How many deaths have you experienced in your life?
A story about a poem, an ancient movie and the essay I had to write in order to "get out there" and leave my heartbreak behind(ish).
Hello 👋 I’m Candela Niesl and this is #2 of “100 Words Voyage”; a newsletter about writing, life, challenges and how to plan your next piece of art.
Every weekend, I aim to share with you a piece of myself and invite you to write your 100 words. Are you ready to go on this journey? Let’s do it!
My top 3 (not so) unexpected episodes of the week:
I met amazing On Deck Fellows thanks to the 1:1 meeting we’ve scheduled this week (something I’ve never done before so openly). We talked about random stuff and it was great, so I invite you to apply your own 1:1 in life.
I found out that I could change my swimming pool scenario and swim in the sea instead. I tried so yesterday and although it went great, I almost lost my bikini top. Note to myself: the sea can be tricky.
I received my YLAI Fellowship swag bag with many gifts from Charlotte, NC, my Cohort City. Been using most of them the whole week.
Wanna talk about your unexpected experiences? Do not hesitate and answer this post!
Cheers from Mar del Plata, one of the coastal cities tourists are waiting to visit when Carnaval arrives!
A few days ago, I had the opportunity yo talk to Caroline, an On Deck Fellow who I randomly talked to on our first “Icebreaker” and since then we’ve been writing to each other and scheduling some time to virtually meet.
I lack of (positive) adjectives to describe how *insert adjective* this experience was. We talked about poetry and science; music and how the brain works; nature and the human race. Even shared our favourite English words —freedom (mine) & polarity (hers)—, and our goals in life and our perspectives from the countries we live in.
All that conversation got tattooed on my brain. Piece by piece, experience by experience. And so, being submerged in that path to the “open of the soul and beyond” I got to share one experience which I’ve buried into silence time ago.
It happened in 2012. My last year of High School. I was 17 and just have experienced my first heartbreak. (The bastard made out with my best friend and left me a week after through a text message. Teenage drama, who needs that s*it? —Apparently many of us since movies and best-sellers are, most of the time, based on it—).
Though, he’s not the centre of the story, nor shall ever be since he was one of few people that drove me to stop writing.
The main character of this story is a poem, and a movie, and an essay.
In order to get our High School diploma, all the students had to write an essay choosing one piece of national literature and relate it with something (no matter what) to show how literature could be present everywhere.
*Remember I was heartbroken*
So I chose a poem written by Jorge Luis Borges that talked about death and learning to let go. Something about skin turning into marble. And related that poem with a Julia Roberts movie: “My best friend’s wedding”.
My theory was simple: death is everywhere but in many different ways. We are afraid to die (most of the times) because we know that when our body stops functioning that’s definitive.
But what we don’t realize or rationalize is that many things die (or mutate if you want to leave the “d” word aside, and put it “nicer”). Relationships, theories, feelings, stages of life, customs… and the list can go on —almost— forever. We’ve experienced turning into ashes so many times that we’ve forgotten we are phoenixes. Got used to heartbreaks or new jobs or new places to live when we realized we can’t keep on living with our parents, for example.
That’s what Borges’ poem was —is— for me.
So, what did “My best friend’s wedding” have to do with all this blue drama?
I felt related to Julia Roberts character. I knew I was trying to conquer this guy’s heart again, I also knew I was going to have to change if I wanted to do so. I didn’t want to change, I didn’t want to lose (or mutate) my 17 years old self for some guy. I wanted to keep on being jello, not turn into crème brûlée. (You’ll have to watch the movie to get that part, but here’s a sneak pic).
One could say “I say a little prayer for you” is the soul of the movie. And although drama, sadness and an “unhappy” ending have nothing to do with this song or any other typical Hollywood romantic comedy movie; Aretha Franklin’s song makes us believers of happiness being able to interrupt all the hopelessness and the failures. At least, it made me remember I had to let go and embrace that phoenix part of me. To revive from my heartbreak’s teenage drama ashes.
I got a 7 (B-) on that essay. According to the teacher, I was being too abstract, I was “playing” with an untouchable author such as Borges and comparing his high poetry to a “cheap movie”.
Death is not like that. Borges is not talking about the number of endings we get to experience in our lives. Comparing his work to “My best friend’s wedding” is just degrading his writing and point of view.
Well, I don’t know about that. Maybe the teacher was right, maybe she was not. 7 or not 7, I got my High School diploma, while trying to rebuild a condemned relationship and failed. But through that process, I’ve learned it was not about that guy or grades or High School or how I saw the movie related to Borges’ work. It is (and was) about us, about me and how I was feeling that poem.
Sometimes, we do not always understand what we are reading or listening. —An example for that is when you like that song and replay it over and over again although you don’t understand a word it’s saying because you don’t speak the language—. It’s not always about understanding, but feeling. It’s about dancing, and singing, and writing, and reading, and sharing… It’s about dying and being reborn again, and again, and again.
After all, we are the stories we tell, and there are so many. All those stories we’ve left behind, and all those stories waiting for us to live them.
A song, a book are portals to moments that we get to live all over again (through feelings, of course), and it’s like we are able —just for a fraction of time— to defy science and time and odds.
Rules do not apply to memories or, better, rules do not apply to what makes our soul feel alive.
Here’s why you should write 100 words today:
Why not? Here’s raining, cold, and my Spotify “writer’s” playlist is going on and on (yes, again). I share this mood with you to put you up to the task.
Putting your thoughts, feelings, words and/or even stories out there (and by “out there” I mean into a piece of paper or blank digital space), is a way of beginning this writing voyage and discovering your voice, interest and inner-self.
100 words are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many words, sentences, paragraphs waiting to be written by you. But, like every journey, you have to give your first steps (also known as “baby steps”). “100 words” doesn’t sound so terrible, does it? A century of words. Your words.
And if you do not know what to write about, here I am! If you get to the end of this story, I invite you to write about mutation. Those episodes in life that died but through music or reading, you get to relive them many times as you want.
Before this voyage comes to its end:
You can also share this newsletter if you think it would be of interest to any of your friends, family, partners or just casual people you meet out there.
Thanks for sharing this journey with me! I hope it inspires you to write your own stories and share them with the world. After all, is not that what are we made off?
See you next weekend 👋