Tag Archives: Sandra Cisneros

A House of My Own

Last month I received a lovely birthday gift from my sister, a signed copy of A House of My Own by Sandra Cisneros. Sandra is one of my favorite authors, one who inspired me to take up the pen and begin writing.

A House of My Own is not an autobiography that recounts the writer’s life in so far as giving us details about her day-to-day experiences. Instead, Cisneros offers glimpses into her life by describing her work and providing essays or speeches she has produced on topics ranging from the singer Chavela Vargas to the controversy that arose when she painted her San Antonio house purple. She writes with such heart and openness that we don’t need to know the exact details of her life in order to come to know her. We come to know that she was so driven to become a writer, she set out to do just that while still in her early twenties. We come to know that she felt the need to put some distance between herself and her family to escape the strong pull of family obligations. We come to know that she never felt her father appreciated her work until an action he took on one specific day (this chapter is so moving it brought me to tears).

I love this book. I wish I could write with the heart and poetic expression of Cisneros. But I know that’s not possible, nor would it be wise to attempt to copycat her style. Writers have individual styles as unique to them as thumbprints. But I can strive to emulate her devotion to writing and strive to speak from the heart through my work.

What Are You Reading?

Have you read anything interesting lately? I have to admit, I don’t always answer this question honestly. I’m almost always reading a book, and it’s usually interesting, or I don’t finish reading it. But I don’t want to confess to reading a trashy novel and enjoying it. I don’t want to tell others that I’m enjoying a chick lit novel or a movie star biography, because it’s kind of like admitting to eating a high calorie dessert. I do that with TV shows, too. I don’t like to admit that “Survivor” is one of my favorite shows, and that I’ve been a loyal fan since its first season. But why do I let others’ opinions intimidate me? So what if I occasionally enjoy light reading or a reality TV show? Because I’m a librarian and should have more literary or refined tastes? A former coworker (a librarian)once derided Stephen King, saying “Who reads that trash?” In a soft voice, I replied, “Me.” She ignored my admission of guilt and changed the subject.

I try not to judge others for their reading tastes or choice in TV programs, and I hope they won’t judge me. So, I’ll be honest from now on whenever someone asks me, “What are you reading?”

By the way, I just finished Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez’s “The Husband Habit” (meh), and I am now reading, for the second time, “Caramelo” by Sandra Cisneros–one of my all-time favorite books. And, Wednesday night, I thoroughly enjoyed the “Survivor” finale while eating a chocolate candy bar (yum).