Top 52 Quotes of Luis Alberto Urrea

Writing went from being a calling to being a job. Business ruined things. It became like making sausages in a sausage factory.

Luis Alberto Urrea

Writers write without support.

Luis Alberto Urrea

With a name like Luis Alberto Urrea, it’s political no matter what I do.

Luis Alberto Urrea

When ‘The Hummingbird’s Daughter’ came out, there was a certain backlash – ‘Well, this isn’t ‘The Devil’s Highway.” That’s just the way it goes.

Luis Alberto Urrea

When I was doing missionary work when I was younger, which started this obsession of mine with the literature of witness, I was a translator for a missionary group, and I spent years in a Tijuana dump. People were really thrown by the fact that the Mexican poor, many of them pureblood indigenous people, seemed happy.

Luis Alberto Urrea

When I was a little boy in Tijuana, it was wonderland. We left when I was probably four – I was dying of tuberculosis.

Luis Alberto Urrea

We’re all funny. Humor unites us.

Luis Alberto Urrea

We want to ascribe a kind of tragic grimness to people, but people are funny.

Luis Alberto Urrea

Way back when I was working at the dump, I saw that, even when living among the trash, that some people would decide to choose joy in their lives.

Luis Alberto Urrea

To me, writing is prayer. I pray all the time.

Luis Alberto Urrea

There is beauty in our roots. Sometimes we think our roots are shameful, and people tell you that you’re no good or your ancestors are no good or that you come from a neighborhood of no hope and terrible crime. But it’s about the beauty of those places, and I carry that with me.

Luis Alberto Urrea

The tone of ‘Into the Beautiful North’ is really the way I write. ‘Hummingbird’s Daughter’ was the anomaly. It was a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon.

Luis Alberto Urrea

The stupidity of militarized fences between two worlds is a metaphor for all the things that divide us as human beings.

Luis Alberto Urrea

The situation was kind of complicated in that my mother didn’t speak Spanish. My father spoke English, you know, as best he could.

Luis Alberto Urrea

‘The Hummingbird’s Daughter’ took 20 years to write.

Luis Alberto Urrea

The French-Cajun culture is similar to mine – they’re Catholic, they play accordions, and they eat hot chiles.

Luis Alberto Urrea

The concept of a literature of witness – of bearing witness – has embedded in it the need for action. One must not simply hide in the shadows and type; one must also stand in the light.

Luis Alberto Urrea

Spanish was my first language. Honestly, I learned to first speak in Spanish, not English, because my poor mother had to go to San Diego every day to work and then come back. And she would come home when I was an infant long after I was asleep.

Luis Alberto Urrea

Poetry is how I feed the soul, and it’s how I fire the furnace of writing.

Luis Alberto Urrea

People think of me as a political writer, but I don’t think of myself that way.

Luis Alberto Urrea

My dad looked like Errol Flynn, and I think my mom thought she was moving into a hacienda, but they lived on a dirt street in Tijuana, a house jammed with relatives, nobody speaking English. She didn’t know a word of Spanish. She grew up well and was appalled and humiliated, terrified of anyone ethnic.

Luis Alberto Urrea

Masculinity is kind of a toxic curse, isn’t it? The expectations of it were hard on me.

Luis Alberto Urrea

Many of us writers tour like a literary Bachman Turner Overdrive. We ain’t pretty, but we’re on the road. Many of us wish we were rock stars anyway. For my part, I live in my iPod. The musicians there are my constant companions on the road.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I’ve been treated beautifully wherever I’ve gone, and I really think we all want to love each other.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I’ve been told not to tour down in Mexico. I am too well-known now. The kidnappers may think that my publisher will pay a ransom.

Luis Alberto Urrea

It’s the most absurd story. I grew up in the dirt streets of Tijuana, dying of all kinds of diseases – tuberculosis, fevers, all that – and it somehow turned into this charmed life. I don’t know exactly how.

Luis Alberto Urrea

It’s not like Mexicans have an illegal immigration organ in their body and at 14 kicks off a hormone and shows them how to come to the United States illegally. It’s a question of desperation for a vast majority of them.

Luis Alberto Urrea

It’s almost easy for me to write about a magnificent tropical village with orchids and dragonflies. That’s intoxicating, but the United States is magical, too. We just forget this.

Luis Alberto Urrea

It became really important to me if I was going to write ‘Hummingbird’s Daughter’ to try to do honor to women.

Luis Alberto Urrea

In the end, I’m really interested in people and what we do with our short time here on earth. I’m interested in the human soul.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I’m interested in the eternal soul. That’s what I write about.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I’m always fascinated by the disjunct between what’s really happening on the ground and the propaganda machine that feeds America alarmist news about immigration.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I’m a theological writer mistaken for a political writer. My theme is grace versus karma.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I was torn between the Americanness my mom wanted for me and the Mexicanness my father wanted – they were wrestling for cultural influence over me.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I was deeply infected with storytelling from the get go, and I truly love it.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I used to work with a relief group that took care of the people in the dump. We took them food and water and medicine and built homes and took them to church services, whatever was needed.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I saw ‘The War Wagon’ with John Wayne and Kirk Douglas, but it was dubbed into German. And it had Japanese subtitles and then this little strip with some Spanish words, and I’ve never forgotten that weird image. It was so magical and funky.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I read most often in bed as part of my attempted sleep ritual. But I spend a lot of time reading on planes and in hotels, too.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I often say poetry was my first love.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I missed the Wilco phenom while busy obsessing over rock en Espanol. So imagine my surprise when I found myself at O’Hare getting on a plane with my Chi-town homeboy, Jeff Tweedy. I loved the guy right away and loved his family. How odd to know somebody before you listen to them. I don’t know if that’s bad or good.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I love books with titles like, ‘How Do You Spank a Porcupine?,’ ‘Arnie, the Darling Starling,’ or ‘The Bat in My Pocket.’

Luis Alberto Urrea

I have often said I come from a family of unreliable narrators. I tend to believe their struggles with racism, identity, nationality do dovetail with my motivation to write.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I had not seen lawns till fifth grade – big green lawns.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I don’t like to see people get kicked around. You have to stand up for them.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I don’t like being angry all the time; it’s not good for me. I have to have serenity or else go to war.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I am addicted to poetry, but the truth is I cannot pass up a good hard-boiled mystery.

Luis Alberto Urrea

I am actually a ‘Seven Samurai’ fan.

Luis Alberto Urrea

During grade school, we moved to a white, working-class suburb in San Diego, and there were no Mexicans.

Luis Alberto Urrea

Borders are liminal spaces. Anyone worthy of the title of ‘writer’ is a border writer. We all are border people.

Luis Alberto Urrea

Books are like chocolate. Can’t eat just one.

Luis Alberto Urrea

A lot of our family was undocumented. My mom and dad were both super conservative. My dad had a green card; my mom was an Eisenhower Republican who did not approve of all the ‘illegal people.’

Luis Alberto Urrea

A great Chicano forebear of mine in writing is Rolando Hinojosa-Smith. He was writing good border mysteries for Chicano readers back in the ’80s and ’90s.

Luis Alberto Urrea