Thursday, January 11, 2018

Sixty years of memories, 2018 by Juliana Aragon Fatula from my upcoming memoir: Y Que? A spiritual memoir.

The Road I Ride Bleeds my first chapbook.

My first children's poetry book from Writing Workshops
Editor for Writers in the Schools Program
sponsored by Colorado Humanities Creative Industries Publishing. 
My favorite mode of transportation in my youth: an Indian.
Thirteen going on Thirty the 70's

My first book of Poetry.

Mi abuelita, Phoebe Mondragon at 60.
This is what I'd look like if I lived in her era;
a purse and a Bible in my lap. She was a holy roller. 
She played the accordion for the Pentecostal Holiness Church.

Several of my comadres have asked me, "How did you learn how to write?" Sometimes they ask about getting published. I tell them, "First read lots and lots of books about whatever interests you. Listen to different genres of music, go for long walks and listen to the sounds of nature...Then study the craft of writing in the genre you've chosen: Memoir, fiction, history, science, poetry, screenplays...Then begin writing every day and write about four pages a day, every day. Write about anything and everything and write non-stop for at least five minutes a session. Free writing about whatever is in your head. That way you get rid of the bullshit. And there's lots of bullshit in your head, believe me.

I've written volumes about everything, journals, poetry, short stories, children's plays, Chicana teatro, mysteries, essays, reviews, ideas, notes, letters, and ramblings. Each time I write, I learn something new about my style, voice, attitude, memories, loves, passions, fears, jealousy, despicable memories, joyous memories, binges of memories, loss of memories, dates, places, people, I've written essays on Shakespeare and Sherman Alexie, Sandra Cisneros and Walt Whitman. I've written all of my life and didn't call myself a writer until my first poetry book was published, Crazy Chicana in Catholic City. That book saved my life. I've saved my soul several times.

Today I'm sixty years old and losing my mind and my memory. Both at the same time. But I have no complaints. I'm happier than I've ever been. I have a husband who loves me and makes me laugh when he sings and dances. He is fearless. He is a warrior. He is a feminist.

My son, turned forty-five. I'm sixty. Do the math. It's a miracle, a miraculous conception of a naïve teenager with beautiful hair and eyes. My beauty was a curse. My loveliness a sorrow. I became a teenager in the seventies. I became a mother during the feminist movement and so my son is also a feminist. And he didn't know what the definition was until today when I asked if he knew the meaning of the word, feminist, feminism...femme fatale. And he answered honestly, no. So I schooled him. I told him his grandfather, my father, was a feminist. My husband is also a feminist. And that he is a feminist. He just nodded his head and smiled.

I have no reason to be unhappy, but sometimes I miss my sisters, parents, abuelitos, tiós, madrinas, teachers, friends, ancestors. I write because if I don't tell my story, who will. Y, que? I've had such great teachers, mentors, writer colleagues, writing workshops; I want to share what I've learned with you.
2017 Las Cruces, N.M.
Writing Workshop on Sacred Memories with Denise Chavez
two of my soul sisters, Judy and Tracy
celebrating my 60th in my Chicana Garden.

Two more soul sisters:
Maria and Aimee partying in the backyard
eating moose burgers. July 2017

My second book of poetry.

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