Friday, July 15, 2011

Your Identity

Sitting in my kitchen with my bother the other day, we were discussing . . . just stuff. You know like when you're hanging out with friends and family and you're not really talking about anything in particular. Well, the conversation turned to how we identify ourselves on those stupid little boxes on almost every application you've ever filled out that ask you to say who (what) you are. Especially if you're Hispanic or Latino - that's not enough. Are you a white or black or asian or whatever of Latino orgin? It's crazy.

He said, he looks at his arm, it looks white so he always marks the Caucasian box and who gives a damn if he's from Latino orgin or not. He was born in America and he's American, period. Whereas, I always mark the Latino box. Always have. I identify myself first on my cultural background - not that I feel any less American, but culturally I bring with me all the Latino and specifically Argentine roots.

After he went home, I started thinking that it's interesting how having the same parents and practically the same upbringing, we have such different views of ourselves. Based on what? I'm not sure.

On the surface it doesn't really matter, but subtly, it does. It makes a big difference on how we view ourselves and our place in the world. What it did was sort of cement in my mind that WE decide who we want to be - not our government, not other people. So even though they have those annoying little boxes questioning who we are - it's basically you and I who decide who we are based on our beliefs.

Deep down, I'm pretty sure that is the message I've placed in most of my books. Decide who you are and be proud of your identity.



Sunday, July 3, 2011

Back from RWA 2011

Back from nine days in spectacular New York City for the RWA (Romance Writer's of America) conference, so I've neglected to post the last couple of Fridays.

The conference was interesting and I met a lot of first time conference attendees and new writers! Awesome!

My publisher, Grand Central Publishing held an author cocktail get together with their staff, and I loved it!! They usually have wonderful dinners, but this was really special, because authors got the opportunity to meet many of the people that contribute to the production of books who we usually never see. And we got great munchies and endless sangria to boot!

About five people showed up to my workshop presentation on Making Research Fun! I knew I should have presented a workshop entitled how to Absolutely, Positively Get Published in 90 Days - LOL.

Seemed like the big talk from publishers, agents and authors was digital publishing and the future of books. All seem to be in agreement that the future is up in the air and we can expect big changes within the next five years. Most seem to be positive about how the changes will affect those of us in the publishing world. I think the best I heard was from an agent who said that with each new change things always get bigger. When we moved from writing on clay tablets to papyrus to paper to typewriters to computers, we've never had less books and reading material, we've always had more. And this is going to be true in the digital age as well.

As always, I return home more inspired to write that perfect book that will make readers laugh and cry and happy that invested some of their entertianment time reading. After the Fourth of July weekend, I plan to jump fully back into my book.

Hugs to you all and Happy Birthday America, where people like the Naked Cowboy are allowed to walk the streets and entertain conference-weary writers and shocked tourists : )