Letters to the Editor
It is that time of year again: graduation, departing students, the end of the school year and the heat, the beginning of the rainy season. It is when I usually take inventory. My list this year includes a long overdue thank you. I am grateful for your support as an editor and fellow writer. I hope that goes without saying. I am honored to know you and admire your very moving work as a novelist.
But what I want to thank you for this year is something you may take for granted, but for me and many of my students it is a lasting memory. You have helped some of the best young writers from The American School with their maiden publications: essays, reviews, and stories. You took a risk with them and gave them their first chance. Unbeknownst to you, in each case I credited El Ojo del Lago in my letters of recommendation to Harvard, Stanford, Swathmore, UBC in Vancouver, Brown, Boston College, and others.
Often, I received calls from the admissions office when a scholarship was being considered but not decided, and I spoke both of your editorial assistance, and the wide circulation of the magazine in which the student was published. It carried weight and in every case, the scholarship was awarded; in one instance, $40,000 a year.
Some of those students you might remember. Chris Hazard whose book review of your very first historical novel, The Dark Side of the Dream, you published back in the 90’s, is now an English professor. Jorge Agraz, one of a group of my students you invited to the Writers’ Conference back in 1998 is now a diplomat working at the Mexican Embassy in Berlin. Ye Sul Meung has a PhD from Stanford and is a marketing specialist for a major firm in Korea. Sofia Benitez is a senior at Swarthmore and has been published in several magazines and is editor of the university journal. Cassandra Torres is studying international relations at UBC in Vancouver and probably would not have been admitted without your help. Luciana Mendez, the inspiration of the Lincoln and Mexico play, is now in Chicago, studying at DePaul University. All of them remember with fondness your gracious comments on their work.
So this is your legacy as well. Not only the magazine that you piloted in good times and bad, not only the mature writers you helped in their golden years, not only your own fine creative work which has yet to reach the audience it deserves... none of these accomplishments, however, are truly the jewel in your multifaceted crown. For me, that diadem is the help you gave the younger generation over the past two decades in Mexico to get a leg up. You gave a gift that would keep on giving. No matter where they go in life or what they do, no matter rain or sunshine, good days or bad, they will be able create beauty in their lives because they have the ease and confidence to write it all down. The Ojo gave them that early encouragement for a lifetime of fulfillment.
Michael Hogan, Ph.D.
Emeritus Humanities Chair
The American School Foundation of Guadalajara, A.C.
+52 (33) 3648 2469
Ed. Note: Professor Hogan is the author of the renowned book, Lincoln and Mexico, as well as the writer of the stage play he adapted from said novel, the American School student production of which was given a standing ovation at the closing curtain of both of the performances recently presented at the Lakeside Little Theater.