Sandra Cisneros s writing is honest and poetic and lacks the self consciousness of someone aspiring to be erudite I mention this because I think for someone who is multi lingual who has read a lot and lived and traveled around the world who graduated from a prestigious writing program and has been lauded with the prestigious MacArthur Fellowship among other awards and honors it seems she could have easily gone in another direction speaking a lot of academese for instance but instead she remains grounded centered in her own voice and its tributaries as well as the aspiration to appeal to people from all walks of life and possibly people who don t read many booksA House of My Own refreshed me from how we are often encouraged to think about writers and writing where the focus is on stamina and discipline and the mechanics of the writing life Or content wise its about revealing the heinous and the struggle to crack the code of whatever is deep and dark and repressed Or whatever the currents are in identity politics so the content of the writing is only approached through the lens of eywords and phrases such as the immigrant experience or the LGBT culture etc or awful things about what it means to be black sigh Very little is said about the dreamer side of being a writer the spiritual aspect the celebratory the love of words and readings and ways to discover meaning and make meaning We see the hyper intellectual or code breaking aspect of writing discussed in ways that exclude huge amounts of people from participating in the joys and revelations associated with the life of the mind I remember how exciting it was for me when I first read writings by bell hooks in the 1990s because despite the clunk and drag of the language she often used she always expressed exuberance about the time she enjoyed alone thinking and dreamingWith A House of My Own Sandra Cisneros inspiringly celebrates houses and homes the houses of spirit the houses of of friendship the houses of refuge houses of work houses of language people and places which have nourished her life her feelings her perspectives and informed her creativity up to this point in timeSubtitled Stories From My Life A House of My Own comprises 40 writings spanning 30 years of stories of Sandra Cisneros s life some of which were first commissioned as lectures essays introductions to her own or other artists works or appreciations and stories she wrote just because Also included are ofrendas for each of her parentsa letter to Gwendolyn Brooksa letter to a parent who wanted to see The House On Mango Street banned Cisneros did not write this critically acclaimed book for children yet it has become reuired reading in many schoolstributes to visual artists other writers the musician Astor Piazzolla and significant booksA House of My Own is printed on good uality paper and includes nearly 100 color and black and white photographs so it has a beautiful I Was A Stranger keepsake uality to it I feelind of cheated by this book I m a long time Cisneros fan and I m used to waiting over a decade for her next book and then being blown away I expected this to be a memoir told in stories instead it s a collection of introductions to books and essays she read at various speaking events They are well written and there are some gems but serious life experiences are carefully skirted She mentions lovers and affairs that hurt her but never ever goes into depth about love and sex She repeatedly mentions a year long depression but again never interrogates the wound Her mother and father feel like cardboard cut outs and not fleshed out characters There s a ton of repetition All in all this felt like something thrown together to satisfy a contractual obligation to a publisher not at all a Cisneros masterpiece I ll eep hoping for some fiction or poetry as she remains an idol of mine I decided to read Sandra Cisneros A House of My Own Stories from My Life after reading a review by avid reader and active GoodReads user Rowena I ve never read any of Cisneros books and to my surprise never heard of her either Thank you Rowena for introducing me to her I believe there is the right book for the right time and this was the book for me at this time Cisneros writes about writing about her lifetime of finding places to write of finding her own space it s no coincidence that her book a biography really is titled A House of My Own Much like Virginia Woolf s famous essay A Room of One s Own Cisneros also argues that a woman must have her own space in her case an entire house to herself to write The book is in fact a collection of previously published essays and speeches or lectures she s already given So if you re a Cisneros fan you might ve read these stories before Each story includes an introduction which provides background and context It s the perfect book to read if you find you re unable to get into a full length novel and only have time for short stories at a time Though the stories are arranged chronologically from the past to the present day I think they could be read in any order This is a book that you can pick up and select any story to read at randomI think any book that changes your opinion about something is a good book indeed In this case Cisneros changed my opinion of Texas She lived 20 years of her life in San Antonio a city I barely new before I read about it in A House of My Own She made me curious about a state I had previously harshly judged And of course being a Mexican American or as she says a US Mexican writer she writes a lot about Mexico and Mexican culture I definitely stepped away from the book The Lives of Stay-at-Home Fathers: Masculinity, Carework and Fatherhood in the United States knowing than I ever have about this country that s on the same continent as I amIf you love to read and aspire to write especially if you re a woman then this book is for you No forget that What is the power of a book if not to introduce you to people places experiences that younow little about Even if you don t aspire to write you should read this book I highly recommend it I savored this book Every page I didn t want it to end Sandra Cisneros voice is incredible strong and proud She makes me want to write and be heardThis collection of essays and articles are profound and deserve to be read and shared time and time again I am so glad to be able to read new writing by her that I had not encountered Reading A House of My Own made me want to go back and read Caramelo and House on Mango Street Her voice is so important to Chicanas Latinas y Mexicanas she really validates all of my worries and dreams and uestions about my existence in La Frontera I met Sandra Cisneros on the page in college like many young people do having been assigned The House on Mango Street and Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories At first I rejected it all like I tended to do at that age beca. From the beloved author of The House on Mango Street a richly illustrated compilation of true stories and nonfiction pieces that taken together form a jigsaw autobiography an intimate album of a literary legend's life and careerFrom the Chicago neighborhoods where she grew up and set her groundbreaking The House on Mango Street to her abode in Mexico in a region where my ancestors lived for centuries the pl.
Use I was just that sort of person As I grew up though I found a deeper appreciation for Cisneros and I ll admit she s part of the reason why I am now working on my graduate degree in Creative Writing Yes that s rightAnd it was just this past January during my third semester of graduate school where our program actually brought Sandra Cisneros to talk to us and to do a reading It was the most beautiful moment ever as was the moment when I brought her a copy of this book to sign and she held my hand while I gushed about how much she has meant to me over the years She held my handIn her essay A Tango for AstorYoung people get in line to meet the author and have their book autographed I am the author they ve come to meet Some of them barely able to talk their eyes like ships lost at seaYou don t now what this means to me they say fumbling with the page they want me to sign You just You just don t nowp90That was me in the hallway that day But the thing is she does Gone: The Disappearance of Claudia Lawrence and Her Father's Desperate Search for the Truth know Because she s been that person too shy and awkward meeting someone she feels so strongly about It s an otherworldly experienceSo was reading this collection of essays actually Her essay collection covers several years of her life essays she wrote at the same time she was working on House on Mango Street for example She wrote about a variety of things her family living in various places the people she has met the lives she has livedBut the overarching theme is finding a house of her own from a young girl who moved too freuently and never had a uiet space of her own in such a large family Where is home for her What does it entailWe find ourselves at home or homing in books that allow us to become ourselves Home is not just the place where you were born as the travel writer Pico Iyer once noted It s the place where you become yourselfp35 No Place Like HomeAt another point she talks about home being wherever she is with her pets Her pets her family are her homeShe writes about being a single woman writer how that fits her lifestyle better than being in a relationship Having become single again somewhat recently has it really been six months already I can relate to this than I ever expected being a single woman writer sitting in space of my own design doing what it is I want to do It s not always easy and it s not always good But Inow it s good for me it s what I needAlmost everything she wrote in these essays are things I feel have felt have experienced or expect to experience as I grow She made me feel less alone She s the sort of person who says Me too and suddenly everything you ve ever dealt with or thought or felt feels just a smidge less lonely She gets itI can t do justice to what Cisneros means to me I didn t love every essay in this collection but I love her for sharing them with me And holding my handThank you for holding my hand A House of My Own Stories From My Life is a charming memoir in the form of compilation book reviews forewards epilogues etc composed over her writing life and presented or less in chronological order Part search for home part exploration of grief family and art Sandra Cisneros writes with a language that is disarming and playful communicating volumes in a few words She talks for example about trying to please her Chicago nemesis loc 233 Her San Antonio partner on the other hand was as sweet as burnt milk candy but as untidy as un remolino tejano en agosto a Texas dust devil in August loc 5158 5159 Cisneros generally translates her Spanish phrases both adding emphasis and making her writing accessible for English speakers Cisneros writes on the edge of several cultures born of a Mexican born father and a Mexican American mother traveling the world which gives her an ability to see things she might not otherwise She first noticed this when she moved from her childhood home in Chicago to graduate school in Iowa So often you have to run away from home and visit other homes first before you can clearly see your own loc 536 537 Traveling both opens doors but ultimately closes others so she did not feel at home in places where she expected to She uotes Pico Iyer home is not just the place where you were born it s the place where you become yourself loc 544 545 She becomes herself in her writing her reading her art Some essays stand out for me although perhaps that s for my own idiosyncratic reasons In No Place like Home she talks about the advantages and disadvantages of being bicultural In Resurrections she talks about the things that no one told her or that she hadn t listened to and heard including some of the changes that come with losing her parents In Mexico they say when someone you love dies a part of you dies with them But they forget to mention that a part of them is born in you not immediately I ve learned but eventually and gradually It s an opportunity to be reborn loc 4102 4104 A White Flower is a gift to her therapist talking about how it felt to tell her stories to a therapist as well as her therapist s meaning to her life It includes those uestions that she d like to ask that she s too shy to ask and that most clients surely want to ask Do you approve of me or am I silly Even if she didn t approve what does it matter But it matters a lot To me I would ask whether the stories I ve told her are any good worth repeating worth remembering That s how I define a good story Does she get tired listening to stories all day and all week year after year How does one stay healthy at the end of a day full of stories Does one have to shake oneself off like a dog after its bath loc 3244 3248 In asking these and other uestions that most of us would like to ask by opening up the oft overlooked Cisneros enlarges our view of the world She reaches her hand across the aisle and I feel like Cisneros s sister rather than only una extra a gringa I have always been a daydreamer and that s a lucky thing for a writer Because what is a daydreamer if not another word for thinker visionary intuitive all wonderful words synonymous with girl It s official I m a Sandra Cisneros fan This is the first book of hers that I ve read and over the last few years I ve found that reading a writer s non fiction before reading their fiction has helped me better get into the writer s mind understand their influences and what drives them for a long time This collection of essays and book reviews span 30 years of Cisneros s writing career they go into stories of her life including her meeting Gwendolyn Brooks and others her travels and relationships with her family and friendsI m always looking for certain words to detail my experiences of being raised in different cultures and looking for a place to call home I pick up a lot from different writers and books but through language and content I got closest to my feeling. Aces Sandra Cisneros has lived have provided inspiration for her now classic works of fiction and poetry But a house of her own where she could truly take root has eluded her With this collection spanning nearly three decades and including never before published work Cisneros has come home at last Ranging from the private her parents' loving and tempestuous marriage to the political a rallying cry for one
S through this bookAll these essays are excellent so warm and relatable Cisneros inspired me to write and to talk about my own experiences she showed me these stories are important For those of us living between two worlds our job in the universe is to help others see with than their eyes Our work as bicultural citizens is to help others to become visionary to help us all to examine our dilemmas in multiple ways and arrive at creative solutions Otherwise we all will perish I loved Cisneros thoughts on writing inspiration and her need for her own space I could relate to this and I often think of how due to my introvertism I desired lots of time alone It that was impossible due to my culture being an introvert created some suspicion it seems So I ve always loved the night time When I was young and still living at home my father would call me vampira for writing at night I couldn t tell him the night was my own private houseVery prevalent were the themes of a househome not only the importance of a home as a place where you live which contains memories but also as your own place in which to organize and decorate as you wish based on your wants needs etc There was an interesting essay in this where Cisneros was talking about her love of bright colours and how her neighbours did not take too 1,000 Awesome Writing Prompts kindly to her periwinkle purple coloured home in San Antonio Colour is a story An inheritance Were the San Antonio missions rascuache because they imitated the elaborate Moorish tiles they could not afford Nobody wants to live like they re poor not even the poor They prefer to live likeings That s why they paint their houses with the only wealth they have spirit Mango yellow papaya orange cobalt blue When colours arrive from the nobodies who don t create art but handicrafts who don t have culture but folklore as Eduardo Galeano sardonically says of the poor they don t count they re not available until a Rockefeller or a Luis Barragan borrows them and introduces them into the homes of the rich and gives them statusOne essay in particular stood out to me one in which Sandra Cisneros talks about a graduate seminar she attended on memory and imagination The books assigned in seminar were Speak Memory Nabokov Out of Africa Dinesen and The Poetics of Space Bachelard This is what she said about the seminar I went home that night and realized my education has been a lie had made presumptions about what was normal I wanted to uit school right then and there but I didn t Instead I got mad and anger when it s used to act when used nonviolently has power I asked myself what I could write about that my classmates couldn t I didn t want to sound like my classmates I didn t want to Moonrise (Snowfall, keep imitating the writers I d been reading Their voices were right for them but not for meAnd there I believe is the strength one eventually has when they realize that what makes them different makes them uniue and is a good thing And we can celebrate our culture and experiences through our writing and that s what Cisneros did without worrying about how her work would be perceived by those who didn tnow or didn t care to understand her culture and experiences This unapologetic writing is what I ve come to associate with feminists of colour such as bell hooks Audre Lorde and Gloria Anzaldua and it s so refreshing to seeI read a library copy of this book but I will definitely be buying myself a copy This book is sublime masterful surprising full of spirit and unabashed feminism Composed of experimental vignettes and glimmers from the globe trotting empathic socially conscious writer teacher poet Sandra Cisneros Some reviews here have expressed disappointment in the so called lack of juicy details revealed but I felt just the opposite The stories of Cisneros life are courageous in their sensitivity and revealing of the lifelong influence that her migratory childhood as the sole daughter in a family of six brothers that is threaded throughout all of her work As a Mexican American woman growing up in a working class Catholic family her approved vocations and options in life were few By pursuing a life of education and writing she forged a new path that went against her familial cultural traditions and socialized gender norms Her writings have you revelling along with her as she gains both hard won economic independence and writerly solitude as a young woman while also supporting and mentoring youth and artistic communities around the world Although the book doesn t explicitly touch on her choice to stay single and child free I loved the tiny details she chose to share about her home life The great reveal of this book is found in they ways that Cisneros shares with us her most tender and uiet moments her struggles and amazing humor and the many people and places that move her Not to mention the music and art that inspires her work and daily life The way she shares her influences and self reflections is beautiful and startlingly intimate Having been an fangirl since A House on Mango Street and having seen her speak in person twice I wasn t sure what exactly to expect of this memoir that is not a memoir A House of My Own is a revelation and the way Cisneros turns a phrase is singular I was moved to tears several times and discovered new dimensions of her work many times over while reading Every moment is infused with her soulful often hilarious writing from her youthful adventures typing Mango Street in a rented house on the Grecian island of Hydra to her nervous meeting with the great musician and composer Astor Piazzolla to driving her hero Eduardo Galeano around San Antonio to her musings on St Teresa de Avilaand so much As you can tell I adore this book and it s gorgeously put together filled with lovely photos to boot If you haven t read her novels or poems yet I believe you can still find enjoyment of this book and it will certainly spark you to seek out of her work What A Book If I was a Cisneros fan before this really sealed the deal So many aspects of this life story resonates with me When she was reading in Portland Sandra Cisneros talked about losing track of what she had written BC before computers Her reading was powerful and sweet her advice wise and generous I am a longtime Cisneros fan and I wrote my review of her visit before I had even finished the book are essays Cisneros said she had to get in print before they were lost written over the past thirty years or so They are occasional pieces written for specific events since she published The House on Mango Street Each is prefaced with current reflection explanation and updates why she wrote the essay and how it fits into her life and what has changed since I bought an extra copy to send to a friend My only regret is that I did not buy four copies for four other friend. Oman's liberty in Sarajevo to the literary a tribute to Marguerite Duras and written with her trademark sensitivity and honesty these poignant unforgettable pieces give us not only her most transformative memories but also a revelation of her artistic and intellectual influences Here is an exuberant deeply moving celebration of a life in writing lived to the fullest an important milestone in a storied caree.
wwwmacondofoundationorg and is Writer in Residence at Our Lady of the Lake University San Antonio She lives in San Antonio Texas