I first realized I wanted to share myself via the written word when I picked up Maya Angelou’s I know why the Caged Bird Sings. It was 7th grade and I read like nobody’s business in an effort to escape my world. A world I wanted so desperately to pretend didn’t exist. I saw the same kind of anguish in Maya Angelou’s book and quickly identified with it. I put that book down and felt so empowered by it. If she could unleash herself freely like that and make me feel so much better, I wanted to do that too someday.
I first believed I could actually make this idea happen last week when I attended a “Latinos in Literature” reading event at Powerhouse books last week. There, Latino authors like Ivan Sanchez, Linda Nieves-Powell, Kim Osorio, Daniel Serrano and Joe Conzo gathered to read and discus their work. More importantly, they spoke about how and why they got published.
As I sat there and listened to them each read I got teary eyed, because they were telling a story that was part of mine. Ones I could relate to. These were people that looked and sounded like me and I could identify with, it is not often I have that opportunity. These are people I know on facebook and talk to regularly, that are from New York. To see my peers be able to live this dream reminded me that I could too.
Daniel Serrano stated that he wrote because when you discover you are a writer, its part of your identity, it’s who you are plain and simple. And you are frustrated as a person when you don’t write. I can attest to this sentiment.
Linda Nieves-Powell admitted getting her book deal with only 50 pages submitted.
And Joe Conzo exclaimed that your dreams can come true, no matter what they are. Just hold on tight to them.
I am so thankful for that simple reminder. And so thankful there are more Latinos gracing our bookstores now. Let’s make sure more of us will get the same chance by supporting them now.