Failed Conversations with the Family

As I am one week away from the end of the Fall 08 term, I have to reflect on the term and the latest failed manuscript–the Notorious Cornbread Baca manuscript of 70 pages. This term has given five more chapters and more direction for Cornbread and the hope I can complete the manuscript by the end of the summer–that seems like a more realistic goal since at one time I had hoped to complete by the new year but I don’t see that happening now. At least I feel I have a pretty good idea at the pace of the writing. Slow but steady. And if I head back to Colorado for the XMas holiday perhaps I can get idea and thoughts down back in town and around the old neighborhoods.

And I do feel more focused and determined after my first community college creative writing course. Maybe because D was in the course and maybe because I taught the course in a fully MFA workshop style that was satisfying to some degree. The focus I was happy to say was on form over meaning as much as possible. And, yes, I did have the dificult students–the confluence of the community college student problems along with the regular problems of young writers. Still trying to teach students to respond and create with humanity and empathy and with an objective view on their manuscripts is still a dificult task and seems even more dificult with the community college student. But the class was a success in that I see my possibilities for change and tweaking of the syllabus and the syllabus as well as tentative schedule.

This was a dificult semester for me after the loss of the Abuelita but I feel more focused on the dialogue with the family–more focused on the failed dialogue with the family–and the old neighborhood that my writing has become. So the manuscripts feel as failed or incomplete but my aesthetic or thoughts on form are still strong and determined.

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john paul jaramillo

John Paul Jaramillo’s debut story collection The House of Order was named a 2013 Int’l Latino Book Award Finalist, and his most recent work Little Mocos is now available from Twelve Winters Press. In 2013 Latino Boom: An Anthology of U.S. Latino Literature listed Jaramillo as one of its Top 10 New Latino Authors to Watch and Read. He is currently a professor of composition and literature at Lincoln Land College-Springfield, Illinois.

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