Story by Scott Russell Duncan (USA)
Published in The Ofi Press issue 41
Get Your Own Olmecs
A white woman with gray, wiry, braided hair and a tie-dye yellow shirt stood in front of the Olmec statue. Olmecs, our new world Sumerians. Gave us corn. Gave us Indians everything. With a look like someone slapped her in the face, she began to splay her hands around the statue, grabbing at chi, soaking up Chariot of the Gods. I was mad. She wouldn’t spin her paws around a Norman sarcophagus and say alacazam. Hippy romanticism always makes us the magic savage. I said nothing. Museum security would blame me if we argued. Chicanos don’t own ourselves. Not yet.
Scott Russell Duncan, born in Los Angeles, is a Californio by virtue of ancestor Jose María Verdugo, a soldier on the Portola expedition, nuevomexicano thanks to his maternal grandfather from Mora County, New Mexico, whose ancestors came with the Oñate expedition, and a Texian from his Dad, a descendent of one of the first 300 Anglo families led into Texas by Stephen Austin: that makes him, he says, half white guy and half Mexican. Scott has an MFA from Mills College and resides in Oakland. “Get Your Own Olmecs” gives a taste of his unpublished novel, The Ramona Diary of SRD, a fictional travel diary reclaiming the mythology of Chicano California, which has much to do with a 19th century book named, Ramona. His book is searching for an agent. Scott’s website is scottrussellduncan.com