Last month I received a lovely birthday gift from my sister, a signed copy of A House of My Own by Sandra Cisneros. Sandra is one of my favorite authors, one who inspired me to take up the pen and begin writing.
A House of My Own is not an autobiography that recounts the writer’s life in so far as giving us details about her day-to-day experiences. Instead, Cisneros offers glimpses into her life by describing her work and providing essays or speeches she has produced on topics ranging from the singer Chavela Vargas to the controversy that arose when she painted her San Antonio house purple. She writes with such heart and openness that we don’t need to know the exact details of her life in order to come to know her. We come to know that she was so driven to become a writer, she set out to do just that while still in her early twenties. We come to know that she felt the need to put some distance between herself and her family to escape the strong pull of family obligations. We come to know that she never felt her father appreciated her work until an action he took on one specific day (this chapter is so moving it brought me to tears).
I love this book. I wish I could write with the heart and poetic expression of Cisneros. But I know that’s not possible, nor would it be wise to attempt to copycat her style. Writers have individual styles as unique to them as thumbprints. But I can strive to emulate her devotion to writing and strive to speak from the heart through my work.