An interview with the author Rafa Martin
The author of "Perlas en el ático" (Pearls at the attic) stops for a moment his tasks to dedicate us an interview, that we’ll include in the series "Writers of today", in our reader’s supplement. He receives our staff in a low, small and disordered suburbial floor, and we seat down around the table —covered with book batteries— that presides the living; "Here is where I eat and where I write", he clarifies. He seems just getting up although, according to him, he’s trying to weak up early. We took a home coffee (not very recent) meanwhile the noises of the traffic and fried scents invade us among slim walls like paper. He we wish smoke the author allows it only in the balcony (but hardly if the small palm fits) or in the flat, if we bring good tobacco pipe. So, we decide to go on over the questionnaire.
How to define Rafa Martín?
It seems to me a somewhat offensive question to begin, because to define oneself also is to limit him. I prefer that people define me. Better, that the others comment about me, although the times in which this has happened were not in their majority to say to me pretty, however the flatteries irritate me, I can’t believe it. I often attempt to remake my own identity, and I shouldn’t be objective with myself: one day I hate me, the next I support my mirror’s face...
When did you start to write? Moreover, why you began to write?
I believe that writing, with a clear intention, in order to use the write thing with aims out of school, I began when I was eight years old, moreover. It was my first fall in love trouble. An extreme timidity that stands by me during many years forced to look for ruses to communicate with the others and with my own. I created scripts for playing games, some others similar to the actual roll plays, and I wrote up love letters that soon I censured certainly ashamed, so almost I never gave it, the inevitable "my diary" during four days... Just until the poetry burst into my life, when I was fifteen, more or less, and already I knew that the literary vocation was going to find me, no matter where I run for cover.
What about your childhood readings?
I was a little voracious reader, smelling every book at home, for adults or kids, with pictures or not. I remember with affection some Verne’s illustrated classics, the Stevenson’s island, a medicine encyclopedia, another universal very good one, edited by Herder, with
the spotted covers thousand times, the mystery books of "the five investigators" series, a desired present when I fell ill, my dearest "Robinson Crusoe", an enormous recipe book of cooking, with huge photos in Technicolor, the newspapers and magazines from my father, some comics from time to time, a lot of different bites.
And the authors who inspire you?
The truth is that I have always been a little distracted. Then the creativity, more than to arise suddenly, is a thread that one interrupts with misfortune to make other things. It could be a medicine prospect read on the water closed, or a strange note in a newspaper can take to a story or a poem. If I must tell you names, aside from those readings of childhood, I would say Quevedo, Garcilaso, Lorca, Rubén Darío and Juan Ramon, Neruda, at first, as far as poetry, to arrive to Octavio Paz, an later to Martí i Pol. I continue with Cervantes, Borges, Cortázar, watch over, Martin-Santos, Marsé, Sábato, would be a long list of others, Vargas Llosa, Kafka; but in general and to summarize, I prefer the classic author to the contemporary. I find wonderful diamonds in considered "minor" writers, and big wrongs in masters, too long and bored places, mainly in the prolific ones.
When you decided to publish?
Well, I believe that at heart, someone always writes to publish. To write does not stop being a communication act. The most intimate "private" diary is an inner conversation with a public that we are: a different person in addition throughout the time, there is a sender and a listener. Who decides don’t publish isn’t because he doesn’t want it, rather it is by honesty (how to feel ridiculous with a poor draft) or being afraid to the public (who is going to love me when look what I write, or the editors only look for consecrated people, commercial names, with good marketing...). In an occasion, when it was beginning in this business, a good couple of years ago, one small editor took care of me to talk me that what I sent him was not bad, it was sufficient quality, he could deliver an attack and co-publish. Nevertheless, the publisher, very reasonable, said to me: "in this country there are a increasing number of books but we loose readers, and you haven’t a well-known name. You know that your book will pass without pain nor glory, a few weeks, by the bookstores…
Do you think that it worth the trouble?
Many years after, I think he was right. The truth is that the book was not bad, but still not mature for publishing. Now, however, with the system of Lulu.com, I feel no longer like culprit. They have changed the systems, the electronic book exists, an accessible and universal desktop publishing. I am my own publisher; I control all the creative process. The projects that I have been maturing during years take form and they fall of the tree. And it what happened with "Perlas en el ático". Once the recipe is cooked and ready, I decide if I give it to taste in a contest, to an editor,
or only for myself. The interesting thing is enjoying in the kitchen and a good flavor.
Do you show your final draft to somebody before edit?
The whole book really not to anybody. But many stories had been read by friends, some published in Internet, (more primitive versions) and others are fruit of my participation in literary courses (Fuentetaja, for example) and I have comments by professors and companions.
What kinds of public do you had in minded when you wrote it?
I usually don’t write thinking about anyone collective or individual, and this is my first experience with many people judging my work, it’s funny that a stranger so far away could read your book. I prefer that people talks about me as a new author and they enjoy it if want to be a fan, because I don’t know it. When I write I attempt to be satisfy and be honest with my first reader, Rafa Martín. Moreover, usually is a difficult task.
How arose the title from the book?
The title comes from one of the stories inside. It is a small tribute to my great-grandfather, and my family in general. I celebrate that moment on childhood when one chooses the colors in order to paint the world. I found a little biographical seeds that it praised/poured off to me towards writing, certain eye side of things, and that also appears in other stories although at other times of my life.
Which is your favorite story?
Suddenly, I’m not sure. Each one supposes an intense exercise of implication, in spite of best ended or wrote; one loves its handsome sons, but not less the ugly ones. Perhaps, also not to dunk to me, I will say that the last one of the table, for the reason you know only I just have transcribed it and I am waiting for the appearing of the real owner, the true author.
Writers must be social critics when they write...
Well, over this old discussion we’ll talk ever, everyone have opinion. I prefer to say that I commit myself with the moment when I’m writing. I commit myself with my fantasies, evasive, political, poetic vision, or... I believe that the social or political denunciation not always is useful from the aesthetic point of view, nor either politician. It makes more damage, or it causes more interest, sometimes, something subtle or imaginative, than a declaration of intentions behaved shamelessly, that finishes being a pamphlet, with its small given parish or in against. A right word, or a simple act, at the suitable moment, can make more than a million of noisy claxons.
Which are your future projects?
Bring to the light my overflows of inkpot. Immediately it is an interminable novel, persecuting for years, and a poetry book that I’m designing, a little bit different, special, maybe with illustrations. The next book will be the less annoying for correct. I will tell you when I publish… If you’re still out there…
Text: Aurora Vargas
Photography: Mario Moliner
“Perlas en el ático” By Rafael Martín . Lulu.com (2007)