|Frank David, the Cemetery and my Journalistic Instinct
2012.04.20 - 09:29:31 / firstname.lastname@example.org / Translated by: Pedro A. Fanego Sea
I had known it certain time ago; however, in certain remote place my conscience was labeling him and I simply, as the brother of a female friend. His image had been clearer through some hilarious stories that almost always were about his liking for a female kitten that had the bluish name of Blue.
It was until that evening when I was surprised by the piece of news: The writer Frank David Frías Rondón was receiving the Calendario Prize of the 21st International Book Fair in the narrative category.
Immediately, I felt a weird sensation on diagnosing myself as “early degeneration of my journalistic instinct.”Therefore, I quickly went out in search for him given I had to interview that young person who was certainly my female friend´s brother, and mainly an emerging voice of the Caribbean words.
Where could I interview you? I asked him amid the intense noise of the city.
He stared at me for a second and without hesitation, he concluded:
“Let´s go to a place that I do love it: The Colón cemetery.”
Why does Frank David write?
“It is for me the most difficult and recurrent question. I think that all began from having read many books as well as having a silly idea on writing a solid work. The good art gives the sensation of being not a complex one. For instance, you are in a theater and you see the way a female dance is practically floating and you said to yourself that it seems easy to do it, but when you perform the first fuette technique you break your ankle.”
“It is even more complicated to achieve the elegance or move with great mastery. I broke many pages before understanding that being an excellent writer depends on many factors. The talent as such is not enough; however, once I could understand it, I had sacrificed so much in my work that I did not find the way to go back.”
Which literary sources do you usually use? What can you tell me of your style? Do you feel as representative of any style?
“I am still looking for a style and more than a style, I am looking for the perfect work. There was someone who said that a writer spends his/her life writing the same book. I am beginning to understand that reasoning. “
“Regarding to influences, I do not really know if I have any one; however, I did learnt from Balzac, Dostoiewski, Poe, Lovecraft, Dickens, Gogol, Katherin Ann Porter, Dulce María Loynaz and El siglo de las Luces book.”
Which are the main subject matters in your work?
“I learned reading the Russian psychology from the czarist period. They were great at showing the most complex areas of psychology. Since then, I´ve felt interested for the dark sides of the human being: To bring to light themes of situations that people usually consider as extraordinary ones when actually. For instance, the parameters show they are as common as watching television. I am referring to the disturbed mentalities, the causes that have an effect on them and the fatal consequences such as homicide, abuses, including the most sinister ones such as the necrophilia or other way of extreme sexual aberration.”
“Human beings that vent their frustrations on the less guilty individuals and also vent socially and clinically on others or themselves (there are no happy endings).”
“On the other hand, they are stories where there is generally a character that seems to have all the sensibility of the world. The contrast is usually tiring for me.”
How difficult could be for a young writer to be part of the circuit of publications?
“It is not so difficult to obtain promises on future publications. The really difficult aspect consist in seeing your book properly and rapidly done due to the disadvantages of shortage or editorial plans that do not achieve to include a considerable number of books to be published, this is why, a book could be delayed two, three or up to seven years to get into a bookshop. There are some books that are never published, however, it is not due to the system as such, given it is due to the lack of sensibility from some people who work within it. There are priorities, just like in any other place, especially if there are not enough resources.”
“The fact that is really the most negative one consists in a truly closed circle around the literary contests. That is the safest way of publication to obtain some recognition, if you do not win prizes; the work could be doubled and even tripled. We have not surpassed yet the process of focusing more on the curriculum than in the proposal.”
“Of course, I have met people that do properly their work such as those from the El Caimán Barbudo, the Onelio center and other institutions that have among its personnel some good professionals as well as many young writers who have found in them a proper space.”
Do you think that it could be talked on a new generation of new Cuban writers?
“New writers begin to excel such as Legna Rodríguez, Jamila Medina, Dazra Novak and others if we take into account that the word generation in art means a group of artists or writers who have similar styles or if we see it from my point of view: It is a group of artists that in spite of having similar styles they marked a period in literature, so, it is still early to talk in terms of generation and even more to judge or labeling the newest writers as part of a literary tendency. We could perhaps return to that question in ten years time.”
What does the intelectualoide mean?
“It is my blog and a hobby. The name is a mockery in relation to the false intellectuals that walk over 30 degrees wearing their scarves and doing snob. I am talking about those who really pretend to be a thinker rather than being a real one.”
“In the beginning, the Intelectualoide was created to carry out the idea on a digital magazine given I had no enough time to be dedicated to a publication of that kind, but the urgency to share some ideas. I publish there articles on the movie and works related to literature as well as any other thing that could be interesting to me. It constitutes a complete exchange.”
How do you value the Cuban young narrative that is carried out on the island? (A necessary aspect in the short story production)
“I have not read them all, I am referring to the most outstanding ones, however, I have certainly read some of them and I do think that the main problem is the fact that they are too concern about impressing other writers, critics, who are also writers in many cases, and the panel of judges in contests.”
“There is a lack of independence in relation to interests and maturity and I am not referring to the maturity in the work as such given that we all know that it is difficult to find a great writer under his/her forty years of age. I am talking of being sincere with the work, free from all ruses or theme in fashion.
Truman Capote said the journalist as such usually moves horizontally, however, the writer should go or work vertically by going deeper before each fact and within the character’s mind.”
Necessary epilogue on the author and his work:
Frank David Frías Rondón works as President of Book and Literature in the Plaza de la Revolución municipality from the capital city and have received numerous prizes that includes the Ernest Hemingway prize in 2008, the Alfredo Torroella prize in 2009, the Félix Pita Rodríguez in 2009 and recently the Calendario prize, among them. Moreover, there are among his publications the book entitled Una recta entre dos puntos negros published by Extramuros publishing house in the year 2009, the book entitled Rigor Mortis published by the Unicornio publishing house in 2009 and the book entitled La capital de los muertos published by the Atom Press publishing house in the United States in 2011.
At present time, writer Frank David Frías Rondón continues working in the editorial process of his book entitled Ellas quieren ser novias as well as working in three literary projects entitled Anita Mur, which is a novel, and another one entitled Segundo cielo, including the short stories entitled La clínica, respectively. Written by Malvy Souto López