"Having children is a brutal experience, but it is not necessary to give the ember with that"

He is thirteen years old and lives in a town in Teruel, although he was not born there. He arrived with his family three years earlier, when his mother, who is a doctor, was transferred. Soon he will go to Zaragoza with his father and older brother to study at the institute, but first he will have to spend the summer. During those months, everyday life is animated in the place, although not necessarily for the better. Vacationers appear and there are patron saint festivities with heifers, peñas to belong to and orchestras that play Paquito el chocolatier. Alcohol runs by liters and there are also drugs, she has seen them. Although she tries, she doesn't fit in and others notice, but instead of empathizing with her, they throw her down the trough one night when she comes home. Seeing her soaked, her parents are upset but she is not angry, she is ashamed. "I feel silly. How could I not see it coming," she thinks as she shivers while standing in the shower.

so it begins I always want to be what I am not (Editorial Milenio, 2021), the new book by the writer and cultural journalist Aloma Rodríguez. This is a compilation of stories but can be read as a training novel. With an adolescent protagonist who grows older as the chapters go by with the consequent changes that life brings: jobs, moves, friends who come and go, family ties, deaths, births. Vital transitions that are not narrated with drama, but with a certain melancholy. "I like periods of change because they allow you to suggest things, leave gaps for whoever reads to fill them in, allow projections to be made. We tend to think that decisions are made consciously, but this is not always the case, there is a very random component. important ", explains the author.

This is the fifth book of the writer - previously published Paris three (2007), Young and handsome (2010), Only if you move (2013) and Idiots prefer the mountain (2016) - and it is easy that whoever is reading this has come across his signature in different publications of the cultural press. This new work was built in two impulses, he says. "The first responds to the desire to gather stories scattered in anthologies and magazines, the second to the need to compose a more unitary volume". At first it did not have this structure, it changed as it was proposed until finally he decided to put the stories in a row "almost as he would order the songs on an album built on tensions: the rural world and the city; friends and family; friends and love. And if there were a single hypothetical protagonist, the stories would more or less follow the chronological order of his life, "he says.

The part of acknowledgments that usually occupies the last page with text of a book often gives clues about the author and their personal relationships. Sometimes they are explicit and others can only be understood by someone who knows the code that deciphers them. They can be a wink of sympathy or the opposite. In one of the chapters of the book, the protagonist, who is also a writer, tells how a close friend is offended because she does not like how she is portrayed in one of her stories. And in the acknowledgments, Aloma Rodríguez mentions "those who are recognized."

"Those who are recognized is deliberately ambiguous: it is those who recognize themselves because they have gone through something and also those who believe they are guessing behind some of the characters, rightly or wrongly. In general, people like to see themselves "She's excited. I know of that friend who got upset when she recognized herself in a cartoon, but I think she has already forgiven me," he says. He also recognizes that he works with sensitive raw material and if he is short when recounting some experiences, he conceals certain things that he wants to write: "not so that the interested party does not recognize himself but so that others do not recognize him. When I get squeamish, I think of Jean-Claude Carrière's phrase: "a good screenwriter every morning must kill his father, rape his mother and betray his country".

The book touches on three topics that could be considered burning today, but only because they belong to the experiences of the protagonist –or protagonists, it depends on how the volume is read–, not because she intends to participate in the conversation. One of them is motherhood, which some voices defend as the moment of maximum fulfillment of women, an experience charged with mysticism. The writer did not want that nuance to appear in the story, although more than that mysticism the adanism exhausts her [hábito de comenzar una actividad cualquiera como si nadie la hubiera ejercitado anteriormente]. "Of course, having children is a brutal experience, but it has been so throughout the history of humanity, it is not necessary to give others the ember with that, especially since others have already told it."

Rodríguez points out to the writer Valérie Mréjen because in her book Third person "she manages to tell what it causes her to have a daughter (perplexity) knowing that she is part of a kind of long chain". And he affirms that: "with regard to the fact that children change you, I think that in reality when you have children, your own hobbies become more acute. I have three children, but because it has happened that way. Of course, I am not a maternity activist. That each one does what they can and want, what I am is prophetic policies and practices to improve work-life balance: that the reduction of the working day is not taken by them by default, because that has effects on retirement, for example. it bothers the anti-child spirit. "

If she avoids idealization from motherhood, her vision of the rural world - another of the great debates present - is devoid of bucolism. In fact, small towns are presented as quite hostile places, almost contrary to the general tendency to point to 'emptied Spain' as ideal destinations to live. "In part this is because the stories that happen in towns have a teenage girl as the main character, and at that moment in life one hates almost everything that surrounds him," he explains. Her life was similar to that of the protagonist of the first story, since her mother is also a doctor and her family spent many years in different towns in Teruel. "Although we had a good time and enjoyed the landscape and other virtues of the rural world, we were also outsiders, there was a tribal thing there that we woke up for being from outside. As I needed to feel accepted, I suppose I suffered more rejection I understand the idyllic look, but the reality is harsher, "he defends.

The third issue is that of job insecurity, in this case that of the cultural journalism union. A scenario that he knows well and on which he offers two perspectives. "On the one hand, there is a lot of talent, new channels, formats to explore and many things to tell. At the same time, the precariousness is increasing. In the economic sphere my vision is quite negative, it seems that the idea has been installed that you have to do it for free in exchange for visibility. " It seems positive to him that the prescription has diversified and that there is much more variety, but "that has also favored that we have become self-exploited. It's like you have to swim for a long time without breathing, but if you hold on long enough you reach the surface where there's oxygen. The direct consequence of that is that you have to do a lot of things to gather a decent amount. "


Source link