A few weeks ago, Ohio teacher extraordinaire and Columbus blogger, Julie Johnson received the Donald Graves Excellence in Teaching Writing Award. What an honor, what a pride, what an accomplishment. I was reading Julie's Words of Gratitude post on her blog and I stumbled upon a sentence that is so true, so close to my heart. She said, " I became the writing teacher I had always wanted to be…I became a writer and it felt genuine. I, too, found my voice."
That's right Julie, when we become writers ourselves, we understand the process of writing at a different level. Donald Graves believed that teachers of writing should be writers themselves. It is through this understanding and powerful statement that this year I decided to do something that I have never really done here in Columbus before. Under the encouragement of my friend, Enrique Infante, I joined the Latino Writers in Columbus. Enrique is an excellent musician, he has his own band, and was recently elected as the Most Growing Latino Artist in the United States. He writes poems, and of course, he writes lyrics for his songs.
Enrique organized and scheduled meetings at a wonderful and most inspirational coffee place: Express YourSelf Cafe in Powell. If you haven't visited this cozy and magical place, you should. So once a month, we got together, read our poems to each other, learn 2 or 3 new words in Spanish, and choose the next meeting time. It felt amazing to be part of a small group of writers. We share the passion for words, we share our love for Spanish. We love writing, and we were willing to take risks.
The newspapers Sol de Ohio decided to highlight our work in their newspaper. They choose one of our poems and published our work. Below you can find the link to the newspaper (online version).
There is so much more to share with all of you. That's the reason I will write about this process in different parts. But so far, this is what I'm learning in the process...
Having a community of writers here in Columbus feels safe.
Being able to express myself in my first language is like opening an old door. It feels familiar but it's been so long since I went through that particular door.
I love learning new words in Spanish. It shows that learning is, indeed, a never ending process.
Living the life of a writer feels authentic, feels real.
I'm taking a lot of risks by sharing my work with others but it is a risk I am willing to take in order to learn, understand and grow.