The latest Zyzzyva issue (Spring 2012, Volume 28, Number 1) features Mexico. In it are contained long reports on the drug wars there, as well as a short manifesto (which I understand is part of a longer work) titled “Keep Writing,” translated by John Gibler, and spewed with the acid to give life to the subterranean, the suppressed, those who have been weaned in the gunfire on nothing but acid, so that the desperation in Cristina Rivera Garza’s work supplies hope, and supplicates for them. The following are my favorite lines from it, maxims, mantras to which we, too, can clutch ourselves to, as if the words themselves shouldered more than what we are capable, or at least what we can believe to be manageable, as belief is sometimes scuttled before the falling offs of sheer perseverance—but man needs the spirit, too, which is why we must all continue writing, and reading:

Because imagination is another name for criticism, which itself is another name for subversion.

Because writing teaches us that there is nothing “natural.” They are closer than they appear that, too, writing tell us.

Because there is an abyss at the end of every line into which it is worth the trouble to cast oneself. Or charge into. Or disappear into.

Because look at how “tear” is torn from its verb.

Because it is also what we would write if we were able to write.

Because in its job as a word, every word questions the habits of our perception.

Because terror stops at the spot where also stops, inscribed, the word “terror.”

Because a paragraph is an extreme sport.

Because this is a form, the most definitive, of the plural.


Gaza has several blogs in Spanish. Her main blog is http://cristinariveragarza.blogspot.com. One interesting blog that she has unfortunately discontinued is http://mirulfomiodemi.wordpress.com. When she is not blogging she is writing for papers as their Mexican correspondent and teaching at UC San Diego.


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