Thursday, June 14, 2018

Women Empowering Women by Juliana Aragón Fatula

A collection of photos from my writing workshops and women I admire.

Women Empowering Women Writing Workshops
this link will open to forty-nine photos and quotes on writing.

When I write I listen to music, it plays in the background, setting the mood for my characters. My writing style comes from playwriting and screenwriting and poetry. I see my characters in my head on a movie set and hear the soundtrack playing. So many great mysteries have been made into movies that began as great books. 

This morning as I write in my sun room, I’m listening to Rickie Lee Jones sing about Chuck E’s in Love. Since most of my leading characters are strong women, I listen to the great voices like: Tina Turner, Joni Mitchell, Linda Ronstadt, Minnie Ripperton, Janis Joplin, and the incredible Chavela Vargas. If you’ve never heard these women’s voices or heard of them, give them a listen.

Today I’m working on my m.s. the part I love most, the revision process. First, I write the story. Next, I polish and edit the story. I have worked on my m.s. since 2011! I also spent much of those years reading my favorite mystery writers, studying master writers and reading their “How to Write a Mystery” books.

I studied, underlined, took notes on the books recommended by master writers. When I reflect on how long I’ve been working on this m.s. I realize, first I studied, researched, learned how to write a mystery, and I realize I’ve just completed a master’s degree in mystery writing and completed my first mystery m.s.! Whew! All while maintaining my daily responsibility of being wife, mother, and teaching Bridging Borders young ladies writing workshops. Whew! I’m tired. No wonder I’ve taken seven years to finish my book!

I’ve also attended great writing workshops in San Antonio, Salt Lake City, and Las Cruces. I’ve worked with writers who have Ph.Ds. and teach writing at universities, and with writers who are starting to find their voice and writing for the first time. I fall somewhere in between. Sometimes I feel intimidated by writers with Ph.Ds. but then mi esposo tells me, “Who’s a big girl and wears big girl panties and published two books? Who? You, that’s who.” We laugh, and I realize I’m a life long learner and have been studying my entire life. At sixty-one, that’s a lot of reading books, taking notes, and teaching my students what I’ve learned. My son says, “Mom, you should have a Ph.D. by now. You’ve been studying and going to college all of my life.” Well, son, I’m proud to announce I’ve decided I have an honorary Ph.D. in life.

Great mentors have shown me the way. Now it’s my turn to light the path for the next generation of young women writers. I’m proud. I’m not only writing books, I’m creating new writers who will pay it forward etc.

I’ve lived a good life, a bad life, and a mediocre life but, today my life is frickin’ fantastic. I love what I do. When I hand one of my books to these young ladies and tell them my story they realize I was them and I survived. I made my life meaningful and they can do the same.

When one of those girls tells me they read my book, Crazy Chicana in Catholic City or Red Canyon Falling on Churches and they could relate to me, I realize I’ve been successful and my heart soars! If I help just one child to feel hopeful, I have my goal in life, but I know from feedback that I’ve helped dozens of young women and young men to dream of a better life.

If a poor Chicana from a small town in Colorado that was the KKK headquarters in the early 20’s can find her voice, if a young writer of color can tell her story and get it published, anything is possible. The moon, the sun, the stars. My riches are these young ladies’ faces, not dollar signs, but I’m richer than I’ve ever imagined I could be. I am loved, respected and that’s why I keep writing, studying, researching, mastering my craft, so I can be a master writer, so I can write not a good book, but a great book!

I have a new student t I’ve begun mentoring. It’s a special relationship. I taught her in seventh grade Language Arts and teatro and now I’m mentoring her as a twenty-one-year-old adult. I’m blessed; I’m blessed; I’m blessed and couldn’t be happier to have the good and bad experiences in my life. They made me who I am. And I’ve discovered my purpose in life. It’s not be a housewife, ha. It’s to mentor young women and pass on the skills I’ve acquired on this road called life.

When I’ve finished this book and share it with my mentees, I will be able to say, “I studied and learned how to write. I taught myself from the greatest writers how to write a great novel. I can be proud and share my tools of the trade with them and in that way pay it forward.

I don’t write for fame or money. I write because I have stories to tell and I share them with my unique voice. I write the book, only I can write. I create art. If I wasn’t meant to be a storyteller, why do I have gifts like: imagination, creativity, soulful, spiritual gifts from the Cosmos? To waste my gifts would be sinful.

When I face a deadline and feel pressured, I remind myself, “Juliana, you are exceptional, you can do anything you set your mind to do. You can help others who struggle with family dysfunction, alcoholism, drug addiction, incarceration, suicide, mental illness, sexual assault and abuse because you’ve survived all these trials in life and come out a much better person.”

Thank you, sisters: Gloria Anzaldúa, Linda Rodriguez, Sandra Cisneros, Denise Chavez, my Mother, Louise Mondragon Aragon, Dolores Alarcon, Emma Medina, Irene Aragon, Lynette Aragon, Aimee Medina Carr, Tracy Harmon, Judy Noel, Eva Balerio, Maria Melendez Kelson, Corinne Espinoza, Crissy Red, Lois Red-Elk, Debra Gallegos, Yolanda Ortega and my teachers too many to mention but especially Mrs. Durbin my seventh-grade language arts teacher who instilled in me a love of words, of books, of writing. So many wonderful women have helped create me and now I continue the mission statement: Women Empowering Women, mujeres muy mujeres!

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