We live in distracted times. We are pulled from quiet contemplation by social media and our phones, by our commutes, by demands of job and family.
But it is in the small, often quiet moments in which the depth of our lives can be examined, and where beautiful stories can be found.
One such story is in this volume, written by Susanna Whitmore Fránek. Susanna proposed to write about a torn photograph of her great-grandparents and the journey that discovery sent her on. This was her third Tell Your True Tale workshop, and we find her embarking on the ambitious project of telling the stories of her life growing up as a rebellious kid in the San Fernando Valley.
One point along her trip is the simple discovery of that photograph.
That’s one thing I love about the Tell Your True Tale workshops, now in a fourth iteration at the East Los Angeles Library. Over and over, writers find wonder in the smallest moments. That’s what this volume, especially, is about.
Sarah Alvarado, a TYTT newcomer, contributes a terrific story of one day with her father in San Bernardino.
C.J. Salgado, a TYTT veteran, tells the story of the last day he spent with his grandfather, a former Bracero from Michoacan, on the beach in Santa Monica.
Alex Chi, another newcomer, tells us the powerful tale of his recovery from a near fatal illness.
A writer new to TYTT, Anika Malone, writes of a night she spent with some people she believed were her friends in the Pomona Valley.
Olivia Segura contributes her third tale about her father, a former Bracero, this time about his discovery of the big city of Los Angeles.
Yanndery Flow, in her first TYTT workshop, lets us into the world of the swimming pool lifeguard in East Los Angeles.
Second-timer Fabiola Manriquez tells of watching a woman whom she tutored emerging from years of drug and gang life.
Brian Rivera is back with his third story, this time of a visit to El Paso and the recollections that inspired.
Finding the stories in small moments is one goal of this workshop. Another goal is to turn those nonfiction stories into tales that read like fiction. I believe the stories in this volume do that. But read and decide for yourself. I think you’ll find it all the more wondrous that they were produced by people who, for the most part, had not written much prior to this.
Once again, I thank Daniel Hernandez, director of the Chicano Resource Center at the East L.A. Library, run by the L.A. County Library system, where these workshops have been held, and who was adventurous enough to allow them to take place. I thank, as well, Susan Broman, formerly head of Adult and Digital Services for the county library system, and now at the Los Angeles Public Library. Thanks to Jesse Lanz for his support of the Tell Your True Tale workshops.
Eric Franco Aguilar, a TYTT alum, designed a terrific cover, his third for us.
Enjoy this fourth volume of Tell Your True Tale: East Los Angeles stories. Also, check out the county library’s page dedicated to the project: http://www.colapublib.org/tytt/
Then remember, you’re welcome to come write a story of your own.