My Writing Process – Blog Tour
My sister in the struggle and the joys and glasses of red wine and thunder and lightening storm dance parties Piper Anderson invited me to this blog tour last week. Exciting! The opportunity to create is a gift, but I have been in a writing...funk/whirlwind/desert as of late. Ah! Nerves! Would I be able to deliver?
Everything unfolds as it should. I am meant to be writing this out write now. Salamat, Piper. Check out more of her work at www.piperanderson.com
Here’s how the blog tour works. Each writer answers 4 questions about the writing process and then passes the baton to two more writers who follow-up a week later.
What are you working on?
I am starting up again after a break for some other creative projects. Several years ago, I presented material at La Peña over in Berkeley and that is what's been calling me back. The piece looks at immigration and its effects on relationships. The original idea was to integrate dance into the text, but we'll see what transpires this time around. Immigration and diaspora are important subjects for me, being first generation US. Immigration is, of course, a hot topic in politics, and too often our stories are limited or simplified into statistics. A side project is writing for Friends We Love; all my interviews are also included on my site. These interviews always make me hyped: who doesn't like exchanging stories with artist friends around work and process and shit talking?
How does your work differ from others' work in the same genre?
I often include Tagalog and Spanish in my writing. It's always been that way, borne out necessity. It's how I speak and think. At times, people will ask for translations of words and phrases, but I generally don't like to do this and avoid it as much as possible. My responsibility as a writer is to make work that challenges and inspires (hopefully) and speaks truth. It isn't about spelling everything out. And the responsibility of the reader/listener is to be as present as possible, meet the work at least halfway, and explore. Also, I've learned to navigate multi-tongues and know many who are trying to navigate English without the ability of having a translation. Figure it out.
Why do you write what you do?
Because I have to. If I don't write and dance and sing and act, something inside begins to shrivels up. Piper mentioned the need to share, and I feel the same. It isn't enough to just journal or take a class. There is something propelling me forward. I want to exchange stories with community, find out how we've survived and where we're going, not just as an individual but as a community. I also create what I do because my voice is important and the arts and entertainment world (eh, the world, in general) has a long way to go regarding diversity. I'm brown. I'm a woman. I'm from an immigrant, working class culture. I celebrate that all, and I want to share and celebrate others lives, too.
How does your writing process work?
It has shifted over the years. I used to write in easy stretches. Pieces would be done in thirty minutes.
As craft has developed and I've gotten more and more experience publishing and touring, the process has definitely become more challenging. It's been a process remembering to get out of my own way and then getting out of my own way. Blocking myself led to material that I didn't feel grounded in, getting caught up in what the end product should be. That's the worst place to write from, and realizing that led me to my writing sabbatical. Now that that is over, I write in spurts several times a week. I always have a notebook and pen on me (the only way I write), and jot down ideas, lines, etc. when something lights up in my brain. I follow up with these snippets in these evenings, mainly after 10PM.
Also, the rhythm of writing is influenced by the music I want to hear (I started life playing music) and studying great songwriters. Been bumping a lot of Josh Ritter, Xoel López, and always Jorge Drexler.
Who's up next?
I went extra with this last part. I have four fabulous sisters who will be taking the baton (..uh, instead of the two I was told to pick). They are fabulous artists and community workers.
Emily Chang www.designingthenest.blogspot.com
Amanda Tira Andrei www.amandaandrei.com
Wema Harris www.wemaharris.com
Check more at #mywritingprocess