Saturday, July 31, 2010


I think I have truly found what I was meant for. I always said that my dream job would be to read books aloud to children and be able to get paid for it and I think I've found out how. Aside from having to go back to school to become a librarian, I've decided to take a different route. I am writing children's books and submitting them for publication, in the hopes that I will get published and be able to go around to schools/libraries and read my "poignant" stories to little brown children all around the country. (High hopes, I know but maybe, just maybe...)

The discovery began when I opened a children's short story that I began over a year ago but never finished. I sat down to revise it and then just kept writing until the ending came. After that first moment the ideas just started flowing. Stories about immigrant children, stories about tropical fruits and their origins, stories about culture and family, friendships and fears. Stories based on my real life and those of my cousins and siblings. I enjoy this type of writing even more than poetry because it doesn't need to be pretentious or complicated. While my words and the ideas are complex, the story is simple and I know the will mean something to this special population that I adore.

The FaceBook challenge that I embarked on a week ago helped spur even more ideas and I just can't stop writing and thinking. It's great, I haven't felt this much passion and excitement about anything in awhile. I know in my heart of hearts that this is what I was meant to do (even if just for now- I believe we live our lives in phases and my dreams may change but this is what I want and need to do right now).

There is something deep inside me that tells me this is going to work out, and that I WILL get published. I'm super excited about the possibilities and know that all will go well.

Recently I have thought that perhaps these children's books are a mere distraction from the "real" project I am avoiding (the memoir about my diagnoses) but this kind of writing fulfills me and makes me happy. Perhaps I am not ready to face the daunting task of putting the last three years into words and metaphors for the rest of the world to judge but hiding behind cafeteria tales and sibling rivalries in order to help inspire young readers doesn't seem like such a bad bargain.

Maybe after a good run at the world of children's literature I'll be ready to tackle my inner demons, but for now I will continue to find inspiration in my cousin's pig tails and the mystery behind coconut milk.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Days 2 & 3

Okay, so Days 2 & 3 were quite different from the first and quite different from each other. Perhaps is was the change in scenery, perhaps it was my change in mood but this challenge was definitely not what I expected and perhaps a bit too ambitious, but fun none-the-less. So here is what occurred.

Day 2:

I realized that once you open up the flood gates of creativity it's AMAZING what just begins to flow! While Day one felt like pulling teeth and gave me a headache, Day 2 was just like non-stop creative mental vomit onto the page. If I took a nap, I'd wake up with twelve new ideas. If I saw a street sign that would spur five new book titles and on and on the day went. It was absolutely great. It's amazing how little of our brain we actually use but when you force/challenge yourself to use more of it, it is completely receptive and it's so ready to come alive after so many years of non-use. I was on a big high all day and these are the things I came up with. (Now are these all award-winning ideas? Of course not, but I can say it's more than what I've come up with in the last three years, and that's a great start!)

Carlos the collector

Flowers Bloom and Bridges Collapse
Point me in the direction of the sun and I will be reborn.

Marriage is about listening when you don't want to and laughing
because you have to.

Blood is a funny thing. It can tell you so much about a person. It can
control what you decide to do next. It can save your life. The wrong
kind can kill you.

Inspired by my friend Maria:
When struck by a crippling illness I for one am of the opinion that
words speak louder than actions because one cannot do much of anything
and we find strength in being able to speak out about our pain.

Title of my next chapbook: Volcanic Eruptions.

Title for memoir I may never finish: Lying Dormant

Where this all came from? Believing that while I may be still on the
outside deep within I am brewing words and thoughts that will soon
erupt and change everything i touch. And my ash will turn into
beautiful collectable rocks you will want to take home with you and
stare at everyday.

If you open your eyes long enough to see yourself you may be surprised
at everything you find.


Now, Day 3 was NOT as creatively productive. I don't know if it was the weather (which threw my body into soreness, achyness and just an overall bad mood) or the fact that I'm in San Antonio visiting family and that consumed my day. BUT Day 3 of the challenge provided me with NO creative one-liners. And mind you, I DID attempt. I would look at my Iphone and think, and think and then get restless after about 30 seconds, so I'd avoid FB all together, put the phone down and go do something else. Something less mental.

Now, although I didn't have one liners I did spend the morning of Day 3 drafting my 3rd children's book. So perhaps that is where all my creative energies went. And you know, now that I think of it, maybe it was an exercise in growth. Because Day I had many short one liners and names and titles, as you can see by Day 2 I had longer thoughts, more complicated ideas, and on Day 3 I was able to write a book! (A short 3 page children's book) but a book none-the-less and I fleshed out one of the ideas I had on Day 1. So I guess I'm more successful than I was originally giving myself credit for! (Woo hoo, I love epiphanies at 9am) :)

Ok, so if you were skeptical of my challenge at first, now I am living proof of what channeling your Facebook efforts elsewhere can do for your creative exploits. So, give it a try, don't be afraid to fail because the worst that can happen is you'll have a few useless and few great ideas for that thing you've been putting off or too afraid to tackle.

Be Still and Be Well my friends! And don't forget to challenge yourself every once in awhile, you'll be amazed at what you can do.


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day One Challenge

So, day one of the challenge came and went. I will say that I was about 90% successful. There were a few times when I checked FB without updating my status but didn't write or do anything before-hand so I feel like that was cheating a little. But for the most part, I forced myself to write down little tidbits of writing thoughts BEFORE updating my status all day. And sometimes, because it hurt my brain to keep thinking creatively so much I just decided not to post or write anything at all, so look at that!

I didn't realize that coming up with one-liners or character names or book/poem/story titles would be so mentally draining. I guess that's why we do FB instead, it's mindless "chatter." Who knew, that the person who DESPISES small talk, would be "small posting." Wow.

OH, and before I forget, something else that I found really rewarding when I couldn't think of anything even remotely creative to write before posting was this: Email, or text a friend/family member that you haven't talked to in a while. Just say hi, and tell them that you're thinking about them. It's about as mindless as FB but it actually means something and makes you and the other person feel good. (The only downside: the person calls you and you have to spend the next half hour updating them about your life. Which hasn't happened yet to me, but I can predict it will)

Ok well, without further adieu, below is the list of random things I came up with while redirecting my FB addiction. (I share this with you trustingly, please don't steal my ideas! But, I guess if you do, you probably wouldn't write the story/poem the same way I would so I guess it doesn't matter. And it's the risk I take when I publish things on the web anyway.)

Well, read on and enjoy! "You can't get anywhere until you take the first step."

Lucia learns to eat a mango.

Diegos dads:
1. Fireman
2. Police Man
3. Famous Super Star
4. Teacher
5. Doctor

Cocunut Water. Agua de Coco
1. Was there a hundred year rain?
2. Do seagulls fill the cocunuts with water every night?
3. Does the rising sun sweeten the water? Or what does?
4. Seagulls saving the water for when the ocean runs dry?

I need to find out the recipe for menudo.

Vanessa's Vestido

Diego Dosent Care
1. Numbers turn into robots
2. Words turn into spiders and snakes
3. Moving fast is slow motion for him
4. Repeat from adults: Diego Doesnt Care
5. When teacher finds his interest he does great.
What will make Diego care? Is he a hero? He teaches the class something.

I could write a memoir about my relationship with my hair. Hmm I like.

Memoirs about medicinal side effects.

The water heals me. It brings me back to life it inspires me to do
more. Be more. Water wants me to be as useful and needed as she is.

Bertolino Bakes A Cake

Bertolino Baila

Zooky Bedazzled

Poem idea: Sex With Marshall Mathers

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Facebook Junkie

Okay, so I am embarking on a new challenge. And I am asking all my readers (declared readers and anonymous readers) to do the same, especially those of you who like I, am a committed Facebook Junkie. Yes, there I said it, I am a FB junkie. The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem right?

My challenge, for the next three days is this: Whenever you feel the urge to update your Facebook status, you do something else instead. For example, if you're a writer, you write down a great metaphorical sentence, the title to a book, a funny character name, anything simple. If you're an artist go add color to that painting you're working on, finish beading that necklace whatever, just do that thing INSTEAD of updating your FB status. Now, the tricky part, or maybe the fun part about it is that whatever you go and do has to take as little or as much time as it would for you to update your status. (But if it spurs to keep working, then hey who am I to stop you?) Now, if AFTER you've done that other thing you STILL feel the urge to post, then go right on ahead, but maybe, just maybe you won't anymore.

So, for the next three days I will blog daily to let you know the "little" things I've been able to accomplish by resisting/redirecting the urge to FaceBook.

So far I have done the following:

1. Read my father's revisions for my children's book
2. Come up with two titles for two more children's books I want to write.
3. Outlined another children's book I am going to work on this afternoon.

ALL this by simply redirecting my urge to facebook ONE time this morning after my walk. BUT, I must say that I did still FaceBook after completing these tasks, but that's okay because I accomplished more than I would have if I were not challenging myself.

So Please, readers of my blog, I urge to take the challenge with me. It's only for three days, see how it goes and don't be afraid to share with me and with others what you've been able to accomplish!

Be Still. Be Well.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The "Newness" of Being

Over the last three weeks I have experienced more, attempted more, lived more and laughed more than I have in the last three years combined. Perhaps it is because I have more time on my hands, perhaps it is because I am really giving time to the things I value in life as opposed to just saying I value them and not doing anything to show that.

Part of the simplification process that I started about a month ago asked me to list the five most important things in my life, and to only do things that fit into one of those categories. And about 90% of the time over the last month, I have done just that. (With the exception of house chores, but I don't think I could ever get rid of that part of my life...sigh...)

My priorities went like this:

1. Spend time with Lupe
2. Manage my health (eating right, working out, resting, resting, resting)
3. Spend time with family and friends.
4. Write (work on artistic projects)
5. Strengthen my spiritual life.

And, I think thus far I have done so many of those things that it really is improving my quality of life. I have seen wonderful plays with Lupe, friends and family, I have eaten at great healthy restaurants, I submitted a children's book and an article to be considered for publication, I was a part of the Word Around Poetry Tour, I try to meditate once a day, I took a freaking pole dancing class and I've helped raise money and awareness for the scleroderma foundation. I feel pretty damn good about myself. I only hope I can keep it up, once my bank account requires me to find a job.

At the end of the day we all have things we could improve about ourselves, but I have found, despite what many may inherently believe, that we should be proud of the things we were able to accomplish in a day and not harp on what we didn't or why we didn't. I'm all for trying to be a better person, but my existence cannot revolve around that, I believe that I have many great things to offer and if I just spent all my time worrying about what was wrong or not "perfect" then I wouldn't enjoy the good things I already have and can do well.

I am looking forward to a better year, to better days and hopefully to a healthier future. I am ready and willing to face the challenges that may arise in the process and I know, that no matter how tiring it may be, taking life one day at a time is all I can and want to do right now.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010


Propelling yourself under water is probably the closest any of us will ever get to flying. (Unless you're brave enough to throw yourself out of an airplane) There is a feeling of freedom, suspense and utter joy that I feel when I am swimming. It is the only time that my body feels "normal" and yet extra-ordinary at the same time. I feel no aches or pains, no limitations and no restrictions. My body can do almost anything under water. I jump, bounce, float, stretch and even run effortlessly. I feel, for those brief moments, like my old self and although it is a fleeting, bitter sweet moment, I try as often as I can to recreate them.

I swim at least three to four times a week. I would go every day but the meds caution me greatly to avoid the sun, even with sunscreen at SPF 80+ (which is like slathering on peanut butter). So, I go to the pool either very early or very late and I run, and I bounce, and I float and I swim and I feel free. Afterwards I feel accomplished and genuinely content and alive. My lungs open up, my pores breathe and my skin is soft and malleable. My body becomes the complete anti-thesis of what has defined it for the last three years. In those sacred moments that I share with the water I do not have Scleroderma, and Scleroderma doesn't have me. I am simply a body submerged in water, a mind at ease, a heart at home, and a soul at peace.

"The sweet ain't as sweet without the sour." -Vanilla Sky

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Poetry

I'm on a writing frenzy! Here's a new piece I wrote and will definitely be showcasing at next week's WAT tour, starting this coming Sunday at Bohemeos! 8pm!
(inspired by the work of Marlon Lizama- Invisible Americano)

Invisible Invalid

Jasminne Mendez

There are 3 words and one card

That will separate you from them

And one job

And no deductible

Means they have cancer/or they have AIDS/or they have lupus

But they can’t get treatment

Because no job

Means no benefits

And they become invisible.

And those three words that changed their lives

Don’t change the facts

That no doctor will see them

No hospital will treat them

And they can’t get medication

Unless they’re willing to pay out of pocket

For overpriced, name brand generic drugs with deadly side effects.

It’s the single black mother who woke

With a butterfly rash on her face one day in May

And suddenly needs a heart transplant.

You don’t see her because she hides behind her visor

As you remind her that she forgot your fries

And she patiently sighs and averts your eyes.

And that one job

With no benefits

Means she won’t get treatment

And yeah, she just might die.

And it’s the 45 year old non-smoker

Divorcee with a tumor in his lungs

That was let go of his power plant job last month

And can barely afford his rent working part-time

As a janitor cause every last dime has been spent

On herbs and tea that promise to heal and not steal his money.

And he coughs, as you step around his caution wet floor sign

And he holds his chest and prays it’s benign.

But you don’t see him

And doctors won’t see him

And one card and three words separate you from him.

And it’s somebody’s undocumented grandmother

You found convulsing on your newly mopped floor

Because the insulin she had to buy across the border wasn’t made right

And she’s slowly losing her sight

And now you only see her because you have to find a new house keeper

And she begs you not to call 911

Because she couldn’t afford the bill with what you pay her.

And no job

Means no benefits

And one card

And three words

Keep them invisible

And make them invalid

Because they can’t get treatment

And now, you have leukemia

And you have diabetes

And you have MS

But you can’t get treatment

Because you don’t have benefits

Because you have a disease that causes dis-ease

In a company that doesn’t want you healthy

If I keeps them from being wealthy.

And the blue, united, health care cross shield of texas

Doesn’t know you

And the doctor won’t see you

If your’re self pay

And the pharmacy can’t give you anything

To make the pain go away

And all you want is a job

Or an answer

Or a pill

Or an empathetic gesture of understanding

But that one card

And that one job

And those three words


The pre-existing condition

In a pre-existing system

That seeks

To keep you


Monday, July 5, 2010

What's Next

It's only day three of my "new" simpler "freer" life and I'm already feel better, more alive, happier. Although I know I have a long road ahead to actual "remission" I believe I am headed in the right direction. I'm eating cleaner (mainly fruits, veggies, lots of water etc.), I am committing to water aerobics and power walking and daily meditation (to hopefully find peace with it all). This is what July is for. They say it takes 21 days or 3 weeks for new habits to stick or old ones to it on. I look forward to seeing where I am in August and what I will be looking forward to then.

For those who are curious and want to know: Yes, I will be looking for a part-time job. What that may look like, I'm not sure but my mind and body need a break so I promise you it won't be anything physically taxing or highly demanding of my intellect. ( I want to leave my brain for my writing and creative projects) Yes, I will still have health insurance thanks to my wonderful husband who is sacrificing a great deal to allow me to take this time off. No, I will not start taking pictures of utter randomness and posting it on facebook just because I have extra free time. BUT I may be blogging more often. :)

So, with all that said and beginning to get done I am excited about all the possibilities and options that lie ahead. Although scary at times, I am trying to learn to live in the moment and be thankful for all the small victories (like eating fruits today, or cleaning out closets) and patient with myself when small failures threaten to become overwhelming.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Thoughts on a Thursday

I should be getting ready for work, but instead I'm blogging. I know you can tell where my priorities lie. I am so exhausted. But that is not new, however I do feel like once this week is over I am going to crash and burn for a few days, between packing my room, field trips, projects, crazy kids, confused coworkers, rain, the Alley theatre, a depleting savings account and the fear of being unemployed for longer than a few months I am completely spent.

My quick thursday morning thoughts for today include the following:

1. Why do I feel so sad?

2. Just because you're good at something does that mean you have to do it?

3. Is it wrong of me to be the complete opposite of the rest of the world and NOT want to make money out of one of my hobbies? (I don't want the thing I love to be my work)

4. I expected life to be getting better, that doesn't really seem to be happening

5. Simplifying requires a lot more work than just throwing things away....

6. I wish I could be more poetic this morning, but alas, it is time to go to work...again...

Goodbye, God bless