Thursday, April 23, 2009

The House on Mango Street 25th anniversary

I had the wonderful pleasure of meeting Ms. Sandra Cisneros today at a book signing session at our local Rec Center. What a treat! This is the 25th anniversary of the publishing of The House on Mango Street. She is promoting the 25th edition with a new introduction which talks about how she wrote the book.

Sandra Cisneros is the most delightful person. She is a real gentle soul who is candid, funny and inspiring. Her talk was easy, comfortable and engaging. I think we all felt that she was talking to us, just a conversation. I loved her voice, such childlike idyllic tones as she read the chapters in The House on Mango Street. It was a very nice experience.

I went with my kids and brought along a copy of the book. My older daughter read The House on Mango Street in eighth grade, back in 2000. Of course I read the book then too. I was happy to have been able to dig up our copy of the book for the event. I called my daughter who is away in college to tell her about our trip. She was just as excited to learn of our event as we were to be there. I fondly discussed our first encounters with the book with her and talked about her favorite stories in the book.

The evening was replete with good memories for me but I have some favorite parts. A special part of the evening for me was her story about the times she spent with her mother as a young girl. She told the story about how her mom dragged them, her and her brothers, to the library before they knew how to write. The library trip was a regular event for them and they each had a library card. She recalled making weekly trips to the library as she grew older to borrow and return books. As she told us this 'story', I looked over at my daughter because that story brought a smile to my face and heart. The story reminded me of myself with my kids when they were younger. My daughter ignored my glance as if to say, “Yeah mom I know. We did that!” I thought that was cute. I think this piece also made an impact on my daughter. At the end of the session my daughter asked me for her library card that I had been holding for her all these years. She would ask me for the card, use it and return it to me to keep as we did through out the early years. This time she took the card from me and put it into her wallet. Hmmmm, the end of an era? New beginnings!

My son pulled out an assignment sheet from his bag when we joined the line for the autograph. He had gotten an assignment to do from the book, The House on Mango Street. What a coincident! It was cute how he showed the assignment to Ms. Cisneros and got her signature on it. She signed our book too. How cool was that! Of course we got a picture too! A great evening and a good experience for everyone in the room. I was sorry that my other daughter wasn’t there as well.

Another favorite of the evening for me was the question and answer period. We were fortunate to get practical and excellent tips on writing and finding our passion and how to avoid writers block. She told us to find joy in our lives. We should find what is different or the thing that makes us special and apart from everyone else and focus on that and we will avoid writers block. She shared her favorite authors with us and some favorite books. Thick Nacht Hahn, is an important writer in her life. She said that his works helped her to change her life. I thought this was an awesome statement so I checked him out and liked what I saw. I will share a quote from one of his books with you.

If in our daily life we can smile, if we can be peaceful and happy, not only we, but everyone will profit from it. If we really know how to live, what better way to start the day than with a smile? Our smile affirms our awareness and determination to live in peace and joy. The source of a true smile is an awakened mind.
From Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life, Bantam reissue, ISBN 0-553-35139-7

Sandra Cisneros is on tour so check to see if she will be near you and go see her. Bring your book or purchase one at the event and line up for her signature. It was great, I'm still beaming.

Sandra Cisneros is writing a new novel and I will be waiting to get my hands on a copy. She is real and she is fun. Thanks NoMAA for putting this event together.

See The House on Mango Street on my Shelfari bookshelf.

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