Thursday, November 9, 2017

Wow! I just had an epiphany...I'm a Ph.D. in life. By Juliana Aragon Fatula

Crazy Chicana in Catholic City my first book of poetry Conundrum Press

Photo of Juliana by the incredible photo journalist, Tracy Harmon

Favorite photo of one of my poetry readings. I look hot in red, que no?

I was minding my own business and doing what I do, reading, writing, revising, writing, researching...and I had a realization come on me. I should be proud of the work I've done and the fact that I'm a lifelong learner and continue to study and master my writing. I didn't stop learning when I graduated from CSU Pueblo with my degree in English. I continued to study master writers and to attend writing workshops and network with the finest writers in the country.

I'm blessed. I've had so many opportunities. I don't know why I'm so blessed. I feel the spirits of my loved one who've passed on standing beside me pushing me forward to tell their stories, my stories, the truth. If I don't tell the stories, no one will ever know how wonderful my parents were, how hard my grandparents struggled with racism and inequality, how hard my bisabuelos sacrificed their lives so that I could grow up and get a college education. I have a duty to honor them.

This dia de los muertos I'm building an alter for my little sister, Lynette. She never had the chances I had and she never went to college. What her life would have been like if she had gotten an education instead of an addiction, abuse, mental illness. I have an obligation to tell her story and the stories of all of those I've loved who have left this world and gone to the other side.

So sometimes when I doubt myself and I wonder why my house is such a mess, why the laundry and dishes are piled high and the floors are sticky, the guilt overwhelms me. Then I remember, I'm not a housewife, I'm a writer, a student, a researcher, an editor, a mentor, a teacher, a performing artist. Whew, no wonder I don't have time to clean house and cook. I'm too busy creating. I realized that I do so much more than just stay home and write.

I am still learning how to be the best writer I can possibly be and I owe it to myself to give credit to my hard work and quit feeling sorry for myself because my house doesn't sparkle. Y que?

Chingao! If my house did sparkle, I'd be depressed because I wouldn't be writing and creating and researching, and learning, and passing the knowledge to my mentees.

So when you visit and my house is dusty with spider webs in the corners and dog and cat fur everywhere, remember I am a Ph.D in life and don't have time for dusting and mopping and cooking, and baking.

I'm doing the best I can. It's good enough for me. I'd rather write and have a messy house than live in a home without happiness and writing makes me happy.

Link to my publisher where my books are available. Please support small presses. Thank you.


  1. Fabulous post, Juliana! It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes: “A house uncleaned is better than a life unlived.” – Rebecca West


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