Photo by Amina Rivera
The Shell Auditorium was brimming with giddy followers as Cisneros shared the woes and conquests of being a Latina writer in a time when few others existed and also talked about how writing the small book of vignettes was a journey of exploration and defiance.
"If you were Latina, it was a given you would live in your father's house until someone came and got you," she said.
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Instead, Cisneros moved into a dingy, cramped apartment in her hometown of Chicago in a neighborhood that reeked of, in her own words, "beer and urine and sausage and beans."
"I wrote during the most difficult decade of my life...my twenties," Cisneros said. "I had lots of doubt, but I didn't want to go back to my father's house."
Since then, she has written eight books, a slew of essays and articles and manages to devote a good slice of her time and talent to the Macondo Foundation. She will be the first to tell you she doesn't write everyday, nor does she sit in front of a computer scratching her head for inspiration. She does it in her own way.
"First, you write like you're talking to someone in your pajamas," Cisneros said. "Then you revise like your enemy is reading it."