I’m a high school senior and I’ve been coming to Hugo House for a little over two years now. I heard about Hugo House through a friend who had done a summer writing camp called Scribes and recommended it to me because she knew how much I liked writing. I had always written on my own, but during Scribes I discovered this amazing community of writers who all enjoyed telling stories as much as I did. That summer I fell in love with Hugo House, and that fall I joined the Young Writers Cohort.
I come from a very science-oriented home—both of my parents are engineers—and so the time I spend at Hugo House has been times of unspeakable refuge. I’ll never forget this one cohort session we had a year and a half ago, where we just sat in a room and talked about a short story called “Pregnant Girl Smoking” by James Boice for two straight hours. Before then, I had never just talked about a piece of writing for that long, and that in-depth. I remember leaving and thinking, that was the best two hours of my life.
There are a lot of things that I love about writing, but the core thing that draws me back every time is how wonderful and beautiful it is to read and listen to the stories that people share, to pick them apart and then put them back together again, and then to tell your own core story through the writing that you create. To me, that’s the whole point of writing. The whole point of everything.
And that’s why I love Hugo House—because it’s a space where you can talk about stories for hours upon hours. It’s a place filled with people who understand the profound importance of hearing and telling stories, and it’s a place where I’ve met amazing friends and mentors, grown both as a writer and as a person, and found my voice.
As I continue on in my journey, one of my major goals is to have some of my stories published in a journal, and in the fall, I’m going to be attending Stanford and majoring in Communications. And hopefully, in four years, I’ll be a journalist writing stories for a living, stories that are about the experiences that I’ve had that I feel like no one talks about: stories about growing up in a house with two immigrant parents, or going to a really small, private, mostly white school; stories about people who feel peripheral, who feel glanced over, or feel alone. Hugo House is the place where I fostered my passion for these kinds of stories, and learned to tell them well.
Adesuwa Agbonile is a high school senior who has been a member of the Hugo House’s Writer’s Cohort for the past two years. She mainly writes short stories and prose poetry, and has been published in Scholastic’s The Best Teen Writing of 2015. She loves good stories that make your heart expand outside of your chest, and also burritos.