Paula Duva-Rodriquez, "In Process"
Paula Duva-Rodriguez's In Process is a hybrid of poetry and photography centered on the subject of cyclical trauma and its effects on mental health during the times of COVID-19. There is emphasis on the unspoken sides of mental illness. Laziness, filth, gluttony, guilt, violence -- experiences I have endured. That is why the language is so crude at times. However, there is a rebirth that develops throughout the collection. A realization that healing is a continuous process. Content Warnings are in the PDF above.
Paula is currently a junior at Michigan State University getting a Bachelor’s of Music in Vocal Performance and a Bachelor’s of Arts in English. Paula has been into poetry since elementary school and began seriously writing poetry during high school. In her writings, she is inspired by the body -- especially as it pertains to sexuality -- in literature.
Receiving the Microgrant helped me to afford to get portraits taken of me! While the photos are supplementary to the poetry rather than a standalone, it helps enhance my collection.
The process of creating my project through COVID was nuts in both a positive and negative way. The biggest lesson I learned from this project was to prepare myself for the creation of any art. This was a very cathartic experience but also scary because I had to look deeper into myself than I have at any other point in my life. As a result, I put off the work until two months after the due date. However, regardless of my late turn in, I am proud of my work. I also learned that creative freedom is euphoric. Developing the courage to be crude, nasty, and sad made the work more beautiful in my opinion. As I write this, I wonder if my work is ‘too much’ for this project, but regardless, it is a reflection of mental illness. Suffering, especially during COVID, is not exclusive to any individual. The main thing is to truck through as hard as you can.
I believe that CAL students would definitely benefit from financial support when creating projects such as we did. One, creative exploration is so healthy for the soul. Another important point is that money gives the artist the time and incentive to create. It makes it easier to complete projects in terms of materials. Also, there is financial security involved; for example, the hypothetical artist may be able to take less shifts at work. This provides the artist with time to create something beautiful. For creatives, it is so important to have projects on hand. This was my first ‘poetry collection’ and I have caught the writing bug. The Microgrant recipients can grow creatively.