I wanna grow with you

It’s officially New Year’s Eve Fuck I’m in February and I haven’t updated this blog in well over a year (Mea Culpa). A lot has occurred so here are some highlights:

  • I curated my second fortune cookie reading and had an interactive installation at The Lit Exhibit. I am so proud of all my readers, they were amazing. Five posters that asked where you love to read, what are your favorite books, when do you love to read, what do you seek in a book, how do you want to feel after reading. I regret not taking them home and creating a zine out of the results.
  • got published in a few zines and on Breadcrumbs magazine
  • took driving lessons after years of not driving (though too nervous to take the final one where I have to go on the highway)
  • went to Washington DC for the second Asian American Literature Festival
  • tabled for The Asian American Literary Review & GABRIELA New York at NYC Feminist Zine Festival and other events (including Punk Island, a free punk music festival)
  • Got interviewed for the documentary short film “Born to Stay Alive” which talks about suicide, and you can see the teaser trailer here.
  • And interviewed for a podcast called “Artist Gripes” which features creatives talking in depth about art and stereotypes, my episode is “The Dangerous Myths of Creativity’s Relationship to Mental Illness
  • Saw amazing cartoonists and icons Lynda Barry & Chris Ware live and got their books
  • Met queer Filipina cartoonist Trinidad Escobar at Comic Arts Brooklyn and she was so lovely. She even gifted me two comics!
  • Finally visited mmuseumm in NYC, which shows an array of seemingly ordinary objects and shares their significance. I saw homemade gas masks from international protests, ISIS currency, receipts from last meals of death row inmates, and counterfeit goods from Venezuela, among other displays. Fascinating
  • Saw Charlyne Yi perform live with Casey Trela. My idol. She’s hilarious, brilliant, and so endearing. We talked a bit and she autographed her latest poetry book “You Can’t Kill Me Twice (so please treat me right)” which is utterly & tragically wonderful.
  • Volunteered for the Kundiman Benefit Gala which was a lovely time. They’re a literary nonprofit that fosters and supports Asian American writers and I was their Programs Intern. It was nice reuniting with the staff and Joe.

I think that covers most of it. Right now I’m grieving the death of my Lola Priming. She did live to 102 and went peacefully, surrounded by me and other loved ones as we prayed the rosary over her. She raised me and my siblings and it’s strange to know she’s gone.

But I do know she wanted me to live a happy and secure life. She told me to go into nursing and I told her I would if I don’t find a job this year. I think I’ll keep my promise. (I better, she’ll haunt me lol) But I’m going to push myself to find work that aligns with my talents and passion first. I know she’s worried about me, along with other family members, so I’m gonna do my best to show her I’ll be safe and sound as she watches over me from Heaven.

I’m actually writing about her in my sketchbook project right now. I’m currently at a cafe called Coffee House with my friend, Chris. The sketchbook’s theme is Legacy and it’s meant to be read by my future children, if I ever have any. I wasn’t able to finish and submit it on time but I’m okay with it not going on tour.

I wanna first scan it and then transcribe it on here. I’m worried that it’s not legible and that the sketchbook won’t be available once my child(ren) can read it. The good news is that the Brooklyn Art Library, which houses The Sketchbook Project (50k+ sketchbooks from around the world which anyone can submit to), is becoming a non-profit, meaning it’ll have a much better chance to be sustainable for years to come. You can read the founder’s letter here about this new development. And the library is free to browse still! But just in case, I’m gonna share the pages here for safe-keeping.

Lol I still need to finish transcribing my other sketchbook from like five years ago. Here’s what I have so far. I hope I finally finish it this year. I need to rebind it as well since it’s falling apart. And actually mail it in. Yikes.

I want to document my growth as an individual and writer on this WordPress. And develop further as an artist as well. I really want to push myself in terms of what I create. And embrace the label “artist” a lot more. It still feels weird to call myself one, even though other folks have told me I am. So hopefully this will be a space of exploration and expansion.

I submitted a playlist and creative proposal for a newsletter recently. But it was late, so I’m not sure if they’d still consider it. I kinda want them to reject it so I can just post it here. While I have no doubt that their guidance would make it strong and interesting, I want to really take my time with it and experiment.

I think I’ll start it. Shoot a few photos and draft up some subtitles. If it’s inspiring me now, why wait for approval? I want to become someone who is less dependent on acceptance and just paves the path forward regardless of who says “Yes.” There’s no real reason why I should wait, it’s my proposal and I believe a good and fun endeavor.

It’s definitely not what I’m used to. More visual, more of an atmosphere than outright stating. But it excites me and I think I have the creativity and talent to hit it out of the park. Or at least make a solid attempt hehe.

I think I’ll wait three months before I post it though, which is enough time for them to tell me their answer and a reasonable length where I can assume they have already rejected it. But before I do, I will send them an email requesting a status update. I wanna be more assertive and a better advocate for myself and my works. I wanna try pitching more. And I’d like to try my hand at curating art. There’s a cool call for a digital curatorial residency from Syla Studio, but it’s due February 23rd. I’d like to submit but my concept right now is a bit half-baked. I think it aligns with their values but I’ll develop it further before I send it anywhere. One day.

At some point this year, I’d like to purchase a URL. Really build a website. Update my publications list and—Good Lord I just looked at all my pages and every single one of them needs an overhaul. Merde. Plus I think I’ll add another page where it shows upcoming readings which Tracy told me to do years and years ago lol.

Actually I’ll be reading next Wednesday, February 26th, 8-10 PM at SISTERS Bklyn for Breadcrumbs’ 5th anniversary reading. It’s a neat online literary publication where you must submit work that was inspired by a previous piece on the site. Such a fun rabbit hole! Here’s the main website. And you can read my flash fiction entry #550 right over here. I’m pretty proud of it and I consider it queer. My writing seems to explore my sexuality more than I do in real life haha ugh.

I’m really excited since I never read for a literary magazine before. And Bob Raymonda, the founder, wrote this especially warm reflection on his site. I’m pumped to meet him, he seems great. #550 was one of my most favorite things I wrote last year and I’m so glad it has a home.

I forgot how link heavy I get with these blogs, but I love the idea of being the reason why someone found their new favorite thing hehe.

I hope I come back here to blog again soon. I’m feeling a sense of loss with the knowledge that I didn’t blog at all in 2019. While I did update my Facebook a lot last year, I think it would be helpful and significant to have a more designated place for my writings and shares. It’s definitely easier to link here and a better way to track things too. I think I have an unhealthy attachment to FB and it’d be good to diverge from it at least a little.

Whatever you’re up to, I hope you succeed. This year I want to focus on submitting, blogging, and creating more. Be braver with my ideas and with people. It struck me how insecure I am, despite all I’ve done and overcome in this singular life. On paper I’ve done so much to be proud of, grew a fuckton from voted most quiet in eighth grade to proclaiming my psychoses and dark secrets onstage in front of close friends, family, and strangers ages later. Yet I know I will feel that familiar anxiety right after clicking “Publish”, worrying if my writing was crappy and incoherent.

No matter how often I write in any medium, despite all the compliments I receive, after so many years, I STILL get wrecked with self-doubt and fears of mediocrity.

But remembering this quote comforts me:

If you’re not grappling with self-doubt half the time, you’ve probably lost perspective. The confident ones give us the worst and most lifeless bullshit.

— Adam Gnade, The Do-It-Yourself Guide to Fighting the Big Motherfuckin’ Sad

Adam Gnade is a brilliant writer. The above guide helped me through my depression. I think it’s time for a reread. I have his other works but have yet to dive in, I should fix that.

One last share: here’s an instagram post which shows me abandoning that DIY Guide at a Jersey outlet. I originally intended to give it to a crush I met at an art gallery, who was the first person I confided to outside of my life about my mental illness and the monologue on it which I was gonna perform there. Plus I told him about The Asian American Literary Review’s Open in Emergency: A Special Issue on Asian American Mental Health that I was promoting. (A reprint pre-order link will be available mid-March and I’ll be sure to post it on my blog once it’s live) He was very sweet and gracious and I hope I remember his words forever, even though we didn’t become friends.

But that’s okay, his reassurance and warm light is more than enough. I’m learning how to let go of people when I used to hold onto their figments for so long. Just acknowledge their appreciated presence and move on.

I wonder if I’m somehow held onto right now, by someone who is no longer in my life. I hope this version of me isn’t hurtful. I know I’ve held grudges against people that no longer exist.

I think I still do.

eileen

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