Local author’s book spreads the "Love of Language" across New Mexico
According to famous author Barbara DuBois, Socorro is the heart of New Mexico.
DuBois writes as she continues to live for each moment everyday. Nothing can pass her by — not even the smallest detail — when it comes to thinking about her next stanza in a poem, or the smallest word to become a future story.
And she has the most creative mind to make them tell a story.
Her latest published novel, “Love of Language: I’ve Got It Badly, and That Ain’t Well,” is a short book with all the simple and key features to get people to think about the intriguing things in life.
In her book, words, places, names and actions take an appropriate place within the text, then she illustrates how her words and phrases are then developed into a story. The book gets you to think about what these words and phrases really mean, and DuBois has a well-known sense of making things stand out of what one would’ve never thought existed.
Besides being an author, Debois is also a devoted poet and is currently a retired teacher, who has been a writer for 75 years.
“I love writing, it’s one of my favorite past times. I do it all the time,” DuBois said.
Her inspiration for writing came from her high school English teacher, Cecil Carter. He always encouraged her to write and praised her for the work she developed and created in his class.
Through his class, she learned more about different subjects and methods, and she used her own views on writing as a way to inspire others to write.
As a college professor, DuBois taught her students to be more specific and detailed with their writing and describe what they wrote so their readers could fully understand what they were saying.
DuBois’ favorite author is Wystan Hugh Auden because he writes poetry and uses some rhyme. She said his poems are clever, and he’s very interesting, since as an author, he had to turn his form of writing around. At first, he started off as being difficult to understand, then he had to alter his style to become more simple, she said.
Her favorite poem of his is “Musee Des Beaux Artes.” This poem is about Icarus, a young man from mythology, who tried to escape from an island prison with his father by building wax wings.
Soaring and getting too close to the sun, which melts his wings, Icarus then falls into the ocean.
Auden wrote his poem from a piece of artwork. He used the picture to develop and write a poem about what he saw.
“When you start to write, you don’t know where you’re going — like exploration,” DuBois said.
DuBois writes wherever she goes. With poetry, she sits and thinks of many creative things and traces them back to where she got her inspiration from. She has traveled mostly in Europe and has been to Scotland, France, England, Italy and Spain. She writes travel articles for each and every place she goes.
Her first published book was based on her inspiration from traveling to Greece. While in Greece, the islands caught her attention and she claims they were her favorite.
Santorini is the big lagoon in the middle of the Atlantic that she describes as blue and white and breathtaking. She wrote a piece about it in her first published book, “A Greet Suite,” which was released in 1998. The book is filled with poems about Greece’s mainland.
She has also written several articles for a newspaper in California.
“What I say about writing is what most authors say. I always write in my mind — without paper and pen,” DuBois said.
DuBois has not only taught students and future writers to write about what they find most interesting and describe what they want, she has encouraged them to go beyond what they see, take the challenge and dive right into writing.
Her sister used to write articles about teaching until she retired.
Her grandson, Jalal DuBois, is a writer in Ecuador, who writes scripts for a television program. DuBois was a huge influence on Jalal, and she hopes she can continue to be a positive influence for other future writers as well.
One of the ways she continues to inspire future writers is through the poetry club. DuBois is one of the chairwomen of the Rio Abajo poets who meet once a month to talk about poetry.
The Rio Abajo club discusses poetry members write, or other poems that are their favorite.
Through writing, DuBois said she helped a friend learn to get through anything that was bothering her. The best thing to do, she suggested, is to write it down, and get it over with.
Her favorite thing about poetry is she gets to express her feelings. Her favorite poem that she’s written is “Friends,” which is about how to make and keep a good friend. The point is good and universal, everyone who has read the poem seems to agree with her.
The poem, she says, speaks clearly and truly about what friendship with others is all about. Anyone who is interested in joining the poetry club can come down to the Old Town Bistro at 7:30 p.m. every third Tuesday of the month.
DuBois is 85 years old, and continues to pursue her dreams and aspirations through writing. She takes the time to show others, through teaching English techniques and skills, what it means to be creative and work hard to express themselves through their writing.
Through her own writing, she has learned more about herself, and it has taught her to be more compassionate and understanding of others. She feels she can fully express herself through her work.
DuBois’ stories are of a different context her simple use of words and basic phrases is very helpful to everyone from youthful beginners to the most experienced minds.
DuBois grew up in Yonkers, N.Y. Even though she didn’t write while living on the East Coast, she went to college in Michigan, where she got her master’s degree in English. She came down to the West, to Los Alamos, because her husband was a chemist and got a job at the Los Alamos Labs.
DuBois taught freshman English and technical writing at the University of New Mexico’s Los Alamos location for 15 years. She and her husband came to Socorro in 1986, where she taught the same courses at New Mexico Tech for three years.
Currently, she writes book reviews for El Defensor Chieftain. She’s on the library board, part of Friends of the Bosque and has been with the historical society at the Hammel Museum for 18 years.
Starting Sunday, July 1, DuBois will be the future president of American Association of University Women in Socorro. Even though she’s retired, she never stops teaching others, continues to be involved with many activities, and always has good advice for those who aren’t sure whether they should to write or not.
“Just write all the time, just do it,” DuBois says.