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PEOPLEText: Gisella Lifchitz

Pablo is a generous human being and a generous writer. “I learned it from dealing with writers”, he says. A colombian writer told me that writing a book is like a declaraton of love. Once its published, there´s no turning back.
 You have to be very careful. Everybody is in a hurry and thet just want to be published right away. A book needs a lot of work. If you want to be a writer, you need to be patient.

What are the most beautiful things that happened to you thanks to your profession?

The most valuable thing about writing and publishing is the possibility of meeting people and places. The writing is very lonely, but all that comes next is teamwork. That is why I distrust writers whose books do not have acknowledgments, because everything inherent to proofreading, editing and publication and promotion is a joint work. This same interview that you and I are now having, getting to know each other and talking while we have this coffee, is part of the good that writing offers me. I know that as I set foot in Madrid, Bogotá or Medellín I will surely meet many close friends.

What would you say is your place in the world?

I guess the bars of Buenos Aires. This city has a great point in favor: it is full of bars and bookstores, in Buenos Aires nobody is more than a hundred meters from a bar, and that for those who write is invaluable.

What do you want to do that you have not done until now?

A great plan would be to go on tour around the world with Paul McCartney, but I sense that you ask me about the literary, so… I would like to be a better writer. What do I mean by “being a better writer”? Among a thousand other reasons, I write to understand myself, to understand my fears and my doubts, and that looking inward is not always easy. To swim in such deep pools requires a quota of time and courage with which I do not always count. And when it comes to publishing, I would like my books to reach countries that have not yet arrived.

What are your current and future projects?

I was invited to travel to Colombia to present “A Coffee in Buenos Aires”. As of September, and for weeks, I will present the book in bookstores, universities and libraries in Cali, Bogotá and Tuluá and Medellín. It will be a great opportunity to talk with the readers of the book, and also to rediscover myself with some of those friends I mentioned before. And when it comes to writing I’m giving the final touches to a novel that I hope will see the light in 2020. I have a good feeling in relation to that novel. A very good feeling.

I will borrow one of your questions of the book “A coffee in Buenos Aires”: if you had the chance to have coffee with anyone in this world, who would you choose and why?

When I was a kid, I used to go to a typical Buenos Aires cafe, “La Richmond”, with my father.
 We had tea with my father at that place, and more than once my father pointed me at an old man who was having tea in a table nearby, who was the best writer in this part of the world. He was Jorge Luis Borges. For me, a 6 year old kid, he was just an old man, I was more interested in my chocolate beverage. 
When I remember that, I wish I could have been there as a grown up man, to be able to say: Sir, I´m trying to be a writer. Can I sit with you for just a minute?
 To me, Borges is too perfect, too complex and too deep. When you read him, you can´t compete.

And where would where would you like to go if you could choose another place and time?

To 1955 in Buenos Aires, for example. All of the answers are back. The answers to everything. I always feel “out of place”. 

Sometimes Pablo feels he should be somewhere else. Writing allows him that possibility, and his characters are always wandering and travelling back and forth, mainly in time labyrinths. “Literature allows you to play with time, he says, you turn at the time into an elastic element. You can stretch and shrink to your liking”.

In his work, time appears to be the great monster, the main character. It is through time that people navigate, sometimes in circles, sometimes jumping or just sinking in big holes. Time is the unresolved mistery and its also the answer to everything.
Going back in time, real or imaginary, is when we all, as readers, understand the process of each plot. But at the same time, he keeps us wondering about our own lives, our present, past and future, as if the stories were a mirror for us to look, and look again.

Text: Gisella Lifchitz
Photos: Gisella Lifchitz

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