Gueorgui Pinkhassov, South Korea, 2013.
Write. Write whatever is on your mind. Write about your neighbor’s cat or your cat’s neighbor (that would be funny). Write about how you earned his confidence. Write about how he meows to you. You could even add a little detail about how cats developed the meowing to communicate with humans – few people know that, and you read it in a scientific magazine. Write about the smell of your new house. Of course you can describe it. From now and on you will only describe things. You will advocate to fiction, narrative. Write a novel. Extend the line, the sentence. Go deep into your mind. Tear open your heart. Forget about the instant, forget about the verse, about the haiku, about the poem. Write in two languages the same text. Do not translate. Leave to others that process. That you aren’t interesting or famous enough to get a translator? Find a friend! Write about the cliff, the difficulty of changing of cities. Add some drama but just enough to people get you come from Latin America, the place of realismo mágico. Oh yeah, that would be great. Inserting some few words in Spanish. No, you wouldn’t look like a cheap version of Junot Diaz, come on. Maybe you should write about your life back in Brooklyn. Oh, you’re right that would be too hipster. That was cool when Brooklyn was still mysterious. You say it is still a magical place? I would like to see that. Don’t write about Madrid because that would take you to writing in Spanish and now you’re trying to do this experiment of writing in English.
So, write about all the guys that you have met thanks to English. Open the Pandora box. Oh, that your dad speaks English too. So that’s perfect. You could write about all the times you have imagined meeting someone who doesn’t speak Spanish and how it would be to introduce him to your family and how your father would be actually the only one able to communicate with him. Write about the feeling of having hidden parts of your true self that are only in Spanish. Write about how maybe that isn’t very accurate.
Write about that guy back in Park Slope that was reading Murakami like you. And how you used to run into him at least once per week. Write about how handsome he was, and how you elaborated a whole story of his life. Write about that day in which he saw you and you noticed he was seeing you and you pretended you didn’t see him. Write how that day he told his friends “that girl is reading the book I just finished”. Write about how you put him a name, the same you did years later with your neighbor’s cat. Write about how it was just a matter of time to have a conversation with him. Write about that day, at rush hour, in which you both ended up sitting one next to another. Write about how nervous you were. Write about how you were reading another book of the same author and he was still reading “The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle”, and how he saw the cover of your book and said “oh, I read that one months ago”. Write about your reaction. How you did as if you didn’t know that and then started talking about Murakami. About the world he creates in his books and how you can get to hate the characters of the story but then you can’t wait to see what happens to them. Write about the 5-stations-long conversation you two had. Write about the fact you never exchanged names and how he just say “Bye, nice to meet you”. Don’t forget to say that two weeks later you saw him in the same place at the same hour, and he saw you back but neither of you said hi. Don’t forget to write that the year after, when you went back to NYC, you saw him again not in the subway but in the street and how you felt back home. Develop the plot. Remember: fiction!
You could also talk about the guy whose mom was Brazilian. The painter with messy hair. The one who talked to you in the subway too. You must include Murakami because you actually talked about him with this guy too. You could also write about the other boy you met in Madrid whose mom is also Brazilian and who also paints (what a coincidence, right?). The one with curly hair. You could blend the two stories. No one would know!
Write about serendipity in NYC.
Write about how love isn’t locked anymore in Paris. Use the slogan “Free your love. Save our bridges” (Libérez votre amour. Sauvez nos ponts).
Write about the engagement ring you found in the YMCA and how you took it to lost and found objects.
Write about how love can be a lost and a found object and how there is a digger in NYC that expends his life finding memories and lost love promises. Write about how he restores broken plates, cups, dolls and any other object he finds when digging and that when there is no way to fix them, his girlfriend makes bijoux out of the pieces. You could use that as a metaphor of life. Tell the detail that you bought one ring that has a piece of a tea cup from 1930s.
Write in English, save the document with an odd name. Get frustrated because you don’t feel in English in the same way you feel in Spanish, therefore, you don’t write “as good”. Re-open the document, find errors. Struggle with the prepositions. Leave it as “draft” in your blog’s dashboard. Start again.
Until that day in which the necessity of expressing wins and you don’t care about mistakes or about grammatical errors.
Until the day you need someone, not any one but that one, to catch the breath trapped between the lines of your writings.