Break broken

A break is not something far away from my expectations when writing starts. As soon as I start typing, my brain goes into panic mode and just stops thinking. Once I overcome that situation, words flow.

Right now that is not what happens. I have a clear idea of what I want to write but, if you’re a reader, you can guess what happens.

Today, words are scarce, just like my feelings and thoughts. Nothing that I read would help this situation. That’s how it feels to live in Venezuela. Day by day you numb yourself to the pain of not being able to do the basic things you need to.

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Photo: Francisco Bruzco

If you want to get a pill for you headache, you pray for luck. If you want to eat, you’ll roam the streets to see if you find something you can afford. If you want a hug, most people aren’t available to do that.

That’s what I’ve been witnessing the last couple of days

The National Army, the Police, and the Government are just handing out worries to people. Tenderness and touch have reached a second place among people. Sometimes you see old friends (the ones that are still here in Venezuela) and you hug like that was the only person who was available for such a pleasantry. Greetings are exchanged as goodbyes because you really don’t know if you’ll ever see that person ever again.

When you go home, nobody is there to hug or be hugged. Everyone is in their own business and no matter how loving your family is, hunger, desperation, anger, and all the feelings that come with this country are something not desirable to be dealt with.

Writing is an escape from everything. I guess that’s why so many classic authors wrote so many wonderful pieces around the time WWII was happening. Any way… this time had a break and sometimes this will happen. Everything is overwhelming.

Sorry about it.

Causa Scribendi

As published in Medium

I wrote a recent blog post that explained a lot the reason behind all these posts in Spanish but I refuse to just translate it for my English-speaking readers. There is higher merit in giving each language an opportunity and my thoughts aren’t the same in any of those languages I will try to explain better, with the same reading and process, why do I write and keep a blog.

My friend Ana Patricia wrote a blog post that talked to me like I was drunk at a bar and she wanted to take me home. She wrote that one should know what their blog is about, it is important. It isn’t an option. One must always know why we do the things we do, even more, if we mean a higher purpose. Beyond money and recognition, the core of any writing should serve a noble purpose, I believe. Language in itself cannot be evil, although silence often feels necessary. Like my favorite Depeche Mode song.

Modern ways of crafting

Blogspot was the host of my previous blog. It still holds all the things I published, not meant for a web publication but able to be read anyway. What I learnt from it could not be taught just by advice: Language goes beyond than literature, although the latter also serve a communication purpose. Little did I know that language serves a higher purpose than just beauty, against what I taught myself through college.

Reading the Classics was a writing class itself but it did not prepare me for this new method of publishing your thoughts and dissertations. I bet that if Kafka would have had a blog, he would’ve kept it private. Writing and keeping a blog is an entirely different thing and it should have its own purpose.

Gold mining

Being able to find the right words to express the right feeling or thought is like gold mining. You dig and dig for a valuable resource that can be exploited for gain until the world ends. I don’t know much about gold but being so valuable just says how long lasting this material is, like the human experience or language itself.

Blogging is an entirely different platform. It’s more immediate than books and can cover immediate subjects or more transcendental ones. At the touch of a click, you have all these ideas available and you don’t really know what to read. People end up reading exactly what they want and those lost just wander.

I write to make the effort of finding the exact words for my craft, as I am just an amateur. I say writer in my profile just to call in employers but I do feel like a phoney. Writing this blog can be an attempt to dig for my own gold and exploit it until my hands wear off.

Hunting for butterflies

I’ll start by quoting Flannery O’Connor again:

I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.

My own personal effort to write is to hunt down the butterflies of my own thoughts.

They fly so fast before my eyes I can’t even catch them when speaking. Writing becomes my own word-hunting adventure as they seem to be lured by my speech and start to stand quite enough above the lines. These butterflies are slippery and when I’m reading there seems to be more. I would pay good money to catch more but I’m happy this option is free.

Fitzgerald said to write not because you want to say something, you do it because you do have something to say but I don’t listen. This blog hasn’t been disciplined by him and I’m glad. It’ll help me dig for gold and start my thought-entomology efforts. It’s admirable how the great writers have found ways to put together their own thoughts but us bloggers are left with the fear of public speaking as an editor.

Not to be a blank space

It is known now about my post in the crowdfunding area. It has made the news in Germany, for crying out loud! Thank God it wasn’t a live interview otherwise, my point would not have come across. I am not a public speaker, I am a writer and that’s why I chose to write and carry on with a blog.

This is the perfect way to share my thoughts among those who know me and to reach those who don’t. My country is in the middle of a crisis, in all aspects, and I feel like it’s my duty to say something about it and to represent those who can’t speak for themselves. As I spoke to the reporter, I felt like my words were the words of my neighbours who lost a lot of weight during this crisis, the words of my friends who left us and looked for a better life abroad, the words of the elderly who watch the younger generation crumble inside these frontiers.

I refuse to be voiceless and, since I am not much of a talker, I choose the better way to make my point come across.

Freedom

Lock up your libraries if you like; but there is no gate, no lock, no bolt that you can set upon the freedom of my mind

Virginia Woolf – A Room of One’s Own

Everyone is free in their own mind. I choose to express that freedom in my writing. There aren’t enough books in the world to correctly express what my fingers mean when they say freedom. As long as I am able to dig for my gold and hunt down my own butterflies, I will expose them and exploit them.

The reason behind what I write is all of this. There is nothing more satisfying for my own freedom right than to write, to say exactly what my butterfly is doing and which kind it is, otherwise, I’ll be a slave of those creatures. To be free is to learn how to deal with my own butterfly-thoughts.

As Bartleby, I would rather not do many things except writing, except for loving my family and covering basic needs. I’m not that crazy yet.

I was going to write something nice today

As I woke up at 7 am today, I started rushing because I have to give a good mom impression to my neighbor: She runs a private pre-school/daycare and she let me enroll my son in the final days of April without money in advance or any other requisite. She knows I need to work. I bought some diapers, baby food, the school’s uniform and he was good to go to daycare.

The day went by pretty hectic. At 8 am I delivered an article to a Spanish website. A friend helps me with content in Spanish while I handle everything in English. I start writing about upholstered bedding and then research a job that is intimidating me but I’ll face anyway. Yesterday, a reporter from Buzzfeed spoke to me a little about my situation and the recent Generosity campaign I started and she was going to publish it today. It wasn’t what I expected but I raised some money thanks to that so I won’t complain. I thought maybe writing another blog post would be a good idea.

Yes, it still is a good idea but Venezuela won’t let me have any of those.

Twitter was a mess. I couldn’t keep my eyes off of my work and the situation here got pretty tense very quickly. All I could see in the news was reports of the Caracas’ subway stations closing, talk shows that went on how to deal with this country’s situation if it is affecting your health and so.

At noon, a Dutch reporter contacted me to request an interview about my Generosity campaign too. I thought that was going to be ignored but it seems like a lot of people had the same thoughts I did and we became a curious topic to be talked about in the news.

After that everything started to crumble.

When I hung up my interview, I saw the report of the young student Juan Pablo Pernalete, who was only 20 years old, shot dead with tear gas in the chest.

This death, like many other ones during these protests, hurts deeply because of the vulnerability of the victim. Juan Pablo could have been my student, he was somebody’s student, son, friend. All those people would have to cry him while his death is being tainted with politics and no justice is made.

I had to finish my work anyways. The Spaniards, the Brits and my new Dominican client can’t wait for me, and neither do my family’s needs. No matter how bad you feel after a day of political tension, life goes on and the ones who survive have to lead the battle.

I was going to write something nice but I got tired of living in Venezuela

As I was putting my baby to sleep and thinking about what I was going to write, the power went off and with it went my motivation. As always, trying to survive here sucked the life out of me. I made my baby laugh, I made dinner for my family, I was able to help friends but still, my soul has a hole that can’t be filled at this time. Only rest would cool things off for tomorrow.

We all hope this situation has a happy ending but not many Venezuelans would carry that thought all the way to the end.

I started a Generosity campaign to be able to save money and get out of here. No matter how much I love the region I was born in, it sucks the life out of anyone who cares.

We want peace. We want a future. We need hope. We will keep fighting.

Freelancing but not so much

Hello, I’m Eligreg and I’m a freelance writer. That’s why I say “writer” in my descriptions. I’m not the next Virginia Woolf, I just write copy and web content as a ghostwriter and it pays my bills. It’s easier for me to say that so potential employers can hire me.

Lately things have looked good for me in the freelance field. I was able to complete some work in these two months I’ve been doing that but… now not so much.

Through the help of friends and family, we’ve been able to abandon our careers as ESL teachers and earn quite a lot more by writing copy. 10$ here, 10$ there and we’ve been able to survive these two months by working in what I was almost trained to do.

Elias was born on March 7th, 2016. Now he’s 13 months old, soon to be 14 m/o. He’s in his peak walking age. He grabs anything he can get a hold on and runs as there is no tomorrow. The cats are scared of him and my mother cries every time he runs because “it looks like he’s going to fall over!”, she says. My baby looks at another kids with marvel and wonder. He’s in that age. We have to put him in daycare. We take turns but he still wants mommy and daddy together. If we don’t go out to work, then the baby must go out and have fun. All grandparents are busy/old and that’s not even an option. We need to solve this situation.

I just made a fundraising page. I don’t ask for much, just a start to make my own money writing.

You can check – share – help my fundraiser here

We would love to make our own money but we do need help getting there. We thought it was going to be easy but no. It is not. We need to save money. We must leave the chaos Venezuela has turned out to be in the last 4 years. We need to shake the mess off ourselves for the good of our son.

If you need any copy or content, contact us through this blog and we’ll make it happen for you!

Today the ground hurts

Today the ground I’m standing in hurts. It hurts to walk, to see my child run freely around the house, to put food in my mouth, to take a pill for this non-stop headache. Today it hurts to be Venezuelan.

As I’m writing this, families are crying their dead. Three accounted deaths were the toll on today’s protest and the Opposition leaders are calling for another protest tomorrow. We don’t want this government, with lower case letters, we despise anything that has to do with its corruption, greed, and hate. The violence we live now has no boundaries and we are tired of it, we want peace. But not their peace, as they call submission; we want true, mind-freeing peace.

We’re being held hostage by people whose interests just rely on money. They have sold the idea of “Socialism” among the resentful, who wish they had a part on the country’s wealth with no effort. Those resented buy the loving words of an ideology that had long proved to be a failure. And most people know that by now but pride is a blindfold that as Venezuelans we can only associate with money, with gifts from the government to say the least. Every single policy they call socialist has left a deep wound in our country’s development. Just see our foreign currency exchange control policies and you find the source of everything that has been wrong with our country.

We’re held at gunpoint. There is no turning back. Every time we see a motorcycle life goes by in front of our eyes. Some had the luck of running away but the ones left here are at the mercy of violence, their power-fed violence. Paola, 23 and Carlos, 17. They were today’s toll, today’s youth being shot and dragged through the ground just because they want something else for their future.

 

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Paola was just protesting for a better future and was killed because of it

 

Venezuela hurts. It did before as it does today and will tomorrow.

We don’t know where else to run, to scream, to call. We need help because we’re kidnapped in our own country and everybody listens but we could be murdered if they do something. Just like an old regular kidnapping.

Tomorrow is another day and I know we will see the light. We just have to keep shouting in case somebody powerful enough listens. We’re worthy of change, we’ve been calling for it a long time ago.

We’re here and it hurts but we’ll keep shouting.

Introspection 1

I have the tendency to make every blog I open an up close window to my private life. That’s how it feels to be in front of this screen with everyone around you minding their business. Starting this blog with the word I accentuates that fact.

I don’t know how people convey their ideas to large masses without seeing not even one of their faces. Every time I’ve prepared to say something to a large number of people I need at least a month in advance and online interactions don’t seem to stick big for me, at least for now. I think if I ever wrote a novel it would have a lot of Virginia Woolf and her kind of introspection. Gloomy, of course, without losing the ethereal beauty that surrounds me. A Room of One’s Own was a definitive read for me during my school years and, to be honest, I don’t know where I’d be without it.

Maybe I’m not writing anything important or anything specific but the purpose of this blog is precisely that: To give me the personal freedom to say anything I want. Sometimes introverted people like me find it hard to talk to someone, between al life occupations and preoccupations it is an impossible task and most of those times I find myself into wuthering lows, just to quote the book I just read (yes, I have *just* read Wuthering Heights, thanks to a friend who had a copy that she lent me years ago but after watching Crimson Peak by Guillermo del Toro my mind just went through a gothic romance phase and Wuthering Heights was in the middle of it and I wouldn’t have it any other way)

People say I should stop being so gloomy, that will only lead to more sadness in my life but there’s one thing people don’t seem to realize: Some “gloomy” people aren’t just sad. A lot of us do enjoy cloudy, rainy days that gives us a break from the scorching sun and the overwhelming happy-go-lucky attitude some people have. That last thing drains me as much as a sad pessimistic person.

I wouldn’t want my blog to not be gloomy. I am not a permanently sad person either, I can catch a case of the sadness just like anybody else. I just prefer silence, quiet, thought, music that touches my soul more than my hips or feet and a sight that will last a lifetime inside my mind like I still remember the curtain patterns that my mother hung in the living room of the apartment we lived in when I was a child.

Maybe yes, this blog is too intimate but so am I. If I decide to open a window, you will see inside, it’s only logical. I mostly keep it closed but that’s the beauty of a blog, of the internet: I can open an invisible window and let you see exactly what I want, no more.

This window has been opened.