Currently and What I Gained from #NaPoWriMo

Life has been interesting these past few weeks, some good things and challenging things. What is really good is that I am so at peace. I have truly healed in ways I really needed to heal post charter school. I will never bad mouth the school, and I have much to be grateful from it, but I am so thankful working there is no longer a part of my life. I have greater hope and confidence and I really am grateful.

Plus this past month was such a great time for my writing life. It started by getting to attend The Muse and Marketplace, and continued as I wrote for NaPoWriMo and continued to do the harrowing work of submitting my writing to various publications, contests, and retreats. I did not get into any of the retreats. But I’m glad I tried.

I will continue to write. And I did write every single day just like I promised myself. One of the neatest things about doing NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month, like National Novel Writing Month in November, but for poets!) was how much it inspired other writing. I drafted quite a few essays and short stories during that time that I am also hoping to publish.

Basically, sitting down and choosing to write just a poem a day often resulted in much more writing and writing in totally different genres. Once the floodgates opened it all had to come out. I also got out more to various literary events (including House Slam at the Haley House!) and felt more connected to writers. I’m feeling very affirmed in my dream of being a Boston writer. I know I have a lot more work to do (and I must keep up writing EVERY DAY), but this month really proved to me I can make room every day to write as long as it’s a priority. And I really want it to be, because more than anything I love it.

No matter what rejections come. No matter if I’m the only person reading my work. No matter if there are a thousand better writers out there. The reason I write isn’t for fame, publication, or money (and those are all in short supply anyway), but because it is the way I communicate. It is what gives me life. It is what I love to do most in the world. So I write. Okay that’s enough serious writer thoughts for one day. Here’s what I’m currently up to:

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Currently…

Loving: my life. On a real note, like I said before last year was heard I fell into a major depression that was so heavy and invading every part of my life, I couldn’t even see it because I thought that was just how life was. I was so unhappy and surviving. I remember literally counting down to when my next break was

Reading: Lots of poetry, Land of the Living by Ashlee Haze, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One by Amanda Lovelace, and also some books on writing poetry as well as perusing lots of literary journals.

Listening: to whatever is playing on my Pandora. The repetitive Spotify playlists that loop in Starbucks, and as much Drake as my ears can handle.

Watching: Jane the Virgin Season 4, lots of Key and Peele clips, and the antics of my cat (just kidding he sleeps most of the time).

Thinking About: Everything! All the time, seriously I have so many thoughts going on, mostly I’ve been focused on my writing, my relationships, and my health.

Anticipating: my birthday mostly, the summer, and lots of cool things I can’t quite talk about yet.

Wishing: for good vibes and that my writer wish I made at the Muse and Marketplace actually comes true.

Making Me Happy: my life. Writing. Poetry. My friends. Key and Peele. The good stuff in life, you know. Also my job is pretty great all things considered.

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There is Room for More Stories

I did two really brave things this month. I applied to two different writing conferences for this fall. Both of them are farther away (one’s a cruise based out of Texas, the other in New Mexico) to places I’ve never been. Both of them would challenge me greatly as a writer. Each of them required me to ask others to write letters of recommendation for me. These scholarships would 100% pay for the conference and include a travel stipend.

Cue the insecurity.

I recognize I still have so many areas to grow as a writer. I also recognize my understanding of the professional writing world is limited. There is so much to learn and understand and I’m soaking in as much as I can, but I’m going to make mistakes and I’m not going to get a lot of the opportunities I’m going to try for. Still there is always the guarantee, I will always miss out on the things I don’t attempt.

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The other cool thing I did was see the new A Wrinkle in Time. I loved it. To be honest, I’ll admit I don’t remember a lot of the book at this point, the last time I read it I was a teenager. I remember mostly feeling connected to Meg, enjoying science fiction when it was not typically a genre I enjoyed, and feeling moved by the themes of loss, love, and good vs. evil.

I know some people were dissapointed by parts of the movie that didn’t match up with the book, limited world building, and a simplification of the tessering. But I can recognize that’s probably why I liked it. I’m not a details person (part of why I’m not a fan of fantasy and science fiction, the detailed world building drives me crazy), I like broad strokes, big themes, and vague impressions. It’s actually one of the most challenging things about working at Starbucks, so much attention to detail, but it’s challenging me in a very good way.

The movie was so enjoyable from start to finish, and I could so profoundly see myself in the movie. Meg was a lot like how I was at 15, insecure in my skin, my hair, sad and angry  (for totally different reasons), felt unworthy, and add in insecurities of being mixed race and never being able to be like everyone else. Yeah, been there done that.

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So I bring this up, because when I first read the book I related to Meg because of her personality, but when I watched the movie, I related because she was just like me in every conceivable way. And when that’s par for the course, you don’t even have to think about it. In fact it might even be jarring to you to not be able to relate to a character in those ways.

 

It also felt wonderful to not have the movie be about race, it was just there for me to find comfort and connection in. Stories that feel like the world I live in are going to be the stories I’m going to push for in the future, in my own writing, and in what I chose to put my money behind. Every person should have that opportunity all the time. And it’s also important to read and watch stories about people you don’t relate too. I try and read stories about characters from a variety of backgrounds, genders, and sexualities. I hope you do the same. I hope that is how your real world looks, diverse people of a variety of ages, colors, and genders.

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Anyway I’ll step down and say I hope I get these opportunities (or at least one of them), I want to contribute stories that better reflect our world. I hope other writers different from me get these opportunities. If you have the inclination to write, please do, we need your voice.  Because I can promise you while the shelves are brimming over with books and the theaters are brimming over with movies, there is always room for another good story. Always.