Stories of bullying, eating disorders, gender diversity, family violence or difficulties in the world of sports. Real experiences that come together in a single story, and that serve as a form of accompaniment. That’s the result of What is your fight, the new youth novel by Nando López. The writer transfers 15 real testimonies to the plane of fiction to encourage and educate through his interviewees, all of them teenagers. He feels proud and grateful to the youth for his “aware, non-conformist and supportive” spirit. He says that this novel has changed him. Now I have a little more hope for the future. The testimonies are wonderful, and are divided into two axes: solidarity and hope. All the stories can help and have messages like ‘I’m going to win this battle’. I have met a generation that does not give up. It is clear what systemic violence, prejudice and stigma must be overcome. It gives me a lot of encouragement to see his desire to fight, and I wanted that to be captured in the book. He turns real stories into a document-novel, which doesn’t seem easy at all. How have you experienced the process? I had already done theater-document, but with the novel it has been a challenge. In all the testimonies there is a lot of honesty, and the only thing that I have fictionalized has been the fabric that unites them. None of the vital dramas is invented. He chose 15 testimonials, but there were many more. Was it difficult to choose them? Yes. The whole process has been complicated and has taken years of work. The first year we launched a campaign to reach all corners of the country… And beyond the 15 testimonies, we wanted the process to help young people feel heard. It was the most difficult book I’ve ever done because I didn’t have my usual tool either, which is imagination. I know it’s a hard book, but I also want it to be enjoyable. How important is it that the stories are real? Everyone agrees that they are honest. They talk about capableism, homophobia, machismo, racism… They deal with that violence that is usually minimized. This is a juvenile novel, but it is also valid for adults. Everyone has to reflect on these problems and ask themselves questions: Are we giving this generation the space it deserves? Are we aware of the seriousness of these problems and how they affect their mental health? Are we complicit? What do you think of the concept ‘crystal generation’? It is a term that I like to turn around, because we know that it is used in a derogatory manner. I always say that if young people are called that, it is not because they are more fragile, but because they make the defects of our society transparent. And that bothers the adult world. When they complain and protest they do it because it really has to be done. And the sad thing is that other generations have not done it. It hurts me when they are called that, because their critical sense is not valued. We have a bad time when they highlight the social problems that we have not managed to overcome. You dedicated yourself to teaching and, through your work, you are in contact with youth. Have fathers and mothers become aware over the years of the issues addressed in the novel? It is very nice that many fathers and mothers write to me asking me for recommendations of books that can be useful for them and their children. In fact, the launch of the book is being very nice because it interests the young and adult world. There are families who want to better understand these issues. And it is also true that there is another sector that does not have this opening. There are families in the book that are understanding and others that are not. Broadcast your activism on social media. What do you think of the recent controversy over the new Little Mermaid, who is black, and her alleged ‘forced inclusion’ in the new Disney movie? Forced inclusion does not exist. What has existed for a long time is diversity made invisible. That is what we have to break. Fiction has many functions, and one of them is the capacity for representation, which allows us to see and build ourselves. It would have helped me a lot to find What is your struggle when I was 14 years old, because before, in fiction, people like me (belonging to the LGTBIQ+ collective) were not included. A fiction was made from privilege. That we now have a black Little Mermaid seems incredible to me, but the fact that a debate has been generated on networks about this is already racist. The mainstream is betting more and more on diversity, although hate speech is still there, don’t you think? Our society is hypocritical and, in fact, we are experiencing an upturn in certain types of violence because these speeches are defended. The culture has to be more belligerent than ever. Until very recently we haven’t had racialized characters. How much good has Black Panther done, for example? There are children who now have a reference. And in feminism, clichés are also broken with Captain Marvel. I want the same thing to happen with wich is your fight. I wish. What is your fight do you think could be adapted to the theater? I think so, I would love it. And I wish it could also be adapted to the audiovisual format. This way it would have more range. I wish he had a long life. Right now I have some theatrical projects, an adult play and a youth play. Are proposals of this type the key to bringing theater closer to the youngest? Yes, and, in fact, I think that the theater I do for young people has a very good impact. It seems essential to me, because it is a language that allows them to get to know each other and talk about many things. It is very powerful to express ourselves and very positive for mental health on many levels. What is the struggle that Nando López waged when he was a teenager? As a teenager I remember that there were two: one of them had to do with my sexual orientation, which was very difficult for me to face due to the lack of cultural references. I was a very reading teenager and I did not find myself in books. That is why I want young people to do so with what I write. The second struggle was my constant self-demand and my fear of not becoming what I wanted to be: a writer. I didn’t know if I would have something to contribute, if I would know how to do it well, and that terrified me. And now, are you facing something? My current struggle is to be consistent between what I write, what I feel and what I think. I want my work to be worth it aesthetically and, of course, socially.
Nando Lopez: "Culture has to be more belligerent than ever"
By aliintizar71No Comments6 Mins Read