does not describe me fully
it is where to start
Saturday, April 24, 2010
About My Blog and Me
Some of you may have noticed that last week I modified slightly the layout of this blog. Where the About Me section used to be, I introduced an About This Blog paragraph to identify the themes of Pilgrim Soul. The About Me section moved to the right column.
This change may seem minor, but it reflects an important evolution in me as a blog writer. When I first began Pilgrim Soul in 2009, it was to develop a platform to introduce my fiction. Very quickly, though, blogging turned into something more as I began meeting fellow bloggers from around the world who engaged me on fascinating topics with varied points of view. Their comments have even resulted in my incorporating topics I had not expected to address separately from my fiction; for example, my series on Puerto Rican identity. Pilgrim Soul became my gateway to an international party, and I didn’t even have to go through airport security to get there!
That would have been rewarding enough but along the way, I made another discovery. In writing for Pilgrim Soul, I also met myself fully. The blog’s label gadget surprised me by highlighting just how often I wrote about topics having to do with the intersection of culture and religion. That made me conscious of something I have lived with all my life, but which I had not acknowledged fully, the degree to which I have been formed by that intersection and how it continues to influence me.
In my exchanges with the international community of fellow bloggers, I also became aware of how my personal experience was part of a greater development. The identification of historical shifts is often left to historians after the fact. I believe we are living in a time in which those shifts are so palpable we don’t have to wait for historians. Important cultural and racial paradigms are at a juncture in which the old definitions are faltering but new ones have not yet been well established. I thank my blog for helping me personally to acknowledge and revel in the blessing and challenge of experiencing an historical turning point like this one. I also thank my readers for facilitating my pilgrimage of self knowledge.
My writing frequently explores multicultural themes. Born in Puerto Rico, I moved at a young age to the U.S., where my parents became Pentecostal ministers. Early immersion in Latino and religious cultures preceded later experiences as a businesswoman, a White House Fellow, and life aboard a trawler cruising from Martha’s Vineyard to South America. These sometimes incompatible worlds have given me a respectful outlook toward differing points of view. My short stories, poems, and essays reflect my own inclusive, yet sharply defined, journey across cultural and socioeconomic boundaries. I recently published Peace on the Journey, a poetry collection which explores the theme of renewal in the face of adversity.
The defining image of this blog is a waterfall. Its inspiration comes from a scene in one of my novels in which the infant protagonist escapes her mother’s attention and wanders off to a nearby waterfall. While there, she experiences a mysterious sense of wellbeing, which she yearns to replicate for the rest of her life.
"I have made love to my writing and am now in the afterglow."
"Insist on yourself; never imitate. Your own gift you can present every moment with the cumulative force of a whole life's cultivation; but of the adopted talent of another you have only an extemporaneous half possession... Do that which is assigned to you, and you cannot hope too much or dare too much."
Ralph Waldo Emerson
About his fictional town Macondo, widely acknowledged to be inspired by his real home town of Aracataca, Colombia. “Macondo is not so much a place as it is a state of mind.”
Gabriel Garcia Marquez
"Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle."
"The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers fear."
"The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing."
Blaise Pascal, Pensées
"There is vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and, because there is only one of you in all time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly... to keep the channel open."