09 June 2009

Ocampo: El pecado mortal y La pluma magica

I have to quote (via rough translation) the opening to the "El pecado mortal," since I thought it was such a great hook.

The symbols of purity and mysticism are sometimes more of an aphrodisiac than pornographic stories or pictures, and it is because of this--what sacrilege!--that the days before your first communion, with the promise of the white dress, lace gloves, and pearl rosary were perhaps the only truly impure ones of your life.

I can't say the story that follows quite lives up to the opening, but somehow I'm not sure I mind so much.

"La pluma magica" reminded me a great deal of Ramsey Campbell's horror story "Next Time You'll Know Me," in that these are both stories of artistic anxiety narrated by the artist himself. In fact, both stories involve the artist writing to the person(s) who he believes has robbed him. Campbell's story is unsurprisingly the darker of the two, while "pluma" is sadder. The narrator of "pluma" is an author who has had to give up writing because everything he writes turns out to have already been written. The narrator finds a solution in a magical quill which allows him to write absolutely original material. The narrator is then betrayed by a protege (possible lover?) who steals the quill. When certain books begin to be published in a style the narrator recognizes as the quill's, he considers it a confirmation of his suspicion.

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