By Abby Granata | Contributor
Students, faculty and Wacoans filled George W. Truett Theological Seminary’s Paul Powell Chapel to hear renowned Mexican-American author Sandra Cisneros share her journey to success. The author of one of her most popular works, “The House on Mango Street” read some of her work and also described the inspiration behind it.
Cisneros said she wanted her speech to give a voice to those who have been silenced which has fueled her career in the arts. She read her story “Eleven” and said that it mirrored her lifelong struggles, experiences of herself and her community.
Professor Macarena Hernández of the journalism, public relations and new media department and the author’s close friend brought Cisneros to Baylor.
“I normally like to wing it in my introductions, but I had to write my thoughts down,” said Hernández. “I was afraid I would become some Mexican telenovela here and start crying.”
Hernández recognized Cisneros’ numerous awards and accolades, the MacArthur Fellows Program or the “Genius Grant” and recognition from Barack Obama for her unapologetically Latino literature that allowed many readers to “[see] themselves in print for the first time.”
Cisneros said writers and artists in the audience should tap into the aspects of their life that are the most unique and untold.
“What was it that I knew that my classmates and teachers did not know?” said Cisneros. “What could I write about that only I knew?”
She suggested her own invention called the “10-Times-10-Method”, which encourages writers to think of 10 unique ideas that no one else knows, and 10 things that they knew that they wish they could forget. Cisneros said this strategy allows her to leave her 10 “fingerprints” on her projects which gives them a special and personal angle a part from others.
Cisneros also said this method influences many aspects of her life, from writing to teaching to drawing. She said after her “breakthrough” in developing this technique, she claimed she found her voice and never experienced writer’s block again.
Cisneros said telling individuals’ stories with empathy, understanding and inclusion should become more apart of the arts. She said love and compassion can go a long way.
“I want to write from love and unity, not fear and rage,” said Cisneros. “At this time of walls, let me serve as a bridge.”
Baylor’s Journalism, New Media and Public Relations Department Chair, Dr. Sara Stone said she thinks it is important for literature such as Cisneros’ to be apart of American classrooms.
“If you’re not careful and you only read the traditional American lit authors,” said Stone. “There’s such a bigger world out there of writers.”