Freshman Places in Creative Writing Contest With “Southwest Granny”

Ashlei Garcia, a winner of this year's WNMU Creative Writing Contest

© Western New Mexico University

With graduation ahead, it’s important to reflect on the hard work and dedication that got each student to their goal by hearing from a student whose educational journey has only just begun.

Freshman Ashlei R. Garcia was a winner of the WNMU Creative Writing Contest prose category. She began her degree program once her children were in school themselves. “My youngest is six. My oldest is nine,” she said.

So far, Garcia has surprised herself by getting on the Dean’s List at WNMU. “In high school, I was a terrible student,” she said. “My whole mindset changed. I’m doing this for my children so they can have a good future.”

Considering a career in education, Garcia said she has never considered herself a writer. “Writing has always been a challenge, but I like to just put my imagination to work.”

Garcia’s inspiration for the piece she submitted to the contest, which she entered for extra credit, was her grandma. “She was my second mom or a father figure in a way,” she said.

An excerpt from “Southwest Granny” by Ashlei R. Garcia
My grandma has always been the heart and soul of the family. She has always been someone to look up to, brave, and never afraid. She was a nurse, so she knows what real patience and nurturing is about. I can describe her as someone who has been through a lot of historical events and somewhat inventions. The main thing I loved about her was her outspoken and brutally honest voice. She wasn’t afraid to say how she felt. In the late 90s on Kelly Street in historic downtown Silver City, I’d play on this cement rock wall and pick apricots from a tree in my grandma’s backyard. The cicadas would chirp in the blazing southwest summer day that would be cooled down by the afternoon monsoons. She’d sit on the porch smoking Paul Mall reds and drink her coffee from her signature white mug while we played.

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