“Where do the images, settings and stories come from?” I wonder.
When studying at UCLA, I had a wonderful professor, Doctor Barcia, whose lectures on fiction usually centered on his view that all literature comes from literature already written, only expressed in a new fashion. Which, of course, mirrors the adage that there’s nothing new under the sun.
Yet when I write a line or a paragraph, when I turn to a new scene, or craft a character, I ask “Where did that come from?” This is not to deny that I’ve been deeply influenced by the greats, writers such as John Steinbeck, Gabriel García Márquez, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Leon Tolstoy, and so many others, nor is it to say that my own memories don’t surface to form my writing. It’s not even to say that I don’t beforehand envision or outline what I intend to write. What I am saying is that so much of what I write most often comes from a hidden recess; a place I had not before reached. There have been many times when I’ve been surprised by the unexpected dialogue, by the sudden twist in a character’s way of being, or of even the novel’s ending.
As my professor stressed, I don’t doubt that my creations reflect what has already been written, what I’ve read. On the other hand, I know that for me the process of creative writing is indeed a secret happening, an enigma that transports me to another world inhabited by people that become more real than those that surround me in my everyday life. Yes, for me, the place from where my writing comes is a mystery, and no doubt will remain that way forever.
Name: Graciela Limón
Book Title: The Intriguing Life of Ximena Godoy
Genre: Historical Fiction/Hispanic
Publisher: Café Con Leche
Graciela Limón, born in Los Angeles, California, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. She attended public and Catholic schools in her hometown, and continued on to university after which she became a professor of Latina/o Literature. Parallel to her teaching she has been an activist in Latina affairs, gender affairs and Trans Border issues. Limón has published nine novels, including her latest work, The Intriguing Life of Ximena Godoy.