After a Long Pause: Why I Chase Storms.

For many years I used the term Stormchaser for my proclivity in chasing storms in Tucson's desert valley. I'm back in the desert and while no longer changing my interest in chasing down thunderstorms, I enjoy chasing storms of different kinds.  I earned my doctorate in English/Rhetoric, Composition and the Teaching of English from the University of Arizona.  It is a fact, that without my knowing so at the time, working on that degree was the biggest storm for me to chase.

My interests upon entering the University of Arizona were centered around different groups such as Native Americans and the effects of sexist language on women. I'd earned my Master's Degree writing on ways that generic "he" or "man" had on women.  In essence, my interests were on the ways that the "main culture" erases or silences women in general but Native Americans, Latinas as well.  I liked socio-linguistics and psycholinguistics which I had which I had used in my Master's Thesis on Nonsexist Language.

Learning that there have been many Latina/Ameriana women writing in English was quite a wake-up call. That took place in 1990 before I began work on my doctorate in Arizona. (An interesting aside to this story lies in the fact that Professor Walter Oliver my former teacher of Spanish grammar, walked up to me when I visited Cal-State San Bernardino, to let me know about Latinas in the US  who wrote in English. He gave me a book that had some names I could look up. He thought it would be interesting to make them a subject of further research,) Once again a non-Hispanic person gave me an important clue to possible topics.

Today, I'm in a more pensive or reflective place and reading about other people's lives has inspired me to attempt to do the same. I'm at a stage now where reflection is a part of my learning and writing.  Learning that there have been many Latina/Ameriana women writing in English was quite a wake-up call. That took place in 1990 as I began work on my doctorate in Arizona. Learning about Latina's use of English and Spanish forced me to expand my focus. Any other person might have successfully dropped other groups and focused only on one. However, my adult ADD kicked in.

Unfortunately, my natural curiosity and varied interests led to too much information gathering and wrestling with academic discourse.

I'm not an excellent poet-storyteller like Latinx writers such as Judith Ortiz Cofer, Nicholasa Mohr, Ana Ortiz Vega, Rosario Ferre' who writes in Spanish and has her works translated. Moreover, the work women writers from Native American cultures intrigued me because I felt connected to them from my life's experiences. In retrospect, it is the importance of women to maintain histories of their families and/tribe. The image of sharing stories around the kitchen table doesn't quite fit my experiences, but Mama' told stories at her home, in my car or at gatherings at her siblings' homes.

I write with fear of failure because I've heard and read some excellent home/family histories. Writing is not "natural" to me, and I know I am not a linear thinker. So if anyone reads this blog, please do not expect clarity and linearity in the layout.


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