Blogtitlanistas Feminista Readings

Interview with Blogger Elena Mary and organizer of Blogtitlanistas Feminista Readings

Blogger Elena Mary

What is Blogtitlanistas Feminista Readings?  

Wednesday April 17th a few of the women from Blogtitlan will gather to read a short selection of their work.  Blogtitlan (a phrase I believe originally coined by Cindylu of Loteria Chicana) is a community of mostly Latino bloggers that came together in approximately 2003 and grew to support each other as we developed our individual identity politics. Read more on this event…

Why did you decide to organize this event?

I missed Blogtitlan despite our min-reunion in January of 2012 in San Diego, California.  A lot of Latina bloggers are here in the Midwest, and I miss the discussions we had so what better place to organize than Chicago —an epicenter for many Latino bloggers.  Plus, I love Chicago!

What do you want the audience to walk away with from this event?

I think we are all embracing to know we aren’t alone, and can identify with others.  I want people to laugh, cry, and nod in an “ohh yeah! I know that feeling, I too feel it, it’s okay”

Why are Midwestern Latina voices important to you?

Midwestern Latinas are my own voice and a generally an unheard voice.   I think people forget there are Latinos in the Midwest, we are a different bunch but still part of the movement.  We have generational issues, language issues, assimilation issues, and historical issues just in different context than someone in the valley might have.

How has blogging impacted you as a writer?

This question makes me chuckle.  I’ve never thought of myself as a writer, but blogging has given me the self-esteem to think of myself as someone who can write, and occasionally have the privilege of influence.

What kinds of content will we find on your blog and how long have you been blogging?

I have been at since 1999 but I believe I only have archives up since 2004. I mostly write personal stuff and when I get political it tends to be about something dealing with my world in Ohio or in regions of Mexico where my family still lives.

What are your top three tips for blogging?

Not sure, I should be giving any tips but here goes, blog from the heart, and don’t regret. The don’t regret is the hardest.  There will be times you write things and think I can’t believe I used to think like that, or I can’t believe I used those words, or made those mistakes.  But you did and they are who you were. We are changing and if you aren’t changing you aren’t growing, allow yourself that process.

Lastly, I love this quote and I think it embraces the blog from the heart idea:

“Sometimes I write drunk and revise sober, and sometimes I write sober and revise drunk. But you have to have both elements in creation — the Apollonian and the Dionysian, or spontaneity and restraint, emotion and discipline.”

What are some of your favorite blogs?

Loteria Chicana , Flor y Canto  and Mi blog es tu blog

What have you learned about Latina bloggers that has surprised you?

They can be shy! I always imagined bloggers as generally very out going people but for example Cindylu of Loteria Chicana can be quiet and shy.  Also, once I actually get to meet bloggers, it is amazing how instantly we can connect.

Final thoughts?  Whenever I say “Proyecto Latina”, I think of the band Proyecto Uno jajajaja. Get more details on the reading on April 17th.

About Elena Mary (EM)  - She is a Xicana that is happily creating her own space where one kind find awesomeness and failure.  Like a good “American” EM has race and cultural identity issues which she blogs about quite a bit. Having trouble focusing on anything for too long, she has run for political office, been a union organizer, fostered half dozen children, studied medicine, urban geography and queer feminist performing artists, is competing for a slot at the world championships for triathlon.  Most importantly EM loves days with no set plans because she is stubborn, adventurous and hates being told what to do. Read her blog…

Chicago Writers On Language & Identity

One of our favorite writers is coming to town next week! Ana Castillo joins a panel of Chicago writers to discuss the role of language and identity in their own writing and literature.

Language and Identity: A Chicago Writers Panel

January 24, 2013 @7:00 P.M

Northwestern McCormick Tribune Forum

1870 Campus Drive

Evanston, IL

Panelists include award winning authors:

Ana Castillo, Aleksandar Hemon and Bich Minh Nguyen and moderated by Reginald Gibbons, Frances Hooper Professor of Arts and Humanities. Read more…

How does language and identity impact your own writing?


Reflections & Revelations of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor

One of my favorite places in Chicago is the Harold Washington Library filled with books as far as the eye can see. What can make this library even more awesome? They are organizing a reading with Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor. SQUEAL! She will be in town for the release of her new book My Beloved World.  I remember biting my nails when she was going through the hearings to secure her seat in on the Supreme Court. Happy she is now the 111th Justice and is the first Latina and third female Justice in this position. She is a wonderful example of everything Latinas can do despite their circumstances.

My Beloved World Reading & Signing with Justice Sonia Sotomayor

Wed. January 30, 2013 @6:00 pm

Harold Washington Library Center

400 S. State Street – Winter Garden, Chicago, IL 60605

Learn more about this reading…

Putting It On The Page At A Sports Bar

Do you ever have days when nothing could possibly go wrong and then it does? I was peacefully sipping on a vanilla latte at the Julius Meniel Café when suddenly I overhear the waitress say they are closing the café at 7pm to wax the floors. Gulp!  As an event organizer (and control freak) this is the last thing I want to hear because  we were supposed to be having the writing meet up at this location. Glad accidental Proyecto Latina attendee Claudia Martinez was there to help me laugh my way through this venue snafu!

What to do?

Well, when in doubt, pray to St. D’Augstino patron saint of pizza and beer. Before I knew it, we were across the street surrounded by a basket of fries, laptops and giant TV screens showing the White Sox game. After we settled in, I looked up from my notebook and saw everyone writing in their laptops and notebooks. Maybe it was the blaring music but everyone was diving deep into the cenote of their writing. I watched the waiters give us curious looks as they walked past with people’s orders. There is something very powerful about coming into a space like D’Augustinos and showing up to the page regardless of what’s going on around you.

So who showed up to write?

Christina Rodriguez ended up writing two blog posts; one on the importance of your teeth and diabetes  and the other on Latino identity. Stephanie Diaz Reppen found herself  working on a piece that she had been opening, reading, putting away and hadn’t revisited since her Hedgebrook residency. She is also working on a piece about a Guatemalan Saint named San Pascualito Rey.

Maribel Mares came all the way from the Bridgeportzlan neighborhood to move some of her writing forward. Funny lady Ruth Guerra is writing 45 pages of creative writing for a fiction class she is taking at Morton College.

Cristina Correa almost went home upon seeing the venue change. Glad she stayed because she divulged a wonderful writing secret that will be made public soon. She began to work on her Axolotl salamander story.  Jessica Mondres was working on a story/collage on the theme of women, tapestry and faith. I was excited to see Jazmin Corona (writer, dancer, photographer) come out and work on some of her own writing.

What do these women have in common besides being writers? At one point the majority of them have all been Proyecto Latina features and have powerful stories to tell.  Afterwards, Ruth shared her pitcher of sangria with us and we dreamed up a Proyecto Latina field trip next year to New Mexico for the Latino Writers Conference and possibly a holiday clothes/jewelry swap.

Lastly, mil gracias to everyone that came out and for being flexible and most of all setting aside time to write. For those that didn’t come out remember whether you are writing with us or on your own carve out the time to write and tell your story.

The next writing meet up will be in Pilsen at Effebinas. Time TBA and in November we will be back on the north side somewhere. If you have any suggestions of places on the north side please let me know.


12 Ways To Mother Your Inner Writer

My mom all smiles with me on her lap

Feliz día de las madres to all of you that are moms or soon-to-be moms! This mother’s day, I’m reflecting on how we can mother our writing self and nurture our creative writing pursuits.

Here is my top ten list on how to mother our inner writers

1. Carve out time for writing

2. Create writing meet ups with other writers

3. Disconnect from Facebook, Twitter and other social media

4. Evaluate your writing goals

5. Get out of your comfort zone and explore other creative genres

6. Take creative risks

7. Treat yourself to a new journal or packet of pens

8. Indulge in a good book! One of my favorites is “The Sound of Pen on Paper,” by Julia Cameron.

9. Organize a reading of your work

10. Treat your inner writer to a prickly pear margarita

11. Find new writing nooks in the city where you can plop down and crank it out. Here is one of my most recent finds…

12.  Pick up Poetry & Writer’s magazine and enter a writing contest

What are some ways that you spoil your inner writer? Let us know in the comment section.