The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

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Award-winning author Mark Oshiro visits schools in hopes to bring unique representation into the writing field

Credit: Emily Porco
Mark Oshiro signs one of their books for a student with a personal dedication. They make casual conversation with each student to give the best dedication possible.

“Be yourself. Be over the top. Outlast them. Show them that no amount of fear will ever make you change who you are.” Mark Oshiro wrote this in their book “The Insiders” describing the importance of individuality inadvertently depicting a part of their life where they struggled to find their true self. 

Mark Oshiro, a young adult author, recently visited Loy Norrix High School. During their visit, they described how they came about as an author and what they hope their future will look. 

Currently, Oshiro has published seven novels and has six in the making. Their most recent novel was “The Sun and the Star,” which is a Percy Jackson standalone, co-written with Rick Riordan, the original author of the Percy Jackson series. 

Ever since they could remember, Oshiro wanted to be an author. They started writing a “Goosebumps” book with a horror twist when they were eight years old. Oshiro liked to create their own “terrifying tales” and even left their books in the library for other students to check out.

Although today they are a creative, passionate author with many successful books, they weren’t always supported by their family growing up. 

Oshiro, a member of the Latinx community, was adopted into a Japanese family along with their twin brother, making both of them a transracial adoptees. Growing up, Oshiro had a difficult time expressing themself in such a conservative household. 

When they were sixteen, their parents kicked them out of their house after they came out as queer, leaving them homeless. To this day, Oshiro has never gone back to their adopted family’s home and continues to have an estranged relationship with their adopted parents. Trying to stay afloat and afford their own apartment, Oshiro worked two jobs at the same time during their senior year of high school. 

Oshiro expressed how important it was to have support from their best friend during these times. They were so close to one another that Oshiro even called their friend “mom.” 

“What I needed more than anything else at this time was to understand that what I was going through was not only something that could be survived, but that I was not alone,” said Oshiro.

After high school, Oshiro got a job as a music journalist. During this job, they interviewed many different artists, among them Metallica. During their time as a journalist, they learned to set deadlines for themselves, write about the real world and write quickly. 

Oshiro did not publish their first book until they were thirty-four years old, proving that you are never too old to start pursuing your passion. 

Oshiro is most proud of their book “Into the Light,” which shows their ambition. They described it as a “slow burn thriller” in which they were able to intertwine fiction with their real life experiences, showing  what it was like growing up in a religious family and being rejected from it.

To be at the point in their lives where Oshiro can speak and advise high school students, shows how much they have advanced in their life and become a role model for current high school students.

“I didn’t see someone like myself who was Latino, queer, tattooed, someone who is a professional weirdo and didn’t have to shed this nerdiness as an adult,” said Oshiro.

Now, Oshiro sees themselves in the crowd they are presenting to. They watch students that were just like them get the role model Oshiro never got. 

“You can learn from experiences and turn them into art,” Oshiro said. 

That is exactly what they did: they made art that other kids can relate to and learn from. Their experiences made them exactly who they are and got them in a successful space, one where they can meet their writing idols and help kids feel more comfortable in their own skin. 

Senior Chloe Hanks attended Oshiro’s presentation and said that it was important that they came to LN because “it was an opportunity for students to see a different career path that could inspire someone to go the same route”

Hanks also mentioned that Oshiro’s representation is important to have in schools because “even if a student listening isn’t close to that community, it still shows diversity. It’s a package of different points of views that students are able to learn and thrive from.” 

This kind of representation is critical for LN because others can see that going through hard experiences can lead to a successful and happy life. This way Norrix’s students can get the support that Oshiro didn’t get and grow to be the best version of themselves possible with what resources they have and whatever their journey may be. 

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About the Contributor
Emily Porco, Social Media Editor
Hi, I am the Social Media Editor for Knight Life. This year I am a senior and have been on Knight Life for two years. I decided to join Knight Life because I have always enjoyed writing and Knight Life is a great way to explore that interest. In my free time I like to read and hang out with my friends. Pronouns: she/her/hers

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