Critical Essays Richard Rodriguez

Because I learned this private language, I’m included in something that’s larger than the sum of the individuals.

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SL: In one of your interviews you spoke about summoning writing – that it feels as if you’re a conduit, as if the words come to you as if they had been waiting in the ether for you to put them to paper. The writer waits until the graces (or grace) flows through him. The writing which Monday was so sluggish is suddenly free on Tuesday. SL: RR: Basically, the narrative that interests me is the narrative of our thinking lives. I want to indicate to the reader the process of thinking, even more than I am interested in the conclusion of my thinking.

Thought is always moving—changing, deepening, contradicting itself, etc.

His work has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Richard Rodriguez: I was an accidental writer at the start.

The only experience I would compare with what you are saying is my experience as a schoolboy and an altar boy with Latin.

The Latin mass was the great joy of my young life, not newfound American English.

We turn to song, wherein the music of human voice renders words of secondary importance.

SL: Your writing about your early experiences with language, and the concepts of private and public languages, reminds me of how it is for me in synagogue.

And it was only then—within the loneliness of my life outside the academy—that I felt impelled to write about what education had done to and for me (how it had changed my life) and living within the illogic of “the minority student” that I turned to write an intellectual memoir.

My first book, RR: Because I have been designated by critics and by bookstores as a “Hispanic writer,” I suppose I often find myself writing about matters to do with the United States and Latin America.


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