Sick and tired. Yes, that’s my state of mind. Of what? Literally, sick and tired. I am sick and I am tired!
I admire my dear friend Elli. She is in much worse shape, and has to undergo many treatments constantly. She hardly ever complains. She writes all the time, and I have to ask her how she is. We were able to finally get together on Skype. They could see us but we could not see them… I would like to be like her. I keep trying. It ain’t easy, though…
Anyway, I am sick and tired. Have I already said this? 😉 Today, for some reason, I could hardly get out of bed for meals. Don’t like to have them in bed. Never! And it makes me go down and up the stairs, good exercise! But I could not read nor listen to music nor write much.
Since I had not written here in a looong time, and people have started to ask why, I’ll do it. This way I can reach many, and they will not have to complain.
I had been quite busy as a beta reader for two writers, and we are somewhat done now. I felt bad, as it had been an intellectual challenge, and I loved it! What to do next? I turned my attention to another matter. A couple of years ago, they contacted me by e-mail from the literary agency Carmen Balcells of Spain. They were in the process of collecting the letters that Argentine writer Julio Cortázar had written, and wondered if I had any. I do. I have about 43 letters spanning 15 years – 1968 to 1983, a year before Cortázar died. So, I asked a former student to be my research assistant. She scanned the letters and arranged them in alphabetical order. Almost done? No. I realized I’d have to edit them. Time went by. The letters are still in their envelopes (two sets, just in case), and I have not sent them out. Nor had I reread them…
When I was discussing this for the second time with a good friend, Andrés Avellaneda, he again insisted I must do it. He added that I could easily get them published in Argentina, as the younger generation is captivated by Cortázar, even more than by Borges. Andrés also volunteered to help, asking questions readers would ask, and perhaps willing to write an introduction. This means I’ll have to write an explanatory note for each letter, but I guess this makes sense. If the people from Balcells had published them as they are, with just a brief general introduction from me, most readers would have no idea about what they were reading. I myself could not answer some of Andrés’s questions on a letter I had sent him as a sample! Who can remember after 29 years???
Still, another small obstacle– I can’t find the CD-ROM where my student had also stored the letters. I am trying to use a conjuring trick I had used in the past for finding objects, but it is not working. My brain is probably not up to it. But it can be done. Gaby will either find the material in her files, or she’ll have to scan all the letters again and transfer them. Not too bad, I think (I am being optimistic, what’s wrong?) Somehow, this project may become reality. But, as I started to reread the letters, which I had not done in so many years, I was overwhelmed by a sense of loss and intense nostalgia. Not easy to read them.
I had originally thought I could not share letters that had been sent to me, but was told that they show a side of Cortázar that people will appreciate – his kind, humble side, as when he even sent some lines to Valerie (Julia at that time, before she started using her middle name), in reply to a drawing she had sent him!
Whether this process comes to fruition or not, I cannot tell. I will get started and see where and how and if it ends. At least, this may be an incentive to get out of bed more often!!! Although, come to think about it, I can do a lot while in bed 😉