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Random howls into the worldThe Writing Life

Check Your Drawers: My hopes for you in 2014

By January 2, 2014No Comments

I was overpowered by New Year Mania and spent last week having my oldest daughter’s room painted, which somehow led  to an entire overhaul of my living room/writing lair.

In the process of digging out my old desk, I came across a few things that made the whole back-breaking process worthwhile.

Image 1Image 2The first was my mother’s plane ticket from Cuba, dated May 19, 1960 and her subsequent application for citizenship to the US.  I had stored them after discovering them in a box last fall when I was closing her condo in Florida. The documents made me wonder what she was thinking all those years ago on the verge of losing her country, and though it wasn’t known to her yet, on the verge of losing her husband, too. I’ve decided to have the pieces framed and put over my desk. My family’s story in this country began with what felt like a disaster to her, and my story as a writer and as a woman begins with her long journey to survive.Image

The second treasure has to do with dreams – and grit. Several years ago, when I wanted desperately to be a full-time writer but lacked the courage to do it, I found an exercise in one of those awful self-help books. I was asked to write a paragraph that described what I wanted my future “author’s life” to look like. I remember feeling embarrassed to jot down such dreams. I braced myself for the fact that I would probably never have the chance to “write from my desk at home” and “produce books that made me feel proud.” Who was I to want such grand things, and how on earth was I going to cobble together a career as a writer? When I came upon the exercise buried in one of my old desk drawers, I was shocked to see that a lot of what I once thought impossible has slowly come to be.

Meg's work space 2013.jpg-largeSo, here I am, writing from a newly moved and polished table in my living room, where I work on books that name the experience of growing up. I’m part of my city’s writing community, and my books are earning lovely honors. I don’t know if it matters that I wrote my heart’s true wish down. But somewhere along the line, I must have decided to get past my fears – just as my mother did all those years ago.

In 2014, I’m wishing you the same courage, maybe even the same cheesy exercise. I’m wishing you people who leave lasting, if imperfect, imprints. I’m wishing you the power of dreams.

Cariños de,


Meg Medina

Author Meg Medina

I'm Meg Medina, author of libros for kids of all ages. I'm the 2019 Newbery medalist for Merci Suárez Changes Gears. I write strong girls, tough circumstances, and the connecting power of culture. Thanks for visiting my blog!

More posts by Meg Medina

Join the discussion No Comments

  • What a role model your mother was, and of course it takes so many years to realize it. Your children can’t see now the amazing example you are setting for them. Thanks so much for sharing, Meg, and cheers to 2014 making more dreams come true!

  • Kathryn Erskine says:

    That is beautiful, Meg. Whatever awful stuff we’ve had to deal with (and I know your 2013 was rough) just LOOK at what you’ve accomplished. Your mother is looking down on you with pride right now and you will be in inspiration to your own children. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

  • The discoveries of the past and the connection to strength is awesome. What a wonderful exercise that led you to say, “produce books that make me feel proud.” Wishing you an inspired new year.

  • What a beautiful new year’s wish for us all! Thank you for sharing…

  • Jan says:

    What a lovely and inspiring piece, Meg. Thank you.

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