Alejandro Lucero is a 23-year-old creative writing student at Arapahoe Community College where he also works as a tutor at the Writing Center. He expects to graduate in December 2017 with an Associates of Arts. After, he hopes to further his education in English and Creative Writing at Adams State University. He was the recipient of the Writers Studio Literary Contest Scholarship at Arapahoe Community College for the year 2015. His poem “Breathing Karen” and creative nonfiction essay “Lessons from the Woodpile” can be seen in the 2016 Progenitor Art & Literary Journal which is a literary magazine produced by Arapahoe Community College students.
- You were published twice in the 2016 Progenitor Art and Literary Journal along with only one other contributor. How did you feel since you were never published before then?
Getting my first publication, especially getting two pieces in the same journal, was a very proud and joyful experience. Although, for a while it did not seem to be a major accomplishment because I had no idea how big the Progenitor was. I thought most of the contributors were Arapahoe Community College students, Writers Studio members, and/or Littleton locals. It wasn’t until taking the ENG 231 Literary Magazine class myself that I realized how well known the publication is and how many writers from all over the country, and with such a broad range of experience, submit to Progenitor.
- How do you handle being around “seasoned” writers as a young and emerging writer? Is it ever intimidating?
I think taking classes over the past two years with Dr. Kathryn Winograd and Professor Andrea Mason at ACC and being exposed to other highly experienced writers through Writer’s Studio has helped me feel more confident in myself while around more accomplished writers. In that, I see that they are just regular people. I have noticed these experienced writers are very humble and nice people who show a strong focus and passion while discussing their craft. It is always great to be around people you aspire to mirror. It is definitely not intimidating for me because I stand behind my writing and understanding for literature and I am always ready to learn from those ahead of me.
- One thing I have noticed about your work is most inspiration appears drawn from your personal life. Would you say that is true and do you ever feel like there are downfalls to it?
I would say I’ve lived a pretty boring life. I do notice and take note of a lot of things, like how people interact, how a place or person affects my senses, and how others could perceive the same moment I’m experiencing. I think that helps create imagery and tension in my writing. The downfall to using personal memories in writing is showing the person I have written about what I have and what I aspire to do with it, which is often to try publishing.
- Considering we do know each other, I have to tell you that, among our mutual friends, I have heard that you are a “sex poet”. I personally get a kick out of that joke because in almost all of your work you have a strong, nearly overwhelming, sense of sensuality and intimacy whether you discuss anything sexual or not. Have you noticed this trend in your own work? And where do you believe this characteristic stems from?
I’ve noticed it more so in my poetry because most of my better poems are about love and sensuality. My wife, Karen, has fueled a lot of the passion behind those pieces. I do think I have a tendency to make things sound as sexy, or at least as vividly concrete, as possible. I try to use language as an attention grabber, and nothing grabs harder than a sexy descriptor.
- What are your thoughts on revision? I ask this keeping in mind that in school it is practically drilled into students to do it. Did you do revisions before learning about it in school? Regardless if you did or not, how has your revision process evolved to where it is now?
Revision is great. I love my rough drafts, but I love my final drafts more. I didn’t really do any creative writing before college, but I’ve always been exposed to a solid writing process growing up. All of my English and literature teachers in middle school and high school required outlines, roughs, and second drafts turned in with the final essay. The Las Vegas City School district did something right, I guess. These days, if I have a writing project, I try to work on it every day and show it to as many eyes as possible. Also, reading stuff from writers whose style I admire inspires edits to my work.
- Are there any other lessons that you have learned through your education that you believe you will cherish forever when it comes to your writing?
The most important lesson, which I have a hard time practicing, especially now in the summer time, is reading and writing every day. Another, is to actively submit to publication possibilities.
- What are your long term writing goals and what will you be doing to stay motivated to achieve them?
The goal now is to get as much of my story and my thoughts into writing, whether it be in a poem, memoir, or other form of nonfiction. I am going to focus on poetry and nonfiction as I further my education as well. As far as motivation, I am never not motivated when I am passionate about something. I’ve always loved stories and beautiful language. Working with English and creative writing extensively has always been something I knew I could get into. When I saw ACC offered a creative writing degree, I decided to try an intro class and I have been focused since. The class was in the fall, after the summer my mom passed away, and just learning about the craft, being exposed to great literary writing, and creating my own pieces helped me cope with my loss and better understand the human condition.
- Last but most important question…what are your current works in progress? Is there anything out there or that will be that we should be looking out for?
Currently, I am just focusing on similar themes for poetry and nonfiction, such as, love, sensuality, family, loss, nature, and childhood memory. I am working on revising what unpublished work I have and will announce any publications on my twitter account: @headband999