Cristina Rivera Garza: ‘Para dejar de creer en la realidad’

“Uno necesita el mar para esto: para dejar de creer en la realidad. Para hacerse preguntas imposibles. Para no saber. Para dejar de saber. Para embriagarse de olor. Para cerrar los ojos. Para dejar de creer en la realidad.”

“You need the ocean for this: to stop believing in reality. To ask yourself impossible questions. To not know. To cease knowing. To become intoxicated by the smell. To close your eyes. To stop believing in reality.”

— Cristina Rivera Garza, with translation by Sarah Booker. La cresta de Ilión (2002). The Iliac Crest (2017).

On listening to transgender people

From the interplanetary donut cornucopia that is the novel Light from Uncommon Stars:

“The audience wanted transgender? They would get transgender. Or queer, or whatever else they wanted. But they would also get her.

And she was beautiful.

Listen to me. Listen to me now. For if this dogwood bow can force beauty upon you, then I shall shove every part of myself into that beauty. I shall make you feel all the joy, the terror in loving who you are.”

— Ryka Aoki, Light from Uncommon Stars
Light From Uncommon Stars by Ryka Aoki

For a few more days: Pay what you like for all tRaum on Itch

From tRaum Books:

“…if you missed some of our books or would like to have them all on your device and at your fingertips, we’re running a limited pay what you like deal (suggested 20 USD) for access to our entire catalogue so far, over on ITCH IO. ❤https://traumbooks.itch.io/

tRaum Books on Facebook, January 13, 2023

This deal will be valid for a few more days.

I’m an elder Millennial, or more likely Gen X, who can figure out how to make a blog post and also has been allowed to open social media accounts but hasn’t yet learned how to avoid embarrassingly “liking” my own Facebook posts, so I’m putting this information here, which feels safer.

If you want to argue about whether you, I, or anyone is Millennial or Gen X, please go to tRaum on Itch, buy the catalog, and read my Most Famous Short Film of All Time for a few details of the generational argument.

Please also read all the other tRaum authors. I have done so. They will touch your heart and then blow up your mind.

  1. Reading indie books is transformative for you.
  2. Buying indie books (even at deep discounts) is transformative for publishers and authors.
  3. The ghosts of Elvis and JFK are watching you, and they’ll know what you do or don’t do.

On the belief that you can make the world better

Not that people can make the world better, but that specifically you can make the world better because people will listen to you. A passage from the novel The Immortal King Rao:

Sita was smoothing the hem of her sari, not looking at him.
“I’m not trying to be famous,” he said at last. “I’m trying to make the world better. Chinna told me, ‘If you just make the world better than it was when you got here, that’s a good life.’ That’s all I’m trying to do.”
Sita laughed bitterly. “That’s something only a man would come up with.”
“You disagree? Amma, you think he was wrong?”
She laughed again. “No one cares what your mother thinks; that’s my point.”

—Vauhini Vara. The Immortal King Rao. W. W. Norton, 2022.
Book cover for The Immortal King Rao by Vauhini Vara

Kavita Das on ‘decisions of conscience’ in writing

“I think the false notion of neutrality has been worshiped for too long in the writing realm. In journalism, there’s the valuing of supposed neutrality over truth, which is a failure to acknowledge that all stories are shaped by the writer’s identity and experience. Who are the judges of neutrality? * * * …all writing is political. Whose perspective informs a book, which characters are foregrounded, which are left out — these are not just craft decisions; these are decisions of conscience, or they should be.”

—Kavita Das, interviewed by Anjali Enjeti in the LA Review of Books, December 12, 2022