Yadira Sierra, mentee
My name is Yadira Sierra. I was born on a Wednesday in the fall of 1997. My first memory is from when I was three. I remember walking down a long Manhattan block holding my mothers hand. My first writing related memory is when I was four and couldn’t figure out how to write a capital E. I consider myself a writer because I enjoy writing and love being able to sit down and write a short piece about anything that pops into my head. I haven’t yet figured out the genre I prefer to write in but I have time to find out. My work usually never leaves my notebooks so it’s never been featured or published anywhere besides classroom bulletin boards. I do hope that one day my writing will be seen by actual people, not just teachers who are obligated to view my work.
Lena Valencia, mentor
My name is Lena Valencia. I’m currently a Graduate Student in the New School’s Writing Program, studying fiction. I’m also a Teaching Assistant in the New School’s Riggio Program. In the past, I’ve worked as an editor at an arts magazine and a literary events coordinator at an independent bookstore. I mostly write short stories, though a handful of my reviews and interviews have been published in various publications on and offline, including BOMB Magazine, the LA Weekly, and Tor.com. I believe that while the act of writing is solitary, it’s a writing community that nourishes writers. My goal as a writer is to be someone who helps to foster that sense of community, whether it’s through teaching, hosting literary events, or participating in organizations like Girls Write Now. When I’m not writing or studying I’m usually looking at art, watching live music, or biking around the city.
The idea for the story “Down by the Lake” came to me during one of the dorkshops. We had to look through some pictures and choose one to write about. I chose a picture that showed a dock on a lake. I only wrote about two sentences but I loved the idea so I decided to stick with it. I kept adding onto the story until it became what it is today. I’m not very tech-savvy so working with html in order to finish this project was difficult for me. I have to thank my mentor, Lena, for her feedback and the time she spent helping me with html. This piece took a lot of work and I hope you guys like it.