In my rented Seat I was on my way to Granada in search of Yosht and duende, and while driving through the night I listened to Bob Dylan singing about flesh-coloured Christs that glow in the dark. The only thing that glowed under the gigantic Spanish night sky were the snow-capped mountaintops that winked at me every time the sickle moon sliced through the clouds.
It's true that I had to look it up, duende, and I am none the wiser. I bought Collected Poems and read that duende is the heightened state of emotion which is needed to create true art. Think flamenco.
Professor Hubnoth and Moshe Cohen sent me on my way. 'Where should I start?', I asked rather desperately, but they shrugged their shoulders. I pushed for more information and they suggested I'd start in Granada or, to be more precise, Fuente Vacqueros, where Federico Garcia Lorca was born in 1898. 'It's a museum now,' Moshe Cohen offered.
'Or you could visit the house in Valderubio where he spent most of his adolescence and where the seeds were planted for his early work,' professor Hubnoth proposed.
'And then there is the old summer residence where he wrote a major part of his work,' Moshe Cohen suggested, 'Huerta de San Vicente. That's where I would start.'
'Why don't you come with me?', I asked. 'It would help.'
Professor Hubnoth scratched his head, looking into the distance.
'We can't, not at the moment, anyway,' Moshe Cohen explained. 'Yosht asked us to take care of Estelle. She needs professional care, in a home. And together with Lydia we're going to put the house up for sale. To cover the costs.'
I checked into a hotel not far from Lorca's house and lying in bed I browsed through his Collected Poems. I fell asleep and dreamt of a dark-coloured Christ, with his long locks scarred, jutting cheekbones and pale pupils.
The following morning I made my way to the Huerta San Vicente, a beautiful, rather modest farmhouse, surrounded by a park where a hundred years ago would have been an orange grove. Looking left and right for a sign of Yosht and not finding any, I bought a ticket and followed a small group of tourists through the family rooms, the kitchen and Federico's tiny, bare room with only a desk, a chair and a narrow bed. Doors opening to a small balcony from where the poet had a view of the sierras. No sign of Yosht nor duende. I felt miserable.
Near the exit there was a guestbook where you could write something about your visit. I leafed through the pages to see what others were writing and then there it was: