My story Lena’s Trip Home is now up on Fogged Clarity. Great TC Boyle interview as well.
I’ve been wanting to write about the TAMI Show for a while. I have the story in my head of Lolo travelling to Denver to see Gerry and the Pacemakers. They probably all have pacemakers now but back in the day this film and travelling concert series almost led Lolo to flunking out of school. I think the teenage Lolo had to drive a truckito filled with furniture from Questa to Denver. Maybe he volunteered to be in Denver around the week or so of the concert date. He was in school at the time. He was always leaving school for work or to work out someehwere for the family. Pretty funny to think of the old Chicano searching for tickets to see his classicos but music has always been important to Lolo. I can see you flunking out because of the goddamm Gerry and the Pacemakers, the Jefita would yell. No, Mama, Lolo would say. James Brown.
I have been exchanging emails with Felicia Olin. She is a Springfield artist and her work is amazing. I spent time at her art show on the campus of University of Illinois Springfield with D and her work was even more amazing as I had the chance to study it up close. Amazing work and craft. I’m also lucky to have a version of her painting called Day of the Dead on my wall. I contacted her to perhaps work on illustrating covers for some of my stories for the Antique Children Liqour Store series. Here is the first image she sent to me based on her reading of “Laundromat Story.”
Words: Peter Bebergal Interviews Guitarist Sir Richard Bishop, Bill Hillmann, Chipmunx, Asher Benatar, D.M. Mitchell, Mike Parrish, Hernán David Camargo Luque, Hollace Metzger, and Ron Hirschbein.
Visuals: Felicia Olin, Ruben Cukier, Stephan Maich, Cody Sevedge, Jim Henderson, and Rebecca Etter.
Films:Nick Cave interview – Ghosts of the Civil Dead (1988), A Brief History of Pretty Much Everything by Jamie Bell, Give Up Yer Aul Sins – Story of Saint Patrick by Brown Bag Films, and TOWN OF MAIPO – PROCESSION by Felipe Rodríguez Pincheira.
My short story “Penance” finally has a home. In May it will appear in Verdad literary and fine arts journal. This story is only the second from my grad school thesis to find some place to stay.
Found this online source today called the Teacher’s Voice. A publication filled with poems and articles by and from Latino teachers who also write creatively. They have a great page called the war on public education. I wish I could get some of my essays revised and ready to go to submit to their open call. I’ve written a few essays on the old neighborhood and how my family and grandparents felt about education–the mixed message and the contradictions. I wonder if I can get these revised and polished.
Yesterday I exchanged a few emails with Ben Evans from Fogged Clarity arts journal. He suggested revisions for “Lena’s Trip Home” and the revisions led to some minor changes. The biggest change was the last line. The original last line was Lena yelling “Bullshit!” and I originally thought they wanted to lose the curse word. D helped me to understand the line gave the character Lena a more active voice–losing her silence and maybe the silence most women display in literature. The story now ends with Lena watching Felipa. A less ambiguous ending since this again priginally was a chapter from Monte stories and now feels less reliant on the next chapter or chapters and gives it a more self contained feel.
These emails led to an exchange of emails from me and D debating that revision:
D: I think it’s okay, but it’s not the story you were telling–the story you were telling was about a woman who was confused and torn–sensitive enough to understand what’s going on with Felipa and stunned or hardened enough to go through with it anyway. I loved your last line, and the story uses the words “shit” and “bullshitted” in it already, so it’s not the cursing they’re objecting to. They are, in essence, silencing your character–Lena. They’re silencing her, and she’s not the silent type, and that makes me mad, because it’s as though they are forcing her into some image of “a mother” that she is not. Maybe that’s over-dramatic, but that’s how I feel. The story they are telling is of a woman who is silenced by another woman’s pain. Lena is not that woman. She CAN”T be and take the baby.
Me: Now I am rethinking the whole thing which is good I guess. Jeri just wants her home to take care of him. ANd Jeri is a drunk and is not the best father. SHe kind of worries baout that too in other sections of Monte Stories. And I think he even tells her in an earlier section not to get a baby because it will Hills Like WHite Elaphants up the relationship you know what I mean. Anyway the Jefe is doing what’s best for him and so is Lena I think. She is a lot like the Jefe. She is actively going away from Jeri–and maybe he should not know she is gone that might heighten it a bit. I thought that was a bit more clear in their phone call but could be less subtle.
I’ve read about Salinger and his editor arguing over the content. Lee Abbott used to tell me about arguing over lines. He loved one sentence paragraphs and his editor hated them he would tell me. I just don’t have strong opinions. I still think I am finding the story and the characters. I don’t think they were making it a different story. I do think the edits should serve the story. And in my head Lena is a part monster and part saving kind of a person. She saves Bruna but can’t save herself. She wants the baby and gets the baby and that is it. I think the edit serves the story and no one will read it if I don’t get it out there. And the real Lena didn’t leave Jeri–he left her. The real Lena never got a driver’s license. Cordelia and all her strength let Paul walk all over her. It was the 40s and 50s and the reality was different unfortunately. In a way your mother got a divorce and Lena never married Jeri or married Louis or nothing. The only thing she did in her life was to leave San Luis–and that was because she got married. I’m rambling…
D: This is very good and I agree with you. I think it’s interesting particularly because when you think about it, your stories (well, for every writer and every reader really) stories serve multiple purposes, don’t they? You make the character that you want and that serves your ideologies the most or that challenges them the most. We read for bibliotherapy sometimes and sometimes we read for a new outlook. I think the fact that Lena is “part monster/part savior” is apparent. I agree for now, just get the story out there, and when it goes into your book and the whole ms is getting out there, you can change/tweak to adapt to the shape that Lena takes for you then and that fits the entire ms then.
Oh and then I got this email:
Thank you for your submission to Black Lawrence Press.
Unfortunately, we have decided not to publish your manuscript. Please
know that we afford careful consideration to every manuscript that we
receive. However, we can only accept a few titles for publication each year.
I wish you luck in finding a publisher for your manuscript.
Executive Editor, Black Lawrence Press
My short story “Lena’s Trip Home” has finally found a home. In April it will appear in Fogged Clarity arts review. Finally happy to receive some editorial comment. Fogged Clarity looks like a nice publication bringing music and writing together.