California Love

As I sit around a discounted hotel room in Romulus, Michigan, waiting for a storm in New York to abate so that I could fly in, pick up some stuff and head back home to Ecuador, it’s hard to believe that one of the best months of my life has just passed by. My travels in the East Bay for the VONA/Voices travel writing workshop for writers of color were blessed by new friends, old ones, sunshine, Pride, solidarity and love. I wanna say thanks to all the folks who made it possible.

First of all, to Faith Adiele for educating and inspiring the shit outta me, for taking me to a Russian bathhouse when I really needed some healing, for having my back/preserving the sancitity of the workshop experience from day one. To Djoser Imhotep (and Justin), Austin Pritzkat (and Carlos), Mish, Dreu Oko & the Chestnut house for being gracious-as-fuck hosts. To Jake Salt & Kelly for skipping the march and spending Pride Sunday chillin in a kiddie pool with sangria, watermelon, weed and barbeque on the sunniest day of my stay.

To Giovannié Núñez-Dúeñas for smoking me out pretty much every day, to Alan ‘FthemPapers’ for spinning me across the dance floor, rings flying everywhere, while we brought the house down with our salsa dancing at VONA’s quinceñera party (afterward, Junot Díaz gave me two thumbs up and a big smile; who does that?) and to the Ecuadorian crew for representing: Fernanda Snellings, Sonia Guiñansaca, Julie Quiroz and Emilia Fiallo. Mad love to my VONA travel sisters Anu Taranath, Adwoa Gyimah-Brempong, Adriana Páramo, Marie-Francoise Theodore, Lizzetta, Monique Sanchez and the Doctor, Sriram Shamasunder and especially to my affinity allies Celeste Chan and Cristina Golondrina Rose for being Everything. Finally, I wanna thank Kira Allen for them hugs. Really.

Not only was the VONA/Voices workshop a life-changing experience, but one I got to share with lots of beautiful folks in a truly gorgeous setting. I have my work cut out for me. [Hover cursor over photos for captions; click to enlarge.]

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9 thoughts on “California Love”

  1. Sounds like you had an incredible experience. What was the best piece of advice you got at VONA?

    1. I’m thinking about writing a whole nother piece about that. Some gems from my workshop include, “Don’t pull a metaphor out of your ass,” and “If you’re going to play strip poker, be prepared to take your panties off,” (about being a forthcoming narrator).

      More importantly the whole experience taught me not to be so afraid, to trust myself more; it gave me the strength to write down the hard things. I highly recommend applying next year!

      1. Def, I will be applying next year as well. Right now I’m suffering a VONA hangover and need to gather my thoughts to write a piece that can do the experience some justice.

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