Did You Get Your Copy Of Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology?

Cover art by Diana Solis, "Mama Bird," hand-cut paper, 2009

Cover art by Diana Solis, “Mama Bird,” hand-cut paper, 2009


Our book launch of Rebeldes: A Proyecto Latina Anthology was released this week. We thank everyone who joined us to celebrate this wonderful literary accomplishment! Special thanks to all of our Madrinas y Padrinos who helped make this possible. It filled me with lots of joy to see everyone smiling as they  walked away with their copy of our  much anticipated anthology.

It was truly a beautiful blessing to come together to share our stories, tell a little chisme and drink some wine. We hope that those of you who have purchased the book will feel empowered to tell your stories.

For those of you that didn’t get a chance to make it out and want a copy of the book you can order it online via Paypal.

 What makes this book unique is that it contains the writing and artwork of 26 Latinas and a cameo appearance by our Chisme Box. Some of the themes that appear in the book include: gender, sexuality, family, identity, culture and is written in English, Spanish and Spanglish. The writers included in this anthology range from women in their 20′s all the way to their 70′s reflecting a diversity of work being created by Latinas!




Our beautiful Madrina de Papel y Tinta Vanessa Alvarez

Our beautiful Madrina de Papel y Tinta Vanessa Alvarez


Books are on sale for $15.00.

You can place your order via the buy now button below.

Please include a full mailing address, phone # and email. If you have issues placing your order please email: diana@proyectolatina.org.

Please note all sales are final no refunds.

All orders will be mailed on Saturdays standard mail.





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 www.elenamary.com 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…

La Neta: A Latina Guide to Losing it All

Introducing La Neta

Paloma Martinez-Cruz

The humorous science fiction novel The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams provides advice to the intrepid, intergalactic hitchhiker: DON’T PANIC. I thought these words were a good way to introduce the present series on loss, failure, suffering, and survival. Much ink is spilled about how to succeed in life. It seemed to me that very little was being said about the other side of the spectrum, namely, how to fail. We fall down many times in love, career, health, family, friends, finances, creativity, beauty, style, passion. It occurred to me to develop a series that drew on both the analysis of prevailing data about our communities, our creative and critical voices, and the personal narratives that remind us that we can find strength in each others experiences in the universal moment of defeat. Proyecto Latina has graciously provided me with the space to undertake this project.

La Neta is about our failures. In the coming installments, a few themes I plan to address include, but are not limited to, divorce, abortion, unemployment, motherhood, care giving, and loneliness. I am hoping that you will tell me about the other topics you would like to see me cover. I believe that these experiences are our teachers. How can we become useful human beings without valuing our defeats? We can’t. And since that is the case, I vote in favor of rolling up the sleeves and doing the hard work of looking at our lives as they truly are. Instead of sweeping all the broken shards under the mat, let us get to the matter of getting many things wrong, and being brave enough to call it a useful existence.

The intention of La Neta is not to fix your problems, nor to console you when things don’t work out as you would like them to. We are all broken. We are all misshapen, weird, lonely, sick, and starving for the cure that will make us less misshapen, weird, lonely, sick, and starving. I am not writing to say, “Let’s be strong in the broken places,” because that would be trying to spin gold from straw. Let straw be straw. Let’s challenge ourselves to be cool with all this straw we are dealt. Also, I am not writing to tell you, “There, there, it will all be better.” Sometimes things get better, and sometimes they get worse. I’m not interested in the Pollyannaisms of, “tomorrow is another day,” or, “remember how many marvelous things you should be grateful for.” If today sucks, let today suck. It is your right to NOT be okay.

There is plenty of writing about the steps you need to take to improve yourself, and this writing is wonderful. Who doesn’t love learning how to set a table, or dress for an interview, or confront a lover’s hurtful behavior? However, La Neta is not about improvement, it is about acceptance. And remember: DON’T PANIC! You now have a handy guide to losing it all.

Does Your Inner Writer Crave A Creative Cluster?

Last month, Proyecto Latina turned the Bridgeport Coffeehouse into a temple of Mujeres Maravillosas. This gathering of urban scribes brought out writers of all genres. I would’ve never imagined this creative cluster of Latinas coming together in the Bridgeport neighborhood to crank out new writing or wrap up work in progress. Having grown up in this neighborhood there were never any Latina writers  living here and working on their craft. Happy to say this is the first of many, as we alternate our writing meet-ups between the south and north side once a month.

Writing Meet Up  Snapshot

Here is who showed up and what they were working on to inspire you to write and come out to the next writer meet-up. The lovely and talented Coya Paz was putting the finishing touches on the script for Unnatural Spaces and Maria Zamudio left the investigative journalist at home to channel her inner fiction writer.

Paloma Martinez Cruz is ready to conquer the world with her writing!

Paloma Martinez Cruz was working on a review of Cherríe Moraga’s A Xicana Codex of Changing Consciousness for Letras Femeninas journal while Irasema Gonzalez had her writer face on. Later, I discovered instead of writing she was working on something else rather than focusing on writing. However, in her defense she’s been working hard as one of the writers for Unnatural Spaces opening in October. Writer and neighborhood resident, Latienda Williams came out and was working on her screenwriting project. We were excited Janet Garcia came to the gathering. She is our literary cheerleader and we hope to jump start her own writing soon.

I was also excited to reconnect with writer Maribel Mares. I met Maribel when Irasema and I snuck out of an AWP Avant Guard Latino Poetry panel. Okay, we did a lousy job sneaking out because Maribel came chasing after us to connect. She came to the gathering because after a long writing hiatus she is now writing again and has an interest in sharing stories about 56th and Kedzie.
Cristina Correa, Amalia Ortiz and Ivonne Canelleda also showed up and I can’t wait to follow up with them to see what they accomplished during the writing session.

So how was I impacted by this writing meet-up?

Well, I find my own writing is like shattered glass; it’s everywhere, little bits and pieces scattered here and there, sharp to the touch. I wrote 3,000 words during the session. Out of those 3,000 words I’m pretty sure only 50 of those words were any good but I will keep mining the good stuff because sooner or later I’m bound to strike gold.

After the writing meet-up, we sashayed across the street to Maria’s Community Bar and chatted about everything from creative writing MFA’s, zombies on Archer Avenue and the element of water as a writing prompt. Lastly, if your inner writer is craving a creative cluster of writers to create and collaborate with come to the next gathering and sip some coffee, write and walk away inspired.

Maribel Mares is all smiles after the writing meet-up.


Here are the details for the next writer’s gathering. Mark it on your calendars and happy writings!

Thursday, Sept. 27th 6:30pm to 8:30pm

@ Julius Meniel Café  

3601 North Southport (Corner of Southport and Addison)

Chicago, IL

CTA – Brown line Southport stop or Red line Addison stop

Street parking only.

Ten Steps For Making The Most of Writing Meet-Ups

Recently, I ran into someone who told me, “If you’re a writer, act like one.” I felt like someone had slapped me in the face. It made me realize the writer in me needed some tough love. With this in mind, I created guidelines for our writing meet-ups to make sure you walk away with something tangible.

Writing Meet-Up Guidelines

1. PRIORITIZE YOUR WRITING - Mark your calendar and carve out the time to attend a writing meet up or start your own.

2. WRITING TOOL BOX - Bring a laptop, journal, notebook whatever your tool of the trade is bring it.

3. WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO BE DOING? It’s a writing meet-up. Just Write.

4. STUCK? If you or someone from the group has no idea where to begin, bring writing prompts for attendees.

5. FOCUS - Bring focus to your writing by having a writing goal for the evening. This is a new concept for me. The first time Paloma asked me what my writing goal was I stared at her stumped. What did she mean by writing goal?

Here are examples of writing goals:

Write a total word count of 2,000 words

New scene for a play

Sketch out a new blog post

Start something new / wrap up an old writing project or revisit it

6. CIERRA EL PICO - I am a total chatterbox and can yap away into oblivion. However, at a writing meet up, unless the café is burning to the ground I won’t talk to you or expect you to talk to me. Why? We are here to write. Let’s socialize and talk about our projects over some beers after the writing session is done.

7. EMBOBADA - Whether it’s the loud mouth that comes in to place his order, the girl with the annoying Woody Wood Pecker laugh or the sound of someone eating their chips too loudly I get distracted easily. If this happens to you bring headphones, listen to some music and focus on writing.

8. SOCIAL MEDIA SABATOGE – Don’t let Twitter or Facebook foil your writing efforts. I too love to read status updates on Facebook and read Oprah tweets.  Disconnecting for two hours will help you zoom in on your writing. Don’t worry, if you do go into convulsions because your not online we will have the cute barista give you mouth-to-mouth.

9. OH, THE HORROR – Stephen King says, “You must not come lightly to the page…If you can take it seriously, we can do business.”

10. SO YOU ARE A WRITER? Once I ran into acclaimed poet Alurista in a hotel lobby in New Mexico. He asked me, “So you’re a writer? Before I could respond he said, “Prove it.” Thankfully, I was able to dig through my luggage and pull out a slightly tattered draft of my unpublished chapbook.  All this to say, take advantage of writer meet-ups to generate new work.

The next writing meet-up is on:

Thursday, Sept. 27th 6:30pm to 8:30pm

@ Julius Meniel Café  

3601 North Southport (Corner of Southport and Addison)

Chicago, IL

CTA – Brown line Southport stop or Red line Addison stop

Street parking only.

Do you have a writing meet-up tip that isn’t on the list? Post it in the comment section.

If you have a venue suggestion for future writing meet-ups, writing resources or writing field trips post them in the comment section, email them to info@proyectolatina.org or post them on our Facebook page.