Emerald City Comic Con


Hello my lovelies!

This week in Dragon Den news, we have EMERALD CITY COMIC CON! This is my first year attending this convention and I have to say, Seattle knows how to put on a good show of art, literature, and fandom pride. Emerald City Comic Con “is the premier comic book and pop culture convention in the Northwest, taking place in beautiful downtown Seattle, Washington” (as stated on their site).

Now, why would a well-educated writer be interested in comic cons? Or pop culture? Or, for that matter, anything besides literary fiction and poetry?

For the same reason this blog is called Dragon’s Den: I love to gather, collect, review, create, consume, and live art in all forms. Literary art, High Fiction, Low Fiction, Mid-grade, Paperback trade novels, classically bound art books, and all forms of beauty. This world is rift with wonder and comic cons are filled brimming with gold I would like to showcase.

But they also have something unique, something I had trouble finding in Graduate School.

Fearless love of the craft of creation.

I attended several panels, since the convention began late Thursday afternoon. Many of them were panels of how to break into the industry, how to forge a path in art, the business of writing, etc. Many gave advice I have heard before. I will now summarize them here:


Each panel kinda boiled down to those three bits. The last panel I attended, however, hammered home a lot for me, given these three seemingly simple rules. The speaker, Alex DeCampi, made it clear that creating your work, is work, and should be treated as such. Every artist must treat their work, their craft, like a 9-5 job. Be ruthless with your time because time is something everyone has a limited resource of. Money will come and go but time is always ticking away. Use it.

Also, you have to figure out how you plan to get to your work. Schedule it in. Have a 9-5 job? Work on your real work after 5 and don’t be afraid to be strict about it. Clock out and Clock in.

She also spoke about the feeling of needing permission to create work (and I have felt that need so hard). When she spoke about it, her words resonated with me:


You don’t need permission to create a tentacle kitty. DO IT. Trust me, someone will buy it. Hell, I bought one.

Everyone say hello to Mr. Teal.

Create your own plan and give yourself permission to create the work you wish to create. Ultimately, that is what helps people get hired.

If you write a million words about a topic you hate, hoping to get a steady job in the field, you will get a job in the field… but you will hate it.

But… if you write for 10,000 hours, each month, about something you love, creating your worlds and poetry, you will get a job writing what you want, and you will love it…

Most of the time… The panelist also spoke about how the mindset changes once you are a professional. You get paid and there will be days when you just don’t want to inked that panel. But that deadline looms… The thing is, you got to. JUST DO IT. And get to the next panel.

With those thoughts, my lovelies, I will now end with a series of pictures. I hope these inspire you and get that fire in your belly ignited. Happy crafting!


Bounty Hunter Sighted!
Wirt and Greg from Under the Garden Wall
Pony with Volunteer Gear!
Groot and I

Writing and Other Jobs

What do the following professions have in common?
– A Janitor

– An Airline Reservations Attendant

– A Coffee Shop Employee

– A Potato Chip Inspector

– An Apothecaries’ Assistant

Answer: Each were jobs held by famous writers. Stephen King was a Janitor. Harper Lee was an Airline Reservations Attendant. Margaret Atwood was a Coffee Shop Employee. Octavia Butler was a Potato Chip Inspector. And, of course, Agatha Christie was An Apothecaries’ Assistant.

And I too have held many different jobs. I have worked for the Department of Labor, a tutoring center, and two educational non-profits.

When I was graduate student for San Francisco State University, I worked as a Teacher Assistant for a course on the Business of Creative Writing. The point of the course was the address the very valid concerns of young writers.


The truth is there is no straightforward equation or path when you chose to write for a living. There will be people who claim there is. That they have done it one way and it worked. But that’s the thing. That was THEIR path.


The three things that are consistent between all paths where art and literature are concern are as follows:
1) those who want to create, consume the things which they wish t create with relish
2) those who want to create, create daily, weekly, monthly, yearly
3) those who want to create, do not give up in the face of rock bottom – they keep going and they keep submitting

Those who WISH to create, give up. They put off creating. They consume things that don’t remind them of their dreams.

Writers are readers, they produce, they submit, and they do not give up.

What does that mean for practical advice? If you need to eat to write, then work somewhere for a while and write. I work as a Toddler Assistant Teacher for a nonprofit. I write and read everyday, either on my tumblr or twitter, or facebook, or wordpress. The work with my students has given me the privilege to read more children’s books. It is a dream of mine to write a children’s book. Will I get there? Maybe, maybe not? Will I give up…


As long as Dragon’s Den is up and the internet exists, I will write. This is my pledge. To you, my audience, and my fellow writers. Do not give up, do not surrender, and always keep writing.

For more on the different professions held by famous authors, click here.

Failing Right

I caught a bit of insomnia tonight and figured that it was time to write. Sometimes I take this time to write in my journal but I thought maybe now would be a good time to tackle a question a writing Professor once asked her class. The question that she gave us was: How willing are you to fail?

Honestly, at the time, failure was to my mind the worst thing in the world. To fail, to me, was to die. Failure was being left behind while the world went on without you, failure was making mistakes period, it was being a mistake by creating mistakes.

Since graduation, that question kept popping up into my mind.

I’ve realized, that my thinking regarding failure is, itself, flawed. I’ve come to this realization only through living outside of the classroom. There is no such thing as an overall grading system that has been standardized by society in which a person can fail. There are just ways of dealing with failure that are beneficial and ways that are detrimental to a person or persons’ well-being.

At least that is my current understanding.

The two videos I’ve attached are helpful in understanding this. “Mary & Max” for instance demonstrates how two individuals cope with the imperfections of their world and themselves. The young girl Mary is very much like how I was in school. I still, in many ways, believe that everything has a solution. My change in thought though is similar to how to changed throughout the story. A lot of things have solutions, yet sometimes you do not have to solve them.

Words, for example, enter the English language all the time and often, their meaning is lost in translation.

Does that mean English speakers in America should stop using these words? No! Of course not. That would take a color out of the rainbow (or colour, if you are reading this where British English is predominantly spoken).

The idea that failure in and of itself is not the end all be all bad, is still new to many people. No one likes being wrong. Which brings me to this video:

(BTW, science is more like magic pixie dust then writing! Watch the video for reference. Also, ALL WRITERS SHOULD BE RESEARCH STORY-TELLERS, mumble mumble).

I tried to beat back failure and my own self-esteem issues with my grades, my perfect attendance, and my “good-girl” persona. I struggle with a strong since of love and belonging because, unless I worked hard, I did not believe I was worthy of love and belonging. I had to be perfect. I’ve learned that 1) I am painfully not perfect outside of academia and 2) I need to find a way to believe in my own worthiness.

Now, let’s go back to the question my Prof. asked:

How willing are you to fail?

Do you have the courage to be imperfect?

As I continue down the road of adulthood, I hope to be more courageous in my imperfection. I hope to become more willing to fail and thereby be more willing to succeed and get out of my own way.

Speaking of which… given that it is almost 2 in the morning, I should hit the hay.

Peace, love, and pancakes.

Until next time, be good to each other.

Life after the MFA (5 months after graduation)

MFA ring

It has been 4 months since I graduated from San Francisco State University. The student life for me has ended but the student within me lives on in what is commonly known as the “real world.” The “real world” classrooms are not as comfortable to me as the ones I lived in for 8 years of my college/university life. But, I believe that this is a good thing. I’ve craved a challenge that I could tackle and the biggest challenge I am facing right now is one I have been hiding from within the comfort of the classroom:

The Balancing Act.

What is the Balancing Act? Well, we learn about it early on in school, when we first encounter time management. I’ve always applied time management to academics, eating, sleeping, hygiene, family and friends. It was very linear and set. The key word there was SET. Little changed once the semester started and the books were bought. Nowadays, everything and anything can change with very little if any warning.

Workplace schedules change daily, health care changes, meetings change, settings change. In the past 4 months, I’ve been to San Diego, Germany, East Bay, North Bay, South Bay and if there was a West Bay I would probably been there too but I’m up against the Ocean where I live. The constant uncertainty can be exhausting and very time consuming.

Thankfully, I believe I am starting to get the hang of it (knock on wood). I understand now what my professors at State were trying to warn me and my fellow writers. Once outside the MFA, writing feels like a luxury that one cannot afford.

Yet, as a writer I cannot afford to stop writing.

I must then return to a sense of balance; the balance between self-care, work, and writing.
Self-care is everything that one has to do to stay functional in the world. Doctors visits, health insurance, rent payments, phone payments, car payments, cleaning your room, buying new clothes, washing clothes, washing dishes, buying groceries, cooking food, talking with loved ones, taking your medications on time, watching a funny show, reading, playing videogames, etc.

Work is what you do to pay the bills. From the time you leave the house to go to work until the time you step out of your work office that time spent working. Applying for work is also work, as all us underemployed or unemployed graduates know.

Writing is what I am doing now while listening to Netflix play in the background. Writing is also reading. So reading books on writing or science or math or dragons, etc go into this category. Notice that reading is also a part of self-care. Reading for your writing life and for your life is a good practice, in my book. It lets you have room for really High literature and really low literature. The kale and the cheeseburger books, respectively.

I hope to get better at the Balancing Act. I’m in the process of learning through trial by error. With any luck, I can reach my center of balance and feel the flow of my writing increase in the next month.

Thanks for reading!

Peace, love, and pancakes!

Even Dragons are scared when they first hatch.

This May I will be graduating from San Francisco State University with a MFA in Creative Writing. I will be the first in my immediate family to have a graduate degree. I am the 3rd daughter of my mother to receive a Bachelors. To top it all off, most of my family on my Nanay’s side are in the medical field, so I’ve gone in a totally different direction from what I was raised with. So, I’m finishing and starting on a long uncharted journey.

And I am terrified.

There is still a lot of work to do before May; finishing up class work, continue working as a tutor until graduation, continue with TAing for one of the best poets in the Bay Area (my personal opinion because well …  dammit just read Diwata!)  editing and formatting my final creative project (my 40-56 poem manuscript of Dragon’s Den), applying for jobs, moving out after obtaining a job, balancing all this with loved ones, old and new, etc. All these things-to-do keep me very busy, almost busy enough to forget that I am terrified of what lies beyond the egg shell thin Months of April and May.

Yet, I am some how comforted by this fear.

This fear is familiar.

As a writer, I encounter this fear every time I stare at the blank page. Part of the reason why there are gapes of several months between posts is this fear. Fear of screwing up, fear of failure, fear of not doing justice to the potential and gifts that I have been given. All of these fears are silencing. Damning even.

Then, how do writers, people in general, get over the fear of endings and beginnings?

I can’t answer that in one blog. I am, after all, only one Rosie. However, I do know what works for me. So, here are 5 tips to help you young dragons cope with the fear of breaking free of your little eggs:

1) Perfection is a myth.

This is not to say that everything in the universe is comprised of pure randomized chaos and there is no structure. This is just to say that the idea of ONE PERFECT THING is well wrong. Logically, it is wrong. For instance, there are over 7 billion people on the planet. 7 billion.  That’s a lot of humans. Each human has their own belief systems. If one belief system isn’t the same as another does that make that first belief system wrong? Unless you are a bigot, OF COURSE NOT! There are too many ways to do one thing, therefore the “right way” mentality is flawed by the get go.

2) We learn from mistakes

This I learned from experience. Growing up, I pursued the straight A life like it was the only thing keeping me alive. However, I can say this with the utmost honesty: I LEARNED LESS FROM CLASSES THAT GAVE ME A’s. The classes I learned the most in were where I was challenged enough that I hit my head against walls. One of my favorite classes at CAL was my AIDS in Africa class. I got a B in the class, one of the lowest grades I ever got and I remember everything about that class; from the feminist angle the teacher approach the subject to the critique of NGO’s and Western ideology.

3) Others learn from our mistakes

When someone sees you try and even if you fail, the fact that you tried has an effect on the person who witnessed your attempt. Think of all the visionaries of the past. Many died in the attempt to improve the world. Most suffered for their dreams. On their backs, so much have been accomplished. For more on this check out Cosmos.

4) Innovations often come from goof-ups

Silly Putty, Artificial Sugar, etc!

5) Nothing ventured, nothing earned

If you never try, and fail, (and try again and again into infinity), you will never know your limits AND your strengths.

So, my fellow hatch-lings, it’s time to break open our shells, stretch out our heads and open our eyes to our own potentials!

As always, keep on writing, painting, and creating.


Journeys in Things Getting Better (slowly but surely)

Yesterday, I posted something extremely personal and also really hard to read (still haven’t re-read it). I figured that I need to write a follow-up posts about/proof of things getting better and how you or someone you love can work things out when they are in crisis mode. So here are some journeys on the path of healing.

First list of journeys!

Forgive yourself for everything, especially things out of your control and yes your brain isn’t in your compelete control; move around, it’s surprising how much that helps; talk to people, but only to a select few ’cause not everyone can help you through this; state your truth knowing that it is not written in stone, you’re not God and those tablets never said you’re worthless; eat something and take your meds on time, sounds simple but damn hard when you’re in crisis; draw, write, sing, dance etc until all ur anger and sadness are gone even if that takes a life time, at least you spent a lifetime making something beautiful; and do small acts of kindness, at least 5 a day, give up ur seat to an elder or a family, do ur housemates dishes without them knowing, write thank you letters, give out food to a homeless person, volunteer somewhere, tell someone that they are loved, etc x20.

Additional journeys!

More Journeys in Getting Better: Treat yourself to something, even if it’s just a cookie or a cupcake (see Kid President on Youtube for reasons why; say thank you to people who helped you in any way (Thanks go out to Camille Dungy, Professor Stec, and Professor Dan Langton for helping me with my MFA applications and for helping me improve as a writer); laugh with a good friend about anything even if it doesn’t make sense out of context (You’re eyes are stupid!); and celebrate every victory knowing that it took a whole lot of people (not just you) to help you get this far. Gratitude helps a lot.

I’m still not close to 75%, negative thoughts continue to drift in and out of my head in rapid succession, but I’m getting there. So, to everyone out there remember: there is hope and even in the darkest of days there is light, even if the light is simply you’re own heart beat or a warm hand holding you up.

Peace, love, and Serenity.

Rosie Logging off.

Notes I Write to Myself when in Pain

I wrote the following while feeling really depressed last night (it’s unedited and really personal but because this is a blog about writing for beginners I figured this may help someone out here):

I’m feeling that pain again. It sucks. 24 years, 6 months, and 24 days. This is how long I’ve been alive. Everyday I try and try again and trying hurts. A lot. But: 24 years 6 months and 24 days. I tried each and every one of those days. And I’m still here, trying, knowing that when I have my “good days” I’ll read this and go WTF suicidal Rosie… your posting shit to over 100 people to read, some of them family you don’t talk to much, let alone call. But I know some people among the 100 + that follow this silly stream of feeds knows what it feels like to be in this kind of pain and right now I’m thinking of little 14 year old me alone in her room without internet, with no working phone, in the dark, trying to suffocate herself with a plastic bag and all I want to do is make it so that anyone of my loved ones who is going through this pain knows what I didn’t know back then: you’re not alone; you’re are loved; life won’t always suck and you have to learn to live for those bright happy moments like the smile of a new born baby, a perfectly constructed line of poetry, moments where you see the good in others and can imagine a world where you don’t have this pain. ‘Cause if you can imagine it, it can happen. Humans are amazing that way, and you are human and therefore amazing. Remember that you’re not an “accident.” Remember that you’re not a “waste of space.” If not God, believe in Math: there is nothing in the universe that is not accounted for in math. You’re a part of an equation you will never know about or can even imagine the gravity of, but if you didn’t exist that equation would be lost. Lost forever. Like 2+2 4 instead of 2+2 = 4. Imagine the world without the concept of zero. Zero allows for us to have computers (google it), go into space, achieve great feats of wonder no other species can yet accomplish. And zero is nothing. Nothing but an idea. A human idea. You’re not nothing; you’re human. Therefore, greater than nothing. Don’t delete yourself from life’s equation, the ripple effect is beyond the pain you’re feeling now. It would stretch far and wide and hit people you never knew. For the worst. Never for the better. Live if only to know you played your role. Little me, if I could I would tell you all this because you needed to hear it from someone who understands, who went through hell with you and is still here. You’re in a better place, just not the one we thought we’d be in, but little me the outside world isn’t hitting us so hard any more. Little me, we’re helping ppl in small doses even if it feels like we’re up against a large concrete mountain with a platoon of Nazi-loving giants. We’re brave enough to face our demons each week, to wake up on start the day even when we still want to pretend to be dead. We no longer sleep for 3 months straight! We no longer hide in our rooms hoping for death by starving ourselves. Even on days when we do starve ourselves we get up and do things for others until we can eat. Little me, WE’RE THE ONLY TUTOR THAT RECEIVES HUGS FROM STUDENTS! Last semester we help over 10 brilliant young adults see that they were brilliant and, little me, isn’t that what our middle school teachers did for us? Didn’t we look like them: scared of failing an English class because we never learned what a 5 or 10 letter word meant? Now we’re teaching others! Little me, we had the balls to through a resignation letter to our supervisor on the grounds that we’d rather stay in school and learn to write our truths and chase our dreams even if we are constantly scared of failure. And that’s okay to still be scared of failure, that’s natural. We just have to face failure and be willing to try again and again and again. We haven’t failed until we give up and Little Me, you haven’t given up. This pain is proof of it. Death is scary because you stop feeling pain. You feel nothing; not even the relief from this. And that is scary.

Writing this felt very therapeutic in the moment. Yet, I woke up still feeling down today. I’ve been slowly getting back on my feet. Finally ate a nutella sandwich and had some water. Called my therapist, texted my loved ones, called a loved one, talked it out. Felt like if I kept reaching out the feeling would go away and it slowly did. Only got worst when I stopped, thinking that it wasn’t worth trying again. I sorta look like I’ve given up right now: still in my PJ’s with a mess up of papers at my feet and my curly hair going mad (I look like a cross between a mad-scientist and a 19th century writer who woke up from a bad trip). But I do feel better. To anyone, young writers, artists, random web surfers, etc who have gone or are going through pain, remember that it’s temporary, even if it doesn’t feel like it. And man, it never feels like it when you’re in the moment. When I do feel better (not 100%; I’m aiming for 75 or 80), I hope to make a poem from the above free-write. Maybe include more specifics. Heck, maybe this will start my new manuscript; I will call it, Things Do Get Better.

And they do.

Now watch Kid President.