‘Knitting the Fog’: A self-portrait of the struggle and resilience inherent to immigration today
Guatemala's Claudia Hernández tells how her adolescente was shaped by her journey to the U.S. and how she grapples with Chapina tradition and American culture.
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Born and raised in Guatemala, Claudia D Hernández is a photographer, poet, essayist, and photographer currently based in Los Angeles, where she studied for an MFA in creative writing at Antioch University, LA.
In 2019, she published Knitting the Fog (also available in Spanish, Tejiendo la niebla) a memoir, in which she shares the story of her family’s migration from Guatemala to the United States, fusing bilingual poetry and narrative essay.
“I always wanted to read about a Central American character that resonated with me, a character that was mischievous, honest, full of energy, and empowered,” she told Remezcla that year.
The story is simple: Seven-year-old Claudia wakes up one day to find her mother gone, having left for the United States to flee domestic abuse and pursue economic prosperity. Claudia and her two older sisters are taken in by their great aunt and grandmother with their father no longer in the picture. Three years later, her mother returns for her daughters, and the family begins the month-long journey to El Norte. But in Los Angeles, Claudia has trouble assimilating — she doesn’t speak English and her Spanish sticks out as “weird” in their primarily Mexican neighborhood.
Learning English wasn’t the only challenge. She also was bullied at school because she didn’t fit in.
“I want people who have had experiences like mine to see themselves in my story, to connect, and find some healing,” she told Remezcla.
When her family returns to Guatemala years later, she is startled to find she no longer belongs there either.
“Hernández’s memoir depicts a complex self-portrait of the struggle and resilience inherent to immigration today,” her publishers at Feminist Press said.
Hernández is also an award-winning editor for her anthology photography book titled WOMEN, MUJERES, IXOQ: REVOLUTIONARY VISIONS, which received the International Latino Book Award in 2019.