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Eneida P. Alcalde

Chilean, Puerto Rican, American

First Language(s): Spanish
Second Language(s): English


Eneida immigrated to the United States as a child, transplanting her Chilean-Puerto Rican roots into Pennsylvanian soil. She learned English through her school’s ESL program. Eneida’s stories and poems have appeared in literary outlets such as Stoneboat Literary Journal, PALABRITAS, and The Chaffin Journal. She is the Emerging Voices Fiction Editor for Oyster River Pages. Learn more at www.eneidapatricia.com.


What was your favorite book as a child?

One of my favorite books as a child was Munro Leaf’s The Story of Ferdinand. I was drawn to Ferdinand, a “big and strong” bull who preferred to smell flowers under the shade of a cork tree rather than fight other bulls and engage in bullfights. I loved how Ferdinand remained unfazed by other bulls who dreamt of being chosen for the bullfights. Even when he was taken to Madrid to fight, Ferdinand chose to smell the flowers in the ladies’ hair instead of charging the Matador. Ferdinand had the courage to stay true to his authentic self, unmoved by peer pressure and society’s prejudices on what a bull should or should not be. Ferdinand taught me it’s okay to be different. He taught me to follow my own beat, to revel in my uniqueness, and be confident in myself.

Do you remember the original reason or motivation why you started writing creatively?

The experience of leaving Chile, my family, my friends, and my home, is a life-changing event that influences what I write about to this day. Seemingly overnight, I was thrust into a new reality; one over which I had little control. I did not understand the language, I did not understand the culture, and I did not feel like I belonged in the United States — a foreign place where my family experienced isolation, discrimination, and financial uncertainty. In this new reality, writing became more than a process of creation, it became a means of sustenance for my emotional and mental health. It became a core part of who I am. Writing allowed me to make sense of these transformative life changes. It allowed me to channel, and sort out, the complex and intense emotions a child undergoes when uprooted and planted in a strange, new land. Writing helped me survive the stresses of those years, and I’ve clung onto writing and reading ever since.

What was the most adventurous or thrilling thing you ever did/experienced?

Even though my life is not so thrilling these days, consisting of working and taking care of my newborn daughter, I’ve been blessed to have had a pretty adventurous life. Moving from Chile to the United States at an early age infected me with a traveler’s curious heart. In addition to Chile and the United States, I have lived in Bolivia, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore. I’ve traveled to many interesting places, including Argentina, Spain, Switzerland, France, Jordan, India, China, Vietnam, and Japan. Some of my favorite memories are from my travel adventures when I’ve had the opportunity to witness the truth of the world with my own eyes and see all the complexity, all the beauty, all the different paths it offers us if we just take a chance.

Do you listen to music while reading or writing?

While I’ve sometimes been inspired by music to write, I usually don’t listen to music while I’m writing. Writing is like diving into a deep pool of water, submerging for a few precious moments into my bilingual, bicultural inner world. I need a quiet space without distractions to sift through my imagination and process my emotions into a draft of a story, or a poem. As for reading, I enjoy reading with ocean waves lapping in the background. Since that is not always possible, I play a “nature sounds” soundtrack of lapping waves at home.


Flash Fiction
Issue Spring '20

Supported by:

Land Steiermark: Kultur, Europa, Außenbeziehungen
U.S. Embassy Vienna
Stadt Graz