Only those who are registered in the book of life are the fellow labours which build and not destroy.
On Being Cleansed from the Doctrines and Traditions of Men By the principles of the heart, many take offense at the gospel of Christ in truth because they feel the need to defend their own principles. But for all those with an ear to hear, the Lord will soften the heart with His grace to assist them in accepting the reproof of truth which comes through instruction in the doctrine of Christ by His living apostles.
The Journey of Presumption There is no emulation in perfect faith. Emulation occurs when man tries to engage God apart from the pattern God set for our faith to follow, for it is this pattern that serves as a model for our faith to reflect Christ perfectly. Read Personal Message Visit Blog. I joke about incest with my sister and thank God it doesn't bother my mother.
When I want to know if I look good in something, I ask Glena if it makes her want to have sex with me. When she doesn't say anything I like to believe it means, "why, of course. And in case something went wrong with the kids, there are special schools, you know. The protagonist's ease and humor diffuse the absolute seriousness of the incest taboo; at the same time, discussing incest so blithely is intrinsically queer. The desire and contradictory revulsion that surround incest are principal social and psychological motivators.
In this passage, the threat of sexual transgression within the family, combined with the skewed representation of the protagonist's gender and related power to impregnate is enough to make most readers a bit edgy, to infuse their laugh with a nervousness that can permeate the entire reading. It would take a determinedly ingenuous reader, however, to view said scenes as examples of classist or discriminatory rhetoric.
Indeed, the most compelling and valuable contribution made by this novel is the disidentificatory strategy of recuperating these emotionally loaded issues and performing them with a humor that recognizes the patently ridiculous within the abject. It is a response to state and global power apparatuses that employ systems of racial, sexual, and national subjugation.
These routinized protocols of subjugation are brutal and painful. Disidentification is about managing and negotiating historical trauma and systemic violence…I have wanted to posit that such processes of self-actualization come into discourse as a response to ideologies that discriminate against, demean, and attempt to destroy components of subjectivity that do not conform or respond to narratives of universalization and normalization. Lopez embraces even the most painful elements of her experience, but never in an innocent manner, rather as a prelude to a process of transformation that shifts the locus of power into her own hands.
Hybrid Hearts Life's Mixed Blessings - Kindle edition by Bernadette Maxwell. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Hybrid Hearts Life's Mixed Blessings has something for everyone, love, lust, deception and murder, all packaged in an unforgettable novel. Each character will.
If she has lived out her idealized version of Anglo working class life, perhaps initially believing that she was doing so to escape her own ethnic heritage and the inescapably connected social disapproval, then she also has experienced an epiphany of sorts around race and class. After her time with Bert, she understands the nonsensical nature of a social hierarchy that can value spam above beans and rice, or vice-versa.
Moving from the barrio to the trailer park essentially makes no difference in her life, as long as she is still attempting to shift responsibility away from herself for her own identity and future. However, he can provide a mirror that eventually reflects the reality of her situation: In order to gain a sense of who she is, she must identify with the disparate elements of her makeup and then morph them into her own construction of self.
Some queer readers can thrill in the tension that arises from the perverse, in this case the complete disregard of censorship around family and sex. Her unapologetic bisexuality can be seen as betrayal, sell-out, and insulting, and as an expression of the younger generation runs the risk of undermining the tenuous popularity or in some sectors of culture and the profession tolerance of the gay lifestyle.
You can almost hear the reaction of serious-minded lesbian feminist separatists: If the author will not be held back by the fear that her family and friends, even her immediate queer community will react poorly to her counter hegemonic narrative, then certainly she is not going to back down at the threat of non-inclusion in the mainstream canon. I suggested above that there are more ways than one to relegate a literary work to invisibility within academia. The queering of Flaming Iguanas , or in other words, the fairly effortless work of highlighting the queer in this novel, makes clear many of the reasons why it is not an easy addition to the canon.
The physical appearance of the book, the bawdy tone, the use of a young and patently offensive language, the foregrounding of a sexually transgressive ethic, and the very queer representation of family make it controversial, even dangerous. Yet, perhaps there are reasons why this is an unfair evaluation and treatment of the novel. There is an aspect of Lopez and Flaming Iguanas that insinuates, "Don't take me seriously, don't take this seriously, and don't make the mistake of thinking that I do.
Unlike those of the Mexican canonical author, Lopez's revelations are aggressively tongue-in-cheek, funny, and sexual in nature. This tendency to pronounce and opine is one of the many characteristics that the author seems to have bestowed upon her main character Tomato. A case in point is a scene in which the protagonist is watching some lesbian porn: Do you ever fantasize about something and then after you get off, think, oh, that is so stupid?
Although the protagonist's packaging of her nuggets of wisdom suggests a generation-X posturing, it may be just this fresh framing that will make the age-old message intelligible and relevant to readers of the new millennium. The question of whether to include Flaming Iguanas in the lists of recommended readings for scholars of American and specifically Latina literature brings to mind the question of separation of high art from low art, now a subject of debate for some decades. This novel crosses genre boundaries, incorporating the popular and vulgar along with the poetic, and looses the voice of a renegade woman onto the sensitivities of a literary elite.
Paul Julian Smith and Emilie L. Bergmann caution us that "the question of drawing the line between the native and foreign, proper and alien, is always a complex one" , 2.
Yes, Erika Lopez may seem foreign and alien when viewed alongside of more mainstream continental Puerto Rican authors like Esmeralda Santiago. Moreover, the work has its place within literary history: Lopez consciously includes direct literary allusions to evoking these classic traditions, with mentions of Kerouac, Hunter Thompson, Henry Miller, and Erika Jong Only her hairdresser knows for sure…. If Flaming Iguanas is Literature with a capital L , deserving of critical merit and inclusion in the wide range of privileges of that classification, can we go further to posit that it forms a legitimate part of a specific canon, such as that of the Puerto Rican Diaspora?
Are there elements that mark the work as belonging, beyond any shadow of a doubt because we do have to admit that the jury here will assume the guilt, the lack, or the legitimate invisibility of the work until proven wrong? In general, the queer Hispanic text has included historically in the short visible history that exists a sharp and slippery questioning of subject positions and identities, including that of ethnicity and national identity Bergmann and Smith , 2.
Specific issues that have been seen as key in the analysis of other, canonized works of Puerto Rican Diaspora literature include immigrant and bicultural identity, the complications of language, questions of color and other physical markings of race. In the first pages of the novel, Tomato mentions her "huge Latin American breasts" 2 , and her code switching includes such gems as nicknaming a lover "Hooter-mujer" In one monologue she explains: I don't feel white, gay, bisexual, black, or like a brokenhearted Puerto Rican in West Side Story, but sometimes I feel like all of them.
Sometimes I feel so white I want to speak in twang and belong to the KKK, experience the brotherhood and simplicity of opinions. Sometimes I want to be so black, my hair in skinny long braids, that black guys nod and say 'hey, sister' when they pass me by in the street. Other times I wish I was born speaking Spanish so that I could sound like I look without curly-hair apologies. What is in focus here is not only the impossibility of either embracing or denying all facets of an immigrant and hybrid identity, but also the slippage between craving and repulsion.
The protagonist wants a purity of experience that allows an almost mystical exultation in each part of her, yet must disavow and denigrate her complete self. One is reminded of the seductiveness of the abject and the compelling force of desire sexual and philosophical hunger that drives both the creation and the reception of the queer text However, the most telling remarks that mark Flaming Iguanas as a novel of the Puerto Rican Diaspora hark back to the central disturbance of this paper, that of the queer family.
One must recognize that this is not a comfortable commodification of Latina identity, or of Puerto Rican culture, packaged to sell a certain limited and predetermined image of latinidad lite , a tendency lamented by Juan Flores.
The protagonist describes her own sense of queerness in the midst of her family, her Puerto Rican hybrid family that embodies her past and present as much as it eludes a direct correspondence with her own perception of self. Just as the family doesn't conform to a traditional picture of heterosexuality, homogeneity, or domestic bliss, there is no more conformity of outward appearance than of style.
Tomato's mother is light-skinned and her father dark, leaving the girls with mixed characteristics as well. The protagonist explains, "My sister ended up with pretty yellow Perdue-chicken skin, and when she gets a tan, she's golden, and I call her my little pollo. Me, I ended up kind of gray brown" However, some features like Tomato's pointy nose and curly hair leave others wondering how to categorize her, just as she is confused herself. In fact, she shares the racial mixture and social confusion characteristic of Caribbean islanders who immigrate to the United States, where black and white is not just a fallacy, but is a dividing line that does not admit any grey area.
As the novel winds down, it becomes clear that the protagonist has not had the sort of complete catharsis that she had hungered for--she has not found a concrete and unchallengeable identity, sexually or any other way, still not being "a real Puerto Rican in the Bronx. Looking at the final words of the novel, one wonders whether Lopez may invoke an odd, twisted, and queer note of hope that offers an escape from the false dichotomy of hetero-homo.
Ever the artist and the idealist, Tomato envisions working with her father's ex-partner for the moment her lover to create a line of fake penis postage stamps, which would be successful because they "are all about penetration, communication, and dreams coming true in front of a warped circus mirror for EVERYBODY" Her vision, however, is inclusive in the extreme: A few will spark recognition only in those with some level of art history knowledge, like Penis Descending a Staircase and Andy Warhol Penis.
In contrast are the contemporary figures and borrowings of popular culture: It seems as if Lopez and her protagonist Tomato want to be sure to thumb her nose at every sacred icon and tradition—an equal-opportunity smorgasbord of irony and social criticism. She screams that the penis is ubiquitous which it is , and it does not belong uniquely to the patriarchy.
We are all, at heart or at penis , kith and kin, and we are all inescapably odd, hybrid mixtures of the acceptable and unacceptable. From Puerto Rico to New Jersey to California is a winding road, of asphalt, words, and skewed visions.
Has Erika Lopez, like a conflated Latina version of Thelma and Louise, taken a family road trip of self-discovery, only to shoot right over the big wide edge? Has her queering of family and literary form inescapably marginalized her and disincluded her from the canon? And if it has, is this a good or a bad thing?
If the canon is by definition normalizing, then perhaps Flaming Iguanas can only retain its transformative and critical function on the edge, where canonization cannot disempower its discourse. From this vantage point Lopez can continue to make obscenely loud noises in the forest with "no one" official around to "hear. On the one hand, its incursion into the comic or graphic novel genre is in essence a thumbing of the nose at rules and regulations. As a highly creative and underground genus, comics like queer literature are in some ways anathema to the very ideals of a literary canon.
Latina writers, graphic artists, and performers. Returning to previous thoughts on silence and admissible conversation, we can celebrate along with Julia Alvarez that a new generation of Latina writers is consistently and coherently challenging the long-time restrictions of what may be said, or to extrapolate, what may be written. These wise, funny, very smart, and passionate young women are speaking up.
In fact, if I were to single out the single most important change in this new generation, is that these mujeres are talking, and how. This, then, is the advantage to existing on the fringe of the traditional literary canon at this particular point in time: Kerrigan stabbed Narud, but as the shapeshifter lay dying, he revealed that Amon had already been revived. One of hybrid generators in Amon's temple. Plus, I get to use more cute printables! I added the little cat and pencil, also included in her set.
I wrote a few praises and requests on here, and I tucked it under the paper clip on the page.