When I was 18, I was agonizing over calculus, choosing what university I wanted to go to, and picking a prom dress.
When Carmen Aguirre was 18 she was disarming a 65 year old drunk, retired, mercenary on a train to Bolivia so he didn’t blow their cover, and figuring out how to get past 2 border patrol guards alive, given the items she had on her person to help with the resistance movement.
These were among the stories we were fortunate enough to hear last night at the Toronto Women’s Bookstore as Carmen Aguirre read from her new book Something Fierce – which is about her life as a child and teenager involved in the underground resistance in South America against the Pinochet regime.
Hearing an author read from their work is always a gift. But last night, Carmen’s voice – strong, confident – shared not only some of her stories and her life with us, it captivated the audience and made those moments real in our minds as well.
Living with terror continually for years is no small feat. Carmen graciously answered questions about the legacy of those years and told us it was theatre that saved her; because she wanted to be an actor so badly, she did all the therapy and healing her teachers told her to, at 22, in order to be able to act well.
If you missed it, you can watch the video of the livestream.
It’s raining today. The thunder is clapping and it’s a perfect day to read. I’m going to hunker down with Something Fierce.
You can get a copy at the Toronto Womens Bookstore.