Posted January 24 ’10

I’ve been having dreams about Felix Duarte, my character from Point Dume.  I spend the morning writing character sketches for my next novel and my afternoons researching border issues and the plight of the migrant.  At the end of the day, I go home to my nice house, have a delicious dinner and a glass (or three) of wine, crawl into my cozy bed with my wonderful husband and my two adorable bulldogs and drift off to sleep.  And then, night after night in my dreams, I plug my beloved Felix into the worst-case scenarios.


I’ve had him living in the Tijuana dumps, scavenging in the huge mountains of trash, eating rancid food and drinking foul water.


At the end of his long workday, he returns home to his cardboard lean-to where he struggles to stay warm on the long cold winter nights.  He does not have electricity.  There is no source for clean drinking water, no doctor when he gets sick.  I’ve had him grapple with despair and turn to sniffing glue or paint thinner as an escape.  He is hungry and sick and desperate.  My current dreams make the life I gave him in Point Dume seem like a luxury vacation.


I know that no one wants to listen about my bleeding-heart nightmares but this stuff is keeping me up.  I went to Tijuana recently for research and the place scared me.  I realize that an outsider like myself can’t even begin to understand the scope of the problem in a quick drive-by visit.  But I can say with authority that it is a dangerous place and I had no business wandering around.  There is an angry desperation that, at this point, I don’t have the tools to understand.


So I’ll stay back on my safe side of the border and continue to read about the issues until they starts to make some kind of sense to me.