|Book Club of Stanford Raza Alumni, SoCal |
front: Juanita Naranjo, Margie Hernandez, Concepción Valadez.
back: Angelique Flores, Manuel Urrutia, Roberto Cantu, Michael Sedano.
Southern California’s Stanford Latina Latino Alumni Book Club enjoyed the company of Alfredo Véa recently. The club read a pair of Véa’s novels, La Maravilla (1993), and Gods Go Begging (1999). Roberto Cantu, whose friendship with Véa made possible the invitation, joined the group.
Cantu points out that, with The Silver Cloud Café, the trilogy constitutes a Chicano Buddenbrooks, in that the three novels track the career of the Beto character from a boy in Arizona to a criminal defense attorney in San Francisco, haunted by the lawyer’s time at war in Vietnam.
The author was highly engaging in his discussion of those novels, his upcoming work, and answering questions about his process:
Véa doesn’t employ an outline; he goes at the process a todo dar and would be handcuffed if he had to follow an outline. Characters grow out of the writer’s mind and experiences as well as the characters’ own demand to be given life. Exhaustive research is the fundament of all effective writing; a writer has to know what she or he is writing about.
Most obvious in the development of a book is the author’s life. Véa sat at the dining table at Barbara and Michael Sedano’s chante, quietly telling the Stanford alumns of the fear an infantryman experiences as a helicopter descends in the pre-dawn darkness, knowing there’s an ambush waiting.
Rounds pound into the bottom of the huey penetrating into the cabin as the machine approaches the ground; how a soldier in combat can be talking to a friend and in an instant see the man’s face ripped off his head when a bullet finds it.
Véa served in the Americal Division with other raza, with black soldiers, and Okie working-class boys. Daily attacks, vicious fire fights, 30 dead adversaries for each GI KIA marks the US’ bloodiest Division in Vietnam.
That 1:30 kill ratio math was unnecessary—we knew then, we know now. The experience sends the author into literary flights of “what if” fiction. What if there was a machine that could rewind events, go back in time to change one small thing? There’s a novel in the notion.
Alfredo Véa’s next novel, Mexican Flyboy, comes to the public March 2016. The Stanford raza alumni barely controlled their enthusiasm at the prospect of reading the author’s newest work. If nothing changes in the current timeline, the group looks forward to inviting Mr. Véa back for another spirited, and at times raucous, tertullia.
Southern California Stanford raza alumni who enjoy reading Latina Latino writers and discussing same while sipping fine wines and enjoying good chow, and who want to learn more about the book club’s activities, click here.
News & Notes
San Marcos TX
Tomás Rivera Award At Twenty
Daniel Guerrero, Mayor of San Marcos, Texas issued a proclamation designating September 26, 2015 as Tomás Rivera Children's Book Award Day. Per the organizers, the proclamation reflects a collaboration between The City of San Marcos, Texas State University, San Marcos CISD, Texas AFT, and the Tomás Rivera Children's Book Award--working together to make a spectacular 20th anniversary celebration of the book award.
The conference will be on September 25 and registration closed because it filled to capacity.
The fair is September 26 and is free and open--so everyone come to the San Marcos Public Library and the San Marcos Activity Center from 10:00am--3:00pm on that Saturday.
The organizers urge gente to arrive early and join the parade! There will be a parking shuttle at the Coliseum Lot on Aquarena and Charles Austin streets.
Sor Juana All Month Long and Then Some
As September's song approaches its final coda, two months remain in Chicagoland's ongoing celebration of the American genius poet, scholar, imagined larger-than-life figure, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.
Visit the festival's website to select interesting activities from a large menu of choices.
Los Angeles CA
Read Your Stuff Aloud Workshop
La Bloga's Michael Sedano will conduct this workshop at Avenue 50 Studio in Los Angeles' Highland Park. Sedano conducted read your stuff aloud workshops at the National Latino Writers Conference, and writes regularly about performance in conjunction with his foto project that aims to photograph every Los Angeles poet or writer in front of an audience, until he captures what he calls "the perfect public speaker portrait."
Sedano is a lifelong oral communication teacher and coach. He holds a Ph.D. in Communication Arts and Sciences from the University of Southern California. Michael Sedano retired from the world of work where he was responsible for the communication strategies and practices of an international corporation.
Here are details from Avenue 50:
To reserve your spot just make a donation of ANY amount. You can pay as little as you can or as much as you'd like. The suggested donation is $5.00. Each donation will be good for ONE reservation. Your donations help to support literary arts programming, making workshops like these accessible for the entire community - now and in the long term at Avenue 50 Studio. We look forward to seeing you at the workshop.
Click here to reserve your seat.
Click here to reserve your seat.
Heartbreak3: Reading From The Anthologies
Heartbreak has been a labor of love, and heartbreak, for Karineh Mahdessian, for much of 2015.
When Mahdessian, who organizes the popular monthly La Palabra readings, issued an open call for heartbreak poetry the flood of responses allowed Mahdessian to divide the project into three anthologies, a women's heartbreak anthology, a men's heartbreak anthology, and a couples' anthology:
Ache (women's anthology)--$7
Blaque (men's anthology)--$9
Fuse (combined anthology)--$8
Click here for information on purchasing your copies of all three, or a select volume.
A hot humid Saturday night arrived at Avenue 50 Studio, along with a standing room only audience who came with open hearts, broken hearts, mending hearts, and heartfelt poetry.
Presenting that evening were 35 poets and one infant (who sang throughout the evening before making her debut in dad's arms.) La Bloga attended camera in hand, and managed to capture some of the names to go with their faces. Apologies to the artists whose portraits appear in today's gallery, unnamed. La Bloga-Tuesday will update the captions as I match the names to the images, who include:
Don Kingfisher Campbell and Maja Trochimczyk, Jessica Ceballos, Dennis Cruz, Annette Cruz and Heather Parker, Kelly Grace Thomas and Donny Jackson, Nelson Alburquenque, Regina Higgins, James Maverick, Teresa Mei Chuc, Seven Dhar, Dane Baylis, Mariella Sanchez, T. Akira, Emily Fernandez, Toti O'Brien, Ángel García, Lisbeth Coiman, Peter J. Harris and Iris De Anda, Luis Antonio Pichardo and Trista Hurley-Waxali, Christopher Wayne Thompson, Imrith Rode'America, Luivette Resto and Reynaldo Macias, Mario Angel Escobar and Gloria Enedina Alvarez, Abel Salas and Jasmin Iraheta, Michael Ian Churchman, Sean Hill, Dragn Billy, and Jesus Aldana-Alba.
|Abel Salas, Jasmin Iraheta|
|Alexandra Hohmann, C.W. Thompson|
|Donny Jackson, Kelly Grace Thomas|
|Peter J. Campbell, Iris De Anda|
|Luivette Resto, Reynaldo Macias|
|Karineh Mahdessian, Jesús Aldana-Alba|
|Gloria Enedina Alvarez, Mario Angel Escobar|
|Don Kingfisher Campbell, Maja Trochimczyk|
|Imrith Rode’America, Judith Rode'America|
Foto notes: in difficult lighting situations like this, I set the camera to manual settings. These are set for ISO to 3200, 1/25 f/4.5. The Canon T2i adjusts the aperture in response to a poet moving into or out of the various illumination "hot spots". The relatively slow shutter requires a steady finger on the release switch, and holding the camera firmly, to minimize shake and camera movement.
Readers who are tied to the manuscript rarely make eye contact with their listeners. Techniques to overcome this are something the "Read Your Stuff Aloud" workshop addresses.