Jenny Dowling, speaking about Carlos Drummond de Andrade's Traveling in the Family : 

A personable narrator who inspires the reader into a shared conspiracy. He wants the reader to ponder a story, a happening, a notion as much as he does, and he chooses a narrator who is full of wonder, one who brings the reader into his tale. I loved the "Song of the Phantom Girl of Belo Horizonte." I felt this was his neighborhood's ghost, and he used it not only to fuel his imagination, but to say something about impossible, evanescent, insubstantial feelings of love and lust. I thought about the ghost of San Angel when I was a child, La Llorona, crying from dusk to dawn for her lost children (whom she’d murdered) along the canyons of the nearby barranca. As children we would sneak out of our houses in the evening to see her and scare ourselves to death. She was a cautionary ghost giving the local folk much to talk about and speculateon, and was used very effectively as a threat to unruly kids.

Here is the first draft of Jenny Dowling's story:

I am a mother's ghost. They call me La Llorona. I live, I love, I play here at the edge of the barranca. I spend my days cleaning, sucking marrow, at home in this deserted graveyard, pitted with gravel pits and disinterred bones, and as we like to say, ‘la casa de usted,’ this is your home, come by and visit any time. In the evening I like to stray along the edges of the barranca, singing and sailing, calling out to my little ones. They say I make a terrible racket. I am accused of screaming loud and high as I sail alongside the canyon walls, and weeping sorrowfully as I swoop towards the bottom. No doubt I make a fearful sound should my feet skim the bilious sewage that now seeps into my stream, but otherwise I consider myself to be - what should I say? Mellifluous, quite melodious, especially considering my condition, to even have a voice is extraordinary, unusual, perplexing, fanciful.... I love my voice.

I have borne a thousand children. I have borne none. I chop my children into small pieces and hand feed them to nestling falcons. I freeze my children and then cook them into succulent baked alaskas. My children have all graduated with honors from the finest universities. I neglect them all. I play bridge. I drink martinis. I read body building magazines and get lost in the mass of bulging muscle. I eat bonbons until I swell as huge as a world balloon, and children (all mine) come with their fingers stuck up their noses, and, seeing me, swallow their tongues in fear. In reality they want to swing from my tit, they want me to sweep them into my copious belly, they want to nest in the hollow of my thigh bone as I sail. This desire is akin to kittens attempting to suckle a Tom, for even as I sweep a disastrous slap across the void of their faces the force passes through them and is stopped only by the canyon walls that enclose me. It is sad. I would love to hold them. I would love to boil them and render their fat into perfumed pomades to comb into my hair. The only thing I could do is swing them. If there were a swing, I would swing them so hard, they would fly out of the swing and land on the other side of the world, or if they held on tightly, I would swing them around and over the top, and around and around until they were chained flat and securely against the bough of this tree.


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