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Two Green Birds: Memory & Imagination

Geraldo Valerio writes about listening to tell a story...




Some winters ago, on a cold and grey afternoon, two green birds paid me a visit. They came to me as a faint memory from my childhood growing up in Brazil.

I couldn’t remember much. Not even how old I was. I just remembered walking into my grandmother’s backyard and finding a cage with two parakeets. I was so amazed by how beautiful they were. I also remembered that they seemed to be scared of me. Every time I came closer to the cage, they would run away to the other end. I couldn’t remember anything else about those birds or that day.

I kept asking myself so many questions. Where did the birds come from? What was their story? Why were they scared of me? What had happened to them? So many questions that I couldn’t answer. I asked my family, but nobody knew anything about those parakeets. They existed only for me.

My two visitors were Memory and its companion, Imagination. They never went away. They perched on my shoulders and they pecked at my ears. Listen, they said. Memory reminded me that I had walked in the bright sun and it felt hot on my skin. It also told me that from a very young age I had liked my coffee sweet and with milk. It reminded me that my love for plants came from growing begonias, marigolds and hydrangeas with Grandma. Imagination told me that she would be there whenever Memory forgot something.

Memory and Imagination like talking, and I am a good listener. For days I listened while a story flew through time and space to land in my hands. My hands wrote words and made drawings. I listened and I worked. I felt happy. I had a story and my story became a book: Two Green Birds.





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