So Many Stars on My Own Personal Boulevard

I’m about a third of the way through the 50,000 word commitment I’ve made as a participant of the National Novel Writing Month. This is the third time I’ve done this. The two previous attempts never got beyond the 35,000 limited.

The working title of this is “The River in November.” What I’m doing is essentially keeping a journal of my day to day life. Sure, I’m inserting a fictional plot–I mean, I would like someone else to want to read this. I plan to have this fictional story line become increasingly bizarre in that slip-stream or “new weird” manner.

November is a strange month generally in San Antonio. It kicks off with Halloween, and then moves into two more days of macabre costuming and behavior what with Dia de los Muertos. In fact, many of the Day of the Dead stuff continues throughout the month, with many galleries keeping the work up until December.

November is also a rather busy month for me this year. Thank god I don’t have a job. How do you people manage? I mean, Monday, November 1st I attended the Luminaria press conference. The night and the following I video-taped three performances by URBAN-15. There’s been a series of committee work for Luminaria, as well as the Adelante Film Forum–this will finally be over next Monday, as the forum is this coming weekend. I have pre-production work for at least two film projects I want to do this winter. And on and on. But there is something intriguing about allowing this rather hectic month to serve as the backdrop to a novel. There are people and organizations who seem to be moving to the foreground, if for no other reason than that I’m currently working on projects with them.

One of the things about working on a piece of fiction in this manner is that if you let the real world freely enter into the fiction, you find yourself going in unexpected directions. The most obvious situation so far this month is the tragic death of Chuck Ramirez. I’ve known of Chuck for at least as long as I’ve lived in San Antonio. That’s seven or eight years. We had many friends in common for quite some time, but I never met Chuck until we both found ourselves on various Luminaria committees. I have to admit I know more about him since his death back on Friday night than I ever knew before then. I’ve been seeing all the impassioned and heartbroken comments on his FaceBook page, and so many were sharing personal stories. I also watched the series of YouTube clips from a SAMA artist conversation between Chuck and David Rubin.

The more I learn about the guy, the sadder I get. It’s awful to learn that you really like someone, but it’s too late. Chuck was my age. He has more people who love him than any of us could ever hope. I plan to head over to Blue Star for his memorial Thursday night. The gallery and the parking lot will no doubt to packed.

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Years ago I did something similar to this current fictional experiment. There was a time when I was 21 or 22. I keep a dual journal.

Each night I would write two pages. I was using my beloved Royal standard manual typewriter with 11 point type. I had the habit in those days of pushing out the margins and allowing no spaces between lines. I forgot how many words I was able to cram on a page, but it was impressive. The first page was a run through of what I did that day. The second page was what I believed I would do the following day. This experiment allowed several things to happen. One was for me to see if by writing that I would do something which I might be uncomfortable doing, would it happen? It also let me track how much of what I planed to do each day did or did not happen. I also occasionally tossed in some very unlikely incidents…none which happened.

What I find interesting about this approach of twining journaling and fiction is this question: will I decided to do certain things over other things because this one thing is much more interesting for the fictional character Erik to do. Actually, this helped get me out of the house Friday night to walk downtown for the the Latin Music Festival at Main Plaza. I knew it’s be something to write about.

And now I’m thinking to use this as a rational as to why I don’t want to do certain things.

“What? Oh, no. That won’t do at all. I can’t help you. See, I’m writing a first-person non-fiction novel, and unless you expect an alien invasion, dogs wearing laser guns, or live sex acts, I can’t. It sounds just too dang boring. But have fun!”

I guess the same rational can be given if you’re a blogger.

“The fuck you asking me to do? I’ve loyal readers, man. There’s no way I can take such banality to these people. Shame on you. Shame. On. You.”

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Here’s the photo section.

We begin with some shots from the Dia de los Muertos performances at HemisFair Park, Nov. 2nd, 2010.

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And here are some detailed shots of a cool Dia de los Muertos altar at Centro Cultural Aztlan.

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And, several days later here are some photos from the Latino Music Festival at San Antonio’s Main Plaza.

The food court.

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The incomparable ST Shimi, hooping it up.

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And Nortec Collective Presents: Bostitch + Fussible, who were fucking outstanding!

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Program director Marisela Barrera is the heart and soul of Main Plaza. Sure, she’s a crucial part of the San Antonio theater and performance art scene, but if all she did was book incredible events at Main Plaza, she’s still earn a star on my boulevard. And I’m still kicking myself for missing Marisela’s performance at the last W.I.P. I’m such a heel…..

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