Author Q & A with Jessica Mendoza
February 16, 2022
Today we are pleased as punch to bring you the first of several interviews we conducted with authors that contributed their stories, scripts, and poems to our latest issue.
This week’s Author Q&A is with Jessica Mendoza. Jessica is a professional writing tutor born and raised in LA. She’s an avid reader, lover of small animals, and a serious movie musical nerd who spends her days talking about her various interests and story ideas to anyone who will listen. We absolutely love her flash essay, “Nanami in the Blue Dress,” and were excited to learn more about her and her essay.
We asked Jessica to tell us something she learned about herself, craft, or life in general through writing and revising this essay?
Her response: “‘Nanami in the Blue Dress’ was actually a piece that I had in my back pocket for years now. Being queer, Black, and Latina created a whole host of intersecting experiences that I didn’t realize affected me so deeply until I was fully an adult. I didn’t even know I had such intense feelings for this childhood best friend until I was in college and ran into her again. The whole process of meeting “Nanami”, befriending her, falling in adolescent, innocent love with her, then being rejected by her for my ethnicity completely shifted my own self-perception. In writing “Nanami in the Blue Dress”, I found that I keep a piece of my former love for Nanami to remind me of the way the world perceives me, and the way I must – unfortunately – be emotionally prepared for the prejudice of others. This piece taught me that the human experience of love and bigotry gave me wisdom that I would not come to understand for many years.”
Well put! Writing often helps us see experiences as they were and also process them in new ways to help us understand more about ourselves and the world around us. It’s a wondrous process.
We then asked Jessica what she might tell her younger writing self.
Her response: “I was once terrified of having my work published. I felt, somehow, that it would lay all the parts of me bare, and I’d be completely vulnerable. But the COVID-19 pandemic really forced me to prioritize. I had to sit down with my work and really ask myself if I wanted my writing to stay completely mine forever, or if I was brave enough to share it. I realized that I wanted my writing to be seen and that I wanted that vulnerability. I would absolutely encourage my younger self to be bolder and put her writing out there even if she didn’t like what she was working on, especially if she was scared. Waiting for perfection is a losing game, and nothing is gained if you don’t at least try.”
We agree that sharing what you have written and sending it out into the world to be published can be scary. As writers ourselves, we know that taking that risk goes hand in hand with possible rejection and that’s always tough. We’re grateful you took the risk with us and allowed us to publish your essay!
And finally, as it is will all our artists, we asked what she thinks of when she hears the phrase “The Good Life?”
Her response: “I think of taking the scenic route. The phrase “The Good Life” inspires us to see the beauty in everyday life, and to see our very existence on this Earth as a miracle. The Good Life inspires warmth, friendliness, a cold drink on a balcony with the sun warming my face. It pairs well with the wonderful artwork and imaginative pieces published in The Good Life Review!”
Thanks for that Jessica! And thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions, share a little bit more about yourself, and for being a part of our winter issue!
~The Good Life Review Team