Looking Back:
Reflections on The Resurrección 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 hospital 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!

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my journey