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Patricia Etchechoury is licensed in language-speech therapy with specialization in neuro-linguistics, but I knew her as Pato, a  curious soul, full of colours and with a transparent look. She travelled a lot, but I'm not talking about vacations, she made a life journey, with no return plans, a journey of meeting another cultures, adventures and discoverings. Luckily, besides of living the experience, she wrote many memories of the trip. That's how Selva was born, a book with stories and illustrations in first person that allows us to travel with our imagination to another lands and meet another people. I've the honor of being who materialize the books, and I thought about an interview because behind those amazing narrations it was probable that the author were very interesting as well. I was right. Patito is one of those people who as more you keep knowing them, more interesting they become. With no more preamble, I share you here the interview in order that you may verify it.

Pato is standing up, holding a green bike.
When or how did your inclination arise to the writing? Did you use to write when you were a little girl?

I think that everything began, or that everything has to see a bit with my childhood, which was an a bit particular childhood, I say it because my dad and mom are navigators, they had a sailboat before the birth of my sister and I, initially of wood, and later they were changing it. First it was the Inti, then another Inti, the second, then the Jacaranda, and again an Inti, which is the current one, we always sail. When they had a moment, we were going out to sail. So in this area we were born, first my sister and later I; and we grew up almost in equal parts in the house and in the ship. All the summers were two months of sailing, and every weekend. I don't know if it has anything to do or if I am like that by nature, but I'm very shy, I had enough problems to relate; I think that sailing has a lot of being alone, spending hours in looking to the river, the horizon or maybe  to steer but with the lost sight and with a lot of time to think.

When we were coming to port, the things that a child could do on a sailboat were: to swim, to jump from the ship to the water and to climb from the water to the ship, until the night was falling and they proposed us to draw and when we were bigger, to write and to read.
So the tendency to the reading, the writing and the drawing comes from my very childhood, they were my big companions, maybe my saviors.

When I did the high-school I chose a baccalaureate in letters, where they continued stimulating the writing of stories, the critical reading of stories and novels. And in general I never stopped writing, but when I entered to the faculty the writing became a method of writing record.In this moment I was studying Thai chi chuan, and some of the teachers were telling us Chinese stories, which I transcribed. Hereinafter something similar happened to me when I studied the professorship of yoga, where many teachings are transmitted across the telling of traditional stories of the India, which I transcribed as well. I used to register my dreams in something like a diary, which was not daily, was rather the weekly one. All those were several years of records but maybe not of invention.

On the other hand, on having sailed, they taught to me: whenever one sets sail has to arm a binnacle, Then, this one was one of the most important tasks that existed, or the one I more was longing, because the other activities had to see with the coil of ends, to double the candles, to clean the anchor or the cover. Because of it when I started writing well, I started asking for the function to write the binnacle, and though I entered with the shaking and it made me sick enough, I got used to taking the writing record of the trips. In the Inti we registered the wind direction, the tide, the type of clouds that was forming, the time of navigation that we were taking and to how many knots, if the engine was lit or not, to control the consumption of fuel, if the Mitre channel or another channel was crossing, if it was changing of route, if we had a view of something on the water… Well, all this type of experiences that were constituting the course during the trip were written in the binnacle, that's why when I initiated my trip, it turned out to be almost natural to take a record,  it seems to me that this are the roots that gave birth to us to my Selva and to me.

Also my parents have enough relation with the writing, to the effect that they were writing to us letters, to my sister and to me, especially in the adolescence, when we had a lots of discussions. Sometimes I was shutting in my room and was not listening to them any more, then to say certain things to us, they used to write to us letters.

There was likewise another personage of the family who made me adore the writing, he was uncle Alberto, my dad's brother, I met him when he was close to death. For a long time he was a traveler, fled of Bs As in circumstances that the family hid in the glooms, He crossed the south, established itself in Rio Gallegos, also he was sailing and was employed at oil tankers. He also made a million of other works. My dad loved him a lot, I only knew him from his stories and I received his letters, telling me amazing things of unknown places, in this way, a lovely relation was woven in my childhood by the writing and by the letters.

In addition my parents in a moment decided to seek his roots, to travel to know the places where his parents had born, In Croatia, in The Vascuña, in Galicia, in Italy and these histories also they transmitted us in letters. The whole history of the family, told by the uncles and cousins who were finding, the memory was rescued by means of the writing, like an inheritance.

The childhood in a sailboat has loneliness but also it has pretty things. It was an epoch without cell-phones or tablets, there was no tv or phone on the sailboat, so if it was summer, we could jump into the water and swim to a friend's boat, knock the square from the water or use the VHF to remind a place of meeting in the rocks or in the beach at the sunrise; if it was winter, they were giving me a boat with oars and of bigger the gomón with out of hut, and it was an adventure to go away alone to the evening when my parents were going fishing or taking a nap,I was going away up the river, was stopping the engine and used to stay in the boat floating slowly, to hear the birds, the coast´s sounds, the jungle seen from the river.

What relation do you have with the reading? Do you have some genre of preference?

I read a lot, daily, I like the travel novels, Leo mucho, a diario, me gustan mucho las novelas de viajes, the round the world trip in sailboat, the crossing of Magellan's strait, the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean in raft, and also the science fiction, I read lots of books relationed with my profession or with the Yoga, because I need to keep learning, but if I don´t have to study or research, I like to read science fiction.

I understand that a trip of three years around America should have been an  wealth-producing experience. The histories that you narrate in Jungle: were they born during the trip or you wrote them after having returned to your home?

I worte them during the trip, making a general binnacle of all the travel and taking a single one about the Amerindia (the canoe) which I used to complete with my friend Mariano with references to guide us, like As river mouths, or identifiable constructions or a sunken ship, or a high construction, or anything that let us tell to other people our location and also to know it ourselves. This stores were writing "ao vivo", without polish, I reread and ended them when I returned home.

What was what motivated you to choosing some stories to immortalize them in this book?

They were my nephews. When I went away i had two nephews, Julia and Emiliano, who was 2 years old, Julia had 4 more or less, and while I was travelling my sister had his third son, to whom she put my name, Patito. When I returned, Emi was not remembering me, knew that he had an aunt but was not recognizing me, he even told me once –“ Why do you look like my mom?”. Patito didn't know me, and I wanted to tell them without being boring, so it seemed to me that they deserved a book, an illustrated book, to tell them where was the aunt on those years that she was absent.

Before Selva you didn't use to draw, but to the moment to illustrate the histories you found a new tool to complement your texts. How did you feel with this new incorporation to the creative act?

Like a lot of people I was drawing very much in my childhood and when I grew, the autoexigency did me badly, the self-criticism. When he was 8 years old I asked my aunt to teach to me piano, so I went a few years with her learning flute, piano, something of guitar and when I was 11, my aunt helped me to convince my parents to inscribe me in the conservatoire. I studied there till past my twenty years. Then, in my free times my energy was put in the music. If I was feeling good, I was playing the piano, If I was feeling sad, I was playing the piano, If I was with my friends, I was playing the piano, If I was alone, I was playing the piano; until the argentine hyperinflation forced my old men to sell the piano.

I had to change instrument, by force, I started touching the flute traversa that still accompanies me. I think that music reduced my time and my need of drawing, added to the self-criticism that made me think that I played music better than drawing and like I don't like to do the things badly, I stopped drawing. So it made me very well start drawing again, it had his role cuasi therapeutic.I am glad for having allowed it to myself and I'll be always grateful for your incentive.

[Thanks to you for giving it free rein!]

I know that beside writing and to draw hacés other activities related to the artistic thing, I would like that you could tell me a bit of each one and what they mean in your life.

I've already talk about music, Nowadays I continue with the traversa, studying violin, and since I mix the music with the theatre, I interfered in things that creates atmospheres, some percus, the ovnidrum, and all that because I am in a group of political theatre, which is also a pretty group of friends and though sometimes I act, I prefer doing the music of the works, of the tests, during the exercises of positions, of prominent figures.

Also I feel that my profession is an art, though west has divided completely the arts of the sciences. I work with children with disabilities, which does that every day, during near 8 hs, I have to play with many different boys, children with limitations to listen, to speak, to move his body, with cognitive challenges or of socialization and I feel that it is the whole art to entertain them, in order that their  learning isn't a fight and his childhood can have game and fantasy.

Are you already cooking the second book with another type of lived experiences?

Yeeeesss! Also with writings of the trip, which before I left out of Selva because they did not seem to me to be entertained for the children. They are statements of spiritual searches that they have to see with traditions that I was finding and they were looking for me, since temazcales, ayahuascas, yagés, Santo Daime, holotropic breathing and another heap of things. Added to other statements, with realistic records or historical statements of places that I knew, of that I count my history of his history.

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥  Thanks beautiful Pato for this delicious interview! ♥ ♥ ♥ 

[The travelling photos of this post belong to Pato Etchechoury]
And here, in order that you don't remain with the intrigue, a few photos of Selva and illustrations that shape it:

That's how Selva "comes" wrapped , with many dedication and love.

The contact with this great woman is by e-mail to:

The comments are welcome, thank you very much for reading!

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