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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Common places have their place – 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.

In the shared territory of the language, there are not only words, the structures that give them meaning, local expressions, grammatical and orthographic conventions, etc. There is also a drinking fountain, a source of ready-made phrases or expressions that we call commonplaces. They come from interesting or effective findings that some author gave to humanity and humanity, grateful, wanted to show their admiration by repeating that phrase and embellishing or improving their literature with it. That author could be a poet, a novelist, an orator, a philosopher… a journalist. And so, the blessed commonplace crept into our brain and we began to unconsciously use it as our own, without questioning it. That’s normal, that’s how we humans work: imitating. Now, here we are honing our resources to tell our own story effectively and gracefully, to shock and entertain, to shed light on behaviour, to say what we have a right to say, and in this context we need to look at the theme of commonplaces. Examine, become aware of what we are doing and then decide if we want to continue doing it and for what purpose. I propose that we take one of the texts that we have written and that we look for the common places. Did you find, for example, “breaking the silence”, “the tip of the iceberg”, “a smoke screen”, “the darkness of the night”, “a brilliant dawn”, “a devoted mother”, “an exemplary father”? “, “a sepulchral silence”, “a tear rolling down a cheek”, “a silver moon”, “a sweet little old lady”? Take out the magnifying glass, read aloud… and when you find common ground, ask yourself if that was really what you wanted to say and whether or not it serves the authenticity of your narrative. In the next column we will think about what to do with the common places: where we put them or where we remove them or if it is convenient to leave them giving them a personal twist.

Eugenia Gallardo
18 January 2023
Raleigh NC

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