Wednesday, May 29, 2013

What kind of reader are you?

                                                                                 
                             "I write to discover what I know." Flannery O'Connor

 There are mainly two kinds of readers. The ones who read to evade reality and the ones who read to examine it.
   I belong to the second group, and I gravitate towards writers who dwell on reality. As a fiction writer, reality is the hub and the gist of my stories. I build upon it, disguise it, recreate it, shed light on it, and, ultimately, I carve out something meaningful. Even if I venture to write speculative fiction, reality is the shadow and the inspiration of it.
  Writing and reading can be journeys of insightful discoveries.
   Regardless of our preferences, all fiction writers and poets have parallel lives in their alternative universes...
   What kind of reader are you? Do you prefer to evade reality or do you like to dive into it?

Friday, May 24, 2013

Books I've been reading




  If you enjoy reading real life stories, this book is for you. Jill Ker Conway put together the autobiographies of twenty-five American women whose lives have been remarkable.
   These life stories will stun you, make you laugh, cry and enchant you. I promise you that this book will energize you.
   These autobiographies transport you to different places in the United States in the nineteenth and the twentieth century.Going back in time and being in these women's shoes broadened my outlook and perspectives. I was inspired by their courage, resilience and passions. 
 Their words will entertain you and educate you. Above all, they will fuel your own passions and fill you with hope.
 Before each woman’s story Jill Ker Conway  wrote an essay on the historical context  and a biographical sketch. You will dive into the lives of writers, physicians, scientists, reformers, anthropologists, musicians, artists, and former slaves.
    Some of the women included in this anthology are Margaret Mead, Dorothy Reed Mendenhall, Margaret Floy Washburn, Harriet Ann Jacobs, Maya Angelou, Maxine Hong Kingston, Lucy Larcom, Margaret Bourke-White, Anne Walter Fearn, Margaret Sanger and many others.


 I've been somewhat obsessed with  Emily Dickinson's poetry lately. This is a book of essays on Emily Dickinson's poetry. It has an introduction by Harold Bloom. These essays analyze Dickinson's poems and provide interesting insights into her thoughts, perspectives and life experience. I found it riveting.






   
                                      This is an excellent selection of poems from all over the world. These vivid poems dig deep into the human soul, life and love while expressing an intimate connection to nature. Through metaphors and insightful reflections we are invited to view life as an intriguing journey of possibilities. I enjoyed reading and re-reading this selection and now I look forward to checking more of Roger Housden's poetry anthologies.
  Some of the poets included here are Emily Dickinson, Mary Oliver, William Wordsworth, Robert Frost, T.S. Eliot, David Whyte, Antonio Machado, Juan Ramon Jimenez, Rumi and many others. Some of these poems are intoxicating. I feel compelled to read them many times.

                                             


                   
 
               Edited by Catherine Bowman, Word of Mouth is an anthology that includes very different voices. Some of the stories narrated by these poems are shocking and will stay in your head. I am intrigued to read more work by some of these poets because their stories piqued my curiosity. (What I love about anthologies is that they introduce me to writers I've never read before).



I was going to add a list of books I'd like to read but this blog post is too long already. (Some of the books I'm planning to read were written by bloggers I follow). I will write this list on one of my next posts...
Are you planning to read anything in the near future? Would you like to recommend a book?
 Have a beautiful weekend.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Wild Geese


"Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things."
Mary Oliver

  I read an uplifting post the other day, and I'd like to share it with you. You can read it here.

Four months ago I announced the 2013 Short Story Contest of the Southern Pacific Review. "The Wanderer" is the story that won the competition. Enjoy it here.
 Congratulations to HM Gruendler-Schierloh.


Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Something different




Today I am guest blogging on Squalorly, a literary magazine. Please, come and read me here. I will appreciate your comments. 
Thank you!

Friday, May 10, 2013

Two poems


"What we have once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose. For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us." Helen Keller
 This week I had two poems accepted by The Voices Project. One of them will be published the week of May 27th, 2013. I don't know about the other one yet.

Have a beautiful weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Spring


Spring is here. Do you like to contemplate the transformation of nature?



Friday, May 3, 2013

Open Windows, my flash fiction piece in Epiphany Magazine


 My flash fiction piece "Open Windows" was published in the May issue of Epiphany Magazine .You can read it here. It is available for free online.
 Warning: this blog entry is not a lighthearted one. It is related to the theme of Open Windows.

  I would like to write about the woman who inspired me to write this story: Susana Trimarco. Susana Trimarco was a conventional woman living in Tucuman, an Argentine province, until her life changed forever on April 3, 2002.
 On this date, her twenty-three year old daughter, Maria de Los Angeles Veron (Marita), went to a medical appointment but never reached her destination. (The picture I posted on this blog entry is a photo of Marita Veron).
  Her partner and her parents reported her disappearance to the police on that same day, but the police officer made fun of them. He said she might have run away with another man.
  A witness reported that Marita had been forced to get into a red car by a group of men. Far from supporting Susana, the police ignored her. Susana decided to take the matter into her own hands. 
  While investigating the matter, Susana raised her grandchild, Micaela. Micaela was only two years old when her mother, Marita, disappeared.
   There is plenty of evidence that Marita has been kidnapped and forced into prostitution. In other words, she has been sold as a commodity and used as a sex slave.
  Even though Susana received several death threats, she  never gave in to fear. As a result of her search, she discovered a criminal network of Human Trafficking and, over time, she was able to release hundreds of women and girls.
  Risking her own life, she visited brothels to gather information and find her own daughter. She pretended she had the intention to buy girls or women. In doing so, she ended up saving more victims, but not Marita. Anahi, a young woman who was set free after being a victim of sexual trafficking reported that she had seen Marita in the same brothel where they had been used as sex slaves. Some of the victims are sold to networks in other countries.
     Susana started a foundation called Fundacion Maria de los Angeles, an organization that rescues victims of human trafficking and provides counseling and social assistance.
    In 2008 Susana Trimarco’s efforts led to legislation that prohibits human trafficking in Argentina. Since then, 3,000 people have been saved, but the problem still exists. (Marita disappeared when the act of trafficking  was not  even contemplated by the Argentine law; hence, it was not considered illegal).
   In 2007, on International Woman’s Day, the US Department of State honored Trimarco with the International Women of Courage Award.
   In 2012 Canada honored her with the John Diefenbaker Defender of Human Rights and Freedom Award.
   Unfortunately, her husband, Marita’s father, died in 2010. Yet Susana Trimarco never stopped searching for their daughter. In December 2012, despite the overwhelming evidence against those who were involved in the kidnapping and trafficking of Marita Veron, the judges dismissed all the information provided by the witnesses, and the accused ones were all released.
    Susana Trimarco has been nominated for the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize, but the only award that she yearns for is to find her daughter. Eleven years after her disappearance she is still looking for her. And she will never give up.

Important note: this is not an isolated case. Forced prostitution and human trafficking are real ongoing problems that exist not just in developing countries but also in the United States and Europe. Here's a link to clarify some misconceptions: http://www.ksmm.admin.ch/ksmm/en/home/themen/menschenhandel/irrmeinungen.html