On my last night in London a friend from California, the writer Julia Halprin Jackson, urges me to face the ultimate challenge: to participate in a blog-hop in which a series writers give away the little secrets of their trade by answering a few questions. Being a rookie in the writing world, I feel really honoured to have been selected to join this project. I met Julia in 2006, when she was working as a language assistant in a primary school near Fuengirola. At the time I was leading a bilingual drama workshop with a wonderful Spanish teacher, Pilar Andújar, and soon Julia became one of our main assets. I will always remember her with her little notebook, writing down all the words and expressions that came up in our conversations. We have been in touch since then and she has been a constant collaborator of COLLAGEmagazine (watch out for our next memory issue, she has contributed with a most amazing story in which she pays homage to her grandmother, Amah).
Julia is an accomplished writer: her work has appeared in West Branch Wired, California Northern, Fourteen Hills, Flatmancrooked, Sacramento News & Review, Fictionade, Fiction365, Catalyst and Spectrum, as well as selected anthologies. Julia has been awarded scholarships from the Tomales Bay Writer’s Workshops and the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and earned an M.A. in Creative Writing (fiction) from UC Davis. She lives in Northern California with Ryan, her fiance, where she co-founded and co-curates Play On Words, a collaborative literary performance series. And on top of all this, she’s working on her first novel, which is set in Southern Spain. You can learn more about julia at http://juliahalprinjackson.com
So here’s my little contribution to this blog-hop:
What am I working on?
This year in London has been a source of inspiration. I began this blog as part of my project for the European Commission and what started like a sort of “obligation” has become a real pleasure. Thus, even if my Grundtvig assistantship expires today, my intention is to carry on adding entries to this blog. Apart from this, I have been in charge of editing and coordinating the next issue of COLLAGE magazine, which is devoted to the topic of memory and will come out at the end of this month.
Also, I have several projects in mind. One of them is to write the texts that will accompany a book containing the amazing photographs that my partner, Lorenzo Hernández, has taken all throughout this year.
Lorenzo has always encouraged me to write, but I never knew what to write about. Now, all of a sudden, my head is full of stories and characters that are waiting to be put into paper. I don’t really know where this will lead to, but I am really looking forward to embark myself into this adventure.
How is my work different than others in its genre?
I’d say that it’s probably the fact that all what I write is intimately connected to Lorenzo’s photography. His images are always my source of inspiration, although I wouldn’t say that they rule absolutely what I write. I start with the photos and then my imagination runs free.
Having said this, I must admit that Lorenzo’s way of looking at the world through his camera, his personal view, the way he makes the most mundane things beautiful and poetic, rubs off on me a little bit. We spend most of our time talking, we started a conversation almost twenty years ago and we haven’t run out of topics yet, and I think all this food for though must show up in what I write.
How does my writing process work?
This is a question that has always fascinated me. Do writers know how their stories finish before they start writing or do they find out as they go? Years ago I asked this question to a very dear friend, the Irish writer Siobhan Galvin. She had written two one-thousand-page novels while raising three children and she told me that she used to write every day from 12pm to 13.30, once she had finished tidying up her house and before picking up the kids from school. She never new what she was going to write, it was as if the different characters told her what was going to happen next.
My case is the opposite. I need to have a structure in my head, a scaffolding that I flesh out in several drafts. Like Julia, I like leaving the text to rest and go back to it a few days later. Sometimes I erase everything and start all over again because when I wake up in the morning I suddenly have a much better structure in my head. With the blog I know the topic I am going to write about, I have the images, but I can’t start working until I have this structure.
Why do I write what I do?
Because once I have managed to finish a piece of writing, the pleasure is immense. I have always loved the ends that promise a new beginning, like the new friendship in Casablanca. For me writing is this new beginning.
I have asked three blogger friends to carry the torch: Gloria García Ordóñez, who works as a coach, reflects about life and the human nature in her blog; José Manuel Cruz Barragán leads a “double life” as an economist and film critic; and Joaquín García Weil is a philosopher and yoga teacher. I admire the three of them and I would like to thank them for joining me in this adventure. Their blogs are in Spanish, so I’ll leave their biographies in this language.
JOSÉ MANUEL CRUZ BARRAGÁN
Sevillano de nacimiento y malagueño de adopción. Aunque mi titulación dice que soy Licenciado en Económicas y Master en Administración de Empresas, al mismo tiempo también me apasionan el cine y la literatura. De acuerdo con ello, llevo una "doble" vida en que, por un lado, soy consultor empresarial y asesor financiero independiente y, por otro, soy escritor. En 2013, publiqué mi primera novela, Sin tregua se consumían nuestros ojos, que, espero, tenga continuación en breve. Actualmente, soy el autor de dos blogs: uno de economía, EL DEDO EN EL DATO (http://eldedoeneldato.blogspot.com.es) y otro de cine, EL ESPECTADOR IMPERTINENTE (http://elespectadorimpertinente.blogspot.com.es).
GLORIA GARCÍA ORDÓÑEZ
Cordo-malagueña, filóloga, formadora y coach. Anglófila, bebedora de té, practicante de yoga y entusiasta del vino tinto. Me encanta leer al sol, ver películas, reunirme con mi familia y quedar con mis amigos. Si es alrededor de una cerveza bien fría y de un plato enorme de buen jamón ibérico, mejor que mejor. Disfruto de mis momentos de llanto y aún más de los de risas. Creo que la Vida es increíblemente hermosa y que el dolor es sólo un amigo que trae un mensaje en la mochila. Tengo a la Muerte presente cada día y lo que me mueve es seguir camino mirando hacia adentro, conectando con el otro, aprendiendo y creciendo. Escribir es para mí una auto-terapia primero, y a través de mis reflexiones, nacidas de mi aprendizaje, quiero pensar que puedo aportar algo para que otras personas también avancen en su proceso de auto-descubrimiento. Escribo sobre la vida y sobre el ser humano, desde una perspectiva integradora y sistémica y dentro del marco respetuoso y ecológico que me aporta el coaching
JOAQUÍN GARCÍA WEIL
Joaquín García Weil, Licenciado en Filosofía, practica Yoga desde hace veinte años y lo enseña desde hace once. Es alumno del Swami Rudradev (discípulo destacado de Iyengar), con quien ha aprendido en el Yoga Study Center, Rishikesh, India. También ha estudiado con el Dr. Vagish Sastri de Benarés, entre otros maestros. Ha colaborado en Psicología Práctica, Yoga Journal (versión española) y la Revista Dharma. Ha fundado y dirige YogaSala Málaga, centro de yoga y meditación, donde enseña estas disciplinas.