Reblog: Arte Público Press Receives NBCC Award

“Like the mural walls, our pages would help to make our people visible, announcing we are here, we have always been here and we have always contributed to life and culture in the United States.” They have, they are, and they always will. Arte Público Press is a wonderful company, with a wonderful vision that I was so fortunate to have been a part of for the couple of years I spent working for and learning from them. Congratulations to not only Dr. Kanellos but the entire management team and everyone else in the office who stands behind them; you guys deserve everything. And to Marina, thank you for everything you taught me. I miss you every day. ❤

Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Blog

Photography: Paper Monday

On March 14, 2019, Arte Público Press (APP) received the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandroff Lifetime Achievement Award in New York City. This is the transcript of the acceptance speech by the APP director and founder, Nicolás Kanellos, and the management team, Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Nellie González, Marina Tristan, and Carolina Villarroel.

NK: When we founded Arte
Público Press forty years ago, we envisioned it as part of the public art
movement. Our books would draw from and give back to the community, reflecting
its art, history and culture as well as its problems, like the muralists were
doing. That is why some of our initial book covers, such as for The House on Mango Street, were
commissioned to muralists.

Like the mural walls,
our pages would help to make our people visible, announcing we are here, we
have always been here and we…

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My Spring Non-Break

Does it still count as Spring Break when I’m not on break? Yes, I think it does.

Now that I think about it, I realize that it’s actually the first Spring Break since I graduated from college. It’s kind of funny to think that at this time last year, everything was different. I was living in a different apartment, I had a different job and a college class once a week that I do miss, and I wasn’t engaged. I can’t tell whether I was a different person then, too, or if I’m much the same.

This would’ve been a great weekend to visit my parents in Centerville, though. My two younger cousins are up there because it’s their Spring Break, and I think it would’ve been fun to be around their energy and chaos. Kind of like living with little brothers that I never grew up with. And my dad started to occasionally keep the older one when I was about 18, and sometimes we would take him to do stuff together, like to the Aquarium, and I always had fun. I would’ve made a great big sister. But, as I work this weekend, I’ll have to content myself with being an adult, instead.

I can’t remember anything about last year’s Spring Break, but I vividly remember the one before. It was 2017 and I was taking an Honors class, Artists & Their Regions, and the region we were focusing on was the Mississippi Delta. So that Spring Break consisted of a class trip to the Natchez, Greenwood, Oxford, Yazoo City, Clarksdale, Glendora, and Jackson, with our two professors, their toddler son and his grandpa, the Director of the Honors College’s Center for Creative Work, and 11 of us exceedingly different college kids.

“Arthur’s Flowers” in the Mississippi Delta on a cold, cold Spring Break day

I had the best time.

Mississippi holds a special place in my heart, but I think that was the only Spring Break I spent there. The other two trips were taken in the summer, to visit my Uncle Jim and Aunt Rita in Bogue Chitto. Neither of them are there anymore, but I vividly remember the heat, Uncle Jim mowing lush green grass under blue sky and brilliant light, and I wish I had taken a picture. That’s where the story I’m working on is set. Mississippi. On their land, though of course I tweaked the house and everything to better suit my characters’ lives. I wonder if I would have an easier time working on it if I could simply be there.

Spring Break used to mean a week of open days, preferably sunny and warm, and endless possibility. This year, it means a little sun and mostly clouds, and the temperature dipped again today, and I have to work at 1:00 this afternoon and I work tomorrow and the next day, straight on through Wednesday. But it feels consistent and I’m okay with that. No matter how this year is different from every other, Spring Break still means time to write while I hope for our real spring to come quickly.

When I Can’t Find My Words

“Write your story,” this WordPress composition page prompts me as soon as I finish typing in a title above. But what if I don’t have a story to write? What if I can’t find the words?

It’s kind of been like that a lot lately, I think. I’m having trouble finding the words. I don’t know what to put next; I don’t know what I want to say. I know I have things to say, but I don’t know what they are or how to reach them. I even made the mistake (again) of starting this entry earlier today, and thinking that whenever I got back to it later I would remember what I was thinking or have the same idea of where I intended to go.

Yeah—no. That didn’t happen.

So I know: I need to sit down and think, without thinking too hard, about what I want to say. I need to write it down, and then send it out into the world so it can get lost out there—and hopefully found again by somebody—rather than lost inside my head, never to be thought again.

Like I may be never thought of again.

But at least I’ll be leaving something behind when I go.

What’s the point?

I just renewed my WordPress subscription, to the tune of about $81. There’s a decent chance that I wouldn’t have except that I found a coupon code online and was able to get a discount off the $96 my plan actually costs—which seemed like a good idea last year when I upgraded, and I do still very much like the customization options it offers me.

But the thing is, I haven’t posted anything in a long time, and the longer I go without writing a blog post, the more I start to wonder, What’s the point? You’re not actually interested in these mundane musings of mine, are you?

Now I feel reminiscent of that scene in Julie & Julia when Julie is typing a blog post and drifts off into wondering if there’s actually anyone out there reading her: “But I’m sure you are. Aren’t you? Somebody? Anybody?” (We’ll just gloss over the fact that she then gets her first—rather unsupportive—comment from “My mother. Doesn’t count.”)

But I did it and now it’s done, so there it is, and here I am. Sitting on my couch at 5:30 in the morning because I couldn’t sleep from 3:30, wrapped in two blankets because it’s cold outside and we keep it cold in here at night—something I had to get used to, moving in with Dylan last year. And come to think of it, it has been just about a year since I moved out and moved in…but that’s a post for another time. As is everything else on my mind, I imagine.

Good morning, Lake Jackson. And have a good day at work, Mom. I miss you. 😘