More often than I would like to admit, people dislike me when they meet me for the first time. I suck at making a good first impression. Can’t say I blame them, I have this stoic presence about me, which has been increasing with the passage of time, making me fall out of love with everything that surrounds me.
Throughout the years, though, and based on whatever job I am holding at the time, I’ve been able to act accordingly and made one or two friends. It’s not anybody’s fault that I am a happily unhappy person.
I seem to be against everyone, breaking every rule in the book, and doing precisely what I am told I can’t do. I am idiosyncratic and iconoclastic, but I can also be respectful and normal. I am a sincere hypocrite, a loyal cheater, and an honest liar. I am the man your mother told you not to sleep with, the son who might never give his mom a grandchild because of my fear of commitment.
But I can also love you more than anybody ever will.
I am real. I am fake.
I am a writer, for God’s sake!
I am a walking contradiction, a man who came from Mexico years ago, trying to find his elusive American Dream under the rocks of any street in Santa Barbara. Nobody told me that the dream was eternal. I haven’t woken up yet. I am still dreaming of a better future, a future so utopian there is no fucking way I am ever going to find it. But I’ve tried. The first time that my American Dream came to my head, even I thought I was losing my mind. There I was, fresh out of the boat, when this sentence made its first appearance in my head, “you are going to become a writer in your second language.” Yeah, the idea was outrageous. But I couldn’t stop thinking about it.
And I did it. I went to school and ate up all the English Grammar you can think of until I farted knowledge every time I walked. It wasn’t so hard, I thought since my first love experience as a kid had been with a pen and a notebook, writing poems at a tender age because I couldn’t talk to girls; just thinking about it makes me want to slap myself.
You could say I have always been more comfortable having books in my pockets instead of condoms in my wallet.
I’ve read every genre of fiction in the bookshelves, but I always gravitate towards Transgressive and Horror Fiction. While holding a plethora of regular jobs, I’ve lost myself in the pages of Edgar Allan Poe, Franz Kafka, and Stephen King, just to mention some. I even came up with my alter-ego, some chump named Galuri Outis, an illegal immigrant who pursues a career as a writer. In his second language.
Does that ring any bells?
I am driven, always focused on the next story, aiming at a life where I don’t have to struggle and just spend my days
writing. The good news is I have taken advantage of every moment and written something about it. And I want to
continue doing it. It’s what I am supposed to be good at, and even if I wasn’t that good, the hours spent in front of an empty page where to pour my soul and guts, have made me a little be better every day.
But there is a problem. I’ve been doing it on my own for the last ten years -up to this publication-, self-publishing on Amazon, trying to get people to follow my social media pages, and there was even a time when I realized I was doing a lot of self-promotion but had stopped coming up with new material. It is hard to have a goal as big as mine and reside at the bottom of the social status ladder, where you have to crawl your way out of the trash to be able to be noticed.
If you think I sound a bit depressing by now, you are not wrong. I have realized that the fight for a better life was never supposed to be easy. I have stopped trying and began doing. I still have social media pages but I don’t make them my main focus. I can’t. I have a lot more to do. I’ve surrendered to what I love and it’s been killing me ever since. When I feel like I want to call it quits and unplug the cord, I just sit there, focus, and write a story about it. It works. Sometimes.
Dying is a sweet thing when you do it for love.
Thank you, Nathaniel. It is an honor to be part of the Santa Barbara Project.