Saturday, May 06, 2006

Women Who Inspire Me

I had the most incredible day today at the Edward James Olmos Latino Book & Family Festival. Not only did they have the most awesome line up of Latina authors but I got to meet three of them in person in the last two days.

Yesterday I had the opportunity to meet both Maria Elena Salinas and Alisa Valdes Rodriguez.

When I met Maria Elena Salinas I felt so melancholy thinking of my mother. I was sitting in a conference room with some journalists listening to her speak and I was thinking about how my mom used to watch her on the news every day for years. I was thinking about how this was one of those moments when I really missed my mom because it was something that I wished I could share with her. When we finished and said goodbye I called my baby sitter and shared my experience with her. I got the same kind of response from her that I imagined I would have probably gotten from my mother. My mom was in the same age range as my sitter.

I can't believe Maria Elena has been doing the news with Univision for 20 years!!!! Amazing! Her book is, "I Am My Father's Daughter."

Later the same day I met Alisa Valdes Rodriguez, for whom I was a facilitator at the book fair today. I drove her to her reading at Barnes & Noble last night and then back to her hotel. I really admire her guts and her fire to have published the books that she has and for always speaking her mind. Her new book is "Make Him Look Good."

The first author I heard today at the book fair was Jackie Guerra. She was one of the most incredible motivational speakers I have heard in a long time! She was fantastic!! For those of you who don't remember, she's the actor who played Suzette, Selena's sister, in the movie Selena. She spoke about making a difference, walking into a room like you're Elvis, knowing how unique you are, and following your dreams passionately. I can see her running for office one day. She is super smart and very very funny. I loved her line, "Because I'm MexiCAN, not MexiCAN'T." Her book is, "Under Construction-How I've Gained and Lost Millions of Dollars and Hundreds Pounds."

A couple of things really struck me about Jackie Guerra. When I went up to her and introduced myself she said, "You're the reason I'm here!" just because I'm the one that told her about the fair and put her in touch with Tony Diaz. That was really kind of her. Then the second thing she said later after speaking was, "So have you finished your book?" I was so awed that she remembered that about me. That was really motivational!

I also visited local author, Houston's Gwen Zepeda. She read parts of her book, "To the Last Man I Slept with, and All the Other Jerks Just Like Him," and she has two new books coming out in the next year. She always impresses me so much and I think she is so funny! She also inspires me because I think she is so awesome working her day job, raising three boys as a single mom, and then publishing her writing. How cool is that?

Thank you ladies for being so motivational and great role models for young women.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Because I'm MexiCAN, not MexiCAN'T..? How funny is that!