Emily Velasquez

Writing has not always been a friend of mine. To be honest, I have had too many failed attempts at trying to convince others of what they want to hear that I could not even confide in own words. I have torn, spat and even destroyed any possible remains of my thoughts that to me were meaningless because what kind of kid from Santa Ana is easily convinced that being a writer unfolds the treasure of a possibility to be a dreamer. There are some who follow stories about the one who carries gold from the valley to the mountain top without knee trembles or the terrifying sound of deafening silence. It is impressive to many when they hear about those who kick stones for fun and never grunt or rip themselves apart. We always create enough stories for the forgiver, the expected winner and that candle lit family dinner, but what about the stories that were not enough to change the rhythm to this mediocre life? I think about them all the time. I learned to pick them up with hesitant hands and even fix them some of my time, because they too feel abandoned from the long nights without the company of some light. When I think about the tossed and crumbled pages that take in garbage as their prize I think about the many words unsaid or almost felt, but casted out instead. I do that to them. You do that to them. We do that to them.

What makes me write, you say? I think for so long I was hiding my words because they never felt enough. It is silly and childish to think this way, but I never knew that kids like me were able to dream like this and have the freedom to enjoy writing without being looked down as some hobbyist for this art. I always thought it was the old, white gray-haired man who was able to compose eloquent novels about extraordinary characters with epic triumphant plots. I was never in those stories and I knew there had to be a distance between me and those authors who write with such gravitating passion and skill. When teachers would instruct me to create my own story, it felt like a fallacy to even imagine that a Latino kid who wrote stories about a talking shoe that cared no longer to find comfort from a foot, would ever replace their words and thoughts. So, today I write with courage, spontaneity, and that truth from the many kids who will read this and realize that I have been writing for them this whole time. I write to let them know that stories come alive when they are in them. I write because the words that need to be on those pages are their words, the words that do not get enough time with the stories of those who always get in line, but we just pass on by. This is for them.



When the task of writing grows inevitably arduous—and seemingly thankless—we must remember why we started. Inspired by George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Why I Write,” this introspective project highlights our motives for writing. Share your story and join the conversation. Live events are produced throughout the diverse cities of Orange County and feature author readings from curated essay submissions.

  1. Write a 500-word essay explaining why you write.
  2. Submit via Submittable.

The 1888 Podcast Network is a curated collection of educational and entertaining podcasts. Each program is designed to provide a unique platform for industry innovators to share stories about art, literature, music, history, science, or technology.