Saturday, August 17, 2013

World of Writing, interview

Today we are featuring a World of Writing Q&A  interview with Jorge Enrique Aguayo (Tedel) editor and creator of an online cultural magazine:

Q: Where are you from?

A: I am from Peru. I was born in its capital city, Lima, in 1979. it's a nice (although somewhat messy city). You should try to visit it some day.

Q: When did you consider yourself a writer?

A: I'd say that since I was 14 or 15. Those days I was at school, and some of my classmates were feeling themselves writers and sharing with each other their drafts for criticism. I gave it a try and I liked it, so I decided to go on with it.

Some years later, I tried to get a poetry book published. I got an appointment with a very reputable editor named Oscar Fernandez (he passed away a few years ago). He mentioned my writing was good, but that he would not publish my manuscript. "Unfortunately, people like to read poetry, but not to buy it.", he sentenced.
It was disappointing, yes, but it was OK too. I was young. I could find some other way to have someone read what I write. Heptagrama became that some years later.

Q: Do you use more than one voice in your writing? (first/second…) 

A: Certainly, but it depends on the kind of writing I am doing. Sometimes I use a lot of dialogues. Some other times I use plain explanations. I have a challenge, though: I want to write a tale in present tense. I haven't tried that yet. I guess I am waiting for some nice story start it. Time will tell.

Q: What’s the best advice you were given about writing?

A: Hands down, the one I received from Salvador Raggio, former director of Los Noveles, a literary e-magazine in Spanish. He told me: "Jorge, you learned how to write when you were five or six. You do not need to learn how to write. You just need to learn how to use the words correctly."

Q: What is your profession and educational background?

A: I studied in a bilingual school, that's why I speak English fluently (my mother tongue is Spanish). I'd say I am self-taught in everything else, except for a short course for bartender I took when I was 18 or 19.

I have worked as an English teacher, as a bartender, as a translator (both freelance and in a translators' bureau), and later in writing articles for websites. I ended up working in a company which required many texts, and optimized for search engines; so they trained me in search engine optimization which, besides writing, is what I do for a living now.

Q: What is your mission?

A: Taking over the world, of course! he, he, he... OK, to say it in a more believable way, I started Heptagrama because while I was working as an English teacher, I couldn't help noticing some of my students came with quite poor educational backgrounds. I wanted to do something to help, so I began including some "cultural side-notes" in my English class, like speaking a little about how the smallpox destroyed the health of thousands of people in the Middle Ages when I was giving past tense lessons.

What happened was a extreme surprise for me. The "cultural side-notes" became a huge success. The students came to class extremely motivated, they asked if they could bring a chair from another classroom if the desks were all taken when they arrived. Seeing that real hunger for knowledge explained in easy and understandable ways, I decided to start Heptagrama a few months later. The mission of the site is to provide knowledge like a (good to great) teacher would if he was in front on his classroom.

Q: What do you consider to be your greatest strengths and weaknesses?

A: I think my greatest strength is that I never give up. I mean never in that one. As for the great weakness, I think it is having a job, he, he, he. Sometimes I think that if I could use more hours on Heptagrama things would grow, and I could make it my full-time occupation, but until that day comes I still need to keep a job and try to find free time to work on it later.

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