“Clap when you land”

I started reading Elizabeth Acevedo’s “Clap When You Land” yesterday. So far I’m hooked. It’s written in verse, which can be a challenge sometimes, but I love this writer’s attention to her life, her world, and her feelings.

My connection to it is partially that I’m part Puerto Rican by birth. This writer is Dominican, but her connection to islander life, to a culture that I don’t fully understand but completely understand at the same time, is uncanny.

I visited Puerto Rico for the first time a little over a year ago. And while it wasn’t a magical experience filled with mystery and awe, I found the connection to be like other things, a little bit boring. A little bit ho hum. Like, “Cool. Now I know a little more.”

In the book, Acevedo writes:

“If you asked me what I was,

& you meant in terms of culture,
I’d say Dominican.

No hesitation,
no question about it.

Can you be from a place
you have never been?

You can find the island stamped all over me,
but what would the island find if I was there?

Can you claim a home that does not know you,
much less claim you as its own?” 

It’s crazy how much that resonates with me. Exchange Dominican for Puerto Rican and there’s something very special about that.

The style of writing is energetic. She puts words to thoughts and feelings that inspire me and make me want to write and be heard. To be creative and thoughtful. Her approach is a unique one that makes me swoon a bit.

I feel like I’m invited to be a part of her family. To share in her trials and tribulations of loss. Of grief. Of finding love.

One of the first lines that really caught my attention was this one: “I am beginning to learn that life-altering news is often like a premature birth: ill-timed, catching someone unaware, emotionally unprepared & often where they shouldn’t be:” 

Anyway, check out the book if any of this resonates for you.

Happy New Year.