We had the good fortune of connecting with Cynthia J. Villa and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cynthia J., is there a quote or affirmation that’s meaningful to you?
Yes, I do. It is a quote by Andy Warhol that says, “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.” As a self-published writer, I resonate with this quote because my poetry is not well known, which sure causes self-doubt. I cannot help but wonder if my art is good enough, and Warhol reminds me that it should not matter, that I should pursue my passion and continue writing as my true self.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Poetry, for me, began as a way of coping with my mother’s death. I was 14 years old, and I had so much to say, yet, I had no one to tell it to. In silence and with a pen and paper, I mourned her. In poetry form and open letters, I learned to express all the emptiness I felt. For many years I believed I was destined to be broken. And so, I continued writing, convincing myself that every word would put me back together. I was wrong. It took me 15 years to realize I was more than just my dead mother’s missing voice. And so, I began creating my own.

I never considered myself a Poet. I never dared to give myself such a description. As a minority member, I grew up thinking that people like me, Mexican American, brown-skinned girl who lived in Mexico during her childhood and whose first language was Spanish, usually don’t amount to such a title.

For many years, I kept my art private. It was intimate. But eventually, I surrendered my insecurities and took a chance. My participation in the Latinx Poetry Project (by Alegria Publishing) helped me believe I can be who I want to be, and a poet is one of those things.

My book, All She Is, is a proclamation of self-healing. It is a reflective and intimate quest to heal the soul through a compilation of introspective bilingual poetry. Poemas en inglés y en español that will sail the reader into a voyage of heartbreak, grief, agony, self-worth, and the bitterness of loss.

I am a poet, and I now invoke other Latinx artists, poets, and writers to voice their stories.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Like an authentic Mexican, I love Mexican food. I genuinely believe Mexican cuisine is the best, and I highly recommend Los Compadres in Long Beach. They’ve got multiple locations, and you cannot go wrong with either one. Also, you can never be wrong with street food, and L.A. has lots of that. You can visit Avenue 26 market with the largest street vendor set up near Dodger Stadium. They’ve got churros, tacos, pupusas, tortas, micheladas, tostilocos, boba, Thai-Chinese, you name it, they’ve got it. You can also visit the Grand Central Market in downtown L.A, which is similar to Avenue 26 and has been open since 1917.

For a hangout, I would recommend Venice Beach, Santa Monica Pier, and West Hollywood.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
God, I sure have a lot of inspirational and supportive people in my life that I wouldn’t know where to begin.

I want to acknowledge my partner, Roxana Uribe, for her unconditional support and encouragement. Angel Lem from LeMeKnow Podcast; the first content brand to expose and discuss my writing, and Davina Ferreira from Alegria Publishing, who not only introduced me to a community of creative and talented writers but who also mentored me through the writing process of my first self-published book, titled: “All she is” a Bilingual Poetry Collection.

Website: cynthiajvilla.com

Instagram: cjvilla_

Image Credits
Alejandra Quiroz @lidlens.photo

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