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Fall ’19 Fiction Writers

Fiction Writers and Radical Honesty

Radical Honesty is a term created by Bianca Williams, an Associate Professor of Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center. It is a “Black Feminist approach to truth-telling that can enable us to embrace emotions as we learn.”

 When I step into the classroom…I bring my energy that is excitement…I bring myself and all that I am. I am a mom who is doing her best to be an example for her 2 children who one just started college and one a junior in high school…I bring with me the hope that this semester will be an easy one; College can be brutal but “rewarding”  (or so they say, that is still to be determined)…I bring you my overwhelmed self today because someone dear to me just passed away yesterday and his love for his family and amazing laughter still will linger in my memory for ages to come… I bring you a woman that has grown into who she is and accepts her flaws. I bring my emotions because writing helps me cope… As of a year ago, I felt ready to write about myself which I struggled with for a long time. At first, it was uncomfortable and scary, but at the same times refreshing because finally I was telling my truth…I bring my lifelong dream to be a writer…I am very introverted and a private person which makes the process of sharing writing which is so personal with a group of strangers very challenging…My genuine greatest dream and goal is to write a novel by the end of the school year. I am a science major and my career goals are not related to creative writing at all but I have stayed a fifth year in order to see the dream through… I can visualize each scene perfectly down to the smallest detail. However when it’s time to take those visions and get them on paper it all becomes one-dimensional and a bit dull. It’s like all of the color and dimension got lost in translation…I bring my fake it until you make it attitude to the classroom…I am very reserved and try my best to speak out and be the person I want to be.

I am fearful…of failure and a fear of being criticized for my vulnerability. I will always try to give my best in what I write even though it might come out harsh and some times as a run-on sentence and a lot of my Colombian accent…. Of another person reading something I have worked hard on and criticizing it too harshly… When I think of the amount of work I have to face, and the torture my body will have to go through as I go through the journey…Of Bugs, (which in the grand scheme of things are not really that terrifying because I can just step on them) but the fear is there nonetheless. I am also afraid that my fears will stop me from reaching my greatest potential, so I do my best to let them go…My pieces won’t be good enough. I sometimes feel like I don’t know enough words or how to translate my thoughts to meaningful words or ideas…Being misunderstood…When I have to speak in front of or share things with people sometimes I feel like I am constantly being judged and I don’t like to be the center of attention. I know that I have to work harder at being comfortable with sharing but I am not confident in my writing. I come from a family that can be judgmental and often tend to point out flaws so I do not like when others can see my flaws even though it makes us human…Of harsh disapproval or criticism about my writing. I always hear English majors say they thought they were good writers until one teacher says otherwise. Going on this journey of being a writer is scary and unpredictable. I honestly always feel like I have no idea what I am doing is right. Teacher always say be open. Even writing this as I feel as if I should be guarded… Presenting my writing… Of failing as a mother, teacher, and student…that the things I write about are too personal and don’t or won’t have relevance with anyone else…of failure because of my age and the fear that I will not accomplish my goals on time because I look at other people’s life and what they are doing and what they are accomplishing and my mindset is built on my dreams to succeed and go far in life…Of failure because I give my all to pass and better myself I feel like a nobody when I feel fail at something… of what the future has for me. I want to do so much with my social worker degree and I have many opportunities presenting themselves. I just hope I can do my best and bring the skills I learned in the classroom to the field…of not having good ideas for things to write about or sharing something I wrote with someone who criticizes it a lot. I am not great at criticizing other people’s writing or receiving criticism because when I put work into something I become attached to it and do not want to think it is weak or poorly written…of not succeeding or being seen as not successful with what I do with my life. It has taken me years to complete this degree…

I get overwhelmed…with my recent raw feelings of missing my mom. Although I lost her nearly 10 years ago I am only dealing with that now. As I become older and as I go through certain things I find myself wishing for her advice…overwhelmed when I have a lot on my plate: job work, school work, church work, housework, helping parents, being a wife… Speaking in front of the class… when I overthink or I have a little time to finish so many things…when I have many problems from all aspects of my life combined and come crashing down on me.

I feel confident when… I think positively…I am prepared for class and when I get positive feedback…I can use my words to effectively tell my story without just the play-by-play. I can tell it and include my narrative with events and make it make sense…I am free to be honest… when I achieve the goals I set for myself…I achieve at least parts of my goals. Whether they are big or small. I do believe in myself but the world we live in and the people in it make it difficult to keep my head up through those hard times… when I am on the field playing softball that is the only place where I’m not nervous or fearful I know I’m great at what I do on the field…

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