by Brenda Hernández Jaimes
“This analogy of a typical Mexican market was born in my head. This is a market where you will find everything in terms of poetry themes. In these texts, you will see these Mexican colloquial words because I don’t intend to write in a very high-level language. On the contrary, it’s a language that’s somewhat digestible. It’s very casual for those people who aren’t close to literature. Make them interested in reading good, short, simple words, and very natural things of our Spanish language,” Alejandra shares of the meaning behind her writing project, “As for this part of the engine of the heart, I love talking about the body and its organs!”
The words that inhabit this creative-literacy market page are in their natural habitat, therefore, don’t be surprised to find them dotted here and there, talking about anything but what you most expected. “I don’t like this idealized and romantic part of the heart. I like the visceral more and that’s where I write from,” she explains.
Alejandra Cárcamo is a Mexican woman who was born with entangled ideas whose love for writing started at a very small age of 5 years old. She learned to read and write at home due to her mother teaching at the time. “She gave me that tool and it drew my attention to the point that I began to develop and write my own stories,” Ale says. “I always liked the short stories that my parents read and started discovering and reading them on my own.” Her interest in writing was propelled even further by her situation of growing up as an only child. It helped her develop introspection and sensitivity to her environment and world. “When I was alone and not playing with friends or cousins, there was this contact of creating. I used that creativity in my favor to entertain myself.”
Her definition of entertainment was to create her bi-weekly magazine at the age of 7. “I had this early exposure to magazines. We would go to the park and there was a magazine stand and I liked that they bought me magazines dedicated to children with different content. I entertained myself a lot by reading them and observing the drawings,” she laughs. Alejandra shares that she began to create her fictional characters and took it as a personal and serious commitment in her handmade magazine. She would fold blank white sheets of paper and draw her comics, write her articles and once in while feature Lucha Libre characters.
“My only readers were my family because I would give it to them and tell them to read it and ask what they thought. Sometimes it was, ‘oh, how cool’ and nothing else. But for me it was a commitment that I took seriously because I needed to satisfy my curiosity both in writing and reading content that I desired,” she says.
The following years she continued to write somewhat irregularly. Occasionally an idea or story came into her mind and she would write and leave it in a draft. However, it was in her last years of high school that Alejandra decided to take her creativity and make it a career. It was in her senior year that she decided to enter the area of Art and Humanities. But it was in philosophy classes that challenged Alejandra and gave her the tools to develop and refine her writing even though she wasn’t able to understand the subject.
“It was a lot of trial and error, but at least I knew how to start my essays and the words would come out. Then I had this philosophy teacher and I remember that small and simple note that she wrote in my essay, ‘keep writing, don’t stop writing’. In my head, it clicked and I realized why I like writing and it gave me the push to continue down that road,” Alejandra shares with a smile. “Since then I decided to study Communication. It was always latent, I always knew it was there. Over time I went for a more creative side such as advertising and at the same time to explore the options of poetry which is something that fascinates me.”
It was during Alejandra’s time in university that Mercadito Corazón was born. It was 2014 and she had gone through a break up that inspired her to channel all her emotions to writing. She gave her writing another meaning through this catharsis and find the strength to create and take her creativity to another level. “After this relationship, I asked myself what I would do with all this free time. I was tired of crying and decided to make it productive! That was a push. When you close a circle so relevant for yourself and in that manner, there’s no other way, but to evolve,” Alejandra says. “There’s something in those circumstances, it gives you something to turn around and grow in some way. If you want to and are aware, you grow. That feeling that happened to me at that time was what made me want to start writing and help keep my mind occupied. It was also very therapeutic to express my emotions in that way.”
Alejandra began to invite her friends and realized that they connected with her pieces. However, when other authors of writing blogs on Wordpress began to arrive and comment on her poems it took her to the path she’s currently on. “It made me feel good that I was doing something useful and relevant to other people. That was when I took it more seriously.”
Fast forward to 2019 and Mecadito Corazón and Alejandra find themselves in a wondrous liminal space of vast possibilities. “Right now it’s been a very interesting stage because these months have been a lot of self-exploration. Not only in terms of writing but as well in my life,” she says, “I’m in this moment of thinking where I am standing, what I want and what tools I have to achieve it.”
In this self-discovery, an opportunity has risen for Alejandra to begin writing topics that certain life experiences have gifted her to see in a distinct light. “I’m exploring from an emotional and body healing perspective. Speaking a little about personal empowerment and trying to explore even some issues that are currently happening in Mexico. I have entries that speak about the situation of women in Mexico. This stage has been very important for me because I’m reading pieces I wrote years ago and reading pieces from now and I like what I find. Writing is a technique that you never really perfect. However, I like that the texts that I’m finding are very honest and fair with the intention that I want to transmit with them. It’s something useful. I think that this self-discovery sometimes hasn’t been very simple. Nevertheless, it has opened my eyes to find other themes that I never thought would reach me!”
This drive that’s been sparked in Alejandra has also motivated her to make Mercadito Corazón open for collaborators. Both illustrators and writers. She wants to create her beautiful writing market into a collective space that people can have a platform to speak their voices and stories. “The long term goal is to be able to make Mercadito Corazón an independent editorial. When the level of collaborators is stable enough, I would love to work together and have it be printed. Also, do workshops and share knowledge while providing a conversation,” she gushes. “I think that there’s a lot of material to help continue sowing this little seed. Helps you see how art can give you incredible benefits that you never imagined. Both on a personal level, how you can share with others and how you impact other people.”
Another goal that Alejandra foresees for this year is to print her poetry book filled with pieces that are featured in Mercadito Corazón. This poetry book will have a curated theme and follow the same vision of presenting common themes in a new light, colloquial and colorful language that is heard and spoken in Mexico City. A very true mercadito indeed.
To read and learn more
of Mercadito Corazón,