Sunday, March 27, 2011


I take tango lessons with Jak Karakoa at Pearl Studios in Manhattan. One of the best teachers to have!


I didn't think that writing a book would be easy, but I didn't think that it would be this hard either - for me, at least. For some people, they can complete a novel within six months. (Like Stephen King) But aside from the greats, everyone has their own style and way of creating art. Yes, writing a book is definitely ART.
Today I have gone all the way back to rewriting my first chapter. (So far I have about ten chapters completed) And while I've gone back, I realized that rewriting is the BEST part because you get to really have fun with your characters. You see, the first stage of writing is having the idea in your head and convincing yourself that even though you've never written a book before, you're going to do it! Then the second thing, is actually writing. But as we all know, writers tend to write alot because we can't help it. Although this is a good thing, we have to remember that audiences get bored quickly, so we have to make sure to cut out all the extra fat. This means that we have to stick to the main points and not be too descriptive because it's more about the juice in the story than it is about the background. We don't need to know how long someone was walking in the woods for - what kinds of trees they passed and animals they saw. A few details are perfect because the reader wants to feel like they are IN the story, but if we focus too much on all that description, the reader will lose interest because they just want to know - what happens next!

So it's all about enhancing drama; and making your characters "rememberable" and "unique". Get to the punch line. Write the most important things down and then move on. Look at me... Writing an almost "self-help" manual on how to write your first novel. Lol Well, I've read enough of those books from "The Complete Idiot's Guide To Writing Your First Novel" to "Writing Your First Novel For Dummies." And let me tell you, there's nothing better than simplicity.

Another great piece of advice to give, if I may, is that I have a writing coach. Actually, a few writing coaches. 3 to be exact. And I truly believe that having writing coaches are the best thing to invest your time, money and energy into when you're serious about a writing project. In fact, this is the real reason that I'm working on my first chapter again. I received great feedback from one of my writing coaches who gave me tips on how to tighten up the first chapter which I do believe, is the most important part of the story because that's what's going to hook your readers in. So yes, have as many extra eyes read your work as possible before you send it off to print. Because once it's printed, you can't change it. And if you're anything like me, then you're a perfectionist! Wanting to put your best foot out there even if it's your first time around. I mean, as long as something has my name on it, I want it to be the best that I could give at that time.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

AN OPEN MIC celebrating Latin & Caribbean Cultures

During the first week of March, a friend of mine invited me to an open mic event called CAPICU held in Brooklyn's Notice Lounge which is organized by Latin Activists. It was my first time there, and while I was experiencing a break up, I made the most of my time - It indeed lifted my spirits. Without being prepared to perform, I decided to freestyle whatever I felt in my heart at the moment. So when they called my name up to the stage, I shut my eyes and began singing silky adlibs until a few words just slipped out of my vocal chords.
Realizing that most artists performed pieces that remained within the caribbean theme of our culture, ancestors, and community issues, I veered off into a different direction by singing about my formless spirit inside. I got a few whistles and great reactions from the crowd, however, they were light and very few. In fact, I knew as I was expressing these lyrics that came from up above, everyone in the room was paying attention to every detail, every word, and every emotion as I delivered it soulfully. When I finished, I received loud claps, and as the host came up to grab the mic from my hands, she lovingly joked, "I felt like I was back in church for a second."

Each and every person who went up to share a piece was amazing! (My honest opinion.) Most of them were spoken word artists, some were poets, but I believe I may have been the only singer that night. Every piece honored our history, and some exposed the negative stereotypes of Latin culture as well as the positives. In any case, it felt really good to be a part of such an amazing show that highlighted people who want their voices to be heard in such a talented, dramatic and creative fashion. I look forward to appearing there again... Hopefully next time, I'll stick to the theme which celebrates my fabulous, cultural roots.

Monday, March 21, 2011


"Do not go to a place where you are tolerated, go to a place where you are CELEBRATED."

I heard someone say that quote once and although I can't remember who said it, I do remember that it came from a preacher or a motivational speaker. In any case... I never forgot that quote. Never.

What it made me realize is that sometimes we go places or do certain things that we're not really passionate or excited about. Why is that? (And I'm not talking about throwing out the garbage or washing the dishes) Lol But why do we go to certain places when we know deep down inside that we really should be somewhere else? Do we go out of obligation, or because we've been conditioned to believing that this is the way it is?

I finally decided to be the captain of my ship, the driver of my future, the boss of my own life. And in doing so, I came up with this:

Sometimes we don't do well in a certain place because we are supposed to move to another state or even another country. Think of it this way. If you're fishing in a lake but there are hardly any fish to catch, maybe you need to go to another lake where there are plenty more. In other words, don't stay stuck in an environment hoping for things to change. Sometimes, the solution is for you to go somewhere else where there is more opportunity for growth. (And that can be as simple as changing jobs or moving into a new neighborhood; you don't necessarily have to move out of the state) If you are experiencing any type of financial drought or loss of energy, it may be because God is trying to tell you something. When you are in the "place" where you belong, all kinds of blessings will occur. So don't stay somewhere that is not benefitting you abundantly and triumphantly. Leave that place and travel to a new land where you will blossom tremendously. Where the people, places and things will not only accept you, but will love you and add to your spiritual expansion.

By the way, keep this in mind: Polar Bears wouldn't survive in Puerto Rico any more than Alligators would survive in the North Pole. Therefore, if animals instinctively know that they thrive in certain environments, then humans should know that too. But humans are just a little more complex than animals are, given our brain to weigh out options and exercise our free will, and so it's not enough to just be where we are. We have to think, analyze, and "decide" upon where we will walk towards.

In a nutshell, ladies and gentlemen, don't settle with just a satisfactory life. Of course you should count your blessings because it can always be worst. But the key is to APPRECIATE what you do have, and then BUILD upon growing more. I mean, the world is always spinning, time is always ticking, and things are always changing. The question is, do you want to go where you are celebrated so that you can grow with God's plan for your life, or do you want to go where you are only tolerated and just watch life pass you by?