I'm a teacher and something of a parrot who dreams to be an amateur therapist and a fly on the wall.
Excuse my weird metaphors...
What I mean is this: I would love to talk to your students, listen to them, share what I know (and don't know), and learn from each other!
How does a writer become a writer? The answers are infinite! But I can give you glimpse into my experiences as poet living and writing in the El Paso /Ciudad Juárez borderland. There's constant linguistic and cultural negotiations, there's double consciousness, but also, I'd argue, double the fun!
"Mental illness" has become a buzz term and for good reason. We've made strides in starting a public conversation that was (and sometimes, still is) labeled private and/or inappropriate. Luckily, literature has caught up, and so have I. As a writer who deals with mental illness, I really enjoy sharing my experience writing a book that talks about a 13-year-old character's struggles with depression and suicidal ideation with honesty and candor.
I've taught poetry at the college level for five years. So what? I work in a campus where 83% of students are Hispanic and 26% are bilingual. This linguistic and cultural wealth translates into unique lessons for my pedagogical and writing practice. I've spoken about this at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs (AWP) Conference on two occasions, and I would love talk about it with you because I continue learning something new about bilingualism in creative writing classrooms each semester.