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Introduction: Ivory Towers

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flag Foreword

"A place where even the ocean waves get lost. A place where quiet is truly quiet. Two Ivory Towers, in the middle of the Great Sea; a place called home.

" -The Book of Songs, 1932

A few weeks after my lung cancer diagnosis was confirmed, I decided that it would be at my childhood home that would spend my final days. A fascination with circles, I suppose. When I arrived, I found my old house along the beach in disrepair; overgrown grass clung to the outer walls of my house as if trying to reach the roof. The large oak tree that seemed to stand enormous in my youth had been, much like me, withered away by time. Still I was glad to be... home.

A few weeks later, a man from a local publishing company visited me at my house. He said he was a friend of my friend, the one with the goofy yellow hat and the aviator sunglasses. I immediately knew who he meant. He asked me to write something for a book he was working on. I simply told him, "you are ten years too late. I have no more words to give you." But he was a persistent man. It took all of my effort and the chastising of my niece to send him away. He said he would be back tomorrow.

And he was.

The truth is I have a life time of stories to share and precious time to write them down. But this is not a tragedy, it isn't even sad. I've thrown away far more than anyone could hope to read. Well hope to read before being bored to death. So for this final story, for this island, for this... my home, I submit to you, the pen. I have lived many lives, with many different people, and it is said that my stories are well known. But these are not my stories. These are yours.

This is a story of a place called Siccalium and Santa Julieta; a place I call home.

The Ivory Towers.

Sebastian Arteaga, poet, novelist, artist, political activist was born in the suburb of Santa Julieta on July 15th, 1914. In 1932, he published his first book of poetry titled, The Book of Songs. Two years later, he published world famous poem, The Ivory Towers, about his home. During the Italian occupation of San Gerardo, Sebastian Arteaga was instrumental in maintaining the island's cultural and political identity through his guerrilla writings and his open defiance of Mussolini and his regime. Arrested many times, and tortured, he was eventually deported from the island and held in detention in Italy until the end the Allied Invasion in 1943. After the war, he returned to San Gerardo a national hero. Years later, he would embark on a journey across Europe. During this time he wrote of his experience in the war and of his homeland in a novel also titled The Ivory Towers. The book became an international bestseller. In 1960, he married a young French woman by the name of Josephine Caillaud and settled in Paris. In late 2008, Sebastian Arteaga was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died on March 6th, 2009.

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