I have a dream. It's big and crazy and sometimes only I am sure it will happen. The hardest part of everyday life sometimes is having a dream and remaining present and grateful for the now. So, this year I have to look back on the amazing steps and strides that I have made towards achieving my dream. I just wanted to share some highlights from this year. This would not have been possible without my God, my community, my family and my mentors. Basically, anyone who has been a part of my journey, I am grateful for.
2017 was the first year that I faced a bit of opposition to the work that I do and how I walk through the world. It came in the form of "well-meaning words" that quickly escalated when I didn't take said advice. That incident caused me to evaluate myself and I grew from that situation.
Everything in 2017 wasn't rainbows and sunshine. I hit walls, got rejection letters, faced at least 6 months worth of writers block, but I kept going. I will always keep going.
HIGHLIGHTS OF 2017
January- Traveled to El Paso to do research for my play Fae and Paciencia. Thank you Polly for showing me around El Paso!
February- Presented a Workshop to some dope college women at the Womyn of Color Retreat at Texas State University!
April- Presented Guest Lecture on The Stories of Us at the University of Texas in El Paso (Via Skype). Thank you S Paola Lopez for the opportunity.
April- Chosen as one of five finalist for The Emerald Play Prize. Aurin Squire won (he writes on THIS IS US!), but I was nominated along with some super-established playwrights. That was an honor. Thank you Olga Sanchez-Saltveit for nominating me and Ali El-Gasseir the opportunity.
May-Reading with Scriptworks of my play Delivery. Thank you Christi Moore for finding the most amazing cast. Thank you to all of my friends, family and colleagues who came out. Nasir Villanueva, Lori Navarrette, Christopher Alvarenga, Hayley Jeanne Armstrong and Micailah Nobles thank you for lending your talents to the script! Thank you to Raymond and Krysta for your feedback on my script.
JUNE-I took Caridad Svich's Playwriting Class. It was challenging! She spoke of my play Delivery by saying "there's so much passion in the writing too." An Award-Winning playwright said that about my play.
JUNE-Reading of Delivery at the Mexican American Cultural Center featuring some of my favorite actors (Alyssa Dillard, Stacye Markey, Jorge Luis Galan, Tarik Daniels and Lori Navarrete). I got so much great feedback from my Austin community (thanks Roxanne, Cheryl, Oscar, JoAnn, Adam and everyone for coming. Thanks Marina for hooking me up with the space).
Finalist for the Black and Latino Playwright's Conference!
This was a dream come true. Especially since my late professor Stephen Gerald told me I needed to go to this conference. I didn't make it into the conference, but the festival director, Eugene Lee, interviewed me and gave me some encouraging words and I will be submitting again.
JULY-Reading of Fae and Paciencia at Thirsty Thursday's at the Rec Room in HOUSTON! Thank you to Director Stephen Miranda for believing in this piece, organizing this reading and making it happen! Thank Grace for creating this space. Thank you to the actors: Nasir Villanueva, Estee Burks, Anthony August, Giovanni Sandoval, Micah Obregon, Christa Ruiz and Teresa Stranahan.
AUGUST- A Developmental Reading of the Stories of Us in Chicago with Vision Latino! I spent a week in Chicago rewriting the Stories of Us. Thank you to the entire cast, Xavier Custodio, Yari Custodio and Johnathan Nieves for making this happen.
Two of my One Minute Plays, Freedom and Dreamer's Cry, were in the Austin One Minute Play Festival.
Featured in I Interview Playwrights blog!
Wrote an article for Dear Queens!
The students of Dr. Daphne Sicre's Latinx Studies course will read The Stories of Us as a part of their course work.
And my work was featured in an article "(Afro)Latinx Theatre: Articulation and Embodiment" By Olga Sanchez Saltveit for Label Me Latino's Afrolatino Performance issue.
October- Participated in 14/48: The World's Quickest Theater Festival in Austin, Texas where I will write an original 10 minute play in less than 24 hours.
Asking a dope Black woman playwright to be my mentor and she said YES!
December- Attending the HBMG Foundation Playwright's Retreat! More info here.
For all of these accomplishments, I am grateful to God, my family, my community and my loved ones for support.
What are you most proud of this year?
A part of being a writer is doing writerly things like going to coffee shops, writing a museums and going to writing workshops that will feed into your creative and professional life. So last Sunday, I went to FuenteCo's Urgent Narratives hosted by my writer friend Patricia Coral.
I left with pages upon pages of urgent writing. When they said that the workshop would be "generative", they didn't lie. It was wonderful writing out my worlds and hearing the work of the women who shared the space with me. Patricia did a great job of sharing her own personal experiences with writing, making us feel comfortable and building a sense of community among women who had just met.
Advice that I will take with me are that writing should first be for you. Yes, I am a playwright. My work is meant for the stage, but that doesn't mean that the writing process is not a part of my spiritual practice. I also learned to write in the stream of conscientiousness. To let the thoughts and characters speak on the page and don't interrupt them. At least in the first draft. Lastly, I learned that all writing is not meant to be shared. Sometimes its just for you.
I wrote a letter I'll never give to my crush, a note to my mothers and about 8 pages of stream of conscientiousness that may or may not turn into a play.
All in all, FuenteCo puts their all into creating a space where writers and artists learn, grow and build community. I will be going to more of their events in the future.