Writing: The implicate order

Theresa's inner child writing

Early on in my writing, other writers asked me whether I wanted to be known as a Latina author. They said it was important that I define myself. It didn’t seem like it needed explanation. I’m Latina. I’m a writer. Where were we going with this?

When I write, I’m not thinking: Is this Latina enough? Did I stick enough Spanish words in the text? My protagonist may be eating soft rolls with coffee for breakfast. Is that action true enough to the Latino experience? When I write, does the fact my antagonist eats macaroni and cheese not make him a true Latino? My experience of being born in New York City to parents who were both born in Puerto Rico has me thinking that I am Latina enough. But, we ate arroz and gandules pretty much as often as macaroni and cheese.

Our cultures inform how we think, what we do, and who we are. The outside world experiences the explicate order of things. The flour that is turned into a wonderful cake cannot be separated out. It is part of the cake, without which there would be none. Most people aren’t thinking of the flour, eggs, and butter. They are concentrated on the finished product- the cake.

One editor I’ve worked with suggested I remove the italics from the Spanish words in my text. Good idea. We speak Spanish all the time. For me, it’s often that NuyoRican breed of Spanglish. Why italicize my words? They are merged in with the whole.

I wholeheartedly agree with the notion of identification and celebrate the ways other writers creatively make the implicate explicate. Of course, I want to be known as a Latina author but that’s amongst other things. Experiences may not be generalizable but they are transferable.

I recently heard Moshe Schulman read his work written from the perspective of being Jewish and his family experience at La Casa Azul. The human understanding was vivid and palpable and I identified. I wonder if he wants to be known as a Jewish writer or a great one? Either way, he fits the bill.

Write on…creative people…identifying… and having the nerve to put it all down… on paper…


‘Fun’ in Fundraising

Charities abound! My urges to give back to ‘the community’ can be as tempestuous as a storm. They ebb and flow like the tide. When I watch television and see the plight of starving children and maltreated neglected animals, my desire to give back becomes strong.

This year I plan to run in the ING NYC Marathon. I’ve been combing through the NYRR website trying to find the perfect agency for my fundraising efforts. While doing this, my spouse casually reminded me about the Puerto Rican Family Institute’s Annual Fundraising Gala event. I’d attended one of these events a couple of years ago at the Plaza hotel. I donned my prettiest frock and high heels. We danced to vibrant Salsa, ate delicious food and chatted with some very interesting people I would never otherwise have met. It suddenly dawned on me. This fundraiser is for the children served via programs at PRFI. I’d seen pictures taken by my spouse of the tiny munchkins sporting colorful Halloween costumes. Very sweet!

For today, my heart opened to pouring of Universal love for these and other like children. Standing in my teeny Brooklyn  kitchen my fundraising quest was born. What could I do that would keep my interest, tap into my creativity, connect with like-minded individuals and mostly raise some funds? Books!!! This time with an open heart and mind it occurred to me that I could combine something that I love with service. Duh! Hence my idea to support the Galas Silent Auction by creating a table for Latino and Latina authors  to offer donations of their best loved books began to take shape. As my character, Joe Palacio in Covering the Sun with My Hand says  “Keep the emphasis on the’fun in fundraising.’

If you are a Latino or Latina author who would like being part of this incredible opportunity and donate some of the fruits of your talents to a very worthy cause, please contact me at theresavarela@gmail.com

Check out the site www.prfi.org We will all surely be winners!