Brooklyn’s Daughter

Hey beautiful people!!!

Let me tell you about the latest event. It was a rainy Saturday night, and if you know me at all you will know that I love rainy days, so I knew it was going to be a good night for celebrations and new things! So it was fitting that I went to Maria Rodriguez book release event at a quaint place in Brooklyn, named Simplicity, where she debut her first published poetry book, Brooklyn’s Daughter!!!

Everyone there showed Maria so much love. Her family and friends showed up and showed out. The outpouring love they had for her was palpable. She had a few poet friends read some of their work. She chose them because of how powerful and great they are. She was definitely amongst great people. She started off the night with the beautiful voice of Luminisa Di’Lorenzo with her band Indigesoul. Her sound was soothing yet powerful, it was poetic. The poets included in the line up were True, Roya Marsh, and Peggy Robles-Alvarado. (fyi: If you do not know who these women are please look them up!!) Maria concluded the night by reciting some of the poems in her book having the drums played as the background by the group Machete Movement. It flowed really well as well did the drinks! It was a lovely night for a beautiful person. I am glad I was there to experience that moment with her!!

I know Maria through the NYC Latina Writers Group. I’ve heard her poetry throughout various events done throughout the two years I have known of her and her work. I have to say that she is passionate about the poems she recites. You could feel exactly what the poem conveys when you hear her speak. She takes her craft seriously and is always looking for ways to expand, which she has! She is one of the cast members of Soledad Speaks and has played an important part in the production of the show.* Ad hello she published her first book of poetry!!! My hat goes off to Maria. Being a mother of four and accomplishing so much, she has shown what it means to be a renaissance woman. I don’t have any excuses!!

All I can say is that she has grit, beauty and power, which exudes with the work that she does!

Maria celebrating her book release

Maria celebrating her book release

 

I asked her a few questions to get to know her and her writing process a little better. Enjoy!!

Andreina: What is one thing that we don’t know about you that you wouldd like people to know?

Maria: I do not have a cleft chin. It’s actually a scar I received one summer in Puerto Rico. I was about five. I couldn’t reach the porcelain sink and tried brushing my teeth by balancing my elbows. Slipped and busted my chin wide open. I was creative even then.

A: What scared you the most about completing this poetry book? And how did you overcome that?

M: I’ll be honest, self doubt. Was I a good enough writer/poet to publish a book?  Would it be good enough? Had I paid my dues? I have the utmost respect for the written word and the legacy paved by those that have come before me and I hoped that my poetry would reflect that. I overcame that doubt when I began work shopping my poems on stage. When I wrote for Soledad Speaks. The connection the audience had with my words cemented my belief, that yes my voice is important. We have stories to tell.

A: What were some of the obstacles if any did you have to face to complete/finish the book?

M: I didn’t have many obstacles. I had a really great team. Artist Nelson Santiago created the artwork, which became my book cover. Graphics Designer Sal Acosta worked his magic on fonts, sizing and dimensions for my front and back cover. Charlie Vazquez edited and Emanuel Xavier wrote my forward. I knew what I wanted and was blessed enough to have these wonderful people deliver.

A: What were the good parts of going through the writing process? (I might word it differently but you get the idea)

M: Many of these poems were written over a period of time. Other than the Anthology “Me No Habla With Acento” my work had never been published in book form. Sometimes I would get a burst of inspiration and my pen wouldn’t stop. Within minutes I had a new poem. I posted some on social media and the responses were very positive. I knew those poems would make it into my book.

A: If you could go back what advice would you give yourself about this journey of writing poetry?

M: If I could go back I wouldn’t change anything. Things happen when they’re supposed to and I believe every connection I’ve made, every open mic I’ve done, every work shop I’ve attended has prepared me for now. This moment.

A: Is there anything you would do differently?

M: I wouldn’t have done anything differently because it’s all been a learning experience. The times I’ve bombed, forgotten lines, did a shitty piece, all those moments humbled me. Taught me to go home, rewrite, rehearse, remember and come back harder. I wanted respect from my contemporaries and ultimately I got it.

A: From your book, which one is your favorite poem? And why?

M: Ahhh my favorite poem question. This book is my baby, so you know you’re basically asking me to choose which one of my babies I love the most! Ok, since I have to choose, I’d say “Straight Shootin’ “. It serves as a reminder to always speak your peace 🙂

A: Why should people read your poetry?

M: I’d like people to read my poetry because it’s speaks to everyone. There’s pride, culture. grit, humor, love, pain, strength and it was written by a teenage mother from Brooklyn. I’m no different than anyone willing to dream and live and live their dream.

Finish the statement:

My legacy will be in the written word

This book means that I’m ready to write my second

My inspiration is everything everywhere.

Love is simple but we make it hard

Renaissance means rebirth. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

photo 3

Thank you Maria for sharing your words with us!!! Thank you for telling us your story!! Thank you!! I love the work you do and how you do it!! Love the book!!

If you want to purchase her book please go to mescribidora.wordpress.com

I suggest you get it because it is real, you will be able to connect with her words and you will love it!!! I’m just saying.

If you have read it, which one is your favorite poem? Please share.

Then I’ll tell you mine.

Bueno mi gente, this has been beauty, brains and blogging approved!!

 

 

*for more info on her bio and work you can check her out at www.thefiercewoman.com where she is featured for the week ending the 8th of April because she is a fierce woman!

 

 

This is HER!

The only limitation we have is within ourselves, anything we are determined to accomplish will be accomplished as long as we set our minds to it. We should constantly manifest our highest potential as human beings through wisdom, compassion and courage.

I have been thinking about what to write next. I feel as if I am in a stagnant position in life. Not knowing what to do next, questioning what my purpose is and what to do to obtain my goals, just to state a few. I guess I am having an existentialist moment. I understand that once I get clear on what I want then things will come in to place and all will align. I also know, it is an ongoing process of self-evolution, self-love, and self-awareness to get me through to my path. However, until I get to that point I must keep moving. I must look at others and follow their examples of perseverance and resilience. I have seen many women do remarkable things from directing and starring in plays, writing books, curating shows, poets reading and publishing their works to stay at home mothers. Women doing what they choose to do, what they LOVE to do and are passionate about it. This is why I decided to interview women who I find inspirational. There are so many of them so it is not going to be in any particular order. The point of these interviews is to get to know the woman in a deeper level, in soulful kind of way; get to their core. To know their fears/failures and how they continue to do what they love anyway. To let us know that we aren’t alone. That is what truly inspires me!

So, what a great way to start Women’s ‘Herstory’ Month by interviewing a woman who is inspirational…

I met this woman two years ago, she has accomplished so much in a matter of a short period of time. She had a vision and she went for it. She invested in herself and had a successful event. The event, Canvas of Words, sold out in Queens and reclaimed that poetry and the arts still exits in her borough. This motivated her to begin Wendy Angulo Productions, an organization whose goal is to support, encourage, and promote poetry and visual arts in the borough of Queens. Through Wendy Angulo Productions, she also manages established performance poets and writers.*

Her name is Wendy Angulo and she inspires me. The reason Wendy inspires me is that she is a woman who wants to leave a legacy for her son and for others. She inspires me to want to reach my goals and follow through. What I have noticed is that once she sets a goal, she plans and then executes. Wendy also helps others to achieve their goals and she believes in empowerment. She invests in herself so her dreams can become reality. Wendy makes sure that she always does her best to thrive in a world that isn’t always pleasant. So thank you for being an inspiration…

And it has been a pleasure to ask her a few questions to get to know her a little better.

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Hi Wendy!!! I am excited that you have allowed me to ask you a couple of questions about YOU… I want to get to know the Wendy that not every one knows.

Andreina: How would you describe yourself? Who are you at your core? Not the labels but who you are?

Wendy: I describe myself as a Latina Mother, independent, ambitious, and determined to succeed.
At my core, I am a very sensitive person who takes into consideration everything and everyone around her before making a decision. I explore all options and how my decisions will affect others before I execute, which is good and bad at the same time.

A: What are some of the things you live by? Quotes, mantras, religion, etc.

W: Well I am Buddhist, who strongly believes in the concept of Human Revolution and live by the mantra : “The only limitation we have is within ourselves, anything we are determined to accomplish will be accomplished as long as we set our minds to it. We should constantly manifest our highest potential as human beings through wisdom, compassion and courage”.
One of my favorite Buddhist Philosophers is Daisaku Ikeda and there’s one quote of him, which I constantly repeat and carry with me: “When your determination changes, everything will begin to move in the direction you desire. The moment you resolve to be victorious, every nerve and fiber in your being will immediately orient itself toward your success. On the other hand, if you think, “This is never going to work out,” then at that instant every cell in your being will be deflated and give up the fight.”
At the end, everything in life boils down to your attitude when presented with an obstacle and/or painful situation…how you respond and react to it, will determine the course of your life at that moment.
We are the authors of our destiny and the only ones who have the power to change it at any given time.

A: What are some of your fears/set backs you’ve had to encounter and how have you overcome them to keep going?

W: Well definitely fear of failure and being alone.

When it comes to failure, I’ve learned that it is a part of life and even when you failed you learned, so what has helped me overcome every set back are the lessons I learned from them and how they’ve tested my character as human being. It could sound cliché but you learn from everything you experience, whether good or bad, the trick is to really open yourself to those lessons. Often times we blind ourselves to those lessons.
As to being alone, learning to love myself first and honor who I am with flaws and all has been necessary and a continuous process. We tend to judge ourselves constantly and to put up with people and situations that doesn’t serve a purpose in our lives just to avoid being alone.
Once you learn to feel comfortable in your own skin and within you, being alone is not even a thought because at the end you always have YOU.

A: What has been your biggest lesson so far?

W: Hmmmm well I think the loss of my mother….it definitely hit every chord in my life…from learning to appreciate the smallest things in life to not being afraid to die as long as I live to the fullest.

A: What is one aspect of you that you would like the world to know?

W: I would like the world to know that I’m not perfect, perfection is an illusion, there’s no such thing as the perfect person or the perfect life…we all have good and bad within us but the key is to recognize and not being afraid of being wrong or to fail at any given time in your life.
It is not easy to admit when you’re wrong or when you lose the battle (whatever that battle might be), but for me when you recognize it you still winning, there is a big lesson that lies behind that acceptance and that defines your character. Those moments have truly defined who I am today.

A: Finish the sentence

Love is… all we have.

Inspiration means… what drives you to create.

My legacy… Is my son and Canvas of Words.

I am… a Woman, Mother, Daughter, Sister, Friend, Latina and one hell of a Warrior.

I do this… for every dreamer who once was told he/she couldn’t do it.

Thank you Wendy! Thank you for being an inspiration to women everywhere. I love the quotes! Thank you for being vulnerable and open with us, losing your mother has been your biggest lesson, it is truly amazing your perspective. Thank you! You are roaring and we hear you!! Much success to you!!

*This is just a small portion of her bio. The rest of her bio can be found on the page, Canvas of Words, on Facebook.

This is me with the amazing and wonderful, Wendy Angulo!!

This is me with the amazing and wonderful, Wendy Angulo!!