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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Open the faucet of the word: automatic writing (Part One)

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Eugenia Gallardo
Eugenia Gallardo
Literariamente Eugenia se define como hija de Asturias y Cervantes; prima de Monterroso y Batres Montúfar; amiga de Yourcenar y Christie. Su obra ha sido traducida al italiano y francés, e incluida en antologías. Publica poco y escribe mucho; la crítica ha sido generosa con los frutos de su inventiva. En 2020 y 2021 fue nominada al Premio Nacional de Literatura. Floreció en dos hijas y dos nietas. Casada de dos hervores, hoy es soltera empedernida. Creció en Cobán, Huehuetenango y la Ciudad de Guatemala. Entre aventuras y exilios ha vivido en Nueva Orleans, Sao Paulo, Atlanta, Carolina del Norte, Londres, Madrid y Costa Rica. Es Máster en Ciencias en Economía de América Latina (Universidad de Londres). Como economista política se ha dedicado principalmente a la investigación social. Escritora, dramaturga, actriz y artista plástica, su principal motivación es la creatividad y la experimentación.

We have learned to write through the artifice of construction. In its most elementary form we try to make sentences that begin with someone (subject) doing something (verb) in a certain way or circumstance (complement). It is the convention by which we communicate so that others understand us. Thought, on the other hand, flows with a different mood: it goes happily disorderly going around, interrupting, leaving things half done and mixing the wise vital reflections with the outbursts typical of everyday life. Let us imagine a scholar analyzing in his mind the text of a philosopher while cooking an egg: in his mind pass the transcendental relations between the sense of time and the imminence of the end of liberal democracy and at the same time the imprecation corresponding to a burn of oil and the memory of how his grandmother prepared fried eggs. And all that in a matter of seconds. If he had to write the story of that moment, he would spend at least ten pages and he would be very sad that his admirers (surely apprentice scholars) would find out about his culinary inexperience and his intimate childhood memories that would bring him closer to sentimentality (sorry for the rhyme). In short, thought has its logic and formal writing its own. And it happens that by pouring a thought into the bowl of structured language, you run the risk of losing its essence, its truth, its impetus, its emotion, its meaning. In the act of ordering the words and complying with the protocols of a language, a character interferes that all writers try to avoid: the censor. The censor is that being who claims to protect us from social punishment: don’t write like that because so-and-so will be offended, don’t write that because they will think horribly of you, don’t take risks with that phrase because they will misinterpret it… etc. The censor is the main enemy of our freedom of expression and the profession of writing has a lot to do with playing around with the aforementioned. And one way to do that is through the automatic writing exercise that we’ll explore in the next column.


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