Tag: humanity

A Spiritual Maturity & Grandeur

I was standing in front of an arrangement of roses with my uncle. We’d been in the dining room when I asked him if he had a simple piece of advice for me to find inner peace. When we stood in front of these flowers, he started telling me something important about the reason flowers need watering. But I did not let him finish his train of thought because I started crying.

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To give you some context, I hadn’t seen my uncle in more than five years (since the last time I visited Mexico. I was a teenager then.). In his interactions with me and our family, his presence emitted, what I’ll call, a spiritual grandeur. In the words of Ada Limon, “I env[ied], I env[ied] that.” I wanted his spiritual grandeur, so I braved myself and asked him for spiritual advice.

A Curiosity: When Our Paths Cross

I’ve been more and more curious about other people’s lives. Of what it means to be a school cook, a flight attendant, a jewelry store salesperson. How does the world look through their eyes?

Ive also been reading too much academic writing, and even though I’m learning (l love learning), there’s nothing beautiful to this type of writing (I’m sure that there are exceptions to this). When I think about my reading preferences, the reason why I am an avid reader is because I was able to make a home out of the books I read.

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To make a home you need emotions, but after I read a chapter from an academic textbook, I feel like the authors only showed up to hand me the materials for me to build a home and to leave me to my own devices.

Going back to this curiosity of wanting to experience life through someone else’s point of view makes me think of my love of reading.  This might be the reason why I love reading memoirs and diaries. I love how writers can share the grandest truths through the simplest and sometimes, too, the humblest experiences. When taking out the trash, an uneventful Tuesday, or a stranger become the foundations of an epiphany.

Dear Writer with Frustration, Inspiration, & Passion

Dear writer,

I’m with you. Like you I’m waiting for my breakthrough.

Out of frustration and out of inspiration I write here.

First, because even when literary journals or magazines have rejected my works, I refuse to believe that my writing isn’t worth publishing. Second, because Etty Hillesum, a not-so-well-known writer died too young and with her died her dream of becoming an established author. (Eight of her diaries were published in one book, but that doesn’t mean that’s all the writing she had to offer the world.)

I can’t let others write my story. Not anymore. To be honest, I don’t even know that my story is being told.

It has become too dangerous to wait until literary journals or magazines give my work approval. I can assure you that my story like your story is the story someone else is looking for right at this moment.

Lately, I’ve been writing with a combination of more urgency, more purpose, and more transparency.

On the “Skull-Sized Kingdom” and Life Purpose

I’ve been thinking too much about the purpose of my life. Too many days in the past I’ve found life meaningless, so I have searched for answers in books like I usually do.

A long time ago, I took a creative writing workshop at my local community college, and one of my professor’s recommended reads was David Foster Wallace’s “This is Water” address. (I read it again, since I first read it five-ish years ago.) Wallace says that learning how to think, “means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.”

He also talks about the “boredom, routine, and petty frustration” that come from day-to-day adulthood. I thought of concrete examples of this in my life such as the boredom that can surface when teaching the same lesson to my fourth class of the day or how about my sometimes petty frustration with traffic.

You’d think that I’d have life figured out by now.

To give you an idea of the extent of the meaninglessness I can sometimes find in life, this June, I found myself looking for books about life purpose despite having a degree and a job. You’d think that I’d have life figured out by now.

Tio Beto

Luis Alberto Urrea
Luis Alberto Urrea

I have a new favorite author, and I am absolutely grateful for The New York Times, Viet Thanh Nguyen’s recent book review of The House of Broken Angels, and of course one of my five free “ARTICLES REMAINING” left. As I read Nguyen’s book review, I found myself thinking I’ve never read this type of book which has character names like Big Angel, Mama America, and Minnie. The review spoke to my Mexican-American identity, so I bought the book that same day, and I’m reading it at a slow place—not because I don’t like it, but because I love to savor my books, especially the good ones (and I also probably have a short attention span).

After I read Junot Diaz’s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, I thought it’d be hard to find an author that could ever be as cool or funny as him, and I was wrong. I have found an author which I think is just as cool as Diaz, and his name is Luis Alberto Urrea.