an hour with an optimist in andalucia

chris stewart

Chris Stewart @ FNAC Sevilla

I’ve always loved the title of his first book (also the first one I read) “Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Andalucia.” I chuckle about the idea of driving over lemons because in reality they really are everywhere: omnipresent citrus roadkill. You see it on the street and automatically side step it thinking it may be from a dog and not a tree (there is a lot of that here, too) – but it’s just a lemon (or lime, or orange) that couldn’t hang on long enough for someone to pick it up, and now it’s pavement juice.

As for optimism in el Andaluz – it seems like a misnomer in a place where the sun always shines, but Stewart hits the nail on the head when it comes to coping with a new and fiesty culture. Will he speak in Spanish? English? The website says he’ll talk about his possible films. Films?? What films?

Turns out that his lecture title “Entre Limones” is in fact the (random) translation of “Driving Over Lemons”. For the record, I should not that “entre” means “between” and does not have a thing to do with driving 🙂 It was an intimate crowd in FNAC (think: Barnes & Noble x 4 floors + electronics), mostly Spanish. He spoke a bit about the movie that is in the works, and his reluctance to have his life and the cortijo on the big screen. Several interesting questions (and answers) about his decision to relocate to the hinterlands of the Alpujarras and raise a child there with his wife, who was also in attendance. (His daughter is now 20 and a student at the University of Granada).

I picked up a copy of the book and he signed it for me at the end of the lecture. “To Kelly: A great big hug from the deepest, darkest depths of Andalucia.”

Related side note:
This lecture was a part of the European Film Festival being held in Sevilla right now. I think there will be a film in my future, as well …

Unrelated side note:
When it says 9 degrees on the billboard, my brain thinks WHOA it’s COLD .. until it does the math. 9˚C x 2 = 18 + 32 = 50˚F. Not bad for a native Pennsylvanian, eh?

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