Today’s Authentic Expression is by Nicole Criona, a very dear and good friend of mine. We go back a looooong way, having walked a few interesting roads together, to say the least. I love her to pieces.
Nicole is the kind of dame that doesn’t kick you when you’re down, she goes the distance for, and with her friends, regardless of where the road forks or ends.
She’s radiant, brilliant, talented, anthologized and one hell of a bird. It is a privilege and an honor to share her with you.
Tell me about you: Your name, pseudonym, where you’re from and what your read is about?
My name is Nicole Criona, I don’t have a writing pseudonym, but I do have nicknames: Nicki and Crionaberry. I was born right here, in the city of angels, which has made reinventing myself on a large scale slightly more complicated. I get the impression it’s easier to reinvent oneself after moving to a new city, something I’ve never done.
My read: I am the co-owner of www.LAwritersgroup.com, which has been around for 5-1/2 years now. We run peer-to-peer writers groups throughout Los Angeles. Our groups are open to all kinds and levels of writers and we focus on getting words on the page and peer-to-peer feedback on works in progress. I also run three blogs:
- My personal blog, Verbs Via Ones and Zeros, at http://verbsviaonesandzeros.blogspot.com/, which I use mostly to talk about things that irk me or interest me. I unofficially call it a gripe blog.
- The Official LAwritersgroup.com blog, where we post news about LAwritersgroup.com, stories of interest to writers, and places to submit writing.
- My newest blog is www.eventsforwriters.com, where I publish events, mostly but not limited to events in the Los Angeles area that may be of interest to writers.
What does being a woman mean to you?
Wow, that is one loaded question. Being a woman means not being a man. Yeah, okay, that’s a cheat. I have to say that I’ve never sat down and thought about this question. I’ve been surrounded by women my entire life. I have three sisters and no brothers. Even most of our pets were female. It’s just a natural state of being for me, and was never something I sat down and pondered. As women, so much is out of our control, physically, that the fact that women have the urge to control seems like a perfectly natural emotional reaction to lack of it we often have physically. I suppose then that to me, being female means finding balance. Figuring out when to hold on and when to let go. I think both genders have their unique challenges and gifts. I’ve never been one of those girls who feels that women should stick together just because they are women. To me, that is just as bad as men sticking together just because they are men. I think women who really fit together should stick together, protect each other, and support one another.
Have you, are you, or will you reinvent yourself and, of course, what does reinventing yourself mean to you?
I am in a constant state of reinvention. When I was in my late 20’s, I reinvented myself as a writer and embarked on a 15-year process of practicing and learning the craft, finding my voice, and having faith that I do have talent that equals my passion, something I will likely never stop doubting. Well, it wasn’t so much a conscious reinvention as a late discovery of who I was, but I may have never discovered it had I not been open to new experiences and reinvention in general. I’ve often wished I’d figured that out sooner, and am deeply jealous of people who discover their life’s purpose early in life. I didn’t find out until my early 30’s that people actually went to school to study creative writing, and I’d never even heard of an MFA in Creative Writing (something I don’t have) until people in my writers groups started showing up with them. Reinvention, to me, is a constant process of self-discovery and self-tweaking, a lifelong unraveling process that leads us to deeper understanding of ourselves, at our core, and what we will and will not accept and can handle. That said, some reinventions, however wonderful they might be, might just not be possible. I’ve been unsuccessfully trying to reinvent myself as someone who loves to do laundry for 20 years now, but I remain hopeful.