Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Historical Perspective and Margaret Randall

In her talks for our class yesterday, Margaret Randall brought to our work of the semester a uniquely historical perspective about her own life as well as about Albuquerque. What does such a perspective bring to our class that we have not yet discussed in terms of the works of other writers?


  1. I would say that she brought to class the historical inspiration for her works. Many authors write about the "now" without giving enough credit to the past. (Although VB Price did talk about his poems being inspired by some of his fondest memories in Chaco Canyon.) Other authors, like Phillipa Bornikova, couldn't have possibly written about California and vampires without having experienced CA in the past, or researched the folklore of vampires. And she certainly did not discuss her subconscious memories that inspired the story. I'm not sure if that's too clear, but the point I'm trying to make is that Margaret R. gave us a completely personal, up-close view of HERSELF, both in person and through her writing, and I believe that's a rare thing in the world of writing today. I admire that in an author.

  2. I think the main difference has been that My Town is a memoir rather than a novel. Hence, we read about personal stuff and personal history. She decided to share a lot of her own past, her history, with us her readers. Most of the other authors we’ve met wrote novels about fictional characters. I think this is the different perspective she brought to our class. We were given the opportunity to read about her life.

    The other person that did something similar was VB Price. He also wrote about his experiences in New Mexico, specifically Chaco Canyon. The difference is that he wrote more about his feelings towards that place and his experiences there, whereas Ms. Randall wrote about her life experiences from childhood to adulthood.

    However, I think each author we have had has brought a unique perspective to our class. I think we can take away something from each author in order to improve our writings.

  3. Ms. Randall brought to the table a true story that could have only taken place in Albuquerque. We've read other authors that may currently live in Albuquerque, or mention it in passing, but with the possible exception of V.B. Price, no one offered a true account of what it was like to grow up specifically in Albuquerque. I found the old pre-50s pictures of Albuquerque in the book fascinating, and now have at least one person and story to connect to some of the old buildings on Central, which I didn't necessarily have before.
    Albuquerque is a unique cultural and natural setting, and I think that V.B. Price covered more of the natural part, while Ms. Randall covered more of the cultural part.

  4. I felt that Margret Randall's work was really personal to her. In a sense it was like a biography and it captured a lot of Albuquerque's history. Even though the entire book wasn't specifically her past the way she wrote about Albuquerque and what happened the reader can feel that she is passionate about it. I felt that it was different than any of the other novels we read in the sense that it was specific to Albuquerque and the culture. For example, Kate Horsely's X&O had some stories that were specific to her, many of the stories were abstract and it addressed many spiritual questions. Margret focuses closely on human rights in contrast to Kate Horsely. Although in the center of both works we see large questions being addressed the approach is completely different. All in all Margret Randall's work isn't abstract but straightforward and literal. Saying what needs to be said in her own words, she portrays the past of Albuquerque from her eyes.


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