“I’m writing a story about a girl. She is hard to love.”
“Why is that so?”
“Well, you don’t know what the problem is, but she doesn’t let herself be loved. Maybe she was hurt, or maybe she just doesn’t believe in love anymore. Then a guy looks into her eyes and recognizes that something is wrong: Her gaze is distant and cold; a string seems to be broken. So that’s the beginning. It’s a story that came to me this weekend, but it’s also based, in part, on a girl I met in real life.”
“Is this your first short story?”
“I’ve written quite a few. Last year I also wrote a novel about the contrasting experiences of two immigrants from Mexico—one legal and one illegal—and the nostalgia and assimilation they experience. I often write about that experience—being outside your country or Latin America, which is very different in language, culture, colors, the sounds in the streets … Those sounds are similar to what we’re hearing here today during the festival. That’s why I was walking around. It’s not something you see in the U.S. very often, so it was a nice surprise. I’m from Mexico, and this is closer to what I’m used to. Most people here keep to themselves. It’s actually strange that right now you and I are talking about our lives even though we don’t know each other. So, I was looking at all these people and thinking about their emotions and ideas for plot lines.”
“Are you studying literature or creative writing?”
“No, I’m actually studying computer science and mathematics.”
“That’s interesting. Many people think of math and literature as very different.”
“For me, they’re both similar and complementary. Mathematics is very rigorous and structured; the approach to letters can sometimes be slightly less structured. I like numbers and the beauty of mathematics. It’s different from writing, and it’s not art, but it has certain artistic elements such as the excitement of solving a problem. For me, they appeal to similar things because my thought process is very visual. When I’m thinking of a story, I get to see it in my mind. And when you’re solving a problem, you’re immersed in this imaginary world of shapes, objects and relations. So, I mostly spend my days imagining and circling between letters and numbers, images and forms. I believe in beauty. And beauty is present in both mathematical constructs and the emotions of human experience. But above all I believe in love.”
Portraits of Boston is a project of independent photographer Ivan Velinov. He is regularly sharing some of his favorite portraits with WBUR. Visit his website to see the hundreds of portraits he has taken on the streets of Boston.
This program aired on October 21, 2013. The audio for this program is not available.