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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Of the oral and the written

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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.

Of the oral and the written
By Eugenia Gallardo

I asked a friend who is a great conversationalist why she didn’t write those colorful and interesting stories that she told with such grace and enthusiasm. He replied that without the nourishment of the immediate reaction of his audience, he could not fabricate stories and that he had tried but that the result was frustrating. “My written stories -he lamented- seem rigid and bland to me; they are no longer living words”. That made me think about the artifice that is literature, where we not only imagine what does not materially exist, but also create in our imagination a fellow member, an intangible being who not only listens to us, but also reacts and that makes us drives the story: is the ideal or potential reader. Like when in childhood we talk with the imaginary friend with such certainty in his existence, that sometimes we do it out loud. So, if we feel that my friend, a great conversationalist but frustrated writer, is happening to us, I propose the exercise of telling a story through a dialogue. What happened the reader finds out in the development of that talk. As a writer, put yourself in the role of a character and invent other participants to provoke you, to ask you questions, to contradict you, to add details to your story. In order to write a good story, you will feel the need to refine your ability to observe how people speak, what kind of words they repeat, how they interrupt others, how they attract or divert attention to themselves, what speech or gesture resources used to convince, etc. Choose an anecdote and tell it several times using the dialogue procedure but with different characters. I assure you that at least one of the exercises will result in a vital and interesting narrative, where the marriage between the spoken word and the written word yields its best fruits.

Eugenia Gallardo
December 7, 2022
Raleigh NC

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