Making time for your story

Making time for your story

“…how impressionable and vulnerable we are in the face of a story, particularly as children, because all I had read where books in which characters were foreign I had become convinced that books by their very nature had to have foreigners in them and had to be about things which I could not personally identify.  Now things changed when I discovered African books…” –Chimamanda Adichie

This morning I discovered Nigerian writer, Chimamanda Adichie, via a TED video where she speaks at length about the danger of the single story.  The single story is not inclusive of all perspectives, dis-empowers and results in unfair assumptions and/or portrayals about cultures and people.  I know all too well the value and importance of telling my story.  Its a discovery, that took me through a process–that sometimes angered or caused pain–as I came to terms with it in creative writing classes in college.
Chimamanda’s message resonates and reminds me why six years ago I agreed to collaborate on a monthly open mic event that would eventually evolve into a multi-media project  that includes this website.  At the time I had also committed to another labor of love–I had opened a small independent bookshop that carried books that reflected my story.  So, I have had a firm grasp of that lesson for some time now.

But following a morning of meditation on this idea, I began asking myself, as a writer, how am I fulfilling this goal?  How do I make sure I am actually acting on my intention?  In other words, what do I need to do to allow myself the time write.  Especially when the day-to-day activities can quickly fill up my schedule leaving little if any room for a moment to create.

My friend Diana Pando  is great at keeping artists around her accountable,  every time I see her, she will ask, “Are you writing?”  When I’ve been good about morning pages and carving out space for the muse I respond enthusiastically, but when I’ve been through a dry spell I am filled with dread.

In 2010, my life got busier but I was determined not to lose sight of my creativity.  I took a tip from Jenny Priego, who says, you have to be protective of your studio time and make sure its a non-negotiable with other aspects of your life.  Jenny is a performance artist but I knew that idea could be applied to my writing.

So, I took some measures: I agreed to participate in writing workshops, I began keeping a journal in my purse, another on the nightstand because it is more immediate than turning on the laptop when I had an idea or the muse struck,  I even started responding to calls for works.  I also made it a goal to have something new to share at every month’s open mic for Proyecto Latina.  Some of these efforts worked out better than others and in 2011 I plan to amp that up.

Tomorrow we host the first Proyecto Latina of 2011.  Our platform opens up for another year of sharing our stories–through various artistic disciplines.  I’m excited to reunite with old friends and meet the new ones that come with every year.  The wheels are spinning and I’m wondering how as a co-curator of this reading series I can ensure that Proyecto Latina honors all the stories within our own community.

One Response to “Making time for your story”

  1. Xenia says:

    The danger of the single story… powerful…I first heard this a year ago..love it…

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