English Essayist Richard St

English Essayist Richard St-74
In the title essay, Rodriguez contemplates the word “darling” and all its bittersweet meanings, culminating in a tribute to both the Sisters of Mercy who taught him and the modern women whose strength, power and resistance inform his own as a gay man.He looks beyond the scope of gay marriage to the subtleties of resistance—the more elemental struggle for personal freedom.

In the title essay, Rodriguez contemplates the word “darling” and all its bittersweet meanings, culminating in a tribute to both the Sisters of Mercy who taught him and the modern women whose strength, power and resistance inform his own as a gay man.He looks beyond the scope of gay marriage to the subtleties of resistance—the more elemental struggle for personal freedom.

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“The light of twilight on a summer night, it was just enchanting,” he says, unspooling another thread of memory from his youth at 39th and J. (The tack worked.) The family temporarily moved in with young Richard’s aunt and uncle, who resided on Folsom Boulevard near 35th Street.

His parents decided against settling in the bustling Mexican community at the southern end of the city, opting instead for tony East Sacramento, mere steps from Sacred Heart. The masses were all in Latin, and girls had to have their heads covered with some kind of a hat or a veil. But when we grew up, that’s how it was.” Rodriguez and his three siblings found themselves growing up in a neighborhood of budding diversity in which they were, nevertheless, the only Mexican family.

In another he travels to Las Vegas, where he tends to a dying friend.

Elsewhere he explores the more figurative desert of Silicon Valley, where young tech plutocrats remake thousands of years of shared culture into a parched, sterile wasteland of technology addicts.

Rodriguez writes about having “studied so diligently to be a serious man”—a different spiritual chase that took him from Bishop Armstrong High School in Sacramento to Stanford and Columbia universities and other hallowed realms of academia.

Just shy of earning a doctorate from UC Berkeley in 1976, Rodriguez walked away from higher education altogether, rejecting a system that had staked so much on the cause of affirmative action over individual ability.“In the 1950s, billboards appeared on the horizon that beckoned restless Americans toward California,” Rodriguez wrote in his Pulitzer Prize-nominated 1992 book “Sacramento of the 1950s was the end of the Middle Ages, and Sacramento growing was the beginning of London.” For Rodriguez, this meant watching a thriving city annex and build upon the fields surrounding it.It meant riding his bike from East Sacramento to be among the inaugural shoppers to enter Arden Fair mall, and to pick up work as a teenager delivering lights to residential developments in suburbs to the north and south. Returning in 2013, he makes it clear that he never let it go. That’s what Sacramento gave me.” , Rodriguez writes of a doctor’s recommendation that the family move inland from the sea to relieve his older brother’s asthma.And the church was very much the focal point for the family from the beginning. Victoria Rodriguez hosted traveling Mexican nuns for lunch, exchanging prayers and offering donations for their homeland.“My dad was very, very, very religious,” says Sylvia Schnetz, Rodriguez’s older sister who today lives with her husband near Land Park. They welcomed a nearby Spanish family that harbored a chihuahua and the church janitor, Fidel.“There were five steps up over here to the porch,” says Rodriguez. The ambulances would go flying by; death would go flying by.He climbs the soft slope of grass bordering the hospital property. I could see the people coming in and out of church down there.His eyes fixate north, as they have fixated countless times over the years from that very spot—across J Street, settling on a patch of land roughly diagonal from the church.It’s nothing remarkable: a parking lot at Mercy General Hospital, subsumed by sunshine and sirens.Rodriguez’s new book which arrives in bookstores on Oct.3 and is his first in 11 years, is described as a collection of essays about spirituality in the shadow of the 9/11 attacks. It’s also incomplete for a book that so broadly, beautifully maps the ways that people, places and eras are shaped and influenced by spirituality.

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