We had the good fortune of connecting with Christina Valles and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Christina, how do you think about risk?
I believe risk taking has given me everything I have now and brought me exactly where I was meant to be. Writing has always been something I held a passion for, since a young age. The idea of taking an artistic career path is one that I know many are scared of doing. Any artistic route is known as a risky career choice on its own when it comes to financial stability. When I was 18 and attending college, I found myself feeling as if I was not where I was supposed to be in life. I wanted to have all my time dedicated towards writing poetry and novels. When I made the decision to leave my university and pursue a writing career, I was scared beyond measure. I constantly questioned if I made the “right” choice. Soon I began to find myself comforted by the fact I will always receive what is meant for me, as long as I’m working for it. I stopped comparing the path I took to the ones my friends and other people my age were taking. I knew I wanted something different. I believe the fear of taking risks holds people back from their true potential and accomplishing what they were meant to do. I’ve always believed each person is born with their own special contribution they could give to the world, but it is up to them whether or not they will give it. After leaving school, I was able to dedicate all of my time towards writing and self published my first book at the age of 19. I also began working at an elementary school, which is something I never previously had an interest for, but soon fell in love with and am now planning to go back to school to study early childhood education. Part of me strongly feels if I never had left college when I did, I wouldn’t have found my newly discovered passion for teaching. I find it strange to think we are all meant to do only one thing. Maybe we are destined to do much more than that. I’m currently finishing up the process of putting my second poetry book together and will soon be starting my teaching journey as well. All of this I owe to one gigantic risk I took at a very young age. If you want something, do not stop until you accomplish it. No matter how scary or impossible it may seem, if you are determined, then nothing can stop you. Not even the fear of risk.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
When it comes to writing poetry, I think every person is already set apart from the next. Poetry is such an interesting thing on it’s own, you can find out so much about what a person has been through based on it. I’ve had many readers reach out and highlight my honesty in my poetry. They explain to me how they feel scared to even think about the thoughts they have, and thank me for putting them onto paper. It definitely has its challenges and I at times put writing off. I know that if I’m going to write about something, I’m going to have to think about it. I allow myself space to be ready. Currently I am working on my second poetry book, which has surprisingly been more difficult than my first in ways. My fear with this book is being repetitive or lacking a story. I have a very all over the place writing style. My journals and even phone notes are sometimes just filled with a few words. I know I want to put together something with those specific words, but sometimes just can’t get across what I’m meaning to say. I’ve learned from last time to not compare my work to anyone else’s, as like I said previously, we all are telling our own story in our own style. My biggest challenge right now is wanting to show my improvement in my writing, which I definitely believe is noticeable, but fear at times maybe only I can see that. I sometimes am too hard on myself when it comes to my work, which can be good at times, because then I know I am putting out my best work, but I also am learning to reward myself for little victories. The ultimate goal is for others to find comfort in my writing. I want people to not feel alienated or lost. My first book was a lot more dark in a sense, as it was many poems written about battling with anxiety and depression. The goal for my second book is to lift a weight off of people’s shoulders. It’s more geared toward falling in love with yourself, connecting with the universe and realizing how big of a part we play in it. I want people to feel and recognize their importance after reading.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Being born and raised in Arizona, it is crazy to me how I still have so much more to see, but from what I have seen, I do have my list of favorite spots. For breakfast, I’d have to bring them to Scramble, First Watch, or Rito’s. Waking up in the morning and seeing my dad had brought home burritos from Rito’s was always one of my favorite ways to start the day. Museums are a must. Of course the Phoenix Art Museum, but I also really like Wonderspaces in Scottsdale. The Arizona Science Center has been one of my favorite places since I was a kid. I also like to just hang out and do simple things like bowling, movies, mini golf, etc. For lunch, I’d take them to Tacos Calafia. It’s about five minutes from me and a favorite among my friends. I feel like night time is everyone’s favorite in Phoenix, mainly because of it cooling down a bit. Night hikes are fun and give you a beautiful view of the city. Old town Scottsdale is a drive from me, but if they were looking to drink I’d take them there. My friends and I have made a handful of memories there. Dinner could be at somewhere fancy like The Golden Compass, or even something quick and fast like ATL Wings or Lucky’s Pizza. I’ve spent nights with friends where we find an empty spot clear of buildings and trees, bring snacks, blankets, a speaker and just lay out and look at the stars. If you find a good spot, they are super visible. If they were looking for something more on the chill side, the drive ins are always a good time as well. I’m content anywhere as long as I can see the beautiful Arizona sunset. I feel that Arizona gets a lot of criticism, of course for the heat, but many say there is nothing to do which I don’t agree with at all. I think if you have the right group of people, the possibilities are endless.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I’m extremely thankful to all of the authors of the hundreds of books I have read in my lifetime. Reading was always my favorite activity as a child and still at 22 years old, brings me just as much joy. I loved the feeling of escaping reality by diving into those pages and words. It has always been a feeling I wanted to be able to give to others. I am also beyond thankful for my family, who have always supported me in all my endeavors. I want to especially thank my dad who has always told me to do something I find happiness in, not just something that brings in money. He constantly instilled into my brain that there is no point in doing something every day if I am miserable while doing it. My dad has always supported me and is constantly bragging about my accomplishments to everyone he meets, even if they’re strangers. I am forever indebted to him and the rest of my family.