Pablo Delano: The Museum of the Old Colony

“The Museum of the Old Colony, an installation by Puerto Rican artist Pablo Delano, appropriates historical imagery and challenges established protocols of museum culture. The project derives its name from a brand of soft drink named Old Colony, popular in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. Old Colony (the beverage) remains available at island groceries and restaurants in two flavors: grape and pineapple. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico has endured 523 years of ongoing colonial rule — first under Spain, then the United States, since 1898. The island, an “unincorporated territory of the US,” is widely regarded as the world’s oldest colony.”

Repeating Islands

mus

Pablo Delano’s installation/exhibition, “The Museum of the Old Colony,” will open at Alice Yard (80 Roberts Street, Woodbrook, Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago) on Friday, February 19, 2016, at 6:00pm, with a reception and conversation between the artist and Alice Yard co-director Nicholas Laughlin. The show will remain on view until February 26. [Also see previous post “The Museum of the Old Colony”—An Installation/Exhibition by Pablo Delano.] The exhibition is presented in conjunction with the conference Turning Tides: Caribbean Intersections in the Americas and Beyond, co-sponsored by the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, and Trinity College, Hartford, Connecticut.

Description:The Museum of the Old Colony, an installation by Puerto Rican artist Pablo Delano, appropriates historical imagery and challenges established protocols of museum culture. The project derives its name from a brand of soft drink named Old Colony, popular in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. Old Colony…

View original post 156 more words

Advertisements

Stress and Support: Understanding the Writing Life

Reblogged and happy to share my newest blog post at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly.

ORGANIC COFFEE, HAPHAZARDLY

by Eleanor Parker Sapia

A week ago, I read about the suspected suicide of Benoît Violier, world-renowned chef and owner of the three Michelin star restaurant, Restaurant de l’Hotel de Ville, in Switzerland. I was deeply shocked and saddened. Why did wildly successful, 44-year old Violier, owner of one of the best restaurants in the world, who was at the very pinnacle of his success after receiving well-deserved accolades from his peers and numerous high profile awards in the food industry, shoot himself?

View original post 1,204 more words

Finding Your Unique Writing Voice

Finding Your Unique Writing Voice

I write only because / There is a voice within me / That will not be still.
–Sylvia Plath

Finding one’s voice in writing is similar to shopping for jeans–it’s a struggle for most writers. New writers might find it necessary to try on a few voices for size while searching for their unique writing voice, and each person has a unique writing voices. There’s no one-size-fits-all in jeans, and the same holds true for writers and readers. We like what we like, and we write and read what resonates with us. Some write what they know or are interested in learning about, and others venture outside the box with new genre, language, or worlds with each book. The one thing that remains true and constant among my favorite writers, even if they write in different genres, is their distinct VOICE.

What is voice in writing?

To me, voice in writing is the unique way by which we see, experience, and interpret the world as individuals.

“No great artist ever sees things as they really are. If he did, he would cease to be an artist.” Oscar Wilde

IMG_3278

A little about me:

I grew up as an Army brat in a close-knit, bilingual family. A creative child, I loved drawing and telling stories, which I learned from listening to my maternal grandmother and mother’s wonderful stories of growing up in Ponce, Puerto Rico. As a child, I loved reading Nancy Drew mysteries, books about great adventures on the high seas, life in the Caribbean, historical fiction, and family sagas. I was an inquisitive child with a good case of being nosy! I always eavesdropped on my elders’ conversations, much to my mother’s dismay. In my teens, I developed a love of classic Puerto Rican literature, thanks to my Spanish teacher, Señora Esteves at the Liceo Ponceno in Ponce, Puerto Rico. La charca by Manuel Zeno Gandía (considered by many to be the first Puerto Rican novel), Julia Burgos’ poetry, and El jíbaro by Dr. Manuel A. Alonso, are still among my favorites. My sister and I love extreme weather, and by the age of 18, I’d lived in four countries, always trying to make my way in a new world. My favorite sanctuary was my grandparent’s farm in the mountains of Puerto Rico. I married an Army officer and had two children by Caesarian section, which led to an interest in becoming a doula, an assistant to a midwife. After my mother’s death in 1992, we moved to Europe with our two children, where we lived for thirteen years. My reading interests as an adult remain the same and include memoir and women’s fiction. I believe all little girls need a heroine who looks like them. As a young mother, I began researching my family tree on both sides of the family–Polish-Russian, Italian-Canarian (Canary Island), and Puerto Rican, which led to a love of family history and oral storytelling.

So what does any of that have to do with finding voice in writing?

The writing of my debut historical novel, A Decent Woman, was filtered through my life experiences, cultural background, and interests, which in turn produced my writing voice. I wrote an historical novel/family saga set in turn of the century Puerto Rico, based on my grandmother’s lifelong friendship with her Afro-Caribbean midwife. My protagonist, Ana Belén, is a strong, courageous, Afro-Cuban heroine, an unassuming champion of women’s rights, and a midwife who must battle male doctors entering the birthing room for the first time. She is a mystical and spiritual woman, who explores the idea of decency in early Puerto Rican society through her life experiences as a black, poor, illiterate woman–an outsider. What about my fascination with extreme weather? A baby is born during a hurricane in the first chapter. My love for my grandparent’s farm? The farm in Jayuya is the setting of the sequel to A Decent Woman, titled Mistress of Coffee, which will come out in 2017.

The Lament of Sister Maria Immaculata, my work in progress, comes from my work as a Spanish language refugee worker and family support worker and a fascination with nuns. I grew up in a Catholic family, attended Catholic schools and a Catholic university, where a nun was the RA on our floor.

Final Book Cover A Decent WomanMy voice, the essence of who I am, my soul and spirit, are on the pages of my books. You might have grown up in a bilingual family, you might be an Army brat like me, and you might even be a Puerto Rican Army brat, but we won’t see the world in the same way. Each of us is unique.

How does a writer find his or her unique writing voice?

Here are a few thoughts and questions that might be helpful in finding your voice:

READ. Think about why you like certain books, heroines, settings, eras, or endings.

What genres appeal to you and why?

EXAMINE why you like a particular author. Is it the story content, the author’s style of writing, or the book’s settings and locales?

What did you like to do or read as a kid?

Do you like happy endings, romance, or short stories, and if not? Why?

WRITE. Get to know yourself through writing blog posts, short stories and/or writing in a journal.

How would you describe yourself in a couple of words?

What themes seem to show up in your writing?

What’s important to you? What frustrates you about people and the world? What can you not abide? Write about that.

OBSERVE. Observe the world around you. Describe what you see, hear, and touch, and write about how you feel in nature, when you’re in love, or in pain.

You are unique. Only you can tell your story.

Read to broaden your horizons, and improve your writing skills by reading authors you admire, but don’t copy them–it might come off as fake–be yourself. Try on new ‘skins’, but always use your unique ‘skin’ when you write. Your voice will always be the perfect fit.

About Eleanor

ellie

Puerto Rican novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker, and a refugee case worker, inspire her stories.

‘A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, and is listed in Centro Voices, The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, ‘Essential Boricua Reading for the 2015 Holiday Season’. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani, and in the soon-to-be released anthology, Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society, edited by Allie Burke. Eleanor is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, The National Association of Professional Women, and the Historical Novel Society. She is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society. When not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

Eleanor adores her two adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, ‘The Lament of Sister Maria Immaculata’, and a collection of short stories.

http://amzn.to/1kzKdGq

The Writing Life: Signing A Creativity Contract

The Writing Life: Signing a Creativity Contract

By Eleanor Parker Sapia

My novel ‘A Decent Woman’ turns one-year old on February 20, 2016, and you best believe I will be celebrating with champagne, just as I did the evening my publisher emailed to say, “Your book is live on Amazon.” I drank the entire bottle–no wine glass–and yes, I was alone! That day ranks right up there as one of the most thrilling days of my life.

I am currently writing my second book and thinking back to my experiences on the road to publication. I am happy. Every setback, challenge, and joy, and each little miracle with my first book reminds me that choosing to live a creative life at age 50 was worth it all!

In looking back, I’ve come up with a writing contract for myself for 2016. I’d love to share it with you. Whether you’re a writer or a reader, I hope you’ll glean a little encouragement to live your life to the fullest, and do what you love. If you don’t write, replace ‘writing’ with whatever you like to do, or simply think of the sentences as they pertain to life.

What I will do in 2016:

  • Continue to tell stories that matter to me, with characters who do extraordinary things while leading simple lives during extraordinary times.
  • Remind myself how blessed I am to do what I love when writing becomes difficult.
  • Push myself to write every day. When I don’t think I can write another word, I will stand up from my writing chair and take a walk in nature. Or write a blog post. Call a good friend. Knit. And return to my writing chair.
  • Connect with friends and family on Sundays, and take days off when I feel the need to rest my mind, body, and soul.
  • Treat my writing (and marketing my books) like a job because it is.
  • Remember that my writing life is my writing life.
  • Learn more about developing my craft; read more; and keep writing to the best of my ability.
  • Maintain writing excellence.
  • Continue connecting with my readers, who are awesome. But limit Facebook time 🙂
  • Encourage more fellow authors by buying their books and writing more reviews.
  • Pay it forward with my fellow writers on social media, and continue offering them author interviews at my blog.
  • Pat myself on the back for a job well done after a good writing session, and remember that it’s not life or death, even though it feels like it!
  • Keep writing about what is deep in my heart; whether it’s popular or not.
  • Silence my inner censor–I can write another good book.
  • Pat myself on the back for a job well done after a ‘bad’ writing session–I showed up and put in the hours.
  • Keep writing!

What I won’t do:

  • Follow the literary trends of writing books in the popular genre of the month. I write what I’d like to read and hope my stories resonate with readers.
  • Obsess about reviews, positive or negative (a tough one for me). My writer friend says that what readers say about my book is none of my business. We all filter information through our life experiences. The book is no longer mine.
  • Push myself to the point of mental exhaustion. I can play with my animals, read, sit in the sun, or daydream for 30 minutes to refresh and regroup. Or take a nap.
  • Compare my writing to other writers, whether they’re in my genre or not. I’m on my journey and path. They are on their journey and path.
  • Become impatient with myself. The words will come.
  • Sweat what I don’t know today. The journey is as important as reaching the goal.

What can you do as a good reader and fan of your favorite writers?

  • Buy their books, books, books.
  • Soon after finishing a book, write an honest review and post it on social media and on Amazon while it’s fresh in your mind. We truly appreciate your reviews.
  • Interact with your favorite authors on social media. Writing is a lonely business.
  • Keep reading! Who wants an empty Kindle or bookshelf?

What would you add to my creativity list? I’d love to hear from you!

Thank you!

Happy writing.

About Eleanor

ellie

Puerto Rican novelist, Eleanor Parker Sapia, was raised in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Europe. Eleanor’s careers as an artist, counselor, alternative health practitioner, Spanish language family support worker, and a refugee case worker, inspire her stories.

‘A Decent Woman, Eleanor’s debut novel, set in turn of the nineteenth century Puerto Rico, was selected as 2015 July Book of the Month for Las Comadres & Friends National Latino Book Club, and is listed in Centro Voices, The Center of Puerto Rican Studies, ‘Essential Boricua Reading for the 2015 Holiday Season’. Book clubs across the United States continue to enjoy A Decent Woman. Eleanor is featured in the anthology, ‘Latina Authors and Their Muses’, edited by Mayra Calvani, and in the soon-to-be released anthology, Organic Coffee, Haphazardly, edited by Allie Burke. Eleanor is a proud member of Las Comadres Para Las Americas, PEN America, The National Association of Professional Women, and the Historical Novel Society, and she is a contributing writer at Organic Coffee, Haphazardly Literary Society. When not writing, she loves facilitating creativity groups, reads, and tells herself she is making plans to walk El Camino de Santiago de Compostela a second time.

Eleanor is a mother of two wonderful adult children and currently lives in West Virginia, where she is writing her second novel, ‘The Lament of Sister Maria Immaculata’, and a collection of short stories.

http://amzn.to/1kzKdGq