I was born on January 1, 1988, in Santiago, Chile. I spent my childhood in Mexico City and then went back to Chile. There I felt like a foreigner and adapting was difficult, but I believe it helped me develop a deeper self-awareness and sensitivity. Part of this change was dealing with two types of Spanish which led me to improve the little English I knew to write with a more neutral voice. I also started painting more, made some short-films and just wrote a lot—a journal, poetry, scripts, songs, short stories and books.
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When and why did you start writing?
I started around nine, writing cheesy love letters to girls I liked. Poems, too. I barely spoke, but I liked writing. Then I started writing a journal in high-school and I had the crazy idea of sharing it with my classmates. They found it very interesting and it encouraged me to take my writing to a more serious level. I loved films, so I tried writing scripts and books. It’s not easy to explain why I write, but I do it from a very intimate and honest place, perhaps hoping to help people understand themselves a little better, because at least to me, it’s thanks to other people that I know myself better.
What inspires your writing?
People. I’m constantly trying to understand people, or just feel more at peace with them. I mean, we are full of contradictions and we also often distort people’s intentions based on our own fears. It’s so easy to act indifferently and this leads to a vicious cycle where nobody can’t recognize each other, even when they’re family or friends.
What has been your worst moment as a writer?
I wouldn’t say there’s been a precise moment where things have gone bad, but trying to get published is tough. Then again, I’m glad I didn’t get published before, because my writing skills weren’t very good and the frustration helped me be more humble, slow down and learn from my mistakes.
Do you have any writing rituals to get you in the mood for writing?
Sometimes I listen to the same song or an album over and over. Usually a song without lyrics. Also, everything around me needs to be neat and tidy. Then a cup of coffee or a mate helps me focus a little more.
If you could, what would you go back and tell yourself as a writer starting out?
I’d tell myself to be more patient and enjoy it more. I think I only enjoyed finishing the first drafts of my first two or three books and scripts—I have now nine books and eight scripts. After that, it was all kind of mechanical, like a duty, but maybe I’ll be able to enjoy reading them later since I don’t remember much of them.
What do you believe makes for great writing?
I usually like books that are based or inspired on real and personal events, but they have to go a bit further than a simple testimony. I like to feel all the contradictions of the characters, their fears, dreams, secrets, habits, fetiches and fantasies. I feel that a simple narrative without many complex words is more honest, but it’s always useful to learn new words and play with them or give them a new perspective. My references here are “The Stranger” by Camus, and “The catcher in the rye” by Salinger.
How do you measure success as a writer?
For me it’s not about how many books I sell, or money, but I understand it means your book is reaching people and the more people it reaches the better. But I’m just happy to hear people enjoy my writings or that sometimes they don’t enjoy them too much, but they make them think or see things differently.
What’s your biggest fear as a writer?
I’m afraid people might get bored of my writing and that’s why I like to try different styles, formats and genres, but I always do it from my gut, from my own personal experience, and I’m also afraid I’ll get older and my life might not be so interesting or adventurous. Then I’m also afraid of being monothematic.
Describe your latest book to our readers
“The Vestige of Silence” is my first book. It’s a novel about a guy who meets a girl and they go through a very intense process of knowing each other. It’s told from his perspective, and he shares all his insecurities, memories, fears, dreams—everything. Then things get more complicated as he starts remembering some bad things he did not while ago.
What would you like readers to take away from your writing?
It took me more than nine years to find the title of this book and as my first book I felt it had to represent me somehow. To me, it means all the things I never said since I was too shy till I was around twenty. Now I’m still very quiet, but I talk about everything with no problem and I wish my readers would learn to face their fears or find a bit of peacefulness through my words. But they’re not self-help books, though.
Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
I’d tell them to write a lot without stopping until they have a mess of thousands and thousands of words. Then editing is a very long process, but it gives you a more objective view of your work. I’ve suffered from writing blocks, of course, and most of them have been caused by caring too much about what I want to write or why and how, instead of just opening my heart—which is not easy, but sometimes when I write I try to think of the people I love.
What’s next for you?
Well, I have already written nine books, and I’ll soon publish the second one, titled “Mirrors of an absence,” which is a collection of short stories. Then I’ll publish another novel, titled “Forgotten paradise,” which is like a prequel to this first book, but it’s a lot more raw, not so romantic. Then I have another collection of short stories, but with some poems, and a book full of poems and ink paintings. Then I have another novel, another collection of short stories, poems and experiments, a book on my experiences on filmmaking, and my journals. Now I’m also working on my third feature film and it’s been very demanding, but I’m still writing every day. As for my music, I had to put it on hold, but I’ll take it up soon, I hope.
By Jorge Yacoman
A young man starts a relationship with a woman while struggling to remember some dark periods of his life.