Thursday, March 02, 2006

Looking Back:
Reflections on The Resurreccíon of Vida

I didn't set out to write a novel.

I moved to the City of Angels in 1998, dreaming of a career as a wildly successful screenwriter. Naively optimistic, I hit the pavement with my scripts and a smile, hoping to make my mark on Tinsel Town in a matter of months. When that didn't happen after seven years of living in La La Land, I began to wonder if writing was really in my future, if maybe I wasn't better suited to a career in telemarketing.

Along the journey, I realized that I was on a deeper quest, not just for celebrity, a fabulous wardrobe and a star on Hollywood Boulevard, but for community and acceptance. I was battling some serious body image demons, ultimately tipping the scales at 171 pounds. One thing I've learned is that LA is not kind to women in double-digit dress sizes. On the East Coast where I hail from, a sister is considered "thick" at 150 pounds, but out here, she’s a candidate for lipo and augmentation.

Eventually, I was able to shed those pounds through a vegetarian lifestyle, however, the emotional residue – a crushed body image and a lingering sense of self-doubt and insecurity – was harder to purge. In 2001, I was battling anxiety attacks, which sent me scurrying to the emergency room on a weekly basis. With a combination of fear and foolishness, I would stand at the registration desk hoping the harried attendant on duty could assure me I wasn't dying – at least not that night. The attacks – heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath and tingling sensations – had me questioning my sanity. I don’t think there's a history of mental illness in my family, and I wasn't eager to start the legacy.

So where does The Resurrección of Vida fit into my physical and emotional maladies? The novel really began as a journal, a way of chronicling my zany adventures in La La Land. The more women that I talk to out here, the more I realize that I am not alone. Vida has many sisters. Despite the seemingly emotional instability of my protagonist, I thought it important that she embody a sense of strength and endurance. Even though Vida is convinced she’s dying, she discovers that in the midst of death (or really bad heart palpitations), there is life. And sometimes, she has to be the life she was seeking in other people and experiences.

Viva la Vida!

Click here to read an excerpt, or buy the book


Anonymous said...

The book is absolutely a smash!!

jnetsworld said...

I can't wait to have it in my hands. I am so excited!

DSPerey said...

I admired the way you write... Will you sign my copy of VIDA, you DIVA? :-)

Van Ebonique Robinson - HU c/o '94 said...

From one HU grad to another...congratulations! I am looking forward to reading about Vida.

Constance said...

Well worth the wait after your last book, California Schemin'. Keep 'em coming. I'm a hugh fan!!