The idea of telling the story emerged as one of the many ideas that Cecilia had been working on in stories. Because the author –who has a degree in Social Communication, university professor, editor, proofreader and author of Galley eyes, which is part of the UNR Editora’s Science Account collection – writes mostly stories. But first of all it responds to a personal interest in love relationships and the various forms that love can take over the years. “There is something that worries me a lot and that is what happens with relationships once they end. How is that link between those who were and are no longer? How do you manage the relationship with an ex? ”, He says.
At the beginning he began to work on a story that gave an account of a meeting of two people who were in love. “When I began to write, with no greater plan than to tell a reunion, I knew that the structure of a story was not going to serve me either. I was going to need to plan. I thought it would be a long story, that it would require a greater length, but I always thought it would be a story. Although I later ended up in a news”, dice.
The book opens with two perfect sections, one by Sylvia Molloy and the other by Roland Barthes, which have a lot in common because in their own way they reveal the drifts and deviations of both love and language. “That feeling that the sign never finishes covering the object”, sums up the author and continues: “Talking about what one loves but knowing that what is spoken does not finish being what one loves, it is the replacement of the sign and of the writing. That woman who writes and finds that possibility of mourning, of the suturing of that story in writing, but also in writing ”.
“Write who,” Carola wonders in a passage from The house facing the sea. And although he writes and writes, it is known from the beginning that Carola’s are more images than letters. She is a photographer and graphic designer. He lives in Rosario, in the Arroyito neighborhood, in a house with a green patio full of plants with his partner Juan. Although she is not a mother, Carola formed with him an assembled family of which his children and grandchildren are part, who at one point are also hers. One day she receives a call from Ventura, who tells her that Rafael wants to see her in Buenos Aires. He is the man she loved twenty years ago. And although Carola believed she had forgotten that story, everything is kept in memory, nothing is lost forever.
That’s why the news It not only deals with the love bond between Carola and Rafael, the meeting two decades later, but also the passage of time, old age, physical deterioration, what remains of love after love. Rafael is twenty years older than her and Carola, unlike yesterday’s young woman who wore dark hair, today reveals her gray hair without coloring. The bodies of the two changed. They are different but perhaps, as in love, they are two strange acquaintances.
With a neat, impeccable, careful writing, the story unfolds in two layers methodically differentiated and separated chapter by chapter. One, that it is the voice of a narrator who tells of this reunion focusing on both protagonists, although at times it seems that Carola’s character is the one who takes more space for development in the plot. “That voice oscillates between one and the other to show the complexity of that reunion and to show a little of each one without showing both at all,” says Cecilia. The other is the voice in the present tense, that of Carola’s creative process as she writes in that house facing the sea, near the Fortress of Santa Teresa, on the coast of Rocha, in Uruguay. It reads in a passage from the news: “The river takes away the penalties, someone once told him. The sea, on the other hand, returns them. Maybe that’s why he needs the sea to write ”.
Far from love in times of algorithms, the reunion of these lovers is based on one of the gestures that give life to literature: the details. This is how a pencil from the Argentine Library appears in Rafael’s office, sample catalogs, an envelope with analog photos, the snails that Carola gathers on the beach and puts on the table where she writes, all artifacts that are the signs of that old love that survive in the everyday. “They make the life of that old love. In those things, with no other value than the symbolic value that each one of the protagonists confers on it, a lot of history is played “, says the author and brings to mind the popular saying that reads:” The devil lives in the details ” .
“I could replace devil with something else, meaning lives in the details and the operation of writing is to turn an everyday gesture into a story. The writing arrives when it talks about the details, in that minimal thing a singular story is played but where something of the order of the universal can be read. There is nothing more real than when we can visualize what they are telling us. Those details inhabited by the devil, ”he says.
Last month Netflitx released the documentary Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love, which tells the love story of the great singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen and the Norwegian Marianne Ihlen, his partner during the sixties, immortalized by one of the most famous songs by the Canadian: So Long, Marianne.
The movie ends with a letter Leonard sent to Marianne when she was dying. “Dear Marianne, we have reached the time when we are really old and our bodies are breaking into pieces. I think I will follow you very soon. I want you to know that I am so close, right behind you, that if you reach out, you can reach mine. You know that I have always loved you for your beauty and your wisdom, but I don’t need to say anything else because you already know everything. Now, I just want to wish you a very good trip. Goodbye, old friend. Eternal love. See you on the way ”.
Perhaps, the literary operation of turning a detail into a story –as the author says– also has a lot to do with the universe of love and its fabric. Marcia’s hand took Ulay’s in silence with tears in her eyes. Leonard’s letter to Marianne read in the ear by a friend of hers moments before he died. The circular reunion of Carola and Rafael after twenty years. Something that Cecilia maintains with this phrase: “Love does not exist as an abstraction. It is in any case the sum of each of the love stories ”.
When Cecilia talks about Alma Maritano she cannot help but be moved and with her voice broken by emotion she says: “I would not have gotten to where I am with writing, if I had not found the workplace and refuge that was her workshop.”
In fact, The house facing the sea It is dedicated to her teacher and friend Alma. “She convinced me that I could write and helped me to do it in a very loving and very rigorous way at the same time,” he says.
It began in 2011, almost the same day he submitted his doctoral thesis, and continued until the end of 2015, the year Alma Maritano died. Since 2016, she has been part of the workshop led by the Rosario writer Pablo Colacrai, who was the one who recommended Alma’s workshop, and accompanied her throughout the news which also prefaced.
If you have to define Alma’s workshop, the first thing you can say is “a serious space”. But he immediately clarifies that it is far from having to do with solemnity because Alma’s workshop had none of that. And to explain it, he gives as an example the task of a carpenter. “It is that committed work, done with care, that it takes to have many years of work and to continue to keep all ten fingers on the hands,” he says.
From Alma he learned the commitment to language to capture it in his writing but also in the reading of each classmate’s text, learning that the return given to others should never be rushed. “It is not commenting on what more or less seemed to me, but something that is committed to the text and to the language. It is very important to me to know how to work with language, as a carpenter knows how to work with wood ”, he says.
Although the practice of writing is almost always solo, the workshop space gave him the possibility of finding the value of the collective. And perhaps it was the way to bring her closer to those readers who were primarily those with whom she shared the space.
For Cecilia, the act of writing does not begin or end with filling in a blank page. They are precisely the moments in which the body and the head dissociate where she says that she ruminates much of what she writes. In the moments when he walks, hangs his clothes in the sun or washes the dishes, he manages to join that anecdote he heard to anchor it in another setting. “I need something to puncture me, like desire,” he says. Although you used to use a laptop and for a long time you did it by hand on a notebook, this is a time when you write on a desktop computer. Next to it is a photo of Alma, when she sits down to type she has the feeling that her teacher is looking at her with that gesture that is both rigorous and loving.