No journal, no gold

Well Blog Land, I did not have the heart to NOT talk to my mother on Father’s Day – as it seemed she was having a hard time telling from one person to the next due to her already peaked anxiety of, you know – being brown and with an accent in this country. So, yes, we did speak but mostly at the table as we passed food to each other. However, I made sure she know I did not forget about my journal. She promises she doesn’t know where it is, but I know that promises don’t mean crappadoodledoo in this crazy family.

I politely sat beside her during Father’s Day breakfast, asked her to pass the yogurt and strawberries in a calming voice. Lucky for her my aunt’s boyfriend was there. He annoys me beyond all reason. He pretends to be an all knowing God-Man who is the epitome of class and karaoke competitions. My aunty loves him for some reason, and being that I am now thirty – I can’t simply sabotage a relationship based on weird vibes I get from people. No, no – that’s the eleven year old inside of me. Now, I just make sure I battle him on strictly Feminist issues, as they also pertain to my aunty’s role in his kitchen. She doesn’t mind, it makes her laugh actually. Thanks to him, my mom did not receive my anger to the fullest of its capacities that day. Thanks to the boyfriend, I only got to see my gramps for 1 hour on Father’s Day. What a d*ck.

Anyway, after my aunty left with my gramps and God-Man, my mother asked me if she had left her golden earrings at the house two weeks ago. I have not seen any golden earrings, but if I do — that will be my ransom.

“You want your gold? Give me back my Ireland journal, mother.”

She hates it when I call her mother. It always reminds her of the first part of the curse word. She nods nervously, and walks away to the living room where my stepfather sat alone. After Mexico lost, he has little interest for soccer.

Advertisements

it’s romantic to hurt sometimes

We planned on something romantic tonight, something to get us out of our eat tapas and watch a movie routine. Let’s go for Peruvian food! Haven’t done that in a while. But the potatoes were frozen and the cream in the papa a la huancaina had lumps. The chicha had some strange essence to it, and so did the lomo saltado. It was not fun, and my Peruvian pride dwindled into a ball of guilt. I looked around the restaurant at the smiling faces, and cried within – you are being lied to! This is not Peruvian! You are eating a LIE! I kept it inside instead, and finished the plate that tasted more like a teriyaki steak and stir fry. He tried my rice, it was undercooked. We both grimaced across the table and whispered our fake foodie review on a non existent food blog or article. One out of five stars. Finally, in a long while, we agreed on something. The meal sucked, on a major level.

Wanting the taste of failure to leave our tongues, we drove to the city to get our ice cream fix. Didn’t want to risk a dessert fiasco at the Peruvian place. I wanted to throw up the beef from the lomo, but nothing came out.  We got to the ice cream spot. I downed as much of the banana split that I could fit into my already hurting belly. It settled the sadness and engulfed my taste buds with banana, strawberry chunks, and sugary stuff that made me forget the sad sad dinner meal. My legs nestled around his, and he unsatisfied with the way the meal had distorted his tastebuds, so much so that he couldn’t taste the fudge.

We drove on the 101 towards the golden gate bridge, which is actually red…not golden. And he took me up a side road in hopes to take me to a cliff. We get there and the gate is closed. Fail two for the night. We drove to the side point view and tried to take a picture in pitch darkness, it didn’t work. Hug me, I asked to which he grabbed my stomach and pressed against me as if administering the heimlich maneuver. My urges to throw up returned to me. The couple in the car beside us were hot boxing it together. Why can’t you be kind? I asked, and he laughed. I looked at the glittering stars and thought to myself, you deserve this…and I believed it. For some strange reason. I think aliens were sending me wave signals. I said, let’s go back home. We’ll take the Richmond bridge.

We drove over the bridge and listened to Brazilian Yemanja music. I sang along while he groaned under his breath. His ears have been sensitive to South American and Salsa music all night. This is going to be my life, I said to myself.

We argued on the road. We judged each others’  driving skills. We huffed and puffed and tired our hearts. When we got home, I just wanted to go to sleep, but instead I sat by the computer hoping that this stomach pain could go away. And then I resolute to this tonight. Romance has its good days and bad days. Tonight was a painful night, for our bodies and for our hearts. Yet, it makes me appreciate the good days even more. And frankly, I am sure we’re going to laugh about it someday. Why?

Because we writers know, that pain = comedy.

Turkey Day Inspiration

Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 1.10.02 AM

Thanksgiving came and went here in my new little Oakland pad. We were so busy looking up recipes and making a huge turkey that we didn’t realize we had cooked for over fifteen people. There were only four in attendance: my boyfriend, my sister, and my boo’s friend from Albany. We chowed down to some greens, ham, turkey, brussels sprouts with bacon and apples, Russian salad, mashed potatoes with white mushroom and hamburger gravy, sweet yams with marshmallows, biscuits, homemade cranberry sauce, and a salad to help us digest the heavy stuff. We downed all of that with beer, red wine, and Italian soda.

Although the kitchen was in a fury for most of the day, all I kept thinking was — wow, I can cook some pretty good stuff! Reader, I was pleasantly surprised at the amount of food I was able to prepare. Makes me hopeful for my future, you know, in case I have granola babies and I have to start making pies someday.

Anyways, I have a lot to be thankful for. (1) My sister who flew in from LA to hang, (2) my boyfriend who even in the darkest hours in the kitchen kept his cool and managed to make some delicious sides, (3) our guest who brought a huge ham and delicious greens, (4) my mother who called all day to make sure I didn’t mess up (but I did mess up and life sucked for a little bit but now I’m over it because I’m so flipping full). And finally for the love I feel flows through me.

Inspiration of the Day:

Quick little story. Our turkey container was too small for the bird, and it ended up getting  a hole in the bottom of the bin…which I didn’t notice until just thirty minutes ago. Anyways, all day we found grease just spilling here and there. We were dumbfounded, where the heck is all this grease coming from? During the halfway point of our turkey baking I look over at the oven and it spews out this orange red Peruvian sauce at the bottom of the oven doors. I imagine blood pulsing from the ovens doors, a pristine white being stained and tarnished with guilt –possibly by a character’s bad choice to poison her mother in laws meal and realizing it could be the end of her freedom. Or something like that — oy, I don’t know. So many thoughts ran through my mind as I saw the grease spill.

What inspired you on this TURKEY DAY CELEBRATION? Any good arguments? 

 

PS – I call it Turkey Day because I recognize that this is also Indigenous People’s Day. One love!

Grape Fruit Juice and other things that make me feel grown up…

Well it’s come to that point in my life Blog Land. I am on the verge of becoming a thirty-year-old, it’s starting to hit me. Holy fartcycles and cranberry sauce, it’s actually right around the corner. What to do for the big 3-0…? Any suggestions? People keep telling me to jump off a plane, but I’m kind of over my “tempting fate” stage. I feel like two things might happen during these next few months: (1) I’ll become exceptionally good at video work and get nominated for an Oscar because of my accidental and amazing cinematography, or (2) I’ll become exceptionally good at knitting scarfs for my friends on the weekends–and they will call me “Scarf-Girl” which in turn will cause me to cry myself to sleep during that-time-of-the-month because deep down I’ll know that my womb will be craving some type of unborn baby—although, quite frankly, the idea freaks me out so much I want to vomit.  But seriously, besides the idea of aging, which I have accepted already …. kind of…., what do I have to look forward in my thirties?

Well I have thought about some things that are gradually already shifting in my life, and I’m going to share them because I am a strange weirdo: 

* I no longer walk into a bar/nightclub/party/gathering with pain in my lower back from sucking in all the air out of my belly. I let that thing be, and she is a happy plump jelly belly that likes to shake when she dances.

* When girls in their early twenties (who sound ridiculously familiar to how I used to when I talked about men) ask me for advice I chime in with, “Can I say something, but it’s totally my opinion and please take it with a grain of salt…” I proceed to be brutally honest but in the sweetest voice possible to mask the pain from my history with jerks.

* When my boyfriend doesn’t comment on my attire or hair or makeup — and who can blame the guy, I hardly do it — I take a look at my reflection in the bathroom or as we walk by window displays on the streets and give myself love and confidence. It feels great and everyone should totally try it. Go on, just wink at yourself.

* I am moving in with my partner/bf of six years and we are both equally scared and confused about this transition, but at least we make each other laugh and that’s cool.

* At this point in my life, I have great friends from ages 21-66 (not including family) who are living in all the continents I want to travel to. Some countries, for example, are Chile, Australia, Bali, Turkey, Canada, Mexico, England, and even Paris! #gonnaseetheworld!

* I am old enough to say, “Back in my days…” and reference cool movies that are now considered cult classics to the kids born in the 90s. Weird to admit, but this fact brings me both sadness and joy.

* When my little sister or brother don’t take my advice, crash and burn — I no longer hang it over their heads. I hug them or take them out to help them forget that I WAS RIGHT AND THEY WERE WRONG. #growingupbeeches

But there is so much more to look forward to, I am sure there is. I am still conflicted on what to do for my birthday month or my party … should I have one? Ugh, gross. I don’t know. So Blog Land, if you have any cool ideas or suggestions please bring them to the pot. I’m still figuring it all out. For the time being, I am going to enjoy the fact that for dinner tonight I had grapefruit juice and brussels sprouts. What–WHAT?! Who’s an adult NOW?!

INSPIRATION: bar talk, taco trucks, and serial killers

Screen Shot 2013-07-18 at 3.53.35 PM

Hiya Blog Land, today I am going to discuss talking to strangers. I hope that the majority of you reading this blog are adults. If you are a kid reading this, remember that talking to strangers can be dangerous (#strangerdanger), and you should do it with the supervision of your parent or guardian present. But since I’m pretty certain that most of you are wine drinking, hippie smoking, late night writing insomniacs happy go lucky people (like myself) — I am going to take this opportunity to advice you to talk to strangers. Talking to strangers in public places is a tool I use to help me develop interesting characters and dialogue.

If you read this blog, you know that sometimes I write posts about “Interesting People.” Why do I do that? I do that because sometimes I get stumped and I think, wow — I am going nowhere with this character. I like to people watch as a way to receive information from the real world and transmit the information creatively on a page. This is (in my opinion) prime material for character development.

I know what some of you writing practitioners might be thinking, “Hey weirdo, not all human beings

Rules rules rules....bleh!
NAYSAYER!

are interesting. In fact, the majority of the human race can be pretty boring. Sometimes people have conversations about absolutely nothing!” Which is suggesting that not everyone has something meaningful to express. To that I say, HUMBUG! I think everybody on this planet is an interesting human being. I think sometimes people express themselves with their bodies. And sometimes the things that are not said (things left to the writer’s imagination) can become pretty juicy material if you work at it. Anyways, to you naysayers out there — I say, this is a fun exercise to do in a writing group. It can even be an observation exercise. In fact, at Berkeley I had a professor tell us to go to public spaces and write down the atmosphere of the room to practice creating worlds. Then we were to create a character based on the experience and during class we would combine our characters and create dialogue that could potentially happen between these two individuals. The most incredible things came out of it, and it lead to some bizarre and fun story plots.

Anyways, yesterday I was at this bar with a friend and we were drinking something brewed in their own establishment. The bar is called Hotsy-Totsy in Albany, CA.  We had been searching for a bar all night, and someone suggested we go. We were so happy they were still open we danced into the bar and sang along to the jukebox Motown songs. There was  a man beside us wearing a baseball cap. He had a great smile, but he hovered over his drink as if pieces of himself were falling back into the glass and he was there to drink it. He seemed like a cool cat, so we started a conversation.  I learned about the history of the bar, that they brew their own carbonated alcoholic drinks, the bar lady came to us and told us about the manager and how she won a National Award for her Pisco Sour — and y’alls know I love me some Peruvian themed stories. The award was placed on a placard on the wall. Machu picchu, National, and her name on the certificate. I ordered a Pisco Sour to try it out, and atop the bar lady put chicha morada essence. I was super impressed. Anyways, that night I learned about the history of the neighborhood, the bar, the man in the baseball cap had been going to the bar for years, and next door was a parking lot with a taco truck that closed right as we stumbled our way over. If I wanted, I could write about a man waiting for the love of his life to return to the bar they frequented. I could write about a serial killer who prays on people who are hungry and don’t make the taco truck in time. I can write about a bar lady who left all her family behind in Minnesota to pursue her dream of Mixology. I can write about anything, and that’s the best part.

Endless possibilities! Reach out into this world Readers, it’s absolutely magical.

Going Mad in a CAFÉ

Image

I’m in a café trying to edit some footage. I had to come out of my little hole in the wall apartment. Going a little crazy being indoors nowadays. My sassy Ecuadorian friend came out with me because she has a French exam this coming Friday. We are both nervous about our deadlines. She’s working away  at her French book, thinking about getting back with her lover in Paris. She dreams about romance, La Seine,  red wine, and the reunion with her studies abroad. She dreams of biology — scrapping out rat brains to find out the effects of epilepsy through certain medications…I may be embellashing what she does, but it’s definitely not what I do. I write, or at least I used to.

Having a dilemma here Blog Land. Having an internal depression about my writing.

I got a letter of rejection from a fellowship I applied to. I was sad, but also glad because great things are happening for me with video work. But now I’m on this fork in the road. Writing? Videography? What’s happening? WHO AM I? WHY IS LIFE SO COMPLICATED? OMERGARSH I’M ALMOST 30!!! You know, the usual internal freak outs people tend to have when drinking coffee in a public place—or laying down on their bed at 3:41pm in the afternoon. The kind of freak out that makes your left eye twitch, yeah, I’m there right now.

I’m working on a few promotional videos. One about dancers, and the other about of engineers, mathematicians, and animators.  Why am I sharing this information? Because I am not writing, I mean…aside from this I suppose.

Blog Land, something is happening to my dream of writing. It’s evolving but in a visual way. I am making stories with video, telling tales with imagery, making gestural and analytical conversations with subjects. I like to call this work video prose…I think I just made that up, but after studying at Berkeley I might have not. Almost everything under the sun has been written about!

I suppose I feel as if I am expanding my writing into video work. It’s great. It’s also extremely frustrating because I haven’t written a lick in a while. But C’est la vie! as my sassy Ecuadorian friend tells me in her South-American Californian accent.

We have to make the best of what we have, I suppose. And right now, I have a lot of work. I have to be grateful for that at least. Right? Right.

So here I am eating a Chicken Caesar Salad, venting online, and seeing my pal on the other end of the vigorously studying for love, for science, for her life after summer. She rubs her eyes in frustration and I pretend to listen to music while I type type type.

I share nothing significant, and therefore this is a vent! A writer’s venting session!

Vegas Bound

Vegas Picture from Google

Tomorrow my family is going to wake up at 4:00am to make a four hour drive to Las Vegas, Nevada. My grandpa (who’s in town just for the holidays) picked Vegas over Disneyland.    I respect his decision, but I worry about the effect Sin City will have on him. He’s 78. The man has seen A LOT in his life, but nothing like Vegas. I hope the street advertisements won’t shock him too much.

Urgh….I just had some pollo a la brasa and inca cola with the fam. The soft drink has me a bit wired, and naturally I can’t sleep right now. Totally my bad.

I sit here in the small dinning room trying to collect my thoughts about our trip tomorrow, but realizing that I carry with me some anticipation/anxiety about Vegas. In the next room my sister watches Dangerous Minds, in the bathroom my little brother showers for the first time this week, outside my mother is doing some last minute laundry, and in the bedroom my stepdad just hit the hay.

I have to wake up in three hours and forty five minutes to wash up and drive the family in our caravan trip to Vegas. Wish me luck Blog Land, for I have a feeling I will have lots to report when I get back.

Hemingway’s Advice AKA Experiment Numero 1

Image

EXPERIMENT WRITING: 

I’ll be looking up advice from other writers to see how they handle writer’s block and other dilemmas. I chose this one first because, well…it’s freaking cold out and I had some Blue Moon in my fridge. Thanks for your time.

EXPERIMENT NUMERO 1:

Ever heard of that Hemingway quote, “Write drunk; edit sober”?

Well, I wouldn’t say I’m drunk, but this is the close it’s ever going to get on the internet. Here I go…

BUZZED WRITING (DATE: DECEMBER 15, 2012)

The heater is on. I’ve been playing the same chords for the last hour, taking breaks every now and then to …. watch the news, Glee (don’t judge me), and my facebook newsfeed. I know, it’s a Saturday. And it’s not like I don’t a party to go to, or anything, I do. I really do, but I was invited by a third party and that’s always awkward because I might know like … three or four people there. I might only talk to two of them, but really enjoy one conversation…if that makes sense. Plus, it’s freaking cold tonight in the bay area. Like, frost on my windshield cold. I literally wore thermals today. That’s so sad. This is California, for crying out loud.

What else…?

So yesterday I got into a fb debate about abortion. Gah, it’s like I try to avoid it, but people just frustrate me so much. I won’t share what I debated, for fear that yesterdays horrible display of communication might replicate itself onto this blog. I wouldn’t want to do that. You know what’d be funny? If there was a blog solely dedicated to drunk writing. Maybe it exists…hmmm…something to research later.

I am home alone, and although this might sound boring, it’s absolutely heaven for me right now. Why? Because it’s freaking cold outside, and I am inside—as cozy as a teddy bear. Whatever that means. Use your imagination. Next to my laptop (yes, I am writing about the things on my desk) is a bowl with marinara stains because I just downed some pasta not too long ago. It wants me to walk it over to the sink to soak before the red sauce hardens, but instead I am choosing to let it be and sit on this desk. I think it’s something to do with my repressed rebellious spirit. Sorry bowl.

In the living room are two dogs bored to death. They are trying to sleep, I think, but I keep them up with my incesent internet ramblings and tapa-tapas on the keyboard. Is it keyboard? That sounds like a musical instrument. Whatever.

I can’t wait to go home for the holidays. I have so many plans with my family, but I know I’ll be doing like three out of my 20 ideas, and that’s okay. That’s okay. As long as I get to have some time with them.

My roommate sure has a lot of weird statues around the house. It took me a while to get used to the skeletons, but I just casually looked towards the lamp and realized that the Don Quixote figurines look pretty menacing. There’s a pudgy one, a tall one with a beard, and a medium sized one….holding cloth in his hands. They look like regular people and it creeps me out more than the skeletons.

Christmas postcards are all over the desk, and some are unopened. I wonder what they will say, but I am glad I don’t have to go through the trouble of opening them. I wonder if people expect a holiday card when they give one out. Wait, was is it about holiday cards anyways? A bunch of them have babies and families smiling kind of together…that’s weird. I wonder if I’ll ever get to that stage in my life, where I have to take a family portrait and mail it to people so to remind them who I am, and of course, that I’ve had children. Hmmm…Christmas cards are weird.

Okay, I better close this entry up before I start talking about real personal things. Goodnight Reader, this has been a pretty weird experiment. But look at all the potential writing material I have:

(Still buzzed btw, I’m such a light weight)

1. Staying at home during the holidays

2. Talking to dogs

3. Watching television as a hobby (making Barbara Walters your mother in your head)

4. The strangeness of XMAS/HOLIDAY cards

5. Roommates and their quirks

6. Frost….and a heater

7. Pasta, and having nightmares when you eat late at night

8. Dogs farting in the living room

9. What? ….fill in the blank.

I’m done.

EDITED VERSION: (INSERT DATE HERE)

To be continued…

Thanksgiving

How did you Thanksgiving go?

I hope well.

My Thanksgiving was filled of drama, suspense, passion, confusion, and hypocrisy. Why?    Because after twenty-one years of being apart, my grandfather and mother finally saw each other. It was a great, and all the drama in my family was unleashed in three days of remembering and sharing old stories that revealed personal traits about my mother, my aunts, and my uncles. The way they were as children, and the way they are now. And how these people I always saw as adults can transform and become children again, in the presence of their father…after twenty-one years. Twenty one, that’s a full fledge adult who just made the legal drinking age. Twenty-one.

Being around my family explains a lot of things about me. Like the evil inside me. Haha, just kidding. But seriously, I realized that we al have good and bad in ourselves, and some of my bad traits were explained to me through the observation of our Thanksgiving meal.

But what holiday is safe of family drama? None, in my opinion. It’s what makes us solidify ourselves into a unit of meshed up ideas with sustained historical traumas that are passed down from generation to generation.

I love Thanksgiving. It makes me reflect about things I am grateful for, and it makes me wonder about who I might be were it not for the weirdos around me. I love them. I love Thanksgiving.

We hug, we toast, we binge, we drink, we laugh, we wipe away tears, we remember, we wink across the table, we throw napkins filled with secret messages and jokes that we think are too dark for our father’s father. But we all know that’s not true.

We are ourselves and in ourselves we are one.

I hope, Reader, you got to spend dutiful time with your loved ones. I hope you discovered things about yourself. I hope you ate too much. I hope you took a nap after you ate. I hope you spilled wine on your favorite tie. And I hope you woke up the next day feeling like there was no need to eat breakfast…because you were still full from the night before.      I hope you are grateful that we live in a nation where that is possible. I know I am. I came from Perú for crying out loud, I think about it all the time.

My family pigged out on Peruvian and American food because that’s how we roll.

Long live Morenos.

La Peña on Shattuck Blvd. & COuNTeRPULSE.org

Just a quick update regarding my last post:  I have two options with the writing partnership. Either (1) I write up a contract saying, HEYO–let’s get published and split the profit, or (2) Pay me up front per page and you can have the book. What do you think? I’m still debating it.

 * * * * * * * * * *

Anyways, this post is about a place I recently went to. It’s called La Peña. I was there with a group of performers, and the event was a potluck/creative writing workshop with a whole mess of people. Our facilitator was Marvin K. White, and the event was organized by dancer extraordinaire, Amara Tabor-Smith, and the non-profit organization, CounterPULSE.

Blogland—-it was so amazing being in a room with writers, non-writers, people, cooks, food enthusiasts, regular folks, Berkeley students, etc. We wrote on spoons, plates, cups, notebooks, and shared our recipes and meals with each other. It was the perfect hippie Berkeley moment, but with the bonus addition of Creative Writing.

I wanted to share some cool exercises we did as a group with Marvin K. White‘s guidance, of course.

1. Draw a line down the center of your page, and over the line start your prompt: “I come from a long line of…”

This exercise was fun because there was a range of possibilities.
Someone got deep into their history and roots and wrote about family.
I wrote, “I come from a long line of bullshitters…” and etc. etc. etc.
Try it, it’s fun.

2. Stone Soup Story. This one is tricky. You have to come up with 4 dry ingredients. 4 wet ingredients. Then you have to come up with how to prepare, how many people does it serve, and the name/purpose of the recipe.

People in the room got really creative with this one.
Someone wrote about high heals as one of their  dry ingredients,
and wet slushy sex as one of their wet ingredients. She ended the
whole thing with, “A recipe for disaster.” Everyone laughed.
And as writers out there know, you laugh when you can relate.

3. Since the whole event surrounded the potluck we had some cool exercises around our utensils. (1) On the spoon we wrote “Love tastes like…” , (2) on the knife we wrote about what cuts or divides us, (3) On our plate we wrote what feeds us, (4) On our napkin we wrote what protects us, or what can wipe our story away? (5) On our cups we wrote what do you thirst for? (6) And in the back of our plate we wrote the names of people who could not enjoy this meal with us.

 * * * * * * * * * *

One of the most important messages I got from Mr. White last night was to always do these fun games because it clears your mind, and after you clear your mind, you can write anything. Writing is a practice. After you write, look back at your words and investigate what these words mean. How do they connect with the world or community you are in? Why are you writing them? What is the history of a word? Etc. etc. etc.

The whole event surrounded and celebrated food. It was great. It was to commomerate Amara Tabor-Smith‘s dance show, which I have seen and totally recommend–OUR DAILY BREAD. Their show will be up again in La Peña on Shattuck Blvd. Come support these artists and check out this community space. It’s beautiful!

Long live Art.