. Athena's Books: Totally YA...Getting off Topic!
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Totally YA...Getting off Topic!

Wow...it's already mid-October!

First, Happy Teen Reading Week! A week to celebrate YA writing and to read new and exciting YA!

What have I been reading lately? Boring, boring stuff from the 18th century. A gigantic book of very tiny font that I could not get into called Middlemarch by George Eliott (a female writer). But I pretended to be into it and read a good chunk of the beginning, the middle, and the end and read the extra supplementary material at the end of the novel and semi-participated in class discussion. Bold

Now on to James Joyce's A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. This one is from the turn of the century in the very early 1900's. I am enjoying this one much more, especially the point of view. He uses a close and limited 3rd person point of view which means having an outside narrator who is telling us a story, but everything in the story is filtered through the main character's perspective. The narrator basically intrudes into the brain of the main character and really makes it see like the main character is telling their own story.

Ok, so I've been reading the literary classical of literature. All I can say is they are classics for a reason. I'm not a Middlemarch fan, but I can appreciate the completely omniscient and intrusive point of view and a narrator who tells us all we want to know and more about each person. The narrator even addresses the reader directly, making the narrator seem like a character. Also, it's full of historical events, and these events shape the time period for all the characters in the story. But, essentially, the historical events, although pressing and significant for 18th century England, are not as important as the everyday human events of relationship, family, and marriage found in the novel.

What do I have to say about YA today?

Still love it, but just no time to read it. Actually, last week I received an ARC for a Contagion by Joanne Dahme. Really enjoyed i,t and when I get to writing a real review, this book will be one of the first ones--if not the first one. Hmm...I did start the latest novel by Francisco X. Stork. Did any of you read his novel MBoldarcelo in the Real World? Absolutely love it! So I figure I'll love The Last Summer of the Death Warriors. I started it about a month ago and haven't been able to savor it. Other than that, no YA reading.

But I submitted the first 10 pages of my poetic novel to my thesis director at graduate school! Yea! She said just keep going and that my writing is lovely! She thinks the completed manuscript will have a good chance to be picked up by an agent and published by a bigger press! She is so awesome. She makes me feel like a real writer who will go places.

Also...Gary Soto. He is one of the most prolific writers of the Hispanic community. He is actually the first Hispanic to receive a creative writing MFA in the 1970s. Well, my son and I got to meet him! We attended a reading by Gary Soto at a local community college, and he spoke to us while signing our book Too Many Tamales. He had me write down the name of his publisher to make contact when I finish my manuscript...

Which leads me to this...I will be changing the focus of my blog a bit from YA book reviews and info to more of a writing journal of my own ups and downs on the road to becoming a published YA author. I will still do Totally YA Tuesdays and Manic Monday Mini-Reviews, and YA Wire and all that stuff I came up with this past year, but not as often. Also, I might not blog as often, but I think I can manage about 3 or 4 posts a months.

So here is one of my poems...let me explain some things. Aztlan is the mythical homeland of the indigineous Aztec culture. It is also the "ideal" homeland of Hispanic culture as introduced in the 2oth century Chicano civil rights movement. Tenochtitlan is the acutal Aztec capital. Hmm...what else...the gods and goddesses mentioned are Aztec deities, and don't worry too much about trying to say them--just read through them. And remember this poem is more about setting the tone. The 2nd poem goes into contemporary times, but I will put that one up next week. Also, this is going to be a more "literary" YA novel since it is part of my MFA program.



when the evening
winds turn red,

I remember
ancient and un-ruined.

I remember
myths of Aztlan,
of great men,

Spoken to me
Once in sleep and dream
by elders
the Great Temple.

They are the gate--
keepers of flame
and mist.

Keepers of myths.

Aztlan in sleep and dream.


These same elders,
never speak
of Coaticue,
mother of life,
or Xochiquetzal,
goddess of passion.

first burning
at the temple
of blood.

first speaking
of Huitziopchtli
and Quetzalcoatl,
gods of war,
and brilliant
on walls.

The goddesses
only honored,
and the women
the temple