My book’s main character, Fina Mata, starts out as an ambivalent witch. She practices spells in her hood, but it’s mostly for show; she doesn’t fully believe in these spells. It’s not that she’s dishonest. She likes using plants and herbs, honey, blood and gunpowder, because these things all have an elemental, earthy power that thrill her. But she also always holds herself back—to a certain extent—from fully believing in her spells.
Yeah, you got it—the spells are a metaphor for her belief in herself. And since she can’t completely embrace who she is, yet, as a worker of spells, well, Fina is not feeling completely fulfilled when the novel opens up.
Then one day, she falls for the hot musician upstairs—Chico is his name and his hard chayote ass is almost as fine as his trumpet playing. Fina takes her heart throb’s pic and puts it away in a drawer. Her husband finds the pic, and burns it. After this happens, Chico comes down with a high fever, and collapses onstage while playing with the Tito Puente orchestra. Then he gets overrun and pounced on by a hundred rabid female fans. He is half-dead and has to be taken to the hospital. Fina is horrified and dismayed. What the hell happened here?
Then Chico comes home from the hospital and she bounds—bounds because Fina, who has a big heart, is also big girl—she bounds up the stairs to take Chico some recovery vittles and soup.
In his recovery, Chico and Fina bond, and Fina is happy about the product of her “accidental fufú.” But then, even as Fina is sitting pretty on this happy turn of events, all of a sudden a woman from Chico’s past shows up.
And Fina is forced to up the ante on her spells.
Not to mention on her faith in Palo Monte, the Afro-Caribbean belief system that Fina’s spells come from, and that is a big part of my book.
When I wrote about the effects of this accidental fufú, I was thinking of my own dabblings in magic and my very own accidental fufú… Way back in another life of my mine, when I lived in Boston, I too had a crush on a musician. And, like the musician in my novel, the one in my life was too much in his own head to really respond to me the way I wanted.
So I too put together a love fufú with a coconut, meant to symplize “the head” of my heart throb. It worked, but not in the way I had hoped…
(More to come next week…)