January 13, 2013 is when I fell in love with Writ Large Press, it was the morning after Billy Burgos’s launch party at Beyond Baroque - thank you Billy, for the introduction! Most of you know that story, if not ask me in private! I then began to love all things Writ Large. I followed them and their doings, and then we'd hang and scheme for nights at Spring Street. We laughed, loved, hated, and cried together, and we shared similar beliefs on what “books" mean to us, the people who write them, and the communities they serve (and don't serve).
Then, Writ Large invited Poesia Para La Gente to participate in LAB•FEST in 2013, and the book fests in 2013 and 2014. And then #90for90 happened and I was formally invited to join this amazingness, whom I'd already grown to love. And so it began. And it was because of Peter, Chiwan, and Judy, and our little community that I learned how to navigate and process this thing called publishing, and all that it encompasses, and all that our lives encompassed over the past three years. And these past three years have been a lot: good, great, difficult, and everything, so I’m forever grateful in finding forever friends-like-family in those three amazing people. And yeah, I’m also grateful for being able to work on books by brilliant writers who also happen to be good people, like Wendy C. Ortiz, Rachel McLeod Kaminer, Ashaki M. Jackson, Mike Sonksen, and Teka Lark. And it was through Writ Large that I met some of the folx that I'll be fortunate to call friends for the rest of my life. Plus, have I mentioned how awesome it was to be a part of all of those events we put together, on that spectrum of what we see as being literary!? It’s been a fun/wild ride for sure!
But sadly, and happily, life brings us surprises. For instance, three years ago I had no idea I’d ever be married again, (and to someone so wonderful), but more importantly seven years ago when I began this journey, I had no idea I'd find this kind of fullness in my life. But I worked hard at letting me be me. This is how I found the friends I have now, the beautiful people in my life, that I love so much. This is also how I found it in myself to return to school, to return to the work I’m most passionate about, and to allow myself to learn, fuck up, grow, and experience. And with that comes shifts, in purpose, goals, what gets us excited, and how we choose to process how we learn new things.
Sadly, I'll be stepping away from Writ Large Press as a partner, but I’m excited for what’s in store. I owe it to them to make room for someone who has the capacity for a commitment greater than mine. Soon Writ Large will be publishing a new series of chapbooks, and 90x90 is on its way, and thanks to the many supportive friends and volunteers who’ve stepped up to help make this happen! I'm looking forward to all of this!! And I'll always believe, and hold close to my heart, the mission of Writ Large Press and it's founding partners, as expression of the politics we need in the world - yesterday, right now and always!
As for me, I’ll be announcing some new projects soon, one is a small publishing project, another is an advocacy/data project. Beginning this fall I’ll be pretty busy with finishing school while working freelance putting events together, helping other folks with events, designing books, working on community projects, working with Ave 50 Studio on things, and working to fight displacement and societal injustices. I'm also working on my first book which is requiring a surprising amount of research, but feels so good to be able to actually do. But also, and more importantly, there are some pretty exciting happenings on the home-front, which of course takes the cake!
There's an endless amount of joy and experience that I can write about, but I'll stop now, too many tears for a Tuesday! I'm so grateful for everyone I've met along the WLP way, and I'm equally grateful for this literary community we call home. So much more to come...see you all on the other side! 💜
resist. disrupt. transgress.
If you're interested in helping WLP with 90x90, in production, curating, presenting, reporting, spreading the word, etc. OR if you'd like your work to be featured for an evening - please FILL OUT THIS GOOGLE FORM.
This is how I welcome the July's. I was born in July and I'll be born again in the soon July. Born again because we sometimes have to relearn what it means to love. Because we forget, like walking past your neighbors aloe vera plants when you were a child. But you never knew they were there, or that they could heal what would leave a scar, did you? They were always there & reborn because when you were in the womb you didn't want to leave, you knew the world was waiting to scar you. Indefinitely. So you stayed too long, a week your mother says. Until they forced you out. But if they forced you out just six days earlier, you would be an entirely different kind of galaxy, than the one you were reborn to be & Jessica would be Julius & Julius would be Quintilis & everything could be anything, but water lilies would still be born from the garden you'll grow in eight days from today - separating the next from yesterday. The ceremonial tea is for the happiest of July's & happy July. ❤️
I miss my hometown & summer will never again meet us on neutral ground & tails are pulled like magic, from the broken bodies of lizards. No one will ever know why some things don't take their time in moving from one place to the next. It just happens. The moving too fast to allow the missing. But I miss and keep missing & all I remember is the before, but maybe that has nothing to do with now, and everything to do with home. If home is defined as a place you've built good memories in, the only home I've ever had is becoming left over sketches of a poem that may or may not make a tail of all that's broken. Someone once said that missing is a virtue. And so the missing will have to make up for the absence of normal summers. But I'd trade this poem and virtue, to stop anyone from missing what a home use to be. #HLP
I'm learning the difference between a secret and a lie, and I'm learning that secrets can destroy what it means to be human. In an effort to encourage my communication and to destroy secrets among us, I've been sharing my therapy sessions, in the way I know best, so far.
• • •
Falling in love with Mondays because she has a way of returning to me the time I've lost, in bits and pieces, and it only takes an hour each time.
I prefer to walk while retracing the hour that I gain. It's easier this way, to remember the things we wanted to say but didn't, and the things we should have said, but left them to "the next session."
The thing about getting to know therapy after thirty two years off and on, you learn to read faces, energy, secrets and lies. And therapists have secrets too.
We talked about missing things that we don't have. That we've never had, or that we very momentarily had. And how everything that makes me happy today, reminds me of those things.
Secret #1 : I wasn't suppose to forget.
We spoke about bodies in peace. A body without the deafening highs and crashing lows all at the same time, the oscillations - physical and sound, without the immediate and dramatic biochemical response of our bodies interaction with ourselves, after inappropriate amounts of sleep. We spoke about bodies without conflict.
But this is not my body. My body wants me to stop keeping secrets, my body wants me to know it by name.
Sometimes we feel everything over and over again, because that's what being alive feels like for us. We can be scared of the outside - the confrontations between two, the conversations that end with someone walking away upset. The screaming and yelling and pushing and pushing. Until someone gets hurt. It's scary, the outside. And that's not where I belong.
But I learned today that this is where I live. But it's not a place I visit, or somewhere I call home, or something I look for. There's an entire city that makes a home in my body. The environment, landscape, and culture that sleeps, wakes, and plays inside. The screaming and yelling and pushing and pushing. It's the comforting confrontations with ourselves. Over and over again. Until they become not so comforting oscillations - physical and sound. And there's always a hurt. And this kind of screaming doesn't leave room for a conversation. And I don't want to know you, if it means we'll not be able to tell each other everything in the world that might make us feel everything, over and over again. I want to know I can be sad with you. That we can be sad together.
There are places for us, the ones who since children have carried cities inside of our bodies. Places where we can find room for conversation. That friend we call home. That place we call sun. Where we sleep, or just listen to the silence outside of our city, another home. The river. And where we only think about today, and no worrying about our next hour or next Monday.
Monday's mean therapy. And being a little crazy is okay. And yeah, these tears aren't always and only just because Prince died. Depends on who you ask. A lot of us are always too busy worrying about the ends of things, and how they relate to the beginnings of things, we can find ourselves in a spiral without a center. We don't want these things now, to end. Where's the center, where's the center? She reminded me that the truth in living is that there is no one truth in living. Not one idol. Not one prayer. Not one way to pray. Not one way to seek art as redemption. And it's okay to be crazy and to make decisions that lead to nowhere. Because, what is nowhere when we live to 80 in a zillion year old universe, if we're lucky. That's how I made sense of what she said. And i'd like to hold onto that, knowing that those weren't mistakes or reflections of my faults. Not all of them anyways. They were just a little bit of crazy. And she said, "look at Prince, he lived outside of constructs, made his own way." And all I can think of is, "Yeah, but he's dead at 57." And all I can feel is the center. And it's sad and scary, and heavier than crazy.
at the very inside of what we call this, our temporary state of reaching for another state, of unmaking the temporary, otherwise known as memory or
"nothing which has once been formed can perish...
everything is somehow preserved."
and after sleeping for too long, I open today's memory and it reminds me that - un idioma se muere cada 14 días; 107 personas se mueren cada minuto. is it better to be awake than to be honest with one self. they both sound terrifying
and what we end up finding buried beneath our pillows are fragments, not left behind but waiting, to be excavated. the ashes becoming. the archeology of who we don't yet know we are. we are. always about to become. because
"...the only happiness is the satisfaction
of a childhood wish."
(inspired by a conversation between twenty of us neo-astronauts and Sigmund Freud, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce, under the roof of an exploratory wish machine in Pasadena, CA)
When you live in a tiny teeny apartment you'll do anything you can to make space to welcome his mother home for a visit. I'll warm the comal too, she's never had my homemade tortillas! But, it's not like she hasn't been here before. I could be sad that I'll never physically meet her, or that my love misses her the same way he did when he was 10, or that my family will never meet her, or that our future plans together, as a growing family, will never include her in the photos. It could be so sad that each cut I make into a shape for the altar's papel picado would turn into a small cup of tears. It could've been so sad, if that wasn't when the sadness became something else, magic. At that precise moment is when Mictecacihuatl takes the steering wheel and watches over the body [the body as tierra, earth, or ash] so that the spirit is safe to join us for even a brief moment. That cold chill. That dancing monarch trying to kiss the top of your nose. Some of us consider the tears to always be sad ones. Yet one of the beauties of being gifted a Mexican heart is that we understand that long past the childhood confusion, through the memories, and to heal from the withoutness as an adult we can invite our loved ones back to where we call home. To say hello, catch up, and to celebrate the past and the present, in truth - and a little chisme. We're all lucky that way. And there's enough Mexican heart to go around. And when we've found the love of our life, one of the very first things we do is meet their parents. Good or bad, one way or another. And we share their stories, and we learn while trying to forget, or remember, and build new families, and the circle continues, the way it's continued for thousands of years.
I'm excited to welcome Irene home when she visits us here in the San Fernando Valley, but shhhh - I'll tell her it's the heart of Los Ángeles, home of the Mexican heart...for just a few nights! ;)
THIS essay got me thinking.
My maternal grandmother was born on Santa Catalina Island, raised most of her children in Villa Guerrero and Temastian Jalisco and when she returned to Califas she refused to speak English. My mother carried the burden of Spanish through high school, in a violently unfamiliar but always brown English-only Los Angeles. A reminder to my mom that she was definitely not Mexican-American. Fast (not so far) forward to my birth and childhood, when English forced my mom into becoming a definite Mexican-American, I learned that grandma always understood her grandchildren, something we felt beyond language barriers. As a child I always wondered if it was her stubborn ways, but as an adult I realized she's just the badass matriarch of the familia Ramos.
But where does this leave me, and my pocha ways? With big responsibilities. If English makes us Mexican-American, what are we without Spanish?
Should some of us adopt a Spanish-only rule, I'm pretty sure that I don't have too far to go before I can fairly declare myself Mexican-American. But Spanish first.