July 21, 2006

Los Bilingual Writers one step closer to publishing

Local writing group will publish first members’ anthology in December

By Pablo Jaime Sainz

When asked why she created a literary workshop for young people, Irene Marquez likes to cite Mexican poet Octavio Paz.

“He used to say that writers were the memory preservers of society,” Marquez said. “So, in a way, these youth will have a personal memory and they’re going to write the memory of our community.”

And really, the young writers who are part of Marquez´s Los Bilingual Writers writing workshop, are learning to preserve their experiences and those of their families on paper. Every time they write about what happened to them in school, about their dreams, about the stories their abuelos tell them, these young writers are creating an album for posterity.

Founded by Irene Márquez, Los Bilingual Writers is a writers’ workshop aimed at promoting writing –in English and Spanish—among Latinos in the communities of Logan Heights and Sherman Heights.

This week, some of Los Bilingual Writers shared their stories and poems with the public in a reading called “The Voice of Los Jóvenes.”

“We all have our story to share and especially children need to know that what they write has a value,” she said. “This way they can be on their way to becoming the published Latino writers of the future.”

At the reading, writers presented the work that will be included in a book to be published in December –the first published by Los Bilingual Writers.

The book, which will be available for sale to the public, will include short stories, poems, and personal essays in English and Spanish, Marquez said.

The book will be published thanks to a grant from the National Latino Research Center, at California State University, San Marcos, Marquez said.

Los Bilingual Writers writing workshop has had such a positive impact in the communities it serves, that it has received the recognition of California Senator Barbara Boxer.

“The Senator sent her congratulations to the children and the teens that participate in the program,” she said. “Elected officials know this is a good community program.”

She added that San Diego Councilmember Ben Hueso has also showed a lot of support for the writing workshop.

Los Bilingual Writers has also received a California Council for the Humanities grant that will allow the workshop to continue offering free writing classes to senior citizens in San Diego through Los Abuelitos, an intergenerational writing workshop where Jóvenes (ages 12 to 18) will meet with Abuelitos (grandparents) to share their stories and serve as mentors to each other.

The next group, which will include about 10 members, will begin in August, Marquez said.

“Abuelitos have a rich treasure they can share with youth: Their history,” Marquez said. “Jóvenes can share their enthusiasm and give a new perspective to our Abuelitos.”

During the school year that ended last month, there were about 10 jóvenes in Los Bilingual Writers Youth Workshop, which was once a week at the Sherman Heights Community Center and once a week at the Logan Heights Public Library.

“We all have our story to share and especially children need to know that what they write has a value,” she said. “This way they can be on their way to becoming the published Latino writers of the future.”

Last year, Los Bilingual Writers organized a literature for cinema workshop with Mexican director Luis Mandoki and writer Oscar Torres during the San Diego Latino Film Festival.

The group also participated in the Tijuana book fair last year.

Those interested in learning more about Los Bilingual Writers can contact Irene Marquez at (619) 384-7144 or e-mail her at losbilingualwriters@cox.net.


By: Evelin Meza Rodríguez Edad 10

My dad could eat any type of chile. He could eat the hottest chile and nothing would happen to him. He would never got burned or scream from the hotness. But one day when my mama was picking the chile I told mama, ¿“Mamá, porqué cuando my papá se come el chile no le pasa nada?

My Mom answered back, “Es que tu papá es muy valiente para comer chile.”

I stopped and thought for a moment. I told my Mama, “Mamá, you know that my dad likes the hottest chile.”

“Si, mi’jita.”

“Mamá, le podemos hacer una broma a mi papá?”

Mi mamá se quedó pensando. Mi Mamá digo que sí. Entonces mi mamá puso un chile de los pueblos muy lejanos. Esos chilis eran muy picosos.

When my dad got home, he told my mom to get him a chile for dinner. My Mamá gave him the chile. Mi papá grito. Dijo que era muy picante. Pregunto mi papa que de dónde lo habia conseguido. Mi Mamá le dijo que era de los pueblos muy lejanos donde estabamos. Mi papá se seguia quejando de lo picante que estavo el chile. Mi mamá y yo estabamos riendo de el. Desde ese dia mi papá nunca volvio a comer chile.

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