Times Square as My Backyard
By Joanne Cai
As a die-hard New Yorker, it would be pretty hard to convince me to live anywhere else. With 17 years worth of New York stories, allow me to indulge you in the life of a true Manhattanite.
I was born and raised in Manhattan, which has given me such an interesting and unique perspective on life. I have always wanted to document all my life experiences in a way where I can share my stories with everyone, and a podcast seemed like the perfect vehicle! A couple of months ago, Leela, my mentor, went to a Girls Write Now workshop and told me all about Anchor. Anchor became a place to record and publish all my interesting conversations with my friends! As I was recording my trailer for my podcast, I was surprised by the number of times I had to re-record it! As a perfectionist, I felt the need to restart every time I stumbled over a word. Eventually, I managed to record something I was proud of, trimmed the audio, and added music.
Meet the Pair
MENTEE JOANNE CAI & MENTOR LEELA DEO
Joanne’s Anecdote: Over Starbucks coffee from the Barnes & Noble in TriBeCa, Leela and I dove into conversation about everything from my impending transition to college (!) to the Trump era to world news. Leela pushed me to be a better writer and thinker, encouraging me to dig deep into my emotions and interests to enrich my writing. With her, I’ve written my college essays, reflected upon my heritage, and wrote about my greatest passion: the environment. I am so grateful for Leela’s advice, wisdom, and insight; she has made me more aware of the power of my voice and ability to make an impact.
Leela’s Anecdote: When I first met Joanne I was immediately struck by her confidence, passion, and ambition. As a senior, she was very focused on applying to college. Witnessing her move successfully through that process to stand squarely at the threshold between her past/present and her future has been such a pleasure. A scientist at heart, with a deep appreciation for biology, nature, and animals, I am certain Joanne will chart an impressive path forward to put her stamp on the world. We both enjoyed the poetry workshop, which we explored further in our pair writing sessions. We had so much fun playing around with skinny poems and lunes. One of those prompts, and a conversation about the Australia wildfires, inspired Joanne to write this pair of poems.
Joanne Cai is a class of 2020 Girls Write Now mentee based in New York, NY.