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tv   A House of My Own  CSPAN  January 2, 2017 10:00pm-11:25pm EST

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c-span is here this evening taping so this will be broadcast later that will include question and answer session so please come down to the microphone some u.s. your brilliant question you will be on the c-span. we will do a little presentation and try to move on fairly quickly but then we know why you are here we'll try to move quickly than we will have book sales and signing in the aisle lobby after words. since this was a study committee in 1998 formed by the city of fairfax and a group of this year at mason and from the beginning and
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has been a community effort to now we have more than twowo dozen sponsors and more than two dozen additional people and agencies and organizations that are partners and of course, you if you left, not knowing you're coming to a literary festival you're not alone often our festival goers don't come to the festival themselves but to see or hear or meet a favorite writer. that is okay with us.o have we are glad to have you. in fact, we depend on youu and and which is given prominence.
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in that same way that happened. >> chair of uh development committee for "fall for the book" with all of the great authors to keep up programs coming by raising the funds needed. fall for the book is a five '01 c3 that we rely on donations to keep this going it is thought 18 years we have been doing this of a one day festival now going through a whole week and we know this incredible resources to our community looke if you looked at the
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pamphlet you saw it was one week's worth of defense going on all over the community not just your its university from libraries and community centers. and poetry lovers. and we really do need everybody to make this happen. friends and with those friends groups and help to raise the funds when we watch pbs with viewers like you, that is you and readers like you. there is a pamphlet outside
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that tells you about the friends of all for the bookif yi invitations for the reception for the authors this year you could have joined us a few minutes agos arn so the reception is invitation only free parking passes on campus is a big deal. [laughter] if you have a moment even like free to pick this up what it takes to become a friend is not a lot pinchot the community is behind this, ah to help us get corporate sponsors and then encourages
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the corporate sponsors to step up also be a love to have you become one of our friends turn this into night and if not mail it. thanks for coming. [applause] >> i am here tonight to represented george mason friends and contrary to the name we're not associate with university bed associated with fairfax county public library there is a branch called george mason reasonable -- regional library were we're holding a book sale to raise funds for next year. two more days.
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please come. another announcement i get to make is please turnoff herself alone. do not turn them on vibrate we can hear that. for the information for next year festival and nonprofit funded exclusively through donations. become of part of the great group of friends for "fall for the book". [applause] before >> before i move into the presentation i did spend a lot of time recognizing the people i have worked with in the preceding five nights
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but there is one person i must think, is my co-director. [applause] >> if fairfax prizes something i had a hand not that fall for the book ison done by any one person but the ada is to honor outstanding writers for their achievements with the international culture of reading and writing bed generously giving personal time and talents withry literary endeavors is not
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limited to teaching with the community of writers of anthologies and previous winners including tobias wolff, norman mailer unfortunately could not come accepted as he fell ill. and tim m. o'brien. event those other writers are pleased to recognize sandra cisneros over the course of a career that hass spanned 30 plus years and widely anthologized is that
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classic about a coming-of-age of the latino families in this country. the course this is not the of first award she was awarded the macarthursd fellowships and most recently "a house of my own" stories from my life" i very pleased to award the 2016 fairfax prize to sandra cisneros. [applause]
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[cheers and applause] >> is this an honor to be here to receive this pride is that has have been 17 times before. did you see all of the sponsors on the back of the program? that is a lot of people. they're doing their jobs while everybody you has wordi to put this together and to understand one another with
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tax of peace in violent times so congratulate yourself for being here. [applause] >> i have heard so much about this institution to be here as a guest is extraordinary for me. they forgot that i cannot see i have two pairs of glasses occasionally so i can stay on task haic them to see what time it is. >> in to land under feet in a moment's notice i was told i would be talking about the writer's life i am?
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in the half to a mitt i don't know anything about the writer's life. [laughter] i only know about this writer's life and this writer's life is very different that i am not affiliated with the university the heavily spend a maverick by inventing the past of was a shame for a long time to tell people let wanted to be writer because the neighborhood that i grew up in in chicago i had never really seen a writer and by the time it got to his school i had met one. paul carroll who was invited but i was the shyest person in the world to ask how did i you do it? and writers were solitary
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creatures there is a difference between the right turn and the author the writer does not call her hair or get dressed up or wear jewelry per cauchy stays at home and does not answer the phone and is very cranky. [laughter] and imi best self so don't't worry and we're often in the dark sometimes they think they know what we're doing but often headed toward the answer we got another question is like the breech
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baby budget on zero the question until you write the answers so that process a follows it and you hopee after a couple of years you have been to waste did your life. that is why reid don't answer the phone or like people knocking on the door. trying to figure radish she could wash her clothes ands figure things out i am going to read a little bit that this this from my new book "a house of my own" stories from my life" i gathered together from the 30 years
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of my life i had to admit and whittle them so there was no repetition but it was published in the newspapernc which is a rare occurrence for me. but the writers that i admire the most other journalist. s our stead circle and i admire them be tests they could write in a timely way to have it published immediately. there what i think of when i think of the kind of writer i want to be somebody speaks up nobody is speaking up of those who have no voice or someone who is courageousble tot and tell the truth when
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nobody else speaks the truth and post 9/11 and how much the media at created this state of fear to make t knowledge of much the press allows to be published with the era of fear in our bodies not just the u.s. fear but what is happeningnation including in the country the and -in. and my job as a writer is to be a bridge between these
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two communities make cannot afford to wall ourselves off but just like if you have been able you are fighting with if you don't talk to your neighbor how did you have good relations? to re i would like to remind my readers and audience in this is the'' by the mexican president was a contemporary and a friend in respect for your neighbor is peace.
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and afraid desi our auntntpoliti disgusted with the politicians in the message they're like to relay is we please stop selling arms to the decision mexico and please stop buying those drugs because this is supporting a organized-crime .udible] we have violence in both countries and with sales and consumption and until we stop but my brother had said neighbor who has bird feeders but the neighbors started to complain there were rats in the art my brother said economic get rid of the rats of less you
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get rid of the bird feeders. the same concept this is the only way to secure the global borders if we ask the neighbors how can we make use save? >> one of the we are was published in a newspaper because they cannot meet its deadline why i nodded journalist. i can do that. i wish that i could but but it is like fishing i could get up early and go to an area where there are plenty of fish but i cannot guarantee might catch. i am just the fisherman's not it is system matter of waiting.
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so this is something i wrote and 1998 did is just as timely now and it happened after my father died. is the mexican cole porter. ♪ ♪, just a just a little bit of pure love. when my father died last year a piece of my heart died with him that supreme sentimental love my brothers and me to excess with the over-the-top arabesque and
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spirals in charming as the romantic mexican with so little bit of pure love the. say that. music my father would say proudly i could smell the gardenias. before my father died it would prompt need to say i am sorry to company -- accompany the bereaved i am connected to all death and survivors to translate i'm sorry and i feel it all atat once i feel life more intensely.
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a u.s. role for two to be overly patriotic but often i am aware my father's life does not count. not the americans when they talk about america., especially this holiday season the day before christmas 199745 lennar and my aunts 21 of them wereen women. to be shocked and promised to hold all those responsible accountable than mexican people and everybody knows who was responsible t but is it too much for the
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mexican president to fire himself. i know the death is linked to me here in the united states i know the massacre is connected to the people from their land because they are for the land is rich in the government knows this and it is connected to my high standard of living and that military aid presence is necessary and it goes round and round for quite a bed thinking about this from my home in san antonio with a niche i cannot scratch.s what is my responsibility as a woman? within on several borders what could i do is the daughter of a mexican man
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what can i do? searching for answers on christmas. my father was my father. hello. christmas dinners were a global feast history of the capacity of the stomach the unique hybrid viticultureculturs only in the city like chicago with the diversity of a typical christmas meal watches first and foremost, of tamales. 258 dozen the blood m. this
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week to end the fire in those filled with gm and raisins. sometimes mother's homemade batch this is the last time i will make them but more often they are ordered to vance from somebody else willing to go through the trouble bothers annual contribution was a codfish which stew of spanish origin he may standing in one spot gold get me this spring in a brand somebody get me the tomatoes and wash them first give me that knife where aree the allah's? every year brcs so spoiled we expect perot gis and polish sausage in those
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second are the speak the word of english and once my father's furniture store that had long since left and a christmas dinner includes the magnificent bakery in the old neighborhood.ating th we have many being pastries' cents the third grade but beat when we are inspired byy hunger literally before the i it is common to begin the dessert plate will somebodyne is finishing breakfast.
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thanks to the french intervention as a blow as the america is and the recipe for codfish and the brow corridor and with w borrow with one another with the employees who love my father enough to share a plate of their homemade diocese even if countries could not share anything else. and to read the newspapers more than half mexican-american kids more than half. and the politicians priority
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is to build a bigger prison more people are sentenced to death than anywhere else in the world to value spanish as the second language that elsewhere lawmakers for spanish dominant children to hours away from my home the u.s. military setting up camps of the bandits and the drug lords i know who to keep away i think this walleye attend a latino leadership conference between the holidays at all know what i expect exactly but i know i don't want to leave without a statement of what happened pressure lead
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of community recognizes it is our family. is late the family one explained to me but to use it may be a father but to me it is a distant cousin perquisite too much to ask our leaders to the? >> q. are too impatient to one latina tells me i am so stunned i cannot respond. a chicano film maker begins to preach.nd talks he talks and talks until i have to blink back the tears after what seems like the eternity he finally finishes by a saying it you know, what you have to do. dog you?t hits m and then hits me. i do know what i have to do. i will tell the story.
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are brothers and i were in college my mother realized investing in real estate was the answer her plans were modest to buy a cheap fixer upper to bring us in come she finally found something we could afford a scruffy building with the stores beckon service the upholstery shop into apartments above at last my mother was a respectable landlady. immediately the family on the third floor began to pay their rent late $100 but every first of the month they were five for $10 short and would deliver with the promise to pay the balance the next payday and they didn't and it was the same the rent negative a few dollars with a promise.
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mother hated to be taken advantage of do they think we are rich?he she said father who was on good terms with everybody but talk to that family i have had it. so father went of little later quietly returned i fixed it. already? what did you duplex i lower the rent. [laughter]t mother was ready to throw a fit and said remember when $10 meant a lot to us? she was silent she remembered. who would've thought father was capable of such genius he was not a clever man but he inspires me to be creative. i don't wish to make camp
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seem more than what he was.he ld he lived life terrified of those different from himself never read in newspaper and was now leave to believe the history told to him and he was not a perfect husband either as a mother keeps reminding me but he was kindings and sometimes extraordinary. wonderful father.ng maybe i look to the wrong leaders for leadership. maybe this new year are a few outrageous ideas like my father whose generosity teaches me to enlarge my heart maybe it is time to lower the rent. ♪ ever since the year began this song has been running through my head my father
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just will not let up. i feel it. y jesus christ. the universe that god in us. help us.t of give us just a little bit of pure love. just that. [applause] >> we are blessed and cursed to be an interesting times in the half to step up and especially now we have to
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serve to be bridges otherwise we will just expire. all of us on the planet so i will remind everybody addition think i would say but if you are undecided please note if you know, 10 other people who are undecided get them to vote it is very important. site will take advantage to say that everywhere that i can the next couple of days was invited to the whitee house last week no one more astonished and me i took to votes to president obama. my favorite author unchanged negative life, the vietnamese buddhist monk nominated for the nobel peace prize by dr. martin luther king both north and south kicked him out because he was so radical and gave
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this book and this one and wonderful things and ideas about what we could do in a global times to call me our fears and to meet a better planet because it is up to us. suggested that we have a council of sages of stories who have not been heard her all the communities to feel they have not been heard every town or color all of us this country is livelier so fearful of each other because we all feel our stories are being heard. telling our own story is the central those who put together the book festivalcreate who created the african-american museum, the
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holocaust museum this specially those that need to be heard at this time. i will close with an excerpt from last chapter of the book by cannot read it all so i will just jump they advocate -- a little bit.[i this is a phrase that means my house is your house. i will not said that my house because i have to write. [laughter]r] >> whitey one to buy an old house rex's like choosing to marry an old man.e becaus because they sent for me and perhaps their people as well the spirits.
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i wake in the middle of the night to receive the message i am invited to speak at a writers' conference. visit the town only once 20on years prior so brief a barely left an impression but this time i except thee invitation the only way i can be sure to have a mexican vacation. i decided i will not like san miguel it is too many ex pat and ashamed and surprised when i do like the people native and foreign and come back, and on a quarter few weeks after some know i will tell you that i now live there. by want to read bits and pieces of this.
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when i was in high-school i took a class for spanish speakers. one of the assignments each week was a list of vocabulary words one waser need machine-gun. when will i need to use that word? now that ended in mexico i am startled by the ubiquity of machine guns the local police carry as, as of plastic shopping bag at the downtown street corner every national parade or office depot even now with no machine gun in sight i cannot go into office depot without experiencing the involuntary shudder. going into mexico cityen regularly to collect the run -- to collect the rent. large you afraid? she would say no over the
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telephone not at all i stayed by then military with a have policemen everywhere carrying a machine gun they feel negative and save.ere is t where is the country where a woman can feel safe? is there such a country? when living in europe are often cited virginia woolf. as a woman i have no countryhe my country is the whole world. i would amend that to the current times as a woman i have a country. as a woman i am an immigrant lasthe whole world. for last month the one back to the united states from the house a lived in two decades when i first bought it my father was furious san cannot understand what had chosen 100 year old house when i could have gotten a
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brand new one i love old homes their sole spirit his first concern is i could not take care of the house by myself. one of the first things he did was bounce on the floor board. sqe planks were squeaking and he was hurting them this was proof to show me how foolish my choice had been after a few weeks he saw had a team of housekeeper attending to the needs of my elderly house he finally admitted i had done well. now 20 years later i am selling bauhaus i said i would never sell far last night i wake up to this antonio airport in dutch driver arrives half an hour early by banks are already waiting of the front porch berger before locking up by the crown at the empty rooms
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and think of all of the creative folks who have passed through the house and my life. filmmakers come up painters painters, writers come architects, activist politicians poets' organizers educatorsrs musician's dancers cleaners scientists performance artist and done save writing workshop was born in this dining room coming -- becoming a foundation and here they gathered and celebrated so many locals would pass through these rooms over the years. i pulled the door firmly behind me locket for the last time how deerfield? and say to myself, i feel gratitude.
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this house in san antonio no longer brings me joy it grew into a grand pain of the you know, what this says you don't take care of meonfess to anymore i want to confess to my house but i don't want to hurt her feelings i felt my solitude now that the river walk has been extended behind my back fence the pedestrians are on the other side all of ours even during the night sending my dogs into pandemonium. condominiums under construction on the opposite bank setting off the storms i don't want to read it this but my house makes me feel afraid. i think about my mexican friends said recently my
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told them i was traveling north to the united states. are too afraid? this is exactly what my u.s. friends told me what i said was moving to mexico. aren't you afraid? the would remind mexicans of the objections andco disappearances of their own country the issue rights violations and the drug wars they counter yes but we don't have to send our children to school with fear they are assassinated by a other children one caller gave the united states he referred to as the united states of fear. we are living in the age of fear on both sides on all sides on all borders across the of the globe.
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the paradox is that fearin post- unites us and was so much vitriolic in the media tour the people who look like me i know launder feel at home at home. you should not be afraid in your own house. option nine vast however identified mexican and american to say you have a mother and father? loving one does not cancel out the weather i have been living in the fatherland longtime now it is time to explore the motherland but what is not mexico even if matriarchs create monsters isn't macho another word for mama's boy?
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i peer out the cab window while of a driver rearranges my bags and the trump the porch light shines through the fixtures there is a beautiful day and send the dark the pecan and mesquite trees a look at the house have called home for so long i am grateful. i tell the driver let's go. i have complete faith that mothers and grandmothers are the solution to the violenceo not only in mexico but across the world nothing more negative he revered in mexican culture than a mother except perhaps a mother's mother and beyond that the holy mother of
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mothers guadalupe. once and san antonio television following exchange between a sniper and the san antonio police and then the grandmother to grandmother asked what was going on then she tore past the tape off and came out with the culprit tinkling from her arm as she swatted and spank him with her slipper. [laughter] what the of world needs now is the grandmother brigade to shame and swat and spank the macho. [applause]
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>> the first question may move to the microphone. >> i waited six years to see you again. i noticed some riders look for the comp lex cause but on the other hand, is very easy to understand. you mentioned you wanted to
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write for everyone as a simple person for young people to understand and educate people. create it is hard to create a prose that is easy for every reader from academics at some point? >> i purposely chose the foyers that now people recognize as mine when i was in an academy as a grad student in purposely chose the voice of the poets from the graduate program because i thought when i wrote from the confessional voice people did not want to hear what i had to say and i felt sensor the two years i was there i really did not speak but i could liberate myself
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from the censorship by taking a voice that was uniquely mine from another time a young girl's voice and started to write a book even though i didn't get credit for it i just wrote it to keep myself afloat while in the workshop also the latin american boom with experimental writers to infuse poetry and fictiond to wi but i tried to write in the felice and people see us as 61 years old with star care on that is only the outside but the true you it is inside your heart. i think i am 11 laugh laugh i use that boys and that is the one i have to fight
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against because usually speaks when i feel most myself berger i hampshire everybody here has some and you identify yourself much more than on the outside that is your true self if you give yourself permission to write in your pajamas voice like if i was talking to one person see me in my pajamas that is the voicee that would come out. so i give riders instruction talk your pc to one person wearing your pajamas mentally. include all of the of the offices that is not how was but just completely as your first draft is your true voice then if you have to hand that nn say paper or a
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job application over what ever you can dress that up you shut it off and turn it on in any pretend to the person across from you is your enemy and that is how you edit laugh laugh. [applause] >> i read your book andg high-school. i just fell on love with the way that you wrote the book. and dad wanted to ask you what did vice wooded you
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give to someone? >> i always tell people earn your own money then nobody can tell you don't do that. control your fertility.- especially girls. from your brilliant career. and learn how to be alone to nurture that alone time. [applause]concerni
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>> concerning what you were saying about minorities needing a voice what about the dakota pipeline and how the people can help get their voices out quite. >> what a wonderful question iso concerned about what is happening in the dakotas with that pipeline. imagine if a pipeline wasin going to arlington cemetery there would be an uproar. wade and annette. so many of the treaties that have been broken for thehe people and what can we do? what will lead you recommend and not a smart is everybody put together here so what could we do to bring attention to help the lakota nation? i really would like to hear from you. what could we do? [inaudible conversations]
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>> there is a website. [inaudible] [inaudible] you young people who know how to manage better than i do provide like that. see how smart you are? that would not have the answer if i did not answer -- ask you. any other suggestions? [inaudible] >> call your member of congress.
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[inaudible] [laughter]r] and but get people -- get 10 people to do it. [inaudible] >> there is a bail fund for the people that are arrested. >> we need the lawyers also. [laughter] >> never underestimate when you put people together i was berger used to think i was younger i used to half -- have all the answers it is>> okay to say i don't know.
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[applause] >> why did you name your house the house on mango street? >> come older you? >> i intend. >> i am one year older than you. when i began the book i was thinking of the real neighborhood on a real street in chicago the irbil street was campbell but i could not use campbell's street everybody thinks that is a super so with sounds like campbell but has nothing to do with it so main go -- man go so i
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thought of my favorite fruit because you have to like yourself and mr. to write and i was a new writer. thanks for asking. [applause]is >> >> how old are you? >> "a house of my own".au >> we are the same age. >> i really like your house -- the book that house on mango street who was her favorite author as a kid quick. >> lewis carroll the man who wrote "alice in wonderland" and also haunts christian andersen and all the authors that were my favoritey favorite because i am 11 banks basking. [applause]
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so i have not read your most recent book get by looking for to it so could we do share some of your favorite memoirs with us?r though for any thoughts of the differences by the quick spirit that is the good question because people think that is my life story but actually it is more autobiographical but "the house on mango street" it began with a real emotion. it is great if you can write about what you remember but is more powerful about things you wish you could forget and i began from that place of the emotional shame growing up but unlike the of
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book it was the stepup washb only when i left it was fudging with the truth but it takes relatives and people place started thinking i would write what nobody else in my class could right but then eventually and left iowa i started to teach at an alternative school in a portan area so maybe a lady would tell me a story and then i would here and another and then i would take the two stories and put them intoto one character. . .
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a so this touches on the first question.. what i noticed is your voice is powerful and comes through so when i write i have a lot of problems with i want to fight that voice and i think it is going too far.
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do you always listen to that voice, do you think it is detrimental or is it a positive thing? >> did we all hear thatgradua question?o slengs i felt so silenced and intimidated and made to feel inferior by my environment so i didn't speak at all and it's funny that you would say such a powerful voice because they wrote it when i was my mosting e powerless. it's good if we write thingsta that get a little distance from it.yourself you can see your self and when something happens immediately
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you need a little bit of perspective. i get writer's block. so what are ten things i know that no one else in the room knows what are ten things youou know that no one else in your ti family knows and no one in your gender knows. things that are different, in your economic class into church. it might be silly thing.
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to throw the garbage can without opening the gate because you are the oldest or you know how to do that, simple little thing. happening to the people he would never write the same thing even if we had the same facts but every single person here is different. there's never been none like you and the history of the universe and there will never be anyone like you again when you're gone. you will always have a ten times
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ten that you can bring forth the work. [applause] i just want to say everything you read that there is really powerful, heartfelt and uplifting and obviously comes from a deep passion for writing so i've just got to ask when did you decide you wanted to be a
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writer? >> i was 10-years-old when i knew i wanted to be a writer and the way i knew was from a weekend of pure vanity. i went to the library and as a kid we didn't have the computers, we had those long dewy decimal drawers with the cards. i backtracked because there was a car that was soft from overuse from the oil of peoples hands os touching it and it was typed on as labor and can attest to -- librarians can attest to. i thought i want a card with my name on it. i just knew that's what i want
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wanted. i told them use this and seee what it is you want. it's too late for many children to make that difference it has to start in middle school. [applause] i encountered your buck in graduate school and wasi co fascinated.
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from the variety of backgrounds some from the experience havingi fallen in love with it at different age and coming from a different background.ke simultaneously it attract. i was curious how much was an intentional stylistic choice in how much of it was the way that you remembered seeing women as powerful did that occur or was that an artistic decision youla put in later?
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>> i'm very highly sensitive i can't even go to an airport without even getting tired before i get on the plane, sosil i'm hyper. what but i can perceive his peoe emotions and sentiments even before they tell me and their needs. everybody has a story that nobody wants to listen to it. i think i felt my job as a teacher was to listen to my students. i didn't plan that i would believe these stories. they came to me, and i was the most help if i put it, ill
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prepared counselor, teacher that they ever met. i could just cry. wasn't very good but i would take the stories with me and think about them and it was hard for me to go to sleep with thesw stories knowing what my students lives were like.et bec so i had that little train set that was a way to transform that have these% miss in my heart. that's the real reason i write and why you should write for the same reason.y we all have a story to tell. everyone has a story that is meaningful to toe. we did a story power by notgs
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talking about it and things that happened to us. we alleged that might be held tw our throats. we don't take it away. and writing is a way of wrestling with that demon into transforming the story, taking it away so that doesn't make you cry or haunt you any more so that it doesn't hurt or humiliate or damage you and it doesn't mean that every time you write about something like thatt you will take it away. some are so great that you can't take it away but at least we can keep it from being held and aimed towards us and we can learn how to live alongside of it. don't start writing until you transform that into a little plants that illuminates you and transforms you and shields you.
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thank you.>> >> you're welcome. >> any other questions? >> i didn't intend to win an award or be in front of you in y my lifetime. the most i thought i could do is get the information from my fellow writers and the a teach teacher. i am astonished and blessed to make my living from my pen and i feel honored to deliver the stories to you. in the house on mango street ise a freshman in high school and that inspired me to write about my truth.
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i grew up in a predominantly white community so i often didn't feel comfortablee expressing my thoughts. it wasn't only okay to talk about the it was good to talk about and. i want to be held to write about issues that mean a lot to me. i was wondering how writing. how does it help you go through that process? >> it was a complicated question and i was a teacher getting some
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sleep. it wasn't an overnight success.k i finished the book at 21 and finished up 28. but it didn't start gathering momentum until i was 38. if you are an artist, 20 yearsko or more you may never make a profit and writing. taking countless pills and other substances is a way.
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>> i'm still finding my voice. that's the good thing about getting older. you gets moved up to grade two and then grade three. so i'm 61 but i'm still learning and still finding my voice. it's this spiral and now i'm finding because i live in mexico and travel that i have a bigger responsibility and not just telling stories of my students but i have to be an ambassador. that is a big child and of course i never feel smart enough to do it. i'm always looking for those teachers that are going to help me to do that.
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[applause] you talk about the role of mothers and i want to see how is your perspective when you wrote this book and when you go backco to mexico and when you are here what are the things you see in the mothers that are still struggling and hell do you empower those women so we can raise strong self-confident women?
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>> day impress me. when you see what's happened with the massacre and thepa mothers that are so humble and they are there with the photos of their children, they lost their children and they are still marching and still reminding the government that they have to be held accountable where if a lamp break or street like this and get it fixed there is no accountability. so the fact they have the courage and teach me, it's not the other way around. my job right now is one of listening to people that most people wouldn't listen to and i'm the first one that's going to learn from that.
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>> how do you know when a piece is going to be fiction or poetry? >> how do i know when something is going to be fiction or poetry, i don't. but i keep following it. it is a string that i'm pulling and it will tell me what it wants to be. i'm kind of excited by new forms and looking for something that's experimental and teaching a new way of thinking. but you shouldn't worry about what something is, you should just write. [applause] >> thank you for being here it's
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great to meet you. my question is i am hoping toou shed some thoughts on writing and social movement. >> you want my thoughts on that i think i can sum it up by a bumper sticker from the 60s if you're not part of the solution, you are part of the problem. [applause] >> i guess i'm tall. thank you so much for being here tonight. my question is more about you have a history of working withcn publishers, editors. how have you been able to maintain your identity through these different groups when one of the proudest moments i felt watching you was receiving the medal from obama which has been
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an honor. >> everything i do is veryre th calculated.e i thou i thought i can't buy that and also it is the most beautiful dress. i'm not going to get the chance to speak except maybe to say i'a thank you so i want to make sure that it's a political statement. i don't think so much of thatal was calculated. what i try to do is empty myselg from my personal agenda when i write and i do that by meditating and asking my ancestors to help me. then i go to all of their becau ancestors because it seems like
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it is impossible and so difficult because you think with your mother and father wentra through they raised seven kids and my mom was a housewife.an my father came as an immigrant. my great grandparents didn't know how to read or write so when you think about that my grandmother came with two children during the violence. when i'm reminded of that okay all i want is to put one step forward. if you ask to honor your ancestors, you always do good work. [applause]
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>> does anyone have a final question? we will have book sales and signings in the lobby [inaudible] it's very nice meeting you. i came here because i appreciate the work that you're doing.>>
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[inaudible] >> that is a nice question whatt would i give to the students, the most important thing that we can do is travel. if you travel to a place you don't have passion the more you travel the more you see who you are. it's funny you travel outside the united states you were more about your home country and who you are so its great because it opens you up and makes you more generous and compassionate and teaches you who you are. thank you all for coming. [applause]
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[inaudible conversations]
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