Words, as meaningful shapes, came to me while playing with my mother. She taught me to read at the age of three, with the help of abc cubes. We lived then in a tiny village up in the Andes and when winter covered the mountains with snow, silence took over and you had nowhere to go and very little to do. How clever of her to encourage me to acquire such a fundamental skill!


Writing, the power of words, was revealed to me seven years later when I started to write down my own stories, letters and poems. At this age, I began to feel the urge to transcend the limits of my brain, which kept my thoughts in captivity. I needed to “see” them, give them shape, organise them on paper, taste their essence, and confirm the capacity of words to convey meaning. I wanted to tell my stories!


Letters have helped to keep me in one piece. Always moving from one city to another and from one country to the next, I had to keep track of my friends and life events as being a part of me. Before the internet with mail arrived, I used to visit the post office every week.


When you feel you can no longer contain your feelings, impressions and sensations, sublime words, poetry, will save and comfort you endlessly.

As soon as you leave your home country and you cannot longer use your mother tongue, something essential happens to you and your sense of identity. When you learn a new language, either because you chose it or because you must, you start building a new personality, developing new aspects of your Self. Writing in different languages is a fascinating discovery, a journey to new ways of thinking - an arduous exercise for increasing self-realization.



Marilyn Oyarzún Yarza