I was 16 years old when I happened to find an Amália Rodrigues CD accidentally nestled between Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughn at Tower Records in San Jose. The guy at the music store didn’t know who she was and was about to take the CD from me when I realized the songs listed on the back cover were in Portuguese. Enticed by the lyrical titles, I decided to buy the music of the pale woman with ebony hair, whose eyes captivated me.
I played my Amália Rodrigues CD so much that my high school friends would refuse to jump in my white jeep.
“I’d rather walk than have to listen to that sad music,” they said.
Even my Portuguese friends put my Amália CD down, saying it was the music of their grandparents. My love for Fado pushed me to travel to Lisbon, the Azores and the Madeira’s in my 20s. With my Brazilian Portuguese, I moseyed through colorful markets, jumping at every opportunity to listen to a live Fadista perform. And it was at one of these concerts where I shared a table with an old lady who beamed when I told her I was from San Francisco.
“I have a brother who moved there in the 70’s with his amigo,” she explained in Portuguese, “The day he left Sao Miguel was the last time we spoke though.”
Her eyes filled with tears and she left before the concert started. The woman’s reaction stayed with me for awhile. But like many memories, it was eventually buried.
Fifteen years later, I was now blind and a writer and was listening to Pandora when an Amália song started to play. For the first time in years, I thought of that woman and her brother. And as Amália sang her heart out, a story began to take shape in my mind.
Midday Dreams is not my attempt at piecing together the woman’s story. It’s a tale that was inspired by the stranger’s tears, but took on a life of its own as I re-kindled my admiration for the bluesy Portuguese music. As someone who writes memoir, it’s important for my readers to know that Midday Dreams is not based on anyone I know. It’s not my first work of fiction, but it is the first tale my readers will have access to that has nothing to do with me.
About Midday Dreams
Belo Cipriani (Blind: A Memoir) returns with a magical short story that whisks readers away to another time, another place. In the lyrical Midday Dreams, Cipriani takes his readers to a lush, tropical island that isn’t the paradise it might appear to be. There, the devout Izabel learns to open her heart to those who don’t live and believe as she does. Infused with prophetic dreams and magical realism, Midday Dreams will surely find its way into your heart.
Who is Belo Cipriani?
Belo Cipriani is the Writer-in-Residence at Holy Names University, a spokesperson for Guide Dogs for the Blind, the “Get to Work” columnist for SFGate.com, and the author of Blind: A Memoir. You are invited to connect with him on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and YouTube.