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Write like it’s a roller coaster of self-discovery

The writing can be an albatross around the neck. Or it can be an adventure of high expectations leading to profitable ends.

For Alex Z. Salinas, writing is a crazy roller coaster ride with its winding twists and turns and ups and downs on a long journey of self-discovery.

With his graduate degree in English from St. Mary’s University, Salinas has made his way through the gauntlet of scholarly journals and small magazines that cover the American literary landscape. He has published poems, flash fiction and even editorials.

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The former Express-News intern was quick to burst onto the poetry scene with his debut collection, “Warbles,” published in 2019 by independent New York press Hekate Publishing, an indicator of the millennial writing. Her second collection of poetry, “Dreamt: The Lingering Phantoms of Equinox”, followed in 2020, surpassing her first with fireworks of alliteration and assonance and spurts of metaphors and allusions, all from a dazzling color.

His third book, the first collection of fiction “City Lights from the Upside Down”, has just been released by publisher Austin SAR Press, an imprint of the San Antonio Review. He contacted William O. Pate II, the Austin editor of the San Antonio Review, an online journal, by email.

SAR Press was founded in San Antonio in 2017, but has since moved to Austin. Already a Kirkus review for the Salinas collection is pending. SAR Press is one of the few independent presses managed by an entirely voluntary editorial collective, “not belonging to any institution, organization or ideology”.

We met at Viola’s Ventanas to talk about his writing and how he managed to release three books before he hit his 33rd year.

“Is fiction your next pit stop?” “

He was smiling like a Cheshire cat.

“It’s funny you asked for this,” said Salinas, “but I’ve written a third manuscript of poetry and I’m working steadily to make it happen soon. It’s my strongest poetic output. I write fiction mostly from the mind and poetry from the heart and the guts; sometimes all I want to do is write with my heart and my guts, so that I feel myself. gasps out of complacency I’m probably more comfortable writing fiction, although writing poetry is more engaging.

The writing of Salinas is fast, dropping words at nanosecond speed with daring and wit magnifying pathos towards ends without consequences à la Anton Chekhov.

Most of his stories are in the first person with few omniscient narrators. A busy writer with an eye for detail and a spontaneous ability to assess potential stories, Salinas launched into the literati by force of will – and a blast of creativity. His style has a mix of Woody Allen and Steve Martin with existential bathos, because one story, “The Sad Tale of the Inflatable Wacky Tube Man”, is hilarious, almost whimsical.

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“This story happened to me quickly and furiously. I wrote the first version in a few hours. I didn’t want to be heavy with a political subtext other than telling an engaging and timely story by my standards. Plus, I’ve long thought men with wacky inflatable tubes deserve to be fictionalized because they’re so bizarrely, ridiculously hilarious! “

“One reason why your stories are usually in the first person? “

He paused momentarily, thought about it, and said, “While most of them are in the first person, some of my favorites – like ‘Coke Machine’ – I wrote in the third person. There’s something appealing about the challenge of landing on a first-person voice and finding out what’s wrong with that person’s way of speaking and thinking – because all the first-person stories, in my opinion, are unreliable, as are all first person stories constructed from recollections of recollections.

While many were producing poetry and fiction during the COVID-19 pandemic, Salinas was busy in front of his laptop riding the roller coaster of the mind, finishing his upcoming novel, “The Dream Life of Larry Rios” , for 2022.

Alex Z. Salinas is a person of interest. To be fowarding something.

Rafael Castillo teaches writing and literature at Palo Alto College and is a member of PEN America, the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, and the National Book Critics Circle.


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Margarita W. Wilson

The author Margarita W. Wilson