Cruznotes Newsletter by Jaime Alejandro | 1.22 Recap
The Longest Monday in History. New Scaffolding.
January is the longest Monday of the year. But February always begins on a good note (this may be incredibly hokey and unnecessary but I think it’s worth celebrating because life is short and the world is on fire and we must find joy wherever we can):
Madd and I celebrate our dating anniversary this month. This woman is the reason my life is prosperous on all fronts, and I would not be half as committed to pursuing my artistic endeavors if it weren’t for her trust, support, and complete inspiration.
We met as kids 16 years ago.
16 YEARS AGO.
I pause not to groan about time, only to recollect with extreme gratitude just how effortless our connection and commitment to each other has been. I’m not going to lie, life hasn’t been a rosy stroll on a summer day in mossy Maine, especially finding our footing after college. However, I know for certain many of those obstacles would have been insurmountable without Madd’s steadfast thinking, her determination, and tireless humor. We’ve grown so much together. And we have laughed our asses off. I fall in love every single day.
Thanks for being my person, and the core of my dreams. I love you Madelyn.
Anyway, here’s what else happened…
Arts Calling Podcast
My first episode of the year was a delightful conversation with Canadian playwright Norm Reynolds. He shared so many wonderful stories about developing his works, his journey as an educator, and how often our love for the arts will win out in the end. I was left with so many moments of truth and inspiration to start my year!
I found Paul’s work on Instagram a few years back. He creates these intense, dark scores that stay with you for a while. I liked his musical aesthetic and wanted to get to know the person behind the work. We discuss his film scoring trajectory, his collaborative process, and how he felt at a certain point that he needed to ‘kill the piano.’
So thankful we got to connect!
Not much on the podcasting front this month, mostly because of the following:
Bless Me, Coatlicue (a staged reading)
In January, I started rehearsals for this staged reading at the University of Wyoming. It’s been surreal to return to my old stomping grounds to take part in this beautiful play about one of the towering figures of Chicano Literature, Rudolfo Anaya.
I’ve been doing zoom rehearsals after work during the week and in person rehearsals on the weekend. It’s been an interesting time, but I can’t wait for this play presentation in front of an audience this coming week. I’m incredibly grateful to my professor, Dr. Cecilia Aragon, for trusting me with this role. I’m also beyond thrilled to work with this phenomenal UW cast! May this reading be a beautiful homage to a monumental writer, and to those of us living in the divide.
Cruz & Jonez Round 3!
This is the last of the three songs we recorded in our early December session. I wish we could have done this sooner. I consider Divergence an excellent step forward in our songwriting collaboration. It feels more cohesive, like the lyrics finally match Dust’s musical awesomeness.
Good Characters Here
Earlier this month, I wrote this short piece for the Rising Voices mentorship program. I had a few days at the beginning of the year so I went for it, writing an intimate character study between an Abuela, her granddaughter, and a caretaker. I really enjoyed working on this as it came together quite quickly. Never heard back from the Rising Voices thing, but now that these characters here, I’ve grown fond of them. I’ll be using this script a bit further down the road. Maybe there’s an audio play in here to produce?
The First Cluster
As I mentioned in the last newsletter, I started the Coalition for Digital Narratives.
The first Cluster is underway. The theme is THE SQUARE. This has been a project of much concern to me. This is the first one out of the gate. I have three weeks to bring a few ideas to life. I need about twenty minutes of content. I should be able to make that mark. The issue is coordinating the talent to participate in production. Locally, I think there’s enough interest to act in new work, and I have created a Facebook group for local talent to participate. Even though the Coatlicue staged reading opens this Friday, I will have some time this weekend and early next week to nail down the first batch of story ideas. I have to write like a maniac but there’s time to write and produce at least twenty minutes of content to assemble a CLUSTER. Stay tuned.
Hey, check out the new website!
That’s about as good a recap as I can write at this time.
I’m often a distracted Ahab, searching for that elusive whale while tackling a pod of them already. Have I not enough whales? Why do I ask myself out loud in the middle of the night so boisterously I wake up my family? Should I see a medical professional? No, it’s just my penchant for telenovela melodrama. The creative pursuit is erratic and difficult to manage at times, despite my efforts to organize and prioritize. But to be honest with you, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Life is too short to second-guess this creative drive, especially when the things we want are for the benefit of our people. Yes, it’s often messy and off-kilter, but I just want to find joy in story, collaboration, and bringing the arts to my community in my own weird way. I don’t want Hollywood or Broadway or a Spotify deal, I just want my art to generate connection. And if that’s all I really need, what’s the holdup? Though frenzied, January felt like a proper beginning.
May you be happy and free, my friends. Make art, much love.