In addition to my vocational visit to the fantastic library in Trenque Lauquen, I also had the opportunity to meet with a group of local writers.
These writers were astounding! They were unbelivably warm and welcoming and each one gave me a copy of his/her work, whether a published book or a copy of some poems. One woman pointed out that one of her poems was written about her boyfriend who was one of the desaparecidos (disappeared) from the brutal dictatorships of the 70s and 80s.
We also talked about the process of writing. All of these writers prefer to hand-write their pieces before typing them up on computers. For them, it was very important to experience the sensation of their hands holding the pens and making contact with the paper; typing on a computer was too distant from the writing. One woman also shared her method of biking and keeping a notepad and paper in the basket and stopping and scribbling the ideas as inspiration struck.
I was also curious to learn more about the distinguishing characteristics of writing from the area (Trenque Lauquen). The writers explained that while the writers of the La Pampa region write about the landscape and the gaucho lifestyle in the country. Similarly people who are near mountains or near the ocean must write about things larger than themselves. In contrast, the landscape of Trenque Lauquen is completely flat; there are no mountains, rivers, or lakes. Essentially, nothing larger than the human being and the writer there must turn inward for inspiration and write about their thoughts, sentiments, feelings, etc. They believe that the inner-workings of the human being possesses landscapes as vast and impressive as towering mountains or infinite oceans.
The final part of this visit that made a huge impression on me was the fact that their annual published work is completely self-sustained. They do not receive outside support from the government or any outside organizations. Each member of the group contributes monetarily to ensure that their book is publishe every year. I found this fact incredibly inspiring. This group of writers believes in the value and power of writing and work hard to contribute to this project through not only their art of writing, but also through the process of publishing it.