Like most kids who grow up in poverty, I grew up deeply embarrassed by my circumstances and went to great lengths to hide the shocking reality of how we lived. That feeling of shame followed me as an adult, and for the longest time I avoided talking about my childhood and the poverty that defined it. Years into my writing career, not only has I never written about my past but in fact I went out of my way to avoid writing anything remotely personal.
Eventually, though, my mindset changed. Boosted by some caring mentors and the support of organizations devoted to promoting writers with backgrounds like mine, I gradually realized I had a valuable opportunity to share the stories of those whose lives are impacted by poverty.