Jeaninne Escallier Kato

I knew the trajectory of my life by the time I was four. I observed and logged everything around me in my imagination through colors, sights and sounds. I even fantasized about the future adventures of my grown-up world. By the time I could hold a pencil, I turned my imaginings into words, concrete evidence of my existence. I could only see the person I was destined to become when I mapped my world into written stories. I was always waiting for me at the end of my words.

When my father left us for another family, I wrote. When my mother remarried, I wrote. When I knew I would have to pay for my higher learning, I wrote. When I traveled alone in Europe after college graduation, I wrote. When I became a teacher, I wrote. When I married for the first time, I wrote. When I was divorced, I wrote. When I remarried, I wrote. My writings have supported me through thirty-six years of teaching, giving me the magic I needed to pass on to my students through a children’s book, two anthology books, and many online magazine and blog sites. I have become that which I write.

I didn’t find my ‘voice’ as a writer until I found my Hispanic roots. However, as far back as four years old, I felt my ancestors tugging at my soul, urging me forward into a life of writing. I always knew their stories were waiting for me. And now in my retirement, I am meeting those ancestors up close and personal. Their histories are infused into my DNA; the urgency to release these stories is pressing upon me as time ticks on. Most people leave their legacies with their children, but I must trust that my legacy is living in some small way through thousands of students whom I have loved. It is my destiny to leave my words, which define my time on this earth, as the final chapter of that person’s journey I envisioned when I was four.

You ask, “Why do you write?” I write to breathe. I write to live. I write to learn. I write to teach. I write to be me.