Interests:Poetry, theatre, film, yoga Expertise: Playwriting American Triage : Marin Theatre Company 2006 commission; 2008 MTC workshop production; 2011 East L.A. Rep staged reading.
Braided Sorrow : 2005 Bay Area Playwrights Festival; 2006 Chicano/Latino Literary Prize in Drama; September 2008, world premiere, El Centro Su Teatro, Denver, CO; 2009 Pen Center USA Literary Award for Drama.
Heart Shaped Nebula: 2011 Playwrights Foundation Resident Playwrights Showcase staged reading; 2012 O'Neill National Playwrights Conference Semi-Finalist.
Woman on Fire 2007 full-length commission by the Latino Playwrights Initiative; 2007 Bay Area Playwrights Festival BASH; 2008 Playwrights Foundation’s Rough reading series; 2012 Teatro Luna’s Lunadas reading series.
As I've said recently, I only disappear on the blog when traveling. That is, unless my back is acting up. And lo and behold for a second month in a row my back has been giving me grief, making me miss work and be overall useless when it comes to sitting down for long periods of time.
When it was as its worst (last Saturday) and I was unable to turn over without a sharp pain shooting through me, I was frustrated--naturally. Bad days like that scare me. I'm 36. I don't want to be barely walking around like como un viejito.
Good news is, the back is getting better. Slowly. And it wasn't as bad as say last month's bout of back pain. And my acupuncturist and I are working to improve my situation. That is to say we think we've pinpointed what's going on and are taking preventative measures.
Now I've been dealing with my back for a while. Since I was in high school. No wait, Jr. High. That was the initial injury. Then after college I threw my back out. Then a few years ago I strained it again.
So half a life time and multiple bouts of injury and pain. Nerve pain, muscle pain, sometimes just one, sometimes both together.
How bad is it? Well, on the really bad days it's terrible. Otherwise it's just annoying. But that annoying might be excruciating for someone else. I have no idea. I feel like my idea of lower back pain and my pain threshold have moved quite a bit off the normal person's experience. Like right now, I'm uncomfortable. I'd rather be lying down. But I'm sitting and typing. Partly because I have to. Would someone else sit through this though?
The first time I threw out my back I could barely walk. Though I did manage to drive myself to the doctor and walk into and out of his office. That's when I learned how many Motrin you can safely take. Speaking of which, I haven't taken any pain medication in days, now that I think of it. I kinda of forget about pain meds, unless the pain is truly bad.
Like I said. I think my concept of pain is a bit different from people who've never had to quickly put their back against a wall when they feel a sneeze coming on. Why do I do that? Because of the pain that happens when I don't. That kind of pain I do dread.
But back to writing.
I'm behind. Obviously. And I may have to devise a way to write while lying down otherwise nothing will get done. But do not fear. It will get done. I mean, if Frida Kahlo can live with her decades of pain and still paint, then I can find a way to write.
I will say this, lately the pain has me thinking. Thinking about my future. Lying on the floor of my office I came to a decision, one I'll discuss here. But later. Later when the pain has subsided.
Lots going on this holiday weekend. I will be busy and hopefully productive.
Here's what's going on:
Tonight I'm going to see Krispy Kritters in the Scarlett Night by my friend and fellow playwright Andres Saito (I call him Andres because that's how I met him and per Andres half his family calls him Andrew and the other half calls him Andres). I'm going with Marilet. We're grabbing dinner, a drink and then the show. It's opening night, whoo! So there will likely be a post show party.
Seriously, DivaFest, put this on a tote, a t-shirt, anything--I need swag with this image!
Saturday I'll be at DivaFest. I'm participating in a panel on gender parity in theatre. It's part of an afternoon symposium on gender parity in the field. I'll end the evening seeing The Helen Project by friends Amy Clare Tasker and Meg Cohen.
Sunday and Money will be devoted to me and writing. Whoo! I am looking forward to it. I plan to do rewrites, writing exercises, new writing--all of it.
It's been super sunny and warm here in the Bay Area. I spent all last weekend running around and loving the weather.
Friday my good friend Angel came into town. She and I both arrived in the Bay Area at the same time, both moving from Texas to come out for grad school. We both only knew one other person--Dean. And Dean had a life of his own so he introduced us to one another.
Angel and I spent our grad school years running around SF trying to see and do whatever we could on our limited budgets. We once volunteered at a crab festival (which was hectic and poorly organized) so that we could get in free. We once found $20 on the ground near a bus stop and promptly took ourselves to dinner. We once couldn't escape Halloween in the Castro and I fell down when I tripped because earthquakes can lead to broken up sidewalks. Angel looked down at me and asked in a lackluster tone that cracked us both up, "Are you alright?" We once got a sugar high at Happy Donuts and cracked up at the drawing of a pot leaf accompanied by "I love pot" that someone wrote on the wall there. We immediately crank called Dean. We spent many a Thursday night dancing to 80s music at the Cat Club. It was a fun and pretty carefree time for both of us, before graduation and the return to the 9 to 5 grind.
Some guy drew this picture of us and then sold it to us. I framed it.
Angel now lives in Florida, but that didn't stop her from flying out to celebrate her birthday. So on Friday I took a half day off from work and we had lunch followed by tea above Yerba Buena. It was great. A little one-on-one time before her Saturday birthday party.
I went grocery shopping first thing in the morning because I wanted to catch an early afternoon CalTrain to Redwood City for Angel's party. I found what I thought was a small watermelon (turns out it yielded quite a bit) to make tequila-soaked watermelon slices.
It was sunny and warm on the peninsula. Me and my watermelon arrived around 3pm and I didn't catch a train back until 9:41pm (CalTrain is not only precise but on time--nice!).
The party was at the home of Angel's brother who moved out to the Bay Area right after Angel and I graduated. There was food, drink, watermelon and lots of sunshine.
It was a good day. I got home close to 11pm or so. So it was a long day.
Sunday I got up early to take a phone call. I sit on my alma mater's Alumni Council and was chatting with another alum because I unfortunately was going to miss the afternoon call the council had scheduled.
After my chat I started getting ready because I had a ticket to see the final performance of The Dead Girl by Ann Brebner. Both Ann and I were in AlterLab last year together when she wrote The Dead Girl. I had meant to go up sooner but I had been sick during the first two weeks of the run. So there I was headed to the North Bay worried that somehow the Bay to Breakers run was going wreak havoc on my ability to take public transit.
But first I headed to the book store. You see, for Angel's birthday I had bought her Let's Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson aka The Bloggess. And after watching this YouTube clip I decided I wanted my own copy.
I laughed so hard!
So my plan was to swing by Green Apple Books on my way to the bus stop to buy the book only on my way to Green Apple I realized the shirt I was wearing was too heavy. I was hot. It was hot out. I was sweating. And my flipflops were kinda not good for all the walking I needed to do today. Plus I could so see myself getting sunburn on my feet and that happened once when I was in high school and isn't terribly fun.
Change of plans. I bought the book and immediately returned home to change my shirt and shoes and then hoofed it to the bus stop.
Now, usually I'm terrible at timing this trip. I realize that I won't make it to the Golden Gate Bride in time to catch the bus to San Rafael and in a panic call a cab. Well, Sunday I was on top of it. I early. If I was lucky I might catch the 1:19pm bus and get to San Rafael a full hour before I needed to be there. Then I'd be able to read the book I had just bought. And being at the bus stop a good hour before I normally would be there was my way of compensating for the Bay to Breakers Run which I figured might affect how the buses were running.
So there I am waiting for the 28 (the bus that takes me to the Golden Gate Bridge where I catch the Golden Gate Transit bus to San Rafael) at 1pm with the 28 about 17 minutes away. So, I figured I wouldn't make that 1:19 bus. Oh well, I'll take the 2:19 and still arrive in time for the show.
The 28 arrived in 17 minutes and promptly took us to the bridge. I think the bus arrived early because we arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge and it was close to 1:20 and I thought well, sometimes the buses are a few minutes late I might get lucky and catch that 1:19pm bus after all. When we got the bridge I ran to my second bus stop and picked up a pamphlet for the bus schedules. Interestingly enough the pamphlet said my bus would arrive at 1:26pm! So much for the internet.
I even had time to snap a quick picture. Gorgeous! I love this city.
Lo and behold an express did arrive close to 1:30 and I hopped right on it.
I got to San Rafael a good hour before the show so I headed to Starbucks to read my book, but while I was there I ran into Richard. Richard is AlterTheater's Literary Manager. I hadn't seen him for a while so over iced coffees we caught up and talked about theatre.
Before we knew it, it was almost 3pm so we headed over to see Ann's play. It was great to see Ann's work realized, especially since I've heard early drafts of it and even once gave her a writing exercise for a monologue that ended up in the play. I'm not a reviewer, but you can read what this one said about the play (spoiler alert: he liked it).
After the show Richard and I were invited to have dinner with the cast so we went for drinks why the set was struck. Richard introduced me to the Midori Sour and we continued our conversation about all things theatre.
Neither of us could stay long after dinner as we both had respective buses to catch. We talked about plays we'd send to one another and parted ways at the transit center.
I jumped on a bus that took me through Sausalito before heading over the bridge. Let me just say, there's a reason why people pay top dollar to live there. The water was lovely in the rays of the setting sun. With the fog beginning to make its way in I preferred the ocean side to the view of the city.
I transferred to the 28 and got home just at the sun was dipping below the horizon. A long, lovely day.
Once again inspiration struck while I was doing my hair. You may laugh, but I find it's during those daily routines that we do...well...daily, that our minds have the opportunity to wander. My thoughts tend to wander like that when I'm washing dishes, washing my hair or blowing drying my hair. All three take up time and all three don't require a lot of brain power to accomplish the task at hand.
Lately though, my thoughts haven't wandered to writing. I've been preoccupied thinking about my day job. But this morning, I found myself thinking about Wolf at the Door. I was thinking about its theatricality and found myself thinking about sound.
My first play, Braided Sorrow, had a sound motif that ran through the entire play. Water. Water dripping, coursing, surging, crashing. The sound was connected to the character La Llorona--the mother from Latino mythology who drowned her children. And while I really liked using sound to shape moments in the narrative, I haven't really used it in the same way since Braided Sorrow.
Now Wolf at the Door has some sound already in the script, but it's not used in the same way. So I began thinking of trying to use the wolf howls in a more theatrical way and figured out a possible new opening to the play. This new opening potentially solves one of the issues that arose during the last read through, that is, it was unclear how Septimo had hurt Isadora and how her injury caused her to go into labor.
So here's what I'm thinking for the opening scene:
In the dark the sound of a lone wolf howl. Other wolf howls join in building into a cacophony of sound. The howling dissolves into the sound of a single wolf growling and snapping. The sound lowers as a spotlight comes up on ISADORA. Very pregnant, she wears a nightgown and has a faded black eye. She holds up her hands as if to calm an unseen person.
ISADORA: (desperate) Wait.
The disembodied voice of SEPTIMO shouts "Move!" ISADORA is hurled, belly first, into the wall. Lights up as she sinks to the floor clutching her belly. She inhales sharply, obviously in serious pain.
I can't wait to get back into my rewrites. Draft 2 here I come!