We don’t get many new groups on Fictionaut these days, so it’s always good to find a new one, especially one with quite a few members.  Roberto C. Garcia created the group  Letras Caseras, and describes it as:

This group is an extension of my tumblr www.letrascaseras.tumblr.com.

It is my sincere hope to continue the wonderful work of Marcus Speh over at Kaffe in Kathmandu. I know it won’t be the same but in keeping a tradition alive perhaps we can make it new.

I’d like for this group to be more overtly political than the rest of Fictionaut, however, please share your works of beauty, protest, witness, and overall honesty. And check out and contribute to the tumblr as well.

Q (Lynn Beighley: ): Hi, Roberto. What does the phrase, “Letras Caseras,” mean, and what does it mean to you?

Letras Caseras, when translated, means letters from home.  My hope is that artists will share their work with Letras Caseras and LC can then share it with the rest of the artist community in a way that feels like the art (poetry, fiction, photography, art, reviews, interviews, etc) is coming from home.

You say you want to continue Marcus Speh’s work from Kaffe in Kathmandu. Can you tell us about Kaffe in Kathmandu and how it influences LC?

Kaffe in Kathmandu is a Tumblr like LC, that Marcus Speh administered.  He had a sizeable following of artists from all walks of life and from all over the globe that shared their work on the site.  I was one of them and I really enjoyed immersing myself in those works and enjoyed the variety that Kaffe in Kathmandu had to offer.  Marcus shut the site down at the end of December 2011 so I spoke to him about trying to keep that environment alive.  I started Letras Caseras and Marcus has been extremely helpful and supportive.

How do you hope your site emulates or continues Marcus’ work?

I hope to continue providing another space for artists to share their work with each other and everyone else.  Also, to engage an international community with members from all over the world, that’s imperative.

What response to the site have you seen so far?

The response has been very positive. I’ve received submissions from India and England so far and there is so much rich work available on Tumblr that’s ready to be shared. My fellow Fictionauts have responded enthusiastically as well and that means a lot to me. I’m hopeful that the sight will see some of the familiar faces from Kaffe in Kathmandu as well. I’d like for them to know that they have a home at Letras Caseras.

You mention that you’d like LC to be more political than the rest of Fictionaut. What’s the role of politics in LC? Do you feel artists have a responsibility to involve politics in their craft?
The role is to engage the political directly in fresh and different ways and by choice.  I don’t only post what are considered political pieces but I enjoy them when I get them as long as they aren’t didactic or preachy.

Recently, in an interview for The Paris Review, playwright August Wilson said that “All art is political in the sense that it serves someone’s politics.”  So whether a writer thinks he/she is writing politically or not they are expressing their position of apathy or engagement by what they do or don’t create artistically.  I believe that in a perfect world artists would apply some degree of social pressure to the academic world and to the world of governments.

I’m sure you like everything that has run, but will you share some of your favorite pieces with us?

“The Burka” by Sylvia Petter is really good, “In Paran” by Larissa Shmailo also fantastic, there are several short films I’ve re-blogged that I love, photography, and “Pitspits” by J. Mykell Collinz is another great one. It’s very hard to narrow down just a few. Those have been some favorites by fellow Fictionauts. There are some recent additions which are awesome as well from the likes of J.A. Pak, Jerry Ratch and Gessy Alvarez. I’ve also enjoyed re-blogging work from Denise Menendez’ Poets and Artists site.

What plans do you have for the site?

My plan for Letras Caseras is to keep it in its present form for now.  Maybe, and this is a couple years off, I’ll turn it into a lit journal or review.  However, that’s not something I have the time to entertain right now.

What are you looking for people to submit? How do you decide what will be included?

I don’t have a formula or preference for contributions to LC.  I enjoy work that engages the issues in fresh and creative ways but that’s not the only thing I will post to the site.  Engaging work, regardless of its subject matter, deserves to be shared.

Can we submit our work for consideration by posting it to the Fictionaut group, or do you have a preferred method?

The Fictionaut group functions as another group within Fictionaut for writers to share their work with writers. Yes the work can/should follow along the lines of the group’s aim but most importantly it is about Fictionaut’s mission of community. I’ll grab a piece from the group sometimes but if anyone has something to submit the best way to do it is via the Tumblr itself. There’s a little cog in the top left corner, clicking on it opens a small menu where the submit icon is.

Lynn Beighley is a fiction writer stuck in a technical book writer’s body. Her stories often involve deeply flawed characters and the unsatisfying meshing of the virtual and actual world. You can find more of her work at Fictionaut and on Twitter as @lynnbeighley.

  1. stizzie456

    Roberto C. Garcia is the man.

  2. Marcus Speh

    thanks for saying nice things about kaffe in katmandu. letras caseras is on the other side of the world, but the coffee is stronger, the gents and ladies are hotter and the discussions are deadlier. also, it’s beautiful.

  3. Roberto Garcia

    It’s quite easy to do Marcus, you’re welcome. And thank you Lynn! Oh and I’m usually trying to stick it to the MAN not be the man, LOL.

  4. Gessy Alvarez

    Thanks so much Roberto for starting the group and for being awesome! As a newbie, it feels real good to be welcomed into such a talented family…Cheers!

  5. Shelagh Chopra

    Looks great – love the design & nice work. I’ll be happy to read more!

  6. susan tepper

    Roberto, it’s a wonderful concept and I’m happy to be part. Will share some work soon!

  7. Sharanya

    I am trying to figure out how to send in a submission :) Went through the four Tumblr pages – couldn’t find out how (I may simply be a little clueless about Tumblr navigation).

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