the page? And I still don’t know where does the conviction reside? S: I think maybe what it is and what moved me when I saw those little notes pinned on the shrine of Don Pedrito Jaramillo that started the story, “Little Miracles ….” I think that what moved me and what moved other people is that these are stories that are coming from a very heart-felt place. I see so much writing today that is either concerned with getting published or being better than such and such a writer especially in the workshops wanting to win a certain award or to one-up another competitor. For myself I’ve always set goals to see, “Ah, if a major American writer can do that, maybe I can do it too.” But in writing these stories, I wasn’t concerned about the prizes. I mean, the prizes are only good so that you can write a book and give you more time to write, so you don’t have to go out and teach or whatever. What I was concerned about was following all of those things I felt real passionate about, so a lot of those things that are in the stories are autobiographical emotion not autobiographical character so much as autobiographical emotion. I was real concerned about those things that moved me, that’s what I gave my priority to, so they’re just very heart felt. P: Going back to the territory covered in your stories, I haVe the feeling that something in the way you switched back and forth between these countries when you were young gave you an outsider’s eye. S: But you know, I think as daughters we are always outsiders when we are young, and as poor people, and as the ugly child and as the not-smart child, the one that doesn’t get picked, always being in that observer’s seat, whether you want it or not the only daughter. I was the only one who didn’t get to play when the boys went out. I could be their playmate in the house, but as soon as they started socializing in public I was ostracized as a leper or something, and that really defined my role as observer rather than participant from very early on, so that I had to re-invent my environment. P: The turn of each century has always signaled a new literary energy, new thought, everything in the previous century considered passe. Here we are just nine years away from a whole new thousand years, and I wonder if you have any thoughts about a new literature for the millennium? S: I really think the idea of incorporating other visions of America by these multicultural voices is going to enrich English literature and the English language. Just so far as what is happening in communication music, art, film, everything is becoming much more global as opposed to nationalistic. I hope for many interpretations of the American experience as opposed to one supposedly dominant one. This is a very exciting time to be writing. I remember [Austin poet] Jesse Johnson telling me when I moved to Austin, “Oh, I wish I lived in Paris of the twenties.” But I want to be right her, where I am, in the Southwest. I believe you can’t help but have English always changing as other languages coming into contact with it. It’s always been happening, but it’s happening in print, on paper now. And for me this is one of the most stimulating places I’ve ever lived where two languages are getting mixed, actually flowing into each other and sparking each other doing something for the Spanish you’ll hear all kinds of wonderful expressions in Spanish with English tacked on. And it’s doing the same for English. This has certainly been my case. A lot of people don’t realize what makes the distinctive BY PAT LITTLEDOG Woman Hollering Creek, by Sandra Cisneros Random House; 165 pp. eir UST BEFORE I set out to write this review of Sandra Cisneros’ Woman Hollering Creek, my precious newsprint catalogue of Bargain Books came for May with all of its remaindered stock from New York houses, including hundreds of titles in the fiction section, from good literature to science fiction to sleazoid-murder to trash-romance. So, just to test the theory of the “Hispanic Writing Wave” or the lack thereof I played the counting game of authors’ names. Of 347 titles, five had Hispanic surnames; three of those, according to their blurbs, came from South America, one from Spain. That left only one with a vague enough description so that a MexicanAmerican author was a possibility, and that was a man. No wonder that the writer, Cisneros, with an awakening consciousness of her rare opportunity in light of her background, would attempt to bring to written literature as many of the stories of the ghettoized as she could call to print. Her characters are mostly women whom she terms in her conversations as colonized victims of both selfand other-imposed inarticulation. They have come of age when migrations have been frequent and family upheavals have caused cultural confusion. With a good ear for street speech and a deft imagistic stroke, she brings them alive in these stories within stories, as well as the operetta, the poem, the vignette and other playful forms. She begins with girlhood friendship, passionate and sweet, the one so loved that you want to look just l ike her, grow your skin blue-dark and your eyes into knife slits, play in her back yard on an old pissy mattress and turn somersaults on ness of my voice is that I’m writing in English but I’m borrowing from Spanish syntax and Spanish word choices, sometimes idiomatic literal translations, and I have a Mexican sensibility in looking at the world. Languages are always changing, both written and spoken, and no one can say that we can only speak one language and not another one. That’s going to happen whether we want it to or not. And writers are going to come in and play and bend and somersault and flip the language on its head. We don’t have the same English now that we had a hundred years ago. It’s always going to be changing unless the people die out, and then we’ll have a dead language. But English is a living language and it’s always going to be enriched. the rail of the front “porch even though your chones show. \(“My Lucy Friend Who Smells ing courage of the young boy Salvador who is so nondescript that his teacher cannot remember his name: “a boy who is no one’s friend, runs along somewhere in that vague direction where She begins with girlhood friendship, passionate and sweet, the one so loved that you want to look just like her, grow your skin blue-dark and your eyes into knife slits, play in her back yard on an old pissy mattress and turn somersaults on the rail of the front porch. homes are the color of bad weather, lives behind a raw wood doorway, shakes the sleepy brothers awake, ties their shoes, combs their hair with water, feeds them milk and corn flakes from in a tin cup in the dim dark of the morning…” \(SalThese are children who go to Mexican movies in family clumps and ply with flea-market fire-damaged Barbie dolls and live in Chicago Cisneros Reviewed A One-Woman Wave of Hispanic Literature 6 AUGUST 23, 1991
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