Tag Archives: blog

Returning to the Wild

April 10, 2022

Culture and Society

Hello.

It’s been a few months since I last posted here on my blog. I decided to take a break last fall to focus my energy on a big project. That undertaking extended through the winter and ended about three weeks ago. I raised my body out of that subterranean depth only to return now above ground and fully intact, as far as I can tell.

This return feels more like being a polar bear waking from hibernation at the wrong season—squinting at the brightness of the sun and sneezing miserably. I should have woken up much sooner, but alas, tardiness must be a better friend than absence.

I come back to this space wondering what I want to say. Over the last couple of years, I indulged in lots of book reviews and thoughtful posts about my reading practices. Right now, I am not certain that I want to continue along that path.

Through the foreseeable future, I will keep this space open to any topic that stirs my interest, and I will spend a lot of posts thinking aloud about how I am building a life for myself as an active artist—with the pitfalls of self-doubt and the triumph of accomplishment beckoning to me in their own irrepressible ways.

There is, of course, a purpose that shapes the foundation of this blog. I want to be a good writer. I have been a writer all of my life within various art forms such as essays, short stories, poetry, song lyrics, and film scripts. As with any craft, one can only improve by doing the work as often and as consistently as possible.

I want to write whatever comes to mind about my life, art, and culture, and it is time to do so. I have a lot to say.

I invite you, dear reader, to join me again in this place. The doors are now open. There’s lots of natural light for you and elephants to roam freely. I have made plenty of space for them and you to stay.

—Roqué

Stop Comparing Yourself to Other People

September 22, 2019

Culture and Society

There is one thing I have come to know in life. No matter how much I have accomplished and how far I have gone, there is always at least one person who has gone even farther and accomplished more. Perhaps it is human nature to compare oneself to others. Even so, I do not believe that this justifies perpetuating this behavior. Similarly, many of us are prone to destructive behaviors like alcoholism and drug addiction, but we ultimately have the choice not to indulge in them.

In my experience, comparing oneself to others only serves to make you feel less proud about yourself, your accomplishments, and your life in general. It can become a way to put yourself down.

Would it be terrible to just be happy for that person who is prettier/smarter/more wealthy/etc.? No, certainly not, but it is definitely not easy.

I suppose this is where jealousy and envy come in. Someone else has something you covet, and this makes you feel lousy and inferior.

Perhaps the root of the problem is an utter lack of genuine love, appreciation for, and confidence in everything in your life. That’s a big problem, but maybe there is something you can do about it.

Here is a short list of intentions to help you stop comparing yourselves to others:

  1. Instead of being envious, try to admire that other person and to learn from them. They did not get to where they are without at least a little effort. The lessons they have to teach can be invaluable to your own journey and personal goals.
  2. Take a moment every day to write about what you are thankful for in your life. Integrate this practice as a daily priority right up there with eating food and drinking water. Gratitude makes us truly appreciate the inherent richness within our lives.
  3. If you cannot help but negatively compare yourself to someone else, then see if you can ignore that particular person and shift your energy and attention to someone you actually admire and whose life truly represents something you aspire to.
  4. Lastly, see if you can actually meet the person who you are envious of and get to know them a little. You might find that they are human too and face their own challenging struggles. The truth that you discover may be entirely different from the glamorous impression you’ve been harboring in your head.

I have to say that none of this is easy. There is something incredibly difficult about not comparing yourself to others.

I constantly remind myself that life is not a competition and that I have so much in my own life to cherish and celebrate. Therein lies the key to preventing this self-defeating behavior. One must be constantly vigilant to watch out for when it happens and also celebrate everything about yourself and your life that is unique and wonderful.

I am not a psychologist or an expert on human behavior. This topic is something I have struggled with in the past, and I thought it would be worthwhile to share my thoughts on the matter. If you know of good ways to stop comparing yourself to others, let me know in the comments below.

Until my next post, be kind to yourself and celebrate everything in your life that you love and cherish.

-Roqué

How I Write

June 9, 2019

Culture and Society

There is tremendous value in writing.

Committing one’s thoughts to an empty page affords you the willingness and ability to communicate well. Whether the written form is a private journal entry, a book, a blog post, a screenplay, or a letter to a friend, the end result is the same. You get to exercise that muscle in your brain that allows you to organize your thoughts clearly, vividly, and confidently.


For starters, it is important to understand the value of writing.

  1. Writing is more than just physically writing (or typing) something down. Writing is the practice of creating a roadmap to the intricate thoughts in your mind. Deep inside your head, there are winding roads that lead to forgotten places. Some destinations are worth the journey, but you have to find your own way first. Writing drives you forward to those places worth finding.

  2. Out of the thousands of objects and sensations we feel, hear, touch, and smell every day of our lives, there are only a handful that truly matter. Our minds are constantly inundated with messages from our environment. In response, we have thousands, if not millions, of thoughts that run a mile a minute through our brains. The practice of writing is a way to distinguish between the thoughts that hold value versus the ones that simply clutter up space. When you write down the burdens and thoughts in your mind, you separate the signals from the noise.

  3. Based on personal experience, eloquence does not bloom out of speaking alone. When you understand the art and form of the written word, it becomes easier to replicate that form when you speak out loud. There is a reason why writers and journalists tend to be the most eloquent (and quite often concise) speakers in the world. Their spoken words are extensions and reflections of what they write. They have the advantage of understanding the form so that the function becomes seamless.

  4. Writing creates a quiet space in your life for reflection and contemplation. When I give myself the time to wander through my thoughts, reactions, and feelings, I find a stronger footing within my own convictions and values. I grow to understand what my instincts are telling me in abstract and nonlinear ways. More often than not, the worthwhile ideas are not the most straightforward.

For those of you who know me personally, you may have noticed that I do all kinds of music and visual work, but the truth is that I have always been a writer at my core. All of my artistic work has stemmed from my sensibilities and daily practices as a writer and the way a writer organizes her/his thoughts and ideas.

If writing is something you are interested in exploring, here are some of the lessons I have learned along with way.

  1. Write every day. Literally, write something, anything, every day. Eventually, your mind and body will grow accustomed to the muscle memory, focus, and internal flow that writing demands. You can keep a daily journal or maintain a blog. (I do both of these.) Alternately, you can work on a book, short story, play, poetry, or song lyrics. The end result matters less. The goal is to create an ongoing habit of writing consistently.

  2. Write first. Edit later. I have a terrible habit of editing what I write as I go. I cannot resist correcting spelling or questioning sentence structures. As a result, this interrupts the stream of consciousness from which creative ideas can flow and slows down the completion of your work. I am getting better at this, but it is not easy for me. The goal is to first commit to paper the thoughts and ideas you have. Then, make corrections and adjustments afterword. The ideas are what’s valuable here. Get those down first.

  3. Edit for brevity. Writing that is superfluous is no different than a long political speech that says a whole lot about nothing. If you have ever heard one of those, you get the point. Particularly if you want others to read your writing, be concise. Time will be saved, and your ideas will be more potent.

  4. Those who write read. I am a bookworm who reads all kinds of books and numerous articles online. I constantly hunt for topics that genuinely interest me. If you enjoy writing, it is beneficial to see how other writers approach the artistry and craft of it. You might find a writer, essay, or story that inspires you. In my case, the day I started to read Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray is one I will always cherish. Even though its story is dark and unsettling, Wilde’s prose is flowing, graceful, and elegant. Reading that book was like discovering magic. I never knew writing could be so rich.

  5. Find your own authentic and creative flow. Ultimately, the goal is to find your own voice in whatever authentic and creative form your writing manifests. This may take a long time to figure out, but it is worthwhile when it finally happens. Whether you want to write about social and political topics or keep a private journal, the endgame is to cultivate the ideas that matter to you and enliven your spirit.

  6. Live an adventurous life. Your imagination will only take you so far. The experiences in your life will deepen the emotions and vibrancy of your writing. Take risks. Eat ice cream. Scream aloud on a roller coaster ride. Be sexy. (For that matter, give yourself permission to enjoy sex in whatever form or fetish that demands.) Seek out intimacy. Value your friendships. Defy your enemies. Be bold. Wear high heels. Build a sloppy mess in your kitchen to make something delicious. Get your heart broken and then heal. (Then do it all over again.) Laugh as much as humanly possible. Sneeze loudly. Be grateful. Find love and hold it close. Go for long walks outdoors. Cuddle with kittens and oceans of puppies. Hug your parents joyfully. Cuss like a sailor in drag. Be defiant. Be whatever the fuck you want to be. And yes, eat ice cream.

Now, find an empty page and write aplenty. Words are meant to be seen as much as they are heard. They are the guideposts that lead us to our purest selves.

-Roqué