This week’s Sunday Rumpus essay made me especially attuned to other pieces that touch on immigration and power differentials. In “On Publishing a First Memoir,” Daisy Hernandez recalls a teenaged boy, an artist, who was in the U.S. without papers when he won a contest.
“He walked onto that stage, and for the first time, he mattered. ‘I was somebody,’ he said, standing by this work table in a T-shirt and jeans. He said it with such conviction, such insistence — ‘I was somebody’ — because he knew deep down inside that not everyone in the world agreed with him. His own papi didn’t agree with him. Who had ever paid the rent with art?”
Daisy has a memoir hot off the presses, A Cup of Water Under My Bed, which sounds great.
In this 2009 interview, Sandra Cisneros talks about how The House on Mango Street began with her need to assert her identity in a context where it felt invalidated.
“I had started Esperanza in Iowa at the University of Iowa, feeling very displaced and uncomfortable as a person of color, as a woman, as a person from working-class background. And in reaction to being there I started to have some Mango Street almost as a way of claiming this is who I am.”
I uncovered the interview thanks to the #dailybind Twitter feed, where Anna March of “Aural Fixations: The Rumpus Mixtape” fame posts near-daily links of interest to writers. If you’re looking for some high-class procrastination material, check it out.
I read Allison Parker’s review of Amor and Exile:True Stories of Love Across America’s Borders when it appeared in The Rumpus last spring, and I’ve had many reasons to think of it since. So many families are suffering under U.S. immigration laws.