My father was fastidious about the written word and expected me to always critique my own writing, whether in Spanish or English. Before computer programs brought us instant spelling corrections and synonym and antonym assistance, I was expected to look at all my written work with a critical eye, support each hypothesis, and develop ideas methodically. He encouraged my interest in writing and helped me understand the power of a single word. I thank him for keeping my short stories and poems, my first attempts as a writer when I was twelve years old.
Storytelling and imagination came from my mother’s side. Neither my grandmother nor mother could ever simply answer a question about what had happened. Each inquiry was followed by vivid descriptions, the historical background to the situation, and included the virtues and follies of all the people involved, even before I heard a word relating to my original question. Each accounting served as well as a teaching opportunity about morality, good and evil, and the path not taken. I realize now that throughout my bicultural, bilingual childhood, I lived in a Cuban style Aesop’s Tales world.
All served me well, professionally and personally, and set me on the path to becoming a writer in a broad sense. I’ve used writing to entertain, intrigue, convince and extol, always striving to marry skill, purpose and imagination into the magic that is writing.