I had started writing about the conference, but for some reason, I misplaced my musings. However, I will try to recapture the essence.
If you’re reading wondering if you should try to go next year, you should definitely try to go. The staff and volunteers at the Hispanic Cultural Center are pretty awesome. They think of everything. The workshops really depend of whose you take. I took one with Mucha Lucha Corpi and it was really good. I also took a memoir one that was not as useful because it was mostly discussion of the writers’ books and how they came to write on that particular subject. Something that is really great about this conference is the one on one’s with writers, editors and agents and the panel discussion with the editors and agents. These are especially useful if you have not yet published and are looking to publish.
The Alurista reading was pretty good. It was nice to meet one of the Chicano Literature legends. There was this guy that was doing performance poetry and he had a few good poems as well. And I read at the open mic session during lunch one day.
Something that I found surprising, and I guess it’s not something that only exists in New Mexico, but it’s very evident, is the Spanish pride. It was a little different for me hearing people refer to themselves as Spanish and not Chicano or Hispanic or Mexican American. It kind of made me wonder. I mean, I’ve always been Mexican American until a couple years ago when I learned what Chicano meant and now I have no problem with any of the terms except maybe Hispanic, but I’ll use it when I have.
Over dinner one day, or was it lunch? Anyway, there was a discussion about the use of such terms and my sister made a very interesting comment. She said, “I’ve always wondered what it’s like for the people from California who identify wit h this Chicano image from early on.” She’s not one to generalize, so she’s not saying everyone in Califas is like that. However, now I’m asking of any of you Califas Chicanos, is it like that? And if so, what’s it like to have that identity?
Oh yeah, if you do go to the conference next year, it will be in Albaquerque around the same time. The state motto is “the land of enchantment” but beware because sometimes it can be the land of entrapment. If you have any further questions about the conference, please let me know.