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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Top 10 things I learned while writing

The Top 10 things I learned since, because of, or while writing
Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz

Washing dishes and other household chores get done just as quickly while wearing a tiara. Maybe faster.

Once a daddy’s girl, always a daddy’s girl. Y qué?

Favorite overheard comment: “There’s no drama like quinceañera drama.”

Want to make a father speechless? Dress his little girl like a princess. Want to make him weep? Watch same girl throw a throaty grito from deep in her gut in response to a mariachi. (Note: it has to be great mariachi—the kind that strikes you in the chest and twangs that emotional cord like no other. You don’t get mariachi? Then you’re either a. not Mexican, or b. have never heard good mariachi).

Quinceañera adage: Only one girl gets to be prom queen, not all women will get married, but everyone turns fifteen.

The best quinceañera stories are told in nail salons, when you’re sitting there, waiting for your nails to dry.

There is an actual quinceañera mass with special songs and prayers.

While white is considered traditional, quinceañera dresses can come in all colors of the rainbow, including black—this, per the latest Quince Expo I attended in Austin, Texas (check out my photos at http://qclubbooks.blogspot.com).

The quinceañera I would have loved to have seen: the Goth-themed one written about in Felicia Luna Lemus’s short story, “Quince Never Was,” included inFifteen Candles, edited by Adriana Lopez.

Full body fajas (girdles) exist for men and women and include straps, snaps, and hooks. The faja model I met at the Quince Expo insisted that it only took her a matter of moments to slip into it, that yes, she could breathe, and that it was as comfortable as her own skin. I remain skeptical.

Belinda Acosta works as a journalist in Austin, Texas, writing reviews and features on books, film, and the arts, in addition to a weekly column on television (TV Eye) for the Austin Chronicle. Her work has appeared in Poets & Writers, Latino USA, Latino Magazine, AlterNet and other publications. She was a Michener Fellow at the University of Texas at Austin where she received her MFA in Writing in 1997. Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz (Grand Central Publishing, August 2009) is her first novel.

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