Erica Cardona may not be old enough to vote, but she is old enough to have her own book signing.
Erica is a 17-year-old high school sophomore at Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School. She is heavily involved in her academics and is described by her mentor/teacher Judith Katz as having a “very special voice.”
While at Co-Op, Erica channelled her passion into writing and published a book of poems entitled Blue-ish — a title she picked because because “didn’t feel happy, didn’t feel sad,” but “felt bluefish.”
The book is organized like a diary, revealing the insecurities that come with being a teenager but also divulging deeper into Erica’s thoughts and ideas. These poems are a direct insight into the life of a highly observant and talented young writer. An example of a poem in the book:
I know not what to do; I have both the world at my hands and nothing at all. I try to kill all the bits of hope because I know there is none, but a dreamer’s got to dream. But then again I have to do it; I have to murder the beast that claws at the cage that safeguards my soul.
My heart no longer matters; it’s just a decoy. After all, you can’t break a broken heart, so therefore do what you want with it. Now my soul is hidden where not even I know. So you can try but you can’t hurt me. I’m bulletproof ...
On Tuesday Erica had a book-release and signing ceremony at City Hall. It was filled with friends from Co-Op. Though many of her friends were aware of her writing abilities, they did not know about the deep themes that were present in her life. “It’s a different side of her,” said classmate Yashaira Leguisamon. “For people to now know about it is really cool.”
Those present at the event included Mayor Toni Harp and Coop Principal Val-Jean Belton. M Mayor Harp said she hopes the book inspires other young people to pursue artistic dreams.