silvia rojas

Meet the team: Silvia Rojas

Silvia is one of our interviewers and is helping us with social media. She's an emerging writer who loves poetry.

We are very lucky to have Silvia join our team as a volunteer for a few months to help us with our social media and interview series.

She is an emerging writer and poet who has a passion for neuroscience, languages and economics.

Silvia is a research officer in mental health economics at the University of Sydney and the digital content creator of Gals en Australia, an online platform that seeks to empower Hispanic migrant women in Australia.

1. What are you reading?

In the last couple of years, I have developed a passion for neuroscience, psychology and behavioural economics. Browsing books at my local bookshop, I found a copy of Matthew Walker’s Why We Sleep? one of the most revealing and captivating books I’ve read recently.

It has given me more insight into the fascinating way in which our mind is wired. It has also taught me that sleep is the foundation of our existence, the evolutionary process that has allowed life to flourish on Earth.

2. Who would you like to swap places with for the day?

Malcolm Gladwell.

Before I even knew who he was, I subscribed to an app called MasterClass. I was looking for writing advice when I came across his masterclass. I developed a huge admiration for his creative process and background, which prompted me to get his book Talking to Strangers. A couple of months later, I binge-read all his published books. I’m also subscribed to his newsletter and listen to his podcast Revisionist History.

Gladwell is by far one of the most interesting people I have ever encountered. I would love to learn more about his day-to-day, who he talks to, to whom he writes.

I would also be very keen to try his five liquid rule (water, tea, red wine, espresso, and milk) and see what magic effect it has on my creativity.

3. Who is your favourite Latin American artist and why?

This is a very difficult question because Latin American art fascinates me. If I must choose just one artist, I chose [Argentinian writer] Julio Cortázar.

When I was 13, I read his short story collection Final del Juego. With the first short story, ‘La continuidad de los parques’, I discovered a new way of seeing, perceiving, exploring, and describing the world. It took him just two pages to blow my mind, and I remember thinking: ‘That…what he did… I wanna learn how to do that.’

4. If you could snap your fingers and become an expert in something, what would that be?

I would love to understand and speak fluently as many languages as I could. Today, I can communicate fluently in Spanish, English and French. I have an intermediate command of Swedish and a basic level of Russian and German. For me, languages are the key to different worlds because they hold millions of stories from people everywhere.

5. What’s the best advice you were ever given? Who was it from?

I have been given a handful of useful advice, but one of my English Literature teachers at the National Autonomous University of Mexico gave me a piece of advice that has guided my literary endeavours.

I was 23 when he said: ‘I know that at your age it is tempting to go through life always with your earphones on. By doing so, you are missing out on an entire sea of stories. If you are present, you will overhear conversations, identify different accents, memorise types of body language, and discover other things that might unleash your creativity. Play with the endless well of stories that the world gifts you every day.’

6. What forms of writing spark your interest the most?

Poetry always inspires me. I usually approach it with a lot of patience and focus. I feel challenged to analyse every word, every verse, its musicality, its visual organisation. It is a puzzle I love trying to crack, with the added thrill of never knowing for sure if I actually did.

[Argentinian musican] Gustavo Cerati said that ‘poetry is the only truth’ and I couldn’t agree more. Poetry can be my truth, your truth, or someone else’s truth. And if poetry is Truth, John Keats would agree that it is also Beauty—and he would say that ‘that’s all I know on Earth and all I need to know’.

7. What have been your favourite pieces in Puentes Review so far?

I absolutely love ‘I Don’t Write Verses’ by Juan Garrido-Salgado. The intensity of the opening verse, ‘I drink the ink, the blood and the tears’, leaves me speechless.

For me, some of the best art pieces are those where I can see the artist but where I can also see myself thanks to and because of the artist. This poem is a melodic river of emotion which, every time I read it, makes me feel inspired and accompanied in my creative process.