Hello fellow PitchWar warriors and mentors! This is my first time participating in #PitchWars and I’m super excited. If you haven’t heard of PitchWars yet, click here to find out more about this amazing opportunity hosted by Brenda Drake.
My six word memoir:
Unhyphenated story-obsessed Iranian living in California
As someone who first entered the world of writing through poetry, I’m a big fan of the less is more camp.
As you can tell from these six words (okay, I may have cheated a bit with the hyphenated word), my culture is a big part of who I am. I was born in Iran and left when I was two-and-a-half, an age I like to describe as being “too young to remember what I had, but too old to forget what I lost.” And so, I became obsessed with stories…because what you don’t know, you can’t help but then imagine, right?
Four more fun facts about me (because let’s be real, sometimes 6 words just isn’t enough):
- I currently teach MS English and coach early career teachers. Before my current gig, I taught HS English in the bay area and New York City. Some people can’t understand what’s to love about middle schoolers, but I can’t see what’s not to love. They laugh at my cheesy jokes, aren’t afraid to get excited about learning, and have this wonderful willingness to try anything.
- I have nine-year old twins. I may not have succeeded at everything as a parent, but I’m happy to have at least passed on my love of books. A fun fact about them is that they have two different last names – my husband and I decided to give our son my last name and our daughter his. Yes, a bit unconventional perhaps, but it seemed only fair…plus it will make for a great two truths-and-a-lie option for them one day.
- I was a martial artist in my LBK (a.k.a. Life Before Kids). I’ve trained in Hapkido, Jujitsu, and Tai Chi. Although I’m not currently practicing, these arts are still an important part of me. More than teaching me how to bring someone twice my size down, they have taught me to appreciate community and balance in my life.
- I love reading. I’m not ashamed to admit that I still read lots of YA…my husband doesn’t understand why I haven’t “outgrown” it as a 40 year old, but whatever…he’s missing out. There have been so many authors (both adult and YA) who have influenced me, but here are a few:
- Gloria Anzaldúa– for showing me that there’s power in a borderland identity
- Chitra Divakaruni – for inspiring my love of tales that masterfully weave in elements of magical realism
- Rainbow Rowell – for modeling how to use plot and dialogue to create characters you can’t help but love
Why you should choose me as your mentee:
As a teacher and coach, I am no stranger to feedback. I’ve shared my manuscript with multiple critique partners and beta readers because I wanted to hear their honest opinions. Some of the changes were hard to make (like altering the ending, for example), but it was for the better. An excerpted chapter of my manuscript has been accepted for publication in an upcoming issue of Kweli Journal.
I would love the opportunity to work with a mentor who will push me even more—someone who will ask me tough questions and get me thinking about my characters and plot in ways I hadn’t considered before.
About my current project:
Twitter Pitch: Fled Iran 30 yrs ago. Street protests, reoccurring flashbacks, & msgs from dead poet awaken their half-rooted memories.
Floating Home is adult literary fiction, with a dash of magical realism. It tells the story of three friends who were young children when their families fled the Iranian Revolution of 1979. Soraya, Omar, and Arezou are forced to re-examine their identities and relationships with one another when they each have a series of experiences that cross the borders of fantasy, reality, and time. Shifting between each of their perspectives and incorporating elements of magical realism, the fictional novel explores what happens when they are given back what they once thought to be lost, and in the process, confront their notions of identity, memory, and love.
Thanks for reading! I look forward to getting to know you all. Write me a comment or find me on Twitter @TinaEhsanipour. For more bios of my fellow Pitch War warriors, click here.