Monday, July 18, 2005

Bandwagon jumping

Well, after starting this blog in NOVEMBER, I have decided to jump on the blogging bandwagon for real this time. As parents around the world love to hear, everyone's doing it, so why not me? The thing that really inspired me was finishing a sweater I made for my sister, and having an online knitting friend post it on her blog for me, and getting lots of nice complimentary comments from completely random strangers. Ooh! Nothing like having your ego stroked!

The reason I never thought I would actually start blogging is because I have never been able to keep a journal successfully, and I guess I saw the blogging thing as writing in your diary. I remember the little hardcover ones with the fake leather and the gold stamping on the front, and with the lock that never worked and the sweet little key. Yes, I remember those, and I remember never writing in them past the second or third page. "September 10, 1979. Went to school today. Got there late. Tater tots for lunch! OK, gotta go play dodgeball before it gets dark!" Third graders do not have the most riveting lives.

Nor are they the most self-reflexive. That's the other thing that kept me away from journaling, even past the third grade. I cannot stand being alone with my thoughts. Not that I don't have a rich interior life and spend lots of time lounging around like The Thinker, but if faced with a blank piece of paper and asked to record my thoughts and actions for all eternity, well, I just get bored. I don't feel like my daily life needs to be recorded for my great great great great grandchildren's children. If the world even lasts that long, they may simply be puzzled at my constant references to "America's Next Top Model" and "Who Wants to Date my Mom?"

But blogging seems to me to be more of a form of Christmas letter. You know the may have received a few. Or even have written a few. Instead of writing personal notes in all your Christmas/holiday cards to all your loved ones, trying to make up for forgetting to call them all year, you simply draft on your computer a one to two page letter updating them on everyone from the kids to the cats. You refer to yourself in the third person too ("Olga took swimming lessons this summer. Whew! She had a close call with the kickboard, but managed to drag herself to safety in the nick of time.")

I also learned that I can blather on for pages if I'm simply writing a letter. I started a pen pal-esque correspondence with someone I'd started dating in April because he's spending the summer in Yellowstone (yes, very sexy, I know. For those of you familiar with my status as the poster child for long-distance relationships, I ask: WHY? Why do these, um, situations follow me around like fleas to a dog in the middle of August?) I surprised myself with the reams of ink-stained stationery I could produce. Apparently, although I am incapable of having an extended phone conversation or starting conversations at cocktail parties, I can string quite a few sentences together when writing for an unsuspecting victim.

So this is my Christmas letter to y'all, except it will come (hopefully) much more often than just once a year. I plan to show off my knitting, and have deliciously satisfying rants on everything from ethnic identity (I already had one on someone else's blog, just scroll to see my comments under "Desvelada") to graduate school to having to tear out the knitting on my latest top for the SIXTH time. More on that later.

I am also posting today to share my absolutely fantabulous weekend at a conference (yes, being the geek I am, a CONFERENCE is my idea of fun). This was no ordinary conference, people. It was the tenth annual Latina Letters conference in San Antonio. None other than La Sandra Cisneros was the keynote speaker, and among the glittering personalities there were Ana Menendez, Lorna Dee Cervantes, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Pat Mora, and Norma Cantu, just to name a few. These names, with a couple of exceptions, may not be well known beyond the Latino literature classroom, but believe me, I was in heaven all weekend!

I had the good fortune to be invited to a dinner on Friday night where all of these authors were seated around a table at Mi Tierra in downtown San Antonio. I just kinda sat there at the end of the table in disbelief. Eventually I got to chat with one of Sandra's best friends. She just kinda came in with La Divine Miss S midway through the dinner, pulled up a chair next to the empty space near me, smiled, and started chatting with me. It also helped that she knew the person on the other side of me...she was probably the real reason she sat down at that end of the table!

Anyway, she asked me where I was from, and I said Chicago, and she was like, have you told Sandra? (because Sandra is from Chicago, too. ahem. in case you're not a star-struck groupie, like me, and knows what kind of cheerios she likes for breakfast, like me.) I stared at her, thinking, are you kidding? Sandra doesn't know me from a frijol in her pantry. But I just shook my head and casually said, no, I haven't had the chance to chat with her yet. Ha! Please! I've met this fantastic author at a few booksignings and let me tell you, if she remembered me after having met all the Chicanas who have come up to her crying and telling her how much they love her books and how much she's changed their lives, then I would just fall over dead.

So she tells me, oh, I've known Sandra for twenty years, and we were just talking about how she doesn't go dancing anymore. And I was like, girl, I remember when you used to dance on tables! And lift your skirt over your head!

I looked at her, in awe. "Are you one of....Las Girlfriends???," I whispered reverently. She smiled and nodded modestly. "Yes, I was kicked out of a bar once."

Holy crap. I almost choked on a tortilla chip. I have to say, that was probably the highlight of the weekend.

Oh, yeah, I also presented a paper on Saturday, about Latino stereotypes and publishing. Most of my rant on Alisa's blog comes from the mental place I was in while preparing that talk. (Which doesn't mean that I don't think Alisa is a hypocritical rat-bastard 24-7. But the rest of my razor-sharp media analysis was a by-product of the state of frenzy I was in while preparing that paper.)

Well, here are some lovely pictures from an incredibly lovely weekend. Hope you enjoy them!

Crystal, La Sandra, me, and Erin, huddling for a group shot!

(Five head-scratching, swear-word mumbling minutes later: I cannot figure out how to post more than one picture, apparently. Seems there is a learning curve to this blogging thing. Oh, well. Must run to my swimming lesson (true story, but sans the kickboard accident, that was embellishment). Maybe I'll figure out the picture thang later.


At 8:16 AM, Blogger Marisa said...

La Tejo!

I'm so honored to be invited to read your blog. I even got a profile to post comments on your site. Reading your posts make me feel like you're back in Chicago and we're sitting at your red kitchen table talking about everything from "reality" tv to literature! Thanks for the invite. Miss you! marisa

At 4:16 PM, Blogger Laura said...

I'm a new blogger too, and I understand the journal-writing comparison. But, for me, this is the only way I can talk about knitting without boring everyone around me. (I found your blog through A Chance to Knit, which is another one I read.) Anyway, good luck, and I'll be reading! :)

At 6:54 PM, Anonymous Susie said...

Heather sent us over're a great writer and I really enjoyed reading your blog. Please don't let it be months again before you post again!


At 10:55 AM, Blogger Candy said...

Dear Olgita....
I enjoyed reading this rant of really do have a way with words. I agree with Marisa, reading this felt like you were right here with me telling me the story (exept in my version we were in a bar with a cigarette and a beer!) Hope to see you soon.~ La Candy

At 10:55 AM, Blogger Candy said...

Dear Olgita....
I enjoyed reading this rant of really do have a way with words. I agree with Marisa, reading this felt like you were right here with me telling me the story (exept in my version we were in a bar with a cigarette and a beer!) Hope to see you soon.~ La Candy


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