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Brazil: Beyond cyberspace – when blogs move offline

Books are becoming e-books and blogs and websites have appeared as books and other types of media. In this state of flux, it looks like the paper book has the power to beat virtual writing rather than the other way round. In Brazil, there is more than just a fashion of launching e-books to attract readers and writers but also an opposite stream in which blogs have reached the offline shelves as well as the movie screens.

Last November, Para Francisco [pt] enriched the list of blogs that have already made a debut in the publishing market, giving fans a chance to read the powerful real story in paperbook form. Perplexed by the tragic death of her husband just before the birth of their first son, Christina Guerra found herself between mourning and happiness, writing and dedicating her pieces to her son: “For Francisco”. In her blog, she tries to hold each detail frozen in the air, thinking and feeling about life. Plunging deeply into herself, she emerges with a positive perspective.

christina-guerra

Escuro.

Você vai aprender, filho. Que a intensidade pode roubar você de si mesmo. Que é preciso leveza para se pertencer. Você vai aprender a se distrair no meio do caminho – para ter o privilégio de errar. Vai aprender que as descobertas estão nos atalhos. E que é preciso alcançar o escuro denso para estar diante de todas as possibilidades. Você vai aprender a se deitar noite escura e amanhecer ensolarado. E vai entender que na perda mora o verdadeiro começo. Talvez você leve meia vida para isso. Talvez mais, como eu. Mas até lá, olha que sorte: eu vou estar segurando a sua mão.

“Darkness.
You will learn, son. Intensity can steal you from yourself. You need lightness to belong to your own self. You will learn to distract yourself on the way – to have the privilege to make mistakes. You will learn that there are discoveries in the shortcuts. And that you need to reach the dense darkness to be ahead of all possibilities. You will learn to lie down in the dark night and rise in the sunny day. And will understand that it is in loss that truly beginning lies. Perhaps, it will take half your life for you to learn. Perhaps more, like me. But, up to then – look how lucky you are – I’ll be holding your hands”.

Her book – “Para Francisco”, 192 pages, ed. Arx – has had many reviews in newspapers and magazines. She still updates her blog with new pieces of writing swathed in thoughts, happenings and insights.

Another writer who first grabbed the attention of readers through the Internet and then had her book published is Clarah Averbuck. After moving from the southernmost state of Brazil Rio Grande do Sul, where she did not finish her studies but started writing for the web, to São Paulo's capital, she created her first blog in 2001: the very popular brazileira!preta [pt], and the year after Averbuck launched her first novel “Maquina de Pinball” (Editora Conrad, 2002). She has also written “Das Coisas Esquecidas Atrás da Estante” (Editora 7 Letras, 2003) and “Vida de Gato” (Editora Planeta, 2004).

Inspired by her stories, plays and films have been produced in Brazil. Last year, Nome Próprio [pt], a film directed by Murilo Salles was awarded four prizes at the Festival of Gramado [pt], including Best Picture, and Best Actress for Leandra Leal, who plays the main character, the writer Camila.

Averbuck is known for writing in the first person and for including her own experience of life – rock’n'roll, drugs, sex, bars, love and friendship – in her writing. She doesn’t beat about the bush and draws her lines in a very sincere and straightforward way, expressing her feelings; have a look at Adios Lounge [pt]. Her work is very often cited as an example of how blogs have become a place for new talented writers and she as one of the icons of the writers on the blogosphere. Despite this, she has said in an interview: “There are no literary blogs. Writing is writing, it doesn’t matter where”. The public is made aware that either earning money is not her goal or her work is not well rewarded financially, thus she has not even been able to pay her phone bills from her books. About the adaptation of her work for the cinema with “Nome Próprio”, she says [pt]:

“(…) tenho repetido isso quando me perguntam o que achei da adaptação dos livros e tudo mais: autor bom é autor morto. (…)autor morto não reclama nos ouvidos dos diretores e nos microfones dos repórteres quando são adaptados e fica tudo diferente. porque eu reclamo. é claro que eu reclamo. é a minha obra, afinal de contas. (…) mas é assim mesmo. ninguém entende nada, adoram criar umas polêmicas que não existem, pintar o autor de ególatra, de personalidade difícil (rarara, adoro, é tão besta que fica engraçado) e inventar umas coisas por total ausência de outra para falar. eu quero mesmo é achar uma casinha pra morar com a cata e ele e os gatos, terminar meus livros, parar de responder as mesmas perguntas e operar os olhos que essas lentes estão me matando. o resto não tem me interessado muito, francamente.

“(…) I have repeated this when asked what I think of the book’s adaptation and everything else: a good author is a dead author (…). The dead author doesn’t complain in the directors’ ears and into reporters’ microphones when they are adapted and everything becomes different. Because I complain, of course I do, it is my work at the end of the day. But, it is like that, nobody understands anything, and they love setting about creating controversy that does not exist, painting the author as a narcissist, a difficult person (hahahah, I love it, it is so silly that it becomes funny) coming up with things due to a total lack of other things to say. What I really want is to find a little house to live in with Cata, him and the cats, finish my books, stop answering the same questions and have my eyes operated on because these contact lenses are killing me, the rest doesn’t interest me much, frankly.”

Her most recent book was Nossa Senhora da Pequena Morte (Editora do Bispo, 2008) and there is an upcoming launch list. Although, it looks like her blog is no longer a priority. The last long post is dated October 25, 2008 where she announces the blog's death, but there was a short comment later: “I’ll never surrender. I love you all”, dated February 02, 2009. She has also commitments with music as the vocalist of the band “Jazzie e os Vendidos”.

Also coming from the rock’n'roll scene, Gustavo Curry has gathered his writings for the web and plucked up the courage to cough up to publish his own book himself. Born in Bahia, he decided to set out writing about living in that state, as a rock musician, a swimmer and journalist. Starting with his blog Eu Tava Aqui Pensando ou Blá Blá Blá [pt], he took one step forward and had his book “Para Colorir” published. Most of the published chronicles have already been made public through the web and the book also has 16 illustrations by the Spanish illustrator Ricardo Sans.

cury1

He talks about the similarity between his book's cover and an R.E.M. CD cover: “Any similarity is barely a coincidence. But, my book came first, fuuuuck”. With a great sense of humour, he has described coming across the famous Brazilian musician who set up one of the most popular and catchy rhythms in the country, Axe Music and other oddities.

When it comes to writing on his blog, it looks like Cury has no plans to give up. He shares with us [pt] his experience leading the business process to have his lines printed and made ready for the reading public:

“O resultado de Para Colorir, considero que foi muito interessante. Acredito que o livro cumpriu boa parte do seu objetivo. Do ponto de vista financeiro, diretamente, o livro se pagou. Fiz 1000, vendi 614 e dei 230. Ainda restam 156. Calculando com o preço médio da venda em 30 reais, recebi R$18.420. Porém tem de calcular que, só no lançamento, dos 180 livros vendidos no evento, 40% da venda ficou com a livraria. Culpa de Jorge Amado que disse “livro tem que ser lançado em livraria”. Que merda, hein, seu Jorge? Se eu fizesse no Póstudo ou no Balcão, bares de amigos meus, seria 100% do lucro”.

“I reckon the result of “Para Colorir” was very interesting. I believe that the book has achieved a good deal of its goals. From the financial point of view, the book has paid for itself. I made 1,000, sold 614 and gave 230 away. There are still 156. Reckoning on the average selling price of 30 Reais, I have received R$ 1,420. Although, it must be taken into account that, just at the book launch, from the 180 books sold at the event, 40% of the money stayed with the bookshop. Blame Jorge Amado, who once said that ‘books must be launched in bookshops’. What shit, heh, Mr. Jorge? If I had done it in Póstudo or in Balcão, bars of friends of mine, I would have had 100% profit”.

However, like Clarah Averbuck, some writers barely post new updates or even stop writing their blogs as the result of becoming so busy with other commitments brought along by the success of their offline work. That was the fate of Mothern [pt], a blog revolving around being a modern day mum: How do we combine the roles of looking after kids and working, when friends and parties are waiting for you? This explains the blog's name, mothern = mother + modern). In a comic and light style, Juliana Sampaio and Laura Guimarães have been praised by their viewers, and published two books – “Mothern – Manual da Mãe Moderna”, ed: Matrix and “As 500 melhores coisas de ser mãe”, ed: Matriz – and launched a TV programme on the channel GNT. Now, those who like their blogs have to read old posts, buy the book or follow the TV series. The last post dates November 19, 2007.

“Sim, estamos sumidíssimas daqui. Eu mais pra , Laura mais pra lá, ambas com a agenda e a cabeça cheias de outros assuntos. Esta passadinha rápida é só pra pedir que hoje à noite todos vocês cruzem os dedinhos, pois vai sair o resultado do Emmy International (http://www.iemmys.tv ), do qual a série Mothern é um dos 4 finalistas da categoria série dramática.

“Yes, we have completely disappeared from here. I have been more here, and Laura is over there, both with agendas and minds filled with other matters. I have quickly popped in just to ask you all to cross your fingers tonight, because the result of the Emmy International Awards is soon to be announced, with the “Mothern” series one of the four finalists in the drama series category”.

It seems that blogs, books, series and films are an unlimited source of creativity, but we never know which of them comes first. As we can see, some blogs die after being the seeds for other projects. Or blogs can also work as draft books, as the virtual paper where writers set down the first lines of their thoughts, until the magic has completely cast a spell over the pages. As Deborah Icamiaba wrote on writer Paulo Coelho’s thoughts on e-books, it seems that he has guessed or analyzed the relationship between different pieces of writing: “According to him, the free distribution of e-books actually encourages paper books sales, because readers start reading on their computer and as soon as they become engaged in the story they run to the bookshops to buy them, as they still prefer reading on paper. Whether you like Paulo Coelho or not, the fact is that his sales tips can not be ignored.” Perhaps, being a success on the web means almost a stamped passport to reach the shelves or screens.

Talking about book, check out the Global Voices Book Challenge – Read Your Way Around the World!.

3 comments

  • Wow, so there’s hope for us all! Not sure if I’m going to take my Brazil blog ‘offline’ but it does go to show that there are other options out there. Good to know!

    Obrigado pela informação, viu?

    • Valeu, Adam

      Even though there are writers who stop writing in their blogs, I don’t want to spread out this idea. Pls, keep writing in your blog. Maybe, more important it is show how blogs and other medias are related. But, there is other blog that I didn’t add in the article which has become a famous TV series, and don’t have posts anymore. Worth a visit: http://mothern.blogspot.com/

      Thank’s

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