Upon the fifth hour of the third day of the week, I received a phone call. My soul sister moved to Melbourne and with the time difference, the hours between 4-6 AM seem to be the best hours for us to connect (depending on where I am, of course). “You seem to have found your voice.” She said, in regards to some snippets of writing I shared on social media. “What exactly did you do to get there?” She asked.
I wrote my first poem in second grade, while living in Puerto Rico. The poem was for show-and-tell in English class. If my memory serves me correctly, it had something to do with a rag doll. After receiving my grade, I frantically ran to my grandmother’s house and broke down into tears. “I only got a 94. It wasn’t good enough!” My tendencies towards perfectionism made themselves known to me from a very early stage. My grandmother tried to remind me that life wasn’t about perfection; That an A- was a perfectly acceptable grade. I resisted. Due to getting a grade that was slightly less than perfect, I remember committing to honing the craft until it was “perfect.” A few days later, after opening my report card and seeing straight A’s, I left the pact unfulfilled.
Yet the desire to create with materials of the linguistic-verbal persuasion has never left me. As a child, I consumed books at the speed of my breath into young adulthood. As I continued to develop, friends began to ask me to edit their works: creative pieces, academic papers, resumes. Having the opportunity to become exposed to different voices allowed me an incredible amount of contrast that eventually helped me find my own. Although my writing and storytelling abilities were largely born out of curiosity and an insatiable hunger to explore my inner world, it would be silly to deny how my external surroundings and environment played and continues to play a role in all that I create. As Alain de Botton shared in The Architecture of Happiness, “We depend on our surroundings obliquely to embody the moods and ideas we respect and then to remind us of them.”
In my ‘About’ page on this site, I have a phrase that reads Movement is my muse. It is my intention to use this small slice of the cyber-world to share the stories inspired by travels. Travel is a form of movement. There’s this beautiful quote by Marianna Jamadi that says, “Travel is a practice and has become my sacred meditation. Is there an element of escapism woven into the thread? A romanticized notion of getting on a plane? Sure. But it’s not about avoidance, if anything it’s exploration or confrontation or coming to terms with people, places, and most difficult times yourself. Movement in our lives is good, we need to oil our joints, take care of our bodies and our minds and more importantly, each other. Travel is movement. There is no escaping that.” As soon as I step foot in an airport I experience an inexplicable sense of purpose possess my body. I am electrified and everything that I consume – images, snippets of conversations, interactions with others bodies – infuses me with an itch to write, to tell, to create. Often times, sentences come to me as I’m moving through hallways, as I’m making my way to a hotel room, as I’m driving down unfamiliar highways, and navigating supermarkets I’ve never explored. Movement in the context of novelty is the animus for everything that I produce.
“Where the cauldron of Feminine Genius creates possibility, the train of Masculine Genius makes it manifest. Where Feminine Genius provides the why, Masculine Genius provides the how. Where Feminine Genius hungers for more, Masculine Genius fulfills the order. When you have an inspired desire to create something, that is your Feminine Genius at play. When you are ass kicking, name taking, and making it happen, that’s your Masculine Genius. When your Masculine Genius sets goals, gets productive, and handles deadlines – and when it does so in faithful service to your deepest desires – I like to say that it is a faithful servant to your Feminine Genius.” Feminine Genius, LiYana Silver
Storytelling runs in my blood. Soy cuentista. I think we’re all storytellers, we just have different mediums of expression. My preferred mode is the word. As Dumbledore said in the Deathly Hallows, “Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” Yet because I’m so sensual by nature, translating my stories into words is often a challenge, a welcomed one. Stories usually come to me via the senses: sight, hearing, touch, smell, taste. It is often the case that I have a story gestating and can’t seem to give birth to it – to put words to the senses, to get it down on ink. In those moments, movement serves as that intermediary that allows the birthing to take place. The thread that allows me to use words to weave my sensual experiences together. While I can’t stand running on a treadmill, I love to run outdoors – the sound of the birds, the smell of the lake, the change of incline, the wind…it helps to bring the story alive. Back in 2014, running a half marathon literally saved my life and awakened my inner storyteller. Since then I’ve come to make a ritual of it, a sacred practice. My magic number of running miles is 3.1. Or a really intense Bikram Yoga class. Or a session of high-intensity internal training. Or a kick-boxing class. That seems to always do it. And many times along the way I get to capture photos like these…you know, to catch my breath.
Today, I’ve traded the desire to perfect the craft for honing, sharpening, and polishing with the intent of clear expression. There are times that when communicating with others, I hit walls and feel deeply misunderstood. Words are powerful, but limiting vehicles of delivery – they are subjective, open to interpretation. When faced with those obstacles, I begin to explore both my inner and outer world in an attempt to expand my ability to convey messages with words. Crisp definitions that emphasize nuances make me a better writer. For example, when I say that movement is my muse, I do not intend to use movement and restlessness as interchangeable – because they’re not. There’s a reason there are two different words in the dictionary to describe both. As defined above, movement is an act of changing physical location or position or of having this changed. On the other hand, to be restless is to be unable to rest or relax as a result of anxiety or boredom.
describe item by item; give the full particulars of.
During my undergraduate years, I completed a cluster in Spanish Literature with a concentration on Surrealist works. While Dalí is the father of visual Surrealism, I would argue that Federico García Lorca is the father of literary Surrealism, with an upper case S. My professor, Loredana Comparone, was a passionate and erotic figure whom was not afraid to challenge her students to be their best selves, their best literary critics. She approached all her classes as if she were teaching graduate students whom attended her lectures in hopes of becoming experts. It was Loredana whom truly pushed me over my writing edge. On one particular occasion, she returned one of my papers with a note: Adding detail to your writing will give it that ‘it’ factor.
Take the following two scenarios for example:
She woke up this morning. As she sipped a cup of coffee, she enjoyed herself.
In the early hours of the morning, she awakened and parted the heavy cream-colored curtains that adorned the windows of her Mexican bedroom. She had just arrived in Cabo and had yet to take a Pacific sunrise for granted. She slowly got up to open the door to the balcony offering a view of a deep blue and bright ocean. Its vastness, slightly terrifying. As she felt the morning breeze caress her skin, she ventured back to her small kitchen and began to make coffee. The texture of the beans was simultaneously rich and dry. As she began to press the beans, a sweet and strong aroma began to overtake the environment. She got on her tiptoes, opened a cupboard, and grabbed a salmon colored ceramic mug as it seemed to suit the sensations of the approaching daylight. She poured herself a cup, made her way to the balcony, and was fully awakened by the sound of practicing musicians as she took her first sip. She then closed her eyes, swayed from side to side, to the sound of the soft melodies that continued playing. Around mid-morning, she heard her name called. A surfer in the floor below, making his way to the beach wanted her to come along.
Out of the two scenarios presented, which story evokes your senses and emotions?