Sometimes an idea takes hold and becomes bigger and brighter than your wildest expectations. That's what has happened to "8 Ways to Say I Love My Life," the award-winning play that is written by eight Latina authors, portrayed by four Latina actresses, and directed by a Latina screenwriter and producer.
It all started on a summer evening in our backyard. My husband and I sat at our patio table with a glass of wine. I wanted a refill. He took my glass and headed for the house; suddenly he jumped up, arms in the air and declared, "I love my life!" I was surprised to see him do that. I felt excited, but most of all, envious. I wanted to love my lifeÔÇªnot in spite of what I had been through, but because of it.
I shared my experience with my friend Margo De Leon. I suggested she and I write a book together. I'd already written a book designed to empower Latinos, why not a book about loving one's life? Margo improved on my idea and suggested the book be written by seven Latinas.
Margo found five other authors. She chose Laura De Anda, Nancy De Los Santos Reza, Bel Hernandez Castillo, Joanna Ilizaliturri Diaz and Rita Mosqueda Marmolejo.
Later, Nancy invited an eighth author: Josefina Lopez.
Laura suggested we make an eight-chapter book: eight women and eight stories. She told us the number 8 symbolizes power, abundance and luck. She mentioned Stephen Covey's "The 8th Habit," which is about finding your voice and inspiring others to find theirs. Plus, the 8 is like the shape of a woman. We smiled and agreed.
Since then, the 8 Ways Project has experienced the following eight miracles:
Miracle 1: Josefina encourages us to write monologues based on our chapters. We produce them at Little Casa 0101 Theater
Miracle 2: The monologues pack the house for a two-week run
Miracle 3: By popular demand, the monologues are reprised for a successful Mother's Day weekend performance at the Los Angeles Theater Center and receive a glowing review in the Los Angeles Times
Miracle 4: The monologues are nominated for an award by the Imagen Foundation, which honors the best and most positive portrayals of Latinos in entertainment. The play wins for "Best Live Theatrical Production."
Miracle 5: Legendary singer and philanthropist Vikki Carr agrees to write the foreword to our book
Miracle 6: We find a great editor, Sylvia Mendoza; literary agent, Leticia Gomez; and publisher, Arte P??blico Press ÔÇô who all believe in our message
Miracle 7: Reprising this wonderful play at the gorgeous, new Casa 0101 Theater, to coincide with the release of the book by the same name
And my favorite 8th Miracle: Watching others learn to love their lives as a result of our little stories.
See the play. Buy the book. Meet the authors. Celebrate with us Nov. 3-18 at the beautiful, newly renovated Casa 0101 Theater and Art Gallery at 2102 East 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90033.
Susan Orosco is author of "Latino Power: 7 Powers all Latinos Have Upon Which to Build an Empire." The book was nominated as best self-help book at the International Latino Book Awards in 2008. She has inspired audiences for over 25 years. Author's website