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Story, Story
Fact or Fiction

by Ezequiel Ruiz

I am a Mexican who lived for years in California, USA. I teach Spanish and English. Some weeks ago my student and friend Dirk Bakker invited me to his house to listen to music (including some Tibetan chanting) and his commentary on it. I was one of 30 or so guests who had come to the entertaining, culturally uplifting evening. Before the music began there were small groups of people talking over delicious wine and snacks. Dirk introduced me to Dr. David, the editor and publisher of this magazine. Sometimes life brings pleasant surprises.

We had only a brief opportunity to chat and exchange business cards before the lights went down and the evening's program began. It seemed like David had a lot more that he wanted to say about us possibly collaborating.

Just today I got a telephone call from Dr David. He reminded me where we met and suggested again that I write for his magazine, sending me a link to the magazine: "It will be a win-win-win situation; you, I and my readers all will win." I told him that at that moment I was going into Dirk's house. He told me that he was in the same neighborhood and invited me over after my visit with Dirk. I accepted.

Later, at his office, he explained to me his desire for a regular feature on the Spanish language. He suggested a few topics and I suggested a few more.

We were speaking in Spanish. He was emphasizing that the articles he wanted should have human interest and story, that there should be some action, that something should happen in them.

The thing was that the word he was using for "story" was "cuento." "Cuento" implies a fictional account; in English you would say a "tale." I realized that he was asking that the articles contain an account of something that had actually happened, a slice of life - "The other day I met a friend at La Comer..." Although I dedicate myself to teaching this sort of thing, having just met David, and not having a formal teacher-student relationship, I asked him for permission to correct him. He eagerly consent.

I told him that the word "cuento" means "tale" and that what he was referring to was a "relato" [something related] or a "historia." He laughed gracefully and said: "Wonderful. That could be the main point of an article. It is very interesting to discover the finer points of the language, to have someone correct my confusion." To which I replied, "Whether you are learning Spanish or English, part of the process is finding the context of words and expressions." In my learning process I also had many doubts and always needed someone to help me.

Towards the end of our meeting David told me that an author had just pulled an article that was ready to be publish. David thought that the author was afraid that some local members of a civic organization might find his telling of the "historia" too crude. Leaning closer David told me that he was short an article and asked me the favor of writing my first article right away, that evening. I agreed. Here it is. I hope you like it.

I can tell you that it is very gratifying for me to collaborate with Dr. David on topics such as this. I receive with enthusiasm this new page that life is giving me. It is music to my ears. Thanks for the introduction, Dirk.

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Ezequiel Ruiz: I am a Mexican blessed with many experiences both in Mexico and in the USA. I am a dreamer in the sense that I believe in creative human potential. I am a son, brother, cousin and friend, perhaps yours. Extend your hand and the conversation will begin.

I am an admirer of the Spanish and English languages. My job for some time has been to teach both languages. I enjoy being surprised by the living language and seeking secrets in the wonder of expression.

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