Sandra Cisneros

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Sandra Cisneros (born December 20, 1954) is an American writer.


  • I think we are all gifted as children, but we aren’t gifted with the same gifts. In crowded, poor schools, an overwhelmed teacher can’t always help us discover what our gifts are. I am grateful my mom was a frustrated artist. At home we drew murals, created puppet shows, had craft hours, went to the library, visited museums. I’m certain without my mom, I wouldn’t have been an artist today.
  • It’s memorable because it makes you either laugh or cry. If a story’s really good, it does both. Sometimes it’s not the story’s fault if it doesn’t stay with you, because you’re too old or too young for it. I feel that, in the Native American sense, the story cycles; there are different times of your life that a story may come to you. You don’t remember it, and then you hear. it again or read it again later in your life, and because of what’s happened in your life it’s distinct from the first time you heard it.
  • I think my work still has a distinctive voice that is uniquely mine—and that voice is one of a person speaking Spanish in English. By that I mean that I write with the syntax and sensibility of Spanish, even when there isn’t a syllable of Spanish present. It’s engrained in the way I look at the world, and the way I construct sentences and stories. I was not aware of this when I wrote House, but I’m conscious of it now. What remains the same? Well, I am still as astonished by the world and as intuitive/foolish as ever, but I am aware that this is a good thing, and not ashamed of it as I was when I was young. The difference now is that I know myself. I think my writing is wiser, and, I hope, more complex.
  • If I had to speak about anything that was difficult in my life now looking back at it, I would say the most difficult part was how the world made you feel about being poor, about being a girl. And, later, how painful it was navigating the world as a young woman. A lot of times I found myself in disastrous situations because I was such an innocent/idiot. It left me damaged as a human being for decades. I think having been beautiful was a cross, and I’m grateful I’m no longer young and no longer beautiful in that same way.
  • The only reason we write—well, the only reason why I write; maybe I shouldn’t generalize—is so that I can find out something about myself. Writers have this narcissistic obsession about how we got to be who we are. I have to understand my ancestors—my father, his mother and her mother—to understand who I am. It all leads back to the narcissistic pleasure of discovering yourself.
  • I don’t take it personally. It has nothing to do with me, or with my book. The book is being taught because it is telling a story that has spiritual resonance at this time in history. It is serving a need, it is doing its healing, it is transmitting light, but I was just the conduit for that light, not the source. I am grateful that the timing was right for my labor to be recognized, and that the readers were ready to hear this story at this time. I am fortunate and blessed to be the flute, but I recognize and acknowledge I am not the music.
  • I like living in a town not dominated by cars. I like living in a small community where artists from around the world come and go. I like living in a town with big sky and big clouds, and where you can connect with things of the spirit easily. It’s both stimulating and peaceful all at once. It makes me want to write.
  • Of course I like to write about love, but then I’ll ask, how is Mexican love different from American love? I’ll look at the Mexican models of love, and that leads me to the true Mexican love. True love in Mexico isn’t between lovers; it’s between a parent and a child. Mexico is a very intense culture of sons adoring their mothers, and this is why I claim that Mexican culture is matriarchal. Because the one constant, faithful, inviolable, holy love of loves—the love of your life—is not your wife or your lover; it’s your mother.
  • In Chicana writing the love between a grandmother and a granddaughter is holier than the relationship between a mother and a daughter because the mother and daughter have to deal with the reality of the everyday, whereas the grandmother can be revered from afar. Especially if she’s dead, she becomes this mythic symbol in Chicana literature.

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