To VONA and all the writers, poets, artists that I can now call family – THANK YOU! Thank you for an amazing, insightful, life-changing week.
A very special thanks to:
- Evelina, for giving me the new tools in my arsenal.
- Junot, for showing me it’s okay to use ‘fuck’ as a comma.
- Staceyann, for telling me that it’s not my fault.
And to the heart of the week – to my fellow Team Galang divas! Thank you for the double-axels, 3rd violins, cold-cutty car rides, fellow fly girls, jam cookies, hella’s, and for coming from so far away to share your stories. Thank you for the laughs, the tears, the ‘drama’ and for making this experience one of the most illuminating of my life. Thank you for being the new “Voices” in my world and for putting on the best fucking performance in VONA history!
Today was the first full day of my residency at VONA. There’s a lot I can write about, but as I’m trying to be on an internet diet this week, I’ll keep the posts brief. I’ll kick off the week of blogging with Orientation, which took place last night.
To give you some background, VONA is hosted this year at UC Berkeley. It is my first time on the west coast, and my first time living on a “real campus.” It is also the first time I’ve ever done anything solely for developing as a fiction writer.
Here are the highlights (and some low-lights) from Orientation:
- 94 writers of colors
- My nations are Peru, Brooklyn, bellydance and writer.
- My ancestors are telling me “abre la puerta.”
- People named “Juan” like to be called “Al.”
- There are lots of Brooklyn writers in Berkeley right now.
- Junot Díaz is the kid that grew up on my block and the kid that mentored me in law school.
- Evelina’s last name is pronounced “Ga” like the Lady and “lung” like the organ.
- I’d like to go clubbing with ZZ Packer.
- David Mura is zen incarnate.
- I really hope Diem Jones has a lucrative side-career as a voice-over artist.
- Stern Hall reminds me of a creepy 1980s summer camp. I’m expecting Jason to come out of the woods at any second.
- Communal bathrooms aren’t that bad.
- Walking up a hill is good for your calves and poto.
- Everyone is trying not to be a lawyer.