Why I am a writer

typewriter, book, notes


Before anything else, I would like to thank you for taking a few minutes of your time to visit my blog.

If you are perceptive, and I think you are, you will have noticed that -because of my surnames-, there is a very particular mixture running through my veins, for not to say weird.

I am Parodi, from the Parodi’s dynasty, as a good friend of mine would say, a surname from Italy; although that to be honest, I am Parodi by accident, that should be my father’s second surname; the first one should have been Solano, but because of a few matters that I am not going to explain now (I will tell that in a novel), he was placed Parodi in the baptismal font. The surname Solano is from Spain.

My second surname, that one well placed, is Quiroga, which also comes from Spain, from the region of Galicia and Sevilla, people say.

So, my surnames have given the world an important trail of writers, artists and other strange creatures.

Of course, I am not a writer because of the surnames that I have, no; there is a universe between the distinguished groups of Parodi’s with a long way in letters and other gadgets and me. The same happens between the great Horacio Quiroga and me. Thus, my surnames actually have nothing to do with my vocation to literature and letters.

I was born in Bogota, the capital of my country; when I was less than five of age -in 1969- we went to live to Fonseca in the south of La Guajira, department located in the most northern region, it was a change out of all recognition for everybody: from the cold of the capital, direct to the unbearable heat of an inhospitable and semi desert land; from the comforts of the big city, to the precariousness of a small town that didn’t even have electricity supply. I lived there till my youth when I moved back to the capital to start a career as a lawyer, which I finished in the city of Barranquilla, almost thirty years ago.

My childhood in La Guajira was particular, not happy (as everybody usually says). I was a stranger there, although I felt more “guajiro” (native of La Guajira) than anyone; after all, that blessed town was founded by my ancestors. However, my precedence, the care with which my mother dressed us every afternoon, my particular way of talking, gave me the nickname of “cachaquito” (pejorative name for those born inland).

When I studied in Bogota, my origin, the color of my skin, my carelessness to dress and my particular way of talking, earned me the nickname of “costeño” (word used to refer people native from the Caribbean cost. I wasn’t happy in Bogotá either.

I decided to move to Barranquilla, and the situation got worst, because nobody knew if I was “cachaco” or “costeño”, but I stayed in Barranquilla and concluded that I was a citizen of the world, like the famous song by Alberto Cortez: I am neither from here… nor am I from there and that thought made me very happy: ¡I am a citizen of the world!

I think that the multiculturalism to which I was exposed in my years of formation has been fundamental in my conception of life, in the enrichment of personal experiences and of course, that is evident, not only in my personality (a kind of patchwork quilt), but in the things that I write.

The fantastic and surreal stories of La Guajira (those called magic realism) that our neighbors -three pretty old ladies and spinsters- told us every night, the universal and almost square conventionalism of the inland culture and the self-confidence and joy of the culture of Barranquilla, of course have had a powerful and undeniable influence on my thought and have provided me with unfathomable inputs when writing prose, poetry or composing a song.

But, my experiences of life, are not responsible either that I am (or pretend to be) a writer, although I could say that rivers of literature inherited from my ancestors run through my veins; it sounds good, but it isn’t.

The big truth is that my love for letters, narrative and poetry, I owe it to the book that has marked me since I was very young: The Bible (and don’t worry that I am not going to talk about religion) a fascinating book that in turn contains more than 60 different books, written in the space of more than a thousand years, by forty authors from different periods, nationalities and social conditions. It tells fantastic stories, narrates legendary deeds and amazing battles. It has the most beautify love poems of this and the other world; its message moves, liberates or condemns and causes controversy. In its name, outrages and injustices have been committed and whether is accepted or not, it has transcended time and regardless of how you want to see it, nobody discusses that it is a real treatise on Hebrew, Greek and Latin literature. Among many things, I learned with the Bible that you can transcend through letters.

Well, I also like to tell stories, I have an amazing imagination, I live in love with my wife, my five children and my three grandchildren, I appreciate every minute of life and I enjoy it watching the perfection of nature, in the sunlight, the clouds that travel through the sky and the breeze that fondles my face; injustice unnerves me and the caresses of my daughters put me at their feet; music takes me to other world and I feel that I can die in peace after every kiss of my wife (of course I better not die to continue kissing her); I have read almost all the classics of the golden age and a lot of amazing things have happened to me, that in the end, the right question is not ¿Why I am not a writer? But, ¿How not to be a writer?


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