Thursday, August 25, 2011

Myths, Memories, and Personal Narratives: A Look at Pilar Melero’s From Mythics Rocks/Voces del Malpáis by Nancy Bird Soto, PhD

Nancy Bird Soto, Ph.d.In her first collection of short-stories and narratives based on personal anecdotes, From Mythic Rocks/ Voces del Mapáis (La&Go 2010), professor and journalist Pilar Melero, champions the importance of finding one’s roots, one’s “rocks”, one’s memories that keep the person in tune with himself or herself, with their personhood. Melero was born in Durango, Mexico in the mid 1960’s and arrived in the United States at age 15, where she has dwelled ever since, mainly in Wisconsin. Each story presented unearths and celebrates the character-building rocks found along the way of the immigration and cultural affirmation process. As the author points out:  “once every minority discover his or her rock, there will no longer be minorities: just people” (p. 40). Stories such as: “The Women of la Tutubeida,” “El Malpáis,” and “How the Americas Met,” demonstrate the need to recover personal/historical memories and to expose ethnic prejudice so that cultural biases can be dismantled.

From Mythics Rocks/Voces del Malpáis
The bilingual aspect conveyed in the title is maintained throughout the collection, signaling that linguistic identities can be convergent, without using one language in detriment or in opposition to the other. Melero translated, or as she would say “adapted,” each original story which was written in Spanish into English. This is certainly a rich cultural proposal given the increasing importance of multicultural and bilingual educational programs in creating interdisciplinary dialogues and fostering a better understanding between cultures, alongside nuanced community and personal histories. From Mythic Rocks/Voces del Malpáis is an enjoyable reading that brings memory, language, and the joy of narrative art together in  seamless fashion. “My sole intention,” offers Melero, “is to remember, to create memory, and, through memory: be” (p. 40).

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