On Today’s interview we talked with Laura Cruz a program manager during the day. A published poetry writer and all around creator. We talked to her about her body of work , in particular a poem that got published in poetry on buses project. The poem can be found in the following location
The interview can be found below:
What town are you from and where do you call home?
I’m a proud jibara from Canovanas, Puerto Rico and currently living in Seattle, Washington.
When did you start writing poetry?
I’ve been making up poems, stories and songs since I was very little. I think a lot of it comes from my family’s love and respect for music and singing. My maternal grandfather loved “trova” and as a I kid I often listened to “trovadores” while my father and my uncle played the guitar and the puerto rican “cuatro”. I often hear that puertorican spanish is very “sing-song-“y and in my family’s case is also very true. As corny as it sounds, I often hear the poetry in their voices.
What would you call your major creative projects?
I’m in the middle of a lengthy obsession with comics. About ten years ago I created a webcomic called Shallow Betties, starring childhood friends that lived far away and new friends from college. That was a fun way to connect to people I love and it showed me how much I enjoy getting ideas out through a mix of writing and drawing. Right now I’m exploring two different stories that I’ll turn into graphic novels: a conspiracy-fueled romance/mystery, and a supernatural exploration on mental health. The first one’s plot is almost done, so I’ll move into rough storyboarding soon. The second one is in its beginning stages, but I know exactly the feel and atmosphere I want for that story.
On the other hand, Im also very passionate about history. I do a lot of genealogy research for my family and also research the history of the places I visit. Im working on a puerto rican genealogy blog that I hope to get going this year, and am also putting together a few biographies of several characters I’ve run into during my research. One of those works best as a podcast, I think, so that will be a fun experiment for the future.
You have a very eclectic body of work, what motivates you to try different things?
I’m very curious about the process and energy involved in creating, so trying out different mediums is vital to me. Sometimes all it takes is a few projects to know that a certain medium isn’t for me, sometimes I’ll realize it much later. The main things that have been a constant are writing and drawing. I feel uneasy if I cant draw or write so I try to keep my experimentation centered around that.
Being present and living the act of creation is the best motivator for me. Having an end result will be satisfying, but focusing on what I’m doing helps me learn more. I also keep quotes posted around my desk to keep me going. One of my favorite motivators is a quote from Amy Poehler’s book “Yes Please” : ” You do it because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing. ”
How did you end up writing for Poetry on Buses?
I ride the bus daily to go to work and have always been amused at the empty ad space inside them. When I saw a call for poems – and was very nostalgic for Puerto Rico- I knew I had to write a poem for my family. The poem came out as an impulse (and between a few tears, I must admit). I was overjoyed when it was selected, and I hope it reminded others of their loved ones as well.
What was the most challenging part about writing this piece?
The character limit for this piece was very strict: both the original and its translation had to fit in a small space inside a bus. The translation was a whole other factor I had to take into consideration. The direct translation of something like “mi corazon se alegra ” doesn’t have quite the same ring to it in english. Thankfully, the organization setting up Poetry on Buses (4 culture) shared my poem with poet Rafael Sanchez, and he helped me review the poem and assisted in the translation.
Do you have any words for younger people interested in creative endeavors?
Spend time listening to your mind and body as you create. Figure out what you truly like and what kind of creative projects create a spark for you. Don’t worry about who will like or dislike your work, do it for the energy you feel while you are making it.