Sandra Cisneros on the Need for Dialogue With the Ones You Love
In Conversation with Mitchell Kaplan on The Literary Life Podcast
On today’s episode of The Literary Life, Mitchell Kaplan talks to Sandra Cisneros about her new book, Martita, I Remember You, out now from Vintage.
From the episode:
Mitchell Kaplan: Let’s talk about dialogue. How does one approach that? Is there a solution? What would you like to see happen?
Sandra Cisneros: I would like to see that people dialogue with people they love, you know, because it’s real easy to shout at people you don’t know, but it’s very different to listen and dialogue with people who are your father or your brother or your sister or your child or your mother. I think these are, you know, to me, when I had to come to places where I had to discuss things, for example, I had to write a letter to a woman who wanted to ban House on Mango Street in her community, and she didn’t want her child to read it.
She’d had a very negative experience and she just thought her child should not read it, and I remember that my agent at that time dissuaded me from writing to her. I wanted to write her letter and dialogue. And my agent said, oh, no, you’re just going to waste your time. And I said, you know, I have some time this week. I’m traveling to Mexico, and I was going to write other things. I’m going to write this letter. And I had to imagine I was writing it to my father because he and I were often at odds in my life about everything. It caused me to write to her with a lot of respect and love. I think we’re not coming to this dialogues with respect and love because it’s just an abstract other person, the enemy.
But if you think about it being the person you love the most, then you’re not going to call them names or bash them or come with a big stick. You can come with respect, and that respect is mutual. The listening and the giving. And I think that’s not there in any of our conversations. That’s what so has pained me about what’s happening with America now. We’re not having those dialogues and places of love and respect.
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Poet, short story writer, novelist, essayist and artist, Sandra Cisneros is the author of Bad Boys, My Wicked Wicked Ways, Loose Woman, Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, The House on Mango Street, Caramelo, Have You Seen Marie?, Vintage Cisneros—a compilation of her works—and Bravo, Bruno. Her most recent books are A House of My Own Stories from My Life, which is illustrated with photographs, and Puro Amor in a dual-language edition translated by Liliana Valenzuela and featuring illustrations by the author. Born in Chicago in 1954, she is a citizen of both the United States and Mexico. She makes her living by her pen.