Our meeting takes place on a rainy Friday afternoon in Tepoztlán Morelos. As a prelude, Joselo and a group of mutual friends played a game of Scrabble, in which given my almost zero skill I require the help of my interviewee, who already shows extensive experience in the art of putting words together on a board, the which I suppose has developed in parallel with that of storytelling and that is precisely the topic that we touch on in this conversation.
How would you define Joselo Rangel, the writer?
To begin with, I would tell you that I am a writer who is especially interested in stories. More than the way or how they are told, what interests me the most is the final result of that story and that that story transports you or takes you to a different place than where you were. As a reader I am very interested in novels, but when I began to write more formally I realized that what came to me more naturally were stories, and although there are always fantastic elements in my stories, what I write is not exactly fantasy. ; I like to add some fantastic element that gives meaning to the story. I also have a tendency towards humor, it is not exactly a humor that I am looking for, but a humor that arises at the moment, but it is until I get the feedback from readers when they tell me that they laughed a lot with my stories, that I realize that humor. Also, for me it is super important to connect with other people in any activity, whether it is writing a song or a story, or now that I am starting to paint, always connecting with others is very important to me.
Would you say then that for you there are no good or bad books, no good or bad music, but simply books and music that you connect with or not?
Yes, definitely. There are authors I connect with and authors I don’t. For me it is very important when I start to read a book that when I finish it I am not the same person who started that book. Maybe it sounds like something very arrogant or ambitious, but that change can be something as simple as learning a word or having a feeling or some feeling that you have not experienced before. I am a huge fan of memes and what I like the most is that it is a language that connects immediately. They can cause you to laugh, they can make you sad or make you think about something you had not thought about. And I also really like that memes are popular culture, something that right now is very fashionable and that is surely why many people disparage or say that they are irrelevant or unimportant, but I think they are important … I would love for all my work could connect with people in the same way that memes do!
At what point does the child or young Joselo Rangel realize that he wants to write?
I started reading stories from a very young age, but it really began to be clear to me that I wanted to write when I started reading science fiction, like when I was 10 years old. I see Star Wars in the cinema and everything that has to do with science fiction begins to interest me, but unlike other children who had access to the most modern toys, what interested me were books. In my house there were many science fiction books, because my dad liked that, in addition to the topics of paranormal or UFO-related things. There was also a magazine called Duda, which was like a comic in which every week there was a different topic about UFOs or aliens, so as I told you, from the age of 10 I became a very fan of science fiction, a hobby that I keep to date. And as a teenager I began to read more universal and contemporary literature, a lot of Mexican or Latin American literature, but in the end I always returned or rather I always return to science fiction, although sometimes it tires me, especially when I meet writers who have very good ideas but the stories I do not like how they are told.
So when did you realize that you wanted to be a writer?
Well, when I finish a book it happens to me that, instead of feeling satisfied, sometimes what it generates in me is a feeling of thinking that I want to write something similar or maybe something better … And those two feelings are what led me to write my own texts … Many people tell me things like: “You are in a group, you are famous, you compose songs, you have been very successful, why this need to be a writer? And the answer is very simple: it is because of the love that I have for books and stories from a very young age, the desire to always be present in some way in the world of literature and well, in the end my songs are also little stories or stories.
Thank you very much Joselo. We are waiting to talk about your next book.
Thank you and greetings to all Normal readers.
JOSELO TALKS ABOUT HIS OWN BOOKS:
Martian Chronicles. Editorial Universitaria, 2011
After almost 5 years writing my weekly column for the Excelsior newspaper, my friend and partner Álvaro Abitia approached me to tell me that the University of Guadalajara wanted to put out a collection of books by musicians who also wrote. I told him that I would love it, but that I didn’t have any published books. And what I did not count on was that he already had the idea of making a book with all my columns in the newspaper, which were about two hundred. In short, this is how that first book came about. Álvaro always insisted a lot on me that if my intention was to be a writer, the important thing was not to stop writing and how good he did, because in the end I was left with the feeling that this book was written alone.
One Hit Wonder. Almadia, 2015
This book arose at a time when I began to question that rather than chronicling or being a kind of journalist, what most interested me or am interested in doing is fiction, and that is why I decided to get to work on that genre, a little thinking that only with discipline and writing a lot I was going to achieve it … Already having the experience of publishing a weekly column in a newspaper, it occurred to me to make a blog (Mutant Texts), where I set the goal of publishing a I tell every week, so after a year of opening the blog I already had 52 stories published there, which in the end are almost all of the stories that make up the book, and I have always thought that to do anything, like play a instrument, skateboarding, playing video games or playing scrabble (laughs) you need a job, you need to invest many hours and acquire a discipline, and I verified it with this book that also gave me the certainty that I was already on the path of being a writer.
Cuba Stone. Tusquets, 2016.
This is a project that Editorial Planeta proposed to me. Its director asked me if I was interested in going to Cuba to, from that trip, make a chronicle of the Rolling Stones concert in Havana, in April 2015. Obviously, my immediate response was: Of course I do! The first thing that clarified me was that there was no special pass, no backstage pass or anything like that, that I would have to go like any attendee to the concert and the truth is that I did not care … I just had to check that there was no date with Café Tacvba to be spliced; It was Good Friday and although we usually never played on those days, I had to check it out. I have to confess that I did miss not having a special backstage pass, because standing all day was very tiring, but it was worth it and the experience was incredible. The complicated thing was that when I returned and had to write the review I thought, what did I get myself into! I’m not a chronicler, much less a journalist … But it was very good, because I had to learn a lot about how to write in those genres to be able to do my review in the third of the book that corresponded to me, since it is divided into three parts: one written by Javier Sinay, who is an Argentine writer, and the other by Jeremías Gamboa, a Peruvian writer, whom curiously I did not meet in the concert in Havana, but until later.
The Desperate. Planet, 2018
As I mentioned, in 2014 I published a weekly story on my blog Textos Mutantes, but with the arrival of 2015 I realized that due to the workload it was going to be difficult for me to continue doing it weekly and at that time I decided to start publishing only biweekly. I also decided that I would continue working on one of the stories I had written in 2014, which was about a rock band going to a table dance, where they discover that one of the dancers looks like the singer’s girlfriend, so to continue With that story, the first thing I did was invent a rock band with the lineup of a: vocalist-guitarist, bassist and drummer, a band that needed a name that occurred to me when thinking about how all bands feel at the beginning of our careers , so that name ended up being “Los Desesperados”, much because of that need that musicians have to connect, that more than success what you want is to have an audience that likes and loves your songs. As I progressed with the development of the story, I felt that it gave much more, so I ended up making a story for each of the members … And almost without intending to, more characters kept appearing: fans of the band, secrets, and so on. I also realized that the story progressed chronologically and that it already had many elements of a novel, and that what I considered stories were chapters of it, with a final chapter that is something very out of reality … Let’s say that it is my homage in the novel to science fiction.
The bored girl. Planet Junior, 2020
Many people ask me why I decided to make a children’s story – although picture book is the correct name – and it is not really that I decide what I am going to write … I do have a plan of what I would like to write, I always carry with A notebook and there I go writing what comes to mind or the ideas that come up, but in reality it is not that those ideas or those plans are always fulfilled … I got to that children’s story because I have two daughters: Luciana and Úrsula, at that he always read to them or made up a story at bedtime. When the time came to start with the story, I asked them if they wanted me to read a story to them or to make it up, most of the time they asked me to make up the story, and almost always took as a reference things that had happened to them that day in home or school. One of those nights, what occurred to me to make up the story was that in the afternoon Úrusla – the youngest, who was 4 and a half years old at the time – asked me if I wanted to play with her.
– “I can’t, I’m working, play with your sister” I replied.
– “Luciana does not want to play” was his answer.
– “Play by yourself.” I told
– “I don’t like to play alone.”
– “Well then go to the mirror, look at yourself and you’ll have company,” I said jokingly.
And it was from that anecdote that the story of this book came, which is illustrated by Nori Kobayashi, who is a Peruvian illustrator girl of Japanese descent. She is a huge fan of Café Tacvba and on a trip to Peru she was waiting for us with other fans at the Lima airport. She had some drawings of each of the members of Café Tacvba that she gave us, and mine, which I really liked, was a Bear with glasses sitting in an armchair, reading, and then when I saw him the first thing I thought was that he wanted to work with her somehow. I don’t remember if I immediately thought about the story of The Boring Girl, but I did have an impulse to do something together, so I looked for her and it was funny, because at first she, being such a fan of the group, did not believe that she wanted to that we work together on this book, the end result of which I loved.
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