Books, Junot Diaz, Sandra Cisneros, Writing

Burritos With A Side of Lit-No Salsa

Visible and Ignored
Visible and Ignored

I’m feeling like the above quote after reading about Chipotle’s “literary packaging series.”

They had author, Jonathan Safran Foer, select 10 authors to feature on Chipotle’s cups and bags.

“What interested me is 800,000 Americans of extremely diverse backgrounds having access to good writing,” the novelist told Vanity Fair. 


But not one of the 10 authors are Latino/a.


None of those “800,000 Americans of extremely diverse background” will be exposed to a Latino writer.

This “literary” campaign comes on the heels of #WeNeedDiverseBooks and #DiverseLit.


Chipotle’s move is why we need to continue a movement with #WeNeedDiverseBooks.


English professor Lisa Alvarez sums up my feelings:

Chipotle Snub-photo by Michael Calienes
Chipotle Snub-photo by Michael Calienes

Reaction to Chipotle’s ‘short stories’ on their cups and bags can be found on Gustavo Arellano’s article.

Author, poet and commentator Michele Serros gave this response on Facebook. Hundreds of readers are contributing their favorite Latina/o writer:

Michele Serros List of Latina/o writers
Michele Serros List of Latina/o writers


To the list, I’ll add my favorites: Sandra Cisneros, Denise Chavez, Michele Serros, and Junot Diaz.

Add any of your favorites to the list.

It’s a multicultural world out there. Read about it, think about it, write about it. 

Books, Encouragement, Frank McCourt, JM Tohline, Junot Diaz, Sandra Cisneros, writers boot camps

I wanna write like Junot Diaz

This is traveling Thursday, but instead of a physical location I’d like to tell you about my inner travel experiences with a 3 day writing bootcamp and Junot Diaz. (He wasn’t there, mind you).

At the bootcamp we learned about opening velocity like Frank McCourt in Teacher Man: ” Here they come and I’m not ready.How could I be? I’m a new teacher and learning on the job. One the 1st day of my teaching career, I was almost fired for eating the sandwich of a high school boy.” Here’s another one, JM Tohline from his upcoming novel, The Great Lenore,” When I met Lenore, she’d been dead for four days.” Grabbers for sure.

After listening to 3 days of character, dialogue,voice, being critiqued and critiquing, I wanted to flop on the couch, but it was filled with signs, with targets and circles with slashes over the words “As, just, -ing, ly, stay in POV.” You get the picture. Now, it was a great experience and my classmates cool people, but after three days I was utterly exhausted. Yes I used an -ly.

So the next day, at Border’s you know they’re down to 40% off now, my writing world was blown to bits, expanded. This book I picked up took me back to Sandra Cisneros poems, language, and energy. I turned the book over, I didn’t like the pink smudge on the cover, and back over again: “The Brief, Wonderous World of Oscar Wao.” The title was reminiscent of old movies. As I usually do (there’s two rule breakers, the rebel that I am) I read the first line of the first chapter (for opening velocity of course). Como que first line, the dude grabbed me at the title of the chapter “GhettoNerd at the End of the World 1974-1987-The Golden Age.” I can relate.

Junot Diaz breaks the rules, no commas periods or quotes, and exclamation points! two to a page sometimes, and footnotes to there,  imaginate comadre! He slapped at all the rules, like a chancla to a cucaracha. He takes you on a wild ride through the DR to Jersey and back. And it’s all good. His writing style inspires me, maybe now I can get more emotion and depth into my manuscripts, if I type pell mell into my own world, and raise a middle finger to ‘the rules.’

Now I can hear my writing teachers say “But that’s not his first book, he can do what he damn well pleases now.” I don’t know, maybe that axiom is true. I haven’t read his first book “Drown,” but I’m going back to Borders to search for that one.