(Speech of Oscar Vigil as Guest Speaker at the Annual General Meeting of PEN Canada, on June 10, 2014, in Toronto. Oscar is member of PEN Canada since 2002)
The Colombian Nobel Prize, Gabriel García Márquez, who passed away this year, wrote in one of his last novel: “Life is not what one lived, but what one remembers and how one remembers it in order to recount it”
For me, these days, “Life is not what I lived, is not what I remembers and is not how I remember it or how I recount it”.
For me, these days, “Life is how the Immigration Department believes I lived my life 25 years ago”, even though they are referring to a revolutionary broad movement, and not specifically about me or my life.
Sometimes I feel I am just a character in a Fiction Novel! And probably a character of a bad Fiction Novel!
By Oscar Vigil
Marcela, Eugenio and their kids came to Canada in 2001, like Carolina, our kids and myself. Like us, they have three children, almost the same ages as ours. Even their daughter and my son, who were born on the same day, same month and same year but in different countries, dated for a while.
They came from Chile as independent immigrants, while we came from El Salvador as refugees, but both families were struggling with the same newcomer’s problems: settling in a new country, adaptation to new values, new friends and a new life.
They are our lifelong friends. Although we met in Toronto, their life and our life began anew when we came to this country without any family or friends. And since the beginning, we regularly shared celebrations. As Marcela says, enjoying good food (she is an amazing cook), good wine (Chilean, of course) and excellent conversation, anytime, anywhere, is to celebrate life.
By Oscar Vigil
Robert Graham with his band “The Fairest and Best”
The bar was completely packed and the air was filled with good energy. On the stage was Robert Graham with his band “The Fairest and Best”. They sang of love, diverse types of love, and even the love for social justice.
Robert Graham, a composer, singer and musician, sang about one of his ex girlfriends, an unrequited love. He sang about a male friend who fell in love with a woman who turned out to be a lesbian, and about a guy who fell in love with his best friend.
The odes to love were expressed in rhythms of rock, pop, country, blues, Latin and more. The audience, composed of his friends, friends of friends, or just music lovers, completely enjoyed the night.