Anzaldúa & I write from our core, eat every danish

Hi, I’m Stephanie and guess what? I’m a Virgo. September 1st was my birthday and a bunch of us rented an apartment by the sea. A friend of a friend offered a tarot card reading for the occasion, but I was nervous, so I asked several questions–how long does it last? Who asks the questions? When we drove back home to the city, I was relieved that I had escaped without the reading ever taking place.

As a teenager, I would’ve loved to have my life foretold–especially by a boy-witch! But now I worry if I’ve lost all my nerve, like how we also went to Coney Island this summer and I screamed as loud as I could on the tiniest rides as if to say: Do you hear me? This is my threshold! Anything bigger than this and I’ll ACTUALLY DIE.

Me on my birthday last year, at a different beach, days before my novel went on submission to editors. (It’s not as brave as riding the Cyclone at Coney Island)

Writing a book is nothing like that. It’s not scary. It won’t malfunction and kill you. You don’t read headlines about kids getting decapitated because they tried to write a NOVEL. All it takes to write is a fridge full of snacks or a shelf lined with peanut butter and a good, hardy spoon. All it takes is some deal of time alone.

At my desk, I’m like Gloria Anzaldúa when she’s sitting inside on a rainy morning and thinking about if today she will do it, if today she will write from her core, or if she’ll just get up and eat another apple danish.

Charles Bukowski once said something about how if writing is really that hard for you, you should just give up. But where would that leave me? I’m reaching for the danish right now, because instead of doing the WRITING, instead of telling you about myself and my book, I’m talking about EVERYTHING BUT.

Bukowski’s full of crap, writing is hard

But it’s only through all this eating and distraction that I’ve somehow written and sold a novel. I didn’t rush through it–I took my time–and each year, it became more polished and shiny, like a piece of weathered seaglass. It’s a coming-of-age story about a girl who meets someone dangerous, charismatic, and how she thinks he can tell her, like a tarot card-reader, who she really is. About a bad decision that leads to a worse one. About a journey home that involves crossing a boulevard so wide it sounds like an ocean, the roar of cars like the sound of crashing waves. About race and class, the peril and exhaustion of adolescence, and the warm, watery line between intimacy and abuse. THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING, set in Queens–like my heart–is my very first book. And it’ll be available to read next August, just before–YUP–my next birthday.

 

This was my initial book announcement, heyyyyy!

This year, I’ll be blogging here with four other phenomenal women, about my journey to becoming an author. We’ll be hosting guest authors for interviews and giving away copies of inspiring books. We’ll be detailing the publishing process and crying/laughing as we make our small victories.

Whether you’re a published or emerging author, or a curious reader, I’m glad you’re reading along. And I hope you’ll say hi to me! I want to be your friend!

This is just around where I grew up, friends, on the rainbow known as the Pulaski Bridge

My birthday always falls at the end of the summer, a good moment to reflect on the change that autumn will bring. It’s definitely cool to think I just celebrated my last birthday as an unpublished author. But I’m not looking forward to having a book out just to see my name in print. I’m excited because of the people, community, and friendships I anticipate making–with writers, with readers–and especially through this blog, and especially through the power of words.

Anzaldúa said: mujer magica, empty yourself.

And so I do, eager to fill myself back up with new friends, new words–eager to see with what.

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Stephanie Jimenez

Stephanie Jimenez is a former Fulbright recipient and Prep for Prep alumna. She is based in Queens, New York, and her work has appeared in The Guardian, O! the Oprah Magazine, Entropy, and more. Her debut novel, THEY COULD HAVE NAMED HER ANYTHING, will be published in the summer of 2019 (Little A). Follow her @estefsays.

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This article has 3 Comments

  1. Welcome to the Ball! Just had to say that three weeks ago I was at Coney Island for my sister’s birthday, and we went on the ridiculously tame Wild River ride… and I screamed the entire time. I’ve become a total ride wimp, which is sad, because in my 20s, I used to ride the Cyclone all the time. I’m honestly not sure which is harder: Getting on those rides or writing. Even if the writing won’t decapitate me.

    Looking forward to reading your posts!

    1. Happiest of birthdays to your sister, Jennifer!

      The thing is, I won’t even entertain the thought of going on those rides. At least with writing, I can think about the words, hold them in my mind for a while, even if I never get around to putting them down on the page!

      Coney Island has been on my brain a lot after my recent trip. I just saw that Justin Timberlake/Kate Winslet movie set there, too. If you’re a Coney Island adorer, you might like it!

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