Travelling to the Davis Mountains, McDonald Observatory, or the Big Bend? Stay overnight at beautiful Fort McKavett. Planning a trip out west this spring or summer? Take a break at beautiful, historic Fort McKavett, just 24 miles north of 1-10 at exit 442 \(on your official the night in one of our historic buildings, or count stars ’til you fall asleep under crystal clear West Texas skies. Ft. McKavett, located at the headwaters of the San Saba River, is three hours from Austin, and three hours from San Antonio, and a perfect place to stop some advance notice we can even have a little supper ready for you! During the day, take time to visit one of the best restored ‘Buffalo soldier’ era forts in the country. We have a great museum and bookstore, and lots of hiking options available on our 80 acre site. Prices start at $15.00 per person for overnight accommodations, families are welcome. For reservations, call 915/396-2358 or 512/458-1016. No smoking or alcoholic beverages allowed on the premises; however the Fort McKavett Trading Post is located 1/4 mile from the Fort and they permit both smoking and drinking. Fort McKavett Historic Site is operated under contract with Texas Parks and Wildlife by Texas Rural Communities, a non -profit corporation through the “Partnership in Parks’ program. The Fort accepts most major credit cards. rejection of the cultural and ethnic roots appears as well in Olivia Castellanos’ “Prologue for the Comstock Journals,” in the last section of the book. The protagonist of this story pays with her mental health for “self-erasure” and the rejection of her origins. The author creates a metaphorical fictitious place, Comstock, which is inspired by the landscape she recalls from her childhood in South Texas, “trapped between earth and sky.” Comstock symbolizes her defiance of history and her refusal to be destroyed by her growing up on the border. All the stories contain autobiographical elements and reflect upon childhood as the most intense and heartfelt stage in our development. They provide the reader with history, and they illuminate the present. “It is important for each generation to read the growing-up stories of previous generations, and thus acquire the touchstone by which to chart a course for the future,” writes Rudolfo Anaya in his foreword to the anthology. Anaya, whose “Salomon’s Story” is included in this anthology, is one of the most prolific and acclaimed Chicano short story writers. .A professor of literature at the University of New Mexico, Anaya has published several volumes of fiction and nonfiction and is best known for his 1972 novel Bless Me Ultima. “Salomon’s Story,” like other works in this anthology, relies on the universal themes of growth, discovery and change. It is the story of a little boy, nicknamed Tortuga, recovering from an accident, and the curandero Salomon, a mute and paralytic medicine-man, who communicates with Tortuga telepathically. The power of communication and storytelling acquires a magical dimension in this work, which focuses on the rite of passage leading to self-discovery and independence. Most stories in the last section of the book share the themes of crossing boundaries and self discovery in a sometimes painful manner. “We Who Are Not As Others” is probably the most artistically even and the most universal in message of all the thematic sections in the book. The immediate Chicano context of these stories does not overshadow more general truths with which all readers can identify. In “Una Edad Muy Tierna, M’ija,” a young girl is trapped between her feelings for her divorced parents and her own developing sense of self. In the humorous short story “The Bike,” a 5-year-old boy defies his mother by leaving the confines of the backyard on his bike for the forbidden Sarah Street. In a test of masculinity, he encourages “a baby on a tricycle” to run over his foot, which the mesmerized baby does. The 5-year-old is in pain and will still have to face punishment from his angry mother. In “The Castle,” a boy finds refuge from a monotonous existence in his troubled household through a friendship with an old homeless man who is “the king” of an abandoned construction project, “the enchanted castle.” In “The McCoy Hotel,” the eponymous hotel where a single mother and her three daughters meet represents a “location for a vision of self.” For these women who live in a small town in the desert, the bigcity hotel represents the possibility of escape towards a better life, an escape from “the confines of our female-only home, our girls-only school, and our angry, unresponding Father-God dominated religion that clouded and affected every aspect of our lives which always seemed to be on hold, waiting prayerfully for a better day.” The exclusive reliance on the oral tradi tion in some of the storiesin which the authors’ determination to testify about social and cultural issues results in work closer to journalism than to creative writing causes an artistic unevenness in this collection. The influence of oral tradition is understandable, because of the writers’ focus on complex cultural and social issues rather than literary otherness. And other stories in the collection present the most important aspects of Chicano/a reality in a more elaborate and thought-provoking way. The Chicano/a short story as a genre is concise and often autobiographical. As Lopez writes in her introduction: “For many of our ancestors, there was not always the luxury of time needed for a writer’s life.” THE TEXAS OBSERVER 21
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