This week, I’ve placed these 3 titles by Rigoberto González on my bed stand stack. In these unsettled/ling times, it’s critical that those of us who have enjoyed reading al our lives continue. It’s easy to fall into a mind numbing gaze at our social media on various devices or get caught in the endless spin of news channels.
This gift from the publisher arrived this week. I look forward to catching up on the growing body of work by Rigoberto González.
These are also not times when writers have ‘exciting’ news to announce everyday. In past times, while some known authors were interested in commenting on politics, few did so publicly. No one announced who their agent was, where they had lunch at (or took a picture of the plate), or about a disgruntled university student (lest that cause even more disgruntlement.) Such are these days, with almost anything that occurs on a given day must be shared with the ‘masses,’ (considered by many as their ‘fan base.’)
We may have allies who are glad to hear how well our career is going. There’s always the fact that the majority don’t know you, don’t caret what happened and then, we know, there are the ‘haters.’
In past times, even widely read authors rarely made the news. Before the accessibility of mass reaching media a writer never announced an award, much less a nomination. This was the work of others–a publisher, the awards committee, a press release. But here we are. Many set on making writing their lives, have quiet times, out of the public eye. They are ruminating, earning a living doing other work. They are tending to romantic partnerships, raising children, caring for an aging parent or all of the above. They are deep in depression in bed in the dark or have gone fishing with the dog to enjoy a bit of life.
We are not always waving our latest achievement as writers like checkered flags at the races and speaking for many (although not all) of my own generation of Latino/a, we aren’t always looking for ways to undermine what we perceived as our competition. While discussions took place in cafes, classrooms and in personal letter, we didn’t stand on a stage with a mike to discredit anyone who was on the path before we came along.
My friend, Rodrigo Reyes, a writer and actor who passed away in 1991, and was the first person I knew who contracted AIDS, developed a philosophy which he shared with me: “What you are looking at is looking.”
There are two sides to social media. We learn, meet, and network; we’re entertained or disgruntled. During this pandemic especially, social media has become socializing, has become family and community. I’ve been appreciative of being connected with new and old friends, especially on FB. When we were all huddled in our ‘pods’ it was relieving to see how people were doing.
On this site, amongst other things, I share what I read, mention news of interest and what’s forthcoming in my life as a writer. (I also check in with Facebook and Instagram but with only slightly more time invested than I do here.) The rest of the day, like I did decades ago and writers of times past, I am living my life modestly and quietly and away from my camera phone. Rest assured, I’m back to writing. So far so good.