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“I also wrote for the teenager I was and wanted to hear that he was not invisible”, says Lázaro Ramos

“You are Invisible” is the title of the new book by the actor, writer and director, Lázaro Ramos 🇧🇷 His first work written for a young audience, it brings the story of two teenage brothers with conflicts, concerns and desires typical of the phase they are living in and all this in the midst of the pandemic.

In an interview with CNN Lázaro tells how it was to produce and think about this book while he was confined during the most tense months of Covid-19.

“This book was perhaps one of the best company I had during the pandemic because I was writing about ethics, identity, the feeling of being trapped, incommunicability and all the feelings that permeated the world context. Gathering texts on all these topics, I understood that it was the story of Carlos and Vitória. And then I thought it would be a nice book for young people”, said Lázaro.

About language and the challenge of writing for a new audience in the author’s repertoire, Lázaro explains that his writing always starts from texts and loose ideas that he gathers over time.

“I never write a book knowing which audience it is intended for. I always write very freely. This one was born little by little. The first time I had contact with a part of him was when my daughter Maria Antonia, who is now 7 years old, was two years old and I went to a toy store. At that time, these stores were still sectored with the so-called boys’ toys and the so-called girls’ toys. Then I wrote a chronicle for myself with the title ‘It’s the princesses’ fault’. This text was kept and in the pandemic I started writing random others and things started to fall into place”, recalls Lázaro.

This way of shaping the book from loose narratives, which is common in other works by Lázaro, is also accompanied by an evaluation that he normally makes, sending the book for other people to read.

“With my children’s books I always send the text to a private and a public school and the students make comments and notes, not knowing whose work it is and I rewrite it. This time I asked two of my friends’ teenage children to read and comment and I also had the help of a theater group called Cine Encanto. They read the texts, presented scenes and asked me questions and so I wrote”.

“Você é Invisível” is an interactive book, with different resources, illustrations and although Lázaro thought it wouldn’t be possible, he had a desire to get closer to the language of young people today.

I really wanted to reproduce the way young people consume information these days. They are hyper-stimulated and have the ability to absorb two media at the same time. Which in my day was impossible. To do a school activity I had to be silent. In this sense, I was lucky to have Oga Mendonça who is this genius of illustration in Brazil and he managed to organize the thinking he had in the book. It was really cool to see that it worked and after everything was ready, the idea of ​​putting a playlist with songs that you can listen to while you’re reading came up.

Lázaro Ramos, writer, actor and producer

The characters in the book are named after Lázaro’s relatives and when asked about the idea of ​​putting these names, he confessed, laughing to himself, that he doesn’t have much creativity to name book characters.

“All my books are named after people I know. I don’t know how to name a character, but this book, I think it has something more because it is also a memoir. Several of these stories I have lived, have been told or have some relationship with my family”, recalls Lázaro.

The book, in addition to telling a little about the history and routine of this family, also talks about identity, racism and conscience.

These are topics that are in our daily lives. I always try in my books not to limit myself to subjects like urban violence and racism. However, for me it’s liberating to be able to show black characters bringing up as many themes that exist in anyone’s life. It’s really cool that we can talk about identity formation, about anti-racist struggle, but also talk about ethics, passion, family connection, desire and doubts.

Lázaro Ramos, writer, actor and producer

During the writing, Lázaro also reminisced about his youth and made connections with his own adolescence.

“I was this teenager whose head was boiling with ideas and desires, but I was very closed off and I didn’t feel visible, I didn’t feel important. What saved me was the theater. In the case of the character Carlos, he resorts to social networks. I wrote to that teenager I was who wanted to hear from someone: You are not invisible. I didn’t hear it. Today, I see a lot of conflict-ridden teenagers, hiding in their oyster, not sharing anything with anyone or creating a mask of the smart-ass and the fun.”

He adds that he cannot imagine what this generation of teenagers will be like.

I see an anguish and a shock in them that I’m sure comes from this pandemic period. I think that care for the little heads and hearts of our young people needs to be redoubled. In this beautiful phase of blooming, they lived in a prison. Not being able to live in a class, not being in a school with a group of friends and being able to joke around at break time and other things like that. I realize that this comes at a cost. Some want to do too much at the same time and others are afraid to take the next steps.

Lázaro Ramos, writer, actor and director

Lázaro ends the interview by saying that he really hopes that people will have fun reading, but that they will also be moved. “We’ve been going too hard, giving more space to the hate that moves us than the love that heals us. So this book has something loving and affectionate about it for people to come out of these pages touched.”

Source: CNN Brasil

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