In summer 2016, a call for papers was released on social media for creative writing pieces that were to be included in The Wandering Song: Central American Writing in the United States (Tía Chucha Press, 2017), the first anthology of the Central American diaspora in the United States. The tardiness of such a publication, in comparison with Mexican American works such as Aztlan: An Anthology of Mexican American Literature (1972) and Literatura Chicana (1997), calls attention to the glaring absence of Central American voices in U.S. Latinx literary circles. Therefore, the editors Leticia Hernández Linares, Rubén Martínez, and Héctor Tobar (all of whom constitute major figures in Central American-American literature in their own rights) have done their readership a tremendous service by offering a creative outlet for writers of Central American origin in the U.S.
My contribution to the anthology, "El Gringo Chapín," is my first published piece of creative nonfiction. It is an account of my journey back to my country of origin for the first time in 2013, which was highlighted by my reunion with mifamilia guatemalteca in Zone 18 of Guatemala City. I am honored to share my journey alongside other Central American writers, such as Quique Avilés, Maya Chinchilla, Patrick Mullen-Coyoy, Gabriela Ramirez-Chavez, and Javier Zamora, among others. In the digital journal PubLab, Ramirez-Chavez presents an interview that includes our discussion of the anthology.
I have written other short pieces about Guatemala City, university life, and U.S. Latinx topics, in English, Spanish, and Spanglish. I am presently at work on my novel, which is a longer version of "El Gringo Chapín," tentatively titled Gringo Chapín Chronicles.
Praise for "El Gringo Chapín":
"Powerful. Heart wrenching. You had me on the edge of my seat. My hat off to you." — William Archila, Salvadoran poet and writer, author of The Art of Exile and The Gravedigger's Archaeology.
"So good. Such an important piece of work! I felt like you were there with me telling me the story." — Maya Chinchilla, Guatemalan poet, author of The Cha Cha Files: A Chapina Poética.
"The most compelling, well-written, and touching story in the collection." — John Petrus, Assistant Professor of Spanish, Grinnell College.