The life that was so long ago in Marita’s first book

Llife was long ago is Marita Lopera’s book in which the reader accompanies Alea on a one-way trip to Morosquillo Bay and back to Cabo Tiburon. He himself traveled twice: when he was 12 years old and now when he is 32. And along the way, a life that is assembled, which is seen in time and in learning.

Marita had two clear intentions in the beginning: one, to describe the character without revealing whether he is female or male, so that people would have to think about it. The second, crossing of times.

— Initially, I had the idea not to reveal the character’s gender with masculine or feminine adjectives and articles, but to let the readers imagine who she might be. There are people who call Alea a man and stick with that idea. This interested me because it was a challenge: in our Spanish language, which is very rich, Spanish allows you to play in this field of ambiguity, but I also wanted to think that this is an interpretation where the reader has to have a very active role and it turns into the question of why, when we talk about roughness, strength and temperament, we imagine men and not immediately women. We see her as a woman already in the narrative or because we think of women, because they care, protect the environment. I wanted everyone to ask themselves the question of gender because it is important to reflect on the gender they are in.


P. 39. I was born on board the fishing boat El Capi, off the island of Tintipan, about forty nautical miles from Cartagena. My mother used to say that that night the four crew members on the boat were so busy tending to her that they didn’t care if the boat got lost in one of the island’s labyrinthine swamps.

— And this with childhood is because I think that there the contact that Alea will have with the sea is established a lot, from the first throw in the water it will continue to reverberate in her constantly, there is something with character, with intimate spaces. I wanted it to be in two stages to show that they weave and that they allow me to jump: they are two stories that cut and come together. At present, it is a limited time, slower, only seven days trying to get to Cabo Tiburon, a place of great importance in the work, and the other time is tracing the steps, as a navigation route to and from . This time is faster, it’s more years, but I found it interesting to be in both places, in this present, which is not very known why the character lives it, why he suffers and is so hungry, and then see what they were the circumstances that brought him there.

— There is an intention to talk about nature, about the importance of paying attention to it.

-For me, the most interesting thing and what moves me is this disconnection that we live with nature, for us it is, as in the third person, something that is there and that we can change, manipulate in a certain way, t .k. if we are in the pyramid like humans and nature is far away. This character sees nature as you, as you, as you, it’s a conversation that has this binding connection. Aleya is a more mammalian creature, more senses and body, she does not think about soul and spirit. I thought it was nice because it’s a more primitive relationship that our ancestors had much more naturally. Somehow nature is beings and it dialogues with them. Alea talks to the ocean mother, with a mango tree that she gives her, and if she’s very hungry, she knows that at some point she’ll find a yucca somewhere, or a banana, or something from the sea. It seems to me that today it is very relevant to ask ourselves this question, that we do not see nature as something external. Sometimes we see it just to know whether we are carrying an umbrella or not, but actually this dialogue that we had from our ancestors is lost.

page 120. Perhaps the difference between killing a fish and butchering a puppy seemed inconsequential, but it was true: distance was love, and it was a weight I could not measure since.


Marita wrote this book during the pandemic, so although she intended to do extensive fieldwork, she had to do it from home, reading scientific studies that made her wonder how to bring this world so different into language, in a natural way. to work

The rest was talk: the friend who had a cousin in Necokli so he could send him an audio via WhatsApp of this memory of the first time he crossed the bay. These stories, plus the readings and in-depth research, were collected in this green book published by Angosta in the Ópera Prima Collection.

— The novel was born with short stories from different moments of Alea’s life, until I took up the task: here is a strong character, a cool literary universe, the intention to look at the bay and the sea, and here is the cooking. I have always written, I think one has a friend with writing.

One detail

Marita wrote this novel for her master’s thesis in literature at UPB. He will talk with Estefania González on Sunday, September 18, at the Book Festival, in the Aurita López Auditorium, from 2:00 p.m.

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