Borders transition for an array of reasons, time being the indicator of how a new generation comes to rely on the histories of their land(s), reminiscing about what was and accepting (not eloquently though) that change alters realities. This anthology of voices are direct proof of how recent experiences, particularly in the Southwest region, have caused a metamorphosis in our communities. We slowly alienate ourselves from our ties to el otro lado because in our minds, borders close and fears become our distances.
As a fan of many of the prolific authors who form a part of this anthology, I am delighted current reflections from the border are represented well.
Timbiriche is the name of a popular 80’s Mexican pop group with the likes of Paulina Rubio, Eduardo Capetillo, Sasha Sokol, and Thalia having been members of it. Their music still has a great influence on mainstream pop culture.
They remind me of being a kid, visiting Tia Chuy and ‘buelita Linda in Reynosa. Of the coca-cola bottles fresh outta the ice box and dulces I could buy for a peso from the tiendita near tia’s house.
More specifically, Timbiriche reminds me of my flower girl days and of mi primo Pilarin, a teenage noviero with the hugest celeb crush on Thalia.
Timbiriche reminds of one particular flower girl dress my mother had to put away. Of being 7 years old and taking a cruise down the streets of Reynosa, being coerced by a handsome primo to sing ‘Si no es Ahora’ as we pretended to be running mandados with the extra time it took us to get back home. Of his secret novias I could tell nobody about. Of the Gansitos he bribed me with so I could ask tía to let him take me de paseo, when all it was really for was to visit a new girl he wanted to pay a visit to.
The Quinceañera song reminds me of his silent goodbyes. Of the news nobody expected as we prepared for his sister’s wedding. Timbiriche reminds me of those days before his mother’s forever grief.
I can picture her still, sitting in her rocking chair in the wee morning hours as she prepared last minute details for her eldest daughter’s wedding. I can hear her impatience, knowing something was wrong when her son wouldn’t come home as the morning hours passed. I wasn’t there but I can hear her shrieks when police walked up to her as she sat in that rocking chair, telling her of her only son’s death in a freak car accident.
Timbiriche reminds me of that morning when we learned that instead of a wedding, we should dress for a funeral.
Reading this anthology brought clarity to obstacles often overlooked that affect many of today’s youth in the barrios. Striding with hope and writing about their ambitions, ranging from careers to bonding with family, these brave writers share their diverse experiences with an honesty that is captured by their words. From their perspective, Barrio Writers is a platform that introduces participants to an outlet where their voices can be heard, and their documented stories can emerge as an inspiration to other youth.
With outlined activities at the end of each prompt, this book is a must for middle and high school classrooms!
La frontera is a mystical region influenced by an embrace of cultures, the lapses of time, the economy of two countries, and the growth that comes with opportunities. To explain it is difficult because so much is lost in the intent, trying to translate a community’s language with the vocabulary that divides our accent. But that doesn’t stop us from trying to share our Mexican/American borderland because our culture is about extending a hand to the world.
Dr. Cantu’s snapshots take us back to a youth where traditions are molded and family is an expected backbone. Her stories are shared, rather than told, and the history tejanos have experienced are documented without boundaries.
Not exactly fictional or autobiographical, Canicula immerses readers into a family’s timeline that spans generations and captures the essence of life bonds.