Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Nuestras Voces, Our Voices: Emerging Latina writers talk about their work - Melissa Fontanez

Editor's note: this is the tenth in a monthly (sometimes twice-monthly) series of guest blog posts in which emerging Latina writers talk about their work, their process and what inspires them.

Melissa Fontanez is working on a collection of poetry and her first novel. Her poem, “four ways of looking at the moon,” was published in the chapbook Something in the Water. Books, photography and music consume her life, but the love for her family shines the brightest.

Picking at threads

If you pay attention and listen to the world around you, the magic of inspiration is not hard to find.

My poetry reflects emotions, thoughts and feelings I have swirling around inside. The light touch of a breeze sliding along my skin. Standing under a tree at night, staring up at the moon. Watching my daughter purse her lips and the tufts of dandelion floating away with her wish. Listening to the stark quiet of a winter’s day. Admiring the vibrancy and rustle of fall leaves. The pleasure and pain of love. It all speaks to me and has me running for the nearest pen and paper, trying to capture it all. Writing poetry also helps me work out things that may be bothering me, or a way to remember all the good.

The novel I’m working on started with one red thread.

Each member of the writing workshop I belong to was told to close our eyes as our instructor placed a thread in each of our hands. I opened my eyes, ran my finger over it lightly until I started to write. From that prompt, came one of my main characters, Ines. She picked at the thread on her sweater, as she anxiously waited for some news. I can’t tell you what that is; you’ll just have to read all about it when I’ve finished the book, but just that simple, lone thread inspired me to do something I thought I never would.

I won’t sit here and say it’s always easy. Any writer can tell you that. I battle with loving and hating my work. For the longest time it was hard for me to even share it with others. It is a very vulnerable position to be in, but there is nothing else I would rather do.

I can only hope that someone will read my work and be able to identify with it in some way. That’s always my favorite part when I’m reading; to be able to connect with the words and find your voice.

So be open, to everything, and see where it takes you.


  1. Never stop pursuing your dreams...So proud of you and looking forward to reading your first book and many more. Love you always!


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