating principles since moving here have been, 'Process over product,' 'The road over the destination,' 'The work over the fruit,' maxims that apply as equally to life as they do to writing. Because as eager I am to hold the thing in my hands already, this part, the work, is the true prize.
Thank you for the continued support and dialogue. I will see you all on the other side of 2008, after I turn 28 and the world gets a new Black President on the same day. In the real-time future of today, tectonic shifts approach! Meet me at the Angel de la Independencia?
* Above, original artwork by San Diego-based painter, illustrator, graffiti and tattoo artist Sergio Hernandez.