43

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Before we all die I just want to say…

Normally, I would write this long blog post about how another year has passed and how I need to focus on goals and all this other crap. Eff that. When did I become this serious goal monster that needs to keep pushing the envelope? I ask this question to myself because I begin to wonder if I’ve stopped to enjoy life in this incredibly fucked up world.

I’m leaning toward no.

Sure, I live in one of the greatest cities in the world which gives me access to do just about anything I want to do and yet, I shy away from doing what everybody else does. Some of that is because I’m a homebody. There are times I would rather just be home and catch up on shows, or read, or write. Another reason is because I’m not a fucking follower (as I’ve been recently accused of — yes, I’m bitter). Other reasons for not going out is that I don’t want to spend the money. I want to be clear, I do not consider myself cheap but I do question the value of things and if my time and money can be spent somewhere else.

Look, I will be honest, my life is not a grand spectacle and I don’t try to pretend that it is on social media. I work a lot and I am really good at what I do. Outside of work though… I feel everyone (mostly family) wants or needs me for something and like a pendejo (look it up) I tend to not say no. Inherently, this is not a bad thing because I’m a decent human being and there was a point in my life where I didn’t want to be near family. But, now I’m older and more responsible and I feel that family is important… especially if I happen to have kids (pause).

Yet, I can’t help but think that I should be doing more for myself. I’m dying to go to Cuba and to be honest, this is where I begin to evaluate my life and I begin to question everything. Let’s push aside what 45 has done to limit travel and focus on when it was easier to go. The question I ask myself is why didn’t I go to Cuba when I had the chance? What was I waiting for? Here is my answer, I take my current (and now past) responsibilities so seriously when it comes to family that I push my own shit back. So I watched when family and friends (…did my friends go or was it Facebook ‘friends’…? shrug) post pics and think.. that could’ve me but I was fucking around.

So what does 43 mean to me? It means that I may need to pull back and think more about me (and her too). I need to start being more me-centric. I hate the word selfish because it gives the assumption that I don’t care about anyone else. I do want to focus more on myself and not just travel and vacations. I look at the calendar and I realized I have not seen a doctor in years. That fact scares me because I don’t want to be that dude that never sees the doctor considering I’m at that age range where tubes and needles go into places that I’m not prepared for them to go.

I’m comforted that I do have people in my life that do love and care about me and (for as long as we are alive before the world ends) I will have their back just as much as they have mine. Right now, it’s time for me to stop talking about shit and just doing it.

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8 Blog Years

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Before we all die I just want to say…

I almost failed to mention that this blog turned 8 last week. Normally I try not to forget about this “milestone” because it does mean a lot, but this week has been so crazy. What is striking to me is that I started this blog the year Obama started his first term.

Eight Years ago was such a different time. There was hope in the air and there a general feeling that we could get past the Bush years. I never once attributed the creation of this blog to the fact that Obama was the president but I’m sure that him being POTUS was part of an underlying feeling. One of my posts from 8 years ago is entitled Tired of Excuses because at that time I was telling students of color that I advised that there was simply no more excuses for them to not achieve.

I read that post and after realizing how dumb I sounded at the very end of it, I noticed that 8 years ago I was telling students something I should’ve been telling myself. At that time, I had yet reveal to myself that my marriage was failing. I had not yet realized that I could be so much more. The whole way I look at world has changed over the last 8 years because I decided to stop talking about what I want to do and did it.

I also think about all the people who have passed on in my life, friends that I lost, relationships destroyed, and bridges burned and before I can even think about going down a dark road of self doubt and despair, I think about the hope in my life. I think about the my current life, my love, my family, my friends, and the books I’ve written and I can’t help but be grateful that I did accomplish a lot in the last 8 years.

The world is different now.

This current climate does present a lot of material for writing but it will be darker. It will grittier and angrier. This was once a space where I can really get into my feelings of love and life and it has slowly morphed into a place where I express my rage at the world. I’m not sure what the next 8 years will bring, shit I’m not even sure we will be here next year (I don’t even kid you when I say that). What I do know is that I will not stop.

There was a time I thought about quitting this whole thing, but I cannot do that now. There is too much at stake.

…I just want to say

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Before we all die I just want to say…

There are so many things happening all at the same time that I hope you’ve had a chance to pop your head up and say, “wait, this is really happening.” I wont be one of those bloggers that will go into a large list of reason why we are all severely fucked, but I will not deny that life is about to get that much harder.

I’ve spend weeks since Election Day trying to figure out how I’m gonna write as many blog posts as I want to and still be some what positive (or at the very least interesting). The problem I run into is that (not so) deep down, I’m angry. Of course being angry is nothing new because there’s always been a certain level of rage that has been inside of me. I just think that I’m not emotionally prepared for these next 4-8 years.

I can argue that these next few years will be pivotal for me. I could conceivable get married again. I could conceivably have a child. Those two sentences alone just fuck me up because how long does whatever personal happiness last in a world like this?

Look, I was child toward the end of the Cold War. I used to be frightened about the possibility that a nuclear missile would rip though the New York City skyline and kill us all. As a child, I never understood the nature of that threat. I just understood that adults were assholes and that they could destroy all of us because they can. My mother used to tell me that no one was stupid enough to blow the world…

As an adult, I now understand the nature of this threat. I understand how someone could start WW3 by simply thinking their dick is bigger than everyone else. This scares the hell out of me. I don’t have the irrational fear that I once did but I have the educated fear which in many ways is much worse. I do think that there are people in power who are stupid enough to pull that button or at the very least dumb enough to provoke.

So, before we all die, I just want to say that in the course of American history there have always been several events that happen within a century that change us forever and most of them end up being bad. We may have reached that point.

I miss the Obamas already.

One Sentence 

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All it takes is one sentence for me to harness my creative energies; it is one sentence that separates an okay novel from a must read book. But, some times I barely get the chance to let it those sentences flow in the way I want. This is why I scramble hard to write anything down when the urge hits me.

Inspiration can comes at odd times and I really believe that other people are put on this planet to block said inspirations. It becomes my job to find away to put my thoughts on the page in spite of all the outside road blocks and my personal insecurities.

Today’s inspiration hit me the moment I grabbed my coffee any Starbucks. The realization that I had a great idea brewing was quickly subsided by the fact that I was so far away from forming it on paper and while any other person reading this will say, ” you should’ve just pulled out your phone,” it’s really not that simple.

I always need to marinate such ideas in my brain when it comes to writing. While I knew it’s was a long walk back to my notepad in my office, I was willing to take that risk by losing myself in thought. Sure I can write it down on my phone but that requires two hands which were full with coffee and breakfast so I was stuck rushing and thinking about how I just had a great idea to start book three.

But of course, I got interrupted twice on the way to my destination by co workers. Because it is such a busy time at work, things need to be handled. It was at that moment that I started to feel these ideas leaving my skull. I had to rush conversations before I forgot everything.

Lucky for me, I manage to reach a pad in time just write one sentence that will trigger my idea at a later time. All it takes is one sentence to start me on my way.

Pieces

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I’m at the point where I’m just writing pieces of the next book. I haven’t gotten into the groove yet. Most of the time, when I get a chance to think about the final part of this “trilogy”, I find myself brainstorming what it is that I want to do. Which leads me a scattered cross section of what the story may look like.

This makes me think about the evolution of my life. The coming together of various parts of my life like a jigsaw puzzle. For better or worse, I feel that I struggle with all parts of my life. The writing part will give off the appearance of success. What defines that? If simply writing a book is a marker for success then I am very successful but if the industry only looks at the numbers then does that make me a failure? I guess I would have to view things from a glass that is either half empty or half full.

My personal life always seem to be in pieces and that is not to say that is a bad thing but some how I feel that I’m always trying to fit a square peg into a star like hole. Some parts might fit if I angle it a certain way, but it hardly fits unless I take out a knife and start carving and customizing.

It terms of work, well, that is tricky subject. I love my job but there comes a time in a person’s life when tough choices have to be made.

This all reminds me of a few stories that I wrote years ago. I called it Pieces of a Puzzle. It’s multi part story that is very trashy. All about sex and deceit; how people can have such pleasure behind people’s back without realizing how connected we all are. This is probably the best way that I can describe it. I have let very few people read it because, again, there is a trashiness and about it that I just can’t bring myself to let the whole world see.

Of course, when I say the whole world, I really mean the few people who actually read my work. <— That is so petty. haha.

I may have mentioned a while back the I was going to name the new book, The Glass House. I may change that to Glass Houses. I just like the thought of this title because in some way well live fragile existences where one thing can shatter the perceptions of our own world.

I guess that is what this is all about. The books, the reason why I write, is about the fragility of it all. Why else do we do what we do? We try to maintain our strength in a losing battle with fate. We try to mix and match pieces of ourselves so we can have this fleeting thing called happiness.

What happens when all the stories makes sense and all the various pieces finally match? Is there a zen? Do we achieve happiness forever? Or do we open another puzzle box with 5000 pieces and try again?

I don’t know.

Here’s the Proof

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Very few things in this process get me as excited as seeing my work in print. I got my proofs of The Book of Isabel yesterday and they look so good. Sure, I have tiny reservations here and there about the cover finish but overall I cannot complain too much.

It feels rewarding to see something like this come to life. I wrote this book about a year ago and when I was done the process of making a book began. I love the cover art. I feel like it looks even better in print than it does digitally. Continue reading “Here’s the Proof”

Inside 30 Days

Life is crazy. Life is crazy busy. My life is crazy busy.

I feel like I just woke up from the haze of spring semester at Barnard College. So many things happening. So many events and so much work. Let’s also not forget that my woman just graduated from The Tepper Business School at Carnegie Mellon University. Life is has been such a blur and yet, somehow, I have found the time to get this book done.

I mean, I wrote this book last year but I’m talking about the other things that need to happen with this novel. The editing and the managing. I’m waiting on a final proof and this book comes out in less than 30 days. Continue reading “Inside 30 Days”

Read Them or Don’t.

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I know what my problem is. I’ve been trying too hard. It hits me like a ton of bricks when I think about it. I’ve been trying my best to sell people on how good I am. I’ve been trying to convince people that I belong. Here lays the crux of my problem of trying to do something I’m passionate about and trying to get people to like me.

I can’t do this.

I’m actually sick of it. I’m trying not to think about author rankings and book sales. I’m not trying to be tied down to numbers because then I feel like a failure.

And there it is. I’ve said it. I feel like a failure.

I mean, what did I really expect? Was I thinking that I would sweep the nation with a 400 page book detailing male insecurity? My problem was not managing my expectations. I own that.

Look, I hate to admit this, but I am good at what I do. If I ever need proof of that I can look 21 good ratings and 11 positive reviews on GoodReads. I made the mistake of thinking that numbers translate to how good I am. If I don’t sell many books it’s not because I can’t write, it’s because I’m not a great marketer. I never was and I’m not even sorry about it.

I’ve been going about so many things the wrong way and that is why I’ve decided to start putting my short stories on Wattpad. Let me tell you why. I’m currently drafting a blog for the Huffington Post where I talk about the pitfalls of Self Publishing. In this article I talk about two authors who made there were into the light via fan fiction. They posted their stories for free and built an audience. The best part about this is that they were not in it for the money. They wrote because they wanted to.

It’s that simple. I’m tired of trying to convince people of how good I am. So guess what? I will stop trying. I’ve written, at least 15-20 short stories over the last year. I will post them. Read them or don’t.

Otero out.

Isolation

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There was a time, early in my blogging life, when I used to write about some really personal issues. It was an interesting thing to do because people would call me real, and brave, and honest (even if I was writing about being a liar). What I took from all those years of writing was that I wasn’t alone in my pain. I wasn’t alone in this thing called life.

But lately, I’ve been feeling a certain amount of isolation. It’s no secret that I went through a break up of sorts with someone I thought was a friend. It’s no secret that my beautiful girlfriend is finishing up her MBA in another state (it’s a two year program). So I guess when you factor in those things there could be a normal sense of loneliness. However, I do hang with people from time to time and I do live with family so one can argue that I’m never truly alone.

Yes, I can get into this whole discussion that we all are never truly alone, not with social media being what it is. In many ways, Twitter has made my life when it comes to watching shows and sporting events. People are hilarious; the community can be inviting and welcoming (particularly when you block the trolls). I can also make an argument on how I couldn’t possibly feel isolated when I talk to many people privately about writing and books. I do have friends who are there. So what is my issue?

Let’s look at this. I enjoy being alone because I don’t have to answer to anyone. I tend to not go out because people annoy me and when I do, I hate to conform to other people. I mean, I can go out and have drinks but after while (depending who I’m with) I get bored. Of course, doing this with good friends, family, and/or the girlfriend is crucial because they never bore me. But with way my life is right now, it is a rare thing. Work has been incredibly busy and my life has been all about that. Maybe, I’m one of those self isolating people who think that are extraverted but are really introverted. Can someone change from one to another?

Sometimes, I think about my life choices. I never pledged a fraternity and I often wondered how different my life would be. Would the constant number of male friends in my life change how I feel? I find this hard to believe because I think dealing with the constant barrage of the male ego would annoy me. I’m one of those guys that would stop you from joking about rape or question whether it was you who was at fault during the situation with that girl.

Blah. See, that never works because I am the sum of my past.

Is it possible that this feeling is a mood swing? Maybe all these deaths are getting to me. Is it a chemical reaction? What if I started eating meat again (haha – yes this made me laugh)? Honestly, I don’t know. I can’t say I’m unhappy because I know what that is. I’ve hit the pinnacle of unhappiness years ago. This whole mood feels different.

I think I will wait to see what happens when my woman comes back from school. Maybe her presence is the link I need to not feel so isolated.

That Amazing Video

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That video is kinda crazy. I say crazy because I guess I had no idea it would get as many views as it has. Of course, I’m not sure why because it IS the Huffington Post and I know that the amount of daily traffic they get must be off the charts to a low level blogger like myself. But when someone tells me that this video was played at a workshop about identity? Yeah, that is kinda crazy.

That video is kinda cool. It’s also pretty funny because I forget that I cannot go into these video shoots with any type of expectation. I was fully aware that I wasn’t the only one in it. In fact, I saw Dr. Marta Moreno-Vega walk out of her session when they were done taping. In fact, two of my fellow Syracuse Alums (Janel Martinez & Ghislaine Leon) were outside of the recording room with me talking how great it was to see each other on that snowy ass day. What is interesting is that we all must have spent 20-30 minutes in our sessions talking about what it’s like to be Afro Latinx. So for the final product to be slightly over 2 minutes was just perfect.

We filmed this on cold February day, the day after Valentine’s to be exact. I wondered how long it would take to produce a video with all of us and it wasn’t until I was in New Orleans in late March that I had an indication it was published. My phone blew up when I was sitting in a conference session I was attending. That is when I knew.

I saw the video for the first time on my phone in a hotel lobby. Headphones in. I was smiling. This, of course, would be the first view of many. I just never thought that I would have so many people tagging me on Facebook. Friends and family were one thing because those who support alway support, but to hear from people I haven’t spoken to in awhile saying they saw that video, took me by surprise.

Many people agreed with the message and cheered it. I never dared to look at comments (unless tagged) because I know better. Other people saw it as a chance to just say hi and catch up. It was a really great time for me. It meant a lot. I’m glad I did it beyond the fact that it means free advertising. lol

I just want to thank Melissa Montanez for bringing us together. Another Syracuse alum that believes in the work we do. So, I do hope that this video continues to get as many views as possible and inspires people to tell their story.

At the end of the day, no one can really define who we are except for ourselves.