I chose the right animal to splice with human DNA in The Harvest. (Shut up! It's a sci fi novel.)
The more I study my new cats, the more of a cat enthusiast I become. They truly are amazing. (We are still dog people, but we are cat fans, too.)
Love your pets, but don't let them sit on your key board, when you are trying to write (Ninja!). #Resist
Yes, I said Pussies, as in multiple cats. We adopted Ninja last Sunday and took her to the vet yesterday. She is officially ours, by God! On Friday, in the middle of my tamale-making party, Aaron brought a second cat home: A Girl. Simona dubbed her that, even though I still want to call her Assassin.
When I saw her for the first time, I was like, "Whose cat it that?" followed by a "What the fuck? She's not a kitten." Unfortunately or fortunately, Antonio and Simona really like her.
But, the drama doesn't end there. The jerk who sold us Ninja neglected to tell us she had fleas. What a joy that was to find out on, yes, that same Friday of the party. My friend's daughter told me she saw bugs on her fur, and I was like, "No way!" She was right. I had to wash our sheets and are still in the process of vacuuming. Both of the cats are getting treated for a year to prevent any further spread of the nasty creatures, and we are calling our Orkin buddy to spray this week.
I had to give poor Ninja a warm bath on Friday night, yes, the same party night, but she was so sweet.
She is my favorite, although A Girl is growing on me. A Girl has attitude and needs to be pet how she likes it and when she likes it. Any divergence and she's hissing like a nasty street cat. She also meows an awful lot at night, which annoys me because I can't figure out what she wants yet. Ninja is easy. She wants food or love, and she lets me lap her and pet her for marathon pets. Obviously, the two don't like each other yet, but their shit talk is getting shorter.
Today, promises to be a real challenge for them. They will be alone most of the day, and even though they are apart, as they should be because of the fleas and slow introduction process, I hope they don't get into a cat fight. My little Ninja is fierce, however, and I think A Girl may get a run for her money. The good thing is that they camp out in different rooms, which is fine by me.
We may get a third furry family member. Antonio has been begging for a pug, and we got an offer to see a mix (not a pug) at a farm. The dog's name is Tinker Bell, and if we keep it, we are definitely changing his name to Killer. Tinker Bell will get the little dog's ass kicked by the two cats in the house and potentially, the other neighborhood dogs.
Well, I got no writing done, and I'm don't feel like making coffee. So, back to bed for me. I hope your morning was more productive.
Be productive. Don't get distracted by pussies. #Resist
I am praying to the WiFI gods that I can upload my damn novel draft. Weebly keeps spinning. I guess it's too much literary excellence for it to handle. Stupid WiFi.
On a great note, my friend, Eric Allen Yankee, is editing my short story "La Bruja del Barrio Loco" and turning it into a Kindle book. You can find the current version in the Antojitos section. I am so excited! I hope Eric has time to go over it this weekend because I plan on spending some time revising the collection and writing my novel.
Also, this weekend my friend, and author, Marcy Rae Henry is sending me cover ideas for that same piece. We are going with a human heart image juxtaposed with some horrific images.
Well, the kids are up, and I have to make some minor side dishes. My son is sick, but we are still party hopping and getting ready for my event tomorrow.
I am making tamales and buñuelos. Screw Black Friday. #Resist!
Have a blessed day and be grateful for your literary and reading talents! #Resist
I wrote a little more of The Harvest. I am formalizing a greater enemy for the protagonist of the novel, Ashley. She is also struggling with her feelings towards Alan, who she is not supposed to love because the social conventions don't allow it.
Ashley needs a little more dirt on her, and I think she is going to have a decline in her behavior because no character is truly pure, and her ultimate goals are to provide for her mother and be successful in a crumbling society.
I also worked on my collection based on Adam Gottlieb's awesome feedback. The ending of the story I was revising is clearer and ends on a more uplifting note. However, I am still struggling with paring down some of the side stories, which my fiction tends to be riddled with and could confuse readers. Riddled is, perhaps, too strong a word. The side stories are very present.
I am also looking for someone to edit my long short story too, and I am going to ask my friend Erik Allen Yankee to help me post it online to Smash Words and Amazon or wherever. I know he is busy with his own writing and smut hustle, but I hope to pester him before I go on vacation.
And on that note, have a Happy Thanksgiving! Be grateful for your love of words and ability to read!
Write and revise. #Resist
Meet Ninja! She is our new fur-family member. (We are really dog people for the record, but she is amazing.)
Last Sunday, we bought her from the neighbor who was going to get rid of her. Ninja kept coming over to our house for attention, and the kids got attached to her. She is a wonderful addition, and now, we are looking to get her a sister.
I find it fascinating that a new element can add so much to our lives. Think about that for your plots.
Well, I have to grade, but this morning, I hope to get done in time for me to write a few more pages of The Harvest. This weekend, I want to devote a good amount of time to writing more of my novel and revising my short story collection. I also have to nudge my friend, Marcy Rae Henry, to finish the cover of my long short story "La Bruja del Barrio Loco" which is posted in the Antojitos section. We have bounced ideas around about the cover, and I hope she will give it some time, so I can post the story in time for the holidays.
Spread some love. #Resist
This morning, I woke up at 4:00a.m. and wrote more of The Harvest. Right now, Alan is experiencing a high because he is with Dr. Harper and Richard, but I am not sure how long that little piece of family paradise will last for him. Ashley is also having a rough time, but both need to overcome more conflicts. We will see.
I am also revising "Down South where the Water is Warm". I have been thinking a lot about the glossary that Adam, my friend and editor suggested, and have resisted, but a glossary makes sense. It's easy to convert footnotes to end notes anyway. I just need someone who knows proper Spanish grammar go over it.
Well, I'm off to actually revise. This part about the writing process is the one I need to learn to love, damn it.
Do write, then do the hard thing. #Resist.
Today, I was at the Teachers for Social Justice curriculum fair in Chicago promoting the People's Tribune. It was a great event, and we got to network with a number of activists. I had the pleasure of talking to Sarah Menefee again because she was at the conference. I was explaining how much I loved the writing-sex metaphor (you can't schedule either one. you do it.) I told her that often, I feel a sense of guilt and anxiety when I don't write every day. In fact, if I go for days without writing, my life gets a little greyer.
Sarah said something like, "Don't attach guilt to it. You just miss writing."
You ever have one of those cerebral explosions? I had one because that is such a brilliant way of framing what the heart wants.
Besides, there is so much negativity in the world. Why add to it?
My son also decided to tag along, and I made him pass out the paper and a poetry insert, which is quite phenomenal. It was produced by homeless or formerly homeless poets to raise awareness to the injustices they face.
My son also did something amazing: He embroidered a flame at one of the organizational tables promoting art and education. I loved the fact that he made something with his hands and wasn't so reliant on the phone to entertain himself. (The phone was not available to him, and the I-pad died.)
He also crafted cards for incarcerated children. While I loved the gesture, that reality jarred me and made me angry at the prison industrial complex, even more. I did put my name down to help develop curriculum or donate books. That, of course, won't solve the prison problem, but it's something. I also am working on a poem about what happened, in the poetry section.
All in all, I was really inspired at the great work people are doing through creative arts. That was just one part of it, but I was struck at all the tables that promoted one form of art or another. Next time, we should have a table for people to write a short piece.
Write from the heart, even when your time is limited. #Resist
You ever get the blues thinking you waited too long to do what you love? I was in that funk recently, but then I was like, "Fuck it! Just do what you love." Age is just an attitude, and these social norms are bullshit. Who cares what anyone else is doing? Who cares who's made it?
Plus, I was rereading The Harvest from start to finish, and I really like that piece. I know that means I will have to give more distance to revise, but Fuck It! I think I am objective enough that I can tell when I write utter garbage, and this draft is far from it.
Oh, and I found someone else willing to read it, my good friend and compadre Saed Rihani. He won't have time until February, but I hope to finish the novel by December 2017.
Fuck it! Do what you love. #Resist
This last Wednesday, Sarah Menefee came to speak at Harold Washington and talked about her homeless activism. She has been a homeless activist for over 30 years, and she told some harrowing stories about the police terrorizing homeless people and tearing down their tents. If the government won't house them, they should have a right to live in a tent.
She talked about how another world was possible, where people's needs were met and people actually took care of one another, like the do in these camps. It was a brilliant talk.
Towards the end, after the students had left we talked about writing. I asked her if she kept a writing schedule. And she said something like, "You don't schedule sex do you?" She writes when she feels like it, without restrictions, but she does it every day because writing poetry is life giving. So, the sex metaphor holds. LOL. I liked that philosophy, especially because I can't seem to hold a regular schedule with all the work I have to do. However, I do love writing every day.
Here's more of The Harvest draft. I did little edits.
So, have sex and write. #Resist
Dr. Jesú Estrada,