I want to thank U.S. 1 for the very well-written and insightful piece you wrote about People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos, which appeared in the February 27 issue of U.S. 1.
Over the years, many articles about People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos have appeared in a wide variety of publications. In my memory, few have captured the essence, the heart of the program as closely and as accurately as your, “Literary Group Has a Good Story or Two to Share.”
The title, itself, announces your grasp of the program, opening with ‘literary.’ Often, a simplified view of the program will misconstrue its mission as focused on ‘literacy.’ Your piece, on the other hand, offers readers an in-depth view of both what we do and why we do it.
I want to share that I was able to get U.S.1 before going to Lawrence Plaza for our 2 p.m. session. I brought the copy with me to read with the group before reading yesterdays’ selection, Catherine Ryan Hyde’s “The Man Who Found You in the Woods.”
Before all participants gathered in the community room, (a member of the group) took the paper into the secretary’s office off the lobby and asked for multiple copies of the photo and part of the article (what could fit on an 8.5 x 11), and she proceeded to hand them out as participants walked in for the session. So, just as with the short stories we bring, people were able to read along with their copy of your story as I read it aloud. Needless to say, everyone was thrilled!
Nancy Brown particularly liked hearing and seeing her remarks quoted in print. And, she really enjoyed your the quote of her question, “Can you imagine living in Chile and then ending up in Oregon?”, which you followed with: “says Brown at the end of the story. She’s scrunching up her face as if she had just tasted something strange.” Joan Sargo then added to Nancy’s appreciative “OOh!” with “this is very good writing!” Everyone agreed, and we began the short story reading in an atmosphere of appreciation, the kind that comes from having seen or witnessed and understood! So, on behalf of the Lawrenceville Seniors you met during your visit, “Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Your timely, comprehensive and revealing piece about what People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos actually may result in more ticket purchases for the fundraiser. In any event, the piece will certainly raise awareness about our literary groups and the people who are at the heart of those groups. In that regard, I was delighted that you included so much of Tyler Wilson’s piece! As a member of the Bo Robinson P&S/GyC group for those preparing to transition back into their communities after incarceration, Tyler’s piece speaks volumes about one of People & Stories founder Sarah Hirshman’s core goals — to provide, through literature readings and discussions, a public forum for the deeply intelligent voices of those who are so often overlooked and rarely heard.
— Patricia Andres
Andres is the former executive director and current program facilitator and advisory board president of People & Stories/Gente y Cuentos. Notable Words, a fundraiser for the group, takes place Wednesday, March 6, at the Nassau Club.