Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve Day Reflections. Best Poems of 2013.

Twenty-thirteen Day Three Hundred Sixty-five
Michael Sedano

Sunday through Saturday, La Bloga arrives daily on your virtual driveway with a ¡tlac! when you click that link bringing you here. Thank you for reading La Bloga.

In 2013, La Bloga completed our ninth year of daily publication, having met with over 975,000 readers in that time, who've looked at one and a half millon pages. This doesn’t count the eyes reading numerous mirror sites and aggregators who pick up our columns to run on their own feed. Interest in Chicana Chicano, Latina Latino literature, cultura, y más extends around the globe!

The eleven writers of La Bloga extend our wishes to you for vigorous health and awesome opportunities in 2014. We're here every day, reporting from Los Angeles, Kansas City, Lincoln, Phoenix, Denver, Santa Barbara, Pasadena:
Sunday: Amelia M.L. Montes and Olga Gárcia Echeverría
Monday: Daniel Olivas and Xánath Caraza
Tuesday: Michael Sedano
Wednesday: René Colato Laínez and Lydia Gil
Thursday: Ernest Hogan’s Chicanonautica
Friday: Manuel Ramos and Melinda Palacio
Saturday: Rudy Ch. Garcia

La Bloga welcomes Guest Columnists. If you have a book review, a cultural report, an extended response to a La Bloga column, we welcome your work. Click the mug shots at the top of the page, or here, to email your inquiry. Eight of La Bloga's eleven regular columnists started as Guest Columnists.

Consejos for the New Year

I send along the following consejos for the new year, in lieu of New Year Resolutions:
  • You deserve more. How much is up to you.
  • View "problems" as opportunities; this way you'll find ways to fix what's not satisfactory and define your own outcomes.
  • Have a plan, work the plan. If you fail, understand why, rather than be a clueless winner.
  • With the right tools, you can do anything.
  • It's the "U" in "fun" that counts.

My Favorite Column of 2013

May 7, Lupe of Happy Valley (click for link)

I’m a photographer whose memory holds onto the time and place of the good ones. It’s a treat to look at a photograph and remember the day, the light, the feel of the lens, the conversation with subjects. The twin murals in Happy Valley I photographed in the 1970s stayed with me.

Back then, I was still new to LA and stumbled across a road behind Lincoln High School that led me to a retaining wall back in the hills. Two murals were in progress, one of la Virgen, the other of Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl. While photographing the murals, two kids, teenagers, emerged to chat with me and agreed to have their portrait taken. I never got their names but their images remained vivid in mind. Every so often, I'd think about that wall, those kids, the baby in another foto.

What has become of these people, forty years after I snapped the shutter? I’d love to be able to give them a print of the foto, for my own sentimental value if not theirs.

This year I returned to the intersection to find Mary in tragic disrepair, el Huiclamina and his dead girlfriend painted over, the home where the teenagers lived an uninhabitable derelict.

Wonder of wonders, someone recognized the teenagers in the foto. “This is Marty and Gilbert Morales,” a Facebook viewer wrote, then another joined the conversation, and another. A bit of repartée engaged among the three people, on Marty’s fate.

A sad fact emerged, “Marty passed away 2/18/2013.” Three months later, I would run the Lupe of Happy Valley column.

I hope to find these adults in 2014 and give them a souvenir of their brother, qepd, and themselves. That would be picture perfect.

The Gluten-free Chicano’s Favorite Column of 2013

Being gluten intolerant is puro bad news no matter how you parse it, yet there’s a silver lining, in that The Gluten-free Chicano’s native diet, Mexican and Chicano food, is in large degree, normally and naturally gluten free.

Now, this is not to say gluten-afflicted gente can just order away at a restaurant. Sadly, almost every Mexican restaurant from El Lay to El Paso, Alburque to Phoenix, uses wheat flour to thicken red and green chile sauce. That should be against the law, and for sure, it's a sin, but there it is, wheat in the comida is ubiquitous, and everywhere, too.

Throughout 2013, The Gluten-free Chicano shared numerous recipes, from the naturally GF nopales y tortas de camarón, to a zucchini tortilla offered as a suitable analog for flour tortillas.

Last January 21, The Gluten-free Chicano featured menudo because, owing to the frequency of pachangas at this time of year, the table often includes, or should, a big steaming pot of menudo. And, for those who indulge heavily in spirits of the season, forget the hair of the tail, serve up a big hearty bowl of menudo for la cruda.

On-line Floricanto: Best Poems of 2013

Since 2010, La Bloga’s On-line Floricanto has been a reader favorite. In years past, Francisco X. Alarcón and his co-moderators of the Facebook group Poets Responding to SB 1070 Poetry of Resistance, nominated five poets for the weekly honor. Late this year, Alarcón’s team elected to go monthly with their nominations.

La Bloga sees this as a golden opportunity to spotlight the work of individual poets. In 2013, La Bloga On-line Floricanto enjoyed the immense honor of sharing the work of six of the nation’s best poets, Edward Vidaurre, Carmen Calatayud, Luivette Resto, Iris de Anda, Nancy Aidé Gonzalez, and Jessica Ceballos.

Each poet selects five pieces to illustrate the scope and beauties of her or his work, often from a recent book, or current chapbook. The results have been enchanting and unparalleled, earning a collective “Best Poems of 2013" for each of the poets and poems.

Edward Vidaurre 9/24

Carmen Calatayud 10/8

Luivette Resto 10/15

Iris de Anda 10/29

Nancy Aidé Gonzalez 11/12

Jessica Ceballos 12/10

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