Volume 1

Volume 1

The Comienzos writing group began on Monday, September 14, 2009, when 21 people, including 19 inmates incarcerated on felony charges and 2 Comienzos facilitators walked into a classroom and took our seats in a circle.  We wrote about Identity that first day, and after the scratch of scribbling pens came to a stop, almost everyone in the group read aloud.  We were all moved by each piece, in awe of the truth in the room, and for the next 6 weeks we took 90 minutes on Mondays and Wednesdays to write and read together.

We invite you to read some of what came from the first Comienzos writing group below.  Click on one of the themes, or click on a name in Wendy’s Gratitude to see what individual writers have offered.  If you’re touched by any or all of this work, contact us with your celebrations and feedback.






The First Time I…

Worst Fears


Wendy’s Gratitude



Today, I am grateful for the wisdom and love in Dominic R’s eyes, and the warmth and appreciation in Shilo’s smile. I am grateful for Lawrence C’s commitment and passion, and Nick’s limitless humor and creativity. I meet Ruben’s gaze, and feel grateful that he reached out to let me know how much our time together means to him. I see Prosperous deep in thought. I am reminded of the strength of his voice, and am grateful for his willingness to share it with us. Dominic V. greeted me today, as always, with a handshake and a grin, reinforcing to me that he is my protector, one who will ensure that I am always treated with respect. I’m grateful to Bobby, who challenges his perceptions of himself by coming to class, demonstrating a true desire to be a part of our little community. Lawrence L. always has a twinkle of curiosity in his eyes, letting me know that he is here to absorb all that he possibly can. Luis has taught me about honesty and integrity through his willingness to look within himself for answers. I am grateful for Simon’s undying positive attitude, and his innate capacity for compassion. Lefty shares with me his youthful glow. Hard times have not taken away his lust for life or creativity, and he has not allowed his heart to harden. Marnyl, wise beyond his years, demonstrates tranquility and empathy, listening more than speaking. I’m grateful to Art for the gentleness that exudes from his every pore. He may well be the most huggable man I know. And last, but certainly not least, I am grateful for Jiva’s constant support and devotion. Together we succeed, stumble, learn, and grow.


My heart feels full when I am with you all. Although I wish you could be free to revel in all that your lives have to offer, you bring me joy each time I see you here, reminding me that no lock and key is strong enough to contain love. If you leave this place knowing nothing else, please know that you have found a friend in me; one who will always respect and value you, one who cherishes you because I have seen all of the gifts that you bring to our world, and the love that thrives in your hearts.


Always here (or out there) for you,


Wendy J