“The good old days, when each idea had an owner, are gone forever.” – Paulo Coehlo
Suppose you were an idiot, and suppose you were a member of Congress; but I repeat myself. – Mark Twain
It’s been more than 10 years since I first read – The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Yet in light of Donald Trump’s recent inflammatory comments about Mexican immigrants, I thought I’d revisit Cisneros’ punchy little novel about finding a sense of belonging. The House on Mango Street is written in an episodic style in which the author uses punchy little vignettes to illuminate the main character, a young girl named Esperanza.
Donald Trump recently issued statements saying that Mexican immigrants are mostly drug dealers and rapists. He’s gotten a mixed bag of feedback from his comments, but I think he is neglecting to recognize everyday people like Esperanza. Yes, she is a fictional character, but born out of the mind of a very real person – Sandra Cisneros. The House on Mango Street opens a window into the mind of a female Mexican immigrant growing up in America. She deals with issues that any young girl would face: an evolving sexuality, feelings of abandonment, and a desire to be free. Yet, when I talk to other readers, people seldom remember that this book is also about social responsibility. Esperanza, the child, wanted to leave Mango Street and everyone else behind. As she grows older, Esperanza identifies more with her community and wants to help sustain it. She strives to engage specifically with other women in the neighborhood to give them a sense of empowerment and support.
That doesn’t sound like Donald Trump’s vision of Mexican immigrants at all. Maybe he should revisit The House on Mango Street.
Michael Crichton is one of my favorite fiction authors. “Jurassic Park” the novel was instrumental in starting my career in screenwriting. When I was a teenager I read the book and then I saw the movie. I was devastated to say the least because of all the great material that never made it into the actual film. That outrage sparked my interest in creative screenwriting and adapting books to films. Admittedly, I thought I could do a better job.
That doesn’t blot out my love for Michael Crichton’s work. Sphere, Andromeda Strain, and Congo are still lingering favorites of mine. His books read like movies. Crichton’s style of writing is certainly science fiction, but it is also unpretentious, similar to the pulp fiction work of an early Aasimov. There is less focus on flowery writing and more focus on situation (plot) and dramatic tension (suspense). That formula works well for the modern reader. This is the new era of pulp fiction and Michael Crichton is certainly an author worth studying.
Now, it’s off to the movies to see Jurassic World, the latest adaption of the billion dollar franchise. It’s insanity: doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. Yet, are the producers of Jurassic World really expecting a different result? In its opening weekend, the film has already grossed over 500 million dollars worldwide. It staggers the mind because the plot has been driven over more times than a U.S. highway.
“God creates dinosaurs, God kills dinosaurs, God creates man, man kills God, man brings back dinosaurs.” – Michael Crichton (Jurassic Park)
There are times when a poem leaps off the page and flies right into your heart. This is the domain of spoken word poetry. Some of my favorite poems weren’t discovered until someone actually read the words aloud (I Am A Sword, Still I Rise, etc.)
There is currently a refugee crisis in Southeast Asia as ethnic Rohingya migrants flee their native country of Myanmar. Check out this video about the crisis and listen as the voice of the poet speaks to your heart.