beginning again…

Rolling thunder and heavy rainfall Monday night, fractured clouds yesterday morning, the scent of green things unfurling today—first days of spring and it’s time to begin again.
Begin again with this blog after a lengthy break….and begin again with a novel I’ve been taking up and putting down for a few years now. This last break lasted almost two years. I’m trying to remember what made me stop…because I remember writing for hours in the late spring of 2010…
It was a little bit of everything—the release of my first book, revising a short story collection, writing a new collection of poetry….and lots and lots of projects and life-stuff….so I gave myself a month after the last big deadline—one month of no writing. One month to catch up on emails, do my taxes, finish up reports, organize my files, attend a couple workshops and readings, fill out a few grant applications for my own writing, write some blurbs, send out a dozen submissions, and so on and so on…
One month stretched to two months and while I’ve moved small writerly mountains, my to-do list is still straining to fit on one page….
I could justify another delay to myself—but the truth is, I just can’t wait  anymore…I can’t keep moving my little 50-page novel-in-progress from one shelf to another, one bag to another, one  table to another….I can’t keep saying its name and then refuse to listen to the stories it wants to tell me… I can’t keep methodically working on all the other projects until my desk is ‘clear enough to let me write’…I can’t keep putting off the work I know I’m supposed to be doing..
It’s time to write on top of the pile…or it’s  time to take my arm and sweep everything to the floor in a passionate rush…time to return to my old torrid love, my writing, and let it take me to old and new places…it’s time to do the thing I say and know I love to do…
And there’ll be no stopping this time…not until a rough draft of the whole thing is in my hands…this little story that started as a voice in my head seven years ago, that became a short story five years ago, that decided it wanted to be a novel four years ago…
I’m beginning again today!
And in honor of that new beginning—it’s time to share one reason this novel set in South Texas is important to me…so that when the going gets rough, I won’t give up:
Because, too often, people speak of being Mexican-American as if it had hurt them…as if it continued to hurt them….yes, Mexican-Americans have borne the burdens of racism and discrimination—violence and poverty and lack of opportunity and more….but being Mexican-American itself does not hurt…having connections to or expression in two languages does not hurt—that is a gift….having indigenous ancestry does not hurt—that is also a gift…moving between two or more cultures does not necessarily have to be about discomfort and alienation—it can be about strategy and openness and learning…having to find our own way and define ourselves to ourselves does not have to be about confusion and madness—it can lead us to the truth of who we are…as individuals, as communities…
Maybe I’ll write something that someone will try to ban one day….something meaningful enough that readers will fight for it..

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