ONCE UPON A TIME…
there was an Argentinian girl who learnt to read at five and preferred to play with her mother’s old typewriter rather than with her dolls. Quertyop exerted some kind of magic on her, reinforced by her discovery of new words in the books her father brought by the kilo every week. Her mother frowned on him, as books in fact took up most of the spacious apartment the family lived in. But they were her mother’s books, strictly forbidden to the little girl until she was “old enough to understand them.”
You see, the mother was a novelist, a journalist, a playwright, and a poet. She kept open house for all the prominent writers and artists of the time. The little girl, supposedly asleep in the late hours of the night, hid behind closed doors to eavesdrop on discussions she did not comprehend through reason but through instinct. Her father turned a blind eye on her breach of the rules, just as a few years later he pretended not to notice that some banned books had been hurriedly replaced upside down when he and his wife, back from an outing, turned the key in the lock. The little girl dissembled with her father’s connivance.
To her mother’s dismay, the girl grew into a regular bookworm. While other teenagers started falling in love with love, she had a lifelong affair with foreign languages. When she got bored at school, she wrote stories and poems on sheets of paper that she then crumpled into balls and threw away. Her best friend to this day stealthily picked them up when she wasn’t looking, took them home, ironed them out, and glued them to an album. Thus these first works escaped a fate of oblivion.
At age 21, with a translator’s degree and total reluctance to publish despite her mother’s insistence that she should, the now young woman, after an intensive course in men, disappointment, and resignation, decided to relocate to Europe. She thirsted for first-hand experience of the places she had read about.
She became a citizen of the world, studied some more, worked, met the best people and the worst people without ever judging behavior or choices, for she did not want to be judged herself. Her writing mood in abeyance, she invested five years in observing human nature, which proved much more interesting than historical landmarks.
Her mother’s serious heart condition put an end to the European dream. Yet the condition improved, and that roaming spirit –mine, as you may have guessed– year in, year out, spent eight months teaching language and literature and four months trotting the globe.
Let’s change point of view. The girl and the young woman are, at best, a dear memory, a part of me, but not me today. I’ve been married for forty years to my perfect fit, a man who seconded my renewed literary ambitions, encouraged me to pursue yet another degree, and aroused my desire for a child.
I published sporadically, mostly short pieces stemming from our combined fantasy. Something stopped me from trying my hand at the novel I so wished to write. Just Toss the Ashes materialized after my mother’s death. Hush! No need to speculate. After all, I am a psychoanalyst among other things. I would not compete with her… imaginarily, but the unconscious plays odd tricks indeed. In 2005 I found a publisher in New York, or he found me, or we found each other. A second perfect fit, with ten books in the market and number eleven in the making.
Like in those children’s stories in which the ogre’s soul was hidden outside his body, my true essence dwells in my books. If you really want to know me, that is the place to search.
Marta’s books to date are:
Gracias por la muerte (translated into English as Just Toss the Ashes)
Los gloriosos sesenta y después, soon to appear in translation
El tramo final
El Ulises de James Joyce: una lectura posible (a guide to Joyce’s Ulysses for Spanish-speaking readers)
Kim ki-Duk:On Movies, the Visual Language
Living with Stress
Developing Personal Relationships
Why Can’t I Make Money
Reading for Personal Development
Because Marta rarely tells the world about herself and her books, I thoroughly recommend the following links for more information about this talented author:
IF YOU LOVE ME short article that brought Marta to my attention HERE
Interview by Morgan Bailey HERE
Interview by James A Bresco HERE