Surreal Journey

For Julio Cortázar

To you who reads my words: the writer was contemplating a journey to find his ghosts, but, to do so, he had to first find the ghost that was more real, a creator of fictional images. How could he find him, if he was already dead? As always, literary uncertainty was at issue. Dead, buried. All their lives, they had fought for what united them as brothers: the good old, sometimes average literature.

As a writer who skipped pages and pages—as if playing hopscotch, reading words from front to back or back to front—yes, he could really find a solution. The one who helped him out, without intending to, was the author of that sentence, the ghost creator himself, whom he had to find.

He had to go back to the Serpent Club and try to force the members to arrange eagerly-awaited meeting. The Famas subjected him to bizarre tests. With help from his friend Oliveira, he managed to persuade them. He was ready to take the journey, he needed to find his ghosts. But first he would have to see the ghost that was more real. The Famas said he was with Francisco. He didn’t want to believe in the problem of free fiction, that huge problem he set up for me.

The writer is bellowing, he cannot control himself. Even though he is dead, this ghost keeps chasing after me. He goes to meet Francisco and, through magic, everything becomes clear. It is Saturday. Morelli is the one who offers to shake hands. Being an idealist, he sees that the ghost was actually a hero, one of those heroes the ghost wanted to be. As he said himself, the tomb of human tragedy does not make sense in the metaphysics in which he found himself now.

With the misunderstanding cleared up, they promised to see each other later to debate philosophy, art, literature, lamps, life, and death. But don’t think everything was resolved between Morelli’s spirit and the dead hero. It wasn’t just one of them who was obsessed. They were still going to face off with each other, but only in later generations. Reader, you know this: geniuses never die.

The writer was worried about his main journey. After seeing the dead hero, he came to the conclusion that his real ghosts were other ones. And you, my reader, must believe this. He absolutely had to find them. “And if suddenly a moth lands on the edge of a pencil and flutters there like an ash-colored flame, look at it, I am looking at it…”

He had attempted various times to take off on this journey. The stones he tossed fell exactly where he wanted. Heaven was taking its time to appear. The Cronopios asked to throw a stone for him. They aimed for heaven as a prize and hit the target. So here we are, dear reader, we are their true ghosts: their souls and all of heaven.

“Step after step, starting from the early reviews, the editor’s smile and hugs, the invitations from athenaeums and literary circles, he reached a level where, simply by wishing to, he could reach the entire worldly literary salon, master it through allegories, and scrutinize it all the way to the very last corner, the last white tie, and the last chinchilla fur worn by the protectors of literature, in between endless servings of foie gras and Dylan Thomas.”

KÁTIA RIBEIRO was born in Porto Alegre, State of Rio Grande do Sul, lived in Brasília Federal District and now resides in Belém, State of Pará.

She completed her post-graduation studies in Public Law, Procedural Law, and Environmental Law.

Kátia has written poems and short stories that were selected by several Brazilian and international anthologies.

She has ten children's books under her belt, as well as two poetry books, one of short stories, one novel and four plays.

Translated by