ELPASO – One snowy day in 2000, a trio of UTEP Creative Writing MFA students set up 50 chairs for a public event to release a local literary journal. Amit Ghosh, Jonathan Gonzales and Joseph Martinez were astonished when 90 local attendees showed up for their “goofy” idea, the first edition of BorderSenses. “The project (cost) was $339. Each of us put in exactly $113. I still have the paper,” grinned Ghosh, a former teacher who now works in the Information Technology field.
EL PASO – A little stubble on his face, a fedora hanging on an empty microphone to his right, Daniel Chacon is ready to record Words on a Wire, a KTEP-FM weekly radio show that showcases some of the best in creative writing. The show, in its fourth year, is attracting listeners throughout the borderlands and beyond. That’s no surprise to the creator of the show, Chacon, a University of Texas at El Paso associate professor of creating writing and novelist who has a reputation around campus as being somewhat eccentric. A lover of reading and books since childhood (his favorite book as a child was “Danny and the Dinosaur”), several years ago Chacon began thinking about doing thought-provoking radio interviews with accomplished writers. After discussing the idea with then chair of the UTEP creative writing department, Benjamin Alire Saenz, they agreed to approach El Paso’s public radio station KTEP-FMA with the idea.
EL PASO – At noon on a recent Saturday, 16-year-old Jasmin Flores sits at a round table in a downtown storefront gallery and stares at a picture of a man wearing a tee shirt raising his two fists into the air. After thinking for a few minutes, she uses her imagination to write in longhand on a piece of paper a story about two boys playing together with a ball. These and many other activities are practiced each Saturday during a “ForWord” workshop that helps teenage students develop their creativity when writing from short stories to essays. Flores is been attending the workshops, sponsored by a local non profit organization, since the January sessions started. She said each workshop has been different.
Editor’s note: This blog is part of a series of first person essays about identity written by UTEP Liberal Arts Honors students during the spring 2013 semester. EL PASO – When I told my Mom I was going to be a published writer, she said to make sure my stories were on audio-tape so she wouldn’t have to do any actual reading. Dad then joked that she’d have to learn how to read first. Whether or no they knew how serious I was, my parents always told me to do what I loved, even if it meant not studying a “safe” major like business or nursing. Neither of my parents, or anyone else in my family, has ever shown an interest in writing, creatively or otherwise.
EL PASO – The watercolor on the wall in Lawrence Welsh’s office gleams with warm sun spilling across the panorama, as if light lived inside every leaf, every strand of grass, every inch of wood and tin. The Associate Professor of English at El Paso Community College said it reminds him of his own deep “digging” for art, poetry and history in the desert lands of the Southwest. In his new collection of poems written from 1994 to 2009, Begging for Vultures, Welsh sweeps readers through voices and landscapes of the Southwest. His personal excavation began in Los Angeles where he was raised, and where he began uncovering his love for words and music, co-founding the punk rock band, The Alcoholics in the late 1970’s, then writing and editing on newspapers, and writing fiction and poetry. Now, he teaches at the community college.