The Power of the Pen

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I was really moved by the story of Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burnton. I actually think it has a lot to say about the latina experience in relation to writing. I know at least in my family, all of the women have an affinity for writing. Whether it’s an elaborately written birthday card or a grocery list scrawled on a napkin, one of mis tias o primas is always jotting down something. What they write doesn’t necessarily have to be as entrenched in ideas surrounding inequality such as ┬áBurnton’s writing, but I do think that growing up always having my latina relatives’ writing surrounding me taught me a lot about the latina experience. Especially when I was younger (and definitely before I had a Facebook), mis tias y primas would send me hand-written letters from Mexico so that they could practice their English. Not having grown up speaking Spanish, I wrote back in English as well. It became so that in the years between seeing my relatives I would still be able to grow close with them through letters. Of course, with the changing of the times these letters have not been sent in almost 10 years. While I’m happy that it’s so much easier to keep up with my relatives on social media (which I can now do in Spanish after spending the last 4 years studying it), I do think that the tangible writing of letters was so intimate and was really what grounded me to my latinidad before I was comfortable with outright embracing it. This is why I think the pen is so powerful–the emotions that one conveys through ink can sometimes be just cathartic enough to really express the depth of one’s feelings and thoughts.

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