You’re so f*cked up!

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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. ūüôā 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.

Yeay!

Right?

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. ūüėÄ

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!

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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 РNO. 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.

 

To be or not to be

Well, writing has been intense these past few weeks. People are reading my work, new ideas are being developed, and most importantly I’ve been hearing the writing via actors which has been substantially helpful and great. Sometimes I sit alone in my little office, or at a cafe and I stop and think…how long can I go on believing that I am going to be a writer? It’s a tough position to be in. Writing and hoping that some one out there will recognize you for the weirdo that you are and give you a platform to express yourself in. And then there’s this other part of me that is already proud of the platforms I have been able to be part of with my writing and dancing and acting. It’s a struggle, you know? – To accept and sink my teeth into what it means to be an artist and specially a writer. I hope that this work will lead me to something meaningful and life changing. I have visions of opening little libraries in poor parts of my home country. I wonder if I’ll ever get there. I wonder if people (by then) will lose touch with the feel of paper between the fingers. I hope not. I will continue to write and share, and hopefully get myself in a big enough platform to cause some ruckus and change some minds. Until then…a venting I will go.

 

 

Writing when you travel, it’s freaking hard!

I am having a creative meltdown … or just a massive case of traveling itch,¬†Blog Land. I’m off to Turkey, then jumping on a plane to Paris and then maybe doing a weekend trip to England. I have no idea what I am doing — I mean, technically some of it involves videography¬†and art — yet I am concerned about managing my writing time. I barely did any when I went to see family for 2 weeks in March.

I head over to my laptop or bring a small notebook with me, the BLAM! – something happens. Sometimes I have to lock myself in a room, but then family or friends get concerned because I should be relaxing or in vacation mode…and they don’t understand sitting down to write. It’s¬†quite impossible with Peruvians who want to feed and¬†get you drunk all the time.

Also, when I travel – there are wonderful mundane things happening all around me. If my brain could produce bubble thoughts, it would be ongoing and non stop with – sunsets, dance classes, brunches,¬†conversations with people who are not tourists, me¬†trying to order croissants at a¬†bakery, Metro riding, or seeing the moon from a different part of the world. Sometimes it doesn’t look like a man’s face…like in Per√ļ, for example, the moon looks like lips blowing you a kiss, for example. And I want to write it all down, but sometimes just looking at something is enough. Other times¬†there are no ways to describe the atmosphere, and you have to LIVE.

So how do I focus?

I don’t know. This is an experiment. I will try to make it my prerogative to not be such a creeper on this trip and actually try to make friends with the interesting people, I tend to just write about. Maybe some of them will be writers. Maybe some of them could give me tips. And then I can share these tips on this blog.

Only time will tell. Leaving in April, coming back in May. I should have something to share.

And to answer your question (the one I am assuming you are asking), I am going abroad because I am running away from responsibilities that don’t involve writing or art. You know, growing up, getting a real job, and etc. etc. etc. I think a workaholic who has been sitting behind a desk for a little over a year should be¬†allowed to have a meltdown at least once in their lifetime – or at least once per decade. Here is my thirties meltdown!

I’m just lucky enough to have my meltdown be a creative one, and not…like…heroin. I’m also lucky I have family and friends in these places to house me. Otherwise that would suck. I’m going to destroy my savings and eat with my credit cards. Bring it on world!

#WritingAbroad

Karaoke with Family

So yesterday I braved a karaoke night my family. I had not hung out with them since…2011 or 2012? I mean, not the way we did last night. We started with Cards Against Humanity and worked our way up to karaoke singing after a few drinks. It was awful. I mean, I could tell¬†we¬†had a little too much to drink when I sung¬†“Redneck Woman” and my cousin swayed side to side like she was hearing some Celine Dion ballad.¬†I was like, how did I get here?

Anyways, I look around the room and I realize that we are all at least in our 30s; except for my sister who is hanging on to her 20s by a thread and a small cousin who I grew up with but babysat when she was 5. She was glued to her phone.

And I thought to myself. Is this it? Is this what fun amounts to now for people my age?

One of the old family friends fell asleep on the couch while her husband butchered Ol’¬†Blue Eye’s “Come Fly With Me.” She snored, and my cousin explained that she works as an accountant and has been doing people’s¬†taxes¬†all day.

I held onto my beer, and silently sat in the corner thinking…wow, we’re here now. This is where we are. And you know what? It feels damn good. It feels good to be this age. And for this reason, more than any other, it is at this age when you stop giving a crap about what people are thinking or saying about YOU.

I don’t know if you’ve gone through this Blog Land, but in your 20s — man, it can be a pretty awful sometimes. You want to make sure people are having fun. You stress about every little detail. Oh, what am I wearing tonight?! Do¬†we have enough dip for the chips?!¬†¬†On¬†top of everything else, you have to smile and pretend that the world is your oyster, when maybe you’re holding in a fart, or your secretly trying to stuff a brownie into your mouth because you were too busy putting up decorations to eat a proper meal all day.

In your 30s —¬†you can get away with flipping off your family after their comments about your weight. You can wear yesterday’s t-shirt because it’s game night, not a freaking single-mingle party. If you crash on the couch¬†because of exhaustion,¬†you can be assured that someone won’t be drawing a mustache on your face. Actually, I think that depends on what your family is like and the average maturity level in the room.

But it just felt nice. It felt nice when¬†around 2:30am someone said – Oh my God, it’s 2:30am!¬†Freaking out¬†because¬†we stayed up past midnight. It was like: we did it!

Hilarious. Most of my cousins now with children and jobs, high five each other, hugged, and¬†relished¬†in the off chance that maybe they weren’t all that old, after all. And we’re really not…we’re just tired. At least I hope that’s what this feeling is.

We put the games away, cleaned the bottles off the counter, and made everything look like a regular house by the end of the night. We sighed in relief when we realized, tomorrow is Sunday.

Family, they always provide good material. Try it.

#chaosisgood #ignoranceisbliss

Priorities

Video editing has taken over my life. If “writing” was a person, I’d be in so much debt. I may have to disappear for a month in order to pay this debt¬†back. I should do that. Because if writing were a person collecting the debt, I may end up sleeping with the fishes.

The way people react to the person with a cold…

There is a face people give¬†me¬†when¬†I am¬†sick. I find their reactions absolutely fascinating. Sometimes it’s a head tilt to the side and deep sigh as if somehow their sympathy takes over the heaviness of your burden: the¬†mucus and disgusting gross symptoms. “Ooooh…are you sick?” “Oh no, I’m so sorry you’re sick!” I should be in bed. Avoiding these people, but frankly it’s ver interesting to see the various types of reactions. That, and I’m too poor to miss too much work. Have you ever noticed their looks?¬† Here are some fun expressions and movement I’ve come across:

  • Shocked or surprised bulging eyes; this usually involves some type of hand gesture over the a portion of the face
  • Disgusted; this is quickly followed with a retreat of the hands if not the whole body and a twisted nose or frown
  • Pity; this person likes to go into a passive weight and usually escapes into a daydream of when they were sick –maybe a time during a¬†break up, so they’re suddenly more miserable than you after your interaction
  • Avoidance; the person who pretends you are not there and avoids interacting with you all together

This could be a great short story. Anyone?

art / ART MAKING / ARTist

I have a younger sister who lives in Los Angeles. Well actually we’re from the San Fernando Valley; a hot place to live. But she currently resides in Temple City. Anyways, sometimes we write each other to keep in touch. Usually we gossip about family or talk about our future as granny’s touring some obscure town in the middle of nowhere drinking whine and talking about how hard it was to be an artist post the economic crash. But let’s be real, it’s always been hard to be an artists.

And that’s what this post is about, I suppose. Not my sister, but the world she and I live in. The world of Art/Art Making/Artists – and¬†their¬†purpose in this world.

As a young person I always thought, oh am I going to be impressed when I see this dance? this performance? this singer? Are they going to show me something I haven’t seen before? I sure hope so!

I suppose I¬†thought that art was there to serve the artists — and in turn impress the audience. Like –you know, art for the sake of art. But the older I get; the more I make my own weird art — short videos, short stories, short dances and share them with people I find that what links us is our ability to connect through these experiences. We connect and wonder and remember together; each our individual journeys, but eternally connected through this one experience.

Once I saw a video that was about a woman turned man that lasted ten minutes long. This person wore¬†a “feminine”¬†outfit and gradually through a rewind¬†effect (editing) the person’s¬†clothes flew¬†off of him to reveal the beginning of the film at the end — a naked man sticking his hand in different parts of his body and then smelling his finger. I sat there thinking, Oh my God—he’s putting his finger there and we are all watching this.¬†

This.

Art.

Not just that, but I have a bad habit of turning my head and looking at people as they watch something. I like to see their reactions, or I get curious as to who in the room has fallen asleep. But when I turn, the artist is in the center of the room and when his finger goes into … a hole, I remember seeing him cover his face, groan and say “Oh God!” in a loud whisper.

Now, if I would have seeing this video in a gallery on my own. I would have tried to connect it with the space — if it would have been a bare room, I would have thought — oh, this is about being bare, open, vulnerable, and real. But I saw this video in a free performance setting, in the dark, with a bunch of sweaty bodies around me, after performing myself (as a volunteer dancer) and with the artist present — and seeing the artist react to his art.

I fell in love!

Not with the man in the video, nor with the artist, but I fell in love with the feeling I got inside my heart seeing the artist completely fall apart in the center of the room. And I thought, that’s it — that has to be it!

Right?

Art is about sharing the deepest parts of ourselves and just throwing caution to the wind! Yes?

Yes. It’s that and yet every year another layer of it lovingly leans atop my head and piles itself on the other definitions I’ve been collecting as the days go by.

Today, I walked down the stairs of the Civic Center BART and saw a woman singing to herself, “you belong to me…” and I¬†noticed her eyes were closed and she touched her chest as if her heart was ready to leap out. I kept walking¬†through the BART station and saw one of the local musicians do his thing on some drum set. He hummed a tune, probably saving his voice after hours of singing in the hallway. Music just takes over that space, and it’s beautiful!

All kinds of musicians go there.¬†Some¬†do it for money, some for the chat, and some to network. There’s the¬†Country Singer, an Afro-Caribbean performer, a Bob Dylan sound a like, a Lady Violinist with a pink music stand, and a gent who only plays the chorus of “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers.

So today I added another pile of my definition of art, based on this experience and the sister chat. Art is there to remind us of each other, that we are individuals, but that we are also a whole. It unifies us, it invades us, it reminds of our past lovers and our future goals.

Some wonder if it’s ever achievable —happiness— and I think Art helps us touch it.

 

Penpal cheater

The penpal cheater¬†never thought she would find the love letters in¬†his email account. He had been¬†writing his father’s friend in Columbia as “a favor.”¬†Well, actually his father’s student; a woman daddy believed to be a better fit for his son than his current South American girlfriend, my friend. The father was playing matchmaker. What we South Americans call, an “alcahuete” (aka one who meddles).

Meantime, in Paris, his girlfriend reads the emails on their bed, in their apartment. She stumbled on them while searching for a document that she had emailed him a month before. In her hand she had a cup of tea that was slowly spilling onto their mattress soiling the sheets with a green tea hue.

Between gasps of air and frantic speed reading, she discovers that her boyfriend — who she had left the states for–was CORRESPONDING with another woman. A woman who, on a page, could communicate her desires and aspirations to him. A woman who thought it was absolutely fine to pursue a man who was already in a committed relationship. He replied to her with admiration, with soft¬†longing, and a veiled innocence of¬†we can write each other but that’s about it. To which she would respond,¬†but I think I love you. And it continued for more pages.

Oh the written word.

Like¬†Shakespeare teaches us, every word¬†holds many truths and meanings. And my friend was¬†smart enough to read between the lines and see her boyfriend with this Columbian woman swimming in sheets of passion — letters of innocence coated in red ink — stories of family reunions speckled with lust and desire.

It’s only been days, days I can count on one hand and she tells me this through a smile. I can’t tell if it’s pain or relinquishing.¬†What seemed as the perfect love, has become a tortured¬†romance in Paris; he betraying her with words. Words, words, words.

Ay penpal cheater. You forget how powerful they are.

I wish you luck.

Hell hath no fury like a South American woman scorned.

And to my friend, you are more beautiful than he’ll ever understand.

The wild rice and the interrupted writing session

Today, during my lunch break, I sat alone in the conference room with my topper ware open and exposed and my little notebook flavoring the tip of my pen. Freckles of wild rice still stuck to the topper glass with remnants of my chicken¬†just waiting to be smittened by¬†my plastic fork. All was interrupted for my boss walked¬†into the room to discuss my hours and schedule over some weekend responsibilities. I sit back to and invite them to sit, for I had nothing else to do. Prolonging the wild rice and chicken’s¬†desired contact with the blades of my utensil.

Why am I being interrupted? I thought to myself in agony. Why now? I was on a freaking roll! My characters were making sense; the bus he was riding was getting strange…..but then my boss walked in and I had to put the little notebook away.

We discuss my schedule¬†as the flirtatious magical moment of writing—something that has been eluding me lately—turns away and waves goodbye as it walked out the office conference room door. A final wink, and off he went.

Gone to the tappings of my boss’ pen on the glass table. He wondered if he should pay me like a contractor¬†or¬†like an employee with my additional weekend hours.

“Whatever is best for the company,” I say like a fool. Only hoping that my muscly writing desire would return back through the doors for just one more kiss.

Alas, I was left in the cold.

My boss and colleague left, satisfied to have solved the scheduling dilemma. Me? Unsatisfied and sullied by the unfinished sentence hanging on the very tip of the of my pen now too heavy for my hand. Dumfounded.

I turned away and watched a single wild rice un-stick itself from the glass and fall to the center of the topper ware. Ay, if I were¬†to switch places with that simple wild grain—I would but at least express the dreary heavy feeling that comes with being interrupted during a writing session.