[Unedited] Sandra Cisneros with Krista Tippett
Support for on being with KRISTA. Tippett comes from the Fetzer Institute helping build the spiritual foundation for a loving world. Fetzer envisions a world that embraces love as a guiding principle and animating force for our lives a powerful love that helps us live in sacred relationship with ourselves others and the natural world learn more by visiting FETZER DOT Org. I'm KRISTA Tippett up next my unedited. Conversation with writer Sandra Cisneros. There is a shorter produced version of this. Wherever you found this podcast. Hello everyone welcome. Thank you so much for coming here tonight if you could just take a moment to check your cell phones and make sure they're on vibrate because we're GONNA be recording this conversation for a potential feature broadcast on our podcast and on public radio stations. I tried to take on the disperses. And she said this is how she loses them so she wouldn't give it to me smart woman. So my name is betsy recently. Percy I am executive producer here on being studios. I'm also a very proud board member of central newsmen and they're the organization that we're all honoring here tonight as part of the the dead to liberation. I won't say too much but I just WANNA share a little bit about my experience with Cintra. Which has been transformative. I moved here six years ago and I started volunteering with them. I think a little bit over three years and they have given me a home. They really have tried not to get. I am Colombian American and when I moved here. It was really hard transition to find community and then throw. If you have the privilege of ever going to send throw you will immediately feel at home as soon as you walk in. You feel the love and the kindness and the intention that everyone who works there puts into every part of their job all the teenagers are here representing and they're just one one part of of the folks that make up the Community of center that. I hope you get to meet tonight and be introduced to and so I can truly say that my life has been both changed and central has just been a gift to me so I just want to introduce alienated the Executive Director of Central. I notice good evening. I have like twenty pages so I want to start by honoring the communities that worked these lands and I continue to take care of them and they got out of Minnesota such privilege to have Sandra snails tonight here. Thank you so much for telling the stories that need to be told stories of wisdom and of hope you're writing has inspired so many young Latinos to be strong and proud of who they are teams like the ones we have here from central Tehran Guthman who are brilliant in inquisitive creative sometimes shy sometimes very bold team. South Cobb created the recipes of the Seltzer. You have at the table The the the marketing and now they are very happy to share it with you say is called H. Okon Races and I hope that you enjoy it very much. And all the proceeds of the cells to the program Diane for the teams and they keep us on our toes challenging asked to walk the talk whether the inclusion of the Lgbtq community or questioning the stereotypes that we have all to make central a more welcoming environment for everyone central was founded in one thousand. Nine hundred seventy four by Mercedes to appoint an activist that she cannot an academic. She worked at the University of Minnesota Indochino established and she worked with a group of volunteers to support the families. Imams their children their grandparents and then like now I for me our programs for the whole family and organizations so we encourage and support our families to help change systems and structures and behaviors perpetuate inequities more senior leadership program have met with teachers with directors with legislators to advocate for changes in the school system and to wake we make it better for Latinos and other minorities and elder son caregivers of elders with Alzheimer's carbohydrate us to prepare a memory book that provides tools to engage and support people with memory loss and we are honored to have the trust of families families like actor on thirty eight. Rita has Alzheimer's and as the sickness progressed six support to so he can to central Iran goose man and he learned a lot of the tools that he's using to to support. But also the Rita comes to arm Montessori Influence Adult Day care in the mornings to work with staff and we are helping carry engage her brain so that the memory loss is is lower and actor has the opportunity to socialize to learn to share his experiences as well so we are very proud of our families provide us that trust and that we are able to work with them. Elders also are creating Microenterprise following the teams from races and they are creating educational materials for Sierra Montessori. Early Learning Center Children's camera love to spend time with the elders and of course now having the material in the classroom made by our leaders. He's going to make their experience so much more enjoyable and so much better for everyone. Al-samra graduate ready to read a for kindergarten but most importantly we think that they are ready for life and we have some of the teachers here and it's really such an honor for me to work with such dedicated a profession over the coming year one of our greatest opportunity assist expand. Acm Remedy sorry. We are planning to build a second classroom for our children. Currently we have a hundred chill in a waiting list so when we opened the second classroom in two thousand nine hundred thirty one. We'll be able to serve them. They're a brothers and sisters their parents and grandparents as well families in all our programs help us to create and celebrate important cultural relevance. Like today they of the debt. And if you have the opportunity to be a mea these Friday for family night out you'll enjoy. They are created by Monica. Who IS HERE? Created again with the little ones. The children were preparing beautiful flowers. The teams the amazing Mitchell's. That are in the Altair and the elders also help with flowers so as you can see. This is a family business. But we're not like the more so all very good course and they also want to thank Lee all being stock who have been so kind and supportive when they worked so hard to meet these event a possible a also center staff that had been so supportive of all the events that we are Having an hosting this week but most importantly we went to thank Chris. Time Dick the biggest fine ever for years east by insider and for sharing your we still both of you in this beautiful conversation that you are going to happen now And to end I want to thank you all for coming and I hope you enjoy this beautiful conversation and thank you for supporting center as well. Well I am so happy to welcome everyone and we are so thrilled and honored to to of all. Celebrate the day of the dead here in our space for the first time and to to to be to extend this hospitality to central to Ron wisman which I feel like you are a partner to us. I actually still risks. Remember the day. That lily came to me a couple of years ago and said I love the work we do and I actually love Minnesota. But I'm not sure that I can find a home here so you you really have played a part in our project and we in the early years when we first went into independent production which was about six years ago. Now there were five of US rolling around in here and we had parties. All the time is a great party space as you can see but now there are something like twenty two of us and we normally have desks where you all are sitting. And they have all been moved downstairs and everyone has empty their things in almost. All of our team is here. You can't see all of them a lot of them. Were up here but it's a very special. We love doing this and we don't do it very often. And we're so happy to do it for you and with you. And we were just absolutely thrilled when Sandra Cisneros said that she would be my guest for this. We've been looking forward to this for a long time and here we are. We will have a conversation up here for about. Oh I want to say Christopher Zach. Where is the clock? We've done this here in a while. We gotta practice. I am going to need a clock because I didn't bring a watch. Okay We will be in conversation up here for something like forty five or fifty minutes and then we will open this up to for Sandra to be in conversation with you and so just think about questions you have as they arise and we're GONNA do it. Conversationally low bringing the microphone around. I think that's it. I think we can start and we have a clock. Thank you so you know so. Sandra the work of conversation that I do. I feel like every time I start to prepare for a conversation. It's just this adventure and this discovery to see what it will be interesting to pursue and I have to say that I it was so wonderful to to really delve into your writing and also how you've written about your life. I mean which which you do that that your entire body of work and the way you think and you write is kind of about the adventure of being alive and yeah well it. One thing that occurred to me. So what I'm saying is I always think about how going to organize a conversation and with you. The idea that keeps coming to me. There's this there's this line of Annie Dillard. I forgot to look it up. But it's something like we are all you are made and said here to give voice to your astonishment and I feel like as I look at your body of work. It's these varied astonishment S- that jumped out at me. That are about your life but also about about about everybody's life and so that's kind of how I want to move through this this evening and see what happens okay but you had a reaction to that. So I'd love to hear a little astonished by that statement. I think I've never given up feeling astonished by life. I think that artists are children. That never grow up. And I'm at sixty four. I'm on the verge of turning sixty five. I'm even more astonished by what has come my way. Just being here and being your guest when I say who has been your guests in the past is a great honor and I think of myself not with my awards and my accomplishments But I think of my biography of failure so you know when someone's reading my accolades all but saying they're not mentioning my fifth grade report card but I think of myself as that person that I was and I still am that person and I'm always astonished that I'm giving given a microphone and a forum and everyone's out in coal to hear me because I come from a big family where everyone spoke at the same time and no one. Listen to listen to you tonight. I know every time I just like I just came from Tucson and they said there's a thousand five hundred people out there good and some part of me is still. That child head. Didn't get a chance to speak enough or that was silenced in public spaces or felt that she was intelligent enough or or not The beauty or not the chosen one in class the one that just kind of was invisible so the fact that you're inviting me here. It's like Woo Hoo. So you have written that your ancestors emigrated to the United States during the diaspora of the Mexican revolution. Crossing the border El Paso and relocating several times that they were migrant farm workers at first and later they worked on the railroad and some of the places in this history of your family or El Paso Flagstaff Rocky Ford Colorado Kansas ending up in Chicago. If I ask you about the spiritual or religious background of your childhood However you would define that what what comes to mind you. I didn't. I just wondered if there was there a religious or spiritual background which actually in all writing you do about your family. That's that doesn't feature. Well that's because. My family has different kinds of spirituality. My mother was a spiritual person but she was very suspicious of the any organized religion. And that's because she was the one child that took after her father and my grandfather was raised by his grandmother and she was suspicious of church and state. My grandfather didn't learn how to read. Write till he was an old man and this was because he was raised during the time he was a child. Just before the revolution and the government sent out some sort of announcement. Bring your children to the town square or whatever and we will teach them how to read but my great grandmother didn't believe it so she took my grandfather and they went up to the mountains and hid. That's why he never learned how to read. There was a reason for this. This CONFIANCA for this distrust. Because at that time before the revolution the church was very wealthy and exploited. The poor and my grandfather was his people were landless workers on land. That wasn't theirs. So I think it's not just Cordeiro trade this distrust. I think everybody whole town had this is trust. 'cause they saw a lot of betrayal and and so my grandfather would tell my mother. You don't have to give any money to the church. Give it to the poor indirectly. His wife on the other hand was rather devout but my mother was the one that took after him and she taught us that to make sure that we gave money directly to the poor jettas. Strong sense of spirituality but I think it was more of an indigenous spirituality. She didn't frame it that way but there are some things that skipped a generation that she didn't bring with her but on the other hand. My Grandmother. I believe was intuitive. I say I believe because I don't know but she knew things She knew for example that you don't wake your children shouting at them. You have to do it very gently and my mother was a shower so the fact that she did this gently. A shield reminded us that her mother did this. And it was to give the sleeper time to travel back into their body So I think my grandmother had a knowing on the other hand. My father's family was from Mexico City. A his mother was very devout. Catholic and my grandfather was a military man at the end of his life. He had risen to colonel but he was a man and I may go. You don't have to go to church if you're a man your wife does that for your your mother so I he never. I discussed the spiritual with me but my grandmother was the one that was friends with the nuns. That had US wait outside. While she went into the basilica the very best silica that was planted. On top of pre conquest goddess side very spiritual site that. Be Up and at that time. When I was a kid I didn't realize the significance. We just used to run around and play was and grandmother was inside praying. I've written a little bit about that a I didn't know this grandmothers very well. She was little bit cranky. Little Bit and I- exaggerated that and the way that she treated my mother to create the awful grandmother in Colorado but in some ways. I'm finding that we're similar because now I'm friends with the nonce them this radical women and I have a or. I didn't know that kit but now I'm friends with a convent at half a block from my house. And even though they try to. I guess they're trying to convert me not succeeding but no name bite me to masses and to Mother Superiors Fiftieth Anniversary Party and I feel very honored to be respected by. Let's mother deceived us. They're not sisters and make their mothers little mothers. That's my receipts us. And every month they pray for anyone I name too so nice and they pray for me to everyone you say you. You said a minute ago that everyone was always speaking at the same time in your house and you were. You had six brothers. Yes that tested your spirits all what it taught me. I never want to share a bathroom with a man again. That's right okay. Yeah and another thing taught me is. I learned how to be funny with thanks to my six brothers. I learned how to be self critical because they were always criticizing me so I learned very early on to edit myself but I also knew if you could be fast and you could be funny. People were listen a way of getting people to listen. So you you've written. I became a writer. Thanks to a mother who was unhappy being a mother and one of your that. Your mother searched for escape routes and she found them in museums the park and the Public Library and actually I am also just such a deep lover of libraries and. I don't think I've ever interviewed anybody where this this jumped out. You know. I've spoken with people about how museums interestingly our contempt with spaces even in the midst of modern life but libraries are as well right and libraries are spiritual houses. And they're run by women for the most part and if you come from a crowded house we were sleeping in the living room or sleeping and beds with four people to have a space. That's quiet is remarkable and for me. You know. The library wasn't just a place to read but it was a place to dream and to be quiet and look out the window and look at the trees and just to feel calm. Because I'm I'm hyper sensitive. As a writer I just saw big billboard your airport about autism and about hypersensitivity of autistic children. But I think that artists and poets especially are hypersensitive as well and I don't know why they design airports with so many of television screens and like the Houston terminal. Has All these little menus cards. That are lit up your sit on the plane and and it starts sending you information that you don't WanNa hear so I feel like the library was the opposite of all that it was some place that was very sad. It was the one I went to was very beautiful and more than anything. It was just like a house to nurture your spirit. And you know when you're poor. You don't have space in your own to go. That's quiet you've also said that You spend so much time in the library. It was so important to you the house on Mango Street. That you understood when you're writing at this was the book you couldn't find in the library. Well what happened? When I was in sixth grade we moved in. I like to tell the story of how lucky we were that we had a tremendous winter. Nineteen sixty six must have been about then and the pipes in our house froze just like the characters in the house among street but unlike the characters in the house a Manga Street. We were delighted by our new house. We're so thrilled that we got to go to another house where you could turn on the Faucet and water came out you can flush away waste. It was just rate improvement over our last place so that change was important because it took me out of a neighborhood where there were forty. Six students in the class. Right where I had. More than a dozen absentees absent days I I was so upset at that school and nervous and ward and just because the way that Teacher corrected us was by suddenly pouncing. And you and making you stand up and whacking you with a with a board and so that created a lot of anxiety for child and I didn't realize until I was in school and in this new school teacher came up to my desk and she plucked the paper. I was drying and took to the front of the room in my heart. Just backflip I thought. Oh No what did I do wrong. And she held it up and put a little push pin through and said look what our new student has drawn a cup beautiful. This I didn't have any grades for Arc and this other schools. Who was the first time that I was singled out for something I did? That was good and I remember that same year was also the started writing poetry. So how old were you about six? Whatever you are in Sixth Grade. What is that yeah? Eleven twelve eleven twelve. Yeah I remember that same year. I went to the library and I was looking through the card catalogue looking through for something and I came upon this car. That was dirty and raggedy Ann. I said Oh this must be a good book and then I imagine then one day. I want my name on this card catalog and then I could see a book and the spine and my name and I said I couldn't see the title but I said this is what I want right so I tell children now to see with that third eye and imagine what you want your future to be in my case. I couldn't tell anyone about it because of the six brothers and I wanted to protect the streets haven't adage so I kept secret but I tell children you don't have to tell anyone but I want you to see it and to walk towards that dream every day and then you can say it aloud when you're in a safe place but I think it's important that we have children that permission to do that at that age or younger. It's too late if you wait too many years after that. You've you've also said that you're for your father in particular the you as a daughter were destined to marry. I didn't know that because I told them around that same year that I was going to go to college know where it got that from and he said would you tell him that you would also decided you never want to share about them with a man though. I didn't tell him that I didn't want to offend my father but I did tell him I wanted to go to college one day and he said Oh. That's good me so I thought he supported me and it wasn't until my mid thirties that I realized my father wanted me to go to college. The way women in his generation went to college to look for husbands. But you've also said that because he he didn't take that that he you could study something silly like English and he didn't worry about because you weren't supposed to make career but anyway so he didn't give me a hard time. My brother who was also an artist and a musician he had to go into business administration. I didn't have to go to business administration but I did have a wide parachute and I made sure that I had courses. That would make me marketable. I took education. I would be able by the time. I graduated to teach at any level so that was something. I always assumed that I was going to have a day job So one of your astonishment is one of the things that runs all the way through the titles of your books and the things you write a bettas houses right and and you know again. I've had many conversations across the years including very recently with Richard Blanco. The poet about home the meaning of home. Something we're always looking for and and certainly in the immigrant experience but you are also very interested in literal houses. In fact I mean this book of essays is how of my own and yeah. I guess it even find you when you talk about the library. You describe the library. The library was a wonderful house. House of ideas a house of silence. I it really. Is this thread all the way through your life? If you've had to share a house with eight other people who make a lot of noise and make a big mess you want your own house. You don't WanNa share it and you don't want to clean someone else's mass so it's different if it's your mess and also if you're a writer you don't you meet silence and most people can't understand that my brother will come to visit and say why did you turn the radio on. Why isn't this on the television? You know I it has its time in its place but I like to listen to the birds and I can't hear the characters or the things inside my heart if I'm not in a living in a zone of silence. This title House of my own of course echoes of Virginia. Woolf's a room But I didn't see you quoting Virginia Woolf in on that but you you did you mentioned something. She said that as a woman. I have no country as a woman. My country is the whole world. And you said that you. Would you would rephrase that and you would say as a woman as a woman. I have no country as a woman. I am an immigrant in the entire world. I want to. I wanted to hear what you mean when you say that. I had a postcard with that coat of Virginia. Woolf when I was traveling when my first. Nea granted my twenties. When I finished house on Mango Street it was very important to me that quote as I was learning how to travel because I'd never gone anywhere alone But the more I traveled the more I I met women and they befriended me and they never. They never asked for anything in return. The way at one men gave you something that was always a motive but not with women and I just felt that regardless where I went I was experiencing my father's immigrant experience. You know what it was like for him to come across feel uncomfortable and to find friends among strangers and to be alone and to be taken into people's homes. You have gratitude when you're traveling and you don't have a lot of money or if you do if someone invites you to come into their home and and share a meal. There's a kindness in that and I just felt I understood my father's life in a different way after I made that trip and it seems to me that women even if they never leave are always treated like immigrants. You know where we're not allowed to speak We can't control our bodies church and state tell us what's good for us and we're supposed to believe that we have to obey to be good women we don't know what good is because we've never been asked to define it outside of what men want for us and you to me. That was something I learned with time so I think we're kind of like immigrants. We don't have a voice and we don't know and voice because it's been molded since We've had to adapt to please Patriarchal Society so I think I'm still at sixty four trying to discover what's good for me and I still I'm stolen immigrant but now I have a Dole citizenship. Yes and I'm trying to cross many borders now in my life Both physical and spiritual and I'm I'm trying as best I can because my time is running out you know. I don't feel that I've done my best work. I don't feel I'm this as wise as I would like to be and it seems like you're just getting in the groove and parties getting really good and I gotta go I do. I have to go. My father used to that a lot when he was in his fifties and sixties And I would just tease him. And say we're going. You just got here so I feel like I just got here. So that's something else. That really is so striking in in your books. Some of them. At least there's there's A. There are a lot of photographs view at different ages. And I feel like you so I don't know if you think about it so what I started. Writing down in my notes is the nature of time. I feel is something that whether you'd call it that or not you're always attending to and by which. I also mean the many people each one of us is in the course of a lifetime. I the girl you were at eleven and the Young Woman at twenty five and the woman at sixty four and how all of those people are in relationship and they're the same person and they're not. Is that something that you that you've been thinking about for a long time? When I was thirty I wrote a poem that failed and it was how I was thirty but I was also twenty nine in twenty eight and twenty seven all the way till worth and I never finished that palm but I wrote a story called eleven and I use that idea in the story and I still feel. I'm eleven underneath all the year. Eleven as what you basically feel us. Yeah so yeah I still kind of how you look at a tree and there are some rings that had a Lotta rain and gets really bigger and they shrink. Well you know we can think about our own years and What defines us or what happened to us in those years. But I'm still kind of like a kid you know. My my father had this habit of like staring at people have things and he would go around the block if he thought it was especially interesting and then he would be startled when people looked at him because I think he thought he was invisible right now and I'm like that too that you know when you're eleven and a girl you are invisible and after a certain age women become invisible again and that's a wonderful thing. You can grievances. Oh nobody looks at me anymore. We mean men or you can say nobody looks at me anymore. Have to worry anymore. Not so great. I feel like someone put a knife away. And I'm so thrilled now to be invisible again. I pay attention to other older women especially in the town I live in. Because there's a Lotta Siniora's Moise Mexico. Now correct yes. Okay and Lessen Your S. L. are really nice with their lipstick. They were Nice dress and nobody tells them they look nice but I tell them and because I see them and I think as the Nice thing about being older in. May He is that you respect as an elder as an elder. You'll get respect. You know when I was younger had address and none close to that. Meme leave me alone and not bother me. I didn't want to be a Mama Sita but now when I come into the airport. The porter's with their little cut rate does a little cards come up and they say. Mother Sita and I help you. Also I'm little mother and you know what could be better than me. He'd go then. A navy called the mother who all mothers are revered in me especially Laverton the weather loop at a great mother right so I have had no children but I have ascended into your mother too. I mean this is kind of again moving backwards in time. But I was just thinking of something you have a chapter in the House on Mongo. Street called hips. This is about this moment where woman where your body changes in something happens. You deserve saying you know you say one day you wake up and they are. They're ready and waiting like a new Buick with the keys in the ignition. But then you're ready to take you wear which is a question mark because that happens to girls but we're not really told what to do. Well I think young girls WANNA look sexy but they don't realize what that brings and the discomfort and the danger and the Lack of being seen for who you are. It's a lot of trouble and I. I tried to write about it in a way that I could get past the censors when I was writing that chapter. The original title was tits. But I thought by right about that. That's too easy and you know maybe someone in the school will say we can't use this book so I changed. It made it a little but more challenging and I like that chapter was a lot of fun because I was able to include something that girls know on those. Are the jump rope songs. The games that we play clapping part of what we learn as young women and gets lost and adulthood so it was a way of interviewing people and saying what game did you play when you were a kid. And how did it go so it was fun to preserve that? I feel that house among the street is about borders. The border between childhood and adulthood and that border is fluid for many years. Yes so that's what I was trying to write about it. It's a book with a great deal of themes about sexuality. I'm aware of that now. Because I'm working on it as a Libretto with dirk amount. Are you more aware of it now? In hindsight than they were when you were writing yes but when I was writing it I was the young woman in her twenties searching for her politics and her direction in life. So I was looking for my feminism and using US but onset to assist me but now I'm reworking at a deeper level so it's a lot of fun to go back and and and develop the characters a little bit deeper for the opera. So you you wrote for the twenty fifth anniversary edition. You wrote you this House a house of my own essay which appears in other places but this is the kind of preface to the book yet. This is one place where there's a picture of you I don't know how old are you? I'm about twenty seven twenty eight. I'm just I don't know I just think I'm just fascinated with what how you wrote this so I just WanNa talk it through. You said this is how it begins the young woman. This photograph is me when I was writing the House on Mongo Street. She's in her office a room. That had probably been child's bedroom when families lived in this apartment. You go through the you know a description of where and when you're always writing about her this girl this young woman and then and you're you're giving many details of her life returning to shock a Chicago after graduation being daughter and then there's a place where suddenly this she turns to an I and I just. It's you're so within a single paragraph. The Young Woman's teaching job leads to the next and now she finds herself a council a recruiter at her Alma Mater Loyola University on the north side in Rogers Park. I and then I have health benefits. I don't bring work home anymore. My workday ends at five. Pm now I have evening spree to do my own work. I feel like a real writer and I'm just so curious about that shift that you made between her and I she and I and what changed like what happened in that inside that paragraph. I think a writer has to come into her voice. I think a woman has to come into her voice because everyone speaks for us and we lose our public voice and sometimes we don't even have a genuine private voice and for me one. I was asked to write the introduction. Was studying that photograph and I know you're studying you're younger. I said that's not who I am now right. But that's who I was when I was working on these pieces so I had to talk about her as she in the third person and it seemed to me. I don't really like the cover of house up my own. That's the same age. That's the same period. That's the same. Photographer is the same photo. Shoot the photograph in right and because when I looked at her I kid you know what an idiot I was. I had so much power and I didn't know and I gave it away and you know I just well. I had to make all those stupid mistakes otherwise I wouldn't be who I am now but it breaks my heart when I look at her and I think how. She was used and things that she allowed to happen to her and just explosions. That happen in our lives. That what I call the exploding cigars of life you know. You're just having a wonderful small. How did how did that happen? This is something I've thought about a lot too is. There's also something in that about how we women are so merciless about our younger selves. And one of the things another kind of thread that runs through your life is. There's a lot of fear that goes along with being a woman things to be frightened of. I think that when you're a Mexican it's even worse because you're trying to imitate white women and trying to live like white women's feminism and you know if you do that unit it's heartbreaking because you have to break your the people you love the most you have to break their heart and you break your own heart broken. There's and see like you know if I had been a white woman living in my apartment that would have been perfectly fine but I was a Mexican American woman who had to go against the person I love the most to have that space of my own. Your father my father he. My brothers didn't leave home until they marry you. Love Tom. I was the black sheep they they. They had their own crimes but they kept it under wraps. Yeah but but this is what I'm saying that younger you seized this bravery right found this bravery in herself. I met people who were mirrors who I wanted to become and For better or worse I think we all do when we fall in love note we fall in love with who we want to be and we don't really see clearly that. Oh maybe that's who you want to be. But you don't have to be that per be with that person and so. I made a lot of mistakes and my whole idea of like what I meant to be a feminist or what to be strong woman free. I think it's very muddied. In your twenties I think the twenties is so harper and get told that it's your the best years of your life. Insurace notch her. Yeah yeah no but I I always on my students. Don't worry it only lasts ten years. Okay well we'll we'll come back to the nature of time so someone has said of U. Sandra Cisneros is both of these things. A mother theresa and a Madonna CICCONI. And so we'll get to the Madonna part. But I wanted you know there's a line of yours in writing. I wrote this down. I can't remember it was from where you said. Let us all attempt to be more humane and more generous in these unkind times. Which is such beautiful. I think we're gate it too. Don't you think I do what I witnessed at the O'hare airport of very rude man asking for a hot dog and I was in front of him and the workers where people of Color and they gave him what he asked for and he kept insisting? That's not what I get here. I been here before. And he was just. They were stunned. They couldn't say anything and he was so rude and laughed and saying I'm not coming back here and there was nothing they could do. And it hurt me. It hurt me to see them. Silenced and disempower so now I have to do something positive. I don't know what to make up for it. I feel like when we witness something like that. Okay we have to do something positive. Just my telling you makes me feel better. That route Manic Gold Coast Hotdogs. Just because you have a suit and tie doesn't mean you. Can you be little workers that are working so hard and such a cramp hot environment? So I just feel like when you witness things that it's our obligation to do something positive you know. We know children tonight or sleeping under all pieces of aluminum foil. We have to do something for children. I this fundraisers good thing and we have to do something to write the planet. Every day we with something that makes us feel such despair and sadness for others. We have to be more human and especially in this time when they're such incivility in language and in our politician and chief gives everyone a bad example of what it means to be an adult. We have work harder to be more humane that focus. You have on for example in that exchange. You're talking about about the people who are working so hard behind the counter just to do their jobs. I mean you you've described yourself as as an artist whose work explores the lives of the working class. Of course you're Chicago was also the Chicago of studs terkel right. That was yes right and I did interview him when he was ninety. Three which was amazing. I think that language of working class. I wonder I feel like it's not. I'm not sure people know what that means anymore. And I'm curious about what that evokes for you. Wow you're right. Maybe it's an archaic term. Now what would people want to be called? What do you what do you think what do you mean when you say that? How was it was imposed on my bio by Saudi Ellsworth Foundation? I thought I thought that was no no. That was me. I don't know I guess I would ask. People like you and I would ask our audience. I would ask. I think people should name themselves. Peo- should names themselves. Then let me say. Let me say it this way. I mean here's another way observed. I feel like that the world that you see in that you care about and are curious about is in many ways not in every way but in many ways it's a world that is quiet and MIT at once. Kind of like libraries people who are leading as we say real lives but life defy the loud the loudness. I mean so an example. Is Somebody writer out? Maria Luisa Lopez. Oh yes also known as Mrs Eddy Lopez. So talk about her like somebody that somebody like. That is in the world for you. That's also the story of the world. Well this is the people I love young people. I know who are history. And they won't a history book they won't get into a museum. That's what I mean by great and they're doing selfless work Mrs. Camacho was my mentor. In textiles and in Mexican folk art in a Mexican customs and I met her at a friend's wedding because she came in GonNa rain. I like a queen wearing a Mexican. We P A big flower here. She was big woman but she was beautiful and we looked and said who is that. Oh is there and we went up to her and said no compromise so we would like to meet you and she said Oh soy lessen your Camacho Lopez and we just were just loved her. We adored her instantly and she was very generous and kind she turned out to be like the walking Smithsonian Mexican culture and her little neighborhood and she would teach people how to say the prayers to the Rosary. She would tell you how you set up the day of the dead alter she might say. You're missing some bowls of water. They're like I did when I came in and some salt and she would just come and she was like the the good on Brouhaha Shamaa comes in of light and I just learned from her so much and I think one of the great things in my life was the story she gave me. That became Carmelo. She was the daughter of a rebel. So maker Shaw Maker and I borrowed that to create my character awful grandmother. But I'm more than anything. She had such a pride in being who she was and her husband was a San Antonian of Mexican descent and this couple. Their house became a cultural center. Anybody who wanted to come in and learn something. It was very tiny little house next to the heb grocery store and everybody would come in and they were just people great spirit and I think that those kinds of people that we need to remember and we need to tell their stories we need to record their lives otherwise they don't count. They're not history and everybody knows people like that. Yes if we don't tell their story then. Ken Burns will write about it and and miss some complaints. Yeah Ah yes I mean. It's so important to just sail loud as often as possible that most of the interesting and important people who are changing the world are not famous. And we'll never be famous not macarthur genius soon. They never got an any aliquo. Here's I also learned so much about Texas for example through your stories of her right. So here's just this paragraph. He wrote she was a walking museum of Mexican culture especially textiles without realizing it. She was nourishing Texas with the history that was rightfully theirs but was not taught in the schools. Even though the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo had promised to preserve their Mexican language and culture. When the Alamo was remembered the legacy of the People's Mexican heritage was forgotten Seniora Lopez was sent to San Antonio to keep the community from forgetting who truly were. That's true and I was very honored won. Her daughter asked me to write an obituary and several people asked me to write eulogies or something for their loved ones and I can't cook. I don't know how to make a castrol so this is what I'm good at. You have struggled with depression. And that's something that you write about. I mean it's been talked about it and I'm not a shamed of it or proud but it just is you know and I think it's something that before before I knew what it was. I was ashamed and I don't want people to be ashamed and go through a near death as I did. You did you talk about. Was it in nine hundred eighty seven. It was kind of a ten month period of the dark night of the soul. Yes very dark. And because I already had house on Mongo street out but people don't realize that wasn't an overnight. Success the book I finished. Nineteen eighty-two got published two years later and then I went through really dark period where I realized even though I'm good at creating writing the people's Love I can't pay my rent with that and I can't I don't know how to sustain myself. I can't earn a living with my writing. So what good is that? Of course when you can't find a job and then you find one that you've feel your failure at you. You spin into a deeper depression. I never wanted to teach at the university because I didn't feel comfortable there as a student and I felt obligated to in that year someone opened the door for me and I couldn't find a job in Texas and I was forced to go to California and take a job that I was terrified of. So of course when you come in as a guest a writer they give you the classes that nobody wants a reluctant students students. That are not necessarily interested in English and a very hard time and all of that failure just kept building and building until I I just felt. I couldn't go on and you. You describe yourself now spiritually as a book lupus Te loopy stats and it sounds like you said that this there was this conversion that was subtle over time not some moment and that kind of living with depression and working through that y you know you go through a near death as I did you keep thinking. Oh my what if I'm successful and destroy myself next time around? So I a consciously sought teachers women books about women and depression books about women in the arts books about working class people in the academy and I I sought out a therapist and I found an intuitive and I started. I started finding that self I would have found it. My grandmother the one that was new things alive she could have guided me so. I started discovering intuitive and slowly realizing oh I have those gifts to I think if we had been raised in with our indigenous grandmothers that we would know that yeah everybody flies around sleeping and you come back gently and sometimes we can problem solve when we're dreaming and some of us have gifts visiting the the dead and the dead come to visit us and everybody has that potential. It's not like someone's greater than someone else. It's just we have to learn how to develop it. And would you talk a little bit about the Virgin Guadalupe and watch what she means to you? That figure means to you You know I was raised on my father's side and deputy which is the neighborhood in Mexico City where the basilica so that was always there but it was not anything. I paid any attention to I think. After I went through the year my near death when I was thirty three I started doing research and eventually ten years later I would discover tick not Han taking on. Heim brought out the Guadalupe and your yes in office. I I believe in Divina Providencia and my friend. Yes now was lost to me during the war in Sarajevo during Bosnian war. And I remember someone asked me at that time to speak at an international women's Day event because this was the time of the Bosnian women and their rape and so they in San Antonio I was I guess authority because I had lived there and I wanted to write something meaniful meaningful and I was searching around for inspiration and my bookshelf and a book fell out of my bookshelf. And it was tickner. Hans being peace and that book had been given to me by my friend in Bosnia. When she was visiting me in in Berkeley she said this seems like an interesting book. But I shelved it never read it until that moment and that book taught me another way of being an activist another way working for J. worked on he coined. This term engaged Buddhism. Yes and if you wanted to create peace you had to be peace and that was so radical for me are especially felt so upset and angry and impotent as a woman about my friend and every day you would hear all the world leaders. Say Well we're going to do something next. Tuesday just got delayed like Rwanda. The world just kind of ignored the massacre and the the genocide rape. That was going on but it was especially personal to me because I didn't know if my friend was alive. And she's like a sister of my heart so I wrote a speech which I thought would be a tender memory of living with my sister and instead it was angry and I remember I put the speech and my cowboy boot because I was so nervous. I didn't want the paper to shred and and I took it out of my boot and people laugh thinking I was going to be bad. Ask But actually. It was an angry piece. It's printed in my book. House my own. And in order to keep myself from crying and buckling under the emotions. I had to shout it so I was shouting. I was crying and shouting. This came from a place of impotency and silence over months and months and months and The next day the New York Times asked to publish it and later National Public Radio stood a staging reading my letter and a letter that came through. Sir thanks to journalists from China so it was amazing. How when you act how it initiates other actions so I I believe that was loud enough providencia speaking through technology so I think I want to circle back to how you work with all the things that happened to one in a lifetime and and the different people you are in the the stages you go through. That noise is that what is it. Oh it's rainy. No it's to know it something in the the speaker. Is it your Heating System Speaker? It's some it's a house like that and the radio some crazy neighbor banging on that matter. Yeah well what does that? Tell us about your. How many tattoos do you have? I'm sorry how many tattoos do you have to to? You've written so. Interestingly about your tattoos like coming back to this idea of time travel as something that joins you with the younger generation. United and know that you know I just did it to be subversive because one. My one of my books came out. I don't know which one Hispanic magazine wanted to put me on the cover and my agent knows how I feel about that word so she said well what do you what. I don't like it. You know. I think I'm GONNA cover remind being on the cover. I just don't like the word Hispanic or you don't like the word Hispanic an Hispanic but some people feel they are. That's fine I don't and I have my reasons overdue. I'm a Latina. I'm Mexican American. I'm American Mexican. I'm from Las Americas north and south. Okay that's what I feel. I am but you know to me. It was just a word that one day you went to sleep in the next day all over town there with these little machines said USA. Today it was that word came up like that and it wasn't something that was organic from my community so I felt a resistance to it. It's different from me spinal but I didn't use spinal. You know that was not a word from my community but anyway we have issues with that word. My agent new. I had that issue and then we had an opportunity to be on the cover and she said. What do you think we're going to do? I said we will be on the cover but I'll figure out a way to make it work for me so I thought maybe I'll wear a hat and say Latina then I thought no that'll could get cropped and then I had someone paint a tattoo on my arm that said think it's had for a Latina I think but I liked it so much. I said well I'll get a real tattoo there. And the issue isn't about Latino. That issue is something that is permanent and that is important in my life now and for me. They've been the weather lupus important. And aesthetic non this the Jovana artists designed it blending whether looper with Quanyin and blending her with other goddesses sheets kind of a composite of several your says but my mother didn't like it. You know she one day looked to mingy said. That's the dumbest thing you ever did. I send my having eight. Kids was the dumbest. You have your did work. She she left the room after that she had eight live births seven survived and she lost her child when it was over a year old. It was devastating to her and I just kept telling her my way. Didn't you know you're in the hospital? So many times. What did you just say? Tie Up those tubes while you're at it you know but she never did. I actually was product of her generation. So it wasn't something that one did at that time it's been. It was such a such an active of rebellion for you to not only not marry but but be alone be well you know what it took me a long time to realize that it's a more lonely to live with someone sometimes than it is to be alone. It'd be a long to figure that out and I live alone now but I'm not lonely right and I may vary right choice by the universe and the trees and and the clouds and the sky and the sun sets and my dogs and the people who are in my life and my students. I don't feel lonely. There's a lot of women in my town who were always looking in the horizon. You know for that next guy. That's coming coming around the Ben but I don't feel that I feel sense of contentment and joy and it's hard to live with somebody. It's hard to live alone but it's easier hurt I do. I do love that your father to always. I mean it just sounds like committee. He he couldn't have imagined that a daughter wouldn't marry right when you were a child and but that that eventually there came a point where he actually would was so he he took in your independence. And how complete you were. Well you know the first thing he did when he came in my house that I bought with my pen he he jumped up and down and said look the Boards Creek and he just found fault with everything and then eventually he saw head housekeeper gardener that I had an assistant. I had people that helped me. And he said at the end of his life. You know That I had done well. We we made our peace with one another and I had this selfish prayer. My father would live long enough to understand why I had lived the way I did. Why had made those sacrifices? Why had slept on the floor for ten years and loved out boxes and moved traveled so much following jobs so that I could support the writing. The writing became the spouse. It was a difficult house and still is. It still is a difficult spouse. But it's a very faithful spouse you know and there's sometimes that we don't speak to each other and sometimes that. I just don't understand that spouse but it's a union for life did it. Your father didn't you right at some point. He said you shouldn't marry because a man would want to take because you had money. He can't play on. He would see me fall asleep on the couch and he would speak above me like if I couldn't hear him and he thought I couldn't hear that he'd say oh boy to see us under Ohio Alaska Sitka Sandra Awareness. Sandra GonNa Marry Poor Sandra and finally when I got the Macarthur Hall fell into place and he said me have don't Mary. He'll just take your battles from you and I thought yes. Father finally gets it. Let's open this up. I WanNa just save in case. We don't discuss this theme that the border everyone crosses is death and we're here for celebrating day of the dead which so wonderful gift that Mexican American Central Americans Latin Americans from the Americas can give the United States because unlike in the US the dead. Don't be part they hang around and guide. Us and protect us. We have a very different relationship with the dead. And it's a border we all cross. It's some place that we can come together and Respect to end. He'll one another and I'm looking at this time when America so divided that we need to find those borders we have in common. I don't hear any political candidate talking about those borders that we have in common. They are those human orders. Yes yes so I thank you for inviting me during a very special time The older I get the more arm in connection with those spirits. I thought I had vivid dream says a child but now I know no. Those weren't dreams those spirits visiting and I know that because a friend of mine who also intuitive We spent the night in a haunted hotel but we didn't know was haunted and had the same visitor in our dream and then realize yes in San Francisco and we realize Oh. That wasn't a train so now I wear travel with a sage and a joy travels with joy. Harjo triple Switz- H. Oil. Because she said won't get her in trouble with the management. I'm always worried that people are thinking smoking Monta half minute. It'll save but if I don't do it I've had situations in China and other places where I wake up on the floor and I think that the spirits are no who can hear them and common visit and want to tell their story. I think that's what they want but I have never been brave enough to ask one day. I'm trying to write about that because I think in Mahyco. The spirits are much more active and more involved in everyday life in the United States. We don't know how to listen and we dismiss that. I wonder if if you perceive it as they're more active or people are more. Open an attempt well. I think that we have to understand that. The alters come from the rituals of in digits people and so more in connection with their indigenous heritage and who have been forgotten how to listen I think that they know how to tune. In and and tab been to the shoals physical wave of inviting yes and you know it doesn't matter who's in the audience in the people that are most different than me can be on the audience but all of them had suffered from death. We've all witnessed a death in our families or we will witness death in our families so these rituals help everyone There's something you wrote and then we'll open it up about this later. Yeah let's let's get the pass microphone around all right. I'm going to help you. I can come a lot in your hands. I'm Oh God oh my name. My name is shelly. Ann Thankful that you're here and I'm also thankful that all of you guys are supporting us. Anthro one question I have is. Why did YOU CHOOSE POEMS IN BOOKS? Like what did like. How did it expired you? Why did I choose the form of poetry In in which books in all my books? Oh well do you write poetry poetry. Good well then you know. We need to poetry. Poetry is the most difficult to me of all the the literary honors and the most important especially right. Now when we're going through so much pain I think the poet's are in the profession of transforming grief to light their like are Shawn Martinez and they're also in the profession of telling the truth because you can't write a poem unless you tell your truth. It isn't a poem methodism a truth. And we're living in a time of so much confusion and lies and counter lies and people saying that's fake and that's true that there's so much confusion about what's true. So the poets her in the forefront right now doing important business. This is a great time for poetry. I think we're living in a renaissance of poetry and we need the poets right now to help us help us. Illuminate the path in time of confusion. And for me. Poetry is an Luma nation especially when my spirit is clouded. And I don't have the language I try when I write fiction to write each line as beautiful as if it was a poem the direction and the process is a little different but I try to marry the two prose and poetry and I think poetry is medicine that we need right now at this time this dark time that we're living in the United States. Thank you for being here with us. A woman of America's worst wisdom. Will you give young people? These days? I would tell the young people to earn their own money important. You can't follow your dream if someone else is giving you your money in this is true and partnerships to the more you can earn your own money the more independence you have about controlling your life we give these three points so I've set them before. Earn Your own money to control your for Tilleke. No excuses men and women can get thrown off your brilliant careers because of an unwanted pregnancy. And it's something that we don't talk about. How are we complicit in all of these unwanted pregnancies by not talking about this because you know in other times when you were twelve? You're married so he was all right if you had kids and we ask you to wait and and to imagine that you don't have desire to have love or partner so I think it's important. That young people understand to control their fertility to not have children when their children to. If you don't know how to do that you need to go to organizations or the people that will help educate you and so that's important number three Solitude is sacred. We tend to think that we have to have a partner or we have to be out every night but the time that you're alone or when you think that your unpopular you don't have a data you're at home that time for you to nurture you so think about what a gifted is when you're alone because that's your time to nurture you so. Ernie on money control. Your utility solitude is sacred at the advice I give young people beautiful. I'm forty four and I'm still learning from some that out of es strong chicken So thank you so much. You can't go wrong. Just listen to this life. My question for you is now that again because of my generation. I remember seeing some that us. He's not as an author as a as part of the Canon and that was when I got to university right I never saw authors in Highschool. Tell us a little bit about what that feels like. And what are you hoping in terms of using more of your work and Latino work in. Us curriculum well. I'm thinking more of diverse voices. Not just my voice or other Latinas. I think that we need to have diversity of voices and so exciting right now to see all the young writers collar that are part of American letters right now a young Ghani writer a black writer from the projects of Chicago. Puerto Rican writer writing about growing up in the streets of Miami. There's just a diversity of writing that's coming up and it's good books are getting nominated for wards are getting published by New York houses. And I'm excited. I'm thrilled because we need to see ourselves in literature and I just read today that the reading test in the nationally dropped children in eighth grade and fourth grade like the grades drop by have. It's terrible and so we need to engage and involve young people so that they see their stories then a fine want to read it. Shameful that we're living at this time and see these great stop but on the other hand we need stories. Maybe the stories won't come on the page. They might come on the screen or they might come through cartoons or through graphic novels however it is we need stories stories. Help to save us. They helped to make us feel that. We're part of the society and they help us to navigate our way because the only stories were getting. I don't know about you but I'm tired of seeing a stories with explosions and guns and superheroes and one on nation is is being fed those stories and consuming those stories. It's because something is missing in their society. They're looking to be saved. There's a fear that you can feel when you come into the United States and that's distressing for me. When I crossed the border and feel that fear I want stories that are going to teach us how to resolve things in revolutionary ways and peaceful ways. And how do we transformer anger to light? We don't have a model except for you know Buddhist monk like dot COM to teach us and we don't have poets in the schools anymore because they think all we don't have money for that but that those classes are what save children from despair and that allow us to transform our pain to light if we don't have the arts then we explore with a gun. I truly believe that and I believe that I was very lucky. Just recently I was in Tucson and I went to the schools and I saw the faces of children and their poetry in the schools program and I remember when I was a little kid. You know having just drying how much that saved my life and that teacher that showed everyone that drying matter that changed me into thinking that what I had to say. What's valuable that changed? Man To braving raising my hand for the first time and that motion change might Destino from being. That kid gets forgotten to being speaker now. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for that moment that that teacher single me out for our work. Hi. I'm Coco speaking of using your book in the school. We just read your book as our final project for the end of the quarter and we had like at the end of the book. We had a forty five minute discussion about the book. What we spend the majority of it trying to figure out why didn't use quotations in the book because a lot of kids were like. Oh my God. This is so hard to read. I don't understand why we didn't do it. So the second wait a second. I've read your papers. You don't use quotation marks evening so I was just. I know I've taught him but let me tell you the reason. I'll tell you why I'm just being funny with you. I didn't use quotation marks because I wanted the sentences to work like poems and I if I had quotation marks you had to read it one way but if the Cotija Marcus in there then you can use it. You can read it and understand it more than one way. And because they're so small. I wanted flexibility with each sentence. Also I didn't like that. It would clutter out the way it looked so I'd try to make it as clean as possible but I read a lot of experimental writers when I was a young woman and I wanted to write a book. That wasn't like the books that I had seen. I later discover. There were other writers that were doing story cycles but when I started mine I didn't know about them but I thought if I move the punctuation and make it as minimal as possible. Of course you have to use punctuation. But I try to make it as minimal as possible. There'd be more ways at one could read that sentence okay A HI. My name is equally You said that you had to tattoos. What do they mean well? Why Buddha Lopata? If in the weather loophole merged with other Diaz which is my public one and the other one is a little one that I have on my hip that I got when I was in Iowa City just on the spur of the moment because my friend was getting an eagle and I said I went to but I was. I was fixated on a photo shoot. I saw and look magazine with models that had tattoos at a time. When women didn't get tattoos little diamonds and club figures the figures from the cards. So I have a little club figure even means nothing to me you now but at the time. It seemed like a good idea. So if you're going to get a tattoo way until after you are self-employed and you are sure about that Tattoo. So my name's Gabby I'm from Detroit's. I came all the way here to see who I love your writing. Something keep your being here. My question is I grew up with two brothers and I totally get where. You're coming from like you kind of have to scream to be heard and just quick his. That's how you just get hurt so my question to you is how do you think you would be or your life would be if you grow up either with sisters or if you were to sell located you know. My sister passed away as a baby. our often wonder how my life would have been different had. She lived Because I my father's attention I was my father's daughter and I was treated very special by my father So often wonder about that. If if it would have been a space I have to share with my sister I don't know how that would be but I have women in my life. Who are my sisters? You know my friend yeahs not inside able and my cousin Lee Cha who appeared in house on Manga Street as my cousin Leach and then she got younger and younger became any as originally in the in the original of first few stories she was there as a someone to shares secrets with and to talk about our changing bodies. So I think I think it would have helped me to have a sister. I Miss Things that sisters do but I get that through women in my life. Hor- my spiritual sisters and I love when they come over and we all share stories or just sit in bed and Chad. I just. I missed that. I didn't grow up with that I on the other hand. Maybe I wouldn't have become a writer because the writing came from my loneliness as an only daughter and I also spend a lot of time talking to trees and That allowed to become a poet. I think people who talked to trees are destined to become artist. Thank you for being here. I I'm fascinated by this idea that you described of being a woman being an immigrant everywhere. I am. Us born of Colombian parents and spent my life going back and forth and have often said that. When I was in Colombia I was writing when I was here. I was Colombiana Colombian sort of being six of one and half dozen of the other never being fully hole. So this is fascinating for me I wonder what your journey was. If you wouldn't mind sharing with us that took you back to Mexico and where you have felt most native. Well I was always looking for the place where I felt I belonged and I didn't feel I belonged in Chicago. My brothers and my cousins and family and uncles and mother and father. We're all fine but I felt something was off I always wanted to leave and go somewhere else. My original plan with my nea grant was to move to San Francisco. Because I heard there were a lot of chicano writers there. There was my dream but Someone talked me out of that and they said Oh. You can do that anytime. You should travel with it. I thought that's true. I can go there anytime. I'm going to travel especially because I'm afraid to travel and when I came back from traveling I was back where I started in Chicago and I said I gotTa Get. Outta here and the first job. I applied for a Job. I didn't want and I think there's a rule and anytime you apply for a job you don't want your sure to get it and I didn't know what was San Antonio I had no idea and I got the job but I knew I was looking at trouble from the history of the place where it would be employed a lot of skirmishes and they'll skirmishes were documented in the press and I thought well I'll just work here a year and then I'll take off and go to California well twenty five years later I did take off and go to California to New Mexico and to Michigan. And but you know the reason why. I stayed in San Antonio was. If you're an artist you have to look for low overhead. You have to work two or three jobs and you need low overhead so you can take time off and finish projects. So that's why I kept coming back to San Antonio. I would tell my friends. If you find me a place to live in Austin and San Antonio for two hundred dollars a month I'll come and they would or I would find it or someone would say you know. I'm going away for the summer Would you like to house sit and you might need to find housesitting jobs? That's a way you can finish it. And people who own several homes need to let writer stay in their homes because afterwards they'll put your name in acknowledgement and that may be the only way you're going to get in a book so I think we need to share our homes. You know. Of course you got to do a little bit of reviewing make sure they're not gonNA dance on table but most writers most mature writers just need low overhead and a place to write and I forgot your question. What was your question? What got your back to Mexico here. I'm getting our to Mexico. I'm getting there my stories very curious as well once. I got to California. I thought this isn't me? He got of course they has what they had first and foremost especially two hands. And I said you know this feels like Mahyco book when I paint my house a Mexican color or get in trouble so they have forgotten their Mexican history here so I need to go. I need to go somewhere. Where there's indigenous population and I thought of Tucson not crazy about Arizona politics but I loved Tucson and I said maybe Tucson but then I was invited to the very state where my mother's parents were from one to Book Fair Day and I went there and I said I'm just I'm just GonNa come here and investigate a little bit my ancestors and I was there for the book fair and liked it so much. I came back month later and in the middle of the night. Member the spirits that wake you up remember that start while they will be up and I don't really know who it was. Maybe it wasn't a spirit. Maybe it was signed me again. Maybe it was a grandparent's maybe I don't know who I'm not gonNA say. I know who woke me up but I'm asleep. I think my natural state is being asleep and being awake is hard but sleeping is great at great dreams a lot of details and just wonderful dialogue original pieces of our Music Censor Rama mood. I can taste terrific better than the movies so of course you want to sleep. But I'M ANN. Mcgann staying up airbnb and a very spiritual part of town. That were the original Montiel's original springs. Were the original town was founded and I woke up in the middle of the night. Worried awake at turn on the light. What's this what's going on? Well might as well meditate because his dark up before I could even start meditating. A voice came in my head. It was not an English it was not in Spanish. It just was a mental voice and it said very clearly. You are not your house now. That message for anyone else might have been confusing. But for me I was involved with two foundations. I was expecting to leave my first home to the city of San Antonio and working to make a literary Arts Center. We were planning the design of the garden for seven generations. We were so involved. Everything surprising and I was and that statement you are not your house was like someone took a bucket of cold water and I realized Oh I am not my house. I can leave leaving all of the paperwork when you have a five. Oh One C. Three Oh two. Oh I said so wonderful. I'M GONNA to leave an. I'm moving to Mexico so the first thing I did when I came back I told my friends who are all the volunteers. Guess what I'm moving to Mexico and I told them the story and they said No. The voice didn't tell you move to Mexico it said you're not sure how oh show. Well I'M GONNA finish this book and Mexico and when I finished the book then I'm going to investigate if I'm gonNA live in Tucson or Portland I'll I'll go but it has to be somewhere. I think I need to be somewhere where there's indigenous community so by the time. I finished the book. Everyone except me new. I was where I should be in time again. And now I want to move further south to Oaxaca. Because they're that's more indigenous. The languages are intact cultures much more impact than where I live where the tribes have forgotten their languages and their customs. So I think something keeps pulling me South in south south and I feel. I belong where there's indigenous people I know my mother's people. My mother was sixty something percent. I'm forty four percent from tribes far north as the border city. All the way to Mayan and south so something keeps calling me back. I think my work is one of communication. I hope of bridge building. I hope one of peacemaking and I don't know why it called me to go just yet. But whatever may he goes future is you know I for whatever hello. How long ago was that? I had that moment that will help me up in twenty thirteen and I moved. No no I moved in two thousand thirteen. The voice came in twenty eleven. That's right okay. So and you so you been living there since two thousand thirteen twenty thirteen. Unfortunately we need to kind of slowly to close. The school night would think to move to a different country because of voice wakes you up in the middle of the night only like me off. It sounds logical. No if I thought of it I'd have great deal doubt but it came from south. Wear out there and I'm not gonNA pretend I know who I do want to ask you. I should've I meant to say this when we began to speak. If you've just feel called to read anything poem or piece of your writing you don't have to and it's kind of late but while I do want to say something. I feel that it's very important for all of us to speak in this time and to be inspired by Elijah Cummings who spoken the language of Justice. He inspires me. And it's important for me to be here under talk to all of you because I feel this work is work of ministry and I think the writing is work of ministry but is just as important to reach people. That aren't gonNA come to the book and so I want to thank you for allowing me this opportunity to do that ministry work. We're living in such dark times. I think of the quote of my mentor. Leonard Poignant thousand one. The student massacre happened in sixty eight and she wrote her book because she said she didn't want to be an accomplice to impotency. And I don't know how you feel at night but I feel terrible that their children. They're separated from their parents and a one of the most reviled chapters of our lifetime that we're witnessing and we want to be accomplices to impotency. We have to do something something has to be done. And I hope that my speaking tonight will motivate each of you to write the planet too. If you witness someone like that man at the Gold Coast. Hotdogs speak out or write a poem about it your do something positive even if that means only treating everyone you meet tonight and tomorrow and the day after as human beings. I think I might read something they would love to hear you which follows on that and I cannot remember where he found this. But you said I don't know anything but I know this whatever is done with love in the name of others without self gain whatever is done with the heart on behalf of someone or something be at a child. Animal Vegetable Rock Person Cloud whatever work we make with complete humility will always come out beautifully and something more valuable than fame or money will come this. I Know House on Mongo Street taught me that and I share with everyone it. It's true some people do with their students and people with their children. But I wrote house when I was in a moment of powerlessness and I think we feel that way now. But that's always a sacred time when our heart is being broken. Were State of grace. Were being open to feel things deeply and I think the United States is living with its heart split into right now and maybe the Sufi say God breaks the heart again and again until it stays open. So maybe we're living that time Sandra Cisneros thank you so much for your work and for being with US tonight. Thank you for this opportunity.