Local author to publish first collection of prose and poetry
Author Olga Rosales Salinas clearly remembers the folklore and myths she heard growing up in Watsonville.
The Mexican legends of La Llorona and El Cucuy in particular have stayed with her; stories about fear and often used to teach difficult lessons.
“I have often reflected on the meaning of these myths,” Salinas said. “They always kept it in my mind.”
Now Salinas is set to release their first collection of La Llorona-centric prose and poetry, putting a new twist on a traditionally gruesome tale.
“La Llorona: Prose and Poetry” is a mixture of short stories and poems, following the character as if she were a mortal woman who lived in Watsonville. Each section of the book includes letters, giving insight into how she now sees and haunts the city.
“In writing this book, I have examined the themes of the figure of La Llorona,” she said. “I imagined her as a real woman, suffering from postpartum psychosis. It was a real exploration of fear and anxiety.
Salinas attended local schools including Amesti, Rolling Hills, and Aptos High. She began writing at a young age, starting with poems in second grade, and dabbling in prose by fifth grade.
“My passion has always been writing. I was an ESL kid… at first I saw poetry as a break from strict grammar rules… but now I understand it’s really hard, ”she said with a laugh.
Salinas left Watsonville in 1997 and dabbled in radio, working in traffic management until 2014. Now married with two sons, she writes full time, including recurring columns on topics such than anxiety and toxic masculinity.
All proceeds from “La Llorona Poetry and Prose” will go to the Rosales Sisters Scholarship, which Salinas and her five sisters launched in 2019. The scholarship aims to support immigrant and first generation students at Aptos High, which they have all frequented at some point. .
“We all grew up as the first generation… our parents didn’t have papers back then,” she explained. “Going to a well-off school like that, being there, it was very difficult. We want to give back to these children who are in this situation.
The stock market has taken off. In their first round of fundraising, the sisters raised $ 800. The most recent round was close to $ 16,000.
“We initially focused on immigrant and first generation students, but if we see that there is a very strong need… we will select them,” said Salinas. “We want to keep giving and making an impact. “
Learn more about the scholarship at rsscholarship.com.
An event to celebrate the release of “La Llorona: Poetry and Prose”, as well as to raise more funds for the scholarship is scheduled for August 27 at Pajaro Valley Arts, 37 Sudden St., from 6 to 8 p.m.
A range of entertainment includes sets by local visual artist Jaime Sánchez, poet and filmmaker Elizabeth Gomez, and writers Martin García, Dr Victoria Banales and Mireya Gomez-Contreras. A live musical performance will feature the trio of Belinda Elvia Cabrera, Miguel Carero and Jorge Mariscal.
Salinas will close the show.
Further fundraisers are scheduled for September 18 at the Habitat hair salon in San Francisco and Oakland on October 23.
Salinas said she looks forward to her book being published and enjoyed by readers.
“This is my first collection,” she says. “I am very excited.”
For more information and to order a copy of “La Llorona Poetry and Prose”, visit olgars.com.