Category Archives: amaneceres: inspiration

The Cameroon Story

So I recently assigned an important supporting character, Emiliane (Mili), the nationality of Cameroonian. She needed to be applying for political asylum in the U.S. (not arriving as a refugee), and she needed to be French-speaking, Christian, and clearly non-Mexican looking. After looking at a chart of who applies most for asylum, I switched from my first idea of Congo to Cameroon. But I didn’t know anything about the politics of Cameroon. And I had to construct her story of persecution, as my main character meets her translating for her at the community organization representing her, and her asylum interview and hearing would figure in the story.

Two Fridays ago, I got a very last-minute opportunity to go to the Boston DOJ Immigration Court for a training on appearing before the court and a mock asylum hearing. The night before the training, the HLS contact emailed us the mock affidavit of the client, stating his entire story of persecution, and mock direct and cross-examination questions for him.

Are you ready? The pretend client was from Cameroon. Of all things. I was literally handed the life story, family and geographic details, and tale of political persecution of a person from this small and unknown country. City names, names of opposition groups. Hard to believe.
I couldn’t think anything but that, I better keep writing this book. Mili is very pleased that she’ll get a strong and accurate story.

I woke up

Mi abuela raised three daughters all by herself, with no help
I think about her struggle and I find the strength in myself
These words, melt in my mouth
They hot, like the jail cell in the South…

This morning, I woke up
Feeling brand new, I jumped up
Feeling my highs, and my lows
In my soul, and my goals…

“Get By,” Talib Kweli

It’s going to be a good week. Wrote 2 more pages in very relaxed fashion yesterday. Am totally obsessed with the above song. Now have more than 2 weeks to write 5 more pages. CAKE! May just knock it off in the next few days. I’d love to get so massively ahead of my schedule that I have to redo the whole thing. Happy Monday.


Above my writing desk, taped on the wall, is this present from my last writing class instructor:

Concerning all acts of initiative and creation, there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings, and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.

Begin it now.

– Goethe