Bella Coming Mid-November.
Somos en escrito is pleased to announce our upcoming publication Bella Collector of Cuentos by Carmen Baca.
When she opens an old photo album, Bella falls into a world where the gente of New Mexican folklore are on the verge of disappearing if she, her family, and community forget them: Don Cacahuate y Doña Cebolla, Coyote, duendes, Santa Sebastiana/Santa Muerte, the deadly Malhora, Llorona, and Coco, among others. Ancianos of Bella’s family line teach her what no one else has told her about her culture: the practices of the curandera, the forecasting of the weather through Cabañuelas by the farmer, the history of the Spanish dialect spoken in northern New Mexico and almost nowhere else, and more. But will she survive to pass on the tales?
Bella is the youngest in her family, excluded from memories shared between her older siblings and parents, who only ask that she focus on her education. No one asks about Bella the person, Bella the silent observer, never chosen to play with her school peers or invited to parties. She avoids drawing attention to herself, using her long, dark hair as a shield of protection. But could things be different one day? Her first chance to try might be in this alternate realm that resembles her home, but isn’t quite the way she’s ever experienced it.
Here is what people are saying about Bella:
“Carmen Baca’s work captures reality, mythology and the mystery of years gone by using vivid language and feeling. One can smell every tree, thunderclouds rolling by, fresh tortillas on the grill, or the balls of fire as brujas approach.”
Nicolasa Chávez, Deputy State Historian, Author and Curator
“An AWESOME read, a New Mexico fantasy in which readers will follow Bella, this book’s heroine, as she wanders the magical alternative world of the Dead and Forgotten. There she meets ancestors and other spirits of animals—both domestic and wild—witches, ghosts, birds, monsters, a curandera, her aunt and her grandfather. Bella Collector of Cuentos: entertaining, knowledgeable, and awesome.”
Lani Kyea, NM artist
Carmen Baca taught high school and college English for thirty-six years before retiring in 2014. Her debut novel El Hermano, published in April 2017, was a 2018 finalist in the NM-AZ book awards program. Her third book, Cuentos del Cañón, received first place for short story fiction anthology in 2020 from the same program. To date, she has published five books and close to fifty short works in online literary magazines and anthologies. Her goal to make her mark on New Mexico literature comes from her desire to pass on elements of her Hispano culture which have disappeared almost entirely since she was a child. She believes we should embrace our culture, cherish our roots, and remember our elders to prevent losing important facets of our identities as Hispano people.
Palabras del Pueblo Writing Workshop is intended be financially accessible for raza to learn to better express themselves so our existence and values can be heard with clarity with no doubts to what they are and what we are. We intend the workshop to be a place to acquire tools, inspiration, and contacts for Chicana/o/x writers.
When & Where?
Classes will be held online on two long weekends (Friday, Saturday and Sunday): July 22-24 and 29-31 during the summer of 2022.
We are offering a creative nonfiction class this year in which you will learn about the art of the personal essay, expository essay with a team of three experienced and published instructors: Berte Reyes, Dr. Ernesto Mireles and Dave Weinstock. Students should come with three ideas they can write about.
Nonfiction Class Teachers
Ernesto Todd Mireles, MSW. Ph.D. has worked as a student, community, union, and electoral organizer. Coordinator of the Frantz Fanon Community Strategy Center at Prescott College, he organized for the United Farm Workers, United Steelworkers and American Federation of Teachers. Mireles is the co-director of the Social Justice Community Organizing Masters program where he teaches community organizing. He holds an MSW in organizational and community practice and a Ph.D. American Studies from Michigan State University. His book Insurgent Aztlan was awarded an International Latino Book Award this year placing second in the Best Political/Current Affairs category. Mireles does a weekly podcast called The Reality Dysfunction and is completing a documentary about student organizing called War of the Flea.
Berte Reyes is a Ph.D. candidate in Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English at the University of Arizona. Between studying hate and video game communities, they write fiction and poetry. They also cause a ruckus whenever necessary.
Born in Evanston, Illinois, Dave Weinstock grew up on a family-owned, organic dairy goat farm in southeastern Pennsylvania. He would join the first and second of the three unions he would belong to in his lifetime while earning the money to pay for his college education at Penn State University. The third union, the Michigan Education Association, he would join years later when he became a journalism professor at Central Michigan University. Three months after graduating from Penn State, Weinstock joined the Pennsylvania State Grange, then the state's largest farm organization, as its public relations director. Two of the three state Grange masters he served in that role taught him how state and federal government and land grant universities functioned and how to successfully execute local, state and federal political agendas. This knowledge would inform the legislative beat he covered for his next employer, Michigan Farmer Magazine, in Lansing, Michigan. There, he won four reporting and two photojournalism awards, added the livestock and forestry beats to his work history and left as the magazine's managing editor. In his next post, he parlayed an adjunct teaching position at Michigan State University into ultimately being admitted to its Mass Media Ph.D. program, which eventually awarded him an integrated Ph.D. in journalism and telecommunication. The next 20 years of his life would reveal his second obsession beyond journalism: teaching it to college students, which he did at three universities in Michigan and Texas. His community service includes two years on MeXicanos 2070's board of directors, four years on a Michigan township planning commission, six years as a Michigan 4-H livestock club leader and four years on two synagogue boards of directors. Currently, he splits his professional life between two glorious endeavors: building the Colegio Chicanos del Pueblo and continuing to honor the U.S. Constitution and the First Amendment with his continued pursuit of journalism and journalism education.
Who we are
Palabras del Pueblo Writing Workshop is a collaboration with Somos en escrito Literary Foundation and MeXicanos 2070.
Somos en escrito Literary Foundation is a small press and literary magazine dedicated to nurturing and raising awareness of raza writers. Started by Armando Rendon in 2009, several of its publications have placed in the International Latino Book Awards.
MeXicanos 2070 is a thinkcollective dedicated to preserving and enhancing Mexican American culture.
Born January 21, 1929
Died April 19, 2022
The Editors of Somos en escrito Magazine extend their condolences to the family and friends of Rolando Hinojosa-Smith.
Rolando Hinojosa has been one of the most prolific Chicano writers over the past 50 years with much of his work set against the backdrop of a fictional small town, Klail City, that he created in south Texas. He sought to portray his hometown, Mercedes, Texas, from the perspective of being one with the land and the people. At the same time, he projected the universality of life along the border.
An essayist, poet and teacher as well, Rolando taught writing as Ellen Clayton Garwood professor at the University of Texas at Austin. The National Book Critics Circle honored him in 2013 with its Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award. Hinojosa was the first Chicano author to receive the prestigious Premio Casa de las Américas award for Klail City y sus alrededores (Klail City), and received the third Premio Quinto Sol Annual Prize in 1973 for his work, Estampas del Valle y otras obras.
In a lengthy interview published in Americana E-Journal of American Studies in Hungary, Vol. IX, Number 1, Spring 2013, he told the interviewer when asked what he considered the most relevant, either practical or theoretical, aspects that he felt important to share with students: “I teach creative writing at my home institution along with other courses, but in creative writing, I stress reading; we began the class sponsored by Graz University stressing reading. Why? Because reading is imperative; one begins to read, enjoys it, is captivated by it, and one day, begins to write, to create, based, of course, on reading. Some people think that imagination is everything. It isn’t; imagination can only take one so far; one needs to read and to learn from reading and living one’s life and learning how others live.”
Is there any other practical wisdom, the interviewer asked, and Hinojosa declared: “Yes. I advise beginning writers to use clear, everyday language. To try not to show off how much one knows. An experienced reader will see through the phoniness of using high-toned language when none is called for. Writing is not about self-aggrandizement, that’s for amateurs. A professional has a story to tell, and learning how to tell it without resorting to pointing to oneself is an important part of writing.”
Here is a list of his major works, some in English only, others as “renditions” as he referred to his translations of his Spanish or English writings.
We Happy Few. 2006.
Dear Rafe/Mi querido Rafa. 2005.
Ask a Policeman. 1998.
Estampas del Valle. 1994.
El condado de Belken: Klail City. 1994.
The Useless Servants. 1993.
Los amigos de Becky. 1991.
Korea Liebes Lieder/Korean Love Songs. 1991.
Becky and her Friends. 1990.
Klail City. 1987.
This Migrant Earth. 1987.
Claros varones de Belken. 1986.
Dear Rafe. 1985.
Partners in Crime. 1985.
The Valley. 1983. (Hinojosa's own translation of Estampas del Valle)
Rites and Witnesses. 1982.
Crossing the Line: The Construction of a Poem. 1981.
Mi querido Rafa. 1981.
Klail City und Umgebung. 1981.
Generaciones y semblanzas. 1979.
Generaciones, notas y brechas. 1978.
Korean Love Songs. 1978.
Klail City y sus alrededores. 1976.
Estampas del Valle y otras obras. 1973.
Chicanofuturism is now!
The title sums up the underlying roots of this collection; it takes Spanish, Nahuatl and English to tell the whole tale. This collection is a coming out party for raza re-interpreters of the past, the now and the future.
The line-up of authors includes:
Ernest Hogan, Mario Acevedo, Frank S. Lechuga, Martin Hill Ortiz, Pedro Iniguez, Nicholas Belardes, Armando Rendón, Lizz Huerta, Emmanuel Valtierra, Rios de La Luz, Beatrice Pita, Rosaura Sánchez, R. Ch. Garcia, Ricardo Tavarez, Rosa Martha Villarreal, Carmen Baca, Scott Russell Duncan, Gloria Delgado, and Kathleen Alcalá.
TO SCHEDULE INTERVIEWS, READINGS, MORE INFORMATION
Listen to a discussion of El Porvenir, ¡Ya! featuring top writers from the collection on the Reality Dysfunction podcast.
El Porvenir, ¡Ya! is available in paperback and e-book formats through online distributors, such as Amazon, your favorite bookstore, and at the Somos en escrito online Tienda/Store. Check Bookshop and Barnes & Noble in the coming weeks.
Order your copy now and be a part of Chicanofuturism.
“Carlos Castañeda meets kaiju hunting in a rollicking adventure, this epic journey of discovery, transformation and destiny will keep readers at the edge of their seats and gasping at every new twist.”
DAVID BOWLES, author of Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky
“Death Song of the Dragón Chicxulub will remain on my reading table to enjoy time and again. Felicidades y bravos, García. Encore!”
LUCHA CORPI, author of Black Widow’s Wardrobe
Call For Submissions
Extra Fiction Contest