©2011 Odilia Rivera Santos
I create writing deadlines for myself and very rarely break them. The beautiful thing about writing is all I need is a writing instrument of some kind and whatever noise I crave on a particular day -- sometimes, I listen to music, talk, or films. I rarely write in silence.
With writing, there is no need to wait for confirmation from anyone to do anything, unlike organizing an event or getting a play with actors together and all that entails.
I have sent novels out only two times because the process is slow, tedious, and I still rebel at the idea of waiting for someone else's judgement of my work.
I decided to self-publish after a very long ponder. My Latinalogue, Puerto Rican Nonfiction, a collection of essays was slated for upload in May 2011. However, as I was editing and rearranging essays, I felt emotionally exhausted; it isn't easy writing about people in your life, because even with those who could be seen as villainous, I have to create a balanced portrait.
One of the most fascinating things I have noticed about people is the many ways in which they interact with others. We reserve certain parts of ourselves for certain individuals. It is often the case that a person who is extremely abusive at home is a beloved co-worker, as if he or she considered 'home' a place to express anger and rage and the workplace a place to develop close relationships. We all develop relationship frameworks in childhood, and, without retrospection, and regardless of how they may work against our best interests, we recreate them.
These are more functions of emotional training than intellect.
When I was a child, one of my closest friends told me her father was physically abusive, and I didn't believe her right away. I didn't know him as a father; I knew him as a charming, kind, well-dressed man who left for work on time every morning. He was the vice president of a bank and appeared like a nice family man. One Saturday, I went to her house, and I noticed my friend, her little brother and mother were all tense and seemed afraid to speak. It was as if something had just happened prior to my arrival.
I saw her father's private persona for the first time. He was in the middle of teasing my friend about her acne and looks. He did this until she cried. Everyone stood around, looking uncomfortable, and her mother looked scared. I found out later that having a couple of drinks and verbal abuse served as a warmup to his beating his wife and kids. I quickly grabbed my friend's arm and convinced him to let us go outside.
At the time, I was disappointed to see how deceiving a public persona could be. But, now, it seems not to be a form of deception. In truth, we are always choosing which aspects of our personality to display in different settings. We restrain ourselves from expressing happiness or telling jokes in a setting in which there is great suffering, such as, a homeless shelter or terminal illness ward. And we restrain ourselves from angry outbursts at job interviews for example. People tend to avoid imprecations while answering the question, "Where do you see yourself five years from now?"
The Art of the Dodge
This meander into human consciousness or motivation, even on a cursory level, served to slow down my editing process. It is important to write carefully and with compassion about others.
I honestly believe people who hurt loved ones usually have no idea of how their behavior will impact others. I also had the opportunity to think about how childhood experiences formed my world view; my world view is a pie with many slivers and continues to evolve.
Persons who continually hurt the most vulnerable may suffer from a cognitive deficit for which there is no cure or pill, or perhaps, it is a behavior remedied through an appeal to the functional part of his or her intellect.
Procrastination with a Purpose
Procrastination has long been considered negative and something requiring one to take a workshop to be freed of some kind of blocks in one's life preventing the attainment of riches and glory.
Today, I procrastinated long enough to think about the person at the other side of the belt.
We hear so much about the victims of something or other in this culture and not enough about what makes people crave such control over others. I felt much more at ease about uploading this book after my writing slowdown.
To be a great writer, you must be audacious, courageous, confident, and, at times, hesitant.
If you'd like to take a writing class with me, sign up here: http://skl.sh/kaBqvs
Buy my e-book!Latinalogue, Puerto Rican Nonfiction Part I