Rappahannock Review Nonfiction Editors: In “I Look, I Speak,” you talk about how you feel like an observer when people make judgments or assumptions about your identity. How did that feeling influence the way in which you constructed the voice of this piece?

Lucia Trujillo: It’s a really odd feeling to describe: observing other people observe you. It’s a feeling I’m sure everyone has experienced, but I believe it’s an especially significant realization for women. Therefore, when constructing the voice of this piece, I wanted to portray both a sense of displacement and of brutal honesty. I wanted the piece to be self-aware on its own, as well as unapologetic. 

RR: We’re intrigued by how you composed your recollections in a nonlinear fashion. How did you approach structuring it in this way?

LT: The last line is, “…hope that someday I will accept the conglomeration of my being as something beautiful.” Since this was the spirit of the piece, it seemed to make sense to write the essay as a “conglomeration.” I wanted to portray the messy, patchwork nature of having an identity in this world. I approached the writing as intuitively as I could, grafting in imagery and memories that felt more authentic to me than a simple “it started here, and ends there.”

RR: Do you often explore themes of the past in the context of the present in your writing?

LT: I do, especially in terms of reflecting on childhood experiences, since those tend to be the most forming. However, I usually write fiction, so it was a different experience to write about my past and not that of a character’s. In terms of fiction, one of my absolute favorite things to write is a good flashback. I find that where we have been often speaks a lot to where we are going, and I want to apply this in my writing. 

RR: In your bio you mention you are only seventeen years old. We’re very excited to publish young writers! What are your plans for the future?

LT: Hopefully after I graduate I’ll be off to study literature in college! In a broader sense, I plan to keep writing and exploring new genres. My current dream in terms of writing is to finish a novel.

RR: We understand you’re a visual artist as well as a writer. Have you thought about combining these talents in a single work? If so, what do you think that might look like?

LT: Oftentimes when I work on a story, I find my art starts to reflect it in some way, shape, or form. One thing I’m really inspired by is illustration in literature, such as illuminated manuscripts or illustrated fairy tales. If I were to combine my art and writing in one work, I think it would look something like putting images to scenes in an illustrated book format.


Read “I Look, I Speak” by Lucia Trujillo in Issue 11.1.