Meet authors whose work you can find in the new edition of The Practice of Creative Writing.
Och Gonzalez’s work has appeared in Esquire, Brevity, Panorama Journal of Intelligent Travel, Lunch Ticket, and elsewhere. Her essay "Lip Reading", which discusses her life as a hearing-impaired person, won an award in the Philippines' Palanca Awards, and also in the Coalition of Texans Against Disabilities' Pen 2 Paper Writing Competition.
She is currently completing a collection of flash nonfiction. Trained as a dentist and as an early childhood educator, she lives and writes in Manila, Philippines.
Here's my mini-interview with her.
Heather Sellers: What inspires you to write?
Och Gonzalez: I’m the kind of person who doesn’t know what she thinks unless she sees it on paper. And when I don’t write, I always feel unsettled, as if my brain is a jumble. So I would say it’s the need to have clarity of thought that inspires me.
HS: Can you learn creative writing from a book?
OG: Definitely! I don’t have a writing degree, but I’ve always loved learning on my own. In this regard, I rely on craft books immensely.
HS: What is micro-memoir or flash nonfiction and why do you write it?
OG: Flash nonfiction is for me a pocket-sized story that packs a punch. But more than that, it is an intimate representation of a larger truth. I write flash nonfiction because I enjoy being “seized” by a moment, discovering the larger truth in it, and the challenge of telling it in only a few words.
Jarod Roselló is a Cuban American writer, cartoonist, and teacher. He is the author of a graphic novel, The Well-Dressed Bear Will (Never) be Found, and the middle-grade graphic novel Red Panda & Moon Bear, a Chicago Public Library and New York Public Library 2019 best book for young readers. His arts-based and educational research has been published in Contemporary Issues in Early Childhood and International Review of Qualitative Research. He lives in Tampa, Florida, and teaches in the creative writing program at the University of South Florida.
Here, Jarod Roselló shares a powerful statement about preparing to teach.
Education is a process of learning how to create yourself
Jarod Roselló: It's only June, but I'm already sitting down to read and prepare for my fall classes. This means reconfirming my commitment to antiracist pedagogies and practices in my classroom. Like fairness and justice, antiracism isn't something achieved and had, it's something we have to continuously work at. This is a conversation that mutates and changes every year, as new voices and perspectives are added.
I'm grateful to teach in an arts-based program that centers my experiences, and to have had the opportunity to work with brilliant teachers in college and grad school to help me figure out how to participate and make my voice louder. And I hope I can do the same for my students.
Fellow teachers, as you begin planning for the fall, consider the arts in your classroom. The arts privilege surprise, improvisation, and spontaneity. Bringing the arts into our classrooms allows them to be spaces of play and discovery and gives our students opportunities to see and hear themselves.
Working in and with the arts means strengthening our students' imaginations, ones we'll need sharpened and enhanced in order to conceive of new, better possibilities for our world. In the words of the late, great arts educator, Maxine Greene, "To call for imaginative capacity is to work for the ability to look at things as if they could be otherwise." This is what we need now. This is what we've always needed.