The supernatural anthology book “Apariciones, voces, ruidos, cosas inexplicables — An Anthology of Folktales and Personal Narratives from the Texas-Mexico Borderlands” from a group of Laredo women will be presented at the Joe A. Guerra Library Sunday at 1 p.m.
This weekend, several Laredo women will present their supernatural anthology book with tales in both English and Spanish.
“Apariciones, voces, ruidos, cosas inexplicables — An Anthology of Folktales and Personal Narratives from the Texas-Mexico Borderlands,” edited by Del Alma Publications.
The book will be presented on Sunday at 1 p.m. at the Joe A. Guerra Laredo Public Library. The books will be available at www.delalmapublications.com
María Alma Gonzalez Perez, editor and compiler of the book, thanked the Laredo authors for their contributions to this publication.
“I greatly appreciate the collaboration of my friends and colleagues from Laredo who contributed toward this goal. Among them are educators, administrators and even published authors,” Gonzalez Perez said.
The book features seven authors from Laredo: Rosa María Ceballos De Llano, Sylvia Vargas Carbajal, Diana Espinoza, Juanita Lira, Malena Charur, Elia B. De Hoyos and Leslie García, among others.
The anthology is divided into two sections: Spanish and Bilingual/English with the purpose of offering reading in the reader’s preferred language.
The Spanish section contains 15 stories, and the bilingual/English section contains six bilingual (Spanish/English) stories and nine English stories. Each story is complemented with an illustration, made by Ethan Jaye Morales, to enhance its meaning and a reflection on the reading.
González Pérez highlighted the importance of these stories.
“Through these stories that have transcended generations, we find a bond that unites us to our ancestors, to their customs, and to their beliefs,” she said. “As a result, we learn from the lessons while also enjoying the panoramic view of life in other times and in other places. Above all, we reflect on the powerful role of literature in our lives.
“I invite you to relive the oral tradition of story telling on the pages of ‘Apariciones, voces, ruidos, cosas inexplicables — An Anthology of Folktales and Personal Narratives from the Texas-Mexico Borderlands’ this Sunday at Laredo’s Joe Guerra Public Library.”
Some of the Laredo authors spoke with LMT about their participation in this anthology.
Ceballos De Llano said she was invited to participate in the project that her friend, Gonzalez Perez, had planned for a long time.
“La Casa Orfila” is the title of the story written by Ceballos De Llano.
“My story is precisely about that very historic house located on Matamoros street in the San Pedro district of Laredo,” she said. “It is a beautiful house with a very interesting history. My in-laws, Don Manuel and Inesita De Llano, lived there during the 1960s and part of the 1970s, and I always listened to my husband and my sisters-in-law talk about all the strange things that happened in that house
“I wrote two of the stories of the many that I had heard of. I think that those two incidents give us a very good idea of what was happening at Casa Orfila.”
Ceballos De Llano said she first wrote the story in Spanish and then translated it into English.
“My biggest challenge was describing the house accurately,” she said. “I had to go to the Webb County Heritage Foundation Archives for data on this house in the San Pedro Historic District. I learned a lot about the architecture and the history of how that Louisiana style came to be built here in Laredo.”
Ceballos De Llano hopes that readers will enjoy her story because the house is still standing and because they are true stories told by members of the De Llano family.
“I thank you very much for this invitation, and I feel very honored that she have considered me to participate in this book full of stories from our people,” she said.
Vargas said that she agreed to participate in the anthology with a personal anecdote that she called “Alegría y tristeza escéptica” (Joy and skeptical sadness). The story is written in English.
“The source of inspiration was my father, Mr. Jose Elio Vargas Gonzaez, in his terminal stage of cancer,” Vargas said.
She said that the biggest challenge for her was capturing the specific details of those inexplicable encounters surrounded by a lot of mysticism.
“With this true narrative, I hope that both students and general readers have the ability to believe and feel the absolute intersection of an omnipotent force from another dimension in this earthly environment where we all live,” she said.
Lira said she contributed with the narration “La aparición de la mariposa nocturna” (The Appearance of the Night Butterfly). She wrote the story in English and Spanish.
“I grew up in the El Azteca neighborhood, and at night many neighbors would gather outside their houses to talk and tell stories. Although we did not have a television, the children of the neighborhood entertained ourselves listening to the stories that were told. This story is one of them,” Lira said.
She hopes readers will like it and that young people will ask their grandparents for other stories they might want to share.
“In my experiences as a teacher, I know that students love to read about the supernatural,” Lira said. “Legends are passed down from generation to generation and can strengthen communication between parents and children. These are an important part of the culture and help us understand family values.”
Espinoza said she has known González Pérez since her student days at Texas Woman’s University.
“On an early October, 2021 evening, I called her to just chat as we have done for years. She talked to me about her ideas for her next book on ‘Apariciones,’” Espinoza said. “Then, of course, I told her about my out-of-body experience when I witnessed an Unidentified Flying Object. She was very intrigued by my story and asked me if I would consider writing it.
“I hesitated at this request since I have never written for publication. I agreed to do it, but I remembered vividly telling her, ‘If you do not like the story or you think it is not worthy of being published, please tell me and no hurt feelings.’”
The title of her story is “Diana… Let’s Go Home…” and it is written in English.
She said the biggest challenge for her was convincing herself that she was capable of doing it.
“I have always dreampt of writing and publishing once in my career,” she said. “This thought prevailed in my mind. To add impetus to my thinking, Dr. Alma Perez Gonzalez encouraged me to proceed with this writing project, and the rest is history!”
Espinoza is convinced that with this book students will be intrigued, surprised, stunned, and frightened by the details of this life experience.
“Readers will be mesmerized when they read or listen to my story,” Espinoza said.
Charur said that the title of her narration is “Bulmaro Jr.” and is written in Spanish.
“I was inspired by the statue of a child that is in a pond in the neighborhood where I live,” said Charur. “I have always been intrigued by his presence, and I have always related him to a classic Mexican cinema horror movie ‘El libro de piedra’ (The Stone Book).’”
Charur said the biggest challenge was to present kind and noble characteristics within the main character.
“I wanted the character, even from a supernatural world, to show earthly characteristics of kindness and helping others,” Charur said.
She hopes that both students and readers will let their imagination run wild with these supernatural tales very typical of oral tradition and the Texas-Mexico border.
Disclosure: Malena Charur is a journalist at Laredo Morning Times.
editorial@lmtonline.com

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