When she was five her mom shoved a knife-sharpened No. 2 in her hand and instructed her to write her name and address over and over. What happened in her brain is documented in vol. 1 of the Adult Papers Zine series, and is partially to blame for her obsession with various forms of expression. (She has never fully recovered from that first compulsive act of writing.) 

Her fascination with slash marks, sounds, and the meaning they could conjure didn’t end with the physical act of mark-making. Growing up, her Abuela - a Cuban immigrant - didn’t speak English, and as she migrated between two cultures, languages, and systems of belief, she cultivated a fascination for the queer world between worlds. In that space, the same word can mean two different things depending on how you pronounce it, how you throw your hands around when you say it, or who you’re yelling it at. A loaf of bread becomes a barter with the universe. 

Violeta had it in her head since she was small that she’d get a scholarship to go to art school. That she did, and moved 1,200 miles from where she attended high school, in Spring, Texas, to attend the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. The main problem with that plan was, well, when she found herself slightly older, slightly chubbier, with diploma in hand and an intermediate knowledge of intaglio printmaking techniques, oil painting, and bookmaking, she realized she had no fucking idea what to do next. 

She got invited to be an artist-in-residence at the Sitka Center for Art and Ecology near Portland, OR, but she was too practical to go into the “middle of nowhere” without a job or a car and no way to pay her “bills,” (which at that time amounted to a Nokia brick phone and perhaps one credit card.) In November 2008 she moved back to Dallas, where she hadn’t lived since she was eleven, to be near Abuela, and to “give back” as a teacher, presumably. 

In 2015 she defended her master’s thesis at the University of Texas at Dallas while eight months pregnant, the fabric of her black dress straining to encompass her globe-like silhouette, to a panel of one misogynist, one harasser, and one rather brilliant academic, Dr. Rainer Schulte. She has her MA in Humanities which means she did some creative and academic writing and translating over the course of a couple years. 

Landlocked in Dallas, without Abuela since 7 May 2019, with no ocean or seasons within sight or smell, she is raising her trans daughter with the help of her parents and writing to live. 

You can contact her at violetathepoet@gmail.com 

Violet Augustine is a person with a voice and creator of the Adult Papers podcast.