Miquel Bauçà

Miquel Bauçà: the hidden genius of Catalan Writing
An interview with Miquel Bauçà , with an introduction, by Julià Guillamon.

Miquel Bauçà (Felanitx, Majorca, 1940) does not give interviews. Until now, he replied to interviewers' questions with extracts from his books. I seek him out. As there is no known address for him, I send letters and questionnaires to the PO Box number given at the end of his book 'Carrer Marsala'. A fax appears, sent from a stationer's on Bailèn Street, in Barcelona. Bauçà replies in an offended tone to the ten questions I sent to him over a fortnight ago.

What do you understand by states of connivance? Are you referring to the alienation of humans, to their love of gregariousness? Are you also referring to all the concessions the Catalans have made? To both things?

Exactly, to both things.

When you wrote Carrer Marsala you cut the original considerably, until you were left with a short narrative of seventy pages. Do you now wish to create all-embracing, encyclopaedic texts? What is the reason for this change?

It was a good thing, to have despised all that material. I would probably have waffled on and on. This change is due to an inevitable, automatic increase of wisdom, thanks to my good behaviour, not thanks to a wish to be all-embracing: the latter has always been the motor behind everything, it was there the first time I looked at the world.

I have read an interview in Destino magazine, about your first days in Barcelona. There you talk about your military service in Cabrera. Was it one of the most important experiences in your life?

Yes, it was.

The language of your books is highly elaborate. There are people who talk, when referring to it, about Ramon Llull. Do you read the Catalan classics? What role would you ascribe to the literary tradition in your work?

Ramon Llull belongs to the period in which we Catalans lived in paradise - a paradise as unlikely as the Biblical one, if we observe it from the standpoint of the general misery in which we find ourselves today - from which we were expelled, as everybody knows, because of some foreseeable manoeuvring on the part of Saint Viçenç Ferrer. I say this because your question should not have been proposed. Neither I nor anyone else can imitate Ramon Llull. That would be as extravagant as if a Venetian Jew of the period had wished to enter this paradise. That would also have resulted in a botched job.

We might say that one of the themes of 'The States of Connivance' is the disintegration of ideologies, of beliefs, of ways of life which formed a whole. Is this 'the change'?

Nothing has disintegrated so far. Everything is just as routine as when Saint Paul wrote to the Ephesians. However, we have started to change. I want to see a goal behind these modifications: the enjoyment of dreams, just as I already enjoy them. When technique forces everybody to do the same things, one will no longer wish to be a consumer of ideologies, as tools which are useful to others: neither macro or microideologies. Sexuality and its gregarious function will gradually vanish. On the other hand, people will exchange cassettes containing their best dreams, according to the criteria of each person. When I say cassettes I mean ideas, because a much more beautiful technology will have been developed.

In your books there are many references to America. What is America for you? Does it represent the ideals of progress, of technology, or is it something else entirely?

I can't believe that you could still say such a thing. You sound like a subject of the Austro-Hungarian empire in the first half of the 20th century.

You have always lived your life away from literary circles. You show your face very rarely, and it is even difficult to interview you. What is your idea of what a writer ought to be? Should the writer live a furtive life?

Most definitely. I completely mistrust charlatan writers. I even accuse some of them of being responsible for the political disasters which have taken place since 1975. Some of them still live and keep on talking in Cornellà and on the Canal+ channel of CNN. Why do they do it? I think that they are mechanically repeating patterns which come from the 17th century, that are obsolete today, but which still have some kind of life.

The idea of sin, of guilt, appears very clearly in some of your books. In The States of Connivance, the following can be read: 'I have sinned. God is punishing me.' Is this concept of sin an essential element in your work?

When I say that, I am ridiculing the Freudian fervour which has sheltered itself from the Universe, and which would have us believe that what happened to us when we were babies, children, or impuberal, as regards the 'relational' aspect - as they say - explains everything. They have gone mad, and behave, more or less, like the inquisitors of the Inquisition. As if other experiences apart from the ones mentioned could not have played an efficient role in our formation, our make-up or, simply, our intelligence.

In your book you talk of God and the soul. But also about scientific and technological concepts. How do these two systems articulate themselves within your system of thought?

They don't articulate themselves, because they are the same thing: Technique, which must needs bring us to the discovery of the brain. I am currently writing a book, also in verse, which will probably have the following title: 'The Dreams'. You have to use verse for this sort of subject.

Since Carrer Marsala, your books have contained references to war. Do you believe that underneath the appearance of normality, we are spending our whole lives at war? Does your experience of military service in Cabrera have something to do with this?

War. I have the feeling that in the interview about Cabrera, I must have said a lot of nonsense, because I see that it has lead to this kind of thinking.

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