Seeing the World in Stories

bowl cut

When I was about 5 or 6, I paraded around the house – seriously, paraded. The rooms were all connected to each other in my family’s Corona, Queens apartment, so that I could go around the whole thing in a circle, and I marched around and around several times – chanting:

In search of old things! In search of old things! In search of old things!

I should explain that I come from an old family. Not Old Money – just old age-wise. I was the youngest of three children by fifteen years, which meant that my parents were much older than the parents of my peers, and had built up a history long before I was born. Whenever my Mom would clean (or whenever I’d snoop in the name of “playing”), old things would turn up: Photos, old clothes and jewelry, random artifacts of lives lived long before I ever existed. I was fascinated by these things, because as the (much) youngest, I was the furthest removed from their original context. Whenever one of these Old Things would turn up, I would immediately start to imagine how it was used in its glory days, before it ended up in the back of one of our closets, or in the jewelry box my mom never used.

I would give it a story. Where it came from, who it belonged to, what it meant. These stories would eventually go beyond my family and into the realm of uncharted islands, or royalty, or street-wise kids trading it to get by. Yeah, the stories I created weren’t always happy ones depicting perfect fantasy lives, but they were always adventurous, or fun – usually both – even if they included hardships or tragedies.

Hardships and tragedies make good stories. So do adventure and fun.

Anyway, there came a point where it seemed like our apartment had run out of story-treasure. I’d seen everything in the closets, everything in all the boxes, everything in all the cabinets. There was nothing left – no more unknown old things. But I wanted more! Old things were exciting and mysterious, especially when no one seemed to care about them except 5-year-old me, so there was no one else to ascribe meaning to them. To make them relevant again. That was my job.

By creating stories for them in my head, I was keeping them alive.

And so I chanted while marching around the Jusino apartment: In search of old things! In search of old things! In search of old things! 

I remember my brother laughing at my ridiculousness. Hell, even I knew I was being a little ridiculous in my methods, but that didn’t make the search itself anything less than serious biddness. I explained my search to my brother and asked him if he had anything, and he told me he didn’t, but that he’d keep an eye out in case he saw anything.

After about 3-4 times around the apartment, I remember my mom telling me to give it a rest. 🙂

But that’s the thing – my family let me chant and march around the apartment a bit before telling me to stop. And while I don’t remember if I found any new Old Things in my search that day (I vaguely remember finding things that were technically “old,” but nothing with a sense of History), I do remember that my family let me search, loudly. They might not have understood why I had to march around the apartment looking for stories to tell, but they didn’t stop me either. Whether or not it was important to them, they knew it was important to me.

I see the world in stories. I’m fascinated by people, because each individual is a deep pool of stories to tell. I’m fascinated by places I’ve never been, because they each contain the stories of millions. I’m fascinated by found objects, because you don’t always know where they’ve come from, or how they got there, and there’s immense pleasure in making it up. In giving things life.

Next week, I hope to start telling even more stories. I’ll be starting a podcast – The Teresa Jusino Experience. Original, huh? 🙂 In it, I’ll keep you posted on whatever news tidbits I’ve got going on in my writing life, and I’ll have a Teresopinion on some topic or other. But each episode will always end with a story. Because there’s nothing like telling stories to keep us alive.

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Wherein I Give Myself Permission

My attitude about this blog from here on out: super-chill.

My attitude about this blog from here on out: super-chill.

This post is more for me than it is for you. Because sometimes, we need to give ourselves permission to let certain things go in order for other things to happen.

You see, there was a schedule at first, I promise; one that I was pretty gung-ho about. A graphic designer friend was in the process of giving the site a new look. Another graphic designer I know and love was doing me up a logo. I came up with regular features that would interest me, and for the first week, I was all over it.

Then life happened, and whenever life happens, it forces you to think about what your priorities actually are.

This blog is fun. 🙂 I love that I have a place where I can spout off my opinions on just about anything without requiring anyone else’s approval. I love that this blog serves as a place where I can keep anyone who cares updated about what’s going on with me, particularly with regard to my writing career. Mostly, I love that this blog allows me to work my writing muscles. Like anything else, writing is something that takes practice and dedication, and as a writer, it’s important for me to try to write something every day. I definitely feel the days I don’t, much like I feel how out of shape I’ve become since slacking off on Couch to 5K and hiking lately. So, I would never give up the blog.

However, I’m still figuring out the purpose it serves. You see, I’ve pared down on all of my non-fiction writing for a reason: because it requires more energy than should be put into something I don’t really want to do. I have friends who are amazing, dedicated journalists; who love chasing the story and covering certain areas and beats. I’ve always envied their discipline when it comes to figuring out new story ideas and the research that goes into what they do. I’ve spent a good number of years doing that – mostly because that’s one of the most sure-fire way to make a living as a writer – and for a while, I enjoyed thinking up new angles from which to write about pop culture. I still do, sometimes. But I am not a journalist, nor was it ever my intention to be one. The Teresa Jusino Experience was always supposed to be simply a place where I can show you a glimpse into my life, and the more I try to make this like Other Blogs (ie: trying to make it a source for consistent pop culture commentary, or covering events, or reviews, etc), the more pressure is put on it, the less fun it becomes, and the less I want to do it.

Meanwhile, it’s difficult to focus on writing, period, when your job/financial situation is topsy-turvy, which mine happens to be at the moment. I don’t make enough to have only one part-time job, but I feel that if I’m going to have a full-time job, it should be something in my field of interest. Otherwise, again, I’d be expending more energy than should be put into a job I don’t really care about and moving laterally rather than up. But the stresses of being a freelancer also sap your writing energy. Somehow, in my two years in L.A, I’ve managed to write a webseries, many paid non-fiction posts, and be published in three anthologies, but it’s been difficult.

Then again, my writer friends who write while having a full-time job not in their field manage that despite the difficulty. It depends on your temperament, I guess. It’s like, pick a hardship: either you’re freaking out about money and it’s hard to write. Or you’re stressed and tired from a non-creative full-time job and it’s hard to write.

I guess this is all to say that Writing is Hard, You Guys. 🙂 If writing is what you want to do, and you’re good at it, pride yourself on it, and it’s how you want to make your living, it’s not an easy thing to stick in between other stuff. What’s even more difficult for me is finding the time and energy specifically to do the fiction writing I want to do, especially when, for so long, I’ve done non-fiction stuff that people actually seem to enjoy reading. If I want to “keep my name out there” or “build an audience” or even just get regular writing practice that provides immediate feedback, it seems like The Thing To Do.

But ultimately, I guess all of THIS is to say that if this blog is supposed to be fun, allowing it to become something that’s not-fun, distracts me from the writing I really want to be doing, and adds to the pressure of my job/money/life situation is not a good idea. It was never my intention to become a pro-blogger. And while monetizing this blog or turning it into A Thing might be nice, it’s not actually what I want. What I want is to make stories up for a living. What I want is to be able to write for television, for comics, to write prose fiction. I’m good at those things, and it’s time to let people see that.

This is not to say that I’m stopping this blog. Not at all. But I AM saying that I’ll be writing pretty much when I feel like it and what I feel like. No regularly scheduled features (except for the Song of the Day, because that’s easy enough, and it’s a nice way for me to start the day as well as keep me a bit disciplined even if I have nothing else to say for the rest of the day), no trying to make this blog An Outlet. It’s my personal blog, and if I want to review something, or write about an event, or tell you about something that happened, it’s because I genuinely want to and have something to say about it that cannot be contained. I’ll continue to tag/title certain features (like “Teresaopinion” or “Three-Word Fiction”/”Friday Night Fiction”) that I enjoy, but I’ll be putting them up whenever. This is The Teresa Jusino Experience, which means it’s what I want to write when I want to write it.

Me saying this probably seems redundant, and most of you probably didn’t have any more expectations of this blog than that. But like I said, this post is more for me than for you. And so, now I get to breathe, knowing that I don’t owe anyone anything with this blog. This space is mine to use how and when I like.  🙂

No Three-Word Fiction Prompt This Week!

3-Word Fiction Photo

As you may have already noticed, there was no Three-Word Fiction prompt today. Sorry about that. With work on the final episodes of Incredible Girl in progress, taking time to celebrate my L.Aversary yesterday, and various other life goings-on, I haven’t been able to be as consistent as I’d like to be here at the blog. But I’m working on it.

Also figuring out exactly what I want this blog to be. All of that is still in flux, and I’m figuring it out as I go. Please feel free to tell me what you think either in the comments below, or at theteresajusinoexperience[at]gmail[dot]com.

And before you start to worry, Steve A’s story is still coming! I’ve already started it, and I hope to post that on Friday night to get us back on track with weekly fiction. What’s it about? Time-travel in India, that’s what. 🙂

I hope you’ll join me then! In the meantime, you can read the stories I’ve already posted:

Horchata (8/16/2013)

The Concordance of the Epic Saga of the Three Bears in Space (8/28/2013)

Thanks so much for riding this ride with me! I hope to continue to bring you original fiction, in whatever shape it happens to take.



I spent 12 hours yesterday as a boom operator filling in for The Boy’s regular guy on a film he’s working on. So, this morning, my shoulders and legs hurt, it was a night shoot, so I only got about 4-5 hours sleep, and this morning I have a doctor’s appointment before needing to get to the day job.

Tonight, I need to prep for a meeting tomorrow, as well as continue work on the final 3 episodes of Incredible Girl.

There shall be no blogging on this day.

Try to get through today without me. 🙂 I’ll see you tomorrow!


Just a post to let you know that:

1) Yes, I’m still here.


2) There won’t be any posts today at The Experience. Because, reasons.

But don’t fret, pets. Come back tomorrow for your (semi) regularly scheduled Teresa Time!

A Winner!

Ian Johnson

So, I threw all the Three-Word Fiction commenters into a box, shook it up, and this is the name I grabbed! Congratulations, Ian! You will soon be the proud recipient of a handwritten story of at least 500 words that is somehow inspired by:


Erm, OK. 🙂

In other Behind the Scenes at The Experience news, I generally hope to do 3 posts a day on most days on a 6am, 9am, 12noon Pacific schedule. Today, however, your third post will be coming a bit later, as I couldn’t schedule my posts last night, and I have a work event today, so I won’t be able to post again until later this evening.

However, I WILL be thinking about dachshunds getting horchata on their noses. And you can, too!

Later, kids!