Category Archives: Writing

Representation Matters

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Although it’s just starting to feel like spring in Maryland, the spring equinox was about a week ago, meaning that spring is here. However, even more interestingly, it seems like March 20th was a universal trifecta of cosmic energy. In addition to welcoming in a new season, that day also had the pleasure of witnessing a solar eclipse and a super moon. I don’t know much about astronomy and the science behind these events, but that sounds pretty special if you ask me. Personally, my trust in cosmic energy and astrology is flaky. I’ll occasionally indulge in a horoscope reading and I proudly rep being a fiery Leo, but, on the whole, I don’t let any of it define me or my life.

On the other hand, a poet I follow on Twitter is better versed in that sense. She strongly believes in the effects of cosmic energy on our spirituality and she has a fairly deep knowledge of what these cosmic events mean. Through her, I learned that the energy being put out into the universe could be used as an opportunity for spiritual renewal. It could be said that it is the end of an era in a person’s life to make way for a new purpose to properly develop and grow. She explains that now is the time to state your intentions and, as the moon moves through its phases, your intentions will bloom, as well.

Again, I tend to only half believe in the power of the stars, simply because I don’t have a lot of experience with cosmic energy; however, I do believe in a power greater than all of us that may or may not use the cosmos as a tool, so, all in all, I was open to this possibility. More importantly, I was curious to see how, if at all, these events would affect my life and my spiritual course as a whole. My open-minded side was hoping for some kind of message from the universe, while the skeptic in me wasn’t allowing me to hold my breath.

So, on March 20th, my day went on as normal. Nothing particularly special happened until that night when I was taking a shower. Yes, the shower, the fountain of great ideas for every creative. So, being a writer, I was using my shower time as a time for reflection and thinking. I was thinking about my writing and which direction I should take. This was when the universe hit me with its gift. Representation matters.

Growing up, I don’t remember seeing any characters or celebrities who I could fully identify with. The closest thing I had was Scary Spice, but I definitely didn’t feel represented in books or shows. The vast majority of characters were white, while the few splashes of diversity I could see as a kid still only represented a minority of a minority. I couldn’t find any character that combined my physical features with my Afro-Latin roots. When it came to toys, Theresa, Barbie’s friend, was as good as it was going to get, but, I must admit, her brown, perfectly-tamed, wavy hair still made me feel out of place. But imagine. If it was hard enough for me to find a Hispanic representation that wasn’t from Central or South America, then imagine finding an accurate representation for each of my friends, who are even more diverse in their skin tones, hair types, and backgrounds. In other words, Susie Carmichael simply was never enough.

Unfortunately, fifteen years later and not too much has changed. DreamWorks is just now introducing the first black lead in a 3-D animated film and make-up lines have only recently expanded their products to include options for darker skin tones. There’s no doubt that this is a step in the right direction; however, it is also very clear that this movement could use some help, so that it can continue to foster positive change. This is where my intentions for the new moon come into play.

For me, representation matters, so, through my writing, I want to diversify the representations people are seeing. This means representing the minorities I identify with, the minorities around me, and the under-represented in general. I want to encourage character and perspective diversity, while also increasing options for those who feel under-represented. There is a spectrum between Theresa and Susie Carmichael that exists as a gap in media representation. With my writing, I hope to help lessen that gap because, simply put, representation matters.

But I do wonder, what else does the universe have in store?

Yes, I Still Write

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Besides the Steeze app, which I previously told you all about, believe it or not, I’ve actually been spending a lot of time writing. I’ll admit I haven’t been writing a lot for MSauciana, but I have written a lot of things. I’ve mainly been preparing a collection of poetry for publishing.

I started off by sending a good chunk of poetry (150-200 poems) to family and friends to pick out their favorite poems. I gave them the ballpark of selecting their top 50 poems. I know what I like, but I don’t know what everyone else likes, so I wanted to get their feedback and see which writing styles of mine they like most individually. What better way to do that than by seeing what their favorite poems are?

But don’t feel forgotten because your opinions have been taken into account as well. I’ve been going back into my blog’s archives and making a note of how many interactions each poem I’ve posted has gotten. The poems with the highest amount of positive reactions will be considered your “favorites” and could be included in the collection I’m putting together. (For those of you who would like to help with this process, you can find all of the poems I’ve posted here. Feel free to ‘like’ whichever ones are your favorites, so I can take your opinion into account. If you’ve already liked it, but you want to make sure I know how much you enjoyed a specific poem, then a comment works just as well.)

So, yes, I’ve sent out poems to people and I’ve been going back and tallying your feedback, but I’ve also been spending A LOT of time writing new material. Why? There are a couple of reasons. First off, it wouldn’t be fair to present a book of poetry filled with poems you can read for free on my blog. There has to be something exclusive and special about the book that you can’t find anywhere else, especially on MSauciana. Because of that, a vast majority of what you see in the book will be never before seen and never published kind of poetry.

Second, I feel like my voice as a poet has evolved within the two plus years of MSauciana, so I need to create a good amount of material that reflects my new voice. With your help and life’s hand, I’ve been steered toward certain personal writing styles that I’m now exploring and developing. Although I love and respect my old work, I feel like my new work is even better, which is to be expected. No artist wants their work to be in the same place two years later. So that’s why I’ve been hoarding away so much of my new work. Just because I haven’t been posting as much as I used to on here doesn’t mean I’m not writing.

Aside from working on my poetry collection, I’ve also been submitting my work to organizations, awards, and competitions. I’m working on getting my writing out there and I’ve been trying to push myself, forcing myself out of my comfort zone. Thus far, I’ve been quite productive, so I’m going to use this momentum to stay focused and continue to progress. But, don’t worry because MSauciana is still very much in my plan.

Writers Never Die

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Yesterday the legendary Maya Angelou passed away at the age of 86. She was best known for her novel I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which is just as much a literature classic as it is an African American literature classic, so much so that Maya Angelou’s novel became a staple in high school English curriculums all over the country. Maya Angelou was revered as one of the strongest and most influential voices within the Black community, becoming a representative of the African American literature and the entire Black community in general. In the literature world, Maya Angelou was among the most respected writers of the last century and was seen by many as a pioneer in modern African American literature. Her poetry and her writing in general will forever remain as some of the best work in American literature.

Personally, I have always respected her work and I see her as one of the bet role models in modern literature. She had a unique and memorable voice, while also being able to resonate with so many readers, which is hard to do. Like so many others, I applaud and admire Maya Angelou for everything she was able to accomplish during her lifetime. I’m glad she has at least left us with her writing and a piece of her wisdom. I’m sure she will never be forgotten thanks to her work and I’m just grateful to have witnessed her legacy, but, then again, writers never die.

Maya Angelou

Feel Free to Write

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Just recently I was having one of those nights where I had so many thoughts running through my head that I wasn’t sure how to express everything I was experiencing.  I didn’t know how to say what I was thinking and I honestly didn’t even know if I could say everything just because I didn’t completely understand all of the thoughts in my mind.  I was so overwhelmed with thoughts and I could feel my anxiety rising, so I opened up a notebook and started writing.  I kept writing and writing for about twenty minutes.  At first, my sentences were jumping from topic to topic and my ideas were jumbling together, but, by the end of it all, I felt like a weight had been lifted off of me.  By writing it down, I had worked through my brain so that I could understand myself and it worked.  After getting my thoughts out in a free write, I felt so much better and I got a pretty good poem out of it, which is always a plus.

I’m sure you’ve had those moments, too.  Those nights that you can’t sleep because you’re up thinking or those days when you can’t even carry a conversation because there’s so much on your mind.  If you’re ever feeling overwhelmed like that, why not experiment with a free write?  It’s so simple that there is no harm in giving it a shot.  They can be as fun or as serious as you want them to be.  As short or as long.  Free writes can be anything you want, so why not?

On those days, take a pen and paper or even a keyboard and just write.  Write for five minutes, ten minutes, or however long it takes to keep your thoughts from crowding your mind.  I’ve been doing free writes forever and it is honestly one of the few writing tools I consider to be priceless.  They help you jot down all of the clutter and nonsense in your mind, organizing your stream of consciousness to a point where there is cohesiveness to your words.  Before you know it, you’re off on a tangent that exposes some thoughts you couldn’t tap into before, sparks a new idea for a short story, or just makes you feel a whole lot better.

Plus, there’s something special about expressing all of your thoughts without having to talk about them or share them if you don’t want to.  Sometimes your thoughts should remain private and only you can make sense of them.  Free writes can be that time of the day you dedicate to yourself, which is something everybody needs.

NaNoWriMo is Back!

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Today marks the first day of November, which means that it is also the start of National Novel Writing Month.  It’s a month where writers are encouraged to meet their own goals and deadlines to finish their personal projects.  I’ve done this twice before and I must say I was pretty good with reaching my goals.  However, I’m all about improvement, growth, and progress, so I will definitely be raising the bar for myself during NaNoWriMo 2013.  I have started to put together my first collection of sorts, but I do have other projects underway that need some TLC, not to mention the notes in my phone full of untouched ideas.  So, this month, my goal is to finish at least one of my bigger projects and get some other projects started.  My number goal is 40,000.  Yeah, it sounds like a lot, but it is doable if I dedicate myself.  I hope you all have put some thought into your goals for the month and I wish you the best of luck!

600 & Going Strong!

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It’s crazy to think that 600 posts ago I was starting this very blog and making my first post public.  I was nervous about what kind of reception I would get and I was anxious about committing to something.  I had been writing for a long time before starting MSauciana.  I had been writing for years, but this blog was the first time that I was putting my words out there for others to openly read.  Prior to having this blog I only wrote for myself or for assignments.  I never entered competitions and I never performed in front of others, but this blog pushed me toward letting readers actually read my work.  It pushed me a little closer to where I need to be and I am so grateful for that.  However, I am more grateful for you, the reader.  You come to my blog and read what I have to say.  In your own ways, you support my craft and you encourage me to keep going.  I would’ve never found without this blog and without you all who pay attention to it.

I can proudly say that, in many ways, I’m not the same person who started this blog 600 posts ago.  Of course I’m not completely different, but I am more aware of who I am both as a writer and as a person.  Before I knew I wanted to write, but I wasn’t sure what I would write about, what style I would develop, and what my point would be.  Now, 600 posts and a lot of personal writing later, I can’t say I’m 100% sure of what’s next, but I definitely am narrowing in on what it is.  Thank you for helping me along the way and I hope that, through my writing, I can make all of your support worthwhile.

500th Post!

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Yes, it is crazy to think so, but today I am sharing with you all my 500th post.  I can’t begin to explain how wonderful of an experience this has been so far and I am certainly looking forward to what the future holds for my writing.  When I first created MSauciana, I don’t think I could have imagined how important this little blog would become for me and how close it would bring me to you all.  Throughout this past year and half and 500 posts of blogging, I feel like I have grown and have been able to open up as a writer in ways that I don’t think I could’ve done without this blog.  I’m glad that you all have allowed me to express my thoughts and emotions whether it’s through a poem, story, essay, or even a picture.  Your daily support has given me the confidence and motivation to continue doing what I love, which is to write, and I won’t be stopping any time soon.  I honestly hope that I have been able to help you all in some way with my words and that this blog has been a positive experience for you all just like it has been for me.  Thank you for joining me on my journey throughout the past 500 blogs and I hope you’ll stick with me throughout my future writing endeavors!