The Mark Blog

Bookmark This: Andrés Reconco on Unveiling Truths

In this essay, 2014 Emerging Voices Fellow Andrés Reconco describes how, before his fellowship, he'd felt unable to share his writing -- what he calls the “beastly essence” within him. It was through the fellowship that Andrés would find his voice and a community to lean on. We are down to the wire and have just over 50 hours left to raise funding to support writers like Andrés Reconco. Click here to become a backer today!
“Before the Emerging Voices Fellowship came into my life I’d spent thirty years writing for myself, writing because if I didn’t I would feel ill, like I was suffocating from some beastly essence about me. So, I wrote to let that beast breathe, so that in return it could let me continue my life. I also read a lot because that essence was also nourished by the voice of other people’s creatures, beasts that lived inside the chest of others, the minds of others who, like me, had to write or suffocate. I could have lived the rest of my life in that fashion, simply listening to the voice of others, to the roars inside their chest, but what kind of life would that be? What kind of life is the life of one that hides desires, that denies that beast the ears of others besides a best friend or coworker who has nothing else to do but read one’s stories? The Emerging Voices Fellowship revealed truths, showed me how to reach others so that they too can listen to the roar inside my chest.
The Emerging Voices Fellowship has been the guide that I never knew I needed. It has offered me knowledge about the writing industry that I never learned in any of the creative writing classes I took. It taught me some superficial things like how to seek out an agent, how to work with an editor, what to look for in a publishing house, how to negotiate needs and wants. But most importantly it also revealed to me the bonds writers share, the struggles, the sadness and pain, and the overall suffering and self-imposed alienation. It calmed me. It set me at ease and somewhat quieted the voices inside my head that said I was not a writer, voices that, if allowed, could drown out the sounds of the beast inside my chest. This fellowship has been invaluable, a journey of discovery, both of a world outside of me and the world within. Without it, without the support of Lilliam and Libby and the rest of the PEN Center USA staff I would still be lost. Without the support of Victor, Hanne, Brandon, Maggie, and Marci, who have become my friends, my mentors, and my family, I would still be writing in a vacuum. 
Today, I am a writer. I am an artist. My voice will find an audience. It will find hearts with which to bind. It will move and inspire. That essence that threatens to suffocate me when I ignore it will go out and speak its truth to others. This is a fact. The PEN Center USA Emerging Voices Fellowship has placed the tools in my hand to make this happen.”