Writer of Destiny: Sandra Cisneros

Sandra Cisneros signing copies of her book
Sandra Cisneros signing copies of her book (Photo credit: Gwinnett County Public Library)

I want to be

like the waves on the sea,

like the clouds in the wind,

but I’m me.

One day I’ll jump

out of my skin.

I’ll shake the sky

like a hundred violins.

Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street

A couple of years ago, my mother gave me an anniversary edition of The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros.  This was one of those books I thought I should read but somehow never got around to reading until this week.  I’m glad that I finally read this wonderful gem.

House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street was written over 25 years ago in a Chicago that is both very different and similar to the Chicago of today.  Reading this book, I felt myself transported back to the 70’s and early 80’s when she wrote it, and also to the Chicago of the 90’s and 2000’s when the city was such a big part of my life.  I was also reminded of the stories my mother used to tell me about growing up in Chicago in the 30’s and 40’s.

My mother’s grandparents were immigrants from Germany and as I read The House on Mango Street, I could see and feel the core of the immigrant experience in coming to the intense melting pot that is Chicago.

Being a witness is important for any writer of any time, but I continue to believe that it’s even more critical that we have writers who chronicle this time in which we are living.  We live in a time when the world is changing so dramatically from what it was like for thousands of years of human and earth history. Cisneros provides a profound witness to our chaotic and ever-changing time with beauty, brevity and nuance.

Her honest and open introduction in the anniversary edition, is almost even more moving than the original story.  Cisneros combines poetry and prose in a highly readable and accessible book.  There’s much to learn from her about the craft of writing just in the House on Mango Street.  I intend to read more of her work soon.

Have any of you read other books by Cisneros that you could recommend?

Energy Booster for Writers

writing
writing (Photo credit: found_drama)

This is the final post in my current series of blogs about taking the brakes off of your personal energy and innate goodness.

Today, I am sharing ideas about why it matters for writers to understand our personal energy, and to be aware of the type of energy that we’re putting into our writing.

Nowadays, most of us are bombarded with information and writing that is packed with different kinds of energy.

Some communications are uplifting, funny and inspiring.  Others are angry, demeaning, fearful.  Of course, many pieces of writing are boring because the energy of emotion is not present in them at all!

Your writing has an energy to it that often reflects the kind of day that you’re having.  This doesn’t mean you should only write when your energy is “good”. Sometimes, the “negative” energy is just what a story needs to create drama and interest.  So, it’s not necessary that your energy becomes all sunshine and roses.  However, it’s helpful to track your energy over the course of time to notice how the type of energy you are experiencing and creating affects your writing.

south to north view of chicagoland area
south to north view of chicagoland area (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Energy Boosters for Writers worksheet is something I’m putting together for my 7 Elixirs class for Writers that I’ll going to be offering this fall in the Chicago area.  It’s based on the writing coaching work that I’ve done in the last few years.

I’ve noticed that finishing projects often requires that we manage our energy for the toughest part of writing which is when we are refining our work.  This is the time when we throw out good and sometimes great ideas for the sake of a story or grant application or marketing brochure or memoir.

This worksheet may not make complete sense, because it’s out of context to the rest of the course that I’ll be giving.  Yet, I’m sharing it anyway because it’s rather self-explanatory, and shows you a different way of managing your time and energy in conjunction with your writing.

Energy Booster for Writers Worksheet

Hope you’ve enjoyed this series of blogs!  Tomorrow, we’ll be back to some literary musings.

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