April of 2021 was an immense month for me. Overall, this entire year has been monumental, but April definitely had a lot going on. Between podcasts, performances, and my birthday, I also released my first book Corazón De Seda in April. And though busy feels like an understatement at this point, the sleepless nights have felt oddly worth it. I have been working on setting myself up for success, day in and day out for months (honestly more like years); and for once, I think the universe is giving me a break and allowing for things to fall into place. I am not a perfectionist by any means, but abandoning projects never felt like an option. So, I move forward, and finish the damn thing.
I’m sure with that little spiel you can gather that I cannot relax. I cannot look at an empty day in my schedule and say “ah yes, a day to do nothing.” Instead, I look at the emptiness and think of all the things I can do now since I have so much time. Last year, I took this energy and dedicated it to uplifting myself for once. I focused a lot of my energy into writing, something I had been doing since God knows when. And it paid off, and continues to pay off. I took many workshops, and actively took the time to infuse myself into the poetry and overall writing community. Somehow I find myself in a sea of incredibly talented humans, and feel honored. During all of this self-work, I had a conversation with my workshop instructor Desireé Dallagiacomo. While I was there to pick her mind on her process of creating and releasing a book, I was met with questions regarding my own process and goals. I realized that I wanted to just simply get my voice out there so someone, anyone, could pick up my book, and feel less alone in this world that is so good at making you feel isolated. Desireé mentioned that my goal was incredibly attainable, and she gave me the most simple and straight to the point advice:“you gotta write the book for any of that to happen.,” So I wrote the book.
Well, to be fair, I had a manuscript written for ages. I began it in 2015, my junior year of college, with the tentative title Pillow Talk. The idea of the original book was to release poems that happened in an intimate setting, exposing the vulnerability of my own experiences. Ever so often I would enter this google doc, delete, workshop, and add new poems. When I decided to finally get the ball rolling in releasing a poetry book, the title and many of these poems no longer represented who I was. Corazón de seda was a phrase I heard years back, and fell in love with. It was (and still is) my Twitter “name”, and when Pillow Talk no longer felt right, I took one glance at Corazón De Seda and knew that was it. Corazón De Seda, drenched in softness and strength all at once, kept the original theme of Pillow Talk, with a bit more structure and maturity to it. I’ve been eating, breathing, and sleeping poetry since November 2020, and not sure it’s going to stop anytime soon.
Because I had a specific release date in mind, I decided to go the self-publishing route. I didn’t want to wait to hear back from a handful of publishers whether they thought my work was worthy enough of their marketing money. I took that into my own hands. I created a plan early January 2021, gave myself deadlines, and goals and ran with it. Also, with the help of many amazing, and significantly more business oriented friends, I was able to surpass what I had even expected. Between my 9-5, too many hobbies, sustaining relationships, and generally trying to not go insane still in the midst of a pandemic, I worked on this book. It would include 17 poems of my aforementioned manuscript. But I needed to write another 17, and writing, especially from an emotional place, is draining to say the least. I mean, this whole process has worn me out a bit.
When I had all of my poems written, I read them over and over again to make sure they were in the order that felt the most right to me. The book is broken up into three parts: Corazón (Love), De (Self), Seda (Family), with 8 poems in each section and wanted to make sure each poem in each section fit in perfectly. This process of re-reading and slightly editing my many poems was the hardest part. I was reliving so many different emotions every night. From love, love loss, suicide, eating disorder, sexual assualt, pressure of perfection; every night for about a week I was re-opening wounds to make sure it was good enough for my book. One night, it broke me. I got half way into re-reading and editing my book and I couldn’t handle it anymore. I was made into a puddle and all I could do was try and hold myself together. I wanted to quit at that point, I no longer wanted to keep hurting and remembering how much I went through, in so many different ways.
I will be very frank with you, if it weren’t for the amazing 57 people that pre-ordered this book when I announced it, I don’t think I would have gone through it. I had something to hold me accountable, which is an incredibly important thing to have in this process. This may not be true for everyone that has written a book, but I wanted to quit, time and time again; so having that one reason that literally did not allow me to quit was helpful/needed. I am also someone that finds it difficult to feel proud of her accomplishments. If it weren’t for this amazing support system I have that were significantly more excited for me than I was myself, this whole thing would still not feel like a big deal.
I decided to release my book on April 28th, my 26th birthday. I gave myself a 4 month deadline, pretty expedited compared to others, and no advance as a “motivation”. From ideation to the creation, Corazón De Seda was very much a labor of love on my part and the handful of people that also had their hands in it. I was able to get my book in 3 stores in LA through cold calling. I already feel like I’ve written poems I am more proud of, but this book means more than I think I can even understand. I am a published author. Even typing that out feels surreal. A lil girl from Long Island with many things against her somehow made it out, and is trying to give her heart back to the next child that feels like the world is going to swallow them whole. If one person feels seen, my purpose for creating this book, and all the soul crushing work that went in it was worth it.
Nancy Azcona is a 26-year-old Salvadoran/Dominican New Yorker living out in Los Angeles since 2017. Queer and first-gen American, the intersections are truly endless. She has been working in the entertainment industry since 2016 and is currently a Production Coordinator at Sawhorse Productions. Outside of her 9-5, Nancy is a published poet (Corazón De Seda, Undercurrents Anthology Preposition: In Between), a ceramist, plant lover, and admirer of all art & music. In her spare time, you can find her falling on her roller skates, taking way too long to finish a 200 pg book, or crying at the 5th season, 24th episode of Love Island UK.