When I opened the pages of the book La Medio Vuelta (Unicorn publishing house), when I discovered in them the story of a town where everything was done or was halfway through, exactly everything (half street, half stadium, half laugh, half thought, half enthusiasm…), besides laughing at the cute, I could not help but applaud the fruitful imagination of its author, Eric Adrián Pérez González , to whose pen we must also titles such as The Unhurried Mustache and The Yard of My House.
I will never forget the afternoon when a group of writers decided to read texts of our authorship at the entrance of a cinema, and the poet who followed Eric Adrian in reading, after hearing him read a fragment of La Media Vuelta, decided to simply save his papers and confess aloud, without ambages: “Excuse me, gentlemen, but after hearing about Eric , I dare not read mine.” And he didn’t read it.
If I didn’t think about it, I wouldn’t say it. Let alone write it down. But when an author like this is discovered, and especially a book like the one mentioned (perfect for any kind of reader, I clarify), one feels that it is possible, even in the 21st century, to disdao in the act of literary writing by novel and suggestive paths.
At the end of the day, the great themes of literature are a few. The writer is responsible for making us believe otherwise when he draws copious juice to what other authors tried and re-treated in the eternal challenge to the blank page.
Explaining that today Eric Adrián Pérez González or Yitzjaq Aharon, Sephardic Jew like his wife Idalmis, are two names united in one by undisputed ethical coherence, could lead not a few explanations in this interview.
I prefer to summarize that, when his brother Daniel, also a poet and aqueous reader, told me about this new name, I said for sure (without knowing anything about the Jewish religion) that it was a name full of soul, with a lot of beauty and light in its meaning. And I wasn’t wrong. To this noble friend and writer whatever is torvo and dark never goes with his hand.
Your brother Froilán Escobar, author of that beautiful book called Martí at lip-top, ensures that there is no literature for children or adults, but good or bad literature. What do you think about it?
“I agree with your judgment. There is a level in literary creation where barriers disappear. Where would we place works such as El Quixote, El Principito, Robinson Crusoe, Pinocchio, Alice in Wonderland, Pippa Mediaslargas, Andersen’s Tales, Huckleberry Finn’s Adventures, and many others, which are among the most translated and published books in the world? Saving the difficulties of archaisms and regionalisms, these and many more works grab you by the soul at any stage of life, because the soul, like these works, is ageless.”
Several authors of the international field include in their texts for children and adolescents thematic that always seemed inappropriate for this type of reader: violence, divorce, drugs, the hard life in the slums… how do you see this turn within the more contemporary literature written for them?
“I heard a rabbi say that no matter how much you know about a subject; if you’re not able to make yourself understood by a third- or fourth-grader, you still don’t know enough. Children are not exempt from these experiences. The important thing is to deal with these issues so that the reader, ten or a hundred years old, transforms, grows.
“In the Bible itself there are scenes of sexuality, violence, alcohol, destitution. There is nothing new under the sun; but the writer’s goal is not to repeat with mediocrity, or selfishness, but to fertilize reality and make him give birth. As Huidobro wrote: ‘… when you look at the eyes created, and the listener’s soul is shaking. Why do you sing the rose, O Poets! Make it bloom in the poem…'”.
Which writers have you felt closest to?
“The Torah teaches that God created the universe with the Word. Thus, everything is a great metaphor for his divine essence, and He is the Author par excellence. It’s His I’m closest to. Descending to the human level, I consider Moses above all writers, because he received inspiration directly from God, and his work touches eternity.
“In addition, I have admired Tolstoy, Mark Twain, Hans Christian Andersen as a child; although I have enjoyed many others, and I must not omit that I laughed with laughter reading El Quixote, which I delighted in the delicacy of Borges, who savored the works of Balzac, Hugo, Dickens, Verne, Stevenson; that it was extraordinary to read Herman Hesse, Tomas Mann, Dostoyevsky, and that I find it unfair not to mention Juan Rulfo, Carpentier, Quiroga, García Marquez…
“The list would be long, because I have read a lot and there are many authors that I have felt close to at different stages of my life. I also enjoy the almost never well-judged contemporary literature of the courtyard, that is, the books of the writers I know personally, because that creates a double connection with the work.”
How far has being a man of faith helped you as a writer and family man?
“I conceive not of life but through faith, described in the Bible as the substance of what we expect. We all exercise faith to some extent. When you leave your house and say goodbye to your wife and children, you do so by assuming it will only be one until later: that’s faith. When you step on the brake pedal of your car and you don’t expect anything else but to stop, you’re exercising faith. Faith is the conviction with which you plan what you will do tomorrow.
“Now, faith at its highest level is the conviction that God is the cause of causes, and that the universe does not exist on its own, just as light in a light bulb does not exist on its own. When you click on the switch and the electric power flow is cut off, there is no more light.
Likewise what we know as reality depends on that pure and limitless energy that we call God, and the closer you get to its essence, the better you understand that there is nothing accidental, but that everything responds to its infinitely good nature, and you understand the ridiculous or heretical of anger, selfishness, pride, and with that understanding no one can be a bad husband , a bad father, a bad brother, a bad son, a bad citizen, a bad author.”
You’re part of a family of poets, storytellers and readers. Tell me about this kind of beautiful miracle.
“It’s certainly a miracle. My mother was fifty-two when she brought me into the world, and even though she did a lot of work, she never lost her joy or strength. I can see her leaning over the bat, washing our lives, and humming tenths. Even at the age of one hundred he has a prodigious memory and clairvoyance.
“My father was a man who did not know how to get home if he did not bring the sustenment; he brought me closer to the countryside, to the mysteries of faith and poetry, and fell asleep every night on the edge of my bed, telling me stories. With my brothers I participated in the first literary debates. I lived in a guano-roofed paradise and a patio as big as dreams. Anyway, these memoirs are complicit in the present. I live very grateful for all those moments that make up my spiritual DNA.”
What has become part of the diaspora for you since 2013?
“Our diaspora began on a rainy day in December; we left the house with a soaked face and so we were for most of the trip, except on the plane. We’d never flown before and we were terrified. The first contact with Miami, from the air, was like that confusing border between sleep and wakefulness. As I loomed outside the airport, it seemed to me that life was going too fast, like a supersonic train, and that if I couldn’t get on it I’d come in vain.
“We had to reinvent ourselves, like most migrants. And though I have published all my books here; I realized that the world is at another stage. I believe that with our generation the chapter of literature is being closed as a phenomenon of great social prominence. Life in a developed country is dizzying; you have to sigh on the fly, otherwise you stay on the platform.”
Personally, I think your novel short La Media Vuelta is a great book, in which in a laughable and absurd tone truths are said that not only touch us, but also the reality of many nations. How did you conceived such a sharp work? What experiences did he bring to your life as a writer?
“The starting point was to understand that as individuals we are incomplete. The body imposes physical limits on us, but our souls are part of something that transcends us: a collective soul, an energy connected to every form of life, every grain of earth and every star in the universe.
“The more selfish the human being is, the less aware he is of it. Selfishness has spawned humanity’s worst monsters. Selfishness manifests itself in its most horrible form when it assumes power. Then he completely loses his sanity and shatters human dignity.
“The only liberating force is love, true love, because even love is sometimes selfish in disguise. Love frees you from fear. When you really love everything starts to make sense, you connect with that eternal energy and you feel complete, because you understand what your part is in that great puzzle of life. The Half Turn is a piece cut to the measure of Cuban reality, but the sayo also fits the world.”