Thursday, July 11, 2019

The Solitary Life of a Writer by Juliana Aragon Fatula

Dear Reader:

I couldn't sleep tonight so I sat in my cat napper recliner and reclined to the beat of Marley's this a reggae music play I some music this a reggae music just like a mighty Dred roots rock reggae this a reggae music and the outdoor camera light came on and this beautiful creature peered inside my window at me and said, y que? Just like that. Y, que, vata? Like what are ya gonna do bout it, beetch. 

We literally have herds of mule deer grazing through our yard nibbling our aspen saplings and roses. This beast is a buck with a 5x4 rack. His neck muscles show he is in rut looking for a female to hook up with. That's a funny way to say have sex, or to mate, another one is knockin' boots. Who thinks of this stuff? I do. Me the writer who can't sleep at night because it's a full moon and the wildlife is in my rose garden and I'm writing about depression. Yes, I'm depressed. Most writers go through depression stages in their life. I've suffered with depression for 50 years. 

It began at five when I ate a bowl of ice cream and my cousin told me not to tell anyone about our secret. Then when I was ten I fantasized that I was Virginia Woolf and loaded my pockets with rocks and waded out into the river. I drowned in that scenario. But I heard a voice telling me, It gets better. It will get better. 

Then there were the years of living dangerously. You know the scene, sex, drugs, rock and roll and no protection. I risked my life for fun for excitement for the rush. I didn't die but my friends did. They died of alcoholism, drug addiction, AIDS, drunk driving, knifed in prison over a pack of cigarettes. I did everything I could to put my life in jeopardy by drinking to the point of blacking out.

I felt sad. I felt mad. I felt lonely. I felt crazy. I felt everyone's pain and didn't know it was a thing. I cared too much and it almost killed me. I rode the crazy train all the way to crazy town. 

I was  uneducated. I was a single mother. I worked nine to five and drank Friday to Sunday. 

I never thought someday I'd become a writer. I never dreamed I'd live to be fifty let alone sixty-two. But I am a writer. I write about my loneliness and pain. I'm a confessional poet. 

I've changed genres and now I write mysteries. I love mysteries. I love Alfred Hitchcock thrillers. I love CSI and Monk...

So in order to write I have to isolate myself from family and friends and just dive in and test the water. I do this by listening to music. I'm depressed because of genetics, diabetes, chemical imbalance, childhood PTSD, a family history of alcoholism...

The music sets the mood and allows me to escape my body and leave my reality to venture into fiction. I've discovered that I love my make believe world so much that I get irritated when someone needs me and interrupts my flow. It's usually my husband. He's a pain in the ass but I love him dearly and unconditionally. He usually gets me but sometimes he's an ass. 

So I put on my headphones and shake my head to the beat and when he interrupts me I hold up a post it that reads, Buzz off I'm working. Call my voice mail and leave a message unless this is an emergency and in that case call 911. I turn my music up and return to my keyboard. 

At first he really didn't like my new writing tool the headphones. But now he can watch sports or hunting or car shows on tv while I listen to books on tape and sit next to him so he likes it more than he used to when I just ignored him and danced away with a skip in my step. 

Listening to music while I work has become a thing for me. I pretend I'm a great dancer and I dance around the backyard while I irrigate the garden or hang laundry on the clothesline or transplant seedlings or while I load the washer, dishwasher, dryer or crockpot while I mop the kitchen floor or vacuum the living room rug. 

My life is a crazy combination of being a super mom/wife, a feminist, an educated Chicana, a writer, a poet, a performer, a storyteller. I have reached the age when I don't care what anyone thinks about my hairstyle, clothes, language, past. I'm over it. I live for the loved ones family and friends who never made it to 22, 32, 42, 52, or 62. They lived and died and they changed me. They are part of me and why I am the Crazy Chicana in Catholic City. I lived a fast life a crazy life and now I'm happy to stay home, garden, bake, write and give my loved ones unconditional love until I'm no longer on this planet. My depression hangs on but I fight back with my own home remedies like music therapy and writing my pain and anger and sharing with others so they can hang on too because it does get better. It does. It just does.


  1. it is a solitary life, but what a life you've led... and now you can share it with all of us. Thank you for that....

  2. Juliana, what an achingly beautiful, funny, and sad post! Thank you for opening your heart. I'm going to share it with a friend who will definitely "get" you!

    1. Thank you. It's why I write. I used to feel so lonely and now I love being alone to write.


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