Mamalita is 8

My memoir, Mamalita, was published in November 2010, eight years ago this month. A lot has happened since then: My daughter, Olivia—whose adoption is the subject of Mamalita–is now a young woman of 16. Her brother, my son Mateo, is 14. Both my parents have died. Olivia’s older half-sister in Guatemala is the mother of two children. Olivia has attended four different schools. Mateo has transferred schools once.

I’ve met countless people touched by adoption, both in person and virtually, including (maybe) you if you’re reading this. “Adoption people” are my tribe, in a deep, lasting way I never expected. We speak the same language, a shorthand that feels sometimes to belong only to us. No explanations are necessary. There’s a comfort to that.

A few years after Mamalita was published, I began jotting down other ideas for stories. Adoption remained my obsession, but after penning a memoir and many essays, I realized some truths can only be expressed through fiction. One day, I opened a new Word document on my laptop and wrote: “Three trucks carried the soldiers up the dark mountain road to San Rolando. They rolled past corn and bean fields, past grazing pastures for cows and sheep, past rows of adobe houses with thatched roofs.”

The scene had come to me in a recurring dream, with details so vivid I felt I’d lived them.

In 18 days, I’ll graduate with an MFA in Creative Writing from Antioch LA. My thesis project opens with the San Rolando scene and contains the first 140 pages of my novel. The full novel draft contains 320 pages or 90,500 words.

I can’t predict if the novel will ever be published. All I know is I wrote the best book I could. I’m happy to have finished.

Thank you for walking this journey with me. xoxo

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2 Responses to “Mamalita is 8”

  1. Joan says:

    Jessica,

    Such a wonderful and admirable accomplishment!

    Kudos to you! Your mother and father and family are very proud of you. Walk tall. You did it!

    Time to exhale, relax and relish in your achievement.

    Joan

  2. Jessica says:

    Joan,

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you again!

    Exhale…

    Jessica

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