Stream

  • Ep. 1 – Childhood and persistence with Brenda Zamora
    ARTS CALLING NOW ON APPLE AND SPOTIFY, SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

    Welcome to Arts Calling!

    We begin by starting at the very beginning. I asked Brenda Zamora (my actress sister) to help me even slightly unpack some of the things we experienced growing up that made us into the creatives we are today.

    About Brenda:

    Brenda Zamora is a Mexican actress; she was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and raised in the United States in Wyoming. While attending Clark Elementary School, Brenda performed in her first theatrical play, followed by many more. Later on, she participated in the middle school choir at Davis Middle School, where she was fortunate to perform at the annual Wyoming State Choir Festival for three years. Brenda graduated from Evanston High School with Honors in Theatre and Performance Arts; she was a devout member of the Drama Society Club and became a member of The International Thespian Society. After moving to Los Angeles, Brenda has continued to study at the Groundlings Theatre, Castaway Studios, and The Complex Theatre. More information: https://brendazzamora.com/


    If you make art to better your community or have been healed by art, I’d love to talk to you! Contact me at https://cruzfolio.com/

  • Our Kid’s Asleep Podcast #60 – Problematic Tokyo Olympics, John Mayer’s Sob Rock, Tik Tok is Madness

    Once the kid’s asleep, Jaime and Maddie sit down to podcast over a glass of wine to tink their glasses to three things: Movies, TV, and/or pop culture nonsense. It’s a mixed bag and we love it. This is Our Kid’s Asleep Podcast!

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    Hi friends,
    Sorry about last week, we had an awful cold and we couldn’t talk.

    • Have you hear about these Olympics they have going on in Tokyo? Madd and I discuss the problematic things we confront while embracing the spectacle. It’s a weird thing.
    • John Mayer has a new album called Sob Rock, let’s talk about it!
    • Also, is Tik Tok like descending into madness? Come along and find out! At least there’s sick beats and cool duets!

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Hey, want to support the show? We got SWAG like a bunch of sellouts! More designs coming soon! If you want to help other ways, review and share this recorded program! …And yes, our eight year old son created our theme music on Bandlab and we love it.

    Air your grievances at ourkidsasleep@gmail.com

    Much love,

    J&M

    The show lives here: https://cruzfolio.com/our-kids-asleep-podcast/

  • Creative Drive Podcast #62 – Badass Black Girl Book Excerpt and Poetry by MJ Fievre

    Creative Drive is an international podcast featuring poetry and short fiction from all walks of life. Submit your work today!

    Available wherever you listen to podcasts!

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    Hello friends,

    We are thrilled to present the work of MJ Fievre!

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

    Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, M.J. Fievre moved to the United States in 2002. She currently writes from Winter Garden, FL. M.J.’s publishing career began as a teenager in Haiti. At nineteen years-old, she signed her first book contract with Hachette-Deschamps, in Haiti, for the publication of a Young Adult book titled La Statuette Maléfique. Since then, M.J. has authored nine books in French that are widely read in Europe and the French Antilles. In 2013, One Moore Book released M.J.’s first children’s book, I Am Riding, written in three languages: English, French, and Haitian Creole. In 2015, Beating Windward Press published M.J.’s memoir, A Sky the Color of Chaos, about her childhood in Haiti during the brutal regime of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
    M.J. Fievre is the author of the Badass Black Girl series. She helps others write their way through trauma, build community and create social change. She works with veterans, disenfranchised youth, cancer patients and survivors, victims of domestic and sexual violence, minorities, the elderly, those with chronic illness or going through transition and any underserved population in need of writing as a form of therapy—even if they don’t realize that they need writing or therapy.
    A long-time educator and frequent keynote speaker (Tufts University, Massachusetts; Howard University, Washington, D.C.; the University of Miami, Florida; and Michael College, Vermont; and a panelist at the Association of Writers & Writing Programs Conference, AWP), M.J. is available for book club meetings, podcast presentations, interviews and other author events.

    SUPPORT THE AUTHOR HERE:

    Check out her books and additional content at: https://www.badassblackgirl.com/

    Badass Black Girl: https://mango.bz/books/badass-black-girl-by-mj-fievre-799-b

    Empowered Black Girl: https://mango.bz/books/empowered-black-girl-by-mj-fievre-1600-b

    Pre-order MJ’s upcoming book, Resilient Black Girl: https://mango.bz/books/resilient-black-girl-by-mj-fievre-1873-b

    Read by Brenda Zamora | Produced by J. Alejandro

    Creative Drive is an international podcast produced by J. Alejandro to bring visibility to poets and writers from all walks of life. If you have a sec, please SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW this labor of love, and don’t forget to tell your writer friends! For more information, visit https://cruzfolio.com/creative-drive-podcast/

  • Our Kid’s Asleep Podcast #59 – Devil’s Tower trip, Workin’ Moms (on Netflix), and how to save a TOAD

    Once the kid’s asleep, J. and Maddie sit down to podcast over a glass of wine to tink their glasses to three things: Movies, TV, and/or endless popular debacles!

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    Hello friends,

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Hey, want to support the show? We got SWAG like a bunch of sellouts! More designs coming soon! If you want to help other ways, review and share this recorded program! …And yes, our eight year old son created our theme music on Bandlab and we love it.

    Air your grievances at ourkidsasleep@gmail.com

    Much love,

    J&M

    The show lives here: https://cruzfolio.com/our-kids-asleep-podcast/

  • Gathered 7.7.21 – Bits of gathered inspiration for creatives.

    Content recommendations, project updates, and observations from a working class creative.

    Hi there. Check this out:

    • Found this on Facebook. I don’t know if you need a facebook account to access it. Today from our Millennium Stage archives: Today from our Millennium Stage archives: Directed by D.C. choreographer Emily Oleson, this work features Urban Artistry, An International Culture and Education Project with Good Foot Dance Company and Baakari Wilder. The piece investigates the origins behind the term “buck dance,” which in tap dance history is used to describe an early American percussive dance style. https://fb.watch/6BwW-bimFG/
    • I shouldn’t be shocked anymore to hear these stories of rampant abuse in the entertainment industry. What is our responsibility as an audience, when we listen to works created by abused people and their abusers? How can we foster awareness, as a society, to consider where our music comes from, rather than being a passive listener? Doja Cat, Dr. Luke, and the Murky Ethics of Pop – The Atlantic
    • I don’t know what documentary this is from, but here is Chris Martin from Coldplay talking about how the song Yellow came to be. Say what you will about Coldplay, but their earlier albums were the soundtrack to my college years. Great song: https://youtu.be/gbdzhmgSxiQ

    Make art. Make haste. Much love,

    j

    Hello, my name is Jaime Alejandro. I write and record stories about outcasts, the Other, and the working class (check out my writing portfolio!). I feature your poetry/short fiction from all walks of life on the Creative Podcast.

  • The Writing Record Podcast 7.7.21 – Mea culpas and keeping up with yourself

    The Writing Record is an accountability journal, a place to unpack the creative process, and a reminder that our art matters, no matter where we come from or how we pay the bills. Sometimes we dial our friends for insights on being an artist during the Arts Calling Interviews. Produced by J. Alejandro.

    Subscribe Today!

    Okay, here’s a long overdue Writing Record about where I’ve been the last month. My sincere apologies for the delays on the current projects. I hope you’re well and much love,

    j


    Visit us at cruzfolio.com for the latest writings and recordings by yours truly and my friends!
    Support the podcast by purchasing my latest poetry collection! Amazon.com: Flame to the Watering Hole: A Poetry Collection eBook: Cruz, Jaime Alejandro: Kindle Store

  • Our Kid’s Asleep Podcast #OKA58 – Bo Burnham’s Inside, Scott Pilgrim, Beck and Jeffrey Bezos (feat. Catty G)

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    Hello friends!

    We are joined by Catty G on this episode and we discuss the following:

    • Bo Burnham’s pandemic nightmare special “Inside.”
    • Scott Pilgrim vs the World
    • Jeffrey Bezos a whole bunch as well as Beck.

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Hey, want to support the show? We got SWAG like a bunch of sellouts! More designs coming soon! If you want to help other ways, review and share this recorded program!

    Air your grievances at ourkidsasleep@gmail.com

    Much love,

    J&M

    The show lives here: https://cruzfolio.com/our-kids-asleep-podcast/

  • Gathered 6.21.21 – A cluster of inspiration for creatives.

    An assortment of content recommendations, project updates, and observations from a working class creative.

    Check out this stuff I found on the internet to inspire myself:

    • Otherwise, I have been sifting the pan across this wide river called internet, hoping to find good soccer drills to use during soccer practice. Yes. I am coaching my son’s soccer team once again and it is one of the most joyous, rewarding things I get to do as a dad.

    Make art. Make haste. Much love,

    j

    For Father’s Day weekend, the fam & I went camping. There, in the vast black, I was swept away by a sad story about dancing trees and family tragedy. Might be the next short story I tackle after I finish my audio drama. Maybe my good ideas only appear when I put my phone away…

    Hello, my name is Jaime Alejandro. I write and record stories about outcasts, the Other, and the working class (check out my writing portfolio!). I feature your poetry/short fiction from all walks of life on the Creative Podcast.

  • Creative Drive Podcast #61 – I Regret to Inform You by Lee Anderson

    Creative Drive is an international podcast featuring poetry and flash fiction from all walks of life. Submit your work today!

    Available wherever you listen to podcasts!

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    Hello all!

    On this special episode of Creative Drive we are thrilled to bring you a short piece by Lee Anderson!

    Warning: This tale features violence and language.

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee has written short stories and essays for a multitude of small and large press publications, including “Fiction International” and “The Miami Herald.” He also wrote and staged two one-act plays in New York City, “Supper’s Ready” and “Little America.” He’s the author of the shocking horror novel “What Happened at Sisters Creek” and the critically-acclaimed short story collection “Dark Lords of the Trailer Park. Lee lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and calico.

    SUPPORT THE AUTHOR HERE: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lee.anderson.writes/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/theleeanderson Website: https://www.palmcirclepress.net


    Read and Produced by J. Alejandro
    Creative Drive is an international podcast produced by J. Alejandro to bring visibility to poets and writers from all walks of life. If you have a sec, please SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW this labor of love, and don’t forget to tell your writer friends! For more information, visit https://cruzfolio.com/creative-drive-podcast/

  • Gathered 6.16.21 – A cluster of inspiration

    An assortment of content recommendations, project updates, and observations from a working class creative.

    • How to stay productive: Close them extra tabs on the browser. Turn off social media. Keep one email open. If you have a smidge of an idea, a plot device, or observation, you write it in the email. As the day progresses, you amass a cluster of ideas and impressions that you send to yourself at the end of the day. When you write an email to yourself with all the ideas you’ve had that day, it reminds you of how good it feels to receive correspondence.

    Check out this stuff I found on the internet to inspire myself:

    Make art. Make haste. Much love,

    j

    Hello, my name is Jaime Alejandro. I write and record stories about outcasts, the Other, and the working class (check out my writing portfolio!). I feature your poetry/short fiction from all walks of life on the Creative Podcast.

  • Gathered 6.14.21 – A cluster of inspiration

    An assortment of content recommendations, project updates, and observations from a working class creative.

    • I have signed out of social media on my computers and my phone. I am struggling. I am out of the loop. An interesting realization that most of our time is spent on consumption, not useful observation. Be strong. You got this. I have signed out of my personal google drives to refrain from writing or focusing on extensive poetry endeavors in the middle of the day. I just have an email to send myself notes. This way the writing can be sharper. Under specific parameters, we can bloom.
    • I find that I give in to indulgence often. This morning, I stumbled on some videos that provided some clarity. I had no clue allergies could be exacerbated by an unhealthy liver. It’s making me rethink my diet and life choices up until this point. I’m not an alcoholic or anything, I just eat a lot of sweets. Nothing a healthy diet can’t improve. But alas, I am motivated to get in shape because my health should be a major priority in my life. I am not in my 20s anymore. I am reminding myself to be rid of everyday indulgences by finding anchors in the beautiful self-help resources online. Here’s this great video I am listening to right now to help me with this matter: https://youtu.be/ewXqVUVY9vs
    • What takes away my quality time? Social media consumption. Indulging my food cravings. Sloth. The more I sit, the less energy I have.
    • Rethinking the title to the script I want to undertake once my commission is done. The American Workweek sounds like such an industrial, unappealing title, but it’s a banner that sits atop the idea and has been there for years now. This is my working-class quirky love story, with many twists and turns set over Thanksgiving week. It’s a long time dream I can’t wait to complete. It’s time I get this shit done. I got a white board outlining my creative calendar and it’s helped in the last two weeks. We’ll see if I can sustain this long term, because it feels like I am adding more and more to the pile of projects. Here’s a song that helped me go back to this story, whose characters I love so much: https://youtu.be/x0vgMl6n7m0
    • On Saturday, the fireworks raced upward and I saw them from my backyard. The light show thundered in my bones and it was a wide feeling that created gaps around my heart, just for a moment. Is there a way to bottle this magic to use at will?
    • Listening to the entire Bill Evans discography on YouTube. Stay chill, go listen to jazzhttps://youtu.be/JW6znI_W3H8
    • This anecdote Bill Murray shared about a painting saving his life: Bill Murray Admits A Painting Saved His Life – YouTube
    • This article about imagery found in Japan, pretty beautiful. What a beautiful starting point for a project! Do you think we could set a ten minute play here? Photographer Captures the Magical Firefly Season in Japan (mymodernmet.com)

    Much love,

    j

    my backyard in flames.

  • Arts Calling: A conversation with screenwriter Gabe Pitchon Getzels

    The Writing Record is an accountability journal, a place to unpack the creative process, and a reminder that our art matters, no matter where we come from. Produced by J. Alejandro.

    Hi there,

    I had a lot of laughs during this conversation with my friend Gabe Pitchon Getzels about screenwriting, influential movies, and his latest screenplay endeavor.
    Due to user error, the audio cut out at the 35 minute mark but it was very brief.

    Much love,


    https://cruzfolio.com/

    j

    Arts Calling is a series of episodes I created to check in on my friendships, and to learn from the wonderful people I have met over the years. Check out our other podcasts here: https://cruzfolio.com/podcasts

  • Our Kid’s Asleep Podcast #57 – Earth on Fire, Mortal Kombat, Summer Plans

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    Hi friends! Here’s what we got today:

    • World on fire
    • Mortal Kombat movie
    • Summer Plans

    Hey, want to support the show? We got SWAG like a bunch of sellouts! More designs coming soon! If you want to help other ways, review and share this recorded program!

    Air your grievances at ourkidsasleep@gmail.com

    Much love,

    J&M

    The show lives here: https://cruzfolio.com/our-kids-asleep-podcast/

  • Creative Drive Podcast #60 – Luck of The Anger by G.X. Jupitter-Larsen

    Creative Drive is an international podcast featuring poetry and flash fiction from all walks of life. Submit your work today!

    Available wherever you listen to podcasts!

    Apple Stitcher GoogleOvercastSpotify RadioPublic YouTubePodLink

    Hi there,
    This week, we bring you the first of several special episodes in the coming days to showcase the single pieces we have received recently: Today we feature the work of G.X. Jupitter-Larsen. Additional details on the writer coming soon!

    Read and Produced by J. Alejandro

    Creative Drive is an international podcast produced by J. Alejandro to bring visibility to poets and writers from all walks of life. If you have a moment, please support this labor of love by SUBSCRIBING! And don’t forget to tell your writer friends! For more information, visit https://cruzfolio.com/creative-drive-podcast/

  • The Writing Record Podcast 6.4.21 – A discussion with myself about my first #pitmad on Twitter

    The Writing Record is an accountability journal, a place to unpack the creative process, and a reminder that our art matters, no matter where we come from or how we pay the bills. Produced by J. Alejandro.

    Subscribe Today!

    Hello there,

    • Today I’m talking to myself about my first #pitmad event on Twitter.
    • This leads me to wonder whether what publication means to me now.
    • And I was also reminded that the best way to connect with others is by being genuine and eager to serve in a positive way. All we can do is try to get ourselves out there to make connections with other creatives!

    Much love and have a great weekend!
    j


    Visit us at cruzfolio.com for the latest writings and recordings by yours truly and my friends!
    Support the podcast by purchasing my latest poetry collection! Amazon.com: Flame to the Watering Hole: A Poetry Collection eBook: Cruz, Jaime Alejandro: Kindle Store

  • Creative Drive Podcast #59 – 3 Poems by NM State Senator/Poet Bill O’Neill (selections from The Definition of Empty)

    Creative Drive is an international podcast featuring poetry and flash fiction from all walks of life. Submit your work today!

    Available wherever you listen to podcasts!

    Apple Stitcher GoogleOvercastSpotify RadioPublic YouTubePodLink

    Hello all!

    Today we are thrilled to present selections from The Definition of Empty, by New Mexico State Senator and poet Bill O’Neill!

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Bill O’Neill grew up in rural Ohio and graduated from Cornell University. Elected to the New Mexico Legislature in 2008 he is now in his second term in the New Mexico State Senate. His poems have appeared in numerous literary reviews, both regional and national. Bill’s career has been framed by his work with nonprofits, with a focus on incarcerated juveniles and adults. In 2005 Governor Bill Richardson appointed him Executive Director of the NM Juvenile Parole Board. Named an Emerging Leader in 2016 by the University Of Virginia’s Darden School, he credits his early literary inspiration to mentors E.L. Doctorow and V.B. Price. You can learn more about Senator O’Neill at this website here (https://billoneill.org)

    The Definition of Empty (A Poetry Collection) The Definition of Empty is the story of a dedicated advocate trying to help adolescents facing incarceration and newly released parolees navigate imperfect and seemingly indifferent legal systems and societies. Told from the point of view of a public servant trying his best to work with people at various levels of brokenness, these poems are compassionate, heartbreaking, and even sometimes brutal while the voice is gentle, outraged, and naïve in turns. With this collection O’Neill insists that readers bear witness to the struggles of disenfranchised people they might otherwise ignore.
    Purchase The Definition of Empty here (https://unmpress.com/books/definition-empty/9780826362230).

    Read and Produced by J. Alejandro | Music provided by Musopen | Sound from Zapsplat.com

    Creative Drive is an international podcast produced by J. Alejandro to bring visibility to poets and writers from all walks of life. If you have a moment, please support this labor of love by SUBSCRIBING! And don’t forget to tell your writer friends! For more information, visit https://cruzfolio.com/creative-drive-podcast/

  • The Writing Record Podcast 5.28.21 – Interviewing creatives, post-covid transition, and a few words of optimism for you

    The Writing Record is an accountability journal, a place to unpack the creative process, and a reminder that our art matters, no matter where we come from or how we pay the bills. Produced by J. Alejandro.

    Subscribe Today!

    Happy Memorial Day Weekend!
    So here we are friends, I am relieved to be done with the week:

    j


    Visit us at cruzfolio.com for the latest writings and recordings by yours truly and my friends!
    Support the podcast by purchasing my latest poetry collection! Amazon.com: Flame to the Watering Hole: A Poetry Collection eBook: Cruz, Jaime Alejandro: Kindle Store

  • Our Kid’s Asleep Podcast #56 – Madd busted her back, Bluey, and WE GOT MAIL!

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    Hey there!
    Let’s tink to three things!

    • Maddie busted her back and we had a family bonding weekend over disaster movies.
    • Have you seen Bluey on Disney Channel?
    • And goodness gracious we got mail! Let’s see what your listeners got to say!

    Hey, want to support the show? We got SWAG like a bunch of sellouts! More designs coming soon! If you want to help other ways, review and share this recorded program!

    Air your grievances at ourkidsasleep@gmail.com

    Much love,

    J&M

    The show lives here: https://cruzfolio.com/our-kids-asleep-podcast/

  • Arts Calling: A conversation with writer/creative Trevor Lutz

    Hi there,

    I’m trying something new. This is a trial run (episode 00) of what will become a limited series in the coming weeks. Today I have the pleasure of chatting with my pal Trevor Lutz of Funusual Suspects about life, the cosmos, and how he approaches his craft as a writer.

    I may be wrapping up the Writing Record in favor of this project. We shall see in the coming days.

    Much love,

    j

    Check out our other podcasts here: https://cruzfolio.com/podcasts

  • Creative Drive Podcast #58 – 3 Poems by Steven Rossi

    Creative Drive is an international podcast featuring poetry and flash fiction from all walks of life. Submit your work today!

    Subscribe!

    Hey all, here we go!
    Today we are thrilled to bring you three poems by Steven Rossi!
    A Look Into Us | Collections | Directions When The Path Ahead Berates You

    A FEW WORDS FROM THE AUTHOR:
    I could have never, in a million years, imagined I would have become a writer. In fact, I studied business in college and currently work in the federal consulting space. I came into writing after taking one (yep – just one) creative writing class my sophomore year of college. I originally came into writing during a dark time in my life when I was using journaling as a way to better understand the constant stream of thoughts flowing through my mind. As I continued to write, I realized what a power I felt in being able to not only shape the flow of my thoughts, but also see the concepts I had written about take shape in my day-to-day. As a spiritual person, much of my work revolves around exploring philosophical and spiritual (and often religious) concepts. Much of my poetry explores and blurs the border between mundane and transcendental, and is often shaped by the fact I am a practicing Buddhist. – Steven Rossi
    Thanks so much for trusting us with your work, Steven!

    Narrated by J. Alejandro Music provided today by: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Axletree/Sunset_EP/Reservoir_Sunset_Full_Synth_Mix https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Scott_Gratton/progress-and-regress/building-a-legacy-1 https://freemusicarchive.org/music/serat/piano-textures/viewpoint-1 Sounds by: https://freesound.org/


    Creative Drive is an international podcast produced by J. Alejandro to bring visibility to poets and writers from all walks of life. If you have a sec, please consider subscribing and reviewing this labor of love, and don’t forget to tell your writer friends! Your support helps us tremendously! Or you can support by purchasing J. Alejandro’s poetry collection!

    Now accepting 3 poems or flash fiction! https://cruzfolio.com/you/

    Acepto poesia y relatos cortos en español! https://cruzfolio.com/fuerza-creativa/

    For more information about the podcast, visit https://cruzfolio.com/creative-drive

  • The Writing Record Podcast 5.14.21 – Ramble about Clubhouse, the Short Form, and UFOs while farting around on Bandlab.

    The Writing Record is an accountability journal, a place to unpack the creative process, and a reminder that our art matters, no matter where we come from or how we pay the bills. Produced by J. Alejandro.

    Subscribe Today!

    Lunchbreak episode where I decided to experiment with Bandlab during a podcast session, to test out a feature on my Zoom L8. And so today you get a very weird podcast about:

    • Clubhouse, it finally made it to Android and I ramble about that.
    • Embracing the short form on the Creative Drive Podcast.
    • UFOs. Researching and looking into the Benny and Betty Hill abduction story, as well as a few thoughts about the movie Prometheus.
    • Literally just farting around on Bandlab throughout.

    I’m not sure if this will stay up, but a worthwhile experiment nonetheless.
    Much love,
    j

    Come and see what we’re up to at https://cruzfolio.com/

    Support the podcast by purchasing my latest poetry collection! Amazon.com: Flame to the Watering Hole: A Poetry Collection eBook: Cruz, Jaime Alejandro: Kindle Store

  • Creative Drive Podcast #57 – Baked Ziti, Flash Fiction by E.H. Davis

    Creative Drive is an international podcast featuring poetry and flash fiction from all walks of life. Submit your work today!

    Subscribe!

    Hello all,
    Today we’re thrilled to present the flash fiction piece, “Baked Ziti” by E.H. Davis!

    A FEW WORDS FROM THE AUTHOR: One thing was constant for me when as a boy I spent my New England summers lazing on the back porch, ignoring the allure of the nearby beach and the call of friends to devour the works of my favorite authors – I was determined to become a writer. I know, cliché, cliché; but clichés are often life’s first drafts – overwritten by struggle and accomplishment.
    Nothing else would satisfy. No doubt I was being romantic, corrupted by the very books I loved. Still, I dreamed of living the rough-and-tumble life I’d only read about in the books of authors I admired, like London, Hemingway, Kerouac, and later Balzac, Henry Miller, and Mailer, and travel the world gathering experience for my own novels.
    I’ve been writing through all the phases of my life, during good times and bad, in times of celebration and sorrow: marriage, births, deaths, and of the course the inevitable rejection by publishers and agents. The bulk of my writing is contained in ink-engorged journals, which I began in my twenties: some thirty notebooks in all. They’ve served as compost for the five screenplays, two novels (my M.A. graduate thesis and my debut novel My Wife’s Husband: A Family Thriller (Amazon, December 2019), a dozen published short stories, and a handful of essays, memoirs, film reviews, and occasional poems I’ve committed to ink.
    As the saying goes, “Art is long and life is short.” I am grateful, still, to be building my “castles in the sky” and telling the stories that come from life keenly-observed and cherished.
    For more information, check out the author Website!
    Also check out E.H. Davis’ novel on Amazon!


    Narrated by J. Alejandro

    Music provided today by: https://musopen.org/

    Sounds by: https://www.zapsplat.com/ and additional sounds by https://freesound.org/


    Creative Drive is an international podcast produced by J. Alejandro to bring visibility to poets and writers from all walks of life. If you have a sec, please consider subscribing and reviewing this labor of love, and don’t forget to tell your writer friends! Your support helps us tremendously! Or you can support by purchasing J. Alejandro’s poetry collection!

    Now accepting 3 poems or flash fiction! https://cruzfolio.com/you/

    Acepto poesia y relatos cortos en español! https://cruzfolio.com/fuerza-creativa/

    For more information about the podcast, visit https://cruzfolio.com/creative-drive

  • Our Kid’s Asleep Podcast #55 – Home Improvement, Spotlight, Taylor Tomlinson at Comedy Works South!

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    Hey friends!
    Let’s tink to a few things:

    Hey, want to support the show? We got SWAG like a bunch of sellouts! More designs coming soon! If you want to help other ways, review and share this recorded program!

    Air your grievances at ourkidsasleep@gmail.com

    Much love,

    J&M

    The show lives here: https://cruzfolio.com/our-kids-asleep-podcast/

  • Note to Self 5.12.21
    Our little booth is coming along…
    • Maddie and I began production on her next audiobook. The subject matter is right up our alley, and we learned so much from the previous project that it feels like we’re more prepared this time around. After our session, I spent last night working on our post production settings, mainly to polish the final product a bit more. Last time around, I worked extensively on a preset for Maddie’s voice to clean up any lingering room reverb, normalization, and EQ stuff. We also worked on upgrading our recording booth under the stairs, so we didn’t get a chance to record Creative Drive last week (though I’m super excited to record this week’s episode tonight in the new and improved space!) I struggle a lot with audio compression, so I’m looking to tinker with it a bit more because last time, I didn’t venture far into those waters.
    • I can’t pretend to be fully informed on the attacks on Gaza. I am not an activist, nor do I follow politics as well as I should. It’s too much to bear at times. As I read the news, however, I am struck by more grief and horror. I am heartbroken for the oppressed who are at risk this very moment. As writers, we often intellectualize, shove our heads up our asses, theorize to make sense of things, but some situations are simply a primal scream. Innocent people are dying. Children were not born to become collateral damage, no matter what. I found this poem on Twitter from Noor Hindi, and I can’t imagine a better time for it: Fuck Your Lecture on Craft, My People Are Dying by… | Poetry Magazine (poetryfoundation.org)
  • The Writing Record Podcast 5.7.21 – Exposing your stasis, every day poetry, one person show

    Subscribe Today!

    Hey there,
    I’d like to talk to you about a few things:

    • How this audio play is helping me discover my writing stasis.
    • Every day poetry is helping me get through busy days once again.
    • Maybe it’s time to start planning for that epic one person show I am scared of creating.

    Much love,

    j

    Come and see what we’re up to at https://cruzfolio.com/

    Support the podcast by purchasing my latest poetry collection! Amazon.com: Flame to the Watering Hole: A Poetry Collection eBook: Cruz, Jaime Alejandro: Kindle Store

  • Creative Drive Podcast #56 – Deathbirth by Christopher T. Dabrowski

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    Hello all!
    Today we bring you the work of Christopher T. Dabrowski!

    DEATHBIRTH: A flash fiction story by Christopher T. Dabrowski. Translated by: Monika Olasek

    Support the author here: https://krzysztoftdabrowsk.wixsite.com/krzysztoftdabrowski https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100063614135306

    Christopher is an internationally published author from Poland. His work has been featured all over the world. Notable works:
    Books in USA: “Escape” (2019 – Royal Hawaiian Press), “Anomaly” (2020 – Royal Hawaiian Press) Books in Spain:”La fuga” (2019 – Royal Hawaiian Press), “Anomalia” (2019 – Royal Hawaiian Press) Books in Germany: “Die Anomalie” (2020 – Der Romankiosk) Books in Poland: “Deathbirth” (2008 – Armoryka publishing house), “Anima vilis” (2010 – Initium publishing house), “Grobbing” (2012 – Novae Res publishing house), “Deathbirth and other stories” (2012 & 2017 – Agharta & Armoryka publishing house), “Z życia Dr Abble” (2013 – Agharta publishing house), “Orgazmokalipsa” (2016 – Alternatywne publishing house), “Anomalia” (2016 – Forma publishing house), “Ucieczka” (2017 – Dom Horroru publishing house) & “Nie w inność” (2019 – Waspos publishing house) ANTHOLOGY in: USA, England, Australia, Canada, Poland, Russia, Germany & India. And he published his stories in the following magazines: PLAYBOY (Slovak edition), USA, England, Czech Republic, Russia, Brasil, Spain, Argentina, Germany, Italy, Hungary, Mexico

    Narrated by J. Alejandro

    Today’s music: https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Axletree/the-erthe-series-ongoing-project/the-woods-remastered https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kecap_Tuyul/tunnel-songs/2-1


    Creative Drive is an international podcast produced by J. Alejandro to bring visibility to poets and writers from all walks of life. If you have a sec, please SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW this labor of love, and don’t forget to tell your writer friends! Your support helps us tremendously! Or you can support by purchasing J. Alejandro’s poetry collection!

    Now accepting 3 poems or flash fiction! https://cruzfolio.com/you/ Acepto poesia y relatos cortos en español! https://cruzfolio.com/fuerza-creativa/ For more information about the podcast, visit https://cruzfolio.com/creative-drive

  • The Writing Record Podcast 4.30.21 – Scary Stories Documentary, and an extemporaneous rant about how Spectacle and Theme converge

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    Hi there,

    I am working on an interactive audio drama, so I was thinking of spectacle this week. Specifically, I was thinking of how its tools can help us create works that are timely and thematically important, while providing a point of entry for a general audience. Does the magic and wonder help us tell difficult stories? I liked thinking out loud about this. More to come on spectacle intersecting with theme. A few bits of content I talk about:

    Visit us at cruzfolio.com for the latest writings and recordings by yours truly and my friends!

    Support the podcast by purchasing my latest poetry collection! Amazon.com: Flame to the Watering Hole: A Poetry Collection eBook: Cruz, Jaime Alejandro: Kindle Store

  • Poem 4.24.21
  • Creative Drive Podcast #55 – 3 Poems by Sherre Vernon

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    Hello all!

    Today we bring you the work of Sherre Vernon!

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sherre Vernon (she/her/hers) is a seeker of a mystical grammar and a recipient of the Parent-Writer Fellowship at The Martha’s Vineyard Institute of Creative Writing. She has two award-winning chapbooks: Green Ink Wings (fiction) and The Name is Perilous (poetry). Readers describe Sherre’s work as heartbreaking, richly layered, lyrical and intelligent.

    SUPPORT SHERRE’S WORK HERE: To read more of her work visit www.sherrevernon.com/publications and tag her into conversation @sherrevernon.

    Narrated by J. Alejandro

    Music provided today by:

    https://musopen.org/music/108-nocturnes-op-9/ https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lobo_Loco/verona/we-are-so-close-id-1414 https://musopen.org/music/43257-cobarde/ Sounds by: https://www.zapsplat.com/


    Creative Drive is an international podcast produced by J. Alejandro to bring visibility to poets and writers from all walks of life. If you have a sec, please SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW this labor of love, and don’t forget to tell your writer friends!

    Your support helps us tremendously! Or you can support by purchasing J. Alejandro’s poetry collection!

    Now accepting 3 poems or flash fiction! https://cruzfolio.com/you/ Acepto poesia y relatos cortos en español! https://cruzfolio.com/fuerza-creativa/ For more information about the podcast, visit https://cruzfolio.com/creative-drive

  • Our Kid’s Asleep Podcast #54 – Who Needs Cars Anyway, Crazy Stupid Love, Raya and the Last Dragon

    The podcast where J & Madd tink their glasses to 3 things.

    Hey friends!
    Today we come to tink our glasses to three things:

    • Buying a Car in this economy. Man, we really are old, talking about the future and financial decisions on a podcast episode, good grief. It is what it is. Enjoy being an adult with us…
    • We talk about the sublime Crazy Stupid Love, and how the pieces came together!
    • We also discuss Raya and the Last Dragon, a family movie raising the bar!

    NEW MUSICAL INTRO BY OUR SON!

    Air your grievances at ourkidsasleep@gmail.com

    Much love,
    J&M

    Hey, want to support the show? We got SWAG like a bunch of sellouts! https://www.redbubble.com/i/t-shirt/Our-Kid-s-Asleep-Podcast-by-ChillMachine/71043173.6IBXU?utm

    More designs coming soon! If you want to help other ways, review and share this recorded program!

  • The Writing Record Podcast 4.16.21 – Lessons of Darkness Doc, Lessons of Tone and Mood

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    Hey friends,

    This week I’ve been haunted by Werner Herzog’s Lessons of Darkness. It is a masterful documentary on the aftermath of the oil fields in Kuwait in flames after the conflict. I had to talk about it, so I’m going to do it here, and hope to learn a few things from this meditative and heartbreaking work, as I need to pack a lot of tone and hopefully mood into my latest work: a new interactive audio play.

    Check out the film for free here: https://shoutfactorytv.com/werner-herzog/lessons-of-darkness/54ebc59569702d04cb7a0c00

    Much love,
    j

  • Creative Drive Podcast #54 – 3 Stories by Lee Anderson

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    Hello all!

    Today we are so excited to share 3 flash fiction stories by Lee Anderson!

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Lee has written short stories and essays for a multitude of small and large press publications, including “Fiction International” and “The Miami Herald.” He also wrote and staged two one-act plays in New York City, “Supper’s Ready” and “Little America.” He’s the author of the shocking horror novel “What Happened at Sisters Creek” and the critically-acclaimed short story collection “Dark Lords of the Trailer Park. Lee lives in Brooklyn, New York with his wife and calico.

    SUPPORT THE AUTHOR HERE:

    Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lee.anderson.writes/

    Twitter: https://twitter.com/theleeanderson

    Website: https://www.palmcirclepress.net


    Narrated by J. Alejandro

    Music provided today by:

    https://www.freemusicarchive.org/music/Axletree

    https://musopen.org/music/108-nocturnes-op-9/

    Sounds by: https://www.zapsplat.com/

    Creative Drive is an international podcast produced by J. Alejandro to bring visibility to poets and writers from all walks of life. If you have a sec, please SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW this labor of love, and don’t forget to tell your writer friends!

    Your support helps us tremendously! Or you can support by purchasing J. Alejandro’s poetry collection!

    Now accepting 3 poems or flash fiction! https://cruzfolio.com/you/ Acepto poesia y relatos cortos en español! https://cruzfolio.com/fuerza-creativa/ For more information about the podcast, visit https://cruzfolio.com/creative-drive

  • The Writing Record Podcast 4.9.21 – Monologue draft complete, I need cereal to write, and memories of audio

    Subscribe Today!


    Hi there!
    I’m testing the Zoom L8 to look into podcasting in our living room. I ran the file through noise reduction through Audacity a few times for minimal post and this is what we got. We’ll see what the living room recording process looks like in the future, but for now, this is what we have to work with. Excited to record this way!

    Hi there, let’s talk and reminisce from the heart:

    • Today I finished the draft of Erin’s audio monologue!
    • Is it me, or do you have to eat a big bowl of cereal before finishing a draft?
    • Also, let’s go down memory lane and how audio memories get me in the right mindset to make stuff.
    • And I think I started a musical project for my dad

    What a weird, honest episode. I liked it. Hope you come along, my friends.
    Much love,
    j

    Visit us at cruzfolio.com for the latest writings and recordings by yours truly and my friends!
    Support the podcast by purchasing my latest poetry collection! Amazon.com: Flame to the Watering Hole: A Poetry Collection eBook: Cruz, Jaime Alejandro: Kindle Store

  • Creative Drive Podcast #53 – A Flash Memoir by Miriam Sagan

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    Happy Thursday!
    Today we are thrilled to present A Flash Memoir (Lebensborn, Avrum, Pandemic) by Miriam Sagan!

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: I’m Miriam Sagan, poet and writer. I founded and now run the creative writing program at Santa Fe Community College. Most recent books are MAP OF THE LOST (UNM Press) and SEVEN PLACES IN AMERICA (Sherman Asher). I’m working on site specific poetry installations.For Miriam’s extraordinary content, please visit: http://miriamswell.wordpress.com

    A few words from Miriam about the work: This is a flash memoir. Why I put off difficult material until I was 66 years old and in lockdown in a pandemic…I do not know. Will it be published? I can’t predict. But I’m working on it anyway! My most recent published memoir Bluebeard’s Castle (Red Mountain, 2019) is about my near death experience as a young woman and my difficult fascinating activist father, who was on Nixon’s Enemies List. Hope you enjoy. I am not that focused on what I’ve overcome, but here is what helped me– feminism, Buddhism, bodywork, love, painting, music, community, landscape, the young, solitude, and pickled things in jars from farmers’ markets.


    Narration by Madelyn Cruz

    Creative Drive is an international podcast produced by J. Alejandro to bring visibility to poets and writers from all walks of life. If you have a sec, please SUBSCRIBE AND REVIEW this labor of love, and don’t forget to tell your writer friends! Your support helps us tremendously!

    Now accepting 3 poems or flash fiction! https://cruzfolio.com/you/

    Acepto poesia y relatos cortos en español! https://cruzfolio.com/fuerza-creativa/

    For more information about the podcast, visit https://cruzfolio.com/creative-drive

    Support our projects by purchasing my poetry collection, now on Amazon!

  • Creative Drive Podcast #52 – 3 Poems by Linda Imbler

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    Hey all!

    Happy National Poetry Month! Let’s get back on track with 3 wonderful poems by Linda Imbler!

    • Gray to Black
    • Ensorcelled Within the Moonlit Eyes of P’aqo
    • A Backyard Incident in St. Louis

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Linda Imbler is the author of five paperback poetry collections and three e-book collections (Soma Publishing.) This writer lives in Wichita, Kansas with her husband, Mike the Luthier, several quite intelligent saltwater fish, and an ever-growing family of gorgeous guitars. Learn more atlindaspoetryblog.blogspot.com.

    Narration by J. Alejandro and Madelyn Cruz

    Music by descheveler

    Creative Drive is an international podcast produced by J. Alejandro to bring visibility to poets and writers from all walks of life. If you have a sec, please subscribe and review this labor of love, and don’t forget to tell your writer friends! Your support would help us tremendously!

    Now accepting 3 poems or flash fiction! https://cruzfolio.com/you/

    Acepto poesia y relatos cortos en español! https://cruzfolio.com/fuerza-creativa/

    For more information about the podcast, visit https://cruzfolio.com/creative-drive

    Support our projects by purchasing my poetry collection, now on Amazon!

  • Our Kid’s Asleep Podcast #53 – HBO’s Close Enough, toilet floods and bad dreams, Maddie’s audiobook!

    Welcome to Our Kid’s Asleep Podcast, where we tink our glasses to three topics in pop culture, the news, and other shit shows!

    Hey friends!

    Back to podcasting! Trying out our new mixer and we have some stories for you after a very exciting March! We also cover HBO’s Close Enough!

    Oh hey, Maddie’s debut audiobook narration is out! Please consider checking out her amazing audio narration work! https://www.audible.com/pd/Liberty-Brought-Us-Here-Audiobook/B08ZYWRLKH

    Hey, want to support the show? Leave a review or share with your friends! Also, we got SWAG like a bunch of sellouts!

    More designs coming soon! If you want to help other ways, review and share this recorded program! Air your grievances at ourkidsasleep@gmail.com

    Much love,

    J&M

  • The Writing Record Podcast 3.29.21 – As the spirit fades, the form appears: A ramble on outlines.

    Subscribe Today!


    Hi there!
    I’m testing the Zoom L8 to look into podcasting in our living room. I ran the file through noise reduction through Audacity a few times for minimal post and this is what we got. We’ll see what the living room recording process looks like in the future, but for now, this is what we have to work with. Excited to record this way!

    Today, I go on a little ramble about outlining projects prior to starting, outlines in general, and how this has helped me through the last two weeks or so. I’ll keep talking about this later so consider this part 1 of many…

    Make art. Make haste. Much love,
    j

    Visit us at cruzfolio.com for the latest writings and recordings by yours truly and my friends!
    Support the podcast by purchasing my latest poetry collection! Amazon.com: Flame to the Watering Hole: A Poetry Collection eBook: Cruz, Jaime Alejandro: Kindle Store

  • Yes, you can push a couch up the narrow stairs.

    The Mortal Kombat 2021 Film will bring out the nostalgia I left in Mexico. Eye Stuff. Couch.

    • I am hyped for the new Mortal Kombat movie. I recorded this in February for The Writing Record and scrapped it, but it captures my love for the MK world so I figured what the hell, let’s get a few thoughts out there about being a Mexican kid falling in love with a video game and leaving for a new country. I sound a bit stuffy so just a heads up…
    • My pessimism is always let down the eye doctor. I go into that waiting room and anticipate ocular tragedy, only to be told my eyes are moderately bad and everything is gonna be okay. On Monday, I went in for my yearly visit and was told my prescription changed. He mentioned things like keeping an eye on your eyes, and potential myopic degeneration may be in the future. But the eyeball innards were intact and healthy. It felt like an hour of mixed signals: it doesn’t look good. It doesn’t look good at all, and everything’s gonna be fine stop worrying. Regardless, I walked out of there convinced my eyes are finally fulfilling that long announced promise to give up on the whole vision thing. This was a weird week.
    • We bought a couch with a pullout bed to turn our guest room on the second floor into a reading nook. It took three months to get to our doorstep and sat there for two weeks as Maddie and I figured out how to get the fucking thing up the stairs. We nervously walked about Home Depot figuring out how we would get this couch into the house, let along up the stair flight we imagine over and over again. We got home and try out the moving straps, stumbling in the great process of trial and error until we gain enough inertia to get the thing from one end of the garage to our door. We reached the point of no return, and we stubbornly persisted. In this ordeal, one of sheer determination or stupidity, you question your bones. You wonder if you can really take the weight. You consider what your life will be like when the couch comes sliding down the stairs to snap your leg in half at the foot of the stairs. The furniture in your home has turned on you and you are afraid. But in the idiocy of this task, Maddie and I found a willingness to push each other as hard as the furniture. We know our limits, we push each other in the best way. We listened to each other as we pushed one end of the couch in the air and tilted the thing upward and for a split second it could have come back down to flatten its misguided owners. We broke sweat, we persisted, we basket in the ecstasy of seeing the couch where it was meant to be. … So yes, you can push a couch up the narrow stairs, but you’re in your thirties. You’ve had a long week. And perhaps there are better ways to remind yourself persistence is key as long as you manage it in tandem with a carefully designed approach. Hire movers next time.
    Me this month, aloof, alarmed, but still absurdly grateful.

    Make art. Make haste. Much love,

    j

    Support our projects by purchasing my poetry collection, now on Amazon!

  • 3.22.21 Recording Again! And a near death experience becomes a story

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    Whoa I’m back at it again!


    Thanks for your patience as I come out of this allergy fog to start recording again!
    I want to talk to you about my close call during our recent snowstorm, our toilet deciding to ruin everything, as well as how I hope to turn some of these experiences into narratives or short pieces. I hope this helps if you’re trying to do the same.


    So good to record once more! Stay tuned for more Creative Drive episodes coming soon!
    If you’d like to support our writings and recordings at cruzfolio.com, support Maddie and I by purchasing my poetry collection now available on Amazon!

    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08D4L7BQ5/ref=cm_sw_r_tw_dp_50G9H5FA3R5AQMEN4062


    Make art. Make haste. Much love.

    j

  • Gratitude and humility in my on-going efforts to reclaim my Mexicanity.

    I was reminded by the Google doodle of the work of Zitkala-Sa, the great Yankton-Dakota writer and political activist who had a birthday a few days ago. I inadvertently threw myself down the rabbit hole of Native American suffering in the Old West. After all, I live where tragedy was once a way of life: Good old Wyoming. My sweet home. This land, where I raise my son and lay my head at night, is land that has been fought over, and seen disarray as manifest destiny trampled over tradition and culture much older than the relatively young greed of American conquest.

    I love looking at old photographs of the time period and do so with a reverence I don’t fully understand. I wonder how Native Americans dealt with the unimaginable grief of being taken from their culture and molded into something else. I also recall reading about the Carlisle School and its “grand purpose” of re-educating children whose faces refused to find comfort in their new outfits. Their motto brought me deep sorrow: “Kill the Indian: Save the Man.”

    I don’t intend to create parallels between the horror experienced by Native Peoples of America and what people of color experience today. It’s a different experience, of course, but yesterday’s unfiltered hatred toward the Other still lingers in various distilled societal forms. As I read about Zitkala-Sa’s fierce sense of duty and tales of her advocacy, I am humbled by the hurt she endured, and am reminded that the through-line of re-education, assimilation, and cultural subjugation, is still at play when people of color choose to adopt a mainstream American identity. Mainstream American identity, sort of like a shiny and new euro-centric sense of belonging we were sold in those high-energy TV commercials in the 90s, and everywhere we looked growing up. Seeing that ideal everywhere can cast doubt in the minds of brown kids. Even now, I second-guess where I land on the spectrum of culture guilt. I ask myself often, almost daily:

    “Have I left my culture behind?”

    “What if my code-switcher got stuck and now I’m just a coconut?”

    “Did I become one of the good ones in their eyes for good?”

    When I was in college, I was introduced to Richard Rodriguez’ often polarizing Hunger of Memory; A narrative about the author’s steep road to a Western education and the haunting isolation he experienced, particularly from his own family and culture. When I read it, I fumed over it for a long while. I wrote a five page essay in response to what I perceived as pomp, and accused Rodriguez of surrendering his culture no-questions-asked to the romanticized pursuit of becoming a Western intellectual. A traditional person of letters. Perhaps I didn’t have the academic scope and most likely, still lack the secular acumen to clearly see his point of view, but I felt a rage. A deep fervor that a person so intelligent, eloquent, and driven, would choose to leave his culture behind. I believed Richard, the son of Mexican immigrants, an immigrant himself, decided to forgo his background, to acquire a new one. Maybe I misunderstand his take on it.

    Not so long ago, I was browsing through my bookshelves and I saw Hunger of Memory stowed away in the forgotten corner of my guest room bookshelf. It still pained me to recollect how I felt in college. I haven’t read it since. Not sure why I still own it. Perhaps as a strange reminder that I would someday be in the very position Richard Rodriguez wrote about. In this struggle of assimilation, I find that after living in the United States for 25 years, and growing up in a place like Wyoming, it seems as though assimilation took place in me and I forgot to pay attention when it occurred. I used to be mad at Richard because he predicted the wedge I often feel separating me from my family and my culture. I left my Mexican home in Evanston, as a Mexican young adult, and I went somewhere else to learn new things that contradicted everything I knew about life. I must have become an “American” somewhere along the way. Looking back on that critical time in my development, I now understand that to inhabit and keep my culture, is a responsibility. A choice.

    I write with a clear understanding that assimilation happened to me. I didn’t know it was happening so I didn’t prevent it. I could have paid attention, sure. But who does at 19? I wasn’t asking myself whoa I feel really weird, it must be due to my decreasing Mexicanity levels and I need to sound the alarm so the compas can come help me gain full Mexicanity and rid myself of this cultural flux once and for all—

    —I don’t think it happens like that. I just went out into the world and experienced a lot of new, interesting, and cool shit. While I consider myself a private person, my grave mistake has been to exacerbate this concealment. I grew too accustomed to withhold parts of myself from public view. In turn, my Latinidad is the aspect of me that has suffered the most. I could have done better being my true, weird, Latinx self. I could have been more proud. Unapologetic on all fronts. In a place like Wyoming, that can happen, you know? In a homogenized place, it is emotionally taxing to be the odd one out, so it helps to lie low sometimes. To survive. I then left for college, and the wedge truly appeared as I walked out of my parent’s house. I was no longer watching novelas or Sabado Gigante on the regular, I was listening to Wicked and watching Christopher Nolan movies and listening to Elliott Smith deep cuts and all the other cool shit I couldn’t find in a small town. All these things definitely inform who I am now.

    The great thing about being a writer, however, is that all of this hodge-podge and cultural fusion inevitably comes out in the writing. Just when I think I wasn’t being myself, I look to my childhood poems, my college plays and even what I’m writing now, and I see so much melodrama lifted from the dense history of my extended family, myths I overheard at Socorro’s store around the corner while buying chiclets, my grandfather’s violin, my favorite Cantinflás movie, my father’s guitarist hands cracked in the Wyoming frost he worked in for years.

    Yes, there is a Mexican in there after all.

    And all of this Mexicanity comes out with a shot of Tequila from my querido Jalisco, as I write with my Amá’s tireless work ethic, featuring a serving of Euripides and Ionesco and Pinter and a soundtrack by Quasi and Neutral Milk Hotel as the backdrop of a Rocky Mountain sunset that reminds us of our mortality and deep existential purpose. It’s all there. There is room for all of that. And so I arrive to this:

    This Mexican-American. This pocho. This coconut. This grown-ass brown man has a choice.

    I have always had a choice.

    My brown face. My strong brow that precedes me. My hair black hot as a tarmac below these pelting open skies. This is me. Y eso es todo. Soy yo mismo. And I am capable of being truthful about all that I am.

    One last thing: While I was away at college, my Amá would send me care packages. She would freeze meals and ship them to me. Carne con chile. Frijoles Fritos. Chiles Rellenos. She sent me little gifts. Prayer cards. Family photos. Those spicy mango paletas. For years, she sent me reminders of where I come from. As if kindly asking me not to forget. All I had to do was put in the effort to strengthen that bond with my family. I haven’t done a very good job over the years. However, I am fortunate I can still mend these cultural wounds with the help of my people. Mi familia. Because unlike before, distance is no longer a barrier. I can find my Latinx community online. Even though he’s now passed, I can learn more about the history of the Native Peoples of Lake Chapala to discover my grandfather’s heritage. I can call my Amá and Apá in Mexico every night to catch up. I can google how to make pozole if I want to. I have a pathway to find again what once went missing.

    We have a responsibility to be honest about who we are, and to do so proudly. So hold on to the voices of your parents, your abuelos, your folks. Don’t get too distracted like me. It’s quite a task in this hectic world, and while I’m certain that someone will inevitably disagree about how you go about celebrating your background, we can’t let external judgment dictate who we are. I’m a Mexican-American husband, father, and writer shaped by Wyoming’s expanse and cold winters. I am shaped by my father’s electric guitar and my grandfather’s Mariachi music. I’m the brown kid in theater class. The man who observes and writes. The family man trying to make his family proud. The guy in the middle. So to us in the middle, those neither here nor there, those straddling two cultures that may embrace us and reject us at once: Every day is an opportunity to reclaim our heritage, and bring it to the forefront boldly; because unfortunately, endless people of color past and the many unseen Others who came before us, did not have a choice at all.

    j

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zitkala-Sa

    https://www.amazon.com/Hunger-Memory-Education-Richard-Rodriguez/dp/0553272934