Friday, July 31, 2009


A 17 year-old teen from Mexican decent, Natalie was born in Anaheim, CA. After her parents seperated when she was 10 years-old, Natalie dedicated her life to writing her feelings. The spectrum of her writing varies from the difficulties of living with a sister with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), to the current day's weather.

Apart frm reading and writing, she likes to collage, dance, act, yoga, sing and have deep conversations with people. She currently lives in Costa Mesa, CA with her mom, sister, guinea pig and turtle.


You get what you put into it,
has become one of my favorite quotes, thanks to Sarah Rafael Garcia. She is one of the most plain-and-simple brilliant women I have ever meet in my 17 years of life.

I always seem to get so much out of her messages and they really stick to me. I know that I’m not necessarily obligated to come to the classes, but I’m hooked. I feel okay with saying that I use writing as a way to vent.

The term, “throwing up on paper” (another phrase I hear her say repeatedly) has entered my vocabulary of common words because that is exactly what I do almost every single day. I have realized that the best way to learn about writing strategies is to read. The research I look for is in me and in the words of wonderful authors. It’s like a treasure waiting to be discovered. I am getting to know teens that have to go through what I have to, labeled and re-labeled according to how we speak, write and dress.

Not only are we experimenting with the wonderful words that English and Spanish have to offer, but we are re-writing history.

We are making sure that our voices are heard loud, because as nature implies the storm must end some day. Then all that is left is sunshine.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A barrio writer intro

Ello, well I'm Valeria Alaniz and I am proud to say that I'm a Barrio Writer.

I guess ill start out with telling you about myself for my first blog. YAY ME!!!!!!

Hmm I guess I'm a nerd and i dont really mind it. I love comic books and I can't live with out video games. I can't be with out a story to help me escape my reality that is life. Ahh, my mother just recently left my dad and moved to Colorado. My father has two jobs but sadly I can't say i have any respect for the man. Its ok some people have it worse than I do. On a happy note my sisters boyfriend just got here. He will be living with us, he's pretty cool in my book. Just as long as my sister is happy and safe.

The way I write (scratching my head), well my writing is pretty dark most of the time, kind of funny because I'm a really happy girl when you meet me in person, so you would never know (shifting my eyes) haha, any who i guess I'll just show you a clip of the poem I'll turn in this Saturday.

"With my final breaths left of my life.

All the thoughts that run through my mind,
some bad some good.

Why did this happen to me is it that no one loves me?
That all hate me and thats why he raped me?

I can't move can't see, wow this is really the it for me.
I smell the blood and feel the pain its all the same.
The same pain and smell but only this time I can tell, I wont live."

Hope you liked it so far, but im not done yet! This is it for my first blog, I guess. ^_^

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

We are Barrio Writers!


Hola Amigos & Fellow Writers,

I am writing to share with you our trials and triumphs in our first weeks of being Barrio Writers. We launched our first workshop on Wednesday, June 24, 2009. Since then we have had some issues collecting supplies, having a key to our classroom which led to having our workshop in a hallway and conflicting scheudles with staff, students and guest lecturers.

We have spent afternoons reading Pat Mora, Malcolm X and Frank LaPena. We were honored to hear Sandra Lopez read from her book Esperanza after giving us advice on writers block. We marched down Main Street united as writers to explore the free cultural arts offered in our community.

But our biggest accomplishment has been sharing the works from our new voices in Santa Ana. Just to give you an idea of what makes up Barrio Writers, here are some excerpts:

"I will not do that I will not change.
My life is mine, not yours to rearrange.
I hope one day that you will see
This isn't a phase. I'm being me."

"When I finally reach the end of my food journey I should be able to leave the house a few pounds lighter and with self-assurance that I’m not that tubby girl people make fun of. I’m the girl people are in awe about because she lost weight and seems so much more confident then when they first met her. "

"I am a writer because...when I write it helps me breath."

Now, we still have a long ways to go, but we have 28 talented teens - from bright redheads with artisitic makeup and piercings to shy ones with more words to share on paper than any famous public speaker - each spending at least 2 days a week finding a way to express themselves. I hope you will read what we have to share throughout the upcoming weeks. Our next workshop is Wednesday, July 8th at Libreria Martinez!

Please Save the Date: 3-6pm Sunday, August 23, 2009 @ Libreria Martinez - Barrio Writers Live Reading!

Con mucho orgullo,
Barrio Writers

PS - Special Thanks to El Centro Cultural de Mexico, Libreria Martinez, OC Children's Book Festival and OC Image Xpress for supporting Barrio Writers!