::: L@S ELOTER@S :::

A collective of six young, committed Latin(@=a/o) writers from Chicago. We believe our narratives can document cultural and social conditions. We hope to create a new and safe space for Latin@ voices to be valued and heard in the city of Chicago. We nourish each others’ creative and critical processes, as well as support each others personal and professional development. We work/collaborate within our varied communities. We write to survive. We survive to write.

08 September, 2008

Junot Díaz intrevista con Eloter@ Jenine

Okay so not face to face but through email and even then it was through someone else.. point is I got to ask questions. M'kay!

1.As a Chicana I find it incredibly hard to write about my history without losing myself in the anger/resentment. Being a writer from the DR how do you manage to write clearly when there's so much baggage that comes with a war torn country?

Why is anger the first reaction to history? Anger, after all, is a secondary emotion and deeply personal one. I'd wager that your anger has something to do with more personal matters that larger national histories are triggering. The thing is we all have anger about so many things but they must be mastered in the best Jedi fashion before we can become true writers. By mastered I don't mean ABOLISHED. I'm plenty angry but it does not run me. To be a good writer one must be a true witness to one self and that requires honesty courage humility and the sharpest set of senses on Earth. Anger doesn?t really figure. But on a more personal note: Santo Domingo, the terrible things that have happened, that continue to happen in my beloved country? these do no outweigh my love and awe of the people who have made that ugly patch of history home.

2.I'm floored by your acute, honest, depiction of Latina women (Not only are you a man but a LATINO man. Que? Eso NUNCA pasa..)I feel like you juxtapose that with Oscars no game, non-macho, can't be Dominicano self. Were you trying to make a counter statement to the roles imposed on us by our cultures or did that happen organically?

I'm fascinated by masculinity, especially New World masculinities, especially-especially New World Dominican masculinities. I thought Oscar would be a wonderful foil for an exploration of the ravages and longevity of certain kinds of masculine patterns. But at a more basic level his quest for a girlfriend was a quest for intimacy which is itself a quest for humanity.

3.Being el rey of mixed diction, you say Oscar Wao's a book of voices. Have you always felt free to write the way you speak or was it the slow discovery of, OH SHIT! I don't have to censor myself?

It was a process. The more you read the more you get permission to strike out on your own (though its not really your 'own.') I have a knack for honesty in my real life so that doesn't hurt either. But it took a long time to arrive where I'm at.

(sneaking in a fourth) 4.Will you be my mentor....Please?

I wish I could say Yes. But I'm not even a good mentor to myself.


Jose Luis Benavides said...

please explain how this interview came about...

i'm most intrigued.

Irasema Gonzalez said...

hey, kudos on the blog mis eloteros!

and go jenine on scoring this exclusive interview with junot. you handled yourself so well, i confess i would have fumbled through it...even via email.