Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Road to Infinite Wisdom/ 2 Years (and 1 Month) Anniversary of Guapo Knows All

Hello everyone and welcome to a special edition of Infinite Wisdom From El Guapo's Brain.  I am of course the well known, critically acclaimed writer, El Guapo.  Today marks two years (and a month) since I've embarked on this journey through pen, paper and internet.  (Full disclaimer: I totally forgot when the actual two years anniversary came around until a few days after.)  During this time I look back and I'm shocked that A) I'm still doing this and B) people are still reading.  It makes me mushy in the heart to know I have supporters reading the shit that pops into my head, no matter where they come from.  But when did this really start and how was this project conceived?  I sat in my comfortable couch filled with holes, pasta sauce stains and ash and searched deep in my memory banks as far as I could remember.  The easy answer is that Infinite Wisdom started on June 6th, 2012.  I could also say it started the day I emerged from my mother's womb, a young baby destined for greatness.  But instead I'll walk you through a journey that really started my junior year in high school.  (Warning: I might/will ramble on what seems is nothing and probably is nothing.)

The setting is St. Joseph Notre Dame High School, Ms. Honey's classroom during collaboration.  What you have to understand is that my Junior year was a very big year for me.  I got my braces off, I got my license and a whole bunch of other stuff.  But mostly it was a time of internal chaos.  Like most people I was still trying to discover who I was, something I'm still working on to this day.  But on that day I was fucking around in collaboration, a period of time before school was over set aside so students can go to see teachers for extra help or get started on homework.  Suddenly Monina came and sat down in front of me.  Now, Monina was a girl in my class who I had a thing for back in Freshman year.  After making a fool of myself as a young lad, by this time I could consider Mo as a friend.  Monina asked me to help out with Proud to Be A Pilot Week, which is essentially like Spirit Week, but we already had a Spirit Week as well.  (So like Spirit Week the Prequel.)  Each class had to do a skit that went with the theme of the week.  That year the theme of P2BAP was movies and my class had Comedy.  So Mo, being part of my class' student government, asked me to rap the Kevin G rap from Mean Girls.  I would be by myself with just a microphone and so initially I was hesitant.  I wasn't a rapper and the only reason I was chosen was because I looked Indian.  I wasn't even the first choice.  (The first choice was Omar, one of my best friends/Indian looking Mexican guy.)  But the opportunity to do something for the class, especially considering we had almost no class spirit save for a few people, was too big to pass up.  I decided to do it.

Over the next few weeks I watched the video of the rap over and over again, memorizing all the words, getting myself ready to possibly make a fool of myself.  I remember the moments leading up to the performance.  Somebody from CLT (student government) handed me a microphone and told me to wait for the cue.  That's basically all I had to go with.  I remember the moment I got my cue I didn't want to do it anymore.  I wanted to turn around and give someone the microphone.  I wasn't even sure I remembered the lyrics anymore.  I had done speeches before in front of the school but nothing like this.  But I ran forward into the gym.  As I ran out I looked out at the students in the bleachers and the judges at the end of the gym.  "Yo! Yo! Yo!" I started with everyone's eyes on me.  I started the rap and just like practice every word found its way out of my lips and into the mic.  I could feel the energy from the crowd as I pressed forward through the rap.  All the jitters and nervousness was gone.  All there was left was joy and excitement.  If you asked me to do this rap again today I probably could.  As I finished the rap I put my hands in the air and I heard a roar from the bleachers.  Strutting out of the gym, my hands still in the air, I looked around to see my peers clapping and cheering.  There is no feeling quite like that one.  At the end of it I was relieved and thankful I had made it through.  But that feeling of knowing you did something that entertained people and the instant gratification of hearing those cheers was an addictive one, a feeling I wanted to hear again.  (So what does the Kevin G rap have to do with writing a blog?)  I'm getting to that.  (Side note: A few students recorded the performance but I do not remember who and so I cannot provide the footage.)

My mind jumped to a place oozing with confidence.  It was time I started my rap career, I thought.  I took up the moniker El Guapo (I actually came up with the name a year prior) and started a Facebook group called Mario's Rap of the Day where I would basically write down a few bars for other people to see.  As time went on the raps got longer.  I had a journal where I wrote down songs and rhymes I came up with.  Eventually I realized I could get more personal in my journal and it almost served as therapy where I could write my emotions down on pen and paper and then let it go.  Through tough times and bittersweet times I would turn to my journal to let everything out.  Senior year I became friends with three guys I hadn't been that close to years prior, AJ, Mykah and Corbin.  I have KAIROS to thank for bringing me to these guys.  (KAIROS was the Senior retreat.)  During our time together we really got to know each other in a personal way.  Corbin was in my retreat group, Mykah was my roommate and AJ would come visit us and we would talk the night away about all this different shit.  AJ was a very talented producer.  He would play his beats in my Prob and Stats class and Billy, Dyer, myself and whoever would take turns freestyling over AJ's beats.  Corbin was also producing and would play his shit for us as well.  Mykah was just starting producing at the time but he, like myself, enjoyed writing.  I remember being able to talk to these guys about a lot of things during that year and the summer, but we really liked talking about creating.  Mykah was really into writing fiction.  He showed me a bunch of his writing for me to read and evaluate.  He was a good writer but he did more for me in those evaluations than I could for him.  I loved reading his stories and I loved it so much it got me to thinking about when I used to write fiction as a kid.  I came up with this superhero called Dino-Man when I was a kid.  He was half man, half dinosaur.  (Best. Superhero. Ever!)  By this time my little dream of becoming a rapper had died down but my love of writing was rising faster than ever.  I really have those three guys to thank for it.  (And since I'm throwing out Thank You's like newspaper I want to also thank Mia for helping me realize that writing poems to express my feelings was good for me.)

Also during my Senior year I started a series of VLOGs.  I'm not proud of them but they did lead to the eventual creating of my regular blog.  In these VLOGs I basically went on rants about Snuggies and did a Top 15 on the best beards in history.  So just to recap at this point I had a VLOG, I was writing poetry as an outlet and I had rediscovered my love of fiction writing.  (You're still rambling about nothing!)  I'm getting to the point soon!  So during the first semester of my Freshman year in college I came up with a story about a ghost who goes to college with his best friends.  My second semester I returned home and attended Chabot College where I took a creative writing course.  This was one of my favorite courses of all time as it gave me a chance to share my stories with other people and have these people share theirs.  Writing had become something I did almost non-stop.  Whether I was writing in my journal, or writing one of my stories I almost always had a pen in my hand or my hand racing around a keyboard.  So it was June of that year that I decided to try my hand at blogging.  It would be just like my VLOG except I wouldn't have to keep cutting and the focus could be more on my writing than anything.  And on June 6th 2012 I wrote and released the very first post of Infinite Wisdom where I told everyone who I was and what I was here to do.

The reaction was a surprise to me.  Slowly but surely people had started coming up to me or messaging me telling me they had read my blog and that they enjoyed it.  I remember visiting my old high school once and Corbin coming up to me to tell me he had read my shit.  The support I got from my friends and (eventually) my family was overwhelming.  I enjoyed what I was doing and so did other people.  So I had to keep going and keep going I did.  Today my blog is stronger than ever.  I still feel the support from my readers and I'm always shocked that even one person took the time to read this.  Even my old Math teacher from elementary school, Mr. Chaky reads my blog.  I don't think I'll stop anytime soon.  I still write poetry from time to time and I still write fiction when I can.  I've continued to write my story about the ghost in college but have also written other stories I hope will find your way soon.  I've even written with my best friend Omar.  I took a journalism class my Sophomore year in college to perfect my craft.  (Still not perfect.)  I don't plan on making this a profession.  I want this to be pure fun.  Writing has been such an important part of my life the last couple of years and I'm just glad you've been here to witness it.  Did I ramble on about nothing until the cows came home?  Absolutely.  I'm not a technically skilled writer.  I'm just someone with a voice that needs an audience.

Follow me on Twitter @ELGUAPO3 and Instagram @CAPTAINCRUNCHTIME.  Thank you for reading my blog and stay Guapo out there!

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