Here are some random notes I came up with today as I have been thinking of how these Monte Stories might play out. I know they will follow Carlos and his much younger wife Felipa and the Compadre Pifanio…
Somehwere along the way the stories will follow Lena on train ride from Pueblo, CO to Monte Vista. The day follows Lena and her thoughts–Felipa names 8th daughter but the baby is promised to Lena. Maybe this baby is Pifanio’s and this will push the drama, maybe?
Felipa to beauty shop in Alamosa and wants to go to Stampede to dance and drink but Carlos wants to rest and drink and wants to retire and Pifanio is the friend of Carlos from work and he asks her to come with him possible affair.
Carlos maybe sees ufo while he sits and drinks…
Carlos gets hurt and saved by Pifanio maybe…
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Lolo Stories’ contradiction:
One thing I’ve learned about telling stories is that they have nothing to do with facts–and they also have everything to do with them.
(After working on the short “Lena’s Trip Home” I really enjoyed drafting the voice and the movement of Lena’s Jefe–Carlos. Thought he might lead to some longer stories because of his work in the lumberyards and as a carpenter. He’s based on my biological Grandfather and though I never spent much time with him I like to imagine his life in the San Luis Valley and how he would be able to give away a daughter after fathering something like 13 or 14 children through his life to the age of 50.)
Down in the valley, just outside of Monte Vista, Colorado, or ‘Monty’ as the daughter Lena used to call it, where the mountain views fill nearly the entire horizon outside of his windshield, Carlos Montoya drives and works nearly every day on the campsites of South Fork. He drives his truckito up and down the San Luis Valley, usually before the sun rises every morning, to make a living for him and his wife though in his mind he should have been retired years ago. Here in the valley has been his bread and his income since he stepped foot off the train downtown in Alamosa. His brothers and some of his compadres from work camp days have moved on to Southern Colorado to work in the coal mines or steel mill of Huerfano County. He wear his cowboy hat cocked as most veterans wore them in those days and he wears his jeans faded as most working men of the valley, despite his young wife’s protests and attempts for him to change his ways.
Some days he parks alone near the old Spanish Trail just miles from the unpaved streets of his home on Franklin Street. He smokes his cigarillos and drains his cans of beer in peace while he listens to KATR and his country music out of Sterling. He parks because the wife doesn’t like the smell of cigarettes in her kitchen and she doesn’t allow beer in her home. He parks because he knows as soon as re arrives he must whack stove-sized wood for his dinner and for his breakfast and then clear the scrap from below the thinning maple trees behind the house. The truckito becomes his sanctuary and his savior from all that, home from his work in the remote lumberyards and sawyards, the roar of belt feeders cutting cedar and. He looks all around and finds peace after working through the days and he finds the valley green and the mountains warm in the afternoon sun and he fills his lungs through an open passenger and driver side windows. Spruce trees and meadow grass still green and rolling along the hills ahead of him. The Mason farm and the crown of woods behind it where the lettuce workers complete their field work.
This goes on until he thinks to slap at his back pocket and then pulls his leather bill fold to find the few bills among the dust and lint. He thinks of skipping home and driving out to Home’s Café or out of Rio Grande County towards Alamosa and State Street out to Jack’s Market for the simple pleasure of dinner in his truck without the voice of the wife or her constant questions: Where are you taking me this weekend, Carlos? Or Why don’t we have a home like your kids, Carlos? Why does the dog get more attention from you, Carlos?
This blog is supposed to be about writing but this band means so much to my writing I had to write about the Weds night concert D and I attended in the middle of the Dupage County Fair. Under a beautiful sky and in the middle of a unseasonably cool night, the band played so many of the songs that help me to write. I often tell people that if not for Los Lobos and their albums I wouldn’t have been able to write Little Lolo Stories and maybe even Rabbit Story which will soon be coming out in the Copper Nickel Review.
Afterwards the band signed autographs and we were lucky enough to be one of the first few in line. They signed t-shirts and cds. And they even made conversation with D and I–it was amazing. I was surprised how star struck I was with them. I could only say: You guys were great. I did manage to shake all of their hands except for Cesar Rosas.
Here’s a horrible photo I took with my camera phone:
I grew up with music–the Grandfather had an 8 track in the car and a horrible sounding tape player in the van we used for long trips through New Mexico. I can’t think of a fishing trip or a Sunday meal in my early life without music playing somehow in the background. Even the Grandmother had a little radio above the dinner table. And I do think the Ipod and Itunes–and before that Napster–are the greatest inventions for writers. I use it as fuel and as that mood to get into the fictive space.
(Tentatively I have reorganized the chapters. I have them here lettered and numbered but I’ll lose all that–I just need them to keep track of them. I was so glad to hear Martha Miller echo the same problems with remembereing names and places.
In terms of the revision, I spent the last three days looking at sentence level issues–I hate that. I still have content issues in several of the chapters as some are stronger than others. I have movied some things around so that the ist person narrative comes early to establish the narration and point of story. I wanted to save it but now I see I have to do this to make it clear the focus of the book is Lolo and Relles’ son as the narrator years inthe future, imagining and trying to figure out what happened to the family.)
Little Lolo Stories
1. Rabbit Story—1st person and Lolo and idea of notebook and collecting of stories
2. the Lapping of Milk—introduces little Lolo and his younger attitude as soft/unique
3. Strange Tattoos—Lolo—idea of tattoos and Lolo out finding snakes
4. the Breaking of Wrists—Lolo—Lolo riding around the neighborhood after dark
5. Boy’s Play—snow days
6. Las Dias-family—end of section that shows Dec celebration on Spruce
7. the Crew of Fosters—
8. the Jefe’s Lists—Jefe in dr’s office and worried about bills—background of moving to CO
9. the Jefe’s Work—Jefe in front yard and time off from mill—Lolo and lawn work
10. the Multi Purpose Belt—Jefe and discipline
11. the Jefe in Burma–Jefe
12. Lolo and the Neighborhood—Lolo home alone and Jefe and Jefita out to fosters
14. the Bear–Jefita
15. the Dog–Jefita
16. Driven to the Fields—Lolo and Jefe
17. -intro of Mitedio and idea of Coco
18-22. Juanita’s Boy–Mitedio
23. Mitedio and His Boys—Mitedio playing with boys as Jefe works on cars
24. Mitedio Returns from Korea–Mitedio
25. Mitedio Put Out–Mitedio
26. Mitedio’s Fishing Trips–Mitedio
27. Mitedio’s Fight–Mitedio
28. Rock in the Beans–Family
29. Relles’s Skull–Lolo
30. Jefita Pregnant–Jefita
31. News of Mitedio—
32.-33. Jefita in Colorado Springs
34. Jefe’s Hunting
35. Jefe Returns
36. the Fight
37. Jefe’s Stitches
38. Mitedio Calls
39.-40. Colorado State Penitentiary
41-42. Jefe Arrested
43. Jefe Interviewed
44.-45. Boys in New Mexico
46. Jefe Plays
V. the House of Order
James Pisell, curator of the Masters’ Museum in Petersburg, Illinois, discusses the life of Edgar Lee Masters author of The Spoon River Anthology.
Jennie Battles gives a tour of the Vachel Lindsay home in Springfield, Illinois.