Sunday, July 29, 2007

Macondo: first dispatch

Momotombo at Macondo

In the Fall of 2005 I wrote to Sandra Cisneros asking if she might possibly consider writing an introduction or a blurb for a manuscript slated for publication as Malinche's Daughter by Michelle Otero---Momotombo Press' first foray into creative non-fiction, a title ushered into existance by Richard Yanez. Cisneros responded with a gracious e-mail in which she explained why she had to decline: all her efforts at helping other writers were focused, necessarily, on Macondistas---that is: alums of her Macondo Workshop, which takes place every summer in San Antonio.

And yet she did the following, based on her assessment of Momotombo's mission: she waived the requirement of having to be nominated and invited the current crop of Momotombo authors to apply for admission to the Macondo workshop. In the end Michelle Otero, instead of getting a blurb, was able to participate in Sandra Cisneros' very workshop. Steven Cordova, Lisa Gonzales and myself also gained admission to Macondo after undergoing the application process (though Gonzales hasn't yet been able to enroll). Cordova and myself took the workshop led by writers Leslie Larson and Erasmo Guerra. Also present in our workshop was Wind Shifts contributor, Carolina Monsivais.

My stint at Macondo was crucial. As I think about the various discussions that have taken place here and elsewhere on the web, including, for example, over at Emmy Pérez's forum recently, I realize that a lot of what I've come to embrace not only as a writer, but also as a publisher and editor, was indeed reinforced by my experience in San Antonio one year ago. At this point, I could mention who I met and interacted with, but what's more useful to say here is that Macondo made tangible the idea that one of the options available to a literary artist, one of the ways of being a writer in the world is to be conscious of community, whatever that community is---in short: forming a part of something that is larger than oneself, larger than one individual.

Someone recently said that writing is "hard, lonely work." Macondo attempts to go beyond the obvious, where literary art is concerned: "An essential aspect of the Macondo Workshop is a global sense of community...A second element of the Macondo ethic is a spirit of generosity..."

Palabra Pura re-cap

In the wake of Sekou Sundiata's death (and the post it generated) and my recent move to Arlington, I lagged behind in speaking about the recent performances at Palabra Pura. My apologies. Suzanne Frischkorn and Coya Paz complemented each other wonderfully. Suzanne demonstrated that rare skill of modulating her voice in such a way as to further enhance her poignant narratives. Rarely has a Palabra Pura audience felt compelled to applaud individual poems as we did with her. She stated afterwards that her palpable connection to the roomful on hand allowed her to gain in confidence as her reading progressed. She was followed by Coya Paz's compelling poems, delivered, it seemed, almost entirely from memory, giving her presentation the quality of a one-person theatrical performance or monologue. In short, it was a memorable way to wind up this portion of the Palabra Pura season before we take a break in August.

1 comment:

Suzanne said...

This quote of community and spirit of generosity could easily be applied to your Palabra Pura series -- thanks for the kind words -- looking forward to AWP!