Science fiction author Daína Chaviano seeks happiness in wine, family, and the simple things.
Ever since I left Cuba to live in the United States, I began to travel the world with a list of places I wanted to visit. My personal and literary interests (archaeology, history, science, mythology) kept me in a state of perpetual exploration. That’s why, since the pandemic began, I started to think about where my next destination would be when everything returned to normal.
Now three months have passed since I began my voluntary quarantine. I say “voluntary” because I self-secluded before any of the obligatory isolation measures were decreed. Recently, beaches, restaurants, and other public places have begun to reopen, but given my species’s social irresponsibility, I’ll continue to live like a cloistered nun until we have a vaccine.
This decision has changed the focus of my plans. The need for human company has become a painful physical yearning. Therefore, when I travel once more, it won’t be to explore Celtic sites in Ireland or medieval castles in Spain—it will be to go to Brandon, a small community in central Mississippi, where my sister and brother-in-law live.
The need for human company has become a painful physical yearning.
Brandon is a simple, peaceful place. Its greatest charms are its haunted mansions, its perfect climate, and catching sight of the deer who step forth shyly from between trees to wander in the gardens. And that is what I need. I want to distance myself from all the commotion of social media and the news, without needing to think about masks or disinfectants or invisible viruses.
After writing so many books of fantasy and science fiction, I never imagined that my new vision of utopia would be reclining on the hammock in my sister’s yard with a glass of wine in my hand, chatting about trivialities and memories, while her two cats (Missi and Sippi) drowse on the cushions and hummingbirds turn somersaults in the air above our heads.
Daína Chaviano is the bestselling Cuban-American author of numerous Spanish-language science fiction and fantasy novels. She lives and works in Miami. Translation by Lawrence Schimel.