Thursday, June 01, 2006

Where the hell have I been?

Dude, if I could tell you, I would. Okay, I'll try.

Have you ever had a period in your life when there's just too much happiness? It's a three-hundred foot wave off the coast of Hawaii that sweeps you into a tumbling reel and then dumps you on the sand when it swoshes out to sea kind of happiness. I'm not complaining, nor trying to figure out why or how. I'm just in awe.

Two weeks ago I flew to Miami and kept flying on the energy of 70-plus writers, filmakers and readers. After writing two anthologies with them, I finally met the Friday Night Chicas: Berta Platas, Sofia Quintero and Caridad Pineiro. While we chatted or I heard them read their work, I couldn't believe I was hearing their voices or looking into their eyes after so many email conversations.

And don't get me started about Alisa Valdes Rodriguez. I confess that I was a little frightened at the prospect of meeting her. Not that she's scary in a bad way; she's scary smart and I thought that I'd have to say all kinds of smart things for fear that she'd think I was a nimrod. But then there was a moment at the last dinner when some very brave authors took to the mic and performed or read their works in progress. There was one who was so vibrant, hilarious and heartbreakingly obscene (dude, her stuff was on!), that I happened to look across the room and meet Alisa's disbelieving and delighted eyes. And then I figured it out. Alisa, in spite of her success, taking on a-holes on CNN, etc. is just another girl. An amazingly generous and loving one; one that I'm so priveleged to call a colleague and friend.

I could go on but I won't. Well, just a little bit more. There are two new stars on the horizon and their names are Caridad Ferrer and Reyna Grande. Reyna is in touch with the universe with her novel, Across a Hundred Mountains. Listening to Cari read from her upcoming release, Adios to My Old Life felt like she'd read my diary when I was seventeen and full of impossible dreams.

And then after returning from Miami, I prepared for my bestest friend's wedding. There's something so special about seeing someone you love walk down the aisle on the arm of the man she loves. Her uncle spoke during the ceremony and his words have stuck with me ever since, "Don't grant judgement; grant safety."

By the way, I'm loving the new CD by the Dixie Chicks. When they were Bush-whacked for (gasp!) speaking out against the war, I went out and bought all of their CDs in support. Now they're back and this CD has weight. It amazes me that some Americans forget we have a First Amendment right to criticize our elected officials. (But they sure got off on fighting for "democracy" in Iraq, didn't they?)

Okay, I concede that everyone is entitled to an opinion. (I'm granting safety!) Some are just not as informed as others.

But wait there's more! Yesterday, my husband found out that his screenplay won the UCLA Professional Screenwriting Program Contest. This is the second screenplay he has ever written and I am so very proud of him.

While I was reeling and reveling in all this happiness, I finished my proposal! After another spit and polish, I'll send it off on Tuesday with the hope that it will get picked up (gotta feed the Little Dude, you know) and then in a year or two, find its way into your hands as a complete novel.

Off to work...



Desiree said...

Oh, good luck with the new material Mary!!! It's so nice to read about all of your happiness.:)

Desiree said...

By the way, I LOVE the Dixie Chicks, and never stopped supporting them through the drama. I went to their concert when they were on tour, and it was sad to see so many empty seats after trying so hard to get tickets for their concert. I guess people just didn't go after the whole Bush Whackin' incident.

Alisa Lynn Valdes said...

Wow! Thanks, Mary.

Our husbands sound like they'd get along. Too bad we don't live closer, eh?

I really look forward to seeing you again soon.


Louise said...

First, another huge congrats to Ryan on winning the screenplay award. So awesome.

Second, can I just say that I am seriously the biggest Dixie Chicks fan? No. Seriously. The BIGGEST. I've loved them for years, and I loved them even more after they spoke their minds about Bush. I love them SO MUCH that I went out at 8 a.m. the morning their latest CD was released, because if you bought the CD at Target, you got a special code that allowed you to buy early tickets to their tour. I raced home and was ready to push the "purchase tickets" button the minute the clock read 10 a.m. on Row 45 baby!!!!! The new CD is awesome.

Anyway... I'm glad you're flying so high! I have no doubt that the other authors were as impressed with you as you were with them.

Weez :)

Mary Castillo said...

Yo Weez that's awesome! I (legally!) downloaded the CD onto my PC.

Hey Desiree, is that the brother from Napolean Dynamite? Are you going to see Nacho Libre?

Alisa, the next time your out here we have to get together!

Love y'all,

Camy Tang said...

Congrats to your husband! And woohoo on finishing your proposal! I just turned in my manuscript and I'm starting a new one.


Meally said...

Congrats, Mary! I'm so happy for you. You deserve all the best.
Take care,