Something to Declare

Something to Declare

  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9780452280670
  • 320 Pages
  • Plume
  • Adult


“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.”—People

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.

Table of Contents

Something to Declare to My Readers

Part One: Customs
Grandfather’s Blessing
Our Papers
My English
My Second Opera
I Want to Be Miss America
El Doctor
La Gringuita
Picky Eater
Briefly, a Gardener
Imagining Motherhood
A Genetics of Justice
Family Matters

Part Two: Declarations
First Muse
Of Maids and Other Muses
So Much Depends
Dona Aida, with Your Permission
Have Typewriter, Will Travel
A Vermont Writer from the Dominican Republic
Chasing the Butterflies
Goodbye, Ms. Chips
In the Name of the Novel
Ten of My Writing Commandments
Grounds for Fiction
Writing Matters