I have been sitting here slowly simmering a raw “culture is a melting pot” metaphor for a good 20 minutes. My foot is jiggling against the chair; hot ginger tea makes my tongue tingle. I am aware of these things very acutely at the moment as my brain pumps tactile information through my mind. I feel very straightforward today, and such lofty, purplish toys like metaphor and symbolism seem to be limping – lame and tired – about in my head rather than prancing (frolicking?).
It’s ok. Sometimes the creative influences are scarce; sometimes I find myself in an afternoon setting ready to bloom into hot molten words, and I discover my cup runneth cold, bone dry. You simply cannot force a wayward muse, and what inspires and melds and percolates can sometimes jive – or just curdle. What influences happen to animate the artistic process are often slippery and mulish to be pinpointed – I, for one, am not always so sly at trapping and tagging my most prized well-springs – but naming and exploring the individual ingredients of a good, rich muse is can often be worth the toil.
Here comes the part where I transition in one fluid and sinuous line towards our true topic: but influence does not just color the creative-minded. How we live, who we are and what we think and do are all rituals we merely borrow from each other piecemeal into one Technicolor thing we label “culture”. And the origin of the individual flavors? Sometimes that can take a wee bit of sleuthing. Join award-winning Mexican author, Alberto Ruy-Sanchez as he explores Arabian influences found in Mexico with his presentation “Elusive Identities: The Arabic Presence in Mexican Culture”. See him this coming Wednesday, October 24th, at the University of Louisville ’s Chao Auditorium at 4:30pm.
The author of more than 20 books, including La Mano del Fuego and En los Labios del Agua, Alberto Ruy-Sanchez has had his work translated into fifteen languages. Awarded the Xavier Villaurrutia Prize – the most prestigious literary honor in Mexico – for his 1993 novel Mogador, Ruy-Sanchez was the founding publisher and is current acting Chief Editor of Latin America’s premier arts magazine, Artes de Mexico. In addition to his numerous global recognitions and fellowships, Ruy-Sanchez is also at home here in the Bluegrass: an honorary Louisvillian and Captain of the Belle of Louisville, and a Kentucky Colonel.
Diverse credentials? I’d say so, kids. Spend an afternoon with Ruy-Sanchez in the Ekstrom Library at UofL as he peels back the layers of modern Mexican culture and exposes the heart of the roots. Hear “Elusive Identities” for free and appreciate those nuances murmuring just below its surface – for they can be tricky devils to be sure.
UofL’s Ekstrom Library is located at 2301 South Third Street. For more information, contact Rhonda Buchanan at 502-852-2034 or firstname.lastname@example.org .
Image: Courtesy of Amazon www.amazon.com