"Reading Julia Alvarez''s new collection of essays is like
curling up with a glass of wine in one hand and the phone in the
other, listening to a big-hearted, wisecracking friend share
hard-earned wisdom about family, identity, and the art of writing."
The rich and revealing essays in Something to
Declare offer Julia Alvarez''s dual meditations on coming
to America and becoming a writer. In the first section, "Customs,"
Alvarez relates how she and her family fled the Dominican Republic
and its oppressive dictator, Rafael Trujillo, settling in New York
City in the 1960s. Here Julia begins a love affair with the English
language under the tutelage of the aptly named Sister Maria
Generosa. Part Two-"Declarations"-celebrates Alvarez''s enduring
passion for the writing life. From the valentine to mythic
storyteller Scheherazade that is "First Muse," to a description of
Alvarez''s itinerant life as a struggling poet, teacher, and writer
in "Have Typewriter, Will Travel," to the sage and witty advice of
"Ten of My Writing Commandments," Alvarez generously shares her
influences and inspirations with aspiring writers everywhere.