Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Overdue post on Frederick Aldama's SCU Reading

Frederick Aldama's Reading for Long Stories Cut Short

With guest contributor: Jacqui Ibarra-Garcia

(SCU Students with Aldama, Velasco and myself)

Some time back, I posted on Frederick Aldama's upcoming reading here at SCU for his book Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderlands. It's been a minute, but one of my colleagues reminded me about putting something together for our department newsletter, so I thought that I might share the write up here by one of my former students, Jacqui Ibarra, which I include, following my brief introduction. 

(Juan Velasco's introduction)

On Feb 27, 2018, Frederick Aldama (Distinguished Professor Ohio State University) read from his book of bilingual flash fiction Long Stories Cut Short: Fictions from the Borderland in the St. Clare room at Santa Clara University’s Learning Commons. Professor Juan Velasco provided a thoughtful introduction of Aldama’s work and the need to understand the experiences of immigrants at this particular moment in time.

The following is by first year Business major Jacqui Ibarra-Garcia:

During Frederick Luis Aldama’s reading from his book, I came to realize several things. One of those things was how powerful the imagination is, and how talented Aldama was for being able to serve as a guide for our imagination, but never crossing the line of being in control of our imagination like other traditional forms of writing. In the beginning of the talk when he read out sentence-long stories, asking us what we felt and what were the first things to pop into our minds, my peers surprised me. I noticed that several times, what I felt and what I thought of were very different than my peers' thoughts. I suppose this is because of the different places we come from. Some people are looking into his stories from the inside, but others are from the outside who don’t have too much knowledge of what places like La Villita are like.

Another thing that I found interesting was how easy he made it to latch onto characters. For example, when he was describing the life of Carlos, who’s children both wound up in the hospital for unfortunate reasons out of their control, I felt as though I was a part of that journey. I kept wondering to myself, how, in one page, am I so moved by a character? I’m sure it has taken years of practice for Aldama to be so comfortable with language that he manages to cut out 60% of the words but still provide the same dramatic effect. This point also led me to wonder, how different did it sound in Spanish? From my experience with the two languages, I have come across numerous words that just don’t translate. For example, “Mi virgencita Ranchera”, or “my little virgin rancher”. In English, I imagine a young, virgin girl who lives in a rural area. However in Mexico,”Mi Virgencita Ranchera” is my sweet Virgen de Guadalupe, who is one of my people, from the slums of Mexico. Even there, I struggle to describe the emotions that I feel when referring to her, so I can only imagine the challenges that Aldama faced when writing his flash fiction book.

Professional Talk on Analytics

If an Article is Published in the Forest and No One Reads it....

Today I was invited to speak a bit at a faculty professional development talk on using social media and analytics to amplify the impact of academic publishing. One of my colleagues, Laura Ellingson (her blog https://realisticallyeverafter.blog/blog/) spoke about some of her interactions through Google Scholar and how it's opened up conversations with scholars who have cited her work. Ellingson also spoke about her experiences blogging and writing for a public audience.

(Photo credit: Eileen Elrod)

My own talk related to work I have done on the NCTE/CCCC Latinx Caucus bibliography and some of the research on publication and citation practices related to scholars of color. I also discussed posting across platforms because of the different audiences accessible; in the slide, you can see the different numbers of connections across different social media, although the number doesn't directly relate to impact from those platforms.

The last presenters were Shannon and Ray from the University Learning Commons/Library and the scholarship repository available on our campus for open access. 

Here is the link to my page: https://works.bepress.com/cruz-medina/

Thanks to Eileen Elrod for the invitation to speak today!