Sunday, October 10, 2010


I went to see a medium last month in hopes of hearing from my father. I walked in, shook her hand, wrote my name and birth date on a card. She told me my numbers, my signs (stars, moons, the works) and what all of that meant. She told me things that reassured me about the path I'm on now. And she told me that since I'm a Gemini, I get “a double helping,” whatever that means.

At the end of our hour together, she asked if I had any questions. “Is my dad around?” She closed her eyes, “Tell me his name.” “Domingo.” And then he was there. Here's some of what she said he said:

“His message to you is don't settle. He's behind you 100%. He's encouraging you, he's giving you a little nudge, saying 'you can do this, you can do this'. Ask him for help. You're a little bit hesitant to ask him because he worked so hard here.”

She was right. I talk to my father a lot, but I don't ask him for help.The last time I asked my father for money was in the spring of 1993. The money I made at my summer job ran out before I finished buying all of my books. I needed $70. I didn't want to ask, but my first work study paycheck wouldn't come through until after the class had started.

“How many books will that buy?”

“One book.”

“$70 for one book!”

He wired the money that day. I still own the Complete Works of Geoffrey Chaucer (in Middle English). He always tried to give me what I needed and even though he didn't go to college or really understand what I was studying, he supported, encouraged and helped me. And he still does. All I have to do is ask.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

What's the story, morning glory?

Nettle asked me THE question over beers at Richter's last Friday. The question I expect to hear quite a bit over the next two years. “What are you going to write about?” Valid question. And I had an answer. I knew. I knew because I've been telling the story for years. At some point, I'm going to write about the following:

Growing up first-generation Cuban American in Northern New Jersey in the 1970s and 1980s.

I'm not saying I know what my final project for the MFA is going to be. I don't. But this story is the story I've been telling all my life. I just haven't written it all down. I've written some of it on this blog and I've told plenty of parts of the story to plenty of people, but writing it all in one place? Turning it into something? How am I going to do that? I don't know. But I know I'm going to do it.

I had a dream that points me in the direction of what I want to be writing about. I was in one of those tunnels like the “It's a Small World” ride at Disney. I was traveling through the images of my life. Here's a sample of what went down in the dream:

I'm on the beach right where the sand meets the water. I can feel the sand and the waves at my toes. I can hear the song “Dos Gardenias.”

I'm swimming and a voice over explains how and why I never really got the hang of swimming.

I'm in a gallery where images of famous Latinos, most notably Ricardo Montalban flash across the screen.

The last gallery I'm in before I wake up shows images of cartoons I loved as a kid, most notably George, Judy and Jane Jetson. Sidebar: I spent the better part of my life spelling George Jetson in my head as “Jorge Jetson.

I remember that in the moments before I woke up, I spoke to the dream. "I know this is important and I want to know more. Stay right here. I'll be back soon for more information!"

There's a story there.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Write here and now

I was at work until 8pm, got home, had dinner, put on my pajamas, washed my face, brushed my teeth and am now at my desk, writing. Yes, I'd rather be in bed reading a magazine, but at my desk is where I need to be and writing is what I need to be doing. I got accepted to an MFA program in creative writing, what did I THINK I would be doing when I wasn't at work?

Getting my application and portfolio (did I even HAVE a portfolio? I sure didn't) together was the first challenge, but I did it. And I got in. I got into graduate school (I do love the sound of that sentence). Post acceptance, the tiny bursts of panic started. OK, not tiny. How was I going to do this? And work? And have a life? It's a lot, but people do it. My soon-to-be cohorts are doing it. Right now. And, about them, my cohorts, these people I have not met yet. They've welcomed me into their virtual world already. Thirty nine notifications of friend requests on facebook in two days, a welcome shout out from my “big sister,” and lots of welcome messages. So great.

The schedule says I start in December, but the work begins now. I have to get ready for school, adjust the lifestyle I've become accustomed to for the last three years, for the next two years. I need to curb the going out, cut the unnecessary spending (this isn't going to pay for itself, no matter what the mysterious Stafford says) and quit making excuses for why I'm not writing. Every night after work, I'll be doing some combination of reading, writing and editing (though E says not too much editing).This is the thing I have always wanted, and I'm ready to do the work. Time to get serious about Daisy, the writer, version 2.0. Am I ready? Maybe? Yes. Is it worth it? Without a doubt.