Panorama of San Bernardino

Saturday, December 29, 2018


I feel like I’m in a country song. Title: “Sittin in a Bathtub, Bubbles Mixin with Tears.”

It’s been a hard week, a hard month, an even harder year. 2019 has to be better right?

I practice appreciating my blessings. Name them. Beautiful home and endearing husband, stable and fulfilling career, mom, sisters, nieces, and two best friends I adore along with many other close friends. And, my writing. Be grateful for them. I am.

But even with all of these blessings, some days, only some mind you, I think what’s the damn point? Is it middle age? A mid life crisis? Depression? I’m not sure.

What I do know for sure is that life is hard. Half the time I’m too tired to do much of anything. My sleep is off so I take Benadryl before bed. Hubby disapproves, but I tell him, I need to sleep. I have to work in the morning.

Work is a relief because there, for the most part, I pretend. The distraction of court and my client’s problems are a relief from my own maudlin thoughts. Occasionally, however, I get lost in my thoughts there, picturing myself at home with coffee writing on a typewriter (I know it’s an antiquated dream but just substitute in a laptop in the daydream instead).

Speaking of laptops, my screen died this week on my MAC book. I panicked. It went down right in the middle of me writing a story. Is this a sign I thought? My writing is so awful that even my computer can’t stand it.

The worst thing is the self doubt. I want to believe in myself. I want to be the girl who applied to USC Law on a lark and got in. But I fear I’m becoming a pessimist. My infertility, along with the deaths and sadness in my world have almost made me give up on God.

Then, a new day comes and I know that it will bring miracles at times. A forty seven year old woman trying to make it as a writer may be a cliche but cliches are based on truths. And, I may just be the one who makes it.

Friday, December 21, 2018


I’ve decided to dedicate myself to my writing.  I’m diving in. And hoping not to belly flop.

Last week, I finished my applications to UCR’s high and low residency MFA programs. It felt liberating. Like I was finally making a choice to live my life artistically. And it wasn't as onerous as I thought.

I have been working on my writing for more than a decade. The writing sample was a matter of cutting and pasting stories into a single document. Asking for letters of recommendation around the holidays wasn't ideal, but I have writing mentors and teachers that I felt comfortable asking and they agreed. And, the statement of purpose is the kind of thing I relish writing. It was a joyful experience to do these things. Then came the monotonous task of transcripts. But that didn't take too long. It all felt like it was meant to be. Kismet.

It has been a long road to get here. In Houston, I had started writing poems in my first large law firm staring out my high rise window late at night. But it really started after my father died. When I found out that my dad had cancer, I was working at a civil litigation boutique in San Francisco. I rushed home for a week and cared for him. Then, again two weeks later. He died within three weeks of getting diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I was there when it happened.

His death changed me. I was devastated. I couldn't breathe. It felt like the walls were caving in on me. I moved home leaving Adrian to finish his last year of dental school alone. Yet, I still hadn't figured out that civil litigation wasn't for me and off to another large law firm I went, this time to one at home in the Inland Empire.

By the time I reached the Inland Empire law firm, I was writing all the time. My poems morphed into stories. On a lark, I sent some of my stories and was accepted to a summer writing program called VONA. VONA changed everything for me. It gave me a community. And told me that my voice mattered.

My fellow law firm lawyers thought I was crazy to take a week off to write creatively. They thought I was even crazier when I left the law firm to be a deputy public defender.

Change has always resulted in good things for me. Being a deputy public defender is a gift. I love to help people. In my role as a mental health court attorney, I get to save lives or at the very least help people put their lives back together.

But still, something is missing. A child would fill the void, I know, but after years of infertility and lack of success with in vitro, I also know that shop is closed.

At this point, I am middle aged and yearning for something.

That something is my writing. I have to finish my book. When my brother-in-law died recently, it changed me again. It made me realize how fleeting life is. I had a very deep conversation with my husband. We have had many of those lately, and I told him that my one regret if I passed would be not finishing my memoir. Yes, it is almost finished. But not. I have a draft, but it is not where I want it to be. And time and motivation is difficult to find.

This summer I went to the Macondo Writers Workshop in San Antonio, Texas and I was changed again. I connected with old friends and made new writing friends and met my literary idols. Standing with Sandra Cisneros in a room talking about writing made me realize I am already living my dreams, I just need to take it a step further.

And, here I am. I am at a crossroads of sorts. I could spent the next two or three years moaning and groaning that I need to finish my book. Or, I could apply to a MFA program and just complete. it. So I applied. They say you should only do writing full-time if you have to. And I have to.

I am a good lawyer. I love my job. But I know I am an even better better writer and artist. It is in my soul. I need it for me.

So, here's to a new year and changes on the way. May all your dreams, and mine, come true.