I just published a new text. He’s still covered in placenta. I don’t even know whether to call it an article or a chronicle. Perhaps he is even a hermaphrodite, neither one nor the other and both at the same time. Perhaps it was born inside out, causing repulsion in those who do not understand irony. I do not know. All I know is that it was born, the little animal, conceived on a sad day of this damp and cold autumn.
I barely got to the period and the text, still a baby in full diapers (I fixed that wrong comma, editor) , is already circulating around. Exploring dark alleys of brute ignorance, deserted streets of sheer disinterest, and irrationally excited crowds in stadiums and bandstands. When I was younger and I even had a huge head of hair (nobody believes it!), I even tried to control the rascals. Today, however, I know that the buzzword really opens big doors and that the text takes on a life of its own as soon as it becomes public.
Look at that. It’s there. Free, light and free to be raised to the savages of everyday subliterature or to be lynched by virtual vigilantes with nothing better to do, the text sometimes resorts to hard drugs, like the cliché. He tells me that is forced to resort to this (“otherwise I won’t survive! it’s a jungle out there!”), but I know it’s a choice. And that the text, always imperfect, is sometimes capable of taking the wrong path.
With any luck and the elimination of unintentional ambiguities, the text recovers after a paragraph or two of rehabilitation to meet with readers. By Dona Maria he is loved; by her Jose, hated; by Gumercindo, caressed; by Cremilda, beaten. Sometimes Dr. Inocêncio invites him into the house and even offers him a rain cake (thank you, Dona Inês!). Sometimes he is shooed away like a mangy dog from whose pustules the pus of an imaginary bad temper leaks. Raisin! Pass!
Here and there, however, what I like to consider a miracle occurs: text and reader are involved in a relationship of affection. Occasionally, courtship, born of an irrational passion, doesn’t go much further than the title. But it’s worth it. On the other hand, there are occasions when text and reader are related in a deeper way. All those kisses and synchronized movements and, well, you know. There are readers who get satiated quickly, too quickly, and don’t get past the first paragraph. Others, however, are even ready to marry.
As the author and father of these ungrateful offspring, I just look. I have absolutely no control over what happens – beatings, toasts, laughter, sleep – between text and reader in the privacy of the braincase. But I know something is going on there. Some alchemy. Some miracle whose product is always Grace, although sometimes it doesn’t seem like it. Although sometimes the reader doesn’t even realize it and goes around cursing that piece of “paper” that made him think unwanted thoughts.
And so, after a few days of shaming, loose-loose in this world of my God, the text is slowly losing its vigor. Most hair falls out; the remaining strands are brittle and whitish. The belly grows; teeth rot. In the corners of the eyes, furrows appear that contain all the pain in the world. His back bends and he is able to lose a race to a turtle. Abandoned by the reader (you ungrateful!), the text sits on the curb, begging for attention.
If you’re lucky, a good Samaritan is quite capable of picking it up from the street of bitterness and include it in a collection. Or at the very least link it to the last paragraph of a chronicle still full of youth, like the one you have in your hands. If you’re unlucky… Well, in this case the text runs the risk of turning into a resentful zombie that turns against the author, that scoundrel who committed the irresponsibility of putting him in the world. Believe me, in twenty years it has been possible to accumulate many haunting texts that always pull my foot at midnight on Fridays 13.
And so I end up giving to light one more text. That, as the final point approaches, is already putting out its wings. Let me out, daddy! let me fly! Maybe it was time to soothe him a little more. To teach him the danger of ironies and tautologies. To instruct you in the dangers of clichés. When I know it, however, he’s already at the door, ordering in that funny pubescent voice: press the publish button there, old man!