New Jersey, New York, Texas, New Mexico, and Illinois. Oh, only five states this month: I am glad I am slowing down. It has been an exhilarating fall, as I have read across the country and reconnected with old friends and made many new ones. That is the part I love about traveling non-stop for new books: I get to talk to readers in person. I have had 'Internet friendships' for years, but now I can meet these friends face-to-face.
My best experiences so far? Eating Alma's chocolate cake in Kingsburg, California and talking to David Dominguez's classes for four hours, until I was hoarse. Also, my book party. That was another highlight. Friends from across New York City arrived ready to party in my apartment building, and bought 55 books! I was overwhelmed, and grateful. In San Francisco, it was a treat to have a quiet dinner with my accomplished high school friend Adan Griego. Finally, my three panels at the Texas Book Festival: one for From This Wicked Patch of Dust, another for Crossing Borders: Personal Essays, and the last one for the You Don't Have A Clue anthology. Every panel was stimulating and thoughtful. I loved the audience questions, and relished the many conversations I had at the Barnes and Noble's signing tent in front of the state capitol. It was one of the best book festival experiences so far, and kudos to the organizers of Texas Book Festival for putting on such a great show and for their support of libraries. They certainly have their hearts in the right place.
A French scholar is writing a book about Latino literature and my work, among others, and so he is interviewing me in December. I had a testy, but fun interview with the prolific, quick-witted writer Roberto Ontiveros for the indy newsweekly the San Antonio Current, where I said: “I see in the United States a culture of stupidity that we have come to accept as the norm. In fact, most of us don’t know anything different, and so we even don’t have a sense of loss, how our minds have atrophied. We used to expect much from our writers and readers, in terms of patience, in terms of understanding and debating ideas, in terms of assumed knowledge. But no more. We’ve raced to the bottom.” That day I had read too much Emerson and spotted too many images of the Kardashians on the Internet, television, and even in bookstores. Am I wrong? Also, Crossing Borders is now available as an e-book. And finally, I was the featured author on The Latino Author website: The Latino Author.com. Thank you all: October was a helluva month. Here is my schedule for November:
November 1, 2011, 7 PM---New Jersey City University, Weiss Center for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Jersey City, NJ: New Jersey City University.
November 3, 2011, 6:30 PM--Co-honoree (with Aubrey Hawes), for contributions to the Hudson Valley Writers’ Center, Benefit Gala 2011, Mark Twain-on-Hudson, Tappan Hill Mansion, Highland Avenue, Tarrytown, NY.
November 4, 2011, 7:00 PM--University of Texas at El Paso, Quinn 212, El Paso, TX.
November 5, 2011, 9 AM---Keynote Speaker, Region 19-Education Service Center’s 14th Annual Parent Engagement Conference, Canutillo High School, 6675 South Desert Blvd. (Loop 375/Trans Mountain Road exit off I-10), El Paso, TX.
November 5, 2011, 2 PM---Barnes & Noble, 705 Sunland Park Drive, El Paso, TX.
November 5, 2011, 5 PM---Barnes & Noble, 9521 Viscount Boulevard, El Paso, TX.
November 6, 2011, 3 PM---Bookworks, 4022 Rio Grande Boulevard NW, Albuquerque, NM.
November 17, 2011, 6:30-8:00 PM---Guild Literary Complex, Global Voices series at the International House, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.
November 18, 2011, 11 AM-12:15 PM---National Council of Teachers of English, Panel with other authors of You Don’t Have a Clue: Latino Mystery Stories for Teens, Chicago, IL.
I hope to see many of you at these events. I am humbled that I am one of the two honorees at the annual gala of the Hudson Valley Writers' Center. You always wonder if anybody cares, or if anybody is reading your work, or if somebody will ask you a question based on what you actually wrote rather than on what they want you or your stories to be. It is more than enough to fight your own demons; I don't think I have the strength to fight someone else's. I am on the road again for a while, and all my wood chopping for the winter will have to wait until I get a break.