Picture
Photography by Lindsay Naito
http://www.lindsaynaito.com/

Julián Esteban Torres López was born at a young age and lived to tell about it.

Julián has lived in five countries, three continents, is fluent in two languages, and in the past ten years alone has had exactly sixty-eight different roommates of all ages, complexions, ethnicities, sexual and gender orientations, professions, levels of education, cultures, political partialities, religious affiliations, and linguistic abilities. (Though only one recognized at first meeting that he had three front teeth.)

He has shared homes with a house full of San Francisco circus performers and one French photographer who concentrated on taking intricately passionate photos of blue jeans, immigrant poets in search of a home, foosball playing rock climbers, and a brilliant German physicist that danced the Tango like an Argentine and also liked to read Harry Potter during his spare time in the hot tub as Cleopatra the hen chased Marc Anthony the rooster in the backyard. The list goes on. The amalgamation of such experiences has influenced the multiple cores of his writings.

Along with his academic training – in Philosophy BA, Communication BA, Justice Studies MA, and Political Science PhD (candidacy) – his exhausting experience as an unbound yet homeward traveler has led him to express his thoughts and experiences by means of many literary genres, such as poetry, short and flash fiction, novel, essay, academic articles, university lectures, journalistic columns, and spoken word performances. You may even find his work written on paper napkins left on wobbly café chairs and rusting bar stools or engraved in park benches made of oak.

However, when others try to encapsulate him into one particular genre he just responds with, “Simply put, I’m a storyteller. Yo cuento cuentos.” When pushed to elaborate he often proceeds to quote Wayson Choy, “I’m a writer of a certain kind, and I write for the reader who understands how moments, not plots, compose our lives.”

Living in Medellín, Colombia, he’s currently a columnist for Colombia Reports (Colombia’s main English news source), working on his first novel, and finishing his PhD dissertation at the University of British Columbia Okanagan (Canada) on the Colombian armed conflict, which will be turned into a book upon completion. As he focuses on his writing, Julián’s spoken word is currently in the works of being sampled into some Techno and House music tracks by Miami-based DJ Tenner. Hit up some South Florida clubs in the near future and you may just be dancing to the poetic and storytelling stylings of Julián.

For this Feature Talent profile on From the Bottom of My Art, Julián has decided to share seven articles from his Colombia Reports column and twenty live recordings from his recently released album Sfumato: A Decade of Spoken Word, Act 1. It is via these twenty-seven pieces that he is allowing us, his audience, to become familiar with just some of the moments that have composed his life.

Julián was born at a young age. This is true. We verified with the Colombia authorities. Further, according to his closest friends and family members (wishing to remain nameless), Julián is also vegan, an agnostic atheist, and is painstakingly working on the autobiography of his pseudonym. Julián does not have an imaginary friend but does travel with a “stuffed animal” named Penguino for whom he cares for more than he does for most humans. Julián has never been pushed off a bridge, has never won a gold medal in any of the seven Summer Olympics he has lived through, and has never, to his knowledge, picked his nose with the fingers of his left hand.

You can follow Julián on Twitter, Facebook, Colombia Reports, and Soundcloud, or contact him directly at
LazaRojas@gmail.com


PIECES TO SHARE

Spoken Word live performance audio files:
Puberty
Medellín
The wind
Voices
Rain Date
Mother’s Books
Eclipse
Sign Language
Wandering Love
A Child’s Winter Ritual
Flashlight
Inheritance
Sinful Tango
Another Country
Antiquated Lips
A Trace of a Dream
The many forms of love, #1
Not enough blankets to keep warm
I Left My Heart In Medellín
With this poem I retire as a poet


Colombia Reports column articles:
“Save the water for a rainy Colombian day”
“Where have all Colombia’s disappeared gone?”
“God’s will or the will to power?”
“Poems for Medellin”
“What does it mean to be Colombian?”
“Plato in pre-Columbian Colombia”
“Colombia, 1757: Birthplace of America’s abolition of slavery”