Someone recently critiqued my closed-mindedness when it comes to different writing styles (I’m not a fan of traditional scientific prose, for example), so I made an effort to expand my exposure to text forms, genres and styles that would not be the easy choice for me. In the case of Carolina Sanín’s Alto Rendimiento (2016, Matera libros) it was both topic and form: a chronicle about the Olympic Summer Games of Rio, taken from her Facebook page. I have to say that it positively surprised me, especially because I didn’t think I was a fan of obviously ficticious fiction. (This might be worth a longer discussion at another point…) For now, suffice it to say that the chronicle is fun, and with the short entries an ideal bedtime treat.
Also, it is beautifully illustrated by Manuel Kalmanovitz (when was the last time you read an adult book with images that where not photographs?), and an interview with Sanín about the project and how it came into being. It gave me accute flashbacks to that writing seminar with her, as she poignantly corrects and reformulates the interviewer’s questions (not in the literal sense, though), so as to make them meaningful and be able to give a truthful answer.
How did I come across the book?
It was part of my book shopping spree for female Colombian authors. So far, none of the works disappointed me!
When and where did I read it?
In Konstanz, before bedtime, during the last weeks of the semester, and before I started A Field Guide to Getting Lost.
On my way to the bakery around the corner I met my neighbors from downstairs. They’re four students sharing a flat in our house, nothing uncommon in Constance. It was a cold and rainy afternoon, and it was also already dark outside. So the three of them just left the house to go for a run, all dressed up in adequate attire, and left me with that weird sensation I get when thinking about sports. It’s usually a mixture of feelings between guilt, anger and irritation. This, because I know I should try to move as much as possible whenever I’m not sitting in front of my desk (which actually is a rather small part of the day), but also I don’t need this fact to be rubbed in my face. [Insert here a short rant about how the culture of self-optimization makes us think we have to do things we don’t like while secretly just keeping us occupied. So that we don’t realize we’re just adjusting to a capitalist system exploiting us and our bodies in every imaginable way, etc.]
OK, so these people went running, what’s the big deal, you may ask. Well, it just somehow reminded me of all that is wrong with sports for me. There’s first the whole equipment thing. Special shoes, special gear, special accessories. I can not underline enough how this kept me from trying new things. I am not willing to buy new shoes for everything from climbing over soccer to snorkeling, running, gym, or ballet. I like to keep things simple, so I usually stick to the things I already own. Apart from that, all this is rarely cheap. Yeah, I know, some things could be bought second hand, some others can be rented, borrowed or shared. And yes, I do own climbing shoes (which I use from time to time) and soccer shoes (which I haven’t used in at least two years). But I certainly do not plan on extending my unused shoe collection. So I rather don’t buy new shoes if I’m not sure I will actually use them more than once. Continue reading