On Wings of Silence: Afterword

ON WINGS OF SILENCE:
Mexico ’68
by
DEDE FOX
Genre:  Historical / Novel in Verse / Literary Fiction
Publisher: Lamar University Literary Press
Date of Publication: April 2, 2019
Number of Pages: 196Scroll down for the giveaway!


On Wings of Silence is the story of seventeen-year-old Diana Green, who travels from Texas to Mexico City searching for adventure, freedom, and romance. She finds all three. 
 
Then Diana’s first love Guillermo vanishes during the revolutionary chaos prior to the ’68 Olympics. Heartbroken, she searches for the truth about his disappearance. As police track, threaten, and abuse those who ask questions, she refuses to be silenced and risks becoming one of the missing.
 
Based on real events, On Wings of Silence uses historical details to bring to life the horror of the Tlatelolco Massacre, presented through the eyes of a young woman readers will care about and admire.
“This incredible story…is told in a masterful way that engages the reader with its protagonist and the other characters from the start. They are authentic. We know people like them and we care what happens to them. In Fox’s clear voice, mystery, romance and suspense build steadily to the end. Pitched toward young adult readers, this is a good read for any age.” — Dianne Logan
 

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Excerpt

AFTERWORD

From On Wings of Silence: Mexico ‘68

By Dede Fox

Some stories take fifty years to surface. On Wings of Silence is one of them.

The first readers to recognize the significance of this topic were Anne McCrady and 2008 Texas Poet Laureate Larry D. Thomas, who selected my poem “Chapultepec Park” for the 2008 Christina Sergeyevna Award at the Austin International Poetry Festival. When critique partner Joy Preble said she believed there was a novel hidden within that poem, I began to search for answers to lingering questions about the chaos prior to the 1968 Olympics. Dr. Cliff Hudder, my earliest Beta reader, directed me to Elena Poniatowska’s Massacre in Mexico, and Alicia Salazar, whose uncle survived the bloodbath, contributed as a sensitivity reader.

Other beta readers of the full manuscript included Dr. Molly McBride, Dianne Logan, Juan Paloma, and Kim O’Brien. Their insights, as well as critiques by Bob Lamb and Suzanne Bazemore, along with inspirations from Charles Trevino’s SCBWI “Critique Critters” at Lone Star College, improved my storytelling. Fellow author Kathryn Lane helped with the wording of the Spanish version of the Corrido. I am especially grateful to my mentor and friend Dave Parsons, 2011 Texas Poet Laureate, who helped me develop my poetic voice.

For a quarter century, the Tlatelolco tragedy remained buried. With increasing access to Internet data, I eventually confirmed my worst fears; Communist instigators encouraged the student protests and the United States sent weapons and ammunition to Mexico to quell any conflict.

When former Mexican President Luis Echeverria spoke up about the young victims of the massacre, he said, “These kids were not provocateurs. The majority were the sons and daughter of workers, farmers and unemployed people.” According to him, then President Diaz Ordaz ordered snipers to shoot the students. How tragic and ironic that Mexican leaders used U.S. weapons to kill students protesting for a more democratic government while agents from the Soviet Union encouraged the demonstrations.

Triggered by this knowledge and my memories of running across advancing troop lines on the Avenida de la Reforma in Mexico City, I created the fictional On Wings of Silence: Mexico, 1968 with details supported by primary historical sources–testimonies from Massacre in Mexico, photos, letters, and newspapers, some with my byline.

Diana’s friends and acquaintances are fictional, with one exception. The student leader with the white van was real and a total mystery. I suspect he was a U.S. government agent whose purpose was to destabilize student leadership in the American university during turbulent times.

And Guillermo? Like my protagonist, I grieve for him, for all of the Guillermos and Guillerminas, and their families. Their truncated lives and unrealized dreams will forever haunt me. Diana and I hope our voices will rise on the wings of their silence.

Half a century ago, Olympic posters read, Todo es possible en la paz. I share that belief, but now have the maturity to know that peace is only possible when we put away our weapons and listen to one another.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

MASSACRE IN MEXICO by Elena Poniatowska1968: THE YEAR THAT ROCKED THE WORLD by Mark Kurlanskyhttp://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=97546687http://nsarchive.gwu.edu/NSAEBB/NSAEBB10/intro.htmhttp://www.cnn.com/WORLD/9802/04/mexico.massacre/http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/october/2/newsid_3548000/3548680.stmhttp://www.nytimes.com/2007/07/11/world/americas/11students.html?_r=0

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/10/01/world/americas/mexico-tlatelolco-massacre.html

https://mexiconewsdaily.com/news/laques-honoring-president-are-coming-down/

http://www.latinorebels.com/2018/10/05/tlatelolcomassacrephotoessay/

 

Dede Fox is the 2017-2022 Poet Laureate of Montgomery, Texas. Since 2016, she has been the NEA/DOJ Artist-in-Residence at the Bryan Federal Prison Camp for Women, where she teaches creative writing. Through Houston’s Writers in the Schools, Dede also writes with hematology and oncology patients at Texas Children’s Hospital.
 
The Treasure in the Tiny Blue Tin, Dede’s first novel, was listed in the 2010 Best Jewish Books for Children and Teens. Her poetry books include Confessions of a Jewish Texan and Postcards Home. Dede’s poem “Chapultepec Park: September 25, 1968,” the catalyst for this novel, won the Christina Sergeyevna Award at the Austin International Poetry Festival.
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