Juan Moreno Haines is a pillar of the Brothers in Pen creative writing class. (Us short people like to be called pillars from time to time.) I believe he joined the class in 2010, so at 13 years in he’s crept up on record holders Kenny Brydon (14 years) and Watani Stiner (13 years) for longest continuous membership in the class. He has been a pillar in the sense of upholding all we do in this class, from writing stories, listening intently and generously to other people’s stories, deeply engaging in discussions of literature, welcoming guests, and putting on our “annual” public reading (sometimes a bit of a longer stretch between events… I think we may have one coming up at the end of April). He has looked for ways to support the practicalities of running the class, from helping us manage our NEO word processor fleet to helping us get stories printed and sometimes even emailed. He notices when people are struggling and persistently walks in Arnulfo Garcia’s footsteps in terms of seeing people’s hidden gifts and calling them out. He’s got his little black book in his shirt pocket to help him keep track of all the projects, people, story ideas, to-dos, appointments, birthdays, pertinent facts, middle-of-the-night genius moments… seems to work well for him.
Every year since 2015, Juan has written a piece at Thanksgiving, “Thanksgiving in North Block,” which he mails out to a wide circle of friends. I have posted a couple of them on this site, but have been meaning to put them all together and post them as one Juanish swoop through the years. I seem to be missing 2018 and 2019; if I can round those up I will add them to the document… but for now click here to find Thanksgiving in North Block, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2020, 2021, and 2022. Thanksgivings due to Juan.
PS I’m not even going to mention that this is the first post I’ve made since 2020. I won’t try and describe the strange difficulties of communication I’ve experienced. I’m hoping this post is the first to break a logjam.