Sunday, September 04, 2011

Saludos and Introductions by Amelia M.L. Montes

Saludos everyone--so glad to be here with La Bloga familia and with you! I am a born and raised Califas, Los Angeles Chicana lesbiana. Born to immigrant parents meant many trips during my childhood crossing borders to visit familia en Jalisco, Michoacan, Guanajuato, y Coahuila. En Califas, my parents created a very Mexican household (which included a "speak Spanish only" rule inside la casa). Leaving my house to walk to school every day was like leaving Mexico to go to the U.S. Perhaps this is why as an undergraduate at Loyola Marymount University I double-majored in English and Spanish literatures-- always making connections among cultures, languages, and many histories. And I loved writing about these complexities at an early age.

Since then I have taught in many schools in the L.A. area and in Colorado and now Nebraska (yes, Nebraska!). I am an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the current Director of the Institute for Ethnic Studies. Check out my website (click here)!

For you-- I'm interested in writing about Chican@ and U.S. Latin@ authors, film-makers, and the craft of writing: fiction and non-fiction. I also intersperse the discussion of creative writing with what could be considered "academic" writing. For example, right now I'm obsessed with a book regarding Diabetes by anthropologist and Chicano/Latino studies professor Michael Montoya. His book, Making the Mexican Diabetic: Race, Science, and the Genetics of Inequality is giving me so many new ideas regarding my creative multi-genre book on Diabetes. Montoya's journey into the maze of the genome diabetes project is an excellent response to the myth that diabetes is simply "in our (Mexican) blood."

"Genes do not cause chronic disease," Montoya writes. "Genes in certain bodies under certain conditions contribute to disease susceptibility" (187). "[C]ertain conditions" can mean that some of our familia are living in socially constructed areas where access to exercise is impossible and/or where the created economy makes hamburgers, french fries, and coke much more affordable than buying organic spinach, broccoli, grain-fed "no hormones" chicken and taking the time to cook these items. This is one reason the rate of individuals being diagnosed with diabetes is alarming. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) predicts that by 2050 the number of Americans with diabetes will triple to 48.3 million).

Oh yes--I write about Diabetes: creatively. I am currently almost finished (really almost done!!) with a multi-genre creative memoir called, _The Diabetes Chronicles_. Its main theme is "inheritance" -- inheritance within the diabetic cellular, genetic, historical, societal, and cultural parameters. I'm interested in what we all do with what we have inherited and in this case the inheritance of diabetes. Why such interest in Diabetes besides the fact that this is so widespread within our Chican@ and Latin@ communities? I am an "out of the closet" diabetic (type 2) and really want to share and talk about this chronic disease that is affecting all of us. I'm offering my type 2 diabetes journey in hopes that I can recruit you to "come out" or to help others.

Another Chicana who is writing about Diabetes is poet, Ir'ene Lara Silva, whose book of poetry "furia" was profiled by another of La Bloga's writers, Olga Garcia Echeverria (October 17). Ire'ne has been in contact with me regarding her poems on Diabetes. More on this in two weeks!

So there is much to talk about! I look forward to being with you. A shout out "Orale y gracias" to tatiana de la tierra for inviting me to La Bloga y tambien to Michael Sedano for your guidance in getting settled into La Bloga. Abrazos a tod@s!


msedano said...

Amelia, bienvenida to La Bloga, and welcome, too!

Melinda Palacio said...

Great Start, Amelia!