Better than Clarice Lispector

– You can see a theatrical reading of this story at “Theater for Someone“, and here is the translation into English.

“You know what, filha, can I be honest with you?”

“Yes, Dad,” I said, not completely sure of my answer.

My parents were not unconditional fans of my short stories as they were of my auburn hair. Have you seen Woody Allen’s parents talking about his films? “Don’t you think you are someone just because you’ve written a few scripts.” Well, my parents were not like that. But I have never received unreserved praise from them. And the worst part of it was that my short stories were merely carefully written Mother’s and Father’s Day letters!

“I think your write better than Clarice Lispector.”

Total shock.

“Oh, I don’t know, you don’t have all her frills,” my father made some rococo gestures with his arms.

“I find your opinion quite odd,” I challenged my father, “because I actually think I wrote a few of Clarice’s stories.

Something in this last sentence rang a bell for my father. He straightened up, his eyes widened up and were he a dog his ears would have lifted up. Actually, my father could lift up his ears, so it it quite possible that he had done so.

“Really, Guga?”

“Sure, some stories…”

He interrupted me.

“Same here! I am Frank Lloyd Wright. I designed the FallingWater house. The entire project. I remember when I saw the waterfall for the first time and mentally draw the various planes of the house. Jez, and Taliesin, how much I loved to be in there!

My father had never visited the Taliesin offices in the Sonoran desert during his visits to the US; I and my brother included it in our trip to Arizona.

“That’s why I get frustrated with the lack of recognition,” he continued. “I look at the Guggenheim Museum, which is that spectacular project, and not merely a project, an idea, architecture,” words gained emphasis, became other things, life, culture, “and they don’t recognize my talent? How come?”

Definitely, what an insane world! There you had Clarice Lispector and Frank Lloyd Wright, two true revolutionaries, and all you got was a short story here, a little project there. We sweat and fought over these little things. At the door, if the world followed any logic, editors and constructors would be fighting a battle, but we were the ones who knocked at their doors. We celebrated like two nobodies every single sale or publication. A compliment from a famous writer made me happy already; my father got all enthusiastic with a sculpture exhibited in a gallery.

My father slowly realized that I wrote, and above all that I knew what it was to win a contest—”wow, filha, first place? All I ever got was a second place”—and what it was to lose a contest—”losing a contest is like being robbed at gunpoint: from the application to the results announcement the award is yours, and in the next moment it’s not anymore.”

All that made me an interesting person to talk to, a truly interesting one. Better than Clarice Lispector.


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