Author, Zuleyka Robles, myself, two illustrators (Pamela and Maricarmen) and Lian, at Tintero 2015. Look at that majestic mergoat.
My eyeballs are burning and, as I told my friend Zuleyka, the author of Sparks, “I’m kind of manic” because I’ve been working on her book for so long and it is ALMOST DONE. Almost. But before I sleep, I want to share my excitement with everyone.
This means you can get your hands on it pretty soon (July? Hopefully.) and it will be absolutely worth it.
Subverse is on facebook now, where I’ll be posting news, as well as on instagram (subversepub), please like or follow if curious.
Sparks consists of microstories (rejoice, commitment-phobic and/or lazy readers) that, in spite of being only a few sentences long, are concise and stab you right in the feels.
Our unexpected bonus was the willingness of our artist friends to collaborate with illustrations for many of the stories – as well as their enthusiasm. So this book will have tons of illustrations in a variety of styles that represent how the artist interpreted the stories. It even inspires me, so I might end up illustrating one or two.
I don’t want to share any of her stories because that will spoil the surprise. Some of the illustrations have already been shared, but there is so much more.
What I don’t mind sharing, however, is a fragment of the foreword I wrote. I’m really hoping to make you curious and want to read Sparks (as well as the rest of this introduction).
Do you remember the last time you lit sparklers? Think about it for a moment. If your memory is a recent one, you were probably in the company of other adults, laughing, cheering and having fun. Maybe you were even inebriated. If your memory is from childhood, you may remember getting accidentally burned by the crackling sparks, or having touched the glowing ember (against your better judgment). Then, lighting your sparklers with respect or apprehension, holding it a safe distance away from your body. The next day or after that special event, you may have had to dispose of the ugly, black wires making a mess on the floor, all with a hint of melancholy, now that the party is over and routine resumes.
Zuleyka’s stories exploit the moments we overlook. While we may reminisce about parties, the fun stories we prefer to tell, the sparks in this book reveal the most private events: the actions and interactions (the initial sparks) that light up fires of passion. The author leaves the fires and explosions to the reader’s imagination, but strategically so, that we may imagine an outcome according to our own values, experiences and individual traumas. Some are fires that melt away the biting cold, others, fires of shame, anger and despair that scorch the flesh and nerves. The most persistent dilemma throughout Sparks is that of love, but from different points of view: parent, small child, adult child, lover, ex-lover, spouse, friend, stranger, enemy, self. Some stories are about the strike of the match, some, about the burning. Some are about picking up the trash the day after the party.
Every story offers insight into hidden parts within our selves, even the most seemingly fantastical or unlikely. When have you not been so affected that you felt as if trapped in fiction? Overwhelmed to hyperbolic proportions, that you knew yourself to have become a beast, or have your soul float out of your body? On the other hand, there is the impossibly real: monsters in the mirror, self-injury, homicidal impulses towards those we love the most. In Sparks is a mirror: we are all neurotic. We have all had a few seconds of psychosis, of paranoid schizophrenia that, with a small change of events, revert us to mental and emotional “stability.” (…)
Just look at that table full of communion, friendship and beauty.
We had lots of fun at Tintero (back in March – establishing some continuity from my last post).
We could barely fit all of our stuff on the table, but mission accomplished. We took some emails from visitors interested in Sparks, gave them free stuff like pins, stickers and bookmarks (which seemed to scare most people, as in “why are you giving me things?”)… so if by chance you were one of those folks, expect some goodness coming your way soon.