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Arts & Culture

Sandra Cisneros's defenders and detractors debate what the celebrated author has meant to San Antonio and Latino literature

Photo: Courtesy photos, License: N/A

Courtesy photos

Sandra Cisneros with her dog, Barney, aka Barnitos.

Photo: , License: N/A

Cisneros, circa 2006. Photo by Ray Santisteban.

"I do still plan to move, but don't know when or where yet. I'm exploring locations and need time so as to relieve pressure during a year when I am promoting a new book," she said.

With no director to guide Macondo, it's been left to volunteers to staff a panel at the annual Association of Writers conference in Chicago which will featuring Dagoberto Gilb, John Phillip Santos, and Luis J. Rodriguez. "So I apologize if we can't always get back to anyone quickly, and I refused to act as a spokesperson for Macondo when I finally retired."

Milligan, for one, will always see San Antonio as a better place for having known Cisneros.

"San Antonio is richer than most cities in the number of writers who live here, and we have our share of world-class ones, but Sandra always made a point of celebrating the culture here," he said. "I mean, people come to San Antonio just to look at her house and to eat at Taco Haven because she used to sit in the front booth and write stories that were set in the immediate neighborhood. That's special."

The feeling of respect that surrounds this literary icon, who came from Chicago and stayed in San Antonio for a quarter of a century will evermore be linked to her light, however it shines, shadows, or fades.

And while Cisneros's home has been taken off the market (a "tactical" decision, Bill Sanchez tells me, to wait out the housing slump), the Casa Azul, the one-time office headquarters/writers residence for Macondo is still available. ("Yes, Sandra is leaving," Sanchez says. "Yes, Macondo is staying in San Antonio.") Perhaps that is what matters most. •

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