UMass. Here to inspire art that shapes communities.

UMass. Here to inspire art that shapes communities.


“In the kitchen,
Eduardo showed Linda the video camera he had bought
at Sears that afternoon. ‘How did you pay for it?’ She gripped a spatula–” When I wrote Home
Movie, it was based somewhat on my parents’
experience moving from Guatemala to Boston. What great soil in
which to grow a story. My name is Jennifer De Leon,
and I am a writer and a teacher and a proud graduate
of UMass Boston. This is my short
story Home Movie that was selected as Boston Book
Festival’s One City One Story. And this is the anthology
that I edited– Wise Latinas– Writers on Higher Education. My writing process
definitely was sharpened here at UMass Boston. During my first
semester in the MFA in Creative Writing program,
the first story that I turned in was this story, Home Movie. And it tells the story of
Eduardo and Linda Ramirez. I had been telling the entire
story just from Eduardo’s point of view originally. We did an exercise
where we introduced another point of view
character, just as an exercise, and up popped Linda’s voice. And I just could not
not listen to her. “She turned up the
heat and welcomed the buzz of the radiator
with its surprising comfort.” One of the great aspects
of the MFA program is that you’re able to teach. This was my first time teaching
at the university level, and I loved it. I’m passionate about
writing, and not just the art and what it
looks like on the page, but really what it can do
for entire communities. My parents, who are immigrants
from Guatemala, came here. They really wanted their
daughters to go to college. For them, education has
always been a set of keys. It can unlock doors. I don’t think it was accidental
that I came to UMass Boston. There are so many threads that
I was able to weave together here– the diversity
aspect, and I was able to learn so much
of the craft of writing. Coming to UMass Boston was one
of the best decisions I ever made.

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