Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Hola, I'm Ana Elena Lara. I live in the sunshine state of Arizona. I was born and raised in Phoenix. My parents came to America from Mexico and with them they brought their traditions, hard work and delicious food. I married the love of my life and we have a 3 year old just full of sass.
Tell me something interesting about yourself, a fun fact!
I'm a person with Narcolepsy a Neurological condition that effects your sleep wake cycle. I love to budget and consider myself a minimalist. I started budgeting to help pay off debt and the minimalist lifestyle helps me stay organized and that's important when you're dealing with a chronic illness like Narcolepsy.
Have you always been creative? What did you want to be when you were young?
I'm not sure if creative is the word but my family always called me "dramatica," needless to say I was a very emotional child and writing was my outlet. When I was younger I always wanted to be a singer in a smoky bar. I thought it would be so cool and I would stand in front of the mirror singing my little heart out.
How did you get into poetry?
In grade school I won a poetry contest and I was hooked. After high school I just stopped writing. Life happened and I tucked it away. When I was pregnant with my little one would write little notes to her and slowly it turned into poetry. The fire was back and I slowly got back into writing.
How do you incorporate it into your everyday life?
As a person with Narcolepsy, I have a lot of vivid dreams. After dreams or sleepless nights the poetry pours out as a form of therapy. The poetry really articulates all the feelings inside. I find it very soothing no matter how chaotic the poem might be.
What is it you love most about it?
The connection to the reader. It's amazing to see how people feel or have these reactions from words I formed together. The poetry speaks to them in a way no one has.
What have you done that you’re most proud of?
Hands down having my daughter. It was a life changing event that I didn't know I needed. With my chronic illness I wasn't sure I would be able to raise a happy, healthy kid. She is content, vibrant, and such a joy. If anything, it showed me as a person with Narcolepsy I can do anything.
Who/what inspires you?
Love, pain and fear. I've experienced all three at different times in my life and all at once. They have all taught me something, to always believe in myself. That they can all be momentary feelings in our life, or they can be everlasting.
Does being Hispanic influence your writing at all? If so, how?
I think it definitely does, I only have this one life where I'm a proud Hispanic woman who wants to be seen and heard. I want my community to know feelings are valid and they matter. Our challenges can be our revolution. Si se puede, NOT pos aver que pasa.
What’s your process like? (Take me through the writing process).
It’s almost always late at night. I'll have a dream or a thought, then I HAVE to write it down. It's almost second nature to me. I'll write things down half asleep. Sometimes I have to say it out loud because it makes the most sense to me when it's spoken. It feels almost rhythmic in my head and I have to get it out.
This is a tough one, currently it's Kim Guerra. Her rawness and unapologetic poetry is super inspiring especially this year with all the things at stake politically. Having her poetry really reminds you of your cultura y de dónde vienes. She's just such a strong Latina woman who gets it and isn't afraid to let you know.
"Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better."
It's my favorite because I think we forget that we are all learning and just doing the best to our abilities. Basically learn, grow, be better humans and contribute to society.
What is your dream collaboration?
I've never thought about this! I love music, songs are just poetry with a tune right? If I had to pick an artist it would be Ambar Lucid. Her voice is so haunting and so methodical that you can feel it and it lingers with you all day.
Any words of wisdom for young writers?
Just write. It's not always going to be witty or emotional. At times it might not even be good. The connection to the writing is most important. How you felt writing it, how you feel reading it. You never know who needs to read it. In the end isn't that what we all crave human connection? It's like reaching out to say I get you, I hear you, I feel it too.