This, My Breath

Suzette Mack, University of Texas at El Paso


This, My Breath, is a creative collection of memories gathered along the seasons in my life–mostly from my formative years. The stories highlight the patient, unconditional love my parents shared, and the way it has influenced me throughout my life. The stories are about life, love, loss, a yearning to belong, and a longing to be both interdependent and independent.In my family of origin, it was the simple rhythms established through daily life and the honoring of traditions that inspired the deepest meaning, purpose, and hope. The seasons of the year brought my family alive with a flow of passion, purpose and meaning that have left an imprinted tempo that guides me still today. Through this, it is my ancestors who remind me to return “home” when I falter, stray, or feel lost and rejected.The yearning to share my memoirs had the unexpected effect of opening wide a multiplicity of grief. Processing the stories-memorializing the people I’ve adored, baring open some of the private issues I’ve endured, digging into history to clarify the cultural climate during my life and sorting through photos to help me remember-also connected me to a broader world. Writing this has helped me better understand how we interconnect as humans, while also maintain our boundaries as individuals. Through this, our individual stories become shared.As I work to complete my MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Texas El Paso, I write my final piece with the hope of culminating my education into something that inspires others along their own seasons in life. It is my desire to further pursue work in the arena of creative memoir-writing as a way to process grief collectively and individually. I envision opening up such a project to anyone interested, where stories can be told in creative writing clusters, as grief and love dance into the light of life. The process will no doubt bring astonishing surprises.My writing style for this immediate work draws upon some of the multiple forms of writing I have been invited to explore during my studies at UTEP, particularly nonfiction, antropoesía, and coming of age. I touch on some tough memories and emotions, but also share some joyfulness along the path. It is with gratitude to the Creative Writing program at UTEP that I’m sanctioned to write this piece with the creative release encouraged throughout this program, while also adhering to the standards that shepherd creative writing. I’m eternally grateful to Professor Sasha Pimentel, my Thesis Director, and my Thesis Readers, Professor Daniel Chacón, and Professor Jessica Slade. Your caring and critiquing helped push my words into the world. Thank you for being part of my journey.

Subject Area

Creative writing

Recommended Citation

Mack, Suzette, "This, My Breath" (2020). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI27964691.