LocationAlhambra , CA United States
“My heritage is my father smoking in the kitchen, always a cigarette hanging from his lips or his fingers. My heritage was guava jam during the season when the fruit was bulbous and hung heavy from the tree. My heritage is my father’s three pairs of work pants, rotated, hanging in the sun to dry before the afternoon showers.”
Writing teacher Tammy Delatorre shared those memories as part of the Alhambra Source’s immigrant narratives writing workshop at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse’s Asian Pacific American festival. She challenged workshop participants to think about similar answers to the question, “What is part of your heritage?”
The prompt came from a speech that writer Amy Tan gave in 2013 at the White House. At the workshop, participants’ discussion about their heritage took the shape of growing up in their parents’ grocery store in the segregated South or the weird food that their family ate at home.
Delatorre’s personal essays have been published by the Los Angeles Times and selected for an award by Cheryl Strayed. Her lesson included instructions on how to structure a personal story and the importance of sharing stories about one’s heritage, especially in the current political context. “It’s an interesting time to be thinking about immigrant stories,” she said.
The Alhambra Source is running one more immigrant narrative workshop with Tammy Delatorre on Thursday, May 17, 2018 from 6:30 to 8 p.m at the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse. A light dinner will be served. RSVP here.