Road Notes: Ocotillo Dreams Tour with friend Donna, Phoenix and a new round of Migrant Sweeps, Ruben Quesada to Read in New Orleans and Book Reviews for Ocotillo Dreams
The Southwest portion of the Ocotillo Dreams Tour was splendid. I arrived in New Orleans last Wednesday. I wouldn’t have been able to make the tightly clustered road tour without my friend from New Orleans who shared the driving with me, made sure I arrived to places on time, and cheered me with her pleasant demeanor. Donna flew to LAX from New Orleans, where I picked her up for our road trip East. She was even put to work in Mesilla, arranging cheese and cracker platters and later in San Antonio, when the two clerks at the Twig bookstore asked if “my representative” would introduce me. Donna, having listened to my spiel and introduction for the past week, was able to list most of my accolades and my biography with no problem. I’m very grateful for my friends. Donna enjoyed meeting Las Comadres in Phoenix. We attended our first Comadrazo at the home of Maria Montenegro in, of all places, Chandler, Arizona, the setting of Ocotillo Dreams. La mera comadre and moderator of the literature panel, Nora Comstock attended as well as Laura Lopez Cano, painter and creator of the beautiful Las Comadres logo, who gave a crafting workshop.
After the fun panel at the National Hispanic Women’s Conference in Phoenix with fellow authors Kathy Cano-Murillo and Sandra Rodriguez Barron, we all sat together at the event’s fashion show and watched incredibly thin girls strut in equally thin clothes while we devoured the banquet fare of churros, mini chimis, chips and salsa.
Downtown Phoenix and Chandler, Arizona were much changed since I lived there in 1997 with much more sprawl and development. The Hyatt, the conference’s hotel, had a rotating compass room at the top of the 24th floor. Anyone would be impressed at city’s offerings. There’s bound to be something for everyone on each developed square inch. Too bad there was no one seated at the outside downtown tables of the ghost town city. In October, Phoenix is as tolerable and balmy as it gets. But who could feel at ease in the city where nonsense rules?
The day after the National Hispanic Women’s Conference ended, Sheriff Joe Arpaio was at it again, conducting sweeps and arrests of 87 people on Friday, October 7. According to the Associated Press, 19 out of the 87 people were undocumented and the US Justice is conducting a civil rights investigation of Arpaio’s office.
With Ocotillo Dreams set during the 1997 INS Sweeps of Chandler, Governor Jan Brewer’s passing of SB1070 in 2010, and last weeks renewed efforts to target Latinos, I doubt the investigation will prevent further violations of constitutional rights.
Since I’m short for time, and continue on a tight schedule, I will save writing about New Mexico and Texas for another blog post. Mesilla, Albuquerque’s balloon fiesta, San Antonio, and a beach break in Galveston are all coming up.
For the next three weeks, I will be in New Orleans. This week I have three events. Thursday, October 13, at Octavia Books at 6pm. On Saturday, October 15, I will be at the Garden District Book Shop from 2pm to 4pm, and Sunday at the National Women’s Book Association at the Newcomb Center for Research on Women at 10:30 am.
Later, I will head over to the Maple Leaf Bar on Oak Street to listen to Ruben Quesada read from his new book of poems, Next Extinct Mammal at 3pm.
Ocotillo Dreams in the News…
Book Review: El Paso Times: ‘Dreams’ gives us another at troubled borderlands by Rigoberto González
Book Review: NewsTaco: Ocotillo Dreams a Poetic, Political, Riveting Novel by Yago Cura
NPR Radio Interview with WWNO’s Susan Larson: The Reading Life
National Book Critics Circle: Small Press Spotlight
Albuquerque Journal: A Daughter's Emotions Add Texture to Immigration Tale by David Steinberg