I was pleased when fellow author, Sarah Rafael Garcia, handed me a copy of "Barrio Writers: The First Edition," not just because I'm a nerd and books are my only friends but because I was one of the contributors in this project.
Last year, I had the opportunity to speak these kids about writing and my experience of being a newly published author. The kids were so engaged with my words and I held their interest throughout the entire session. I was surprised! I could tell that these kids wanted to learn, which is a rarity considering most kids don't want to. At least, that's been my experience when I was in grade school. I was always the "eager beaver" in the class. I was alwasy the one that reminded the teacher to assign homework for the weekend, and I always reminded them to collect it to. I got countless spit balls thrown at me for that, BTW.
"Why did you do that?" they always said. "Can't you keep your big mouth shut?"
What can I say? I was a sucker for homework, and I thoroughly enjoyed getting A's.
That has been my mentally about kids. They made me feel like the outcast in school because I liked staying home on a Friday night, reading, studying, or doing extra credit. I had to do something on the weekends. After all, I didn't have any friends. Nobody wanted to be friends with the nerd, the suck up, the teacher's pet (my most hated nick name, BTW.)
But these kids surprised me. They were actually different than the kids I knew. I could actually see potential in them. I'm sure most of the kids I went to school with are either pregnoids or drop-outs or even jail birds. That's not the future for the students of Barrio Writers.
Now, I am reading each of their stories in the anthology. Most of them are dramatic stories in which you can tell was a personal revelation in the writer's life. You can see all the heart and soul poured on by these kids as you read their stories.
I was proud to have been a part of this, and I look forward to the next class in the upcoming year!