I met Raquel in 2014. She's a creative soul that ignites positivity and a sense of will and strength that no matter what happens she will still say "We can do this". She’s hardworking, passionate & determinate. Could she be more awe-inspiring? Well let’s have a chat…
Hi Raquel! Describe us a little about yourself.
First of all, let me say that it is truly awesome to be featured at your blog, because you're such an inspiration. Thank you.
So, my name is Raquel Caldevilla, and my last name is a big part of my life because it tells everything about my history. I'm an only child, the oldest of 19 cousins and my family seems somehow it jumped from one of those films about Italian Mafia, since they all talk really loud, they have the highest laugh in the room and they get mad so strongly as they are able to love. That's me, a passionate person, everything that I do is very important to me, as well as my friends, who I admire as my heroes.
I'm 32, married with the love of my life and I have the most beautiful dog, she has those eyes that you see in Disney movies, big, bright and wonderful. I studied Psychology and I like to write stories about the people that surround me in my blog, I photograph a lot, I organize all the little things at We Blog You, I'm a singer at Oh Honey and I'm also crochet artist at Hey Billie. I do many things, but the thing that can describe me the most is that I'm a creative soul and I love to tell the beauty of what surrounds me, in words, photos or little things that I create in wool.
When and why did you begin writing? Where did your love of storytelling came from?
My father's father was a poet and ever since I was very little he started my love for writing and books. We had a special bond, after all, I was the oldest of the grandchildren and I had a love for stories, so he was the first that started to give me some poetry books of all those big names in Portuguese poetry. That was the reason why I started to write poetry when I was only a teenager and I wrote all with my heart on my fingertips, it made those difficult years of strong emotions (specially the bad ones) easier for me. In a sense, I was able to translate everything that I experienced to those rhymes that I wrote and those teenager problems about love and understanding felt like it were a little smoother and lighter, easier to deal with. So, even though I don't write poetry anymore, I do remember those times with a warmth in my heart.
Which are some of your favourite authors that you feel were influential in your work? What impact do they have on your writing?
My grandfather introduced me to Mário de Sá Carneiro, Fernando Pessoa and all of his pseudonyms and other great Portuguese poets. In my teenage years, I found Al Berto and I still remember that his autobiographical book Lunario was the first one that made me cry my eyes out, with all those adventures of sex, drugs, bohemian life, ephemeral passions, truth, friendship and eternal love. That was also the time I stumbled in Gabriel Garcia Marquez and opened my life to all those South American writers, like Mario Vargas Llosa and Pablo Neruda. But it was when I found Isabel Allende and all her stories about mighty women, and the magic that lives within us, that I truly known what I wanted to write about the most. To this day, she is still my favorite writer and her stories of women's strength and will still give me chills.
In 2014 you launch your book 12. Tell us a little about it, the process, the inspirations and the toughest part of it.
After my teenage years and as the times passed, I started to think that my feelings couldn't be rhymed anymore, so I stopped writing like that. I had some blogs where I wrote without any obligation and I began to notice that I only wrote when I was sad and down. Soon it didn't make any sense to write anymore so I spent many years without writing a single line.
Then, in late 2012, a friend of mine offered me a workshop with We Blog You. She believed that I needed to write more and she was right, and in the beginning of 2013 I started my blog, Raquel Caldevilla. I immediately knew that I wanted to introduce the stories of my friends, those who inspire and ignite me the most and that's how I started Remédios Caseiros (Homemade Medicines), my home medicines those who can cure me with their hugs.
After some time doing that, something in my chest started to push me to write even more, to tell other stories about people that I met, people that were a part of my life, like my great grandmother, that was the first short story that I wrote. And with a little help from my friends; Fred Gomes with the book design & Mariana, the Miserable One with the illustration, I wrote my first book 12, with 12 short stories about real people.
So, you’re in a band! When did you started to sing? Was music a big part of your childhood? Fill us in the Oh honey project.
I started singing when I was very little, with my father's LPs of Elis Regina, Tom Jobim, Caetano Veloso and other big names of Bossanova and Brazilian music. I was 15 years old when I gave my first concert and there was actually a time before and during university that I really wanted to drop everything and study Jazz music, but my parents always pushed me towards Psychology and, they assured me that, after university was over I was free to do whatever my heart wanted to.
After that time, I actually stopped singing for some years, because I wanted to dedicate myself to Psychology but music has always a way to show it's meaning and importance in my life, so I returned to the lights and the stages in 2009 and, since then, never left.
In 2013 I was invited by Fred Gomes to sing in Oh Honey, a band inspired in the surf rock and jazz of the late American 50's. There, we sing original stories, while we dance with a smile on our faces and throw confetti in the air. Last year, we recorded an EP (that is on Spotify as well), but there's much more to come.
How and when did you get into photography? What do you love to photograph the most? Tell us about your project Macacos nos sótão (Monkeys in the attic).
I think photography was my last creative adventure, since I got into photography only in 2010 or so, when I got my first DSLR camera. I always liked to photograph my travels around the world and when I started my blog I started to capture other memories too, like my friends in the Remédios Caseiros interviews and everything that surrounds me, special places and things that I like to do. In late 2013 I began a 365 project, where I photographed every day in one year and 2014 was the year of Desculpas Há Muitas, a plan with my friends at We Blog You, where we gave excuses to share a little bit of our lives, with a list of themes that inspired us to photograph. It was a big success not only for us and our creative development in photography, but with many other followers. We met many people that have the same love for beautiful things; it was really good to continue to elevate our love. And until this day we still have people mentioning that idea, wondering if we want to return... But we still think it was a time that, even though it was very good, it passed.
During that year, I thought about doing the same that I did with Remédios Caseiros, but with stories about our pets, our little friends and companions. That's when I began Macacos no Sotão, where I write about cats and dogs and try to capture a little bit of their stories with my camera too. And that's the thing I love most about photography, telling stories with pictures of what we see.
I know that you make crochet. How did you learn? Let us know a little bit about your latest project Hey Billie.
I learned crochet like many other things, when I was a teenager. I've seen my great grandmother creating like that, but it was some kind of an old art, that I had no interest when I was a child. However, when I reached adolescence, I started to notice that I hadn't many friends and I suffered from some bullying, heard to many bad words about me and the way I were or dressed. One night, I found some balls of yarn in my mother's closet and asked her to teach me to make something out of it, a perfect way to keep me occupied and away of all the drama that I felt at school. That's when I took refuge in writing and started crocheting some accessories to wear, like some bags and hats in crazy colors. Now you can picture me as a teenager, with pink hair, dressed with big colorful tunics, crochet accessories and a notebook with all my poems, a teen of the 90's but in love with the 70's, even the music. Once again, those years could be much worse, but fortunately I had writing and crochet to feel safer.
After publishing 12, I really hit a creative bump, a writer's block. I needed to do something to get my mind out of that and doing things that didn't have anything to do with writing was the best way of achieving that. So I began to crochet again and decided to make some pillows to give my friends, and I also had some orders to fulfill. But since I'm a hyperactive creative and I always have to do something thrilling and exciting, soon the pillows weren't enough for me and I started to wonder in the Japanese art of Amigurumi, crocheting small animals. Like everything in my life, my little crochet animals had to had stories and, with my friend of many adventures Fred, we started to give them life and meaning. And in December of 2015, we created Hey Billie, a world where some polar bears didn't learned how to swim, where leaves fall from trees because they're dancing and owls sing lullabies in harmony. There, we create decor pieces for grownups that still feel like kids, like crochet animals, wall hangings, banners, garlands and plushies, everything handmade with love.
What plans for the future you have?
I really want to write another book, which is begging to get out of my fingers but sometimes needs to run away to somewhere dark that it's difficult to reach. I've learned to respect the creativity as a natural flow, so the only thing for certain is that it will happen, even if I can't tell when.
Oh Honey will continue to get bigger and soon we'll have our own single playing in the radio. That's for sure, because 2016 is our year.
And the world of Hey Billie will continue growing, spreading love all over. That's the thing I really believe the most: when you dedicate yourself truly in everything that you do, you can achieve anything you want to. When you have your heart in the right place, magic happens.