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SI Prep for Life Marguerite Rivas sipoet After reading some of the posts here today, I was wondering. Has being a Staten Islander, has another StatNislander, or has some Staten Island experience helped to prepare you for your role in life now? I'm not sure how to articulate this. For example, a nun gave me a book of poetry in the eighth grade. It changed my life. I knew I wanted to be a writer and an English teacher by the end of that year. I still remember all of my linking verbs that I had to memorize that year. I read voraciously, but in eighth grade I started to study in earnest. I read all of the Bronte sisters that year, the Romantic poets, and Gone With the Wind. Maybe it was the time, maybe it was the place, but I haven't stopped reading literature to this day. Maybe this isn't what I mean exactly. I'm a little bleary. Okay here's another example. When I was a kid I had some very profound experiences in the woods at Huguenot. This instilled in me a love of nature, a real sensual love of nature, that enabled me to write the kind of poetry that I did. Also, I found a book in the Tottenville library that I checked out frequently on the history of Staten Island. This early experience instilled a love of the history of the island and sparked my imagination. I could visualize, in a very vivid way, things like Revolutionary War soldiers quartered in the homes and Lenape sweat lodges at Arbutis Lake. My work is filled (or littered some might say) with images of history and nature. If I grew up in Bay Ridge, my work would not be what it is. Am I making sense? Do you have any analogous experiences?

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