Writing for Change: Keep Corazon

On Friday, July 22, at the Hyatt Regency’s Grand Ballroom, I will be discussing Listo Love, my latest novel, at the San Francisco Writers Conference “Writing for Change” event.

Please join lots of Loved Ones from 7-10 p.m.! You can find more information here:


From my new novel, Listo Love, a story about Brothers from the Pit:

“Keep Corazon” 

Listo, I must be there with you in the exact moment with the purpose of going all out and into the spirit of Gameness. By going beyond instinct, you have entered into something called spirit.

You are in the fourth week of your conditioning Keep, the American Pit Bull Terrier’s physical conditioning camp. We condition together. You explode your energy chasing the ball on the beach and sprinting again and again up hills and mountains. When we walk, with your brown leather harness strapped around your bull chest, you pull and push me to new heights. Our secret recipe for conditioning is going to dog parks. Since you were a puppy, I have conditioned you to everything—noises, places, weathers, people, different dogs. I have never encouraged you to be aggressive, so for now, you can play with other dogs. That is the best workout: one where you sprint, fake others out, jump up, scoot down, wrestle, dash, and dig deep.

We are getting ready for the National Conformation Show in September. You and the other APBT Pure Pits are going to have to showcase your wrestler/gymnast bodies and confident courage. Physical flesh proves your wind, power, and agility. Your muscles explode out of your skin. You are tighter, tautier, more Svelte, than Bruce Lee.

Hagakure, the ancient Japanese Samurai text, states that a warrior should be able to commit at least one final action even if his head should be suddenly cut off. In the historical past, sometimes Pits have kept fighting even after their bodies have gone into death shock. Gameness is not a horror story, but both the beginning and the end of the story that never ends, eternal life.

All Gameness requires is that you action into a life and death frenzy.

Conditioning doesn’t make you Game, but you can win if you are Game and conditioned as opposed to just being Game.

28 years ago, when I got my first Pit, he was street Game, just as I was street Game, especially after fighting as a Grunt in war. I needed something, someone who could be my Brother and push me to play all the way.

Vida Loca. We lived that life that was full of adventure and heart-break. Listo, you are stronger than human beings.

We would like to imagine we humans would enter into life and death with as much Gameness as these creatures of our own Atomic creation—the Pit that goes beyond instinct and nature. There is no other animal so much like us, partnered with us, bred by us, living with us, that will fight and win and fight and die, which is the same thing.

Listo, you give me hope of spirit that I can never understand.

I’m sweating. My ankles feel a bit brittle from Bulldoggin many miles on different types of uneven surfaces. You are panting. You are pulling. Your body is powerful, but you must be hurt, too. My physical flesh connects me to my roots. My roots come before me through my ancestors that I never met, yet they are here through my body. I have their nose, their eyes, their gangster strut. By being in feeling, and challenging my body, I connect to thousands, millions of years I never knew yet somehow know. You teach me this, Listo.

Love is the most important ingredient in any conditioning Keep. The dog must love you and feel your love. This cannot be faked. If you don’t have Listo Love, he will sense you are not about Amor and will not want to live life and die death with you. With love, anything is possible. It is not the Bulldog, but you, me, who must hold the spirit of Gameness—to never quit no matter what.

Whatever you ask him to do, you yourself must be willing to do. Once he feels this, he will do absolutely anything. He will suffer any torture, give all his life, and even save yours.

Always in all ways all Amor Eterno.

Los Chapulines Colorados, The Red Grasshoppers 🙂

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