Take Your Time, But Do Not Waste Your Time

[This is a word-for-word transcription of the video below]

I went to Church this morning and when I say, “Church” – we mean Beach. And I sat in my… I wanted to sit in my favorite pew, which is a bench but there was somebody sitting there. So I tried to enjoy it from a different space, but that didn’t work. And then, after a few minutes there,  I walked on over and stood by the…closer to the railing. And I could hear the sermon from the ocean. It was beautiful.

I’m having a tough day. The past few days, questioning way too much. Over-thinking. Of course. That’s my whole jam, I guess.  And…

My goal isn’t to be…I know a lot of people think the goal is to be…

[I should be filming it this way, but…I don’t know…I’m already doing it this way. So…it’s just easier to hold. I don’t have it on the mound right now so…]

The goal isn’t to be ecstatically happy every day. That’s not it.

But the goal is to progress. To move forward. And…

I feel like I moved forward and I just stepped back four miles.  And I’m uneasy about it.  And I’m just feeling…  I’m not sad or happy — I’m just in that space…

I keep thinking of Chadwick Boseman. And I love that he said, “Take your time, but do not waste your time.”

I don’t think I’m wasting time. But I do need to figure this out. 

Today I Became A Real Writer #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop

My writings been fierce and furious. I wake up at 4:00am, coffee automatically percolating, and the only thing guiding my way through the dark is the smell of fresh brewed covfefe.  Covfefe being the only funny contribution to our existence by the idiot man leading my country at the moment… but oh, I digress. I usually sit. Write and write some more. 

Coffee. Coffee. Coffee.

It’s so early, the quietest time of the day, it’s sheer perfection.  I hate this apartment complex I live in – everyone moves around too much, walks, breathes, lives and just mutherfucking annoys the hell out of my existence every single day. What I hate most about Covid?  That all these “neighbors” are home. All. The. Time. I hate them I tell you, hate.  Don’t they know I’m trying to write a masterpiece???? 

Alright, alright. Clearly, I need coffee. 

Coffee brewed, coffee poured, soothing to my soul. The birds are even sleeping. It’s dark as all hell outside. But I know the sun will pierce through soon enough. 

I open the front door.

Ugghhhhh. 

I was expecting a breeze of cooler air, but no!  It’s still. It’s the same temperature out there as in here. Damn it. It’s so muggy. WHY?

Breathe. That’s okay, my coffee smells amazing. Focus. 

Yesterday had been a bad day. I read my written work for my next book – 5 chapters – and realized how god-awful it was…is. I mean is.  It’s still awful today.  I cried.  5 chapters in, I thought it would be brilliant.  While I wrote them, I believed I was writing the next Alchemist, the next… something. But no. Hell to the no!  Hell to the NO so badly, I’m writing this instead.  THIS is better than all of that, and THIS, THIS is me rambling, venting…

But this is writing. This is the creative process.  Those 5 chapters really do suck.  They do. They’re NOT me. They’re ME pretending to be a writer who published a book who now needs to write a second one. 

I think it just hit me. Today, for the first time, I realized I’m officially a real writer.  I mean, I’m already an author, but today, reading this crap that I wrote, I think made me realize that a real writer would know it’s crap and start over. And Lord help me Jeezus, this stuff sucks!  I’m “throwing it out” and starting over. And yaaaassss…. Before you ask, I can’t really throw it out cuz it’s not paper, but I’m just trashing it and starting from page one. 

Yeah, today, I became a real writer.  It’s freaking me out a little bit. 

This post is part of the AuthorToolBoxBlogHop – click on the link for more information.

Weeks Before He Died

The best part of college were the friends I made. I argued and disagreed with Cesar so many times, but loved that we could laugh just as passionately. Somehow we were friends anyways. Maybe it was our common “Latin-ness”, maybe not. I would have liked him anyways. He was just that kind of guy. Charming as all hell. Good looking… it was annoying. I spoke to him a couple of weeks before he died. I remember the call. He hadn’t called for me, he was talking to Richard and I jumped on the phone to say hi and really just to rib him one more time. It was our thing. A pretend kind of loathing for each other, that was really a sweet respect. He promised we’d meet up next time he found himself in Los Angeles. I promised the same. I planned to be in New York next month anyways…

No one could ever forget.

With love, Carmen

This Writing Voice Of Mine #AuthorToolboxBlogHop #Writer

Over the past few months so much has changed for me personally.  I feel like I’ve awakened to a new and improved self but only after a very painful beat down, a humiliation really.  But I see things so much clearer now. It was necessary and worth it.   

I didn’t see it until all of this happened – “all of this” being the isolation of Covid19 and the social unrest of what has always been issues in my personal life regarding race – but has come to the forefront lately because of the non-chalant killing of yet another soul, this time, George Floyd. what I didn’t realize was how much I restrained my voice whenever I created or spoke particularly to an audience that tended to be White.  

As I write that sentence, I feel a knife piercing my creative soul. How could I have ever restrained myself? My voice. My truth. Why would I ever do that?

It’s subconscious. It is not intentional. This is what racism or any “ism” has the power to do – it changes how we interact in the world because fear dominates that initial interaction. The creative process is mitigated by fear of not being heard “correctly”.  Dismissed by bias. Fear stifles our honest voice to generate truthful work. 

How did I notice this?  Well, it’s been having conversations in person but also on social media during this volatile time in our world.  Sending emails and tweets back and forth between people of different races and noticing how easy it was to write one tweet or email, verses another.  Feeling my comfort level change instantaneously when writing to “Becky” verses when writing to “Chantel”.  I tend to have less regard for how Black folk or People of Color view my words than White folk because I know Black folk (POC)  will “GET” me.  I hate to admit this, but it’s been like this my entire life. 

Now, some of this may seem clearly also cultural. I mean, when I speak Spanish with family that’s because we all grew up speaking Spanish and so we “get” each other. There’s a comfort there. But that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about just straight up writing and not being worried about if I’m “writing this easily for White people to digest and not to get too upset by it” kind of thing. Making sure I don’t use certain words that may push “readers” away – and when I say “readers” what I really mean is White folk who might buy my book if they’re not too offended.

It is not my intention to not share the true breadth of my talent. But I share this revelation because for me, it is a profound turning point in my work as an artist, as a creator, as a writer.  I didn’t know I was doing it.  I share it because racism is infused in every part of our society so much so that we don’t even realize how much it has constricted our voices.  All of our voices. What have you learned during this time about your creative self? Have you been stifled?

So much time is spent on hating and “other-ising” that the counter punch to that hate is always trying to get people to understand they have nothing to fear from me or others like me.  And yet as much as I scream, I still have to mold myself, package and pretty myself to make it palatable and likeable enough so you might be willing to understand just a piece of the real me…

I won’t do it anymore. This is me in freedom. This writing voice of mine.

You’ve been warned.

Carmen

*This blog post is part of the #AuthorsToolboxBlogHop. If you’d like more information please check out the link.