Wednesday, February 25, 2009

No one on the corner have swagga like us

I have no idea why it's been so difficult for me to get around to updating this thing. I've had a million and one things to update about and I keep missing the opportunity. Better late than never right?

Well the biggest news is that I finished my new YA novel. It's way different than East Water. Way, WAY, different. But different is good right? I'm really excited about it and the feedback from the '202 Crew' is fairly positive. I need to go add some scenes here and there, and change one scene completely, and fix some continuity issues, but when I'm done with the revision it will be perfect. Or at least as perfect as I can get it.

The other big news is that I went to my first ever writing conference. I went to the AWP Conference up in Chicago where I saw snow for the first time ever. No really. I had never seen snow before. I was born in Puerto Rico, raised in Florida, and went to college in Los Angeles so the whole concept of a white Christmas, or snowballs, or snow angels was completely foreign to me. But it was pretty! They were these tiny, little, teeny, white flakes of goodness that turned silver when the light caught them at just the right angle. I didn't expect snow to feel soft and flakey to the touch, but that's exactly what it felt like. It was really amazing.

The conference itself was a great experience. I was able to go to two YA panels which got me really excited about YA books in general. I also went to one that was about "Innovative Latino Writing" where they read amazing poetry and talked about the "ez" factor (as in a last name ending with the letters "ez") in the literary industry which made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. Hearing them talk about how they're told that their stories aren't "ethnic" enough is frustrating, but on the bright side they talked about how they feel this might be changing. I hope so. Otherwise I'm really screwed considering that my Hispanic last name doesn't even end in "ez." Ha!

I got to see a number of brilliant readings. Particularly Eric Bogosian's, who had me laughing and captivated. I also learned a lot from my friend's panel where she had to present her pedagogy paper along with other people. I took so many notes in that particular forum because everyone had such great ideas. I felt like I was in school again, but I really can't wait to apply some of this stuff to my creative process. The other really enjoyable forum was the "Women in Travel Writing" one. I really loved hearing each author read their tales of going abroad and what they got out of their experiences.

I think that, for me, the conference was successful for two reasons: First, it allowed me to realize that I wasn't as in the dark about what I was trying to accomplish as I thought I was. Like I didn't feel completely out of place or completely like a novice. Sure I'm not published yet, but I definitely had no problem following what was going on around me, what anyone was talking about, and at one point (due to my publishing background) found myself an actual expert in a couple of subjects that were brought up. So that was a good thing because I seriously thought I was going to walk in there and people were going to know that I was an outsider and an unpublished newbie.

The second reason was that I found myself excited about every single thing that I experienced. From the panels, to the readings, to the topics, to the book fair itself; I felt like a kid in a candy store, and that reaffirmed that I was on the right path, and that writing is what I need to be doing right now.

Considering I'm still unemployed, this entire trip could've been a complete bust. With no income, I was out a plane ticket, hotel room, and conference fees, and it all could've been for naught. I'm so glad that I went and had the opportunity to learn from the pros, take lots of notes, get inspired, and see snow for the first time ever.

So now it's time to get back to work. I'm revising this new novel, and doing my "homework" on the script that I want to write. I call it homework because I'm going through the Screenwriter's Bible and doing each and every section exactly as outlined. I should've done this with my other script, but I wanted to see what would happen if I just winged it, and honestly that one came out pretty well if I do say so myself. I even had real working actors read it and they were one with it, so I can't wait to see what I produce by actually following the screenwriting rules. Wish me luck!

I'm going to leave this long overdue post with a song meme because song memes make me happy. Not to mention, this may be my only chance at ever writing decent poetry:

Write a song/poem by putting your itunes/mp3 player/whatever you listen to music on on shuffle and writing down the first line from the first 20 songs that pop up. Use the first line from the 21st song as a title.

Title: See The Water Break My Hand

More than us and we are them
Gotta find a way to flow
Tender is the night lying by your side
Aruba, Jamaica, oooh I wanna take ya
Want to but I can't help it
My name is Luca
Don't wanna sound full of myself or rude
Miss America sits in the shower
Yeah I feel like a force of nature
Look at Earth from outer space
I wrapped you inside my coat
Faith, you're driving me away
Yesterday seems far away and I can see it true
You gone too far this time
Each time we have a quarrel
Just a simple suggestion
You say it's your birthday
Well it's not far down to paradise
In the night I hear 'em talk
Last night I had a dream

---- The songs ----
1. More Than Us - Travis
2. Flow - Live
3. Tender - Blur
4. Kokomo - The Beach Boys
5. Because Of You - Ne-Yo
6. Luca - Suzanne Vega
7. Frontin' - Pharrell
8. Miss America - Blur
9. Force Of Nature - Oasis
10. Politik - Coldplay
11. Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong - Radiohead
12. My Iron Lung - Radiohead
13. Faraway - Supergrass
14. The Reflex - Duran Duran
15. A Teenager In Love - Dion & The Belmonts
16. Green Behind The Ears - Travis
17. Birthday - The Beatles
18. Sailing - Nsync
19. Heartless - Kanye West
20. Over The Moon - Rent Original Broadway Cast Soundtrack
21. Virtual World - The Verve