In recent years, the pandemic has left us with many everyday stories, which were as close as they were palpable. We consume readings, music, series, movies that told us about that feeling of loneliness, emptiness, loss that many of us live in confinement, both physical and mental, and that we suffered globally for at least two years. Some of us are still trying to unravel, to understand, to assimilate that moment, which seems to have passed a long time ago. In the meantime, literature seems to move from the field of autofiction (a genre that authors such as Emmanuel Carrère or Karl Ove Knausgård knew how to consecrate) to that of personal crisis, which allows a collective identification of the suffering that appears personal.
On that plane, in the mind of Marcelo Vera The first lines appeared that would shape a trilogy about those feelings that became obsessions. first came out Only (La Pollera, 2020), which goes through the loss of a partner for a man who decides to grieve by quitting his job and locking himself up, along with his dog, in his house and his memories. Nouvelle included in the hotlist of the Frankfurt International Book Fair, was seconded by The glitter of the lonely (Holy Fools, 2021), a collection of poems that deepens loneliness in another language. recently published steppigeon (La Pollera, 2022), a novel whose title is that rolling plant that crosses the desert and waits for a gust of wind to start walking alone, like the protagonist who drifts aimlessly away from her life and her affections. At the end of the book there is a QR with a soundtrack that matches the reading mood very well and includes songs by Ry Cooder, Lotte Kestner and Joan Baez.
These stories could come from a script by Charlie Kaufman but they emerged from the head of an exiled Rosario in Buenos Aires. Renowned author and cultural promoter, in this interview with indie today we delve into Marcelo Vera’s personal obsessions, which are also those of many.
how did you get to Only? Was it a book that emerged in the pandemic or was it in your head before?
In the case of Only It was a book of that time. Then I realized that there were a lot more things, that it could be a much more complete, grandiose and baroque book, but I wasn’t interested, it had to be as compact as possible. There were things in that universe that had to go in another book. This is how the poetic brother of Onlyalmost a novel fragmented into poems.
Tell us a little about what Diorama consists of, your multidisciplinary project.
In the transition between those two books, with all that residue that had initially remained, it was going to form a trilogy closing in steppigeon but later I came to a more comprehensive project that is Diorama. Check out a short film, songs and a play I’m working on. With Maria [Luque, su pareja, escritora y artista plástica] The possibility of curating a visual exhibition and making a graphic novel was also opened up. I have always been fascinated by dioramas, these small models that represent a mental map of my obsessions that tell a very particular story. It is a personal task of unraveling certain questions about oblivion, loss, emptiness. It’s cathartic for me. I’m very restless, I have everything in mind and I want everything to come out pretty quickly, but it doesn’t have a closing date. I like zero-cost projects, with non-professional actors, although they also have to be absolutely intimate.
Who would you like this message of your project to reach?
I don’t think of a target audience. I always stay very far from the publishing market. But I am very struck by the feedback that readers give me, how they were putting things of their subjectivity. My books are very permeable to a duel of their own. I never thought about it when writing it.
I think there is something of a collective duel. Along with these solitary characters appear dogs, ducks, steppe cursors. There are events, strange encounters that are related to a minimal, mundane, earthly story.
Now I think that you never know for sure if these elements are really there or if everything happens in the heads of the characters. It doesn’t matter either. It’s like the theory friends that it all happens in Phoebe’s head.
Outside of these obsessions, what other things do you look for in your writing?
I am a frustrated plastic artist, I always wanted to be a painter. I started writing because to be a painter I needed a lot of money. Then I realized that writing, in theory, was cheap. In fact, in steppigeon there are several things of the character with photography, there is a previous aesthetic search in poetry together with his partner. But I think I always look for something in my books that reflects art as a small salvation, in communion with animals. However, I write without a plan, without a calculator. I don’t have a mechanism when building the stories, sometimes I have images in my head but there is no device, I have no idea what is going to happen to the characters when I write. And many times I am surprised how they solve it.