This blog post was written by Girls Write Now mentee, Gianny Guzman
I have always sought solace in memoir writing because my parents, and even my older sister, are from a different generation with different experiences and struggles. Being of a different generation from them has always inspired and affected my writing, my beliefs, and my actions. My family and I have such different views on the world and sometimes, instead of listening to one another, we look down upon the other’s opinions and views. So, I use memoir writing as a way to understand my experiences and reflect on the differences I have with the people I love. Memoir writing to me has always been the simplest way to tell my story without being interrupted or judged. This workshop taught us a lot about incorporating the voices of every generation that has affected us in our own writing. It also taught us that our own experiences matter.
Samhita left me in awe at her wit and her candor. Rather than talk to us, she spoke with us. She made me laugh and feel joyful. Just hearing her speak for a moment you can tell you she’s a strong feminist with passion and zeal to spare. Her experiences, although they are hers and no one else’s, helped me to connect with her. While she spoke I found myself nodding with conviction every time I thought what she said was just so right. I nodded at least a dozen times. She spoke about her own differences with her family. She spoke about her own experience in the aftermath of the election. I nodded when I understood her own emotions because I felt so similarly. My neck was a bit sore at the end. She explained the journey of the book she helped organize together, Nasty Women, and why it is so important and powerful. I nearly broke my neck.
At the end of the workshop she stayed behind to talk with us, which not many craft talkers have done. I leaped from my seat eager to speak with her, to ask her questions and to just thank her. I hovered around and waited while she spoke to someone else. My middle school introverted side just popped in randomly for a greeting, so I waited for two other mentees to come forward to speak to her before following suit. I asked her two questions. The first being, if I wore makeup, if I wanted a boy’s attention, if I loved dressing up or if I did anything else in that sense, was I any less of a feminist? Her answer was no, it doesn’t make you any less of a feminist because if you feel good about yourself then you are not doing anything wrong. My second question was: how do you deal with people who are close to you having views that go against your beliefs as a woman and a feminist? Samhita, two other mentees and I had a discussion on it and each of us has slightly different views on the different situations, such as if it was our own father or your partner. Samhita Mukhopadhyay is simply inspirational.