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Tuesday, March 28, 2023

Common places have their place – Part Two

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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.

Eager to polish a story, we proceed to replace common places with other, more creative and personal ways of saying things. Now, it is necessary to think (besides being original) what that “common phrase” or commonplace really affects. Sometimes it is because sincerity is lacking where the matter of being believed is essential, as in a testimony or in an autobiography, because there specificity is the greatest contribution. This is the case where the imprecise and hackneyed “darkness of the night” is not enough, because if it matters that what is reported happened at night, the reader wants to know exactly what that night was like. Absolutely closed to the point of walking blind? With patches of artificial lighting or tricky reflections from the moon? Was it cold, warm, silent, smelly, stinking, with intermittent noises? The writer has to really locate himself at that moment, in that nocturnal space and transmit or draw it. In short, to recreate that atmosphere you need much more than the rapid loss of the common place “darkness of the night.” Remember that what is not clear in memory is invented, because ultimately we are artists of the word. It may also happen that the fact that it was at night did not affect the facts that it narrates, so eliminate “darkness of the night” because it is a supposedly literary embellishment that falsifies its truth.
On the other hand, in humorous texts common places are a gift. You can exaggerate them: the darkness of the night was extinguished by their screams. Or give them twists or mix them: the darkness of the smokescreen. Or build absurdities: he broke the silence with the flower petal that rolled down his cheeks in the clarity of the dark night.
This is how we are finding its place for commonplaces: analyzing and playing.

Eugenia Gallardo
February 5, 2023
Raleigh NC


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