Panorama of San Bernardino

Thursday, January 30, 2020


It is 2:30 am and I am wide awake. Frodo woke me up an hour ago. He kept whining to go downstairs. I tried to ignore it, but finally padded down the stairs with him to go outside. He looked confused as he looked at his water bowl. I said, “Drink Frodo... now go outside.” The wind was howling as I opened the door.

Frodo looked at me again. I pointed. He followed my finger and went outside.

We came back upstairs and I tried in vain to go back to sleep. My brain wouldn’t turn off. I am a bit frustrated with a work issue that I need to just let go. It really has no purpose other than to cause me annoyance. Do we suffer because we can’t let things go? Perhaps. Maybe I’ll just turn my annoyance into a fiction story or a character (that is always the risk you run with pissing off a writer).

I spent last night listening to a podcast on the controversy surrounding the book “American Dirt” on Latino USA on NPR. I think the dialogue is important. Yet, similar to my work issue, I am letting it go because I have to. My own book is what’s important to me right now you see.

Maybe that’s what is vexing me. 

Maybe my anxiety over my book is what is really in the back of my mind, my decade long labor of blood, sweat and tears. What if no one wants my book? What if no one wants me?


You see, I just want my stories out there, and they are. But my book, a novella memoir, is a whole collection, rather than pieces. It is a portrait of me. It is me. I am multitudes or contain them as Whitman once said: Jenny, JEM, Jua and Juanita. I am all of those narrators and all of my names. 

I am my stories. 

In the end, maybe I just need to come from a place of gratitude, for how privileged I am that I’m a writer, and that I get to write at all. I need to have a mantra: if you write stories, they will eventually be read, by someone. 

For now, I’m following my own directions and just padding down a path. Where it leads, I don’t know, but I’m on it. 

Saturday, January 25, 2020


I was looking back through posts the other day and was amazed I’ve kept this blog going for a decade. It all started with a story about me and my embarrassing dance moves at a Christmas party. I did the sprinkler dance ok? Get over it.

I can see how far my writing has come. Like working a muscle, I’ve built it up. It’s flows easier now. But have I come along that far? Have I worked on my soul in the process of the writing? I haven’t really made much progress in the last decade on being nicer or on drinking less.

Don’t get me wrong, I know I’ve documented it all, I’ve been honest, pretty honest, about who I am.

There are cringeworthy blogs that I read now where I was so euphoric about the process of fertility treatments and IVF. So fucking hopeful. I feel like a fool in retrospect, and the barren and cynical bitch I’ve become thinks, you are a fucking idiot.

But at least I tried. Right? It's the same thing with this book, this writing journey and my performances. It’s not like I think I’m that talented. I do a reading and my knees chatter together like fake joke teeth, but I have something to say. I have a voice. And while my voice may not be the prettiest, or the smartest, or the most elevated, it’s mine.

Watching the show Fleabag recently, I thought, I love this. This girl is a real girl, a flawed girl and I will take reality over fake ass shit any day.

Friday, January 10, 2020


Getting back to work has been hard, but oddly exhilarating. I have found more joy in my public defender incompetency work since I came back from a break.

My work routine seems comforting. My obsession with to do lists and efficiency have put me in good stead for the new year. I have a very big trial in February and I’m prepping it while breathing.

I also got involved with a creative project at work involving social media and that’s been super fun and rewarding.

Writing wise, my weekend and early morning and night gig, well that’s a crazy tale. I’ve been on a mission to finish my book which I did. There’s a draft and it’s good. Not perfect of course, but it never will be. What’s weird is that after leaving it for a month, I was able to finish my prologue in a weekend.

Here’s the rub. Being a writer is work. People do not have any idea unless they’ve tried to be a writer. And it’s not just the writing itself. It’s the writing and the submitting, and the conferences, and the readings and promotions.

Everything came to a head in January.

I had to book my trip for AWP, the huge writing conference in March of every year which I had been putting off. I finally got that done. Then, a good friend reminded and urged me to apply to the agent meetup which is due next week too. So that still needs to get done. And it will. Probably after I write this blog because I’m up at 2 am so what the hell!

Next, I am doing a group read in Venice on the 18th of the month so I had to help promote that. Then, there’s a book contest/prize that I want/need to submit my manuscript to so I’m also working on that which is due in a week.

Just when I thought I was on track, I found out I had not properly deferred my online part-time MFA program at UNO which was supposed to start this month. I had to reapply which I did last night. They let me transfer my letters of recommendation and essays so that helped. Maybe it was meant to be that I start my MFA this summer or fall because I’m running right now and barely keeping up. With my demanding job, the needy shih tzus, my husband and of course, my Netflix and music obsessions, well it’s a lot.

Life is short. I’m not beating myself up. I’m just moving forward.

I’m tired. Yet exhilarated. Life is moving and so is my writing. Working full-time as a lawyer for the most oppressed and writing on the side is a lot. But if anyone can do it, I know I can. Thank you for listening.