mark anthony solorzano

The Child of Light: Emerged Ablaze from Darkness

The Big Easy has reached its tether, leaving many of us exhausted by the “search” for a truer self, a worthy purpose. I admit: it is difficult to reflect on the entirety of the trip. I feel the urge to translate my tension with severity, but I must remember to adapt to the sudden new journey to which I returned. It is important that I nurture my sensible wounds immediately, because there are only so many moments in life when we recognize, and with a great relief, how beautiful intimacy could be when immersed in unfamiliar chaos.

When the sudden moments of reflection became excessive, I found myself tending to the wounds afflicted in times of vulnerability. I learned to do this when I was in Grand Isle because Chopin’s The Awakening reflected its tranquil energy. The novel’s impression will always remind of my comfort in therapeutic moments of reflection. I was impressed with myself, because I learned to identify affections agreeable to my nature in times of uncertainty.

New Orleans was a city with a mystifying mutable energy. Reading Rice’s Interview with the Vampire taught me how to mindfully submit to the mutability that disrupted my severe perception of life. Though the novel explores the comfort in terror, I learned that the first thing to exercise is a mode of adaptability. I walked down Bourbon Street a couple times; once, alone, and other times with fellow backpackers. Each experience terrified me. It inspired me to write my first gothic short story which was an extension of Rice’s novel. I embraced Bourbon Street’s chaos. This was a huge step for me, as I had always feared exploring unfamiliar places without the nearness of a companion. During these lonesome excursions, I learned that it is also chaotic to be utterly honest with my wants, always keeping in mind that unexplored comfort in terrors may help me emerge optimistically anew.

Since we spent a couple of days in New Orleans, Percy’s The Moviegoer was the next novel on the list. My impression of the novel changes. I do believe that Binx’s mundane external journey made it difficult to stay fascinated by the deeper meaning of the novel. But that was just the lesson it was meant to convey. There were days when ennui hit me without notice. Meanwhile, I was impatient with Binx because he seemed to lack the courage in latching onto a purpose. It took me some time to realize that I had been set on latching onto a purpose so desperately because I feared that I would return to unexcitable days without having successfully redefined my sense of intimacy. I reflected on the moments when the presence of tenderness eased me into an excitable pace of vulnerability. Had I been aware that I was already immersed in a warmth of comfort, I would have approached this experience in a less aggressive manner.

In youth, I was not a stranger to violence, to anger, to fear; all things that arise from toxic masculinity. I became my own on this trip, disposed of toxic beliefs that tampered with my individuality as a queer Latino, and embraced the essence of friendships and experiences that helped me nurture the unfamiliar emotions I used to harbor in my darker days. I proudly share that I have found my voice in literature after having tended to the parts of my neglected selves. I will spend my gap year embodying that voice, because it is time I devoted my entirety to queer Latinos who wish to redefine their sense of intimacy.

Unspoken Histories of Mental Fortitude

It had not been explained to them so vividly before, and maybe not at all. I could see how painful it was for most of them to hear this, but I did not stop.
— Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

On Day 10, Andrew took the backpackers to Whitney Plantation. Our guide, Ali, expressed concern for today’s youth as he delved into the unspoken histories of enslavement. His impressionable words of wisdom were addressed to other oppressed groups in today’s society, linking his views for universal growth to an individualistic level. I was left in awe because there were many collective forms of mental fortitude that the African American community has preserved in order to resist modern forms of enslavement. Ali’s passion for unity in diversity got me thinking of ways youth could begin to recognize enslavement so that they may brace themselves for the traumas with which they will be faced when they rise to the forefront of a mental revolution.

After reflecting on Ali’s words, I began to think about my Latino culture, and asking myself why it was so difficult for oppressed youth to unify in times of trauma. I took into account that disparate traditions may fracture generational modes of survivability. And if any preserved modes are altered by another’s perspective in survival, then the youth could become excluded from their community, shamed and blamed for unveiling unspoken traumas of the past. Regardless of the darker outcomes, I believe that it could cause a ripple effect purposed to guide the oppressed youth into a severe state of self-reflection, all the while assisting the older generation in coping with years of depression and anxieties. Under universal trauma, a “search” for one’s individuality, if analyzing both the weaker and stronger aspects of their self, could help them redefine their crucial role within their oppressed communities. Having concluded this, I had yet to be exposed to such a probable course of action.

On Day 20, we got meet Dr. Ernest J. Gaines, the author of A Lesson Before Dying. After an eye-opening Q&A in his living room, we learned that Dr. Gaines had purchased the land where his Aunt Augusteen had raised him and his twelve siblings. We also learned that the church in the garden was the very church where Dr. Gaines began his schooling as a child. In his novel, Professor Grant teaches in the plantation’s church, which made the personal significance all the more bittersweet. When we returned to Lafayette, I began to compile my quotations, and fell into a very intense analyzation of Grant’s compassion and frustrations when teaching at the plantation Church.


I understood that Grant’s compassion and frustrations welded the multitude of inter-communal and systematic ignorances in some complex way. What was most beautiful was the fact that he alone, in some respects, paved way for youth to identify traumas, providing for them the resources needed when it is time that they break through the oppressive barriers. Ernest J. Gaines did a beautiful job in expressing Grant’s frustrations with the lack of communal awareness in the need to assimilate to western knowledge; and his commitments to Jefferson equally translated another aspect in universal suffering. Though Miss Emma, Jefferson’s godmother, and Tante Lou, Grant’s aunt, were invested in Jefferson’s sense of humanity, it nonetheless demonstrated how important it was for the enslaved to come together when external threats attempted to disrupt their solidification in mental fortitude.


Oftentimes, when I learn about the most raw nature of enslavement, and African Americans’ development in mental fortitude, I criticize my Latino culture with good intentions. Although Latinos are known for their fiery passions and devotion to relationships that are rooted in raw and vicious forms of expression, the older generation, in my point of view, has a tendency to suppress their traumas. This enables them to dismiss the youth’s traumas when facing inherent forms of systematic oppression. As a queer Latino in the English field, I sometimes feel alone in the battle against my own community’s ignorances. I do not claim to know the answers to a progressive form of action, but I do observe with a severe perception how normalized forms of racism, sexism, homophobia and assimilation to western knowledge discourages Latino and queer youth from nurturing the most wounded parts of their self. The older generation is often times defensive and aggressive in protecting their corrupted modes of survivability and intimacy. And as a consequence for triggering old traumas, and unveiling those that emerged long before our time, they react towards youth in violent ways, demanding that we refrain from exercising the very abilities they were terrorized to harbor in fear. Grant represented the nexus of old and new. I thank Dr. Gaines for unapologetically expressing his frustrations and without losing sight of the importance of unity and intimacy.

Existing in the Mutable New Orleans

It is that one finding oneself in one of life’s critical situations need not after all respond in one of the traditional ways.
— Walker Percy, The Moviegoer

I started to read Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer back in New Orleans, spending afternoons out on the balcony and pondering about my own “search” in the blazing sun. Being on this trip, I’ve been reminded of the foundation that raised me to be passionately invested in my relationships. Having been consumed by this “search”, I dismissed the importance of bonding with those I have come across. Now, it is as though I have to make up for the days I spent dwelling over the parts of myself lost in the void of the past. I recognize that the need to nurture the people to whom I grow attached will always be ingrained in me. My family is familiar with my vulnerable nature, and they have warned me, many times, to stop giving more than what is asked of me. The separation from that foundation has been injurious, as my overwhelming ability to provide what there is left of my passionate nature has turned out to be one of the biggest setbacks I could have possibly experienced.

Like Binx, to my surprise (a poorly timed surprise), I hadn’t acknowledged that I was in the middle of an existential crisis. In seminar, Andrew spoke about the depths of Binx’s relationship with Kate, stating that the nearness in whom one seeks comfort is possibly the only form of contentment one would desire when facing universal traumas. This resonated with me because I thought that I had been incapable of healthily expressing my purest affections in past relationships, being left alone to cope with my traumas; and in the meantime disapproving my own idea of intimacy to appease the persons from my past. I was simply misunderstood; I tried to suppress emotions I attempted to embrace for the first time.

Having read the novel a second time, Binx’s existential crisis provided a deeply reflective experience in which I simultaneously analyzed my own growth and regressive behavior as I walked the French Quarter. After the Korean War, Binx refused to settle for any mundane purpose, but seldom set any expectations of his own, which hindered his opportunities to become immersed in the unexcitable possibilities lain before him. He committed his entirety to the everyday experience, being observant of his environment and peers without latching onto some kind of purpose. I believed his “search” was meaningless, as I could not imagine how someone with such suppressed passions would be impressed with the mundaneness of everyday life. It dawned on me, after finishing the book, that I had suppressed my passions, missing out on many excitable possibilities when given the freedom to explore the mutable city. From this, I learned that there are many aspects of myself that exist as tension, colliding with one another, and with an equal demand to be embodied under trying times. On this trip, circumstances required that my present self be aligned with my emerging self. I was left to reconsider old wisdoms and embrace new knowledge, and entered a state of ennui that lasted for days. During that period, I had to preserve wisdoms that helped me endure traumas, but also let go of wisdoms that no longer served a purpose. In the same breadth, I had to become receptive of knowledge that was to guide me through a healing process, but retreat from knowledge if it did not produce an effectual process in growth.


Kate’s understanding of Binx’s ennui was an overlooked form of affection. Though she was capable of seeing through his purposeless behavior, her perception on life amplified the division that complicated their sense of unity. It was a painful realization. After being impressed by this realization I decided to stop dwelling on the failed relationships, believing that I had the strength to embrace the individuality necessary to restructure the ways in which I would like to ascend in my writing abilities. That has not been the case. Though Binx’s relationship with Kate disheartened me, understanding the need for a companion during dark times, I came to accept that I am both Binx and Kate in some degree; my present self relying on my emerging self to solidify my mental fortitude when hopelessness comes in waves. There were many nights when I walked around New Orleans to cleanse my mind of the horrors that I had not been able to accept. The city’s energy was extremely mutable, and was at times too overwhelming to process. I also spent those nights on the balcony of my room, contemplating over the progress in internal growth, and consequentially, my commitment to my writing career. I am not yet prepared to exercise abilities that have been presented to me under terrifying circumstances. But I have become aware of the sympathetic approach I must take to understand why the present and emerging selves have had such a paralyzing effect on me.

A collection of Gay and Lesbian poems purchased at Librairie Bookshop when taking a reflective walk; located in the French Quarter.

A collection of Gay and Lesbian poems purchased at Librairie Bookshop when taking a reflective walk; located in the French Quarter.

Here’s some advice to all my future selves:

Let unfamiliar experiences consume you, even when you are frustrated with the person you are becoming. There may be aspects of yourself, entrapped within, that could reveal excitable possibilities worthy of exploring. And you must remain vulnerable to those possibilities so that you may release any tension that you did not know you harbored. It does not mean that the release will alleviate the overwhelming impressions of the unfamiliar. Do not set out on your “search” without becoming of yourself when enduring the unfamiliar. When you have healed, exert the tenderness you feel within yourself, and towards your gentle and lively peers keeping in mind that your presence is still impressionable. You have taken on the purpose to guide, remaining, always, a student of experience. You do not know the answers and that is okay. If you do not discover what you seek, preserve your modes of survivability and passions that led you to that disappointment or shortcoming. Romanticize what sets your passions ablaze, because the impressions that have emerged are what will remind you of the comfort you seek in times of terror; they will settle your anxious heart when it is time to absorb your reality as it is. Retreat from what is left of your weakest self, but also, do embrace what will become of your forthcoming self.

A Bite of Impulsion on Bourbon Street

I had seen my becoming a vampire in two lights: The first light was simply enchantment; Lestat had overwhelmed me on my deathbed. But the other light was my wish for self-destruction. My desire to be thoroughly damned.
— Anne Rice, Interview with the Vampire

This is a short story inspired by Anne Rice’s “Interview with the Vampire”:

Wednesday, November 17 2021 — 2:13 a.m.

It’s been two years since I was last exalted in my search for the most bittersweet forms of intimacy. After my former lover left me, it was important that I, during that lonely period, explored the spectrum of emotion to a severe degree. I lost myself many times but always managed to be strung through my mental traumas by a thread of an unpromising purpose. As I was incapable of being of myself, my thoughts were possessed by terror, and somehow comforted me into the most darkest realities. I endured the terror, resisting beliefs that were never my own because they did not contribute to the solidification of my mental fortitude. This cycle lasted up until the summer of 2019, when I arrived to New Orleans to immerse myself in the very culture wherein many literary icons kicked off their careers; Tennessee Williams, Kate Chopin…

Williams. Have you read his plays? Streetcar? And would you consider yourself a contemporary soul of the literary bohemia? Were you immortal then?

Easy, Mr. Molloy. I admire that you, such an impassioned journalist, bleed with eagerness. Be patient, and I shall answer all that you wish to know to the best of my abilities… No, I have not read Streetcar. I have only read a short collection of his poems. And, no, I do not consider myself a soul of the literary bohemia. I grew up in an era of advanced technology. It pained me to witness the loss of childhood essence. It is difficult to exist in the “now”, as a writer. Rapid productivity leaves me no time to make sense of the chaos. I am useless, by nature, because, as I mentioned before, I resist beliefs that were never my own. Let me mention one more thing before I begin to tell you of my last night as a mortal.

Of course.

I never expected for my desires to become corrupted by dark wisdoms. I found that they no longer aligned themselves with the course of this journey. It was on my last night as a mortal that I learned, admittedly inebriated and vulnerable, my time on Bourbon Street would be the last bite of life I would ever taste. Having once been terrified of Bourbon’s mutable nature, I used to walk amongst my own kind, immune to the modes of happiness, excitement, or sadness that penetrated my numb heart. It is strange, this “after-life”, because I can taste a glimpse of life when I devour it; and for just a moment I am aroused with emotions from my past. I lean towards my master’s darkness, my tongue now infused with wisdoms I once feared. I am of myself, but with no hope and a widened perception of possibility. Forgive me for being so severe in this moment of reflection, but as it will always be something from which I must suffer time and time again, I am learning how to sense the nearness of circumstances that will challenge my weakest convictions before it is time to redefine what there is left of my selfhood. Here I go; to let you, Mr. Molloy, take a bite into my truth.


Thursday, June 6 2019 — 11:00 p.m.

I began to sweat profusely in my third hour on Bourbon Street, naturally unbuttoning my long sleeve shirt as beads were flung overhead. Limp hands spilled cups of alcohol as they rose under balconies welded with fleur de lis. I watched the beads shift their shapes through the luminescent dark sky with a seductive elegance that compelled me to raise my arm. I had a firm belief that I was the intended receiver of such repulsive flattery. The sweat, trickling down my collar bones, teased a drunken passerby who was pale in complexion but expressive with lust. This gentleman — my master, rather — enchanted me just before he reached up for the beads, crushing them in his palm before beating them against my chest. His soft hazel eyes met mine with a hunger that left me paralyzed amongst the savages of the night. The multitude of voices called my attention to everything. And as I breathed in the sounds of chaos, my heart thumped irregularly. I watched him meander through the swarm of drunks. I could not place my attention on anything but his alluring guidance. The voices blended into one ferocious roar, so I scuffled through the crowd in a desperate attempt to closely follow behind. My eyes shifted in many directions, in secret want of my master; but in a matter of seconds, I was deeper into Bourbon Street, alone and misguided.

I rushed past neon lights emitting beams over daunting faces; deathly stares electrified with reds, greens, yellows. There was no space to recollect myself, for even the petite woman, with a fear-stricken vulnerability, wobbled through maddening men with such difficulty. I wished to join her, and to speak to her about the dangers of our being alone. But a large man who overlooked the weaker savages of the night grabbed ahold of her waist and led her through to the back with an air of possession. His electrified stare blinded me, so I retreated back to the street and wandered about. Many gaping mouths shouted obscenities at my face. I was sure that my life would end there; only, I did not imagine it to happen the way that it did. I nudged past a group of men fist-pumping at two blondes who lifted up their blouses. I applauded them, not for the courage, but for their power in draining the men of their manhood as they walked away with a dignity which was worth more than the plastic beads that spun in the air; those are the kind of savages I like to prey on at night.

I saw my master waiting patiently in the dim corner of a bar, wiping red liquor off his lips; his lustful glances arousing my desires. I held my head firmly, feeling my neck veins pulsate with terror, and narrowed my eyes as I approached him. I grabbed a napkin from the bar counter to pat my gleaming collar bones. And with a forced sense of arrogance I rolled my neck slowly to the soft tempo, daring him to take note of me. I want this, I thought to myself. I was vulnerable, in a pitiful sense. And desperately wanted to be lain to rest by my master. Had I known then that I had submitted to his dark wisdoms with a premature attachment, I may have spared myself the amplified modes of emotion I felt after he converted me to an immortal being.


A bar stool became available beside my master. I sat on it, my legs crossed with a fierceness meant to repel his domineering arrogance. It was a gamble for life, in all honesty, for the Aztec tattoo, clawed across my chest, betrayed his subtle desires for me. He stepped forward, staring deeply at my chest, when I lowered my eyes to avert his passion. But it was too late. I had subconsciously unbuttoned the rest of my shirt, communicating that I was at his mercy. He understood, as he brushed his hand across my Aztec tattoo, that I meant no harm because I was incapable of causing any. I closed my eyes and swayed to the incongruent sounds of Jazz, when he leaned into my neck, breathing gently “Be mine on this night.” The bartender slammed his palm on the counter and shouted at me to order. My master walked out. Double shot of whiskey to down, before I followed my master with a starving curiosity.

Out on Bourbon, from a distance, I noticed that he had an effect on the drunkards; they seemed to disperse from his path, which gave me enough room to stumble behind without losing sight. He stopped at the corner of St. Anne, and turning left where Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo stood tapped his long white nails on a pillar as he stared up to the moon. The warm air slowed my pace. I halted, inches from him, losing my balance on broken cement; my heart beating irregularly at the sight of his luscious curls. I looked up to the moon to join in the wonderment when I heard an indiscernible snap from a distance. I looked down both directions of the street panicking when the desolate sights blurred into fragments of dark spaces. My vision stabilized when I spotted him on top of a balcony that was bordered by a black gate with coiled bars. I ascended, running my fingers on the railing, when he turned to me and guided me to the edge with his hand on the back of my neck. Rubbing his cold thumb over where he would claim my life moments later, he whispered, “Do you wish to know of possibilities?” I nodded as he softly brushed his fingers over my eyes. Then, he kissed my neck once, sighing with gratification as he dug his nails into my back. I couldn’t shriek, but I gripped onto his curls hoping he would remove them. He shushed me; I remained silent. “Tamed passions,” he said. “They escape when wounds are left unattended. And what I sense from you, my boy, is your rage in loneliness. I feed on the most vulnerable flesh, but I promise to cleanse you of loneliness. You will become mine tonight.”


Wednesday, November 17 2021 — 2:59 a.m.

Mr. Trejo, what… what happened to you that night?

Call me Leonel, Mr. Molloy. My Master, he sunk his teeth into my neck. With one arm wrapped around my waist, and the other clasped into my hand as I weakened from the drawn blood. When he released, I leaned over the balcony to vomit. I stared out to Bourbon Street, knees trembling, and listened to the music fade in and out. I remember thinking nothing of its chaos as the darkness expanded before my eyes. Immortality is an existence in which I must feed on the vulnerable; my master taught me that. I awoke the following morning, here; a plantation of ruins hiding unbearable historical tragedies.

What kind of historical tragedies?

Enslavement of African peoples; displacement of Indigenous peoples. I have yet to unravel them on my own terms, but for now I am to oversee the property, tending to vagabond night walkers when they drop by to rest from sunlight.

May I ask? Does your master own the property that you oversee?

No. My master was a victim of the owner himself. I will say this to you, as Sir Louis de Pointe du Lac many a time reminded your great grandfather, Daniel. You mustn’t be so shy to ask questions. You know, I picked up the Molloy scent the moment you stepped in front of that gate. If you’ve come here to seek what ruined your grandfather, I am afraid you have interviewed the wrong vampire. I do not meddle in familial matters.

Well… I am not exactly a Molloy by blood.

I understand, Mr. Molloy. Regardless, the vampire with the answers is not myself, nor my master. Sir de Pointe du Lac is the one you seek. Ask him anything you’d like to know. He stands there, right behind you.

Submerged in Waves of Intimacy

“She slept but a few hours. They were doubled and feverish hours, disturbed with dreams that were intangible, that eluded her, leaving only an impression upon her half-awakened sense of something unattainable.”
— Kate Chopin, The Awakening
GI KC 4.jpeg

When I arrived at Grand Isle, LA, I walked into a pleasant co-existence that evoked desires for intimate relationships. My desires had become neglected over the recent years; and I seldom made efforts to restore my sense of intimacy. It excites me to develop meaningful relationships with my fellow book-packers because I have never been so impressed by a group of gentle individuals, from whom I learn how to tend to parts of myself that have not been nurtured. As I read Kate Chopin’s The Awakening, the tranquility settled throughout the beach house, and lulled my mind into therapeutic moments of self-reflection. And with each passing moment, whether it was snacking side by side with a peer or watching the thunderstorm with another, I made it a point to remain vulnerable to my experience, with hopes to arouse a newer sense of purpose following my academic career at USC. Prior to this rediscovery of want for intimacy, I was unaware that Edna Pontellier’s inward perception would reveal an indiscernible half-awakening of my own. I have yet to unravel the awakening in its entirety, and attach it to a meaningful external purpose.

GI KC 5.jpeg

I recall on the Sunday morning after our arrival, I set aside my journal because I was impulsed to take a walk along the shore. I listened to ¿Teo?’s “Palm Trees” as I sought guidance from the same supernatural forces that had influenced Edna to seek her universal truth. The receding waters teased my toes, but the moment I looked down, observing my dry feet as they imprinted the sand in their backwards motion, I acknowledged that there was a sort of hesitancy on my end. I did not possess the courage to dive into the gleaming waters. And soon after, I realized that I had not been as vulnerable as intended. Finally, I submerged myself into the waves, cleansing the tension within so that I may become susceptible to genuine encounters of intimacy.

I returned to the beach house, the tranquility feeling afresh on my bare skin, and continued to read The Awakening. Moments later, I fell into a light slumber, wherein my dreams appeared foreign, as though to remind me of all that will remain unfamiliar should my desires be left unfulfilled. I was solemnly touched by Edna’s unfamiliarity with self-intimacy; and it was saddening to interpret that her intimacy with Robert alluded to her silent battle with depression. I understood how her character may be portrayed as an unaffectionate “mother-wife”. The parts of herself that had not been nurtured evoked my fears of becoming so consumed in my universal truth, that I may miss my opportunity to become an affectionate father-husband. If I could have spoken to my reflection that tranquil morning, in the waters that engulfed Edna’s being, I would have demanded of the fluid self to navigate the treacherous waves, so that my inward yearning of something unattainable would be guided into a steady familiarization with intimacy.