Meet Junto: Gaby Marí, Literature Editor

My name is Gabriela Marí and I am, first and foremost, a dreamer. I’ve written that on the first page of nearly every journal I’ve kept since I was a child. Usually, I try to be a little clever if dramatic about it–for example, this one from my Moleskine journal circa October 2009:

“Gabriela Marí, who in another life may have been a socialite, princess, peasant, or pirate but in this one is nothing more or less than a dreamer.”

As extra credit, the reward offered in this journal is: “a pair of permanently fogged glasses (so you can see the world as I see it.)” A reference to, you guessed it, a pair of permanently fogged glasses that I had refused to get upgraded due to cost.

I grew up in Miami, Florida. I was one of four children, three girls and a boy–the middle child a la Stephanie Tanner. I was a tomboy, but particularly pitiful at anything that involved eye-hand coordination. My mother introduced me to all doctors with the urgent anecdote that I had never fully developed my motor skills. She would stand back and watch me try to sweep or beat an egg or jump a rope and shake her head sadly.

When I was 12, after a rather embarrassing barbecue, my best friend, Cindy, taught me how to cut a steak by myself. She was left-handed and I was not, so the results were that I would cut my meat in reverse with a knife pointed directly at my heart. My mother used to lean back in her chair and watch this folly and say, “I’m just waiting for the day that you accidentally stab yourself, honey.”

I was always an odd child with a huge imagination and some trouble connecting with others. I was an escapist before I knew what escapism was– I learned about it from Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs in the fifth grade. I have the section on the Pisces female partially memorized to this day. Both Cindy and I were Pisces and females, so I would read this section aloud to us on a nearly daily basis.

I had to secretly pore over the Pisces child section as Cindy claimed that at 11, it was a little late to learn about what we would be like as children. I was filled with hope reading about the lines that would form for a chance to date a Pisces woman, but I felt a real kinship with the Pisces child with fairy dust behind her ears. I often felt that I was consistently late at growing up.

When my peers were learning how to drive or going to parties, I was collecting Care Bears and watching Disney movies on repeat. My favorite movie is and always will be Aladdin, a close second is Rear Window. I have a tattoo of Aladdin’s lamp on my ankle, which was my third of six tattoos–all of which have intense ties to my childhood.

I got my very first tattoo spring break my sophomore year of college. Cindy took me to a tattoo parlor and helped me describe the tattoo I wanted to get. See, I wanted to get a fairy sitting on a crescent moon overlooking the world and sighing. As a note, I hadn’t yet seen the journal at Hot Topic with this very image on its cover–this was entirely from my imagination and the way I perceived myself in connection to the world at large.

Cindy went so far as to model the exact pose that my fairy would be in. I was too nervous to speak up when instead of a sad sigh, Cindy did a pin-up girl pose, and when I was shown the sketch of my future tattoo and saw that the artist had drawn a sexy cartoon of my best friend with wings, my only outward comment was: “Can she be dressed?”

So, I laid down and had a sexy pin-up girl version of my best friend tattooed onto my upper back. She sits on an unrealistically small crescent moon with large purple wings and overlooks a small, too-skinny elephant and an outline of my siblings and myself hand-in-hand on my front porch.

I attended Boston College from 2004-2008 and received a Bachelor’s degree in English and Film Studies. While there, I joined the Stylus literary magazine and had a couple of pieces published therein. I took several creative writing workshops and experimented with different mediums, including screenwriting, short stories, creative nonfiction, and poetry.

I now volunteer at the Housing Works Bookstore as well as the Ugly Duckling Presse on the weekends. I intern at The Other Stories Podcast and Hanging Loose Press. I recently participated as a judge/volunteer reader in the Kallisto Gaia Press Chester B. Himes Memorial Short Fiction Prize.

I have always loved writing and reading and when I’m not dreaming or telling a story, those are the two hobbies I can be found most often doing.