M.F.A. Reading Series: Wendy C. Ortiz

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Wendy C. Ortiz, author of “Hollywood Notebook,” “Excavation: A Memoir” and “Bruja: A Dreamoir.” WILLIAM TREVOR WIN/FOGHORN

A lot of people find it hard to open up and share intimate details about their life, especially with strangers. Others, like Wendy C. Ortiz, become authors and let their secrets spill across pages to be shared with anyone who picks up their memoir. Ortiz, an author who was listed in the “9 Women Writers Who Are Breaking New Nonfiction Territory” article by Bustle, came to campus to read from a few of her published works on Feb. 28.

Her three books are a collection of personal memoirs. Ortiz creates beautiful works drawing from her own life experiences, including, oddly enough, her dreams, which she dubbed her “Dreamoir.” Her memoirs are very human and she does not leave out any gritty, embarrassing details, which serve to only make her writing feel more intimate and relatable.

Ortiz describes one of her works, “Hollywood Notebook,” as a fragmented prose memoir. Through this work, she was able to craftily piece together poetic accounts of what one would usually view as the mundane routines of life. Through constructing these short, personal stories in prose, she manages to emphasize the hidden beauties often overlooked in our daily lives, including simply watching birds from atop a balcony.

In person, Ortiz appears to be as down-to-earth as her books would suggest. During her reading, she mentioned she published all of her books through small, local publishing houses in Los Angeles. She did not gloss over the number of rejections she received before being published; in fact, she hailed these rejections as beneficial for her writing and future as an author. Each book took her years of work and the final products do not disappoint.

Her works encapsulate and make beautiful the most intimate details of life that others may view as uncomfortable to speak about. They are a reminder that there is art that can be made from all aspects of life and subtle reminders to find happiness in the little things. The college years can be tough and unforgiving, so students can always benefit from reminders like these.

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