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> Horacio Quiroga
The Cuervo Personality of Horacio Quiroga
By Viggo Mortensen - translated by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
29 August 2011
New visit to the children in the Bombonera. We forgive them this time. Acid test, a rivalry more important than ever, and a result...more or less acceptable. Less than more, really. At the moment the tournament is even. Botinelli is an example. To me, he was the head, the most dedicated body, the soul of our team. Thank you, champion. You are a beast. Actually the whole team gave themselves in the critical moments, solving the problems with intelligence in a "clásico" full of nerves, dark energy, very tense. I had a pretty bad time. I´m neither in Buenos Aires nor in a place where I could see the match well. I put up with seeing blurred and constantly interrupted images on my laptop, with an infernal audio of generally dull comments, in the middle of a forest where it never stopped raining. The goal by Boca filled me with anguish. But, little by little, I calmed down. I believe in our team. We are doing fine. Hold on Ciclón!
Lately I´ve been living a little in the world of the imagination of Horacio Quiroga, a rather tortured author who seems very interesting to me. I began reading him during the shoot of Todos tenemos un plan, the Argentinian film we just ended up filming, directed by Ana Piterbarg (an incorrigible bostera, but a very courageous artist, friendly and very talented). Quiroga was born in Uruguay at the end of the 19th century and explored the deep forest and the darkest landscapes of his consciousness like a kind of South American Edgar Allan Poe. The romanticism of Leopoldo Lugones, de Maupassant and Kipling also left their mark on him, but he sought and found his own way of dealing with the many tragedies of his life. He wrote beautiful stories full of tension and fear, facing his inevitable physical decline with courage equal to Kafka's.
He went through quite a complicated apprenticeship both as an artist and human being, full of bizarre bad luck. He could turn his misfortunes into stories which are at once love letters to nature and explorations of disagreements and seemingly senseless punishments. He had to suffer several deaths - by accident and suicide - of parents, friends and lovers. An essentially delicate and highly sensitive man, he endured almost continuous sicknesses, injustices and misadventures. He felt an attraction to the severity of outdoor life and the mountains, a genuine love of the wild and the dangerous.
Why this information about a literary figure who wrote a hundred years ago? I think that such a brave and stubborn guy bears quite a resemblance to a lot of us, and to our warriors like el Manco Casa, el Beto Acosta, el Pipi Romagnoli, el Berni Romeo, Botti, el Capitán Pablo Michelini, and so many more. A beautiful madman, a heavyweight of suffering, a guy with an almost irrational valor. An incurable artist. Today, Horacio Quiroga would without doubt be another Cuervo. All of you can go on to inform yourselves in detail about the life and art of this genius of pain if you want to. I recommend that you try it.
A few things that Quiroga said:
"Don't write under the influence of emotion. Let it die and evoke it later. If you're able then to bring it back to life just as it was, you're halfway to art."
"Don't think about your friends when you write, or about the impression your story will make. Tell it as if your telling had no interest beyond the small environment of your characters, of which you could have been one. In no other way will the story come to life."
Good advice for one who wants to write and live honestly. Quiroga was someone who learned from others, who imitated his teachers without hiding it, and who later found, with a great deal of patience, the right paths for his own life and art. An angel of the sorrows of love and the agonies of the body, master of the morbid, gothic hero. An original.
I suggest beginning with Los desterrados if you want to read something of Quiroga. His children's stories, which show a profound knowledge of the flora and fauna of the northern forest of Misiones and the Chaco - written a bit in the style of Kipling - are also very lovely.
Next week we will bring you a conversation between Fabián Casas and La Chancha Rinaldi, a hero in CASLA history, a great figure in the epic battle of San Lorenzo to return to the top ranks in 1982.
Last edited: 7 October 2011 08:49:10
© Viggo Mortensen/Club Atlético San Lorenzo de Almagro.