My name is Kiandra, and I believe stories matter.
In fact, I think stories are a basic and integral part of life. We learn, love, grow, and heal through stories--telling and hearing them.
I am Kiandra Jimenez, a poet/writer and artist, my family’s own griot, and I am passionate about storytelling--through fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, food writing, art, and sometimes photography.
My mama says I was always creative. Family lore has it that I didn’t talk till I was four, almost five. Not a word, or sound. But when I did, full sentences fell out of my mouth and I haven’t been silent since.
I have been a writer and artist, in some way, my entire life. As a child I colored a lot, started drawing in High School, where my talent for writing was first brought to my attention. In my early college years I pursued writing, switched to Architecture, then Art, and then came back to writing after ten years of working in my community as an artist. My BA (Cal Baptist '12) is in English, and my MFA (Antioch University, Los Angeles '15) is in Fiction and Poetry, which feels wonderful.
While most of my writing energy is devoted to finishing my first novel, I often write personal essays and poetry because both forms allow me to be vulnerable, raw, and gutturally honest on the page. The same goes with my art, which I turn to when my thoughts/ideas rather take on the visual instead of written form. And sometimes, even as a writer, words cannot express what I see in my mind's eye.
Outside of my own writing practice, I teach Creative Writing at UC Riverside Extension, work as an editor for Lunch Ticket Literary Magazine, and have homeschooled my children since birth (this includes teaching them to read, write essays, create art, cook, garden, dance, laugh, pray, and the list goes on).
Besides words, I love food--soulful, whole food that reminds me of my Granma's kitchen, the many birthday cakes I made my mother as a child, and the family favorites my own family has grown to love. I can't remember a time in my life that I didn't cook, that food wasn't a part of who my family is.
Granma gave me one piece of advice, "If you want it to taste right you have to cook with love. If it ain't got love, it won't be worth nothing."
My motto is, "When it's done right, it taste like love."
Live, Learn, Create, Teach—Repeat.
Here’s what I believe to be true:
- It's about God, not me.
- Stories matter.
- Live in tune and honor Nature daily.
- Writing can be a peaceful act of defiance.
- Write to understand what you don’t know, but need to know.
- Literary artist must teach the craft, as well as practice it.
- Food, like love, heals. Especially whole food made with love.
- Words heal.
- Gratitude fixes everything.
- Maya Angelou is right, everyone deserves rainbows in their clouds.
It is my hope to inspire you to develop a daily devotional practice honoring God and His Word, to start and maintain a writing practice/life, to share with you what I know (and don't know) about writing well with vulnerability and passion, to be open and sharing about my Christian faith, to encourage you to find the stories in your life that need telling, to inspire you to start and maintaing an organic garden, to inspire you to see God in nature, and finally to inspire you to feed yourself and those you love good, whole food.
Join me in passionately living this life of ours, honoring our purpose and His will.
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Peace, Love, and Blessings.