Nuestra Palabra: Having our say

Nuestra Palabra cover photo

This is more than a brag blog. Sure, I like the look of Nuestra Palabra’s cover photo. In fact, I love it. Look closer.

I was interviewed on NP radio the other evening about my book Covering the Sun with My Hand. I’m humbled (yes, I’ve used that same word twice in two weeks) to be interviewed on the subject matter of my novel. Instead of sugar and spice and everything nice, my debut novel is about first generation Latinas and all the gritty strength we’re made of. It’s about a family dealing with the devastating mental illness of a son who was going to change the destiny of one family. The family that hangs together by the tenacious strings of love. The kind of family that I grew up in.

When I look more closely at this cover photo I see the link to Librotraficante. Man, oh man. Imagine depositing banned books to areas where states have attempted to stop the celebration of Latino voices and storytelling. The work of this organization is not only for this week’s recognition of book banning but takes place all the time. Imagine that a child can never open a book and read about someone like his or her grandma and her soft rich brown skin. Or who never sees the word cuchifrito in print?  One who never learns about the truths of slavery but only some whitewashed job? I don’t have to imagine it. That child was me in the early sixties. I am that child who, along with my fellow storytellers, grew up to tell the tales that were almost squashed. I remember being brought to my knees by the stories of Piri Thomas who rocked me in rhythm with his words. Once I got up and became able to claim my own voice I began writing some of the stories that tell of our Latino experience.

Being interviewed for this radio show by Liana Lopez and Bryan Parras  brought me to where I needed to dig down deep and reflect on not only what I write but for whom I am writing. Because its a matter of survival.

This is the link to my interview. I hope you tune in. There’s some groovy music on this too! Enjoy!