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32 USEFUL TIPS FOR WRITING A BOOK

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HOW TO WRITE A BOOK?

HOW TO DEAL WITH THAT BLANK PAGE?

First of all, ask yourself what you want to write a book for. For some people, writing a book is a kind of therapy, and they won’t mind putting their manuscript in a drawer once it’s done. The mere act of writing a book can offer absolute satisfaction to the writer. This type of book is usually like a diary or a memoir, and it does not matter if it does not have a good structure, a varied and extensive vocabulary, or a good ending. The author probably won’t even read it a second time. Or, maybe, yes, when the years have passed, when they feel bored or curious.

Others want to write a book because they feel they have something to tell about a particular topic, which is often the case with non-fiction books. But once they write it, and maybe even publish it, they might not even want to embark on the adventure of writing another book. Perhaps these people are guided by what the Cuban poet José Martí said one day like any other: that “there are three things that every mortal should do to transcend, and go down in history. Plant a tree, have a child and write a book ”.

The truth is that the reason why you want to write a book does not matter too much, but it will help you meet your goal or achieve it sooner.

And, if you know the reason why you want to write a book, you will know if it really is a dream or just a temporary wish. If your reason is that you just want to look important or interesting in people´s eyes, then I would tell you that, for such a superficial reason, I would not waste my time. Because writing is hard. It requires work, perseverance and imagination. So, if you are not willing to invest blood, sweat and tears, forget about the publishing industry.

1. Genre / Theme

What am I going to write about?

The first thing to identify is the genre and topic you are going to write about. What do you want to tell the world? Maybe you have it very clear and you know that you want to write a mystery novel. Or maybe you want to try a romantic adventure! But, if you are not so clear, do a little brainstorming. This is something that very few people do, but it helps a lot to sort the ideas in your head and to make you see what it is that you really want to talk about. Come on! Go ahead; take paper and pen, and start writing the areas or topics or even objects that are of interest to you. Maybe you would like to talk about friendship, family; or maybe you like history, mythology, dogs, mountains, cathedrals, chimneys, biology, or planets. The themes and objects that you can introduce in your work are infinite.

Of course, important advice that you have to listen and assimilate is that there are times when we should not mix too many elements. For example, you want to write a story in which you travel to the future, and in which, in addition, there are aliens, with humanoid superheroes, a love story, and a war… Okay, this sounds a bit like Star Wars, and this series of films has been very successful, but it is the exception that proves the rule. George Lucas put it all together very well, and the story unfolds in several different movies. But for your book, for your first book, you have to understand that you are not George Lucas and that you should focus on one or two topics, at most. Ideally, you should write about a great topic, and mix several elements, but without going overboard. Many unknown authors, in their first novel, want to tell too much because they think that if they don’t, they won’t get the attention of a literary agent or a publishing house. Repeat with me: “No vampires and zombies together, or another similar hodgepodge.”

It’s a good idea to always be aware of what topics are hot. For example, the Goodreads platform is great for knowing what’s going on in the world. However, don’t write about vampires just because that’s what everybody is doing this year. Many publishing houses are tired of imitators, and, if the subject pulls them back, they will not even read the first sentence of your query letter. If you really want to write about vampires, of course, go ahead! But look for an original approach, which no one has ever used.

Some people say that you have to write about what you know, and for a non-fiction book, this is totally true, because how could I write about learning to play the piano if I can’t play it?

However, for a fiction book, you don’t always need to know everything. In fiction, your imagination is your best asset. Of course, the story must always be realistic, and the more you know about the subject you are writing about, the more fluent you will be and the more credible your story will be. But, for your protagonist to be a policeman, you do not need to know everything in advance, although you will have to document yourself until you become an expert on the subject.

2. Message

What values ​​do I want to convey?

Once you have chosen the topic you want to talk about, think about the message you want to get out to the world. Do you want to show that life is ephemeral and you have to seize the moment? That we should not judge appearances? or, perhaps, that karma exists?

Meditate on the message you want to convey to the reader because that will help you massively to write your story. Some people write for the sake of writing, and although it’s complicated, some books or movies have no message at all, or at least not one worth taking in. Enrich your story with an important message that you want to convey. The stories that sink deep into people are those that hide a great message.

3. Where (Setting)

Where would you like your story to happen? In a particular country? In closed spaces, outdoors? In a combination of both? You may want to create an adventure story that takes place in Vietnam or a mystery that takes place in cloudy London.

4. When

In what year does your story take place? Today? A thousand years ago? A hundred? In the future? Or, maybe in a parallel world, at the same time your life is happening?

Perhaps the when is what will give your story that quality that will make it different from the others. Or maybe it’s the where that can radically change your story. We continue brainstorming, so try different alternatives and decide on the most interesting of all. If you are not sure, ask a family member. “Would it be interesting for you if we saw a film set in Patagonia in the 19th century? There is a murder and a mystery to solve! ” If the person you are asking yawns, you may need to change the where or the when, don’t you think?

5. Try to think of a Tag Line for your story

This is the phrase that informs what the story is about but trying to sell it. You usually think about it when the story is finished, but sometimes it helps to think about it before writing it because it forces you to think about why your story is going to be interesting, engaging, and different.

An example of Tag Line could be: “The lonely marine biologist Pete will embark on a journey to Antarctica, to escape his past. What he doesn’t know is that his past will reach him wherever he goes. “

Try to grab the reader’s attention. This phrase is usually put on the cover of the book and we all know how important a cover is, because the exterior does matter, and more than you think.

For my fiction / fantasy novel “Inconscientia” my Tag Line is: “An attempted murder will take young Vera to the wonderful unconscious world, where she becomes conscious.” “Oh, and what will it be like to become conscious in the conscious world? I’ve always wanted to be able to direct my night dreams! And who has tried to kill young Vera and why? I want to read it! ” Don’t you feel like it?

6. Hero / Heroine

Who will be your main character? What is special about this person? It may not have anything special, and that is precisely what you want to show: that to any person, no matter how bland, anything can happen in this life.

You will have to create your character in your imagination as if it were a real person. You should think about all the details of his personality and past experiences, even if they are not going to appear in the story.

7. Antihero / Antiheroin

“The bad guy” is crucial. The villain in your novel is just as important (sometimes even more!) than the hero or heroine. Because it is precisely this villain who makes the protagonist evolve as a person and solve the difficulties that arise along the way.

8. Characters

The secondary characters are really important. They make the story move with agility, and that the protagonist faces conflicts. Give them life.

9. Actions

Think of things that can happen in the novel to make the story flow and make it worthwhile.

Make a list of things that could happen. In a story there are major actions, and other minor actions, but all of these plots are important to tell the whole story.

10. The end

When I think about writing a new novel, almost the first thing that comes to mind is the ending. The surprise that will make my book different and, above all, that it was worth reading. Many times I read boring books and I wait for the end because I think something has to happen, or surprise me in some way, but many times the end is exactly what you expected, which makes the book a fiasco. This even makes me angry, because it has made me waste my time. And time is precious. You could have invested that time doing more productive things. So try to think of a great ending to your story. If you can’t think of anything at the moment, it doesn’t matter, write, that inspiration always comes when you’re working.

11. Read

Of course, if you want to write, you need to read. And this is the star advice that anyone will give you. But do not read anyone, or do not interpret with this that you have to read Facebook daily, or Instagram posts. Read good writers. Read the classics and those who are succeeding now, too.

Also, watch a lot of movies. Films are visual stories, which, in an hour and a half or two, present you with an introduction, a body and a conclusion. It is incredible how sometimes, in such a short time, so much of a story and its characters are transmitted. Try to make your story more visual, learn from good movies, create dialogues that in three sentences make you meet five characters and the story of their life. Show the reader more than you tell them. It will lighten your story, which is always appreciated. Surely you have heard that of: “The good, if brief, twice good”, right?

12. Write

In order to learn how to write, there is nothing better than writing. It seems obvious, but how are you going to learn to write a book, if you are not writing it? What are you waiting for to, at least, try?

Something that has helped me enormously to write better and to go more directly the point is to write in different genres (articles, interviews, reports, poetry, short stories, plays, short stories…) Any genre will help you perfect your writing technique.

13. Why?

OK, so, you have already decided the gender; what topics are you going to discuss; the where and when; the great message you want to convey; what heroine or hero will manage to grow thanks to an incredible conflict… But, now answer this question: what is special about this story? Why is it going to be any different? If you can’t answer this question, then give your story another turn or two or three more. Keep searching.

14. Do you want to write a non-fiction book?

To write about a non-literary subject, as I have said, you have to know what you are talking about, of course, and approach the subject in a way in which you tell the editor what particular needs you are going to cover. Think of it like this: what problem are you going to solve with your book? It could be: “Teach to play the guitar with three basic and infallible rules” or “Cook healthy dishes in ten minutes”. One tip: record everything you know about the subject first, as if you were telling a friend about it. This will help you structure your book. Then write down what you have recorded and check that the structure makes sense. Write it in simple language, but in an appropriate style.

15. Shame just to sin! They said in my school when I was a child…

Another important advice that every writer should listen to is that you write without hesitation or shame; write everything you want. If you think that your grandmother or your friend will find what you write wrong, or that they will feel identified, then forget about being a writer. If you have qualms of any kind, your stories will be superficial and not memorable. The authors who have written about murders or rapes probably don´t support this type of behaviour, nor that they have dark and strange souls. Don´t fear what other people will think of you for writing what you have written! Disconnect!

Finally, when you have your plan, your map indicating where you are going, get on your way. No television, Facebook or Instagram, platforms that waste anyone’s time. Stop checking your neighbour and start checking yourself!

Force yourself to write at least two hours a day. Or you can also challenge yourself to write three pages a day. If you succeed, in ninety days you could have the first draft of your manuscript! Then you will have to review it several times, but at least you already have something certain to work with. Consistency and elimination of distractions is the most important thing. It may help to put phrases on the mirror in your room: “You are a writer!” “Cheer up!” “You can do whatever you want!” “Your novel is going to be published very soon!” Think of positive messages and post them on your work table. Visualize a future in which you achieve everything you set your mind to. Works; I assure.

And now, enough of the chatter, and let’s “listen” to the advice of the great Stephen King to finish writing your book:

16. Don’t use verbs in the passive voice, and avoid unnecessary adverbs/words.

17. Don’t obsess over perfect grammar. That is like trying to achieve the impossible. The object of fiction is to make the reader feel part of the story.

18. Turn off the TV. TV is the last thing a writer needs.

19. Read, read, read.“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.” Reading motivates, inspires.

20. To be a writer you need to read and write. You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot.

21. Don’t worry about making others happy. Give truth to your characters, settings and dialogues.

22. Eliminate distractions. Force yourself to follow a certain discipline, and stick with it to the letter.

23. You have three months.The first draft of a book – even a long one – shouldn’t take you more than three months, the length of a season.

24. Write word for word; little by little.The end result is achieved by writing word for word.

25. Keep your own style. Don’t imitate the writers you like. Get inspired by them, but stay true to your style.

26. Stories are relics, part of a pre-existing undiscovered world. The writer’s job is to use his toolbox to extract the story as if it were a fossil.

27. Take a break. You will find that reading your book after six weeks of rest will be a stimulating activity. You will see it with different eyes.

28. Eliminate the boring parts. Even if it means killing a little the writer in you (their ego).

29. Documentation shouldn’t overshadow your story. Research cannot hide the story of your novel but return to it.

30. Write to be happy. Writing is not making money, becoming famous, dating, having sex, or making friends. Writing is creative magic; use it to enrich your life.

31. Show what is written. Think of five different readers who can read your work. Now find five sincere friends you trust to read your work. Take their opinions into account when reviewing your novel.

32. Re-read this post full of valuable tips, from time to time, and you are ready to go and rock it!

I want to write a book

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Why is it difficult to write a book?

Writing a book is not an easy task, but it is not impossible either. If you are reading this, it could be because you want to write a book and you don’t know-how. Maybe this idea has been around your head forever, or maybe you have recently realised that you have something to tell the world. You might just want to make your little mark on history. Either way, right now, in this post, it doesn’t matter the reason.

But why haven’t you written that book yet?

It is because of fear; the great enemy of humans. Fear of achieving your dreams, of failure, or even just plain fear of success.

For many people, writing a book is a distant dream, which they keep in a corner of their soul, covered in dust because they believe that way they are kept safe and protected inside, and with it, a flame of hope that makes them feel alive.

Having dreams is a very beautiful thing. It is what gives meaning to our life. And if your biggest dream is to write a book, it’s no wonder you’re scared to do it once and for all, because what will happen next? I will no longer have dreams! Well, let me tell you, you shouldn’t be so dramatic. Dreams have an incredible capacity for adaptation. If your dream is to write a book and you achieve this, then your dream will become to publish it. If then you manage to publish it, then your dream will be modified and it will be, for example, to sell your book. If you are managing to sell your book to a lot of people, then why not jump in and write another one? Your head is full of stories and endless possibilities. But the fear of running out of dreams might be making you procrastinate.

Of course, sometimes, what scares us is facing reality, and if we finally get to write that book that we long to write, that will mean that we will have to start sending it to publishers, and, probably, we will suffer rejections. And who wants to feel rejected? Well, nobody, of course. But, “do not eat the pig before killing it.” You do not know what is going to happen in this life. Your book will be rejected by some publishers, perhaps many, but maybe the day will come when a publisher likes your story and decides to publish it.

There are always publishers that support new authors. You’re probably not going to receive any Advance, but trust me; it can happen. It is very likely that your book will be published someday. Especially, if you have confidence in yourself. Of course, having a good book helps. Because if you are afraid of failure, it is usually because you are also afraid that what you have written is mediocre. But the good thing is that there is a solution for that; you just have to learn how to write properly. It may take more or less time and determination, but writing can be learned. In fact, no one was born knowing how to write. Not even Shakespeare.

But let’s talk now about the last type of fear; perhaps the strangest. Sometimes, what causes terrible fear is the possibility of success. And, as if that were not enough, we are also ashamed. It seems like sovereign bullshit, but this happens more than you think. Someone, back in our childhood (a teacher, a family member, a supposed friend, or the undesirable one), made us think that we were never going to be successful. That we didn’t deserve it. That, if we wanted to win something, it could only happen if we paid for it. And then the fear of success enters our brain. Because they have led us to believe that it is forbidden fruit for us. That others deserve it more than you. I can never help but think that those people who are successful are, because they work, yes, of course; but I really believe that it also is because since they were little, their family, their teachers and their friends always believed in them. They encouraged them to get up when they fell and congratulated them on all their successes; even by the most insignificant one.

Others, sadly, were not so lucky, and still, they believe to this day that they do not deserve to be successful.

But let me tell you here and now that you do deserve it. You deserve to write your book, publish it and sell it. Because you have a wonderful story to tell; a story dying to be told everyone and loudly. So, first of all, free yourself from fear, because with it by your side, you can start forgetting to create anything. Because that is precisely why you haven’t written your book yet. You are terribly afraid.

Iceland

Led Zeppelin described it: “The land of the ice and snow, where the hot springs flow…”

I´ve also come from the land of the ice and snow, where sleeping mountains of fire await to be awoken, and waterfalls run furiously in expression of their magnificent power; a land of contradiction, where ice and heat live in harmony. I must say: what a treasure of nature Iceland represents.

Reykjavik

Reykjavik translates as “smoky bay”, after an adventurous Norwegian Viking discovered a hot-springs land around 874 A.D. The heart of Iceland hasn´t been beating for long (there wasn´t urban development until 1786), and it´s one of the smallest capitals in the world, with 123,000 friendly and lively inhabitants.

The city has many highlights: Hallgrímskirkja, a church that can be seen from almost everywhere in Reykjavik, was designed to resemble mountains and glaciers, and it gives great panoramic views from the top.

The old port, with monumental ships, is the perfect place to enjoy delicious hot dogs and incredibly fresh fish and chips.

Original sculptures and colourful houses decorate Reykjavik charmingly; and The Pond surprises tourists with its many birds crying like hungry babies, when they throw food at them.

Golden Circle

It is one of the most popular routes in Iceland, covering 300 kilometres in the south. It starts with the visit to the Kerio volcano, which contradicts nature, covered in ice during winter; passing through the impressive Gullfoss waterfall, and getting to the geothermal area in Haukadalur.

There, the lazy Geysir isn´t able to spit water as it used to, but the active Strokkur congregates thousands of tourists, who hold their cameras steadily, awaiting for it to strongly gasp at any moment, as it erupts every few minutes.


Thingvellir National Park completes this trip, where one can walk through the Silfra Fissure, fracture that separates the North American tectonic plate and the Eurasian one. The opportunity to dive and touch two continents at once makes it more interesting, but if this seems too scary, just admire the beauty of the two-colour water (due to a melting glacier into Lake Thingvellir).

Seguir leyendo Iceland

The old man and the sea, by Ernest Hemmingway

Ernest Miller Hemingway

Ernest Hemingway was born in 1899 in USA and died in 1961. He worked as a reporter during The First World War in his country and in Italy. After the war, he lived in Paris, Spain and Africa. He worked as a reporter again during the Spanish Civil War and in USA, as a first reporter during the Second World War. After that, he settled down in Cuba, where he heard the story of the old fisherman Santiago.

In 1953 he won the Pulitzer Prize for The Old Man and the Sea, a convincing, short and heroic novel. In 1954, Hemingway was awarded the Nobel Prize.

It is characteristic from his style the use of clear and laconic dialogues and emotional descriptions. His life and work made a strong impact on other American writers from his time, and a great deal of his books are considered classics of the English literature.

There are several important factors to be pointed out in this fabulous and deep novel.

Regarding the plot, Hemingway tells the story of a likeable old Cuban man, Santiago, who dedicates his whole life to fish, and puts all his soul on this consuming task.

Santiago has been trying to capture a gigantic fish for some time; at one point he has to return home with an empty net after 84 days at sea. People from the town are extremely curious about him. The youngest ones laugh at him; the elderly, who are aware of what he was capable of in the past, just feel pity. Only a boy is brave enough to be friends with him. Santiago taught him how to fish when he was only a 5-year-old child and that is why the young man really care about the old one.

One day Santiago put his boat out to sea and found the enormous fish that he had been chasing for a long time. Finally the fish takes the bait and after an almightily battle lasting days, Santiago is able to finally catch and kill him. Santiago tries to take it into the boat, but the specimen is so heavy that the old man simply cannot. Therefore, he sails towards the port with the fish attached to the stern.

On the way back to port a few sharks appear, attracted by the blood coming from the fish. A massive fight starts between the old man and the hungry animals, who convert his crossing in an arduous and almost endless journey. Slowly, these fierce aquatic predators will fill their stomach with the fish meat, leaving only his bones remaining.

During this particular battle, Santiago realises of his admiration for the fish, who has been his biggest challenge. A part of himself will disappear with the fish in the sea.

It is a non complicated plot, but neither simple. It is grandiose, the capacity Hemingway has got to make an unadorned story  become the biggest adventure, and that is because of his powerful ability to describe reality.

The story is developed in the sea. Santiago lives by the seaside and the main action happens in the ocean. Even when the old fisherman is in the coast, his thoughts are on the sea.

Regarding time, the action takes place in few but absolutely intense days. Although he spends quite a few time remembering previous years; a time when he was younger, agile and strong.

The action is created by Santiago, a fish and some sharks as secondary actors, appearing these ones to move the plot.

This fight between man and animal (first the fish, and then the sharks), alone, face to face, creates a parable about the individualism of the fisherman for his apparent defeat against the nature, the destiny.

However, his passionate attempt, his reluctance to be vanquished  becomes the true victory. If a man face his destiny with valour and accept it fighting till the end, he will never be defeated. “Destroyed but not defeated”, declares Hemingway in words of Santiago

Santiago is alive, because the author has created true life with this character. He makes it possible that the reader is part of the story and becomes Santiago’s companion. Through the old man’s wise and short monologues about the sea and conversations with the big fish a normal story becomes completely majestic.

Hemingway is admirable when describing the reality. Nowadays, this ability has been lost in novels.

Linda Seger, a famous American screenplay writer states that a writer should introduce surprising elements continuously to keep the reader’s attention. There is nothing wrong with the “keeping the attention” part. However, it is not necessary whatsoever to introduce these surprises in a mechanic way; for example, adding a problem each three or four pages, almost automatically. Hemmingway achieved that result without having to resort to that absurd rule. He knew how to describe everything naturally and make it real and exciting without having to append any complication to the story.

Besides, along with that magic capacity to describe he has got an incredible fluency and amenity, only typical of the most talented writers.

The Old Man and the Sea is about ambition, regrets and last wishes. Some people wants power or money. Santiago just wanted a fish. A fish which would give him money and would make him be in the prime of life, but above all, it would give him pride. A pride he needed to demonstrate everyone since a long time ago. That animal represents his biggest secrets and greatest wishes. Without him, his life would not be completed. The book talks about the dreams. Not only of the ones Santiago has during the night, but also about the ones he wants to become true.

In the story it seems that he does not achieve his dream, or either that he gets it but it is taken away from him later. It does not happen, however, this way. He wanted everybody in town to admire his fish. But that would have not been possible (Hemmingway used to fish himself and lived in Cuba, so it is the most realistic solution that the sharks came to him attracted by the bleeding fish). Besides, people in town can still see the immense bone he is bringing with him.

He caught it and that is quite enough. Moreover, if the author would have wanted Santiago to arrive at the coast without the bone, the essence would have been the same. Santiago finally caught the fish, his biggest enemy and also his best friend, and that was the heart of the matter. He knew that and it was enough.

However, part of Santiago’s dream was to show everyone the capture and that is a better decision from Hemmingway. A bit of good pride in life is not harmful, and Hemmingway knew about that.

Not only people in town, but also the reader and Santiago himself realise that the old man did not loose the battle.

The perseverance and determination Santiago has trying to catch this fish and keep it is impressive. He suffers a lot of pain during his adventure. Santiago is willing to sacrifice everything to catch the fish and the cold, hunger and shattered hands mean nothing to him if he gets it. Hemmingway  manages to make us suffer as if we were in that very same boat with Santiago, or even as if we were Santiago, feeling all that stress, tension, fear and concern.

There are only a few characters in this novel, and this is one of the reasons it is such a magic novel. It is very difficult to create a good story with just a few characters: Santiago, a fish and some sharks make the whole package. Of course, there is Manolo (the boy) and the people from town (to the ones he wants to demonstrate he is still very capable), but the really important characters are Santiago and the animals.

Santiago is a wise and knowledgeable man; he has got that intelligence given by the common experience and not by the books. He knows that everybody is laughing at him, but he pretends he does not know and acts accordingly to that. However, he puts all his energy in proving them wrong.

Also, when he is talking to himself he says very clever things. Santiago is a sensitive man. He attributes human characteristics to the animals. This anthropomorphism is seen in sentences like: “dolphins are kind”. And he demonstrates humility too when he thinks that the fish has got a plan and that he is more able, dexterous and noble than himself.

Besides that, it is also interesting that he considers the animals and the stars like his brothers, and on the contrary, spurns somehow those people in town who look down on him. On one occasion, he says that his fish has great dignity, and that lots of people would not deserve to eat his meat.

Santiago is a passionate man, no doubt. That becomes obvious when he is fishing, even before he goes into the boat. It is a privilege seeing how happy he is just thinking about fishing.

The old fisherman is also a simple man. However, what is most characteristic of Santiago is his faith, his hopes, his dreams.

In a conversation, the boy and him are talking about the faith they both have. It is a short dialogue but very intense and relevant in the book. Manolo says to Santiago:

“Daddy does not have a lot of faith”, to which Santiago responds: “No, but we do, don’t we?” “Yes”, replies Manolo firmly and without hesitation. In another occasion, the old man remembers a chapter of his childhood in which he won a fight against a black athlete, and his thoughts concluded with a sentence that make us shudder: “I decided that I could defeat anybody, if I really wanted”. A sentence that defines Santiago very precisely and one that everyone should say to themselves every morning. We would not need to take it necessarily this way; we could turn it positively: “I decided I could get whatever I wanted, if I really wished it”.

The fish and the sharks, the other characters in the novel, represent the complications that come across in life. They are secondaries, but without them there would not be story at all. The fish is his aim, Santiago’s dream; but the sharks take away his dream (only apparently, of course). Santiago first wants the fish, then he hates the fish, at the end he admires the fish and considers him superior (even after he wins the battle); and of course he hates the sharks, but understand them later, because they are part of the nature. And Santiago understands nature better than anybody else.

Manolo is maybe just a reflection of Santiago; someone who represents what was Santiago like in the past. And it is curious because they both have the same faith, dreams, hopes and exactly the same energy…. Perhaps the author only wanted to tell us that even after so many years Santiago is still the same passionate man he was once when he was just a child.

The same stain remains

In some precise point of the dirty passages of a crowdy underground station in London… the same stain remains.

When you see it for the first time, it seems like water, juice, or a fizzy drink from some thoughtless and non-English person who threw it there.

But the very next day the spot will be in exactly the same place. Not a bit more to the right; not a bit more to the left, but there. Right there.

If this someone decides to go right there at 7 O´Clock in the evening, they will discover a man. The man who does not stop cleaning the stain. The same spot, everyday, at the same time.

With an old and gloomy glance, the head hanging down but the body straight, that man tries to remove the stain that still remains. He knows it is impossible to make it vanish; that it must be some kind of grease, and he knows for sure that it drips all the time in an invisible way though.

However, that is his job. Someone tells him to do it and he does it. He could never even think of complaining. Who knows; perhaps one day, if he spoke out against his task, they would fire him. Besides, why would he ever protest? He does not care when scrapping that spot. In fact, all day he is cleaning everything in one wipe without any attention, without returning to the same place. On the contrary, that point… That point is different. He knows that there is something there waiting for him; only for him. Something immovable, eternal. He does not care about anything else in his work. Only to try to remove the stain, without knowing that deep down he does not want to clean it.

He is unaware that there is a colleague of his that, everyday, and always just before 7 O´Clock, spills oil in that very point of the dirty corridors of a crowdy underground station of London.

The Elderly: growing old gracefully or treated disgracefully?

canva-monochrome-photo-of-old-person-MADyRQhNpZI

In ancient societies elderly people were considered sage and respectable. They were the most experienced ones. Humans have not got a limited growing, so it was sensible to realize that the elderly were more knowledgeable. That was a long time ago.

In modern society few appreciate these details. Advanced technology seems to play an important role in an unfortunate situation. It looks like the new sources of information people have access to means people have many more possibilities of getting to know everything, in a minimum of time.

Nobody needs grandpa’s help anymore; they can surf the net and get a better and faster answer.

The world has reached a frenetic rhythm which the elderly cannot be adapted to.  A different world in which they have been obliged to live in and one they do not feel part of it. Society has become impersonal and alienating. This is not a matter of bad luck, it is because we have created it. We live governed by the rules of functionalism, by which a person is important depending on their function in society. Where are elderly people placed nowadays then? What is their function? The anonymous system we have contributed to creating has got the answer: just to disturb.

That makes me think of the materialism we are involved in too. We have become comfortable and relaxed with ourselves and do not make any effort anymore. In the past we would have never spoken down to them. Whereas nowadays some people actually yell: “My dear pensioner and father, good trip to the old people´s home!”. Becoming mature has become a problem, for sure. It looks like Hemmingway was right when he said in words of that old fisherman: “Nobody should be alone in their elderly age but it is unavoidable”.

However, we should be aware that elderly people have got a lot to do with tradition, and tradition allows us to connect the present with the past. We cannot understand the present without knowing about what was there before. The tree will have worse looking leaves if we damage the roots. And the respect is a very fair virtue: If one does not respect the past generations, the coming ones will not respect the current one. That we are treating the elderly disgracefully is a fact, but everyday there is a moment when we can make a change. Let Hemmingway be wrong.