I Am Quixote

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Does preserving one’s stories and culture still matter?

"La Entrega" (c) 2015 Rafael A. Osuba
“La Entrega” 12×18 (c) 2015 Rafael A. Osuba

Does preserving one’s stories and culture still matter?

The way of life, the traditions and the expressions of a society determine its culture. Culture is not only the accumulation of our customs, norms and traditions, but also the creativity and inventiveness by which we define and develop our humanity. If a culture is to survive, the society wherein it finds expression must work hard to maintain its identity.  This becomes even more important when living in such a diverse country as the United States where cultures and histories often blend and transform into something new.  The United States is a wonderful experiment that continues to change and morph in ways that highlights the many cultures and influences that have always been at the core of its existence.

At the intersection of differing customs, codes, norms, traditions, visions, and values is a dynamic place full of complexity, opportunity, challenge, and, at times, frustration.

There is a lot of noise and fear in this country at present.

That is to be expected when things change, and many things have and will continue to change.  Our world is getting smaller; our communities look, feel, sound, and work differently.  At such a time it is easy to feel disoriented and lose your sense of identity and purpose.

The arts and humanities play a crucial role in telling the many stories that need to be told and preserved.  Unfortunately, I fear we are forfeiting our sense of creativity and becoming culturally bankrupt. At the same time that technologies are connecting the globe in ways unimaginable a generation ago, we have become disconnected from ourselves, our stories, our languages, and our histories.

It is sad to see the very things that celebrate and preserve our essence and identity—music, dance, literature, art—disregarded by so many. As an advocate for the arts and humanities here in North Carolina through Artist Studio Project and The El Quixote Festival, we try to provide platforms for expression, learning, creating, and engagement, as well as opportunities to share the stories that would otherwise go untold. We collaborate with others in order to create experiences for our North Carolina community that allow us to learn more about each other; those of us that have been here for decades as well as those who are still unpacking moving boxes. In my view, it is the telling and hearing of stories that empowers us to meet the challenges that all of us face each day.

As someone fighting to preserve and tell these important and still relevant stories, it concerns me that although we create and produce high quality events and programming that are accessible to all, too often attendance is very low. I was told recently that events that are free and open to the general public have no value. While I am saddened by this perspective, I take heart because I know it is not true.

I can list all of the internationally recognized authors, actors, performers, musicians, directors, and artists that we have featured as well as a long and impressive list of co-sponsors and collaborators, but I don’t know if it will make any difference. In the end, each of us decides if culture is worthy of preservation or not; it is up to us to determine whether we want our children to know these same stories and histories and eventually they may add a chapter of their own.

Ever the optimist I will continue to dream big, I hope you will join us as we celebrate another year of artistic excellence in North Carolina. We will continue to advocate for the arts and humanities and to provide spaces for our cultures to be shared.

“If thou are not versed in the business of adventure… get thee aside and pray… whilst I engage these giants in combat…”
(Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)

Rafael A. Osuba
I am Quixote!

You can find out more about our 4th Annual El Quixote Festival here:

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Contacto: Rafael A. Osuba
(919) 995-9763


RALEIGH (07/17/2015) Artist Studio Project está buscando escritores, poetas y compositores inspirados por los temas y tópicos explorados en la obra maestra literaria de El Quijote de Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, para conmemorar los 400 años de su publicación. Varios encuentros literarios y lecturas en vivo se están planeando en Carolina del Norte durante El Festival de El Quijote que se realizará del  29 de septiembre 2015 al 23 de abril 2016.  Los temas incluyen pero no se limitan a: los cuentos de romance, la auto creación, los sueños, el amor, la desesperación, la gastronomía, la caballería, la locura, la traición, la lucha, la esclavitud, la tontería, la moralidad, la imaginación, la distinción de clase, la percepción, el honor, la verdad, la mentira, el poder, la ficción, la obsesión, la humillación, la comedia, la amistad, la devoción, la censura, la falsedad, la historia, la religión, la ley, la opresión, los refranes, las supersticiones, el idioma, la piratería, el plagio, los símbolos, los ídolos, los caballos, los hostales, romper el molde, el chisme, la enfermedad, la muerte, los impuestos, sólo para nombrar unos pocos.

Si usted es un poeta, escritor, compositor o músico y quiere ser incluido por favor enviar su trabajo para consideración.
También habrá oportunidades de "micrófono abierto".

Reglas: Sumisiones sólo se aceptarán por en forma literaria.

Envío por correo electrónico o correo postal no será aceptado.

Fecha límite: El 30 de agosto, 2015 a las 23:59.

Idioma: inglés / español

Poesía: Hasta 3 poemas por sumisión. Los poemas deben ser de 300 palabras o menos. No hay preferencias de estilo.

Cuentos: Un máximo de un cuento corto por sumisión. Los cuentos cortos deben ser no más de 1000 palabras. No hay preferencias de estilo.

Tiempo de respuesta: Todas las presentaciones serán notificadas de su estado el 10 de septiembre de 2015. Si se selecciona, los escritores están de acuerdo para permitir la publicación en el sitio web de I Am Quijote con el crédito apropiado, y extractos de los escritos en los medios de comunicación sociales de El Quijote Festival con el crédito apropiado.

Lecturas en vivo: Las lecturas en vivo serán programadas durante todo el festival y a los escritores escogidos posiblemente se les pedirá leer su obra en vivo en algunos eventos del festival, el primero de los cuales está prevista para el 29 de septiembre en Durham, seguido por la conferencia inaugural / discurso de apertura el 30 de septiembre en Meredith College . El primero de varias tertulias literarias está programado para el 12 de octubre 2015 en la Universidad de Duke.  Los autores / escritores seleccionados serán contactados para coordinar las lecturas.

CUÁNDO: Desde el 29 de septiembre 2015 al 23 de abril 2016
DÓNDE: Diferentes áreas de Carolina del Norte.
MAYOR INFORMACIÓN: Contacte a Rafael A. Osuba al (919) 995-9763
o por correo electrónico a

Acerca de ASP: Es una colaboración de artistas que trabajan para ayudar a promover mutuamente sus talentos y el arte a través de diferentes medios. Artist Studio Project unirá a artistas en varios proyectos en un esfuerzo intelectual que es creativo por naturaleza y con ello les dará una plataforma para crear a través de un intercambio de conocimientos, aprendizaje y consenso mutuo. Es nuestra creencia que, en particular, equipos que trabajan en colaboración tienen la posibilidad de obtener mayores recursos, reconocimiento y recompensa cuando se enfrentan a la competencia por recursos limitados. 



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Contact: Rafael A. Osuba
(919) 995-9763


RALEIGH (07/17/2015) Artist Studio Project is looking for literary writers, poets and songwriters inspired by the themes and topics explored in the literary masterpiece of El Quixote written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra to commemorate the 400 years of its publication. Several literary gatherings and live readings at festival events are being planned throughout North Carolina during the El Quixote Festival which runs September 29th, 2015 – April 23rd, 2016. Topics include but are not limited to: Romance tales, self creation, dreaming, love, despair, food, chivalry, lunacy, betrayal, struggle, conflict, loyalty, slavery, tomfoolery, morality, imagination, class distinction, perception, honor, truth, lies, power, fiction, obsession, humiliation, comedy, friendship, devotion, censorship, falsehood, history, religion, law, oppression, sayings, superstitions, language, piracy, plagiarism, symbols, idols, horses, inns, breaking the mold, gossip, illness, death, taxes, just to name a few.

If you are a poet, writer, songwriter or musician and would like to be included please submit your work for consideration.  There will also be “open mic” opportunities.

Guidelines:  Submission will only be accepted through literary form.  Submission by email or US mail will not be eligible.

Deadline: August 30th, 2015, 11:59pm

Language: English /Spanish

Poetry: Up to 3 poems per submission. Poems must be 300 words or fewer. No style preference.

Short stories: One story maximum per submission. Stories must be no more than 1000 words. No style preference.

Response time: All submissions will be notified of their status by September 10, 2015.  If selected, writers agree to allow publishing on I Am Quixote website with proper credit, and excerpts of writings on El Quixote Festival’s social media outlets with proper credit.

Live readings: Live readings will be scheduled throughout the festival and chosen writers may be asked to read live at festival events, the first of which is scheduled for September 29th in Durham followed by the Festival’s opening lecture/ keynote address on September 30th at Meredith College.  The first of several literary gatherings is scheduled for October 12th, 2015 at Duke University.  Selected authors/writers will be contacted to coordinate readings.

WHEN: From September 29, 2015 to April 23, 2016
WHERE: Different areas of North Carolina
MORE INFORMATION: Contact Rafael A. Osuba at (919) 995-9763
or by email to or by visiting

About ASP: Artist Studio Project: Is a collaboration of artists working to help promote each other’s talents and art through various media forms. Artist Studio Project will team up artists on an intellectual endeavor that is creative in nature and by doing so give them a platform to create by sharing knowledge, learning and building consensus. It is our belief that in particular, teams that work collaboratively can obtain greater resources, recognition and reward when facing competition for finite resources.
ASP was created by Rafael A. Osuba.


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The Reason Cervantes Asked To Be Buried Under a Convent-WUNC

The Reason Cervantes Asked To Be Buried Under A ConventThe Reason Cervantes Asked To Be Buried Under a Convent-WUNC

Click Below To Listen To Podcast!

Originally published on June 24, 2015 5:25 pm – on

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit – All Things Considered

It was Miguel de Cervantes' dying wish to be buried inside the walls of Madrid's Convento de las Trinitarias Descalzas — the Convent of the Barefoot Trinitarians — where a dozen cloistered nuns still live today, nearly 400 years later.

Cervantes, born in 1547, is the most famous writer in the Spanish language. But the world would never have read his literature if it weren't for the Trinitarian nuns. Cervantes believed he owed his life to them.

That's because before Cervantes wrote his two-volume masterpiece, The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha, the author had some chivalrous adventures of his own.

As a young man in his early 20s, he fled Spain for Rome, after wounding a nobleman in a duel. By 1570, he returned home and enlisted in the Spanish navy. He went to war to defend the pope — and got shot in twice in the ribs, and once in the shoulder — an injury that left his left arm paralyzed.

And it was only then that he got kidnapped by Algerian pirates.

"He was taken prisoner. He spent five years — five terrible years — as a slave, as a captive," says historian Fernando del Prado, who has devoted his life to studying Cervantes.

With Cervantes enslaved in Africa, his family appealed to the Trinitarian nuns. They managed to raise a ransom and deliver it to the pirates — which won Cervantes his freedom.

The fledgling author returned to Spain, and prayed at the Trinitarians' convent.

He worked variously as a civil servant and a banker and eventually wrote Don Quixote, now recognized as the world's first modern novel. The epic novel tells the tale of a gentleman with romantic ideas and bumbling adventures across Spain's La Mancha plains.

Over the past year and a half, Madrid has embarked on a quixotic mission of its own, locating Cervantes' bones under the Trinitarians' convent, and finally marking them with a gravestone.

In an underground crypt, geophysicists used georadar to map the contours of long-forgotten burial chambers.

"It's a magnetic impulse, like an X-ray," says Luis Avial, the technical director of Falcon High Tech, a geophysics company hired by the city of Madrid. "We put this strong signal in the ground, and what came back was the contours of all the cavities, structures and graves underneath. We were able to see it all."

Once Avial and his team of geophysicists were able to see that there were indeed graves under the convent — as legend has long held — they turned the operation over to archaeologists and forensic anthropologists, who began excavations.

"The only problem was the people who live in the convent. We needed to be very careful not to disturb the nuns living there in silence," Avial says. "But the technology — it isn't difficult."

After digging for weeks, archaeologists found the bones of at least 15 people — men, women and children. They're believed to be anonymous faithful interred under the convent, over the centuries.

But one set of bones was found inside the remnants of a splintered wooden coffin etched with the initials "M.C." The skeleton's ribs were flayed from bullet wounds — and its left arm crippled. Telltale signs, even before DNA testing, that the archaeologists had found their man.

"When I saw that rib — I thought, 'We've found Cervantes at last!'," says Francisco Exteberría, a Spanish forensic anthropologist who famously exhumed the body of the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda in 2013. "It was a special moment," he says, recalling how he came across Cervantes' bones. "The whole team was there in silence, underground, studying what we found — and we all knew."

Earlier this month, Exteberría's team reburied Cervantes' bones near where they found them — adhering to the author's dying wish — and dedicated a monument to him upstairs, in the convent.

Soldiers stood at attention and saluted the monument, as a military band played solemn music that reverberated through the convent. It was the same Spanish military unit Cervantes once served in.

Even the nuns came out from behind their dark screen, where they're normally cloistered upstairs, to celebrate.

"It was like a rescue," said Mother Superior Sor Amada de Jesus, giggling to reporters. She played down suggestions the excavations must have been noisy for nuns in prayer. "They were pretty discreet," she said of the workmen.

Madrid's outgoing mayor, Ana Botella, read aloud an inscription on Cervantes' new gravestone — some of the last words the author penned in 1616, in his last novel The Trials of Persiles and Segismunda, written just before his death:

Time is brief,
anxieties grow,
hopes diminish,
and yet my desire to live 
keeps me alive.

"With emotion, it's time to say, 'Don Miguel, mission accomplished,' " Botella told a crowd.

Cervantes died within a day of William Shakespeare, 400 years ago next year. Madrid officials are negotiating with the Trinitarian nuns over new visiting hours for their convent. For now, tourists can pay homage to Cervantes only during daily Mass.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit

Learn More About El Quixote Festival NCLearn More About The NC Festival Planned To Celebrate The 400 Years Of This Great Literary Masterpiece.

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Spain formally buries Cervantes, 400 years later

Spain formally buries Cervantes, 400 years later

Posted: Jun 11, 2015 10:48 AM EDT
Updated: Jun 11, 2015 11:49 AM EDT

Spain formally buries Cervantes, 400 years later…

Associated Press
MADRID (AP) – Spain gave its greatest writer, Miguel de Cervantes, a formal burial Thursday nearly 400 hundred years after his death, unveiling a funeral monument holding recently unearthed bone fragments believed to include those of the author of "Don Quixote."

Madrid Mayor Ana Botella placed a laurel wreath at the foot of the monument in a Madrid convent in a ceremony that included military honors since Cervantes, considered the Shakespeare of Spanish letters, also had been a soldier for Spain.

The bones were dug up this year by experts after a near-yearlong search at the convent where Cervantes was known to have been buried in 1616.

Construction work over the centuries had made it difficult to figure out exactly where his bones lay. Investigators were convinced that his bones were among the remains of 15 bodies found in the crypt of the Barefoot Trinitarians, but they were unable to prove definitively which belonged to the author.

Still, they had some clues. Cervantes died at age 69 and wrote that he only had six teeth by then. He also had wounds. In 1571, the writer was wounded in the Battle of Lepanto, which pitted Ottoman Turkish forces against the Holy League, led by Spain. Aboard the ship La Marquesa, Cervantes was hit by three musket shots, two in the chest and one in his hand.

In January, archeologists said they found fragments of a casket bearing the initials "M.C." and bones. They concluded it was the author, even without definite proof.

Botella said the monument settled an age-old debt to Cervantes and to Spanish culture.

"Now we can say, 'Miguel, mission accomplished,'" she said.

Cervantes has such stature in Spain that the anniversary of his death on April 23 is celebrated each year with a marathon reading of "Don Quixote" by dozens of political and cultural figures.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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