Sandra

Dear Sandra,

 

I have been re-reading The House on Mango Street for the third time. This time, I was only focused on the last chapter, the one where Esperanza tells us that the friends and neighbors will not know that she has “gone away to come back. For the ones I left behind. For the ones who cannot out.” I read this and I always want to cry. I want to cry not out of sadness for Esperanza, but because I feel so far away from those I care about, I feel I must leave to come back, I feel I am her. And I imagine you are to.

I think about the work I want to do. All I know really is I hope this pen (or cursor) continues moving and telling stories about our lives. I want to thank you deeply for your writing, especially for your letters and for The House on Mango Street. Your words remind me that someone else has done this. Someone else has had to create a particular kind of life, maybe even a lonely one, in order to write. I sometimes even think I can do it too.  It reminds me of the space I need to put myself in to draw out the thread in the stories I wish to weave. I notice I am hungry for acknowledgement as a writer. I wonder what you would say about MFA degrees. I worry about money and work. And my heart. I worry about my tender heart. How do I live with love? How shall I serve others? How dare I believe that serving myself may help someone? I worry about the role of reading and writing. I am scared to be alone, scared of my own intentions and their audacity.

If I could, Sandra, I would visit you. We would sit in rocking chairs, on a shady porch, sipping lemonade and looking out at the river. Maybe I would even befriend one of your dogs. I would get to ask you all of these questions. I would hug you and I would cry because I am overwhelmed and afraid. And I would know you understand. I would say thank you many times over. Finally, I know we would part because sometimes we must create all on our own. But I would be grateful because I know we are afraid sometimes, all on our own.

Sandra, you remind me of the voice that echoes in my heart. To not abandon it in the face of all odds, even in the face of loved ones and this sick thing called reality. Our people need artists and writers. So here I stand, left-fist raised, right-hand writing furiously, my heart open and bleeding. Thank you Sandra. For teaching me these things, for helping me to feel less alone in my questions and my search, for your strength. Gracias Sandra. You will never know how much my writing is alive because of you.

 

Con mucho amor,

 

Phuong

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