Thursday, June 26, 2008

Fiesta de San Fermin

I’ll be going to Pamplona in July for theFiesta de San Fermin, traveling as a member of thePena de Los Gatos, an American club that travels to Fiesta every year. While I spent several months in Spain near Malaga, this will be my first time up in Basque country. The Fiesta, as everyone knows, was made famous by my grandfather’s novel The Sun Also Rises with its decadent tale of emasculated males and sexually hyperactive females. It’s a great story, one of Hemingway’s best. There’s something in it for everyone, his descriptive style, his crisp dialog, the carnival atmosphere of the Fiesta itself and, as always in his works, his fascination with androgyny, or as the protagonist of The Garden of Eden put it, finding “a more African sexuality, one that goes beyond all tribal law.”

There was always more to Ernest’s character than met the eye. There was another side to him that most of his admirers never see, one that had a great deal more to my cross-dressing, transsexual father, Gregory, than the macho image that most have of him.

I can’t say for sure, but I suspect that many things haven’t changed about the Fiesta de San Fermin from my grandfather’s days. There was something very primitive about it that attracted him, a non-stop, no-holds-barred quality that for him must have been healing.

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