It was the Underwood, it made me do it…

“I was/am a shark. If I stop(ped) swimming, I would die… I was/am a train. I only stop(ed) for those going in my direction…” Josh Daniels (actor)

The very first time I dreamt about writing was when I was about 7 years old. I was sprawled on the couch in the living room of our then home in the country side of Puerto Rico. It was late at night and my father was typing away a story that most likely hammered his brain until he had to give birth to it.

I closed my eyes and lost myself in the sound of the hard keys making the music that led to story formation. There is nothing like it in the world. Not even today’s keyboard sound is quite like the sound of an Underwood bringing your story to life.

Since then, I’ve desired to make such music.

The first story I wrote was about a young girl searching for a better life. She had to fight off drug dealers to protect her family and be able to leave the life she’d known. I was about 10 years old. It never made the light of day, but it did set the platform to my future writing and made me aware of the demons I had to battle myself in order to be who I was meant to be.

Often people have asked me what motivated me to write, to want to make film – when I respond with ‘the sound of an Underwood typewriter’ I’m looked at as crazy, but that’s the truth. It was that particular sound that made me want to create words and worlds for others to learn from, seek refuge in, as well as to be inspired by.

After years of self discovery, self doubt – and with a little bit of encouragement by a wonderful person who I consider a mentor I began writing for film. Subsequently I became a journalist, and educated myself in ways of writing for an audience, expanding the “writing for myself” method I had been doing. Learning what it takes to properly and eloquently (yet simply) write a story that people can get lost in, a story they’re moved by, a story that they’re excited to read, to not want to put down, a story that when it’s over readers feel a little sad because they’ve reached the end of a journey with a friend. Once I had the confidence to leave journalism behind, I decided to blend it with filmmaking and made my first documentary happen against all odds and without virtually any money.

To me, being a ‘working writer/director/producer’ means that I’m working really hard on achieving the dreams of becoming a storyteller in film. To stop, or pause my efforts to become one would be the death of me.  Even if I’m not actively on set, I’m doing other things. I take time to learn new methods, interact with actors, directors, producers, if I feel compelled to; I ask questions – even if it might make me seem like an amateur, but that doesn’t matter because we all learn at different paces and by asking questions one learns more. The point is to get out there and keep working, learning. To keep on being motivated to achieve those dreams, that goal.

It was that first ever evening when I heard the Underwood turn my father’s thoughts into words on a sheet of paper and into the world of possibilities. That first night, when I realized that I was a storyteller.


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