Archive for September, 2007
I am partnering with some great women to produce a blog and regular print column on women’s issues. We are creating a list of topics that we want to discuss (the group is made up women in the media, theatre, non-profit sector, arts, and counseling field. We represent a range of ages and back-grounds), and I would love to have your input on what we should be discussing. What questions would you have for a group like this? What topics would you want to hear discussed (ie: do women have a responsibility to support Hillary’s campaign, how do gossip mags affect the lives of everyday women, etc)? What are the things you find yourself discussing with other women? Please share your ideas with me so that I can compile them for inspiration for the group. All ideas will be considered for columns, and every person who submits an idea by Wednesday, October 3 at noon will be entered into a drawing for one of four books: a signed copy of Hijas Americanas, a signed copy of Waking Up American, a signed copy of The Anti 9 to 5 Guide, and a copy of Body Outlaws. Help a sister out and leave your ideas in the comments section now!
I had a great line-up of events last week. I did events at colleges in North and South Carolina in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, and I had the opportunity to work with and meet some really wonderful young people. At Davidson on Monday night, I did the 10 Things program and it was so nice to have an audience that was really interested in these issues. We wrapped up the night with a book signing and dulce de leche cake (yum!). Thanks OLAS! On Wednesday, I crossed the stateline and went to Winthrop University for a reading and signing. They were a great audience with interesting quetions from the reading and the student organizers and their advisor did a wonderful job. On Friday, I was back at Davidson to do a program for the psychology department on the research aspect of Hijas. I was able to talk about some of the data that doesn’t get a lot of attention in this setting which was a real pleasure as there is so much data worth sharing from the research. After the presentation, I went to dinner with four Psychology majors, and we just had a great time talking about youth culture, media implications, beauty standards, Disney and its female leads, confidence vs. insecurity. I am always heartened after spending time with dynamic young people— one of the real indulgences of the college tour for me. Many thanks to my hosts and attendees for an inspiriting, provocative week!
What I love about being Latina: Having an earthy Taina on my left-side, a fierce Spaniard in my center and an African Queen on my right. Having a soul surrounded by a body of water. Having an island of rhythmic tongues and beats inside me, behind me, in front of me, under and over me. Having a family whose blood line transcends dysfunction and battles for union. I love being the Nuyorican polychrone who functions on Caribbean island time, jibara that I am. Being Latina has given me the eyes to respect earthly thoughts and environmental balance. I love sipping Coco Rico, listening to Coquis through telephone lines and standing in the middle of a tropical rainstorm with no umbrella. I love recognizing the smell of coconut and pineapple as long lost sisters. The flavor of tamarind, parcha and canepas call to me as harpies call the dead.
What I love about being Americana: Being in the center of an international Mecca. As an Americana I love being able to speak in the “heard” language, have access to the passage to higher education, self-mastery, definition and success. Hearing Janis Joplin belt her gut out and Nina Simone wail in fury. As an Americana I love the choice for religious freedom. I love feminist support versus dominant machismo. As an Americana I have access, to almost anything. (more…)
I am partnering with some great women to produce a blog and regular print column on women’s issues. We are creating a list of topics that we want to discuss (the group is made up women in the media, theatre, non-profit sector, arts, and counseling field. We represent a range of ages and back-grounds), and I would love to have your input on what we should be discussing. What questions would you have for a group like this? What topics would you want to hear discussed (ie: do women have a responsibility to support Hillary’s campaign, how do gossip mags affect the lives of everyday women, etc)? Please share your ideas with me so that I can compile them for inspiration for the group. All ideas will be considered for columns, and every person who submits an idea by Sunday, September 30 at noon will be entered into a drawing for one of four books: a signed copy of Hijas Americanas, a signed copy of Waking Up American, a signed copy of The Anti 9 to 5 Guide, and a copy of Body Outlaws. Help a sister out and leave your ideas in the comments section now!
I am on the road this week. On Monday, I head to Berry College in Rome, Georgia for two programs: 10 Things That Will Make You Think, Speak and Act and Smashing the Beauty Box (one will be Monday night and the other is Tuesday over lunch). On Wednesday night, I’ll be doing a book club program. On Thursday, I head to Maryland to deliver the 10 Things program. On Saturday, I head to the Latino Book and Family Festival where I will read at 4 pm in Suite E of the George Brown Convention Center. I get home just in time on Sunday to watch some NFL football. Did you know that I am a huge NFL fan? It’s a bit absurd. Years ago, Darius Rucker, lead singer of Hootie and the Blowfish wrote a song, Only Wanna be with You, and included the line “I am such a baby because the Dolphins make me cry.” Maybe people thought he was talking about sweet little bottle-nose dolphins in the ocean. Darius is a huge Miami Dolphins fan, and as a rabid Carolinas Panthers fan, I know exactly what Darius was saying. Last Sunday’s wallop from the Houston Texans left me with a stomachache. I didn’t even want to eat dinner. Then I do things like feverishly wish that the Texans wallop the Colts so that I can rationalize in my head that the loss wasn’t because we played so badly– it’s just that the Texans are that unbeatable. But deep down inside, where the stomachache resides, I know that we played miserably, even if the Texans are brilliant. Better go check the game tracker.
Have you checked out goodreads.com? It’s a social networking site where you list the books you have read, rate them, and then link to your friends so they can see what you are reading, read your reviews, etc. It’s an electronic reading journal if you will. Check it out here. If you join, make sure you add me as a friend because I am always on the look out for great book recommendations. You can also put Hijas Americanas in your library. The last time I updated my goodreads page, I started thinking about the books that have made a difference to me (as a person or a writer). Today, I am sharing the books that made the biggest difference in my twenties.
What I love about being Latina: Mi gente, y nuestra cultura.
What I love about being Americana: Growing up learning that only I can limit myself.My biggest challenge in growing up Latina in America: Being a walking encyclopedia and explaining Latin culture while demystifying stereotypes. It’s hard work to explain why and how there can be a Latino/a that looks like Sammy Sosa and Lynda Carter (Wonder Woman) in the same family. (more…)
I had a great visit to SUNY-Fredonia where I helped kick off their Hispanic Heritage Month festivities. Before the opening ceremonies where I spoke, I had the privilege of having lunch with some really fabulous students who were provocative and insightful. Lots of interesting discussion was had, but perhaps my favorite was the conversation they were having when I walked in the door about Disney movies and the way they cast women. How many Disney movies give the message that the girl must be saved, and how often is she saved by a male character? Where are the mothers in Disney movies? And what about the physical images of these cartoon girls and women? All very interesting stuff. (more…)
So, I’ve had a crazy couple weeks. See that desk above? Totally clean that morning– not a file in sight– and this is what it looked like mid-way through the day as I was going through the final motions of several assignments I had due before taking off for five days of events that ranged from readings at literary festivals to book signings, talking at Girl Scout Troops and speaking at a high school (my alma mater!). It actually cracks me up that there are 5 drink bottles/glasses (and one more on the floor) and three phones on that desk. Other random things in the I Spy photo? Ponds Cleansing Cloths, a stop watch, and six sheets of stamps. So it should come as no surprise, given the frantic can’t put one thing back before pulling another out pace that I have been keeping for the last few weeks, that I’ve had some mishaps over the last five days. There was the lost Blackberry that I tore up one house, one car, and one historic park in another city to find. And then the forgotten wallet that left an hour and a half back in Charleston (and I was leaving on a plane the next days so I had to turn around and get it so I’d have ID). This after I left at the crack of dawn so I could get home early and possibly get ahead. Aye. Here’s to smoother sailing in the coming week!