Monday, April 18

Julio Cortázar: what is success all about?

Two years of blog and I didn't write a single post about Julio Cortázar? This is amazing, quite an accomplishment since he is in that strange and restrictive category we call favorites authors. 

From where to begin talking about someone whose work deals with so many issues and has numerous attributes ?

I just came across with this interview and I believe it's great start. The interviewer, a writer himself, Jason Weiss focused on Cortázar's process of writing that also reveals biographical and ideological views of a man who was deeply concerned with what was happening around him without losing the passion for literature, art, philosophy, music, architecture, practically all the fields that the word humanities have. Excerpts:

Cortázar: "When my characters are children and adolescents, I have a lot of tenderness for them. I think they are very alive in my novels and in my stories; I treat them with a lot of love. When I write a story where the character is an adolescent, I am the adolescent while I am writing it. With the adult characters, it’s something else."

Jason Weiss: Are many of your characters based on people that you’ve known?

Cortázar: "I wouldn’t say many, but there are a few. Very often there are characters who are a mixture of two or three people. I have put together a female character, for example, from two women I have known. That gives the character in the story or the book a personality that’s more complex, more difficult."

Jason Weiss: Do you mean that when you feel the need to thicken a character, you combine two together?

Cortázar: "Things don’t work like that. It’s the characters who direct me. That is, I see a character, he’s there, and I recognize someone I knew, or occasionally two who are a bit mixed together, but then that stops. Afterwards, the character acts on his own account. He says things . . . I never know what any of them are going to say when I’m writing dialogue. Really, it’s up to them. Me, I’m just typing out what they’re saying. Sometimes I burst out laughing, or I throw out a page and say, “There, there you’ve said silly things. Out!” And I put in another page and start over again with their dialog."

Jason Weiss: So it’s not the characters you’ve known that impel you to write?

Cortázar: "No, not at all. Often, I have an idea for a story, but there aren’t any characters yet. I’ll have a strange idea: something’s going to happen in a house in the country, I see . . . I’m very visual when I write, I see it all, I see everything. So, I see..."
(read the interview here) you will not regret. He is quite a genius and has a lot to say. At the end he tells a story to explain his views on success. I didn't full you with such a title for this post.)


Nicholas V. said...

Wonderful post, thank you! I enjoyed the interview very much.

Ana said...