It seems that Friday was immigrant day. There were tons of television shows that were talking about immigration. On PBS, they had UH Professor Dr. Nestor García, a reporter and two anglo-sangrona women talking about the issue of education illegal immigrants. It was really pissing me off what those two women were saying until there was a shot of one of them looking over at Nestor and seeing that the face he had was pissing her off like there’s not tomorrow. It was priceless.

Then after that show, they did a short piece on NOW about the tomato pickers’ union strike against Taco Bell. Then, my sister says that on Nightline, they ran the story that Cracked Chancla was discussing a couple months ago. You know the one about the kids from Arizona that beat out the top notch MIT engineers. I wish I would have seen it.

Speaking of education, yesterday I was busily reading away one of my summer projects at the Press when my sis, says, “Hey Georgina listen to what this Christy said, ‘I even surprised myself this year getting the $24,000 presidential scholarship to St. Mary’s University.’”

Christy is like that t-shirt that gets shoved to the bottom of your drawer because you wear the same ones all the time, so that particular t-shirt doesn’t see the light of day unless you’ve missed laundry day. Christy is my first “real” niece. Joann is the oldest of my nieces but my brother isn’t her biological dad. Christy was born when I was about eight years old, but my brother and her mom separated so I didn’t get to see her much. It sort of makes me sad to know that she was graduating and I had no clue.

Hearing about this scholarship made me feel real proud, but at the same time, I’m really worried. I mean, yeah, that seems like a lot of money, but St. Mary’s gives out what seems to be really good scholarships when compared to the tuition of state owned universities. If she has the option of leaving El Paso to attend school, I want her to take it; I just don’t want her to have to worry too much about working. Pero al fin de cuentas, I’m glad she’s planning to go to college.

¿Que mas les cuento?

I haven’t been updating much because when I get home from work, the last thing I want is to see the damn computer. I’ve been going to help out the Recovery Project because they’re getting ready to send in this huge batch of entries for the newspapers they have. As I’m entering corrections into the database, I’m making mental notes of the things I want to go back and read. It was awesome that an article about the Recovery appeared in Rumbo; it helped boost everyone’s spirit for this deadline. I get so excited about thinking how much this will benefit my future and the future of my colleagues. You’ll be able to go onto EBSCO and research El Clamor Público, La Prensa del Sur, Con Safos, and many, many other newspapers that the anglo-sangrones have attempted to keep hidden from us Latinos.


Ramblings About the Conference

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.


Favorite Things and Wee Update

Cindylu tagged me many days ago, and I’m sorry for not obliging sooner. When I’d think about the list, that song used to pop into my head, you know, the one that goes, “These are a few of my favorite things.” I think it was on a Target commercial last Christmas.

10 Favorite Things

1. Listening to music I like, especially off a jukebox at a bar.
2. Reading. Now that I’m done with school, I made a massive list of books I intend to read during my school hiatus.
3. Writing. I don’t care if it’s on paper or on a keyboard, as long as I’m getting stuff down on paper.
4. Editing. I think this is where a lot of writers fail. My mentor has always said that to be a good writer, you must be a better editor.
5. My writer’s group. I’d never been in a writing group until a couple months ago. It’s so cool to be around other people who practice the same craft and can help you. More than anything, they are so encouraging and I love helping them out, too.
6. Blogs. I love reading blogs, especially by other Latinos.
7. Having coffee at Diedrich’s with my sister and roomie. Their iced teas and chai lattes always find a way to get the conversation rolling.
8. Work. I love my job at APP. I love working with the bad ass ladies in Production. They make waking up worthwhile.
9. Road trips. I love to fly, but somehow, road trips are always better. I guess I like them because I get to listen to music and talk.
10. My mom. Yesterday when she went back to El Chuco, I couldn’t help but cry. I didn’t want to cry because I didn’t want her to worry and I didn’t want to look like a pansy at the airport, but I couldn’t help it. A couple weeks back, my mom got really sick. She almost had a cerebral hemorrhage due to stress and I just worry I won’t see her alive again.

Now, I must tag three people, right? Ok, I tag
, Mariposa, & Cracked Chancla.

Big thanks to all of you who have been leaving comments the last couple of days. It’s awesome to be done, but this is just the beginning. Can you believe I’m already missing school? Freak, I tell you.

I won’t be around the next couple of days. I’m going to a writer’s conference in New Mexico. I’m uber excited because Alurista and Denise Chavez will be there. I think Rodolfo Anaya will be there, too. Anyway, I’ll let ya’ll know how it goes.



In the midst of my complaining, I forgot to mention that the ceremony aside from the dumbass English chair was pretty nice. Dean Antel, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, praised my pink hat. I was actually wearing the black cross on the pink background that represents las muertas de Juárez. My brother-in-law says that everyone was talking about “the girl with the pink hat and black cross.”

It was important for me to do this because I could have been one of them. I could have been found with a beer bottle up my anus and my face and finger tips burned off, but I was lucky. My brothers’ mishaps forced my family to emigrate and I was given a chance at a better life. Decorating my hat in their honor was the least I could do.

I was also happy to get a hug from my sister as soon as I walked off stage and one from Linda, my supervisor. I’ve received three floral arrangements. There was a party last night. That was tons of fun.

When I left for Houston three years ago, I knew three people, Gabi, Bo, and Carolina. I never imagined that by the end of my journey at U of H, I would have so many friends, so many people that care so much about me. It’s so nice and the immense gratitude I feel for that can’t be expressed. I must have a huge choir of Angels up there because I feel so blessed.


The English Dept. Shafts Me, Once Again

I came to the University of Houston knowing that I wanted to study literature because at that time, I would read almost every Oprah Book Club selection and had set as a goal to read all of the “classics.” But during my transgression at U of H, things changed. I found out about “the cannon.” The people who made decisions many years ago as to what I should read are now dead white men. I found out that not only did my people have literature before the white man, but that it was at my fingertips if I went two floors down from where I work. And where I work, there are so many writers that I could relate to, and I always wondered how the hell I hadn’t known about them before.

When I went to my English classes, I always felt like the odd man out. I always compared their literature to Tomas Rivera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Daniel Chacon, Graciela Limon, Tomas Rivera, Rolando Hinojosa, and a milieu of other writers. But it wasn’t only Latina/o or Chicana/o lit that we were leaving out; it was also Native American, African American, Asian American and the many other ethnicities whose literature is just as rich if not more. I was never satisfied with my courses because they managed to leave “the other” on the edges and never even consider inviting them into the conversation. Of course, there were maybe one or two exceptions.

By the time I was done with classes for my major, I was glad because I no longer had to put up with the professors and the students, but at the same time, I was saddened because I had not changed a thing. I had written my papers on Luis Valdez and Maria Helena Viramontes, but it seems like no one cares. But later this week I will begin drafting a letter to that damn department.

During a honors and recognition ceremony, I was told that I was invited because I would be recognized. I was not. In fact, I was completely ignored. The mc, whose name I cannot bring to mind, interrupted the conversation that the guest speaker, my roomie, my sis and I were having. She never bothered to introduce herself or even acknowledge us.

At graduation yesterday, the chair of each department was to read our names. Not only did he not know how to pronounce my name, he did not say cum laude. The professors who marched with us, didn’t stand on the others side to congratulate us after Dean Antel had given us our diploma. How quickly they forget that the only reason they are there is because they have to teach us.

I’m glad I went to U of H because I had some awesome professors like my sis, Luis Alvarez, Monica Perales, Ecarna Bermejo, Carl Lindahl, Lois Parkinson Zamora and of course, my job at Arte Publico that allowed me to met Dr. Kanellos and tons of writers and critics. However, if I were given the opportunity to continue my graduate studies in the Creative Writing Program at U of H, I would immediately decline. Even though they wouldn’t even accept me as their token Latina because I’m not willing to give up my ethnicity for a name.

These last few weeks, that the English department has been letting me down, it always makes me want to work really hard, so that cuando se traten de parar el cuello, I can say, “Well…I’d have to disagree.” It’s also made me want to teach more than ever because I don’t want a student to ever feel the way they made me feel. And lastly, it’s made me so glad that there are so many of you out there that are working to better education for Latina/os. It gives me so much hope.


Las dos mujeres en mi vida

A girl can only be so lucky. But me, I’m incredibly lucky. There are two incredible women in my life. One is in her thirties. She’s tall with what Sarah calls “swimmer’s legs.” Her hair is wavy, wild, and her gray hair looks like lightning bolts. Sometimes I wonder if she gets a gray hair for each of the amazing ideas that sprout from her brain, but if that were true, she'd only have gray hair. She fidgets. Constantly, especially when she’s in meetings. Her voice shakes when she’s excited. I can’t listen to an Arjona or Intocable song without thinking of her and in January of 2002, me dío la mano in a way that will take me the rest of my life to repay.

The other woman is in her sixties. She lives about eight hundred miles away. She’s short with lots of gray hair. Her front teeth are missing and the teeth that she has left, she calls “clavija’s.” She makes a mean pot of frijoles de la hoya and her refried beans are to die for. Everyday, I see more of her in me, and it doesn’t bother me one bit. In June of 1980, she gave birth to me and it’s something I’ve always been grateful for.

Being on the verge of accomplishing one of my most important goals, I felt like it was appropriate two let two very important women in my life know how I feel about them. Thank you Gabi and Mom for everything. I hope I can be half the women you two are.

I'm done!

I'm finally done! VACACIONES!


Crazy times

I’ve been gone a long time. I haven’t been at the computer much unless it was at work and well, I was doing work then. Sometimes I was being a Cindylu groupie, but most of the time it was work. I’m in the midst of writing a paper…in Spanish. It’s killing me. This class has been the most challenging for me, but I like it. I hope I do well. I also hope my sis doesn’t read this until after she’s done grading my terrible paper.

Lots of things have been going on in my life. Some of them are great and some of them are not great, but I don’t have time to write about them right now. Once I finish all this finals drama, I promise I will post a real entry and I will talk about all of it.

In the meantime, I just met Alicia Gaspar de Alba. I’m going to her reading tonight. She was so nice, nicer than some authors that come through here. She seemed genuinely interested in knowing everyone’s name and we were able to chit chat with her about her novel and the process and all that stuff. Anyway, if you can, I highly recommend Desert Blood. I couldn’t put it down.