a story of wanderlust

Roberto Loiederman

has been a journalist, merchant seaman, TV scriptwriter (Dynasty, Knots Landing, Days of Our Lives, Father Dowling, Guns of Paradise, etc.), kibbutz cook, deli owner, documentary film producer and writer, and some other professions he’d rather not remember.

He’s had more than 200 articles and stories published in the L.A. Times, Washington Post, Baltimore Sun, Penthouse, Jewish Journal, The Forward, and many other literary magazines you probably haven’t heard of. One of his stories, Before Me Today, was included in the Hollywood anthology, “The Way We Work.”

He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2014 and 2015, and is co-author of The Eagle Mutiny, a nonfiction account of the only mutiny on an American ship in modern times. For more info, please visit: www.eaglemutiny.com


Rafael, Titicaca, and How My Son Got His Name

written by Roberto Loiederman

Some name their first child for a relative, some for a prominent person. Some choose a name that’s in vogue. Roberto Loiederman named his first child for an unforgettable cocaine dealer he met while crossing Lake Titicaca.

This is a story of wanderlust, a passionate love affair, and the most unusual way Roberto’s son got his name.


© 2018 Roberto Loiederman | Recording © 2020 Rivercliff Books & Media. All rights reserved.

Read by Edwin Perez

“When properly chosen, a name can be an augury of future success. And this is why I named my first child after a cocaine dealer I met while crossing Lake Titicaca.”

“On Saturday night, locals showed up at Rafael’s house to drink and party. Rafael introduced me as “mi hermano perdido,” which means “my long-lost brother.” That was true: during that week, we did become like brothers.”

“Beti exploded: “La puta que te parió! The universe will not take care of us! You always say that! All that mystical shit! No — it’s up to us! We have to take care of ourselves.”

“This was what I’d been doing for years: gliding on the slippery outer skin of the planet, standing outside the human drama, watching others live their lives — observing, but not being a part of it.”

“So it’s all a series of random events, like atoms smashing against one another, then smashing into other atoms. It’s endless, the randomness of it, the arbitrariness of it, like two flutes answering one another in the dark, on a rust-free steamboat crossing Lake Titicaca.”

Q&A with Roberto

Tell us about your story...

There is a moment in every life when everything changes, when everything that comes after is essentially, totally different from everything that came before. In my case it happened when I was stoned and wandering around Buenos Aires one Saturday morning and I heard a voice telling me that I needed to get involved in life and not just observe it coolly from outside.

What was the inspiration for this story?

How does life get its permanent shape? When do we become adults and take on adult responsibilities? Can we pinpoint that moment? In my case, I know exactly when it happened, and that event is what this story is about.

What have you recently read that you loved?

The Club by Leo Damrosch, biographies of the members of the most famous club of all time, in the late 1700s in London: Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, Edmund Burke, Edward Gibbon, Adam Smith, Joshua Reynolds, Oliver Goldsmith, David Garrick and others, all of them debating, drinking, eating. Reading Damrosch is a window into these illustrious characters.

Someday I want to...

Be an international spy. But not industrial. Too tame. Real stuff, like being a mole worming one’s way into the upper echelons of an enemy government. That’s something I haven’t done.

What do you like to do when you're not writing?

Cook, bake, read, solve puzzles, meet with friends (nowadays on Zoom, mostly).

Do you have any hidden talents?

When I worked on ships, 50+ years ago, I memorized hundreds of poems that I liked, mostly by W.B. Yeats, Wallace Stevens and William Blake. When shipmates asked me about this, I said it was my way of having good company when alone, like when doing lookout at night on the bow.

Also, once, when I was camping out in Bagby, west of Yosemite, I foraged wild wheat, managed to grind it with rocks, found clay, shaped a loaf of bread, wrapped it in clay, buried the loaf in a fire pit, and somehow ended up with “bread” which was nearly edible if soaked for a good while.

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