Archives for the month of: October, 2012

Éste será el primero en una serie de blogs donde voy a escribir sobre gente a la que ya conocía y gente a la que me he encontrado por el camino y que me han ayudado, dándome un empujoncito para ayudarme a ponerme en marcha, me han apoyado (emocional y prácticamente) y han sido amables. Tengo previsto escribir sobre gente de todo tipo: amigos, familia, colegas, y lectores (sí, vosotros también).

En el primer blog de la serie quiero escribir sobre Magda Olchawska (http://magdaolchawska.com/). Me la encontré (o ella me encontró a mí, no estoy segura de quién fue primero) a través de Twitter. Yo me había estado informando y leyendo todo lo que pude encontrar sobre publicación electrónica, self-publishing, consejo para autores primerizos sobre como promocionarse y crear una audiencia para sus libros. Estoy segura de que algunos de vosotros habréis hecho lo mismo. Habréis notado que hacen mucho  énfasis en medios de comunicación sociales. Únete a Facebook (si no estás apuntado ya), métete en Twitter, crea tu propia página de web…Fácil…Bueno, yo no estaba en Facebook, no tenía página web, y aunque había oído algo sobre Twitter (la primavera árabe y todo eso) nunca lo había probado.

Decidí que si lo iba a intentar en serio, sería mejor probarlo todo.

Facebook…Ahí está. Estoy segura de que crecerá con el tiempo pero…(si no tenéisnada mejor que hacer:  www.facebook.com/OlgaNunezMiret). La página web…Compré un programa de hacérselo uno mismo y algo hice (todavía está en construccion, pero si tenéis curiosidad, del gusto no hay nada escrito: www.OlgaNM.com)

Twitter….lo encontré (y lo sigo encontrando) muy interesante. Para empezar era bastante frustrante porque te sientes como si estuvieras gritando en el desierto, y pegando saltos y agitando los brazos y nadie te mira, pero al cabo de un tiempo la gente empieza  a responder y llegas a hacer buenos amigos y encuentras gente de gustos similares con los que puedes charlar. También encuentras gente muy diferente a tí que te inspiran y le dan a la vida un poco de chispa.

Magda es probablemente un poco de las dos cosas, tenemos cosas en común pero también somos muy diferentes. Ella también se dedica a la escriture (ahora se concentra en sus guiones y en libros de niños a la vez educativos e imaginativos) yes una gran directora (y guionista, editora…). Yo amo las películas y escribí una tesis doctoral sobre las películas de David Mamet, pero no tengo habilidad técnica alguna, y por eso siempre me maravilla la gente que puede contar historias e ideas en imágenes (y sé que me desvío del tema, pero me ha hecho acordarme de Hugo de Scorsese. Que bonita carta de amor al cine!)

Ella siempre ha sido amable en todos sus mensajes y me dio información de lo más útil sobre como orientarse en el mundo de la promoción y el marketing de libros de la forma lo menos dolorosa posible (particularmente si como yo, sois muy nuevos en esto). Magda tiene una página de consulta donde ofrece servicios a la medida del proyecto personal de cada uno (http://magdaolchawska.com/consultant/consultations), pero incluso antes de decidirme a usar sus servicios oficiales, me envió montañas de información que aún estoy estudiando pero ya me ha ayudado a organizarme mejor, y concentrarme en los aspectos más útiles y sencillos.

Decidí usar su servicio de consulta (porque la vida es corta y vale la pena dejarse aconsejar por alguien que sepa del tema) y ahora tengo un PDF lleno de sugerencias basadas en mis libros y que estoy implementando pasito a pasito. Si alguna vez llego a adoptar incluso una pequeña parte de los consejos que me ha dado estoy segura de que mi libro(s) serán todo un éxito (o al menos tendran una buena oportunidad. La única cosa que ella no hace es escribir el libro por tí, o hacer la película).

Ahora mismo estamos trabajando en la creación de un book trailer (como un anuncio visual del libro). Ella me ofreció información sobre como hacerlo uno mismo, pero decidí que quería que pareciera profesional y después de ver algunos de sus cortos, no tengo ninguna duda de que tomé la decisión correcta.(http://magdaolchawska.com/entry/530)

Aprecio en particular su atención personal y como está dispuesta a responder a todas las preguntas (ya sean sobre sus consejos, sugerencias personales e ideas de todo tipo) y su honestidad hablando de su propia experiencia y de lo que le ha funcionado y lo que no. Cada persona es diferente y no todas las cosas le funcionan a todo el mundo, pero muchos de los artículos y libros sobre promoción y marketing dan consejos muy impersonales, y conociendo al individuo y su obra te da más confianza y te ayuda valorar los consejos y los pone en perspectiva.

Magda es generosa con sus conexiones y te presenta con gusto a amigos y colegas que también están dispuestos a compartir sus experiencias darte su apoyo.

Todos tenemos talentos distintos, pero el talento de Magda no está sólo en escribir libros y hacer películas, sino en su habilidad de comunicarse, ayudar a otros y compartir sus conocimientos y consejos. Y ése es sin duda alguna un gran talento.

Puedes apuntarte a su newsletter en su página web. O seguirla en Twitter (@magdaolchawska). Le podéis decir que os envío you. Os tratará como a amigos!

Olga

 

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This will be the first in a series of blogs where I intend to write about people I know and people I have met on my journey who have helped me, assisted me to get on my way (sometimes pushed me if necessary), supported me (emotionally, practically) and have been kind in general. I plan to write about a variety of people: friends, family, colleagues, and readers (yes, you too!).

On the first of the series y want to write about Magda Olchawska. (http://magdaolchawska.com/)  I came across her (or she came across me, I can’t remember the exact sequence) through Twitter. I had been doing my research and reading everything I could find (or so it felt like) about e-publishing, self-publishing, advice to budding authors on how to market themselves and build an audience for their books. I’m sure some of you must have done the same. Social media features very prominently in the advice. Join Facebook (if you aren’t on it already), go on Twitter, get a website…Easy…Well, I wasn’t on Facebook, I didn’t have a website, and I’d heard about Twitter but never tried it.

I decided that if I was going to have a go at it, I’ll better try everything.

Facebook…It’s there. I’m sure it will build up over time but…(check me out if you have nothing better to do: www.facebook.com/OlgaNunezMiret). The Website…I got a programme to build it and I put something together (still very much work in progress, but if you’re really curious, there’s no accounting for taste: www.OlgaNM.com).

Twitter…I found very interesting. To being with it could get frustrating at times as you felt like if you were shouting in the desert, waving your arms around and nobody looking at you, but eventually people start responding and you make some good friends and find like-minded people you can have chats with. You also find different minded people who spice things up and inspire you.

Magda is probably both like-minded and at the same time quite different. She’s also in the writing business (now focusing on her own scripts and wonderfully imaginative and educational children’s books) and she’s a great filmmaker. I love films and wrote a PhD on the films of David Mamet, but have no technical ability, so I’m always in awe of people who can translate stories and ideas into images. It remains magical and a mystery to me. (I don’t know why but this made me think about how much I enjoyed Scorsese’s Hugo. Beautiful love letter to cinema.) But I digress.

She was always kind in her messages and provided extremely useful information about how to navigate the world of book marketing, in as painless a manner as possible (particularly if like me, you’re fairly new to it). She has a consultation page were she provides advice tailored to your personal needs (http://magdaolchawska.com/consultant/consultations), but even before I decided to take that route, she send me tonnes of information that I’m slowly adopting and adapting but I feel has already helped me organise myself and provided really useful ideas.

I have made use of her consultation service and I have a PDF full of suggestions based on my project that I’m working my way through. If I ever manage to implement even a small amount of them I’m sure my book will be a success (or at least will have a fair chance of exposure…The only thing she does not do is write the book for you, or make the movie…).

We’re at the moment working on creating a book trailer for my first book. She provided me with information on how to do it myself, but I decided I wanted it to look professional and after watching some of her work, I can’t but think it was the right decision. (http://magdaolchawska.com/entry/530)

I particularly appreciate her willingness to provide immediate feedback and answer queries, thoughts, random comments (on more than a daily basis if required) and her honesty on talking about her own experience and what she has found useful or not. People are individuals and not everything works for everybody, but a lot of the marketing materials and advice are very impersonal and samey, and knowing the person and their work makes you understand and appreciate the advice for what is worth.

Magda is happy sharing her connections and introducing you to friends and colleagues who have always been ready to offer their own insights and provide support.

We are all talented in different ways, but Magda’s talent isn’t only in her writing and filmmaking, but also in her ability to communicate with others, support and share her knowledge and advice. And this is a great talent indeed. Also, my Mum is called Magda!

You can sign for her newsletter in her website…Or follow her on Twitter (@magdaolchawska) Tell her I sent you. She’ll treat you as a friend!

Have you ever wondered how your life would be if everybody judged you by the way you look? My name is Jesús and that’s the stuff my life is made of. I was born ugly. Extremely ugly. (Well, I guess I’m still ugly, but I’ve been seeing myself like this for so long that I no longer notice the ugliness. I’ve probably grown immune to it. On the other hand most of the people I meet notice…a lot. Double take and all).

My birth is the stuff of legend. The story is repeated like a mantra in all family occasions. You know: weddings, birthdays, christenings, burials…My mother, Adelina, who’ve never wanted to do things like everybody else, decided not to go to hospital. She wanted a home birth. She wasn’t married and was staying with her parents. No, I never met my father, but that’s a long story…Anyway, it seems that my mother was screaming like a banshee (the doctor was very late. He was a busy man, poor guy) and when I was finally born and my grandmother took me in her arms I gave her a big fright. I’ve never seen any pictures of that moment  (it seems nobody dared to take any considering my looks) but I’ve been reliably informed that I was all covered in black hair, head to toe.(At this point my grandmother always said: ‘like little monkey’ but she has to add, after the all important pause, ‘but uglier’) I didn’t cry and just opened my eyes, that have always been a bit special. My grandmother shouted ‘Jesús’ in her fright. She said I looked like the devil (not sure how many encounters she’d had with the devil, but she seemed very confident on that matter).

Nobody came up with a better name, and I was left with the name ‘Jesús’. It seems my mother liked it, and all agreed it might give me some protection.

I’ve lived all my life with people looking at me and expecting something malefic and special to manifest. It has been hard and it has made my life very complicated. All things considered, I don’t think that even if I had looked like Johnny Depp, my life would have been any less complicated.

If you want to read more:

: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWRT22

Os habéis preguntado alguna vez como os sentiríais si la gente os juzgara con sólo veros? Yo estoy acostumbrado a ello. Me llamo Jesús y nací feo (bueno, supongo que sigo siendo feo, pero llevo tantos años viéndome que ya no me doy cuenta). Muy feo. Mi nacimiento de hecho se ha convertido en leyenda familiar,
y sale a relucir cada vez que hay alguna reunión o acontecimiento de familia. Ya sabéis: bodas, bautizos, comuniones, entierros…
Mi abuela siempre me dice que yo le pegué un susto de muerte cuando nací. Mi madre, Adelina, a la que nunca le gustó hacer las cosas como los demás, decidió no ir al hospital y me tuvo en casa. Por lo visto estaba aullando como una desesperada (el médico llegó tarde. Andaba muy ocupado el buen hombre) y yo nací…pues lo mejor que pude. Fotos no he visto, porque nadie se atrevió a sacarme una foto. Nací cubierto de pelo negro y abrí los ojos al nacer, sin llorar ni nada. Mi abuela al verme cubierto de pelo (‘como un monito, me decía, y siempre añadía, ‘pero aun más feo y más peludo’) y con aquellos ojos exclamó ‘Jesús!’. Parece que se pensó que yo era como el diablo. 
Me quedé con el nombre porque a nadie se le ocurrió ninguno mejor, y pensaron que igual me protegería…
La cuestión es que la leyenda de mi nacimiento me ha seguido toda la vida, y todo el mundo me mira preguntándose si de veras hay algo diabólico en mí y cuando se manifestará. Hay que reconocer que la gente es algo tonta, pero mi cara y mi aspecto me ha complicado algo la vida. Aunque en realidad sospecho que mi vida habría sido complicada aunque me hubiera parecido a Johnny Depp.
Si quieren leer más sobre mi vida y aventuras…
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWEGC8

Hi:

After talking about me and my writing, I decided to post a story I wrote some time back. I also have news. I’ve published my first book, both in Spanish and English (El Hombre que nunca existió, The Man Who Never Was). I hope you like the story.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWEGC8

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009TWRT22

THE NOVEL

Denver had never been the most attractive or lucky of girls. Brown hair, brown eyes, average height. Not a sculptural body either. She’d gone through Primary and High School without doing anything remarkable. She’d had a few dates, but she’d never had a formal boyfriend (or an informal one, for that matter!). She’d managed to move away from her parents’ house (nice people, but too conventional) nearly a year ago, and she’d expected her life to change completely. No more boredom! Excitement, freedom, recklessness! Maybe all that wasn’t her, after all, because her life had continued to be as boring as usual. Nothing new. She had a studio-flat to herself, but that was all there was.  It wasn’t even in a fancy place. Peaceful, quiet, and empty.

Even her friend Phoebe was living with someone. She’d always thought Phoebe would be the last girl in the world to get somebody. So shy, so prudish, she never dared to take any risks at all…And there she was. Phoebe had had her adventure, and Denver was still there. Waiting. What on earth was she waiting for?

If only things were like in the books or the films. Life would be so much easier to handle. If only she could discover what the plot to her life was, or at least what the genre of the novel she was living was. If life came with a book of instructions for its use and enjoyment everything would be so much simpler…

She told herself that it was all a matter of determination. She was going to take control. From now on, she was writing her own story. And she would decide what it was going to be like. She could hear the music of Carmen (‘Toreador’) as she went to sleep on the thought. Her name in neon lights. Her relatives and friends clapping at her performance. Her life was going to become a best seller!

The next morning, when she walked into her office, she’d made her mind up. A romantic story. That was what her life was going to be. A beautiful love story. The setting wasn’t perfect: tables, computers, doors, papers and more papers. But her reserve of imagination was larger than the Federal Bank’s gold reserve. She could blank out reality if she tried real hard. It was all in the process of creation. The plastic and cheap-looking tables could become mahogany, period tables. The lamps, crystal…Maybe something more intimate and less grand would be more romantic. She didn’t want ‘Gone with the Wind’ either. It was too much. Not so ambitious. Flowery pastel curtains on the windows; instead of the huge skyscrapers a lake and a little white house in the distance, a Cole Porter song…And soft light. Definitely soft light. It would go with her pink dress. And she had a hero. Mr. Spencer, Mark, her boss. He was tall, dark and handsome. Denver was well aware that there were many women interested in him, but deep inside him, even if he’d never showed it, she knew that the flame of his love for her burned really hot. She had got some flowers for her desk, to complete the scene, and she left one in his room.

Mr. Spencer came in and nodded at her. The music grew louder. He hadn’t said anything but Denver sensed that he was only feigning indifference. She waited for his call. He would call her any time to thank her for the flower, and he would acknowledge his feelings. She could picture the scene. She’d go in, and there he would be, in the centre of the room, hazy  background and a shiny smile on his face. Who needed Brad Pitt or Leonardo Di Caprio when she had Mr. Spencer? He would rush towards her, inflamed by his passion and taking her hand he would cover it with kisses.

”Thanks for the flower. It’s so beautiful and delicate as you are. I suppose you imagined I didn’t notice you, but it’s taken all my self-control not to approach you before, and now…”

“Mr. Spencer…” She would blush and flip her long eyelids that were one of her main charms.

“Call me Mark…”

One of the other girls, a newcomer, short and very active, shook her.

“Mr. Spencer is calling you. I wouldn’t make him wait. He’s been quite short recently.”

“He won’t be short with me.”

The other girl looked at her surprised, but Denver marched in the office with her notebook and a broad smile. ‘Our love is here to stay’ was playing in her mind.

“Mr. Spencer.”

He was sneezing like mad. No hazy background, no shiny smile.

“Was this your idea?”  He asked pointing at the flower.

“Well, yes. I thought it would enliven the office.”

“Nobody asked you to think. I’m allergic to flowers. Take that away from here. Quick!” His tone was dry and hard. He was not amused.

She grabbed the flower feeling mortified. She was only trying…

“And don’t come back in. Mr. Wingfield needs someone to help him. His secretary had an accident a couple of days ago. Take your things to his office.”

Mr. Wingfield! He was old, fiery, and not very nice. Denver could have cried.

“And take the flowers on your desk with you. Thanks.”

Thanks? Thanks? Who did he think he was? Not her hero, definitely not. A romantic hero didn’t behave like that. Men. One could never trust them to play their parts.

While she was filing documents in Mr. Wingfield’s office she concluded that, whatever it was, her life wasn’t a romantic novel. But, who wanted a romantic novel anyhow? There was no real adventure, no risk, and no danger. A detective story. A good detective story was what she needed.

Next day Denver decided on wearing a dark suit, and she even bought a packet of cigarettes on the way. She tried to smoke one, but it made her cough, and her eyes started to cry. She threw them away. She’d have to be a healthy detective instead.

Once in the office nothing exciting seemed to happen for a while. Selecting the mail, answering some of the letters, rearranging some appointments. Just before midday, Steve, one of the salesmen and Marie’s (one of the other secretaries) boyfriend went to see her. He was a nice guy, nothing outstanding, but kind and attentive. He didn’t have a dress sense though, red hair and a brown suit didn’t quite match, but he wasn’t like the other salesmen always flirting with the pretty girls and never talking to her. He was polite and he always told her about his adventures when selling their ‘wonderful garden implements’. Marie never let him talk about it; it was too boring for her. She only wanted him to adore her and talk about her all the time. Steve was far too good for Marie. Not Denver’s type, but he deserved better than Marie. She always had to act all high and mighty.

“ I wonder if you can help me with this mystery.”

A mystery! Eureka! She had the feeling this was going to be her lucky day. The music inundated her ears. Dark, slightly threatening, jazzy…

“Tell me.”

“I’ve been to see Marie…She’s not at her desk.”

Denver’s pulse accelerated. The trumpet blew in. A missing person. Always a good topic in detective stories.

“She’s probably doing something…photocopying?”

“I’ve looked. She isn’t there. Nobody has seen her go out either.”

“Let’s go and see.”

Denver examined Marie’s desk with utmost attention. A good detective had to be scientific and meticulous. Shame she hadn’t brought a magnifying glass with her. But, that was too old-fashioned. Now it was all DNA testing and sophisticated gadgets. She’d have to do with her wit. It was much cheaper. Observation was the first rule. Marie’s notepad was there, so it was unlikely that she would be in Mr. Spencer’s office. Unless she…

“Do you think she’s filing something in the office?” Steve asked.

“It’s possible, but Mr. Spencer doesn’t like us to do it while he is here, and he hasn’t gone out. You see? She hasn’t written anywhere where he was going. He must be there.”

“What about the toilet?”

“It’s been quite a while. And her handbag is in the drawer, so she isn’t making up or anything.”

“She can’t possibly have vanished.”

“Did she know you were coming?”

“No, she didn’t. I wasn’t supposed to be here today, I had to go out of town, but the client phoned saying he was unwell, so I didn’t go.”

“I see.”

An idea came to Denver’s mind. She didn’t like it, but it made sense. Why Mr. Spencer had seemed so crossed recently, why Marie had been wearing nicer and more expensive clothes, why he’d dismissed her with a stupid excuse. Her mental soundtrack died. It was solemnly silent.

“I think…” Denver pressed a button in the intercom.

“Oh Marie…”

“Mr. Spencer…”

“Mark…”

“Mark…Go on…Go on…Yes, yes, yes!”

Denver switched it off. It was too much. Steve’s face had changed colour.

“Bitch.”

“Don’t…”

Steve was flushed, shaky, but tried to smile. “Don’t worry. I won’t do anything stupid. Good luck to her. I can find somebody like her any time. Thanks all the same.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s all right. Not your fault. Bye.”

Denver wasn’t hard enough for the job. She didn’t like its results. The truth could be too hurtful at times and she wasn’t mean. Her life wouldn’t be a detective’s story either.

Denver didn’t admit her defeat as yet. The times weren’t right for romantic novels or detective stories. People wanted the impossible, dreams come true, progress…Science Fiction, that was the ‘in’ thing. A good Sci-Fi story. That was it.

On the elevator the next day she was trying to get herself in the right mood for her new genre. The building was better suited for that than for romantic novels or detective stories really. Metallic-looking doors, abstract paintings, mechanical sculptures, cameras everywhere, computer screens, and thousands of doors…Even the people looked grey and metallic that day. The elevator stopped without a warning between the tenth and eleventh floor. She didn’t know any of the other people stuck with her. They worked in other offices. One of the men, pale, bold, in a grey suit, seemed annoyed.

“I wonder what it is this time. These bloody things never work properly.”

“It won’t be anything serious.” the youngest, blondest and prettiest of the girls affirmed. She was wearing a grey skirt and a grey blouse too. Definitely a grey day.

“Shall we press the alarm button?” a very young man anxious, sweaty, and probably wearing his first grey suit for his first job, asked.

The lights went off. Maybe she’d made a mistake and it was a horror movie after all. Or a combination, like ‘Alien’. But, the only music that would play in her mind would be the band in ‘Star Wars’ bar. OK, they were all a bit weird in that elevator, but not as weird as the specimens in the film.

“What’s happening?” It was an unknown voice. A grey woman, no doubt.

“I’ll press the button” the young grey man said. No movement, no sound. Dead quiet.

“It isn’t working! What’s happening?” the same grey woman asked. The pitch of her voice was higher this time.

The elevator shook and there were noises. Everybody went quiet. Denver thought that it didn’t feel quite right for an abduction. She’d always heard about bright lights, and usually somebody driving along lonely roads, or out for a walk, not in the middle of town, in an elevator full of people. It didn’t make sense. Maybe it was a horror novel. But why that music? It wasn’t serious. Even the music of the ‘X-Files’ would be more appropriate, but no. The alien bar in ‘Star Wars’.

They could hear what seemed to be voices coming from outside. Perhaps it was an abduction after all. Aliens. Did aliens prefer people wearing grey in elevators? Denver hadn’t read anything about that. She shouldn’t have neglected her culture that way. If she wasn’t abducted she’d made up for it. If she was…well, she imagined she’d get to know, one way or another.

“Help! We’re trapped!” the bold grey man shouted.

The voices stopped and all went very quiet.

“Something is not right.” the very young grey man offered. “I think…”

They heard somebody or something walking on the roof of the elevator. One of the panels on top of them began to move. It was lifted and a ray of light flashed in. Denver had suddenly realised in a panic that she was wearing green! They were coming for her! Aliens couldn’t stand people who wore green! She screamed and the rest of the elevator joined in.

“They’re coming to get us!”.

When a head looked in, a loud thump resounded in the closed space. A spot of light fell on the body. It was the bold grey man. He’d fainted.

“What are you doing here?” the owner of the head asked. “We told the porter not to let anybody use this unit because we had to do some repairs, so we stopped it in a place convenient for us.”

“The porter never said anything.”

“Who did you think I was, anyhow? Why did you scream? Oh well, we’ll let you out. Sorry.” The repair man grinned. He was probably thinking it would make a good story to tell his colleagues. Panic in the elevator!

It was embarrassing. Even Denver looked grey after that. And if it wasn’t bad enough, the music carried on. But she could take it.  It wouldn’t be a Science-Fiction story, or a Horror novel either. Maybe try another old-style type of thing. Revival time. A good Western. Nothing could really compare to an old Western. And she’d always wanted to wear cowboy boots and a hat. With the central heating at full blast it felt like a dessert, and the cacti the company had bought to give the office a homely atmosphere helped the impression. Her name was appropriate too. Denver. The Denver Kid…The Denver Girl…Denver the Quick. Buffalo Denver? Decisions, decisions. And Mr. Wingfield bothering her about some copies. She’d choose her new name whilst making the copies.

When Denver reached the photocopier, strategically placed in the middle of the corridor that joined all the offices, she realised that she had forgotten her card. She left her things next to the machine while she went to pick it up. When she returned Marie had had the cheek to jump her place and start photocopying her own stuff. Who did she think she was? First her man, then the photocopier. What would be next? No, it shouldn’t be tolerated. There wasn’t enough space in that office for the both of them. The whistles in one of Clint Eastwood’s movies seemed to filter under the door at the end of the corridor. A very long corridor. Empty. Only Marie and her.

“Marie.”

“Yes?”

“I was here before you came. Didn’t you see my things?”

“You should remember to bring your card with you.”

Denver didn’t have a gun, but she reached for her belt nonetheless. She adjusted her imaginary white hat. At the end of the dusty street was her enemy, Marie, all dressed in black. They were approaching each other in slow motion. Did she imagine the clink of the spurs? Moving closer, a little bit closer.

“And you should remember you have a boyfriend before getting in the office with the boss.” She felt a slightly bitchy, but one had to use the best weapons available. She was ready to shoot. Fast, clean, no hesitation.

“What do you mean?”

“Have you seen Steve recently?”

“No.”

“I think he heard a very strange conversation between Mr. Spencer and you.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“One that went something like: ’Mark…Yes, yes, yes!’” she said, trying to imitate Marie’s high pitched voice. Did she hit the target? Marie was still standing, but she was sure she’d wounded her at least.

“You…!”

“Me…what…?”

Denver could see in Marie’s eyes that she was preparing to shoot. She looked like a good shot. Cool, calm, no shakiness.

“Do you know what Mark said to me, Denver? He said: ’That Denver, she’s such a pathetic creature. She always seems to be living in the clouds, she has no style, no sense of humour. I’m sure she’s a lesbian.’”

“He didn’t…” Denver felt the bullet straight in the heart.

“Do you want us to ask him?”

Denver retreated. Too much blood loss to try another shot. She wasn’t offended by Mr. Spencer calling her a lesbian. That wasn’t an insult, that was the same as calling her short or brown-haired. Only she didn’t feel attracted to women that way. But ‘pathetic creature’ ‘no sense of humour’. She’d tried so hard to make him like her and she had failed. She didn’t stand a chance with anybody else. She left the scene badly wounded. She’d lost her duel. She wasn’t made to be a gunwoman either.

If Steve hadn’t walked in her office at that precise moment Denver would have cried, but she knew he had better reasons than her to cry(after all he’d been going out with Marie for nearly two years now and he seemed quite serious about it), and he was holding on. Whatever her life was, she didn’t want to make a big tragedy out of it. It wasn’t that bad.

“Hi Denver. You don’t look happy.”

“Hi Steve. I am not. But nothing important.”

“Tell me your sorrows and I’ll tell you mine.”

“It’s a long story, Steve.”

“It’s lunch time. Go on. Let’s go out and you tell me.”

“All right.”

Sitting on a bench in the park she told Steve her ideas about books and life and her failed attempts at living her life as if it were a book. He laughed.

“Do you think it’s funny?”

“I do. Haven’t you realised that your life makes a wonderful comedy?”

“It doesn’t. Not from my end.”

“I think it’s hilarious. A shoot-out with Marie. That’s a lovely idea. I wouldn’t mind myself. But I’d rather have real guns.”

“I’m pleased I’ve made you laugh.”

“You’ve made me feel better. But not as well as to make me change my mind. I’ve decided to leave this job. It was never for me in the first place and I don’t want to do this for ever. A friend of mine is getting a restaurant. I can’t remember if I’ve told you before but I trained as a chef. It isn’t going to be a big business to start with, but…”

“Here?” It would be sad to lose her only ally in the place. And such a nice person.

“No, in Boston. It’s a bit far but I am not leaving that much behind.”

“I’ll miss you.”

“Come to see me. I’ll miss you too. The only person I’ll miss in this hole. But you must remember, nobody can ruin your life for you if you don’t let them. You have enough imagination to survive anything.”

“Thanks. We must go back to the office. I still work there.”

“Let’s go back.”

Steve promised to say goodbye before leaving, and Denver promised in return that she would try to go and visit him. She sat back at her desk and her mind wandered back to the old themes. Life. Novels. Maybe books weren’t as powerful or as good a guide as she had thought. She didn’t want to live a comedy that was only funny for others. Whoever was writing her life hadn’t given her a very good part on it. And not much voice in the matter. Life wasn’t fair.

“Denver, Denver!” Mr. Wingfield’s voice woke her up from her reveries “Dreaming again? Come to my office. I have to dictate you some letters.”

Letters, letters…Maybe life was only writing other people’s letters.

Back at home Denver kept on thinking about her life. Writing other people’s letters? Was that all there was? No. It couldn’t be. If she couldn’t live her life like a book, maybe….

She sat at the table, got pen and paper and began to write:

Denver had never been  the most attractive or lucky of girls.

Olga

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Hola a todos:

Soy Olga y aunque llevo escribiendo (y leyendo) probablemente desde que aprendí a escribir, nunca me he dedicado totalmente a ello. Siempre han habido otras cosas en el camino, como estudiar Medicina, luego Psiquiatría, luego trabajar…

De vez en cuando tomo una de esas decisiones que te cambian la vida (de las que siempre luego te preguntas, ¿y si en lugar de hacer eso hubiera hecho lo otro qué hubiera pasado?). Nunca he llegado a la conclusión de si esos momentos decisivos se deben al cansancio, a la desesperación, o a una combinación de los dos. ¿Saben esa extraña sensación de que tendrías que estar haciendo alguna otra cosa o de que tiene que haber más en la vida?  Me vine a Inglaterra después de intentar encontrar trabajo de médico en casa (Barcelona). Bueno, trabajo tenía uno, pero lo que yo quería era entrar en una rotación de formación para psiquiatras, y de eso, nada. No tengo demasiada paciencia y me suelo poner límites. ‘I tal y tal cosa no ha pasado en…un  mes, un año, 3 años…es tiempo de dejarlo e intentar otra cosa.’ En el caso del trabajo (o el examen para conseguir la plaza formativa) 3 años eran mi límite. Y después de unos cuantos años en formación y luego trabajando en psiquiatría un buen día me paré a pensar y me dí cuenta de que habían muchas otras cosas  que realmente disfruto (la literatura en particular). Siempre había pensado que volvería a la universidad después de retirarme y estudiaría algo por placer, literatura probablemente, pero ese día pensé: ‘¿a qué estoy esperando? ¿Y si pudiera ganarme la vida enseñando en la universidad o pudiera encontrar algún otro trabajo relacionado con eso? ¿Por qué quedarme con la duda?  Intentémoslo ahora.’ Me encantó la carrera (Literatura Americana en la Universidad de Sussex, Brighton), incluyendo el año en el extranjero  (Mount Holyoke, Massachusetts) tanto que me quedé otros tres años y me saqué una tesis doctoral (The Films of David Mamet). No encontré trabajo, y después de un año trabajando suplencias decidí que sería mejor buscar trabajo permanente (sí, ya sé que no se encuentran muchos de esos estos días) en psiquiatría. Como había trabajado en psiquiatría forense antes y me interesaba especialmente la relación con el sistema judicial me he dedicado a ese tipo de trabajo desde entonces.

Después de someterme a varias investigaciones médicas este año (no fue nada, pero el susto no te lo quitas de encima) me encontré en uno de eso puntos sin retorno en el camino cuando te das cuenta de que quizás todas esas cosas que estás reservando para un futuro sin determinar nunca tendrás ocasión de hacerlas si no las haces ahora. ¡Carpe diem! Decidí ver si mi escritura podía llegar a algún lado.

 

He leído bastante sobre self-publishing y me he dado cuenta de que aunque en teoría técnicamente no demasiado complicado, sólo publicar el libro y ya está no es suficiente y hace falta convencer a la gente de que lo lean (y no sólo tu madre. Por cierto, aunque mi madre no entiende los aspectos técnicos, es muy entusiástica. Siempre ha sido de la opinión de que cualquier cosa que me haga feliz tiene que ser buena. Si fuera tan fácil…). Así que redes sociales (networking) y medios de comunicación sociales son la clave. Y aquí estamos, intentándolo. Tengo una pagina de web (otro intento, que cambiará con el tiempo, espero que para mejorar…), una página de Facebook (y me han dicho que tengo que tener una para el libro, pero como aún no lo he publicado…), una cuenta de Twitter (que me gusta bastante aunque es difícil encontrar el punto adecuado entre dedicarle suficiente tiempo sin dejar que te consuma la vida. Quizás es más fácil cuando te acostumbras), y ahora…me faltaba un blog.

 

No estoy segura todavía qué es lo que escribiré pero si encuentro algo interesante y útil (y descubro como incorporarlo al blog), aquí estará. También intento escribir sobre como me va la aventura en publicación electrónica. (Mi primer libro se llamará El Hombre que Nunca Existió y está al caer). Y me quiero dedicar a críticas de las obras de otros escritores también.

 

Varias personas me han sugerido que podría aconsejar sobre asuntos relacionados con al psiquiatría (no quiero decir ofrecer terapia o consultas, sino ofrecer opinión desde dentro de la profesión a gente que quiera información con respecto a sus propias creaciones, a ver si son creíbles desde el punto de vista psiquiátrico). Por supuesto, ningún problema.

 

E intentaré no hablar del tiempo.

 

Tengo blogs en castellano e inglés, aunque puede que no sean exactamente iguales.

 

Gracias y me pueden contactar también a través de Facebook y Twitter (información en la página profile).

 

¡Buena suerte y sean buenos!

 

Olga

Hi all:

I’m Olga and although I’ve been writing (and reading) since I was a child, I’ve never focused on it. There have always been other things, like studying Medicine, then Psychiatry, then working…Every so often I take one of those life-changing decisions. I’m never quite sure if they’re due to tiredness or desperation, or a mixture of the two. Do you know that strong feeling that you should be doing something else or that there must be more to life? I came to the UK after trying unsuccessfully to find a job as a doctor back home (Barcelona). I’m not very patient and I tend to give myself time-limits. ‘If such and such hasn’t happened in…a month, a year, 3 years…it’s time to move on. In the case of the job (or an exam to get a job) 3 years was my limit. And after some years training and working in psychiatry one good day I reflected that there were many other things that I really enjoyed (literature in particular). I always thought I might go back to university after retiring and study, but that particular day I thought: ‘what am I waiting for?    What if I could make a living out of teaching at university or found some other job related to it? Let’s try it now.’ I loved the degree (American Literature at Sussex University), including the year abroad (Mount Holyoke) to the point that I stayed a further 3 years and completed a PhD (the Films of David Mamet). No jobs came my way, and tired of working as a locum psychiatrist after over a year I decided to find a full time permanent job (yes, I know, not many of them these days) in psychiatry. Because I had worked in forensic psychiatry before and I found the dealings with the criminal justice system particularly interested those are the jobs I’ve done since.

After a health scare this year (thankfully only a scare) I again came to one of those turning points on the road when you realise all those things you’re saving to do some time in the future might be left undone. Carpe diem! Let’s try to see if my writing can come to anything.

I’ve been reading a lot about self-publishing and realise that although technically pretty easy, just getting your book out there isn’t enough and you have to convince somebody to read it (and not only your Mum. By the way, although my mother doesn’t understand the technical aspects of it, she’s very enthusiastic. She’s always been of the opinion that anything that makes me happy must be good. If only…). So social networking and social media are the word. And there we are…trying. I have  webpage (another attempt…it will change I hope), a facebook page (not quite used to the concept) a Twitter account (I quite like twitter although it is difficult to strike the balance of spending enough time there but not letting it take over your whole life. Maybe it will get better with time), and now…I was missing the blog.

I’m not sure what I’ll be writing about but if I find anything that I find interesting or useful, I’ll bring it here. I also intend to post how my adventure on self-publishing is going.

Several people have suggested that I might be able to advice on psychiatric matters (I don’t mean treating people or giving consultations, but rather on a creative capacity). Do ask if you want to run ideas by me. I’ll try and answer if I have a useful answer (or can signpost).

And I’ll try and not talk about the weather.

I intend to also blog in Spanish, so that is still to come.

Thanks and feel free to contact me via Facebook or Twitter also.

Good luck and be good!

Hi all:

Just having a stab at blogging. It’s very late but thought I might as well say hello. I write (and read, and I’m a doctor and other things) and I’m close to publishing my first e-book so any advice will help. I will blog about the process of trying to get there and also about all manner of things (like how much time can one spend on Twitter without realising).

Speak to you very soon again.

Olga

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