Words of wisdom
Name: Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford
Originally from: Nogales, Ariz.
Creating art since: 15 years of age
Describe your art and your style: “I write bilingual, non-fiction or life experience-based stories and poems for children ages 3 to 103. I also write poetry, memoirs and vignettes. I write for children, from the child within myself. I write for adults, for myself and my readers to heal from pain, grief, trauma – also to share celebration and joy of life.”
Must-read novels: Bless Me Ultima; The Color of Water; Pigs in Heaven
Bedside books: Simple Abundance; A Thousand Names for Joy
A poem for your epitaph: “Yes, But” (A poem she wrote).
Writers you want to meet: James McBride, Barbara Kingsolver, Sarah Ban Breathnach, Joan Borysenko, David Sedaris
An excerpt from Rivera-Ashford’s first published book, My Nana’s Remedies/Los remedios de mi nana:
“How lucky I am to have such a special Nana. She is my very own personal healer.”/ “¡Qué fortuna tener una Nana tan especial. Ella es mi curandera personal.”
“Whenever I don’t feel well, my Nana is always at my side. ‘I’ll kiss it, I’ll kiss it and make it go away. Then you can go out and play.’ That’s what my Nana will always say.”/ “Cuando no me siento bien, mi Nana siempre está a mi lado y me dice, ‘Sana, sana, colita de rana; si sanas ahora sanarás mañana’ “Con los remedios de mi nana.”
Yes, But …
Yes, I am short,
But I am not petite.
Yes, I am fair-skinned and blue-eyed,
But I am not a W.A.S.P.
Yes, I speak English,
But I am not monolingual.
Yes, I was born Jewish,
But that doesn’t mean I am not Catholic.
Yes, I made my Bas Mitzvah,
But that doesn’t mean I wasn’t baptized.
Yes, I fell in love at age 14 and married at 19,
But that doesn’t mean I don’t have a University Degree.
Yes, by definition of ‘ethnicity’, I am Anglo,
But that doesn’t mean that, by definition of ‘heritage’, I am not Latina.
Yes, I am a caring, loving, supportive woman,
But I am not a doormat, and I do have limits.
Yes, I believe in Quantum Physics,
But that doesn’t mean that I don’t believe in GOD.
Starfish in the sky,
Swiftly drifting by.
An upside-down seahorse
Gently changing course.
All made up of cotton-white velvet,
Floating freely, never set.
On the Divine stage – endless age;
The backdrop of eternal hues –
Celestial, Royal, Periwinkle blues.
Gathering to form gray umbrellas
Rushing in to hide the sun.
Soon raindrops will fall
From each and every one.
The crystal sprinkles being carried
by the breeze
Like dancing ballerinas doing pirouettes,
Falling to the ground
On their invisible knees.
An excerpt from Rivera-Ashford’s second published book, Hip, Hip, Hooray, It’s Monsoon Day!/¡Ajúa, ya llegó el chubasco!
Tata gets one of those serious and tender looks on his face and says, “…someday when you have grandchildren, I want you to tell it to them. This will help keep the stories of our culture from disappearing.”/Tata se pone muy serio y con una Mirada tierna me dice, “…algún día cuando tu tengas nietos, quiero que se lo cuentes a ellos. Esto ayudará a preservar los cuentos de nuestra cultura.”
Roni Capin Rivera-Ashford’s Hip, Hip, Hooray, It’s Monsoon Day!, was the ONEBOOKAZ Kids 2009 winner, voted by Arizona children. ONEBOOKAZ is coordinated by Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records. In April of each year, it encourages Arizona children around the state to read the same book at the same time and participate in discussions centered around that book.