The act of writing is the act of making soul, alchemy. It is the quest
for the self, for the center of the self, which we women of color have
come to think of as “other”—the dark, the feminine. Didn’t we start
writing to reconcile this other within us? We knew we were diﬀerent,
set apart, exiled from what is considered “normal,” white-right. And
as we internalized this exile, we came to see the alien within us and
too often, as a result, we split apart from ourselves and each other.
Forever after we have been in search of that self, that “other,” and each
anzaldúa, “Speaking in Tongues”
Where to begin? With Gloria Anzaldúa, of course. Perhaps it goes with-
out saying, but my biggest debt and greatest thanks is to Gloria herself.
Gloria, the alchemist. Gloria, the nepantlera. Thank you, comadre, for
your relentless acts of making soul, for your tireless quest for the self,
for your other—which resonates so deeply with so many others, with our
selves. Plunging so deeply into your work—sacriﬁcing so much in the pro-
cess—you give us lifelines enabling us to ﬁnd ourselves and each other.
Your words build community. Their intimacy reverberates with me, as with
so many others, assisting us as we heal our own internal splits and self-
alienation, assisting us as we transform ourselves and the world. Thank
you for your writing, Gloria. And, on a more personal note, thank you for
your friendship, mentorship, and support.
Many other people played roles in bringing this collection to print. Kit
Quan, executor of Gloria’s estate and co-trustee of the Gloria E. Anzaldúa
Literary Trust, has been instrumental. Without Kit’s tireless work over the
past few years, without her wise advice, deep knowledge of Gloria, and
steady counsel, this book would not be in print. Thanks to Hilda Anzaldúa
for her ongoing support, faith in the power of Gloria’s words, and rescue
of Gloria’s early writings. Thanks to Irene Reti for her friendship, wisdom,
staunch support, and work on behalf of Gloria’s writings and archives.
Thanks to Sonia Saldívar-Hull, whose frequent encouragement, insights,
advice, and other forms of support have been invaluable. Thanks to the
anonymous readers of earlier versions of this manuscript whose sugges-