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Friday, June 02, 2006

Luis Alberto Urrea

It was so much fun to take that "Literary Look at Mexico" with Luis Alberto Urrea the other day at Washington DC's Mexican Cultural Institute. He has such a big heart, a keen sense of humor, and an original take on just about everything. I've been a big fan of Luis Alberto's ever since I came across his work about the U.S.-Mexico border when I was researching my own book about Baja California, Miraculous Air. His latest book-- a very big one -- and I hear a movie is going to be made-- is The Hummingbird's Daughter, a novel based on the true story of his relative, a famous curandera known as Saint Teresita of Cabora. It took him 20 years to write this book, for it included so much original research in archives and also in the field, with shamans and curanderas in Mexico. At the event, Luis Alberto said (as I more or less remember it) that one of them told him that writing is a kind of healing. In the spirit world there are many souls lost in the darkness. When an artist makes art, he flares up, bright like a bonfire--- and the lost souls use these lights to help them find their way. (A while ago-- I've been meaning to post this---Daniel Olivas alerted me to his fascinating interview with Luis Alberto for The Elegant Variation. To read the interview, click here.)