“Tomorrow’s Voices Today” is a column in Cultural Weekly, an online magazine that covers culture, arts, and news in and around Los Angeles. It’s a forum that seeks contributions from creative writers who are making an impact in their communities. Three of the latest contributors hail from Woodbury students: Joshua Don Jones, who is majoring in Communication and Professional Writing (Close Your Eyes); Tricia Lopez, a Professional Writing major (To the Couple at the Target in Pasadena); and Kendra Quadra, an Interdisciplinary Studies major (Limitless-The Story of Dani Bowman).
The three have more in common than the shared experience of publication. According to faculty member, Dr. Linda Dove, Professional Writing program, all three contributions focus on an autobiographical story as a means of interpreting and processing a larger, more complex context. “Tricia’s piece focuses on race and immigration, Kendra’s on disability, and Joshua’s on religion and faith,” she says. “In each case, the personal resonates in the public sphere and takes on political and social meanings.”
Joshua, a 21-year-old African American Christian, is a sophomore and enjoys writing essays and poetry. Poetry, indeed, has been part of his life since childhood. He recalls that his sisters were writing and reciting poetry well before he knew how to read. Edgar Allen Poe ranks as his favorite poet, and he says he’s working diligently to become a better writer.
Likewise, Tricia, an L.A. native, knew from a very young age that she wanted to be a writer. In high school, she declared as a business major until she realized that writing was her passion. An editor for Moria Literary Magazine and now a freelance writer, Tricia recently wrote the concept and lyrics for an R&B album. She’s now at work on a chapbook of poems.
When Kendra met Dani Bowman in her INDS course Natures, she was intrigued by her exceptional animation skills and the business she had built at age 11. The following semester they found themselves in another class together, L.A. Stories, and, when presented with an assignment to write a biography about a fellow classmate, Kendra jumped at the chance to work with Dani. The premise of the interview project was to write each other’s “L.A. Story,” an introductory exercise in developing oral history skills.
“Joshua, Tricia and Kendra embody Woodbury’s commitment to the larger community. Classes here serve students by asking them to understand themselves as part of those outside contexts,” Dove says.
“This is culturally-centered civic media,” she notes. “Through their pieces, these three students can make contributions beyond the classroom and think of their work as projects-in-the-world, not only as coursework. They can begin to understand themselves in a ‘professionalized’ context.”