Tuesday, April 13, 2010

A Young Writer

This post was written by Vicky Hsiang, who is student at the University of Washington Intensive Business English Program. She has the equivalent of a Bachelor's degree in Spanish from her native Taiwan, and is interning with us during Spring Quarter.

A 15-year-old student at Highline Health Sciences and Human Services High School, Manoush Genet Castañedad, just published her first novel, “The Ways of the Owl.” This book talks about social justices and the importance of education. She said, “I am happy that many people will read my book. I want them to understand how to use positive ways to change the world and to never stop learning.”

When she was young, Castañedad moved to a small town in Mexico with her mother and sister for one year. They spent that year opening a library there. Her grandfather enjoyed telling her stories about the townspeople and the town’s past. Those stories inspired her to write a novel.

After Castañedad came back, she started to write the novel; however, it was not easy to finish. She suffers from a neurological disorder that impedes her brain from sending correct signals to her muscles. She had to spend most of her time in bed. She didn’t give up her novel, however; the disorder strengthened her conviction to finish her novel. After two years, Castañedad showed it to her teachers, who encouraged her to publish the work. This novel is about a farmworker living in 1907— a Latina who knows how to read and write, and those abilities help her attain more knowledge.

I admire the author, because she didn’t give up when she was sick. I am older than she is and healthier; however I haven’t persisted the way she has. Every time when I meet an obstacle, it is easy for me to quit, or at least complain. A 15-year-old girl can overcome her pain to achieve her dream and share her opinions with others. We should learn from her. We have a Chinese saying: “Even though it is a very cold and dark night, don’t forget the beautiful morning is coming.” When we persist, there are many amazing things waiting for us.

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