John Garcia animatedly tells the story of summoning up the nerve to speak with the highly-influential and magical writer, Gabriel García Márquez. John approaches him, talks with him for awhile, and then asks Márquez for writing advice – the heavy, human question that every writer deals with. Márquez looks at him, and asks a question, “you really wanna be a writer?” John nods. Márquez asks again, “you really wanna be a writer?” John nods again, excited. Márquez simply says, “then sit down and write!” and walks away.
Sitting down for a Google Chat with John Garcia and Jazmin Chavez was like a refreshing conversation with old friends. John Garcia is the Director of Communications for Latino Justice, and also had been a journalist and producer for many years. Jazmin Chavez, so filled with love and creativity, is both an innovative lawyer and social media strategist. Both of them are so multidimensionally talented and use their curiosity and intelligence to drive their work – and they advised that we do the same.
In media, sometimes it’s hard to really account for how these different mediums – written or recorded or filmed or illustrated – can really stretch in any and every direction. No story is off limits, and we have the ability to express the stories in any way that we choose. John and Jazmin are proof of the intersection of law and communication, of social media and strategy, and how all these intersections are a motive, a tool, or an entire movement towards both honoring and creating culture and shifting our narratives toward something completely reimagined.
The guidance that they gave revolved around the idea of owning our narratives, controlling our narratives, and how we will always have that power. Jazmin encouraged us to make noise if we want to, to wear our crowns, and to claim our identities. John echoed this as well, and also reminded us the flexibility of it all – not to waste our time worrying, but to go out and do whatever it is that we wish to do. To be guided by our curiosity and by our emotions (even if we’re angry), is what will make our work shine. Anybody can write a story, but not everyone can write a story that has life.
This advice easily flips all the other advice my generation is given: the concept that we must go from school to college to a job and finally to a career. This linear narrative leaves little room for innovation or for thought, and leaves us always looking towards the future without really considering our happiness and our productivity in the present. We become resourceful, but we lose our imaginations to really envision what we want for ourselves. If we spend too much time waiting for the right moment, we might never reach that moment to begin with.
This honesty from Jazmin and John is the best advice: elastic and realistic, their advice is support. This advice helps us to break our own limits – to stop creating boundaries and to start focusing on our dreams instead. They support our ideas and our voices and our choices. It shows me that there is no better path than the path that I make for myself, if I dare to make it.