Corridos may have everything to do with why I became a writer. I didn't grow up reading, or dreaming of becoming a writer someday. When I was a child, the only book we kept in the house was a Bible, and maybe an incomplete set of encyclopedias, and the random picture book that was never returned to the library. Corridos were my father's music, and often, after a night of drinking, he'd come home with a friend or two in tow and as I lay in bed, I could already hear that first note, long before it came booming through my bedroom door. One after another, the corridos came blaring and I listened to the stories they told. There were ballads of love and betrayal, tales of men placing bets at the horse races and cockfights, stories of men highjacking trains, men who had saddled their horse and set off across the desert without stopping until they reached the border, men who had driven contraband to the other side—only to find that someone had already put the finger on them. There were men who had taken the gamble, had taken the law into their own hands—few won, others lost, some lost it all. The one thread that all of these corridos had in common was the violent undercurrent, and the inevitable tragic end. This was my father's music, and he very much lived and died by the same code as the heroes in those ballads. What I didn't realize all those years ago, as I lay under the blankets listening to his music, was that some day, it would fall on me to write his corrido.