“We are essayists. We can make a difference,” Stephanie Elizondo Griest said in her electrifying keynote talk that capped the three-day NonfictioNOW Conference in Phoenix recently. I’m a fiction writer. But I went – an interloper, a mole – to glean what I could about writing essays. Not to forsake fiction. I’ll always wants to …

Continue reading

Claudia Castro Luna’s book Killing Marias is subtitled A Poem for Multiple Voices. Each page addresses the lost life of one of the women or girls disappeared and murdered in Juárez, Mexico on the other side of the border from El Paso, Texas. Claudia invited me, writer Catalina Cantú, and dancer Milvia Pacheco to share …

Continue reading

Well, summer is officially over and, as usual, it went by in a blur. But in that blur, there were some, as Virginia Woolf described them, “moments of being,” things felt intensely and shot through with awareness. In June, my daughter Natalie and I spent her birthday in Tijuana and Rosarito, sampling street tacos, drinking …

Continue reading

It’s a pile-on of abuse – children torn from their parents at the border, women’s reproductive rights incrementally eroded, health care revoked, environmental protections stripped away. It’s violence upon people (mostly black and brown), country, and planet that is built upon or supported by the daily lies that pour forth from the rumpled lips of …

Continue reading

You could say I asked for it, that I knew what I was getting into. Still, I went. To the San Miguel de Allende Writers’ Conference. I wrote about it in a previous post. I’d long known about the conference. And I’d long wanted to experience San Miguel de Allende, its picturesque cobblestone streets, its …

Continue reading

Gravitational pull I hadn’t been to Mexico since 1976 when I attended a summer session in Guadalajara after completing an undergraduate degree in zoology. I signed up for Mexican History and Intermediate Spanish but spent most of the time hanging out with a Chicana from L.A. We had spotted each other the first day across …

Continue reading

I recently spent eight days in the Philippines. That’s eight days out of 64 years of my life. I’ve made a list of over a dozen topics I want to write about. Is it arrogantly absurd that the topics number more than the days I was there? How do I swoop in and out of …

Continue reading

November 1 is the one-year anniversary of the publication of Hola and Goodbye! I’m marking the occasion by matching some favorite photos of events I did over the past year with excerpts from stories in the book. One of the first events I did was at the North Carolina Writers Network Conference where I sat …

Continue reading

I’m going to the Philippines in November for the first time. It’s past time. The scenes in my first book When the de la Cruz Family Danced that were set in the Philippines were wholly imagined. They could’ve been based on first-hand experience if four decades ago I’d chosen differently When I finished college, my …

Continue reading