Sunday, July 31, 2005


I am not known for my decisiveness but this summer has made me particularly unavailable and indecisive. I've had several people tell me that I say I'll call then don't. Or, say I might be able to meet up but don't get back to them to set a time. I remember something Cliffy said once, about how she refuses to make a choice.

It's been since Thursday that I decided something - something personal for me - and since then I have felt calmer. Things have fallen into place somehow. It never occurred to me that making the choice could do that. Somehow choice always meant starting again in an undefined place. Maybe it's the exile in me - everywhere and everyone is a potential home, only to mean I have no permanent place.

I always felt more comfortable not making the choice. It seemed that way, anyhow. But making the choice means being active in my own life. It means some door is closed but so many more, so much more of a path is open - open because I chose it. How open can I really have seen something if the option fell in my lap rather than my actively choosing it?

Choice as a means of spiritual openness. I love it.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

comparative studies

I hurt Cliffy's feelings with a previous post. We talked a little the other day and I realize that, while she carries a lot of shit from her own perspective, I wasn't making it so easy for her either. I can't even say that it's because of that previous promise she'd made to me. Instead it's the conversations we inevitably have which upset me. Conversations where we talk about what we are not. More than the conversations - because I already know we "are not" - are the instances where I'm told how little time I might be given.

I don't want to hear all of how she is dividing her time and things are hectic. Whose life isn't? If (as with any friends) we are both busy and we can find half an hour then that's incredible. I want to know how you are and want to be asked how I am. I want to know how I can help or feed you something or sit outside and watch the baby frogs manage jumping on the sidewalk and into the bush in front of the porch. I know time is precious for all of us and so half an hour is great if we are both really present. Hell, don't call at all. Drive by and if you see my van stop and say hello.

As a side note, I think I need to not be so ready to assist. Some folks just want to say what they need, not necessarily get the help. I instantly respond and want to provide. I need to ask if someone really wants the help. More often than not, they do. Maybe I also need to think about whether I am in the frame of mind to give it at all.

I wanted to call Cliffy but also want to give her space this weekend. I know she has the play going on, a friend she's giving support to, another who is coming in from out of town.

But I also want to say here, as a prayer, that I release her from any bonds or ideas I may have placed on her. I release her with love and the knowledge that I am there to support her, distantly or within arms' reach. I send good feelings and blessings. I cannot send enough, there is so much good I want her to enjoy in her life.

Today, I release everyone from any expectations we may have created together or separately.

Now, just to remind Cliffy and all others - this doesn't mean we don't stop our own expectations. So I release myself from any expectation or overestimates I may have placed on myself. I hope we all do that because that is even harder a job.

Friday, July 29, 2005

splinter in my palm

I saw Ya Vez yesterday because I needed perspective. Work has changed and my writing is harder to pull out and I had an unexpected bill that, because I'm working class, means I cannot pay for the one class I need to finish a B.A. that I don't truly want but must have in order to do a Master's.

When we were together I knew she was mad at me when she called me by name first name. Things were good if she called me baby, she was feeling okay if she called me honey and we were playful when she called me mama. But she's calling me by my name and I realize now it's necessary. I asked her the first few times if she was mad at me, because of our earlier way of being but she wasn't - would have no reason, we aren't anything to each other and both feel that our time is done and the good of what we can still offer is support, straight-up conversations when we aren't being honest to anyone else and a good work ethic.

So we are trying for names again and, as always, Dulce was right in saying we can't use those old names. They don't account for growth. Still, I did ask Ya Vez to use Jo instead of JoAnne. It's easier on my ears and a name I prefer now anyway. Transitions, you know.

All this to say, I had a couple of things on my mind and she saw it in my face. Without saying anything, she reached for my hand and pinched the middle of my palm as though plucking a splinter out. I instantly felt my preoccupation gone.

Ya Vez is not a potential for me. In some ways she's an outsider to my life. She doesn't know my friends, we have no expectation of getting back together, she and we have both developed unique life lines now that don't have us intersect in tangible ways. And maybe all that distance but some of the original feeling put her in the position to truly remove my burdens for a little while.


First there was a larger culture
then the queers found their way
and in those queers came women
who actively identified themselves.
And among those women were
women of color and allies
and in those women of color
were artists, intellectuals and activists.

And with that the community became so small
everyone knew each other, had their fingers up each other,
and had plenty of juicy gossip going around
that no one was a potential candidate for love, friendship,
or anything else.

Damned, to not be identified.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

long conversation short

I had dinner with Sebastian yesterday and we talked about women. When we met for breakfast on Sunday we talked about women. He looked at me and said "you are not in love". He told me no one's got my heart. I thought, if no one does, why do they so often act as though they have a cherished place there and any thing they do is allowable?

And why remind me of the ways I'm free as though they are trying to make me otherwise. Those who aren't promising to truly support me shouldn't remind me of my freedom. And part of that means I don't want to hear how they were busy comforting their friends.

Right now, I want to be held, comforted in some woman's chest and not let go. If I invite you to my bed for an afternoon nap, don't say no. It doesn't mean I want to get off. It means I need some comforting. I haven't learned how to ask for that.

Monday, July 25, 2005

chinese fortune

I went to 888, the vietnamese restaurant on Oltorf, and ended up with a chinese fortune that read:

Good opportunities: Make up
your mind to grasp the next.

I feel like I'm looking at everyone expectantly, waiting for them to offer me some kind of opportunity. I'm in the mood to say yes.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


Okay, so I finally got it. After two days of promising a movie to my daughter, and countless gatherings and meetings and things I wanted and/or needed to do, I gave up on a 6 p.m. reading by LeAnne Howe at BookWoman in order to subject myself to a child's movie without support (i.e. another adult who can remind me I did once love cartoons).

I never did hear if my meeting at 4 p.m. was a yes or no and, in calling the radio station, I got to talk to the radio host but she didn't know if it was happening or not either. So, my 4 p.m. was gone too.

I ended up going to Grrrl Action, a great workshop for young women (13 to 16 y.o.) who write and dramatize their work. I love supporting these kinds of spaces because I'm jealous they weren't available or accessible for me when I was young. I found my own mentors by hanging out at this used bookstore and talking with old, mostly male, poets. Instead, these teens got to support each other and worked with another woman. That kind of community is incredible and, unfortunately, still hard to come by. Luxurious spaces - I've said it before.

Then I went to Alejandro's art opening and saw these super bad ass welded pieces that seemed to be inhaling and exhaling. They were alive and large enough they seemed to alter the way the tiny coffee house's energy seemed to move.

I ordered the drink that seemed to symbolize me (something I always secretly do) and talked with Alejandro for a while. He gave me the word brusca - dumb, stupid, not getting it. And it's appropriate since I didn't get that Tigrette needed some Tigrette time!

We talked about Ya Vez a little and he, like others, told me something about her that reminded me that, no matter how much I still feel for her in terms of misplaced loyalty, I'm glad to be gone.

Well, now for a meditational moment to prepare myself for movies. At least I was able to gain some energy from the Cuban con leche (condensed milk, steamed water and two espresso shots). Isn't that a great name? At another coffeehouse I get the Mexican Chocolate Latte (yes, that too is me!).



I've been thinking about the writing group I was in and my next moves.

My writing has been hard to capture these last couple of weeks but very rewarding. Truth is I haven't been able to give it enough attention because of work and Tigrette but, just as in love/lust, the poem that makes you work the hardest is the one you most look forward to capturing.

And still thinking within the mindframe of the VONA group in Califas, I see so much of what's around me as a source for potential poems. I remember when I first met a local healer here, about a year ago, I was caught up with her and, in retelling our meeting to my therapist at the time, she asked me if I wanted to be intimate with this woman. Truth is yes, I did. But then the therapist asked me if I might also be looking for a way to write about her - use her image/energy as a jumping off point for a poem.

I did write a poem about her. I would probably still sleep with her too, but that's another story.

So, for my writing and the writing group...

I am going to write a letter to a friend of mine who I've always admired. Now, maybe it's because he's a man that he still manages to get a lot done, but the dude puts out 1 to 2 books a year, started with fiction and short stories and has made an incredible name for himself as a poet. I actually enjoy his poetry more than anything else. On top of this he teaches at the university level, is married with children and a dog, used to breed canaries, plays bongos/congas/timbales/anything percussive and travels.

I want the discipline he must have to live a full, well-adjusted and happy life while also writing like mad and sending the shit out for publication besides! And I don't want to have to think I've gotta be packing to make it either.

Anyway, my intent is to see if he'll "mentor" me and, in exchange for whatever he can give of his time, I'll do errand work/send work out, etc. I don't care what.

I'm preparing a packet this week with my finest work (oooh!), an updated bio and my new contact info. Maybe he'll bite. He certainly recognizes the need for this. Plus, he knows me, has mentioned me as a writer to look out for whenever he's interviewed, and likes giving me a hard time (it's a Latin thing).

I'm also looking for individual fellow writers, locally or regionally, so that we can critique each other's writing, one-on-one. Someone who can tell me their larger goal for their writing and we can work together to see that it's present in the writing. I don't mean goals like publishing, the big book deal, though those are obvious. I mean, like within my own writing, the ways I'm trying to push my craft.

For now, I want:

*openings that the readers/listeners will open their eyes to
*opportunities for narrative and dialogue within my work (so it's not just my voice as translator of some event but more immediate)
*touch on irony, humor and sarcasm in unique ways
*to talk about my culture without being stereotypical or cutesy

There's more but I don't know how to phrase it - I want my work to carry an energy that's potent, that calls people to it. On top of that, I'm going to work on how I deliver my poetry to an audience. I want this to be an opportunity for people to say woah! instead of the old "this poem works on a page while this other works better out loud". There should be no difference. If there is, that poem is not ready.

Lots, lots of work to get done.

Back to the wrestling mat with the latest potentials.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

truth blog

I've been reading other's blogs lately and the idea of truth has come out. About telling it all on a blog. While I'm definitely a believer in this, I would also like to add an idea to this belief : truth is true as of 10:13 p.m. on a Saturday night.

And the truth of 8:45 a.m. Sunday morning is only more true because it's today now, not yesterday.

I was accused recently of ambiguities or not telling the whole truth in some recent blog entries. I replied that of course it's like that. My truth today is not the same as my truth tomorrow at this same time.

So, tell the truth but recognize it's colored by how our minds and hearts and eyes see it. And those truths are even more powerful because no one can tell you you saw or felt it differently.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Canada #4

Well well well... Canada is #4 in granting gay marriage. I think the border patrol better increase the number of officers at the US-Canada border. I can see the influx now of conservatives trying to come across to safer, more conservative-friendly spaces.

On the plus side, it will be nice to see a bunch of cars trailed by tin cans and gay pride stickers paying their buck fifty to cross back to the US after a magnificant weekend wedding.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005



I went to see Petra's Pecado tonight. Despite the lost lines or lost sunglasses, the play was great. I know that Tigrette loved seeing the young girl lead perform. She idolizes her and can't even talk when the young woman talks to her - she just stares at her and smiles. I'm glad she's finding some real life role models. This when, just last week, she named at least 4 different actresses on the Disney channel and knew each show they were on and what movies they been in.

Cliffy was in the play. It was good to get the opportunity to support her and she looked super cute as a dyke-y old lady. It was her birthday too so I left her a gift after the show. I had missed her. Still, I have this feeling she expects me to ditch on her because she's afraid to really decide what she wants for herself.

I see that small window, slowly closing sometimes, and think she might be right.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Noticias en Oaxaca

What an incredible story, and so Mexican-style dramatic!

I mean, why take a back door out when you can suffer with your journalist coworkers and make news? This story in the NY Times made me smile because every moment has its opportunity for revolution. Makes me want to fictionalize this whole thing and do a book like Bel Canto by Ann Patchett.

I feel the creative juices going!

feminist revisions : la llorona

Tigrette came up to me when I got to San Antonio and told me that La Llorona was after her if she didn't behave, and that she couldn't go to the river with my parents because that was where La Llorona hung out. The older kids in her day camp decided to teach her, SA-style, about Midget Mansion, the Donkey Lady, and La Llorona. I remember hearing these stories from Mexican Americans and thinking the Donkey Lady was international. Only to find out she was SA born and bred. I'd forgotten too, what good storytellers the Chicano kids can be when it comes to horror, especially when they tell an outsider - in this case my daughter, poor thing softened by Austin, TX.

It was late when Tigrette asked, almost bedtime, so I told her we would talk about it the next day because she didn't need to be talking about these kinds of women before bed. Well, going through Southtown and seeing countless paintings or decoupaged creations with little Fridas on them reminded her of the stories I'd promised to give.

She asked me, first off, why a woman would kill her kids. My mother curled her lip and said "when you are older you'll understand". I told her that women today don't have to have kids like they used to and so they didn't have to hold as much anger toward them either so that kind of comment probably wasn't productive.

Then I talked to Tigrette about La Malinche and the Spanish conquest and how even women like Andrea Yates are modern-day Lloronas for some. More importantly I told her that someone like La Llorona was easily a character others could blame but that women could also connect with her. And that, if society at the time of each Llorona's appearance were less dichotomous, these women wouldn't have to make impossible choices like drowning the first children of a mestizo race.

I caught her later re-telling the story to my father. She didn't go into all the feminist language I did but she did end the story with "So La Llorona had to kill her children because they weren't accepted by others and it was too much". Well, at least she'd made it her own story and she was no longer afraid of La Llorona.

bags of responsibilities

I returned to Austin this afternoon with the van weighing a ton. Anyone working/living/enjoying children knows they are the ultimate divas and come with plenty of accessories.

Little Lion, who now tells me she really likes tigers more so ... Tigrette returned home. She couldn't hack anymore Nana time and was really missing me. Gone are my carefree weeks (oh for those 6 weeks!).

Actually, it felt good to have her with me again. She spent the weekend talking like crazy, with an opinion about everything, and insight into matters that really should have little to do with her, including traffic and bad drivers, television ratings for children and Hurricane Emily hitting Mexico.

The dog, Diego, came back too. And actually walked me to the back yard because he was desperate to see his digs again.

So, my casita is humming again, even if it's still a mess. I have no idea when I'll be done with the mopping, vacuuming, unpacking, dusting or cleaning. If nothing else, I washed Tigrette's bedsheets, sat her on my lap for hours and tickled her, made her some dinner and kissed her half a dozen times before saying good night.

Friday, July 15, 2005

hair cut

Finally posting the hair cut and new look.
This after two haircuts, almost two months
and plenty of goings on!

I never liked green
but now seem to really love it
or, at least I'm wearing it lots.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

demanding an appearance

I hung out with La Deb on Friday night for dinner only to have her throw a question at me out of nowhere - asking me if I would like to date again and now be exclusive. Never did I realize more that it wasn't that I couldn't commit (yes, that has its place) but that I just am not ready. Ya Vez still trails in my mind. How long does it have to be? Heaven forbid the transition is as long as the relationship lasted, which is what one woman told me, to ensure I'm over the person.

Worse is I called her La Deb today and she was so mad at me for not calling before this that she ended up telling me to "forget it". I can't do a commitment. She knows that. Why force that on me then get angry with me because I haven't called? I had plenty of other things to deal with. I don't understand why she wouldn't at least listen to me. I was sick one day, dealt with the issue of race relations all weekend both within the marriage debate and outside of it, and spent most of yesterday working on a grant with a friend of mine (who is, herself mad at me - god knows why). I'm trying to not bombard myself with all the things I need to get done but it doesn't help when I can't find support or at least some distance sometimes.

What's really sad is that I thought I would do one thing for myself this weekend and never did get to give myself a little time. Four meetings on Saturday, two on Sunday, one meeting yesterday and a whole day of grant writing, plus little sleep and lots of pent up energy, does not make me happy.

One nice thing was that the director of VONA forwarded pictures to us of the week we had together. Unfortunately, when he came to our class, he was taking close pictures and I wonder why I ended up with one photo where my boob was hanging out:

Hell, at least I was writing.

I now miss the idea of having to be far away so I don't have to deal with those who will not hear me. As I used to tell Ya Vez, I'm not right all the time, but damned, it seems I'm always right when no one is listening to me.

Saturday, July 09, 2005


I've left the writing group and all I can think about is definitions:

blog: (n.) Short for Web log, a blog is a web page that serves as a publicly accessible personal journal for an individual. Typically updated daily, blogs often reflect the personality of the author.

confidentiality: the nonoccurrence of the unauthorized disclosure of information.

censorship: Censorship is the systematic use of group power to broadly control freedom of speech. (Freedom of speech : the right to freely say what one pleases, as well as the related right to hear what others have stated.

Sanitization and whitewashing: [Both words] are almost interchangeable terms that refer to particular acts or campaigns of censorship or omission which seek to "clean up" the portrayal of particular issues and facts which are already known, but which may conflict with a presented point of view.

Friday, July 08, 2005


I've been off balance for a couple of weeks now and assumed it was allergies. When they affect my ears I can have trouble walking a straight line. Now, however, I've been dizzy.

There's been a lot happening, to be sure : dating, work, my writing, school plans, etc. There's a lot to do and I'm feeling overwhelmed and wonder if that's why I'm dizzy. For once I don't have insomnia, which usually lets me gets lots of work done, but sleep is not the best either.

I did get a much-needed laugh from my friend Sebastian who always asks me how my dating life is going (he likes to see me having fun, what can I say?). We talked about how women like to tie down a partner but that, as he said "los caribenas son pocas putitas". And Robyn tells me that as a air sign I'm hard to tie down. Get it, air? Can't tie air down. I didn't get it until she explained to me what "air" meant. I'm Libra. I thought the whole first minute she was saying I talked too much.

To be honest, talking with Sebastian stirred up my own reminders to complete my schooling, and decide on my next course of action. His call also let me know that he, as my brother, would be moving far away for school. I'm going to miss him. He's my brother and there's no denying it. He was and continues to be part of an active part of my heart.

There is so much going on, so many mental challenges, that I can't help but see them as this approaching storm. Appropriate that, out of nowhere, Austin was hit with a tremendous rain last night. I was just walking out of this meeting as a coalition develops to address the upcoming vote to add a definition of marriage to the Texas Constitution (the old one man + one woman = marriage mierda). I just stepped out of the door and these huge, gorgeous drops of rain came down. I thought it would be a quick shower and was thankful. Yesterday's temperature hit 104 here - any relief is nice - and I don't remember the last time it rained. Well, by the time I got to the highway the downpour was so severe everyone was driving 30 mph and I couldn't see more than a few feet and everyone's brake lights. Wipers were of no use.

I ended up at a friend's house, unintended, to unwind some. I hoped that by chilling with a friend I'd get rid of some of the tension of returning to real life after a week in SF. Well, we had a "discussion" that left me upset. Shit, that's another story. Forget it.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

journalist integrity

I couldn't help but smirk when I saw that Judith Miller, the NY Times journalist involved in recent trouble over a leak of the identity of a CIA operative (a la Bush), was arrested. While Matthew Cooper got off free because Time Magazine didn't want pleito, a woman, Ms. Miller, ends up in jail. Why is it always women who take the place of cowardly men?

If nothing else, the NY Times and other papers have reminded themselves of the true calling of journalists : to offer the truth to fellow citizens during times of corruption and deceit. It's about time. Wasn't it dominant media who spoonfed us Bush's ideas that Saddam had weapons? The courts, led by conservative politics, should have left this issue alone - now, with a journalist pool no longer content to write around the issue, the Bush administration will be scrutinized more than ever.

I feel sorry for Ms. Miller, but I'm sure she recognizes that October, when the grand jury is done, is not so far away.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

the ocean sends her hello - and with her plenty of change

mmm mmm mmmhh

I got home Sunday evening and unpacked my bags, left huge piles of California all over the living room and washed all my clothes. I took a shower and washed all the rest of the California air and smell away. Tangible stuff washes out anyway.

The coordinator for the VONA writing sessions, Diem Jones, sent an email today to close our time at VONA, reiterating what he'd said when we closed the session on Saturday morning : our lives would be different now. He spoke not just as people of color moving back into a white-dominant world but artists moving back to a world often without creativity/appreciation.

He spoke of attendees of the past who've changed their lives once they've gone to VONA, moving away from home or to the San Francisco area, completing manuscripts, separating themselves from people or things that didn't support them, finding new partners.

I cannot wash off the beauty of the women in my writing group : Robyn, Teri, Onome, Spenta. All incredibly talented and with such a bright light in their faces. They are powerful.

I'm electric. Thinking again about how I ended up in Willie's class by some misguided luck due to electronic communication (Eleggua handles this, no? The orisha of communication and open doors knowing I needed a self-test...), I cannot imagine another way now of having my writing come together. When I typed out a couple of the poems I'd written throughout my week at VONA, I could feel my mind recalling the different ways to set a poem on the page, considered word choice, included concrete images and figurative language. All conscious choices. The act of writing, however, was collective memory tapping my temples. Damned, I didn't know how incredible it could feel to be harnassing some bull of an idea and know that, all along, the creature was lovingly waiting for me to see it.

Monday, July 04, 2005


Why does it seem so illegal to still use the names my lovers have given me in the past? I had this discussion with a friend of mine and it just seems like another opportunity to not allow me to be free.

No matter what happens in my intimate life with someone, if I saw them in my every day life, I would like to still be called tigresa or preciosa or mama. And be free enough to call them daddy or santo or baby. It seems strange to use real names after someone's had their fingers really up in you, or you've managed to conquer each other. I recognize not everyone (including new partners, friends, etc.) would be comfortable with this but it feels forced and fake to use parent-given names for people I once loved intensely and still love in some ways, even if it's only love as a visor for the past.

I think to force ourselves not to use these loving names is to negate the love that was there, to deny the potential we all have for serving as a marker of both the past and its influence in the present. Women have changed and guided me. I cannot imagine not calling them from within a language of love and enjoying that they are living and experiencing everything life can offer them at this point.

There - just a little bit of my Independence Day.

Friday, July 01, 2005

starvation economies

I got in to SF at around midnight last Friday night and, after finding a security guard on the University of SF campus, discovered the dorms I would be spending more than a week at. Strange enough to have to stay in dorms again. Stranger still that, in that cold night, I realized this week would be immense. I realized it would mean change in my writing life but didn't count on change in my whole life. So I'm coming back into it.

The whole race/ethnicity talk in my writing group is a huge thing for me, especially given it would happen when my energy and body weren't even in the same city. Stranger still that La Deb and I would end up talking this week and decide we would be better as friends. This was really unique considering Deb never wanted a relationship but, in spending time with me, realized she did. More strange is that she realized I couldn't be in one yet. Even if I feel more ready.

Of course I'm thinking about relationships. Yes, I want one but I don't want to be tied down. I saw that awful Frida movie with Salma Hayek (the best parts of the movie were her breasts) and found resonance with the converation Frida and Diego had in their bed before they married. Frida asked for loyalty and he said he could give that, but that he could not give fidelity. (Note to self: work on a definition of fidelity because fidelity for all of america means just one person's hands on your for all your life but has also meant being faithful to duties or obligations (doesn't this mean loyalty?) and for others fidelity means having an honest and open understanding with a partner.)

Because I've not found a woman who'll allow me to put this into practice for long term, for now these ideas seem to make sense to me and/or serve as my ideal. I've been with women who are okay with this for the short-term and I didn't go off running at the next moment to get naked with someone else. It's not like I want the player role. Moreso, the whole thing becomes more about having to use the words commitment and exclusive which trip me.

I've never quite understood why a "starvation economy", where love is viewed as a commodity - if shared becomes less to give to another/others - was ever allowed to succeed so well in this country. I take it back to colonial times, when judges and religious leaders, seeing that fewer young people were getting married, decided to offer benefits to formal marriage. Hand in hand that strange couple in the corner, the one everyone pretends not to see : government and religion. And it all comes down to money.

todavia mas!

My instructor this week is Willie Perdomo. I've mentioned him but his name is worth repeating. I'm telling you he is Chango. I remember thinking how unsure I was about ending up in his class. Then I met Ruth Forman and those who are in her class this week and thought - these are not my people. Then I met Willie and, shit, me quede pegada. He took me with his intensity and the energy within his body just waiting to come out. This is where my poetry lies.

Because of the smaller class size, we've been able to enjoy extra attention both during class and within one-on-ones. Willie threw my mind around again today during our second one-on-one, when he asked me if I wondered whether the writing workshops I'd taken recently weren't stopping my voice from really coming in. I tripped because I haven't taken a workshop in years. Who can afford them? And they come so infrequently (to Texas), don't really hold my interest or conflict with work/home scheduling.

I realized it must be the writing group's influence. Willie asked me straight up if I thought the writing group was really holding my best interests. I tripped up because it seemed like an accusation. I realized I couldn't take it like that when we had never, as a group, formally talked about what we wanted to create for ourselves, what role the group would have within our larger career of writing & performing. We spoke informally of creating a manuscript, assuming the typical: publication, improving poems that are already good, etc. But I wanted to hear life goals. I wanted to be able to say what incredible things I want to achieve. This is so much more than just publishing. These larger goals would better define where I'll publish, how I'll write, what I hope the other writers would look to solidify within my writing. This is not to say this can't still be done. Right now, however, I'm feeling a little bruised and don't really feel like sharing, you know?

Willie's comments empowered me. I remember a few months ago when I grew a little frustrated with the writing group. I don't remember the details but recalled that I didn't want to become a writer who wrote 5 pieces because they were due once a month to the group, versus writing all the time and giving the top 5 once a month. I wondered if I needed time alone in my writing. Just freely writing without crazy editing of super new pieces. No, it didn't help I couldn't find support in my household at the time, my lover not wanting to watch Little Lion so I could meet without distraction, or not having writing time in general to be prepared for our meetings. Despite all this, I kept on. I believed in the potential of the group. When Willie reminded me my voice needs to be the strongest thing, an entity that should not be compromised, he wondered if the writing group might not be helping with my now verbalized desire to add muscle to my voice.

When the writers attending this week's session met for the first time on Sunday night here at VONA, they asked each of us what our goal was - I said "expansive voice". I wanted to make my voice echo beyond the space it's currently living in. My voice has become comfortable. No voice should be that comfortable, especially not in a country where Time Magazine gives in to the Tarnished House.