Thursday, May 28, 2020

Funky Reggae by Juliana Aragon Fatula

May 28, 2020

Dear reader,

Covid 19 took my wits and sense of humor and smashed them against the wall. The societal changes brought on by the global pandemic brought racism to the headlines. I sat among the lilacs, poppies, columbines and iris and sang with the birds in the apple tree above me. I listened to the wind speak and felt the breath of mother nature blow on my brown skin with tenderness and love. The dogs barked, the train whistle blew, the prison siren gave its seven a.m. wake up blast, and I gazed at the heavens and counted my blessings.

My husband and son are my blessings. They give me unconditional love and sometimes a bit of heart ache because they worry me and anger me and make me feel very sad sometimes.
I have many friends all over the U.S.A. far and near. Most friends share the love of writing with me and we correspond about writing conferences, workshops, contests, literary panels in academia. But they also give me what my family cannot. Support for my writing.

My friends understand that if I didn’t write, my life would drive me crazy. I’ve tried not writing and I tend toward nervous breakdowns when I don’t write. I get pissy and complain about doing dishes and mowing the lawn. I realize the problem is not the dishes but me. I long to put pen to paper or fingers to my keyboard and just write without interruptions or people asking me where the can opener or spatula can be found.

My love of writing began at childhood. I didn’t know then that I would grow up to be a writer, an educator, an activist. I thought I’d be a maid like my mother and older sisters. And I spent some time cleaning toilets and scrubbing rich ladies’ floors. I knew as a teenager that my life would not be fulfilled unless I grabbed it by the short hairs and took charge of my destiny.

First, I cleaned toilets. I went to business school and learned to type. I became a telephone operator for Ma Bell in my hometown and once listened in on a famous couples’ intimate conversation about her being pregnant and not being married to the father. I kept their secret.

I moved to the city and began my career in Denver as a Central Office framer, connecting telephone lines, security systems, climbing ladders with soldering irons and pulling cables. I became a yuppy and worked for major corporations typing, answering phones, and copying documents.

I moved to Southern Colorado and went to college, graduated at fifty years old, earned a degree, and began writing.  I taught middle school language arts and teatro in my community. I published a couple of poetry books with small presses in Denver and began my life as a writer, attending poetry readings, books signings, and writing workshops.

I retired from teaching in public schools and became a writer in residency and taught writing workshops for Bridging Borders, and Colorado Humanities Writers in the Schools. I found my niche. I found happiness.

I’m semi-retired. I still perform on stage reading my poetry, signing books, teaching writing workshops, and I do the dishes and mow the lawn. I’ve found a peace. I had to experience all of the bullshit in my life to get where I am today. It made me who I am.

Friends call me a goddess. I don’t know why, but they love me with a force I can’t understand. They push met to be a better person, a goddess. They know I have the ability to rise and do something powerful with my words. I continue to write, dream, hope, and count my blessings. The world has changed. The climate has changed. The rules have changed. I believe in One World, One Love.

“Count your blessings.” I said. I moved into my new room. A room of my own.  I changed my life.
Collie Buddz sang to me, “Smoke, drink, and love to some reggae. I’ve got weed and a bottle of booze. All I wanna doooo is smoke, drink, and love to some reggae. I don’t know ‘bout you, but I can only live my life one way. Kinky reggae.”

Thirty years of sobriety in 2020. I write. I’m a storyteller.


  1. Lovin' the trip down memory lane. You are a wordsmith Goddess! I'm so grateful to call you SIS. ♡

  2. The phone company was such a short time on your life but oh so special for me. The reason we adore you is because you’re the one who will cross the room, strike up a conversation and ask someone to do something that is inevitably and incalculably fun! And in the process we become friends for life. Love you always!

  3. A story that shows we can do what we want when we set our minds to it! Loved reading it!