I did a reading this morning with So Say We All for the international book fair at City College. I read a short essay I wrote about immigration, the story of a young undocumented immigrant from El Salvador. It was about how a friend and I scrambled to help him after he lost his way crossing the mountains East of San Diego and pretty heartbreaking. It was the first reading I've done in a few months. I teared up during the piece, which was new for me. I think the difference was that the auditorium was full of brown folk. The students were mostly black and brown and when I looked up as I was reading, I could see the intensity on their faces. I could have been speaking about their fathers, brothers, I was telling one of their stories and it broke open a part of me that I have been trying to reach. It was a tender thing and I was almost bereft considering the scope of what I want to accomplish as a writer.
After the reading I came home and called an old college professor. I spoke with him for a long while about my novel, and the challenges I'm having. I don't think they're really challenges, but I have given myself a huge assignment. *sigh* And I'm getting there, minor terrors of ego notwithstanding. I spent all day Sunday eyeballs deep in the Popul Vuh. There are parallels between my fantasy world and Mayan civilizations, but they aren't the same. I read the histories (many corrupted) to place myself in the world then let go to go into the dreaming that drives the stories I'm telling.
I sent out a lot of work this last week. Poems, essays, short stories. The days I don't really write I try to get what I've written out into the world so that when I finally do reach out to an agent or publisher they'll be able to see that I've been published. So much work to being a writer.
Heading to Mexico next week with H and the familia. I haven't been to the ranch in a while and I miss it. I miss the slowness of the days and the food. I miss all the dusty kids tumbling around and the uncles slinging rocks to keep the birds off the corn. I miss the old blue Datsun my Uncle Payin drives and how he honks the horn right at sunrise and I get up to jump in the back and we drive the dirt roads to the cows. I miss how we toss the stripped corn stalks off the back of the truck while my uncle drives slow circles around the fields and the cows follow, hungry and faithful.
It will the first time I've taken a partner down to the ranch. They all still think my pig has gone to mountain. I think the uncles will approve of H, his body is similar to theirs and he is brown brown from the sun. He knows how to sweat and how to spit and drink down a beer contemplatively.
Now, to write some.