Oct. 30, 2014

How about all that Spanish? [Click here to comment]

 We’re stepping out on a limb here.

 If you’ve read my stories you know that I’m not shy about using Spanish language directly (“the jefe doctor”), or Spanish syntax in English (“She had 13 years.”).

 It drives a couple of my thriller-writer-buddies nuts. They accuse me of everything from wanting to show off to distracting (or boring) the reader who doesn’t understand the language. Recently one of them said it made my characters all sound the same. Now that, is a real literary no-no. “Cut the Spanish,” is the message.

 But I’m in such good company, I whine. Cormac McCarthy used an entire dialog sequence without a clue to the reader. Francisco Goldman uses a lot and he’s a native Spanish speaker. Even my ol’ pal, Earnest used some in For Whom the Bell Tolls. (You’ll see another similarity to that story in Don Fernando’s Family).

 I write about Spanish settings with people who speak it and other languages (DFF even has a little Mayan). Cormac didn’t care whether you understood “sí” or “señorita,” not to mention, “pase adelante.” How come I can’t get away with it?

 Of course, there is the small matter of talent. It’s the difference between Cormac’s scads of it and the jury still being out on yo (me). (At least, Yo hopes the jury is still out).

 How does the Spanish strike you? Like it? Don’t like it? Don’t care? [Click on Blue Title to find "Write Comment" button.]