Tuesday 16 July 2013

Guest Authors Revisited - Cherie Magnus

Back in October last year I had the pleasure of interviewing Cherie Magnus, she joins me again today to tell us what she's been up to since then.

You can also read her original interview here.

What has changed in your life since we last spoke?
Because I live in Argentina, the biggest change is economic—insane inflation and the crazy dollar. I just keep my head down and hope for the best. My goal this year is to finish my next book, the prequel to The Church of Tango: a Memoir.

Have you learnt any new wisdom?
Well you know, I keep learning every day, the problem is that at my age I also keep forgetting. But wisdom isn’t facts and figures, it’s perspective, and I’ve got plenty of that. Because in the new book I’m writing about my life in 1960, I understand myself and those events better now looking back. Otherwise since then I never thought about those years, who I was, what was happening in the world. So I’ve actually learned a great deal by revisiting that time and place these past few months.

Have you become a better writer? If so, how?
Of course practice makes better, and a writer learns little things as she goes along, do’s and don’ts, let’s say, and what works and what doesn’t. But in my case, I’ve become a better thinker and that makes a huge difference in my writing.

With my new memoir, accuracy of details and vocabulary of the early 1960s are very important. As a former research librarian, I am very comfortable with fact checking, and I’m constantly surprised how many of the common words we use today were not in the dictionaries of that time. It’s rather astounding how the language—as well as ordinary life—has changed.

What are you working on at the moment?
I’m extremely focused on finishing the new memoir, to the extent of letting other writing languish. I’ve written a blog since 2006, with over 700 posts about expat life, Buenos Aires, and the tango (tangocherie.blogspot.com), but I feel I’ve just about said all that I need to say on those topics, so I’m letting it rest.

I also teach tango with my Argentine partner here in Buenos Aires, so that tends to keep me out of trouble when I’m not writing.

Tell us about your latest release and how we can find out more.
The new memoir—working title: Crazy Dancing—will be released by Mirasol Press, probably in 2014. It’s my story about my university years, but it’s also a portrait of a specific time and place. From the introduction:

In August of 1960, I took the Union Pacific streamliner, the City of Los Angeles, to Omaha, and then changed trains to go on to the small prairie town of Gordon, near the South Dakota border. In the train’s Pullman car, the black porter attended me while I felt like a movie star reading the heavy Glamour Magazine Fall College Issue. I had just turned seventeen. And didn’t know that not only my life but the whole world was on the brink of tremendous change. Not yet the end of an era, but the eve of unforeseen both glorious and inglorious tumult.

The Church of Tango is available from Amazon

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