There’s a reading tonight at the lodo Tattered Cover location that has me pretty pumped. Sandra Cisneros is coming to read from her new book (illustrated by Ester Hernández) Have You Seen Marie? Tattered Cover puts on a lot of good readings, but I’m pretty psyched about this one in particular. Even more than normal.
I mean, I dig the writing of Sandra Cisneros. I haven’t delved much into her poetry (I’m not as big on poetry as I am fiction), but I’ve read Caramelo, Woman Hollering Creek, and…of course…The House on Mango Street.
Obviously, The House on Mango Street is my favorite. Regardless of anything else, it is a beautiful book. Really, it’s a masterpiece. More importantly, it was a huge influence on my novel in story form, Bones Buried in the Dirt (forthcoming in March 2013 from River Otter Press).
I had already started on some of the stories in my book by the time one of my MFA mentors recommended I look at The House on Mango Street. However, in addition to being just plain dazzled by the book, the big picture of what I was trying to do finally came clear. It really could be done, and Sandra Cisneros was (unintentionally, of course) showing me exactly how I could do it.
Now, I (of course) ended up with a much different book than The House on Mango Street. My story is a different story, my characters are different characters with a different world experience, and even my stories are structured quite differently. Still, who knows how long I would have been stumbling around in the dark trying to figure my book out if I hadn’t sat down with The House on Mango Street? Would I even have gotten all the way to the end if I wasn’t sure the overarching idea could work?
In any event, Bones Buried in the Dirt owes a tremendous debt to The House on Mango Street and I’m extremely excited to get a chance to meet Sandra Cisneros. I’m also excited to hear more about Have You Seen Marie? It promises to be a good night.