Cantando, Gritando y Llorando, a Collection of Short Stories and Observations from My Inner Barrio
Over the years I have discovered that almost every event in life contains a potential story. Not a day goes by that I don’t see or hear something that sparks my interest, and I make a note of it. This is exactly how "Lowrider Blues" evolved, from observations I’ve been fortunate to witness. Some are poignant, some happy, some sad, and some so funny I couldn’t believe my eyes. Observing life from the sidelines allowed me to notice sometimes insignificant details and subtle nuances. Sometimes I write about events that actually happened; or might have happened; or my perception of what I believe should have happened, so there is no sure way to tell if the story is real or imagined.
As I wrote these stories, I wanted to capture the essence of the people I grew up with: family, relatives, friends and acquaintances, and those strangers you meet on the street or the local hangouts. I have embellished facts and events by taking a small incident and gently feeding it to make it grow. There is a fine line between fact and fiction, and I have taken total advantage of it. Many times stories end as I would have imagined they would have ended, or should have ended, if they were indeed true.
I grew up in an era where Spanish was our language at home and English was our language at school. Consequently one overlapped the other and there was always a mix of Spanglish, if you will. I loved the way our language could be turned into combinations of words which could evoke laughter. (I’ve included a Glossary at the end of this book that the reader will find useful.) We all have watched “Valley Girls” from California and their enunciation of ordinary words. Lowrider Blues has its own Valley Girls, straight out of Northern New Mexico, but their tanned skin is natural and they have names like Myra and Esperanza, and they wear lots of makeup and like to crack their chewing gum as they discuss important events, such as nail polish and boyfriends.
I have gleaned a wealth of material from just looking around me—watching, observing. From these observations came the sounds and smells which ignited an interest in the final outcome. There have been times in my adult life where I was outraged at someone taking advantage of another person. Many of my stories are based on actual incidents which end with a proposed Karmic judgment of sorts: that the offender may not be punished here on earth, but they certainly will in the afterlife where they will meet up with the people they offended. With tongue in cheek, I rely on St. Peter at the Golden Gate to mete out the justice, as I know these culprits will have to face not only the Man Upstairs, but also those who have passed before them and know very well the dastardly deeds they performed here on earth.
My parents instilled in me a love of Santa Fe, our family and our culture. I hope I have been able to pay homage to that love they expressed so generously.
—Marie Romero Cash