Writing Apologetically

I was driving my car in annoying LA traffic the other day, and I realized something terrible. I write apologetically. Additionally, all the good stuff I have ever written, that I have published thus far or have put up on stage, has been work where I literally said F*CK IT!! Pieces I even submitted with typos (O.M.G. the worst, I know!). Yet those raw pieces I have written with no worries are the ones that get noticed. While the writing where I am constantly walking the line, struggles.

I am in the process of writing a new short play. A piece dear to my heart, and it is the first piece I have written with little to no humor. I use humor to hide trauma drama realness. The first draft got some folks emotional in the writing group. The second draft I was instructed to insert some required elements for the festival rules, which changed the piece from raw realness to now fit in this puzzle. My third draft is a better balance of both real and BS. Now the big question. Will my piece still move folks? Does this new hybrid of my rawness and apology/limitations get accepted? We’ll see.

The short play is about my grandmother, my aunties in Perú, and other women in my life who are absolute survivors.

I wanted to write about that. The NICENESS of us; the poison we drink as young women that later become part of our bloodstream and it’s hard to be separated from. I will follow the rules and hope to be part of the festival. But what if I were to pull it out and say … you know what? This is not the iteration I want portrayed. This is a special piece, and your rules are crap. In the past three years, I have met unapologetic womxn and I am constantly moved by their bravery. When will I be influenced? They challenge the idea of Niceness, which leads me to question the actions I make when deciding creative work.

Like most writers, I like to suffer. Go through the punches, if you will, out of sheer curiosity of the lived experience because in essence that also feeds my writing. I tell myself, maybe they know something I don’t, or I will learn something from this experience, or worse —  the festival will be a great experience for networking. GUAT?! (pronounced: WHAT) I apologize for the person whom I engage with; as some might say – give them the benefit of the doubt, and pray that it will all turn our okay. This type of apologetic living has gotten me not so far in relationships in the past. It’s insane I still think I have more to learn, but there is always something to learn. I think?

Is this a sustainable practice?

Part of this curiosity and wonder is what makes me a writer. Yet I sometimes think, is this polite go with the flow energy what is keeping me from diving deeper into my real writing voice. Truth. Vérité, if you will? La verdad es, the truth is…I don’t have an answer at this moment. I just needed to vent. Share these string of thoughts. Also is truth overrated? Are limitations necessary for the integral part of meaning making process for our readers? And what is wrong with developing relationships in an artistic community?

I wonder.

I suffer. I am a writer and I suffer. I am not alone in my suffering. Another thought … am I substituting this NICE concept with what really lies beneath me… a coward?


That’s hard.

Not all women are polluted by the idea of Niceness, but a lot of us Latinx womxn grew up in that sh*t like it was part of our identity, glued to us in some way. Inescapable out of the desire to keep traditions alive and boundaries accessible to us, for safety. Ah, safety.  Kind of like religion; you need it sometimes because without it how can you understand love versus danger? Or at least this is what we are told. Which later some of us are like, this is B.S. – either way you’re going to get hurt! Might as well be mean and get to the bottom of it! I mean some of us follow all the rules with our partners, and they still turn out to be dicks. Even after marriage. We just adjust. We powerful mujeres/womxn.

Now my short play is blended with my twisted idea of love.


What the hell do I do now? We’ve been lied to and we lie to ourselves to fit in a box of Niceness. And since we are paid like crap, we smile through it so we don’t get fired. Well, some of us hold that. For others, like me and my deranged freelance paycheck to paycheck life, the damage has been done. And now Niceness is part of the curious exploration of … I wonder where my boundary will pop up this time?

We are nice. Too freaking nice.

The worst part of this niceness apologetic voice BS is that it spreads. It lives in the way we walk, talk, in our desire to please and give that last tampon in our purse to the rude girl in the bathroom for hope that maybe she may be nice back at us. It’s so unfair, Reader. Often times she is not Nice. Often times she’s quite the little witch, and we judge her for it! And that’s when we are part of the problem. The expectations pushed on a girl to be nice to us, to smile at us because we gave her a tampon. Patriarchal nonsense.

My mind has been busy, as you can see.

My play in limbo.

My writing urging me to be honest and say f*ck it all! Get published and tell your truth. You are bound to piss someone off. Who cares!? The written word needs to be expressed.

For many a year I have been unknowingly writing APOLOGETICALLY. This year I accept the fact that I have been a coward in hopes that I move past this…nice apologetic voice of mine. My goal is to end 2019 with that desire to please, and just be me. The real, weird, raw, sci-fi, fart and alien loving me. That’s what folks tend to gravitate towards anyways. The weird 13 year old me who self deported to Perú. Not this 30-something grown up who wears pencils in her hair, drinks chai’s in the afternoon while people go to work, and tells her husband – watch the kid, I’ll be back. The immigrant. The feminist. The weirdo. The mom. The once undocumented me. Just me.

I’ll keep ya posted how it goes. 2020 is going to be pretty interesting.

Can someone out there relate?

Grey Mornings in L.A.

Los Angeles this morning feels like the the Bay Area during a lunch break, or like a Parisian mid-rain afternoon. It also reminds me of July’s in Perú (their winter), when I would be writing a song or an essay in my grandmother’s house, and she’d bring me quaker and camote frito. Yum! Pretty grey mornings make me feel alive again. Don’t get me wrong, I love the heat in Los Angeles.

Still, the constant sunshine sometimes keeps me away from the writing because I always want to be out. The constant gossiping on the internet keeps me from writing because I feel the need to engage with anti-45th updates. My dusty home keeps me from writing as I throw my arms up with the never ending of sweeping in an old house, and the pile of paperwork keeps me from writing, and, and, and…

You get the picture.

This procrastination mode is not cute, and I’m quite sick of the things I do to keep me from putting pen to paper or fingers to keyboard. So when I wake up on a glorious GREY SKY day, it feels like gold to me. It’s time to get busy.

I have no idea why this weather has an effect me, but I am sure all writers have their own rituals and atmospheric things that help them focus. What’s yours?

To MFA or not to MFA…

I go to the library today – (yes, on a Thursday, like any normal nerd would) – to get the insight on the most recent news about fashion, computer stuff, poetry and literature. These days I’ve added Forbes to the mix, just for the thrill of it.  Is this what it means to grow up? Have I arrived, Oprah? God knows. There I was just scrolling through a couple of articles in Wired about the power of DNA, reading through poetry in Harpers…when I suddenly came across the MFA program pages in Poets and Writers magazine. You should totally check out the Poets and Writers  (pw.org) website by the way, their resources are freaking incredible.

Anyway, I suddenly get the urge to look for local MFA programs in the Los Angeles region, and there are a couple low residencies that capture my eye. Hmm…? I am still paying my undergraduate loans back, though. What to do?

Now, I’ve been pretty proactive in my craft this year in a couple of ways: networking (attending writing events, meeting writers, going to writing circles and helping folks with their ideas) and supporting (as in helping others tell their stories with the few tidbits I picked up in Middle English class back in College. Thanks UC Berkeley for the dramatic literature and your draconian training!).

What I have been lacking is action. Not for others, I’ve actually turned out to be a pretty supportive collaborator and friend. I mean, action for MYSELF. Pushing me to the next step. So I look at this MFA page, and wonder. Is this what I need? Am I one of those people who need deadlines and structure to complete a piece of my own writing? Should I … go back to school?

I get chills from excitement, and then bite my lip with anxiety. What would that mean, to go back to school? Have I lived enough? Is MFA in Creative Writing the way to go? Who the frack knows?!

I do know this much though, the idea of getting paid to read and teach while I write my own story sounds like a good deal to me. As long as the program offers that kind of service. God knows where I’ll be next year, and for now my fingers will do the talking for me.  Has 2018 become the year of revelations for me? For everyone (we got the house, folks)?! Who knows?

Well, that is all for now. Good night folks.

A very successful group of writers

Recently two events happened to me within a span of two weeks, that inspired me, and encouraged me to stay true to my experience.

  1. I was sitting in a room full of writers who had gotten into NALIP Showcase, NHMC Writing Fellowship, someone who got into a Sundance program … and I thought, wow…I think I am in the right place. See, I’ve been meeting individually with artists and it’s been going great. However, I’ve been craving knowledge. How can I keep pushing myself to more and more avenues of writing. “We have to hold each other accountable for the work!” a girl said in the space. Actually she was the only other female besides me and we both felt urgency in the space. Moving back to Los Angeles has meant returning to the likes of tinsel town, but this has been different than prior experiences when I wasn’t invited to the table. This has been more like…wow there are Latinx folks like me out there who are also wanting to tell their stories. Badly. And although there was some resistance in my part about returning to the entertainment industry – for obvious reasons like – it has a ways to go in deconstructing and dismantling the system of oppression at play — we can all see that there is a shift happening. And folks like me, we’re tired of waiting to be invited in. Folks like me, we’re going to push our way through our door. And if they seal the door, we are going to make our own building and build a door with windows, so anyone can look inside an walk in if they want to. The idea of becoming a future show runner or even just a writer who sells treatments for show ideas — excites me. The idea that I can be someone who holds the door open for others to walk in, excites me. The idea that my writing could be a source of income to help my family and future children, excites me. We are going to make it through. One way, or another.
  2. I heard a man say last night, “No one is going to make the show about a Samoan!” and I thought … What are you saying?! They were probably saying the same thing about African Americans not that long ago, and we have incredible works out there written by amazing people of color. I mean, there has to be someone from Samoa out there who is itching to tell their story in film and television. And let’s say there isn’t (ha!)– they’re a community of people who are telling stories regardless. Because that’s what we do as humans beings. We tell each other stories. To learn, to connect, to remind each other that we are not alone. We are listening to a unique experience or witnessing a character that we all can  relate to in some way, shape, or form. I hope this man rethinks his words because I believe anyone can tell their story. If Hollywood doesn’t get it – there are now endless ways to get the word out.

I am excited.

PS – THERE ARE SAMOAN FILMMAKERS. Links below. That guy needs to take a hike!

2017 closes & something about bravery

I am perplexed continuously by this year’s inability to finish a well thought out idea. Have I put things down on a page? Yes, and have I completed certain tasks as a writer, yes…okay. I suppose. But bravery! Where are you? I am coming to the realization year after year that the reason I am not putting anything down on the page that is substantial is because I am afraid of judgement. Could it be possible that I am writing with superficial tendencies for fear of being mocked or laughed at? Who would get my strange musings? Who would understand or at least sympathize with the strange happenings in my head. Sometimes I share writing through myself and it sounds very dramatic, and sometimes I give actors my writing and it becomes a comedy. We use humor, people like me, to mask the pain. But am I using humor too much? Am I hiding behind the laughter to stop myself from unearthing something deep and confusing?

Sometimes my thoughts overwhelm me to the point of inability to write. I’ve taken it upon my self to write a short play for a theater company submission, and I only work on it when I am between sleep and alertness. This is the time of my night when I suddenly stop caring and just let the weirdo emerge and write what she wants to write. Out with it! If I am too awake, I tend to back away from ideas. Erase, negate, and think I’ll get back to it and work on someone else’s vision…not my own.

So here is my personal challenge for the new year.

Write like an audience member of me will be reading it, and how will they experience the writing. Don’t edit your work until the work is completed and tested. Keep writing. Even if it makes no sense and you have a page of nonsense on the paper. Write it out, get it out, until you are finished. Then and only then, are you allowed to go back and make changes.

Waiting until the wee hours of the night works…but I need to start making this technique work for me when I am fully awake. Let’s see how it goes.

Little things

Sometimes I am in my home, trying to write peacefully and my husband (oh yeah I’m married now) barges in with some distraction: what are you doing? are you hungry? do you want to go for a drive?

And it usually happens when I am at the epitome of a discovery in one of my characters, o when I am … as some writers/artists say… on a ROLL. I want to throw things at him, pillows, my sock, something to signify SCRAM YOU! But deep down I know this comes from what I have discovered to be my unrelenting anxiety which I manage now with deep breaths. Who would have known that breathing was such a lost skill in us human beings? It is, truly.

Anyways, after a few breaths I turn to face him and we discuss the necessary things in his mind and make choices. Go out for sushi, drive about the town, or get into a tiff about his or that. Little things.

And these little things used to annoy the heck out of me. But lately, I’ve been noting that it’s these little things that happen in real life that I take for granted.

I take it for granted in my personal life, and I take it for granted as a writer.
I mean, what an incredible way to create a study! A study on behavior, marriage, life! I began applying my “little things” mentality to other relationships. Stressors that used to trigger me, like mom’s late night phone calls have become enjoyable. This could be because I am getting older, but I would like to think that it has to do with my processing the little things. I forgot that my mother too is a storyteller. A person – a hilarious one at that. A great resource for story.

Things that I used to consider “distractions” are now merely OPPORTUNITIES to embrace life, notice it, pay attention to it, and be present for it. Because although writing and playing with my imagination is truly fun … I learned that I also have to consider the fact that life, REAL TANGIBLE LIFE is a great resource for character and development. Also, giving one self permission to escape the pages is good for the mind and spirit.

‘Tis all for now!

The dreaded rewrite

There is one thing I really dislike in theory. Cutting up my words and making things shorter than I had originally intended them to be. It gives me anxiety. And this is especially true with playwriting for me. However, when I sit in an auditorium and hear my words reflected back at me – I can hear and feel what needs to be changed immediately. I can sense the repetitiveness, and catch those words that are struggling to come out of an actors’ lips. They are unnatural when they stutter. Actors have a wonderful way of showing you through their actions a lot of the things you want to convey with “SAYING” or the written word, except the “DO IT” with their bodies. And sometimes, that subtle subtext is all you need. Thus, the dreaded rewrite has turned into something exquisitely gratifying for me. Especially when I get the chance to hear actors repeat my own words to me.

Here’s the thing folks, rewrites are essential. It is the reason why novels are published, movies are made, and open mics exist. Test your material, go to a live audience, read the story to a friend, and pick the sh*t out of it. Don’t hold onto things that will keep you down. What are the unnecessary items? Figure it out and cut-cut-cut them darlings. In the end, your voice will still be in there. Your message will pop. Maybe not in the originally way you intended it to…but it will be there.

So if you’re out there struggling with cutting down your work, just remember this: no two people write the same way. Even if you’re asked to change things up or “condensed” the work — it will still be you. Trust the process, listen to your writing out loud, and let it go. Because once it’s shared, and once it’s out there for the world to see — be it on a stage, on a movie screen, or even on a blog … once it’s out there, it’s no longer yours. It belongs to the collective ‘we the people.’ And you’ll have no control over what others may think of your writing, or you, for that matter. You can just hope that the message comes through.

So here’s an exercise for you:

  1. write something precious
  2. edit it to your liking
  3. give it to 3 people to read
  4. consider their opinions and notes
  5. cut cut cut to clarify and clean
  6. read it out loud to one more person
  7. cut cut cut again
  8. submit!

Here’s a cool place you can submit to: KPCC is looking for stories –




You’re so f*cked up!


Hello Blog-Landia! I have not written in a while. I am quite aware. However, I have been doing a lot of writing outside of this blog. Mainly for theater, which is a very happy circumstance. Why? Well, because I also happen to Act. So writing for the stage has been quite the fun adventure for me. Also, I’ve discovered that I write funny. Not throw yourself on the ground funny (though I hope to someday), but like — Oh what a clever joke! kinda funny.  I keep thinking about making a Shakespearean type of play one of these days, or a drama. But people usually laugh at my drama, so I think I’m meant to write funny. 🙂 My serious deep altercations end up sounding like a skit of Lucy and Ricky fighting over what to eat for breakfast. I try not to judge it.

Let’s go back a little, since I’ve been away for a while.

I don’t know about y’alls but 2016 was balls for me. Sure, I could look at all the wonderful positive things that happened — and don’t get me wrong, a lot of cool sh*t happened. BUT MAN!!! The good people of the earth got a cold hard reality check with Cheetoh in the oval office. Huh? I hope his presence there will someday bring laughter and confusion to the children of the future. How could they have let that happen? Dear God, was this a joke? Yes, kids. It was. And you know – let me just summarize the rest of my recent political trauma. Let me admit something: I have never had such a visceral experience in my life over politics, as I have had the last few months. I mean…it was bad. I think at one point during the month of November, I actually started sneezing hearing the term “President” thrown about so carelessly. But we survived the end of the year…and now it’s 2017.



As my young millennial friends would type: -__-

One can only hope for the best.

I mean, it’s that time of the year when you get to re-invent yourself. Talk about your past mistakes and vow that you’ll never do them again. And if January 1st didn’t do it for you, we just had the Chinese New Year a few days ago…so technically, there’s a second chance for you to be hopeful for the future. Me? I just downed some Pork Fried Rice and had a philosophical conversation with my father about why Gay Marriage is a right. He’s a Christian pastor, so the talk was a little rough. But since we have love for each other, we shook hands like two proper gentlemen and said our goodnights.

Anyways, I’m back folks. And to be quite real — there was a part of me that was like…should I just delete this blog? I don’t write in it, God knows who the heck reads it, and so forth and blah blah blah. Pero, like, it’s my fault. I should have been more proactive about that.

For now, I’ll share the following wonderful event that happened to me today:

I went to my very first group therapy session! I won’t say what the therapy was for, but man on man did I learn a lot about how dysfunctional the whole world is. And frankly, it made me feel better to know that there were a lot of us who had been triggered by this political circus. A lot of us who are…as Hollywood would say it,  f*cked up from the recent activities in our society. Yet, sharing and being real about what is happening in my life to a bunch of strangers was pretty awesome. And it was also very liberating to know I wasn’t the only screwed up person in the room. There are many of us. 😀

Anyway, I am trying to get rid of guilt that has me all discombobulated and what not. So I am here to say that I do not feel guilty for not writing on this blog. I do not feel guilty for growth and departure. Sometimes, we need to step away to regain ourselves. Absence does make the heart grow fonder, after all.

I have missed you, Reader. Whoever you are. I hope this bizarre entry brings you a little bit of joy, and a little bit of peace. And if someone ever tells you: You’re so f*cked up — Reader, just know that deep down that person is also hurting with their own traumas and such. Release yourself from the ties of whatever is holding you down, and just do you. As for me, I’ll be doing a whole lot of writing. My goal for 2017 is to submit a pilot to a studio and see where it takes me.

Because if it’s one thing I learned from therapy today, is that everyone suffers from something. Might as well try to make some people laugh while they’re in their journeys. I will keep practicing funny within the drama. This f*cked up person is the right lady for the job!

in awe

I am in absolute awe of my colleague writers. They have been performing at local open mics, and frankly it’s been inspiring me to do it too. I don’t really do public readings, but I suppose there’s a first for everything. Wish me luck Blog Land.

Little to know, much to now

The more I encounter and speak with published, or even successful television writers. The more I realize that it’s just a jungle out there. It’s a world where there are so many voices, so many individuals pulling and pushing each other to get their material read. I mean, it’s a frenzy out there. To say that being a writer is “competitive” is an understatement. Also, it’s not a word I would really use.

In the last few weeks, I’ve been speaking with scholars, doctors, television writers, screenwriters, playwrights … and I’ve noticed something in most of them. They are less concerned with fame. Which is a huge thing in our society. I mean, truly — we are bombarded with the idea of FAME. Back in my days, it might have been a back up dancer for Mariah Carey…now being the lead singer of a band, or a movie star…or…just someone everyone wants to know. I was not immune to this mentality. I grew up with a desire for fame as well, but I didn’t really understand it. I didn’t really know where this urgency came from. And most of the time, I think the idea of fame became more important than the work.

Now – that’s dangerous grounds, my friends.

Because most of the people I speak with LOVE to do what they do. They just can’t stop doing it. It’s in their DNA. I have to write, I have to tell this story, I have to collaborate, I have something to tell you. I have a piece of truth that you should know…I hope you read this, I hope it gets multimedia and danced or spoken on stage. I hope it changes someones mind about something (fill in the blank).

Most of my writing gets used in dance performance, or short films, or my novel which has been in the works for years now. Lately, I’ve been dabbling with playwriting. And it occurred to me, in the process of writing, and casting, and getting people to read your writing out loud — and seeing it come to life in various forms with different voices — that the most important thing about ART (in my point of view) …is connection.

I sat through a Screenwriting conversation at the LA Film School a few weeks ago and noticed something. In the eyes of most (if not all) of the writers who talked about their journey to an Oscar nomination was the knowing that this was not the end or the beginning of their journey. They were gracious about the nomination, but they were also excited to share their stories about being writers. But at some point in their lives all of them had seen despair, a moment when they wanted to quit, an obstacle that told them – NO. NO MORE. YOU HAVE TO STOP RIGHT HERE.

And they pushed through it. These writers had pushed on and on until the story that was meant to be told as clean or precise as they could get it was out of them. And then, the story belongs to the audience, the listener, the viewer.

I am learning, Blog Land, that even though it would be nice to get published and maybe even famous…it shouldn’t be the thriving source of creation. That will get you nowhere. The most important thing, in my eyes right now, is that you write it down. It’s that you tell it to as many people as you can. Because maybe, just maybe, the right person will hear it and you and your writing have the power to change or validate a life.

I am growing, and I’m changing the way I see myself as an artist. I thought about now writing, and it just doesn’t work. I end up doodling words onto a take-out box, or singing a silly song to a friend. It follows me. It makes me think and challenge my thought process. Writing, keeps me healthy. And sharing the writing – through dance, theater, or film…that’s just the best thing ever. And it’s because I am sharing and connecting with others…

I’m sure it’s happened to you. You pour your heart out into a poem, you might share it at an Open Mic and someone comes up to you and says … “me too, thank you.” Man, I sometimes wonder if an award would ever surpass that feeling of connection. So Blog Land – be present, be real, be you.