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ORGANIZATIONS LAYMEN & LEGAL PROFESSIONALS interested in forming a citizens group to promote fundamental reform of our archaic, chaotic and corrupt JUDICIAL SYSTEM, wrtie: G. D. McLendon, 110 Kickapoo St., Jacksonville, Texas 75766. TEXAS CIVIL LIBERTIES UNION celebrates 200 years of the Bill of Rights. Support the TCLU by purchasing our limited-edition Tshirt “The Bill of Your Rights: Defend it. Use money order payable to: TCLU, 1611 East 1st St. Austin, D\( 78702-4455. LESBIAN/GAY DEMOCRATS of Texas Our Voice in the Party. Membership $15, P.O. Box 190933, Dallas, 75219. WORK FOR OPEN, responsible government in Texas. Join Common Cause/Texas, 316 474-2374. TEXAS TENANTS’ UNION. Membership $18/year, $10/six months, $30 or more/ sponsor. Receive handbook on tenants’ rights, newsletter, and more. 5405 East Grand, Dallas, TX 75223. CATHOLICS for a Free Choice DFW Metroplex. Information: 3527 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste. 156, Dallas, TX 75219. JOIN AN ACTIVIST, issues oriented Democratic women’s group in the Houston-Ft. Bend 491-8783. SICK OF KILLING? Join the Amnesty International Campaign Against the Death Penalty. PUBLICATIONS HOME STUDY COURSE in economics, a 10 lesson study that will throw light on today’s baffling problems. Tuition free small charge for materials. Write: Henry George Institute, 121 E. 30th St., New York, NY 10016. MERCHANDISE STOP THE VIOLENCE bumperstickers. 3/$5: VAAD, Box 7682, Spring, Texas 77387-7682. BOOKS TEXANA, Western Americana, write or visit CYPRESS BOOK CO., 305 W. Lafayette, Jefferson, Texas 75657. Call Milton Jordan BOOKLETS PROOF JESUS FICTIONAL! $5 Abelard, SERVICES LOW-COST MICROCOMPUTER ASSIS-TANCE. Tape to diskette conversion, statistical analysis, help with setting up special projects, custom programming, needs assessment. Gary Lundquest, West 6th, Austin, Texas 78703. PHOTOGRAPHY Reality is us. 20 years for the Texas Observer and he will take a few for you. 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Address orders and inquiries to Advertising Director, The Texas Observer, 307 West 7th, Austin, TX prolong his stay: Here in the United States, it’s true that there are more comforts and luxuries, but not for people like dishwashers and busboys, whose earnings are meager. Furthermore, life in the United States is completely routine. Life is going to work, coming home and, on weekends and holi. days, going to a movie or drinking beer. I suspect that to stay for the rest of my life would be to live a routine until my last days. In my village it’s not that way. We have festivals in which everybody practically lives together for three or four days at a time. That isn’t to say we are lazy, but instead, that we know how to work and how to forget work for awhile.” Midway through his journeys, Perez is haunted be a dream of failure, of returning home empty-handed. “I saw myself crossing the main street. I was carrying a bundle of clothes and an atrocious hunger that was devouring my intestines and making noises so loud I was afraid they’d denounce my presence. I was carrying the bitter knowledge that I’d failed in my venture to the United States.” We think we know this story, and yet we do not. Scratch a generation or two or three or more change the names and the faces, the language and culture, the mode of transportation and the place of crossing, and there is something in Perez’s diary that belongs to many of us, but which has been lost in the tug of war of tradition, assimilation, change and sometimes even progress. Fast forward to the ’70s and ’80s when there was a run on stories by mainstream and alternative journalists purporting to follow the “new” immigrants on their journeys north or to document the circumstances of their lives in the United States. Some were well-intentioned efforts; many were not. But few managed to capture the daily routine, the indignities and at the same time the sense of wonder and adventure the way Perez does. ESPITE THE HYPE about free trade and economic liberalization, the realities of Mexican immigration are unlikely to change. Perez’s story, therefore, becomes more valuable .to all of us. If anything, migration from the countryside is likely to increase in the short run. At the same time, more immigrants are coming not only from the hundreds of Macuiltianguises around the country, but from among urban, educated young people, unable to find a niche in the economy. Yet as important as Perez’s diary is as a work of oral history or testimonial literature, it would be a mistake to leave it at that and would probably be the kiss of death, considering the realities of the publishing world. Perez is writing literature. These are wonderful stories, and I suspect that the diaries of the Ramon Perezes and the Maria Eugenias whose voices have received even less attention north of the border are the beginning of the next crop of writing On this continent. At the same time, Perez’s diary, has its roots in a Spanish literary tradition that goes back centuries, the picaresque novel. But unlike Lazarillo do Tormes, the most famous *aro of them all, Perez doesn’t become cynical and cunning as he moves from job to job. He simply learns the ropes, if not the language, and takes in the weirdness of Gringolandia with his eyes wide open. He is the perfect antidote to the Paul Therouxs of the world, who change trains in Laredo, walk across the bridge, sniff around a bit then board the next train and pontificate about local customs. If there is a flaw with the diary, it is in the occasional flatness of Reavis’s translation. Perez’s idiom is one of metaphors and images that belong to someone who is still close to tradition and to a village that understands the rhythms of nature and the earth. It doesn’t translate easily, and results too often in a rather pedestrian English. Dia de los Muertos Celebration in Austin Mexic-arte Museum is sponsoriing a Dia de Los Muertos Procession/Parade and Celebration on Nov. 2 at 6:00 p.m. in Austin. The procession will include arfolkloricos, and members of the pulblic in costume. The celebration includes music, poetry readings, children’s activities and an art exhibit. For information call 512/480-9373. CLASSIFIED THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21