I was born in Havana. The middle of three siblings. I have an older sister and a younger brother. The first few years of my life were spent in Lawton, a working class neighborhood, where my mother’s side of the family had been for over ninety years. Aunts, uncles, and cousins all lived within a four-block radius. A few years later, we moved to Fontanar, a more suburban neighborhood not far from the Jose Marti International Airport. This is where my fondest childhood memories were born. It was there that I learned to swim, play baseball and soccer, ride a bike, and laugh with my friends.
My father died suddenly in 1965, nineteen days after his thirty-eighth birthday, a month before I was to turn eight years old. I began to write after my father died. Years later, that incident inspired me to write an essay, “On Writing, Fathers and Sons” (see link in this website).
Four years after my father passed, we — my mother and three siblings —immigrated to the US and landed in San Francisco’s Mission District. I’ve lived in the Bay Area since then. While most of my life has been spent in the states, it is the trauma of loss, both of my father and my birthplace, that has most shaped me as a son, a brother, a husband, a father, a friend, and a writer.
I struggled to accept this new identity at first, even waiting twenty-five years before becoming a US citizen, seeing American citizenship as a sort of betrayal of my birthplace. In that process of introspection and search, my writing literally came out of the closet. After so many years of journaling, writing stories and reading in an effort to make sense of my life, it was time to share my words with the world. I figured perhaps someone would read them and find something in my stories that might help them in their own quest for understanding. My work reflects my search for answers through works of fiction and personal essays.
Currently, I am working on a collection of stories populated by characters that share a sense of disillusion and longing as they struggle to adapt to a culture so different from their own, sometimes within their own country. The shifting prejudices and political views that occur over time, among people with a common history are explored. My intent is to offer a distinctive variation on the many contradictions that Cuba and its history inspire, with a timeline bound by my own experience as a lone Cuban growing up in, what was at the time, one of the most diverse cities in the world, San Francisco.