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Fiction Editor for Watermelanin Mag. Contributor for Reclamation Magazine. Twitter: @ChSoriPalma.

My name is Christopher Soriano.

I’m from Watsonville, CA, though I am currently living in Los Angeles.

My dream is to become a writer and write a better book than Fifty Shades of Grey and a better screenplay than The Room.

I have had a number of odd jobs to support that dream, though I’m currently a bookseller and educator.

I grew up with a great family that includes a responsible father, a loving mother, three amazing siblings, a caring sister-in-law, two beautiful nephews, and a tiny dog.

I graduated high school in 2010, undergrad in 2015, and received my…

A movement is happening, and it deserves our attention.

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Independent Bookstore Day feels a little strange this year. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced an independent bookstore to close every week and those that remain standing struggle to adapt to new business methods. Some have transformed themselves into tiny fulfillment centers, shipping out orders and offering customers curbside pickup. And because of the pandemic, many participating bookstores are adapting to COVID by offering virtual events for IBD 2021 alongside some other in-person events.

Still, Independent Bookstore Day remains an important event. With the rise of online retail and now the COVID-19…

It helps to have the right people in your life.

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Writing is a solitary pursuit. Kind of, but not really. At least, it shouldn’t be.

Let me explain with a personal story: by the time I graduated high school, I knew that I wanted to be a writer. It was the only thing I could see myself doing. But for the longest time, I was the only writer I knew. I attended city college with a lot of my old high school classmates, but none of them were writers. They were mostly musicians, forming bands left and right, none of…

Not everything you write will be worthy, and that’s okay.

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I’ll start by saying I love Roberto Bolaño. There are a lot of authors that I like, obviously. But there is a common — almost inevitable — moment where I love one of their books, decide to read another, and then find myself disappointed by said other work. Obviously, not every book is meant to be a masterpiece. But it’s often a problem in which I tend to like one or two works by an author and then find the rest of them to have issues.

That’s not the case…

Working In a Pandemic

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In March 2020, I received a call from my managers at Barnes & Noble, informing me that I was officially put on furlough. What we thought was simply a scare became a reality as the bookstore was forced to close for the good of public safety.

Just like that, I was quarantined for the next four months. Until one day in July, I received a phone call from B&N asking me to come back to work. The store had reopened in June after Gov. Gavin Newsom gave bookstores and other retail businesses the green light to open for in-store browsing.

After ten years of writing, I have decided to let go

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In mid-2010, I started my first novel. I was fresh out of high school and had decided to pursue a writing career. I worked on this novel for the past ten years, struggling during my undergrad years, understanding more about the writing craft at my MFA program, and later working on it on my own at my local library and cafés. I have told many friends about this book, used it for my MFA thesis, and devoted myself to this story for an entire decade. I have solved all…

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I have kept a will saved within the files of my laptop for the past two years. I had never told anyone about this, but I have been suicidal for the past 7 years, and I wanted to have something ready if I would ever have to go.

I was surprised it took me months to finish writing my will; I didn’t know there was so much I wanted to say. I thought I wanted to disappear as quickly as possible. But the document grew to encompass pages of instructions and final words for everyone I knew and cared for…

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One of the clearest memories in my mind is the day my best friend failed to come back. We were attending a political rally and we met up with a few of their friends from an activist group they had recently joined. I told my friend I was going to the bathroom and they said they’d wait for me. When I came back, I saw them talking with their friends across the street. I didn’t want to come up to them and interrupt. So I waited where I told my friend I would. But then my best friend began walking…

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I began writing in 2009 during my senior year of high school. I didn’t think of myself as a serious writer. I was just a teenager with too many romantic thoughts that came out as bad poetry. But before graduating, I began to take the craft more seriously and chose to take writing up as a career.

That said, my first years were incredibly difficult. I started my first novel after high school and have been working on it since. I struggled with it for so long during my undergraduate years. Even though I majored in English and read constantly…

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I was officially diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 19. Since then, I have been taking various medications until only recently finding a combination of mood stabilizers that have kept my emotions, for the most part, in check. I have also attended a copious amount of therapy where I revealed my story to professionals in the hopes of “getting better.” It has taken me years of undergoing such treatments to understand that mental illness does not get better. I have not felt happiness in over 10 years. …

Christopher Soriano

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