En este momento estás viendo Sacha, the sound of his lyrics
Journalist Fernando Rodríguez Sosa and writer Francisco López Sacha. Photo: Madeleine Sautié Rodríguez

Sacha, the sound of his lyrics

The outstanding writer is one of the authors to whom the 32nd Havana International Book Fair will be dedicated.

Particularly pleasant was the presence of Francisco Lopez Sacha, one of the writers to whom the upcoming Havana International Book Fair is dedicated, in the Book a la carte space, which is held once a month at the Fayad Jamis bookstore.

Led by journalist Fernando Rodriguez Sosa, the invitation was timely to approach the work and current work of a prominent intellectual, who has fruitfully left his mark in essays, novels, short stories, criticism, publishing and teaching in various spaces such as the University of the Arts, the International School of Film and Television of San Antonio de los Baños, and the television program University for All, of which he is the founder.

He was 18 years old when he resolutely knew he would be a writer. He had written a poem at the age of nine, and since then he felt the need to read a lot. When his father learned that he wanted to study Literature at the Universidad de Oriente, he told him not to become an intellectual. «But it was inevitable, I wanted to be a writer». At the age of 20, he was inspired by an event that could not but lead to a poem: the disappearance of The Beatles, a group that occupies a good part of his passions. After that, writing became a habit that he would never abandon. There are some 15 books to confirm it (El cumpleaños del fuego, Descubrimiento del azul, Análisis de la ternura, Voy a escribir la eternidad, El más suave de todos los veranos, La nueva cuentística cubana, Pastel flamante, Variaciones al arte de la fuga and Prisionero del Rock and Roll, just to mention a few).

Sacha prefers the novel. «I just need a lot of space to express myself». He has published four novels and is currently writing another one, which deals with the Cuban Revolution and has a structure reminiscent of the epic poem of the Iliad. About his methodology for writing them, he explains that he needs to have the beginning and the end, and to know very well where he is going when he starts writing. Then he incorporates the musical score, which for him is essential. «With it I have the direction, the story and the movement of that story,» he reveals. I consider myself a musician, and not frustrated; and I express myself with words. «My prose has to sound,» says Sacha, who does not give up the idea of one day recording a rock album.

He writes rigorously in the mornings. «Exhausted I can’t write.» As defined by Costa Rican Joaquín Gutiérrez, for Sacha a story is a closed fist and a novel is an open hand. «The short story, from the beginning, starts closing; the novel, from the beginning, is opening. The novel is something that no one has been able to define,» he explains.

To a question related to teaching, he speaks with pride: «I’ve been teaching since I was 11 years old. I was a literacy teacher. And to another that asks about the theatrical representation of some of his works, he answers that he is not tempted to see his characters on stage. «I want to be read, not seen,» he adds.

For Sacha, his fellow Manzanillo native, novelist Luis Felipe Rodríguez, is an eternal inspiration. «I feel indebted to him. He was the first one who wanted to write about Manzanillo»; and he spoke of his life’s dream, which is to put Manzanillo on the map of literature.

The space is ending. From the audience someone asks him why he prefers the typewriter over the computer. «The computer doesn’t sound; the typewriter does». A heartfelt applause ensues.

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