What is your favorite thing about writing?
When I was a kid, Spanish was my first language. It was the language I used to communicate with my parents and family in other countries, but it wasn't the language that was used in school. Before there was a robust ESL program, there was another program that was essentially where students who were different were placed. Harris County in the 1980s wasn't the same place it is now. I learned to speak English watching Sesame Street and Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. My immigrant mother, with her broken Spanish, taught me all the English words she knew and taught me how to read.
But even with all of that, I knew I was different.
But I also knew that if I could write better than everyone else in my class, it didn't matter how I spoke. Words were proof that I existed. And so, that's how I learned to write. That's how I learned how important words are. My favorite things about writing... no one cares what I look like. No one cares what I should like or if I combed my hair or brushed my teeth. What matters is what is on that page, how it made people feel.
What matters is magic. And I want to live in a world filled with magic.
What is the one thing you wish you had known about writing when you were just getting started?
I wish someone had told me how hard it was. Ha! Actually, I wish I had believed them. I also wished, especially after grad school, they taught me how to keep a writing career. How does that look like? How do you write a grant or write the perfect letter for submissions? Writing is resistance and this is how that manifests -- I wish that was an entire class! I wish they had taught me what that world as a writer could look like more. It would have been invaluable for me starting out.
What is the most interesting thing about you?
This is a loaded question. EVERYTHING is interesting about me. Ha! I think maybe what is surprising is that I still keep looking to having adventures -- nothing big like diving off a building but something different and new. I don't like to do the same thing over and over again for too long.
Tell me one thing you hate.
Standing in lines. Long lines. And any variation of that like traffic. I spend a lot of time thinking and planning on how I can avoid traffic.
Tell me one thing you love.
My mom. My sister. My friends. I love loving them and being loved by them.
Who is your favorite writer?
This question is SO CRUEL! One writer? Come on!
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is on the top of my list always.
Juan Rulfo is a close second
Deborah DEEP Mouton
Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah
Let's end there because this list can get LONG!
If you could pick anyone from history to collaborate on a book with, who would it be?
Clarice Lispector or Franz Kafka because they get me. I wouldn't want to collaborate with Marquez because I'd be fangirling WAY too hard to get any work done.
Why should people take a workshop with you at Writespace?
Because we have fun! Also, it's a great opportunity to hear, or read, or try something new. We have amazing workshops at WriteSpace and I am so lucky to be part of that energy.
What are you passionate about passing on to your students?
The best lesson I have ever been taught as a writer was that I am an apprentice to books. Even though I write and teach and have this fancy degree, I'm still learning. I'm still trying things out, pushing my limits as a writer and doing the work. That makes me an eternal student and that helps me focus on being the best instructor I can be. I am a guide, helping other apprentices to find their way.
What are you currently reading?
I am re-reading Children of Blood and Bone to I can go to the next book in the series. I'm flirting with an Alex Segura book at the moment as well, Silent City. I'm taking a break from memoir at the moment and then will be returning to it in the next month or so. So I'm enjoying the respite. Once I'm back, I'll be reading Children of the Land by Marcelo Hernandez Castillo.