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UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
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Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

UWYO Magazine

May 2014 | Vol. 15 No. 3

Stories to Tell

UW MFA graduate Kali Fajardo-Anstine shares the gift of writing with others as she works to complete two books. 

By Micaela Myers

A beautiful place to write, a small faculty-to-student ratio, generous funding, outstanding visiting writers and a chance to give back­—“What more could a writer want?” says Kali Fajardo-Anstine, a 2013 graduate of University of Wyoming’s Master of Fine Arts in creative writing program. “I chose UW’s MFA program because it is one of the finest in the country, due in large part to the visionary work of its director, Beth Loffreda.”

Since graduating, Fajardo-Anstine’s work has appeared in several national literary journals. Originally from Denver, she’s currently the Hub City Writers Project writer-in-residence in Spartanburg, S.C., where she’s working on a novel that chronicles the life a Hispano girl born in 1919. “The novel follows her childhood in the coal mining camps of southern Colorado and her womanhood in the budding metropolis of Denver,” she explains. “I am also running a series of workshops in support of an anthology I am editing through Hub City Press on multicultural voices in Spartanburg.”

Sharing stories: During her time at UW, Fajardo-Anstine volunteered to teach writing at the Wyoming Girls’ School, a facility in Sheridan, Wyo., for the treatment of delinquent girls.

“I jumped at the idea because I believe art making shouldn’t be something reserved for only the privileged,” she says. “Together, with the poet Rebecca Estee, we made monthly trips to Sheridan, where we co-taught workshops in fiction and poetry. We then collected the girls’ work in an anthology, which we helped them bind together.

“Through writing, Rebecca and I wanted to teach the girls to have a stronger sense of pride and identity, something that may ultimately help end the cycles of neglect and violence they have witnessed throughout their lives.”

Writing the future: “I would like to publish a book sometime in the future, and I would like to find a way to encourage other young women to do the same,” Fajardo-Anstine says.

“I feel eternally grateful for the guidance and wisdom I received during my time in the MFA program. UW made me the writer I am today.”

 

A Slice of Creative Writing

Kali Fajardo-Anstine’s graduate thesis, Sugar Babies and Other Stories, contains seven short stories. “Each story provides a portrait of Latinas in the American West. Many of the characters, like my own family, trace their roots to southern Colorado, descendants of 17th century Spanish settlers and American Indians,” she explains.

The following is an excerpt from “Sugar Babies”—the full story appeared in the fall 2013 issue of Southwestern American Literature:

Though the Colorado soil was normally hard and cakey, it had snowed and then rained an unusual amount that spring. Some of the boys in my eighth-grade class decided it was the perfect ground for playing army. They borrowed shovels and picks from their fathers’ sheds, placing the tools on their bicycle handlebars and riding out to the western edge of our town, Saguarita. 

A place where the land with all its silken fibers of swaying grass resembled a sleeping woman with her face pressed firmly to the pillow. A golden blond by day. A raven-haired beauty by night.

The first boy to hit bone was Robbie Martinez. He did so with the blunt edge of a rusted shovel. He lifted a piece of the brittle faded whiteness out of the recently drenched earth and tossed it into the air. It blew downwind like nothing more than a scrap of paper. “Look,” he said, kneeling as if he was praying. “Everybody come look.”

The other boys gathered around. There in the ground were broken pieces of bowls with black zigzagging designs. Next to those broken bowls were human teeth, scattered like dried kernels of yellow corn. Above them the sun had begun to fade behind the tallest peak of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. The colors were pale and bleak, like the bloated belly of a lizard passing above.

“Don’t touch it,” Robbie said. “None of it. We need to tell somebody.”

And tell they did. The entire town. Everyone, it seemed, was a witness. 

Kali Fajardo-Anstine

Kali Fajardo-Anstine
"I feel eternally grateful for the guidance and wisdom I received during my time in the MFA program," Kali Fajardo-Anstine says. "UW made me the writer I am today."

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The Magazine for Alumni and Friends of the University of Wyoming

About UWyo

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Subscribe

UWyo Archives

Contact Us

UWyo Magazine
University of Wyoming
Dept. 3226
1000 East University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071-2000
Phone: 307-766-2379
TTY: 307-766-6729
Email: uwyomag@uwyo.edu

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