Tag Archives: Sandra Cisneros

Christmas Won’t Be the Same Ever Again. It’s OK.

I’ve spent Christmas afternoon in bed under an electric blanket with one of the sweetest presents ever. My in-laws gifted me with a copy of Sandra Cisnero’s newest book, Have You Seen Marie?  It is set in the South San Antonio neighborhood where they live, a few blocks from the author, and since she is their friend, the fly sheet is personally inscribed to me. Special.

The story of loss, losing, and ultimately finding is Texas sweet tea with sides of pickled okra and chicharones. That is, ethnically diverse in a crunchy, pucker-your-mouth sort of way with a lot of sugar to wash it all down. It is off-beat comfort food. Healing.

Sandra wrote it after the death of her mother. A year ago today, my own mother got up from my brother’s couch, headed home “to call the girls,” (that would be me and my sisters), and never made it to the front door. We weren’t the best of friends, but the quotation (both in Spanish and in English) from Elena Poniatowska which introduces this little book, says it all:

It’s then I ask you, mama, my mother, my heart, my mother, my heart, my mother, mama, the sadness I feel. Where do I put it? Where, mama?

In the afterword, Sandra writes “It’s essential to create when the spirit is dying. It doesn’t matter what. Sometimes it helps to draw. Sometimes to plant a garden. Sometimes to make a Valentine’s Day card. Or to sing, or create an altar. Creating nourishes the spirit.” She speaks of being “between births,” leaving who we were and becoming something, someone else in the wake of a mother’s passing. She calls it an opportunity to be reborn.

So, for those who ask me, “Are you writing?” and to whom I’ve said, “No.” and for those who wonder what has become of their Facebook friend or promoter of causes and participant in projects, I say, with Sandra, “Beware, I am not as I was before.”

But I wrote this blog post. It is a beginning.

Merry Christmas.

Heart to Heart from Virgin Territory

In Mexico they call this Dia de Amistad y Amor. Friendship and love. I’m feeling both right now. It’s been one tumultuous year this week since Virgin Territory came out. I’ve made so many phenomenal new friends, and become reacquainted with old ones in deeper ways. I wish I could have a party and bestow abrazos on everyone of them. If you’re reading this, you are in that circle. Consider yourself hugged.

But there is no time for a formal celebration, though Larry brought me a rose this morning and is washing the dog as I write this, two major acts of love. We’re not going to eat out, because I’m busy getting ready to head off tomorrow morning to the San Miguel de Allende Writers’ Conference. Cleaning out the fridge is a priority this evening, so green furry things won’t greet me when I get back next week.

One of my favorite writers in the world, Sandra Cisneros, is the keynote speaker, and I’m clutching my copy of Woman Hollering Creek, eager to get it signed. (I’ve loaned out her other works, Caramelo and The House on Mango Street, because nothing pleases me more than sharing work that I love. But where are they?)  I also submitted the first thirty pages of VT, along with a one-page synopsis to the Writers’ Conference manuscript contest. I was one of just a few to win a private appointment with a hotshot literary agent. Please keep your fingers crossed and your prayerful knees bent for me.

But most of all, I just want to say “Thanks.” I scroll through my contacts list, my friends on Facebook, and I do remember the people behind the names, the kindness they showed, and the encouragement they’ve given. May you have the happiest of days filled with heartfelt affection from south of the border.