Ep.2 “Maíz es Vida” by Paloma Moreno Jiménez

Season 3, Episode 2: “Maíz es Vida” -- Paloma Moreno Jiménez presents an audio fiction bringing the Latine "three sisters" crops - Maíz (Corn), Calabaza (Squash), and Frijol (Bean) - to life.

Ep.2 “Maíz es Vida” by Paloma Moreno Jiménez

Today, storyteller Paloma Moreno Jiménez conjures a folkloric audio fiction about the cross-cultural, agricultural importance of corn, and its relationship with humanity.  Her experimental, sound-lush story anthropomorphizes the “three sisters” crops – Maíz (Corn), Calabaza (Squash), and Frijol (Bean) – as real sisters, and follows the eldest, Maíz, as she shares the story of a fantastical journey into the spirit world with her grandchild on the other side.  

Special thanks to Ace the Storyteller for contributing original music to this episode.

And, in our series of behind-the-scenes bonus episodes, host Shaylyn Martos sits down with storyteller Paloma Moreno Jiménez, the creative mind behind Season 3, Episode 2, “Maíz es Vida.” Together, they talk about Paloma’s real-life inspiration for her fantastical story, as well as the joys and challenges of entering the audio industry as a young producer. 

Inherited is a critically acclaimed climate storytelling show made by, for, and about young people. We’re a production of YR Media and distributed by Critical Frequency. 

For more information about our podcast, head to our website at yr.media/inherited, and follow us on the socials @inheritedpod.

Episode Transcript

Inherited Season 3

Episode 2: “Maíz es Vida,” by Paloma Moreno Jiménez 

[ethereal synths]

PALOMA MORENO JIMÉNEZ: My mother covered me with soil and laid her hand over it, the rain slipping through the spaces between her fingers and into the dirt enclosing me. In the soil, I was a seed in the third space – a place where the beginning and the end come together, and the living and the dead meet.

HOST SHAYLYN MARTOS: Indigenous science, practices and folklore have shaped our relationships with nature for thousands of years. Yet in record time, anthropogenic climate change has severed many ties these communities wove together, with our world and with each other.

[Inherited theme]

SHAYLYN: Håfa adai, and welcome to Inherited — we share the work of young audio storytellers, aspiring to uplift a new generation of climate advocacy. I’m your season host, shaylyn martos.  This is season 3, episode 2: “Maíz es Vida”. 

Paloma Moreno Jiménez has always heard those words, “Maíz es vida,” Corn is life. But these days there are external forces that suppress this Indigenous knowledge, and for some young Latinx people, this can create a disconnect with their cultures.

Our next piece addresses this disconnect, through an original fictional narrative. 

This is Paloma Moreno Jiménez, with “Maíz es Vida”.




Abuela, it’s Frijolito.

Sitting on my bed and I’m holding this little mic I bought yesterday. I thought making this audio journal dedicated to you might help me process your death better.

It’s been five days since your burial and last night I had a really vivid dream… it was more of a memory within a dream, from the final story you told me before you passed.

The day you told me this story, we were sitting in your garden. Whenever I’d come to visit you, I would always find you there and you’d be drawing pictures of Maíz – a plant that has been extinct for almost a century now. I never understood why until that day. I sat next to you and I had a feeling it might be the last time, so I decided to record our conversation. 

You told me a story of spirits, and mountains, and plants. Of journeys where you met the souls of non-human beings… like the underworld but not a “hell”… but a place where beings that transcend our physical world exist. I could feel from the way you told it how connected you were to the world around you, Abue. And through you, I felt connected too. 

And then I woke up this morning… and it was the first time since your death where I didn’t wake up feeling sad. I woke up feeling at peace. And I couldn’t stop thinking about this story, and how I haven’t gotten myself to listen to the recording since. 

Without you here, I feel disconnected from all that’s around me… the land, the spirits, and the mountains… It’s like living in a house full of people and not ever starting a conversation or knowing how to.

I want to find that relationship in the same way you did with the world around you, Abue. I think it made you someone whose purpose could never be taken away from her. You were always so grounded. 

So I think it’s time for me to listen to your story. Ok.

[deep breath]

[tape ends]


[garden ambience]

ABUE: The day I was planted was a gloomy day. The clouds grayed the skies and light rain wet the back of my Father’s hand as he bent down and dug a small hole for my heart to grow. 

My parents were farmers, they were humans, living in the physical world… but they also understood the importance of the spiritual world, and honored it. 

My Mother covered me with soil and laid her hand over it, the rain slipping through the spaces between her fingers, and into the dirt enclosing me. 

[footsteps on soil] 

In the soil, I was a seed in the third space – a place where the beginning and the end come together and the living and the dead meet.

I felt a spirit’s hand reach up, and hold me from underground. 


My mother brought her forehead to the wet ground and whispered to me and the spirit, “Maíz es vida.”

[whoosh to spirit world] 

At the sound of the word “vida,” the spirit’s hand closed and pulled me into a place you can only find in your dreams – the ones you wake from feeling at peace but with no remembrance of what you dreamt. But I remember. 

There, in the spirit world, was where I met the soul of a mountain. 

[sound of the sea’s big waves]

She was a woman, laying in an infinitude of water. 

[drone begins] 

Her back faced towards me, her hips and shoulders forming peaks that met at the valley of her waist. The mountain slowly turned her head as if I had woken her up from her slumber. Her coal-black eyes fell on me and she began moving her body, preparing to stand. 

[suspenseful music, building] 

Waterfalls formed at the folds of her belly. Her wet black hair drained down her back and into the sea. She placed her foot down and the waves pushed in all directions, returning back to her at the pull. The woman was huge, tall and gracious. Once she stood, I noticed her right side that hadn’t been visible to me before – the same peak that was on her left hip… wasn’t there. She noticed my curiosity and placed her hand over her right missing peak. 


 “Maíz,” echoed her voice. She knew my name.

What happened to your right hip? I asked the mountain. 

“I was ripped from my protectors and those who came next chose to compromise their relationship with me. I was dug into and left mutilated for greed.” 

Who did it? Why did they hurt you? I asked her.

“Maíz, this damage wasn’t only done to me, but to those who hurt me as well. One who doesn’t know how to protect the home they are born from… will never belong to themselves. For in our roots live the connections to all that we are part of. Our purpose is no other but to live deep rooted, a witness and a bearer of all the light and the heartbreak of our worlds. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself lost.” 

[thunder crackles]

The woman turned and laid down, slow and heavy, returning to her original position. 

I realized I was in the presence of a giant, an ancestor of wisdom. A presence like that humbles fear, undoes loneliness, and honors existence in all of its forms. I held the mountain’s words like a coat of protection to clothe me, giving me a peace in the unknown of what was to come.

[sound of spirit circling]

The spirit that had guided me there returned, a luminescent light that circled around me, and took me to another boundless place of the spirit world. This time, away from the giant woman.  

The spirit carried me to an indescribable place. I can’t explain how it looked, but it felt like an abyss of silence.

[brown noise] 

Then, gently, the spirit called my name and spoke.

“Maíz, you will be one of three plant sisters. You will grow alongside Frijol and Calabaza. The three of you represent one of the most ancient, vital plant lineages of our worlds. Your sisterhood has allowed you to withstand and adapt through changing histories. Until now. In today’s world you will face your greatest threats yet, the same ones that harmed the mountain. 

Maíz, you are the eldest. The first sister to grow. You will lead the journey, for you hold the connection to our spirit world. Soon, Calabaza y Frijol will join you. Listen closely to you and your sisters’ destinies.

Calabaza will be the youngest sister. Calabaza must use her big leaves to shade the roots of the three sisters and protect the soil from drying out in the heat of the sun.

Frijol will be the middle sister. She must wrap around you, Maíz, as high as she can to reach for the sun, and dig her roots as deep as she can to feed the three sisters.

And you, Maíz. You will be the oldest sister and the first to sprout. You must grow as tall and strong as you can for Frijol to wrap around you and reach the sunlight. 


But if the threat comes for the three sisters… remember the mountain’s message and remain rooted.”

With the last exhale, the spirit wrapped around me again and guided me back to the soil –

[whoosh out of spirit world] 

– to the third space, to prepare for my transition into the physical world. 


I knew the sun and the rain before I met them. The two would feed and moisten my seed, rooting for me the strength I needed to sprout. 

[simple, loving synth music]

When I finally sprouted and met the sun, she drenched me in warmth and seduced me in love, pulling me towards her.

By the fifth day, I had grown two green leaves from my stem, and lifted them up to hug her. 

A few days later, I danced with the rain. He moistened my veins and quenched my roots.

The two lovers would dominate, back and forth. There would be days of blazing heat and days of thunderous downpours. But in their balance, I grew almost a foot tall. 

[music halts] 

On one of rain’s stormy days, I felt footsteps vibrate through the ground. It was my Mother. She approached me and kneeled on the moist soil. 

[vibrating footsteps and kneeling on ground]

She had planted my seed and dreamt of my growth. Between the spirit world and her, between the mountains and the rain, I was nourished with the care from every being to also become. 

[hopeful synth] 

That day it was my sister’s turn. 

My mother opened her fist, and I saw the seeds of Frijol. She made a hole in the soil, near my roots, and planted my middle sister. In the soil, I felt Frijol entangle her roots with mine. I am you and you are me, I told her. Frijol ripped through the soil to hug me. Following the spirit’s commands, she began climbing up and wrapping around me tightly. 

Frijol’s playfulness was contagious, even on the cold days she created moments of joy. She loved to sway her leaves with the wind, making me move along to her rhythm. 

A week after Frijol was planted, my Mother returned to pull out the persistent weeds growing around us. She whispered to us, “Your sister Calabaza will protect you from the weeds,” as she made another space in the soil near our roots and planted Calabaza, our youngest sister.

[soft synths] 

When Calabaza came, she remained low, a tireless guardian of our roots. Her bunched leaves kept our soil humid and refreshed, also averting the weeds that once hoped to conquer us. 

Calabaza was sweet but clever – while she protected us from pests, she still welcomed a few bugs into our home. She would feed them from her own fruit and shade their small homes under her leaves. 

[synths stop]

I wish… I wish I could tell you, out my stalk came my ears, and in my ears lived my fruit, and from my fruit was born my name, Maíz. But my fruit never grew. 

When the wet season passed, the sun greeted us with rising temperatures. Initially, she was the toasty feeling I missed, but soon she turned unbearable. 

[twinkling song]

In the absence of the rain, the drying veins of my leaves became scars. As we approached the day of harvest, I felt the soil around our roots become drier. My sisters and I were constantly hungry, exhausted, and would spend most of our hours asleep in the heatwave, not growing but merely surviving. 

It felt like we were living in dead soil. I thought my sisters and I would still reach harvest together, we just had to make it through the heatwave. 

On the day of harvest, at noon, the zenith of the sun came. She was directly above me, at her highest and most powerful position in the sky. Shadows disappeared – the shade of them evaporating in the brightness. Everything was in light. 

[twinkling stops] 

[burning/electromagnetic waves] 

A burn carried through my stalk and I felt Frijol loosen her grip. Calabaza’s leaves shriveled, exposing the last protection we had from the sun. 

All the humidity in our soil boiled off the ground and the burning sensation spread to our roots.

I yelled at the sun, “Please, please stop!” In her betrayal, I felt my love for the sun wane. She had become the monster of my life. I refused to hug her and I dropped my leaves. 

[electromagnetic waves stop]

[burning stops]

Soon, I couldn’t feel my sisters anymore.

[birds caw]

Their roots had disconnected. My sisters were gone.

[anxious strings] 

I whimpered, trying to remain rooted even in the heartbreak as the mountain had told me. 

I felt desperate footsteps run towards me… it was my Mother! Her sweat mixed with the tears running down her face. She kneeled in front of me and touched her forehead to the ground. She chanted, “Maíz es vida. Maíz es vida. Maíz es vida.” 

I realized I, too, was dying. 

[birds caw]

I felt my mother’s tears touch my roots. And then, I passed. 

[spirit world whoosh]

I found myself back in the hands of the spirit. I sobbed, I yelled, I hurt. I released the grief, the loss of my sisters, my parents. 

Where are they? I demanded the spirit. 

“They’re not here, Maíz.”

Please! I begged. 

“I’m sorry, Maíz.”

What happens now? Will I grow again? I asked.

“No, Maíz. You were the last living maíz plant.”

Why! Why did the sun hurt us? The monster of our world! 

“Maíz! The sun has caused no malice to our worlds. To understand you must move forth.”

I don’t care! How can I move forth without my sisters? Without my Mother? Without my roots? What will I be? 

“Your journey is not over, Maíz. Your roots live beyond the physical world. You must remain rooted, a witness and a bearer of all the light and the heartbreak of our worlds. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself lost. You will experience the next state of your journey as a human, a child to be born from your Mother’s womb.”

[baby’s heartbeat] 

The spirit lifted me into the third space again…

Then I was in a new place, warm and moist, but unlike the soil. 

[heartbeat stops] 

I opened my eyes to my Mother, smiling as I cried. I was back in the physical world. This time, I was also  human. She had given birth to me from her womb, and cradled me in her arms.

[hopeful synth] 

I grew up as her child with a faint recollection of my past as Maíz. The flashbacks would come in my dreams, the ones you wake from feeling agitated but with no remembrance of what you dreamt. 

In this physical world, my parents immigrated to the U.S. from Veracruz, México. When I was ten, my Mother told me why they had left their home.

In México, my parents had been farmers. Theirs was one of the last farms to grow maíz in the world. My parents used the three sisters planting method, passed down from their ancestors to help Maíz survive the changes in our world. But the threats of today were different. In the distance of their farm was a mountain, called The Sleeping Woman. 


Mining companies had extracted coal from the mountain for centuries, damaging the surrounding land and depleting the soil from nutrients crops needed to grow. The damage done onto the land provoked consequences. The seasons became volatile. The rainfalls wouldn’t last as long and the sun’s heat would become trapped in the physical world, more and more with no release, destroying the two lovers’ balance. My parents struggled to survive off their land for years, and still they persisted knowing they were one of the few that could still grow maíz. But one day their last maíz plant died, forcing them to leave their land and migrate. 

Frijolito, when your mom had you, she named you after my sister, Frijol. Upon your birth, I started remembering my dreams.

[nostalgic synths] 

I remembered my past… being planted by my parents and growing up with my sisters, Calabaza and Frijol. I finally understood what had happened. I had been the last Maíz. A grief came over me – the lives of my sisters and I vanished at the hands of humanity’s greed. But as heartbroken as I was, I also remembered the light with you and your mother by my side. Once you grew older, you would sit with me and talk… sharing stories in each others’ company. I began feeling the warmth and embrace my sister Frijol had given me when she wrapped around my stalk. 

I recalled the mountain’s words. “One who doesn’t know how to protect the home they are born from… will never belong to themselves. For in our roots live the connections to all that we are part of. Our purpose is no other but to live deep rooted, a witness and a bearer of all the light and the heartbreak of our worlds. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself lost.” 

I finally understood. I had to pass forward our histories so you, Frijolito, could dig your roots deeper and bring back the rain, the seasons, the hips of the mountain, the land we grow from. Let us heal the relationship that humans have fractured with their home. 

With you Frijolito, I became a witness of light again, for you were the bearer of that light. I am you and you are me. 

[synths fade out]


[car ambience, older song in spanish plays on the radio]

[car parked, engine and music turned off, footsteps]

Hi, Abue. After listening to your story, I went to visit mom. We were sitting in the garden… in your garden. And she showed me a collage she made of all your drawings of Maíz that you made. In a lot of them, I also noticed you drew Frijol and Calabaza, too. 

And so I asked my mom if you had ever told her the story of you and your sisters… and she began tearing up. She stood up, went into the house, and brought back a small bag. She told me not to open it until I got to your grave. So that’s where I’m at right now. But when I got here, I saw that I wasn’t alone.  


You sprouted a baby maíz plant from your grave. And I’m looking at it right now. And it’s the first time I see a maíz plant in my life. The first maíz plant in a century. And your little sprout has two green humble leaves that are lifting up to the sky to hug me.

[laughing, sniffles]

And then, I opened the pouch my mom gave me… it’s two kinds of seeds, Frijol and Calabaza… your sisters. To plant around your Maíz.

[In Frijolito and Abuela’s voice isolated]

In the soil, I was a seed in the third space – a place where the beginning and the end come together and the living and the dead meet. I felt a spirit’s hand reach up and hold me from underground. Frijolito brought her forehead to the wet ground and whispered to me and the spirit – “Maíz es vida.”

PALOMA CREDITS: Gracias a mi abuelita, Mari. A Mingo. A Juanita. A la comunidad Maya y a los guardianes de los mundos.

[synth theme fades in]

SHAYLYN: That was Paloma Moreno Jiménez with “MAÍZ ES VIDA”.

And I’m me, shaylyn. Thank you for joining us for episode 2! More fantastic stories are coming, so tune in to Inherited each Wednesday, wherever you get your podcasts. 

We’re also continuing our new segment of Inherited — craft interviews with our own storytellers on their process, their growth and their next steps. 

I spoke with Paloma about creating folklore, and just existing as a young audio producer in a demanding field. Look out for our bonus interview episode this Friday.

That’s episode 2! Thank you for joining us. Next episode we hear from folks from the Niger Delta region in Nigeria, about the cycle of severe flooding they now experience every rainy season.

Saina Ma’ase’ todus hamyo and see you next week!


Inherited is brought to you by YR Media, a national network of young journalists and artists creating content for this generation. We’re distributed by Critical Frequency, a women-run podcast network founded by journalists. 

The story, “Maíz es Vida”,  featured in today’s episode, was written, produced, and voiced by Paloma Moreno Jiménez, an Inherited season 3 storyteller.

I’m shaylyn martos, your Season 3 host, and producer.

The co-creators and senior producers of Inherited are Georgia Wright and Jules Bradley.

Our audio engineer is James Riley. Our audio engineering fellow is Christian Romo. 

Dominique French and Nyge Turner provided production support, and our intern is Esther Omolola.

Our Executive Producer is Amy Westervelt from Critical Frequency.

YR Media’s Director of Podcasting is Sam Choo, and our Sr Director of Podcasting and Partnerships is Rebecca Martin.  

Original music for this episode was created by Ace the Storyteller, in addition to these young musicians at YR Media: Christian Romo, Anders Knutstad, Noah Holt, Jacob Armenta, Chaz Whitley, Michael Diaz, Sean Luciano Galarza, and Jay Mejia Cuenca. 

Music direction by Oliver “Kuya” Rodriguez and Maya Drexler. Other music licensed from APM Music.

Art for this episode created by YR’s Marjerrie Masicat.

Art direction by Brigido Bautista.

Michella Rivera is our web designer.

Project management from Eli Arbreton.

YR Media’s Creative Director is Pedro Vega, Jr.

Special thanks to Maggie Taylor, Jazmyn Burton, Shavonne Graham, Donielle Conley, and Kyra Kyles. 

Please throw us a rating or maybe even a review on the Apple Podcast app – it goes a LONG way towards getting these stories out there! You can also follow us on Instagram and Twitter @inheritedpod. 

If you want to learn more about our show and this season’s cohort of storytellers, head to our website at yr.media/inherited. 

Thanks for listening!

S3E2 Bonus: Interview with Paloma (7/28)

Shaylyn Martos: Welcome. You’re listening to Inherited, a sound-rich, solutions-focused, youth storytelling podcast about the climate crisis. I’m shaylyn martos, your season 3 host. 

In episode two, Paloma Moreno Jiménez wove an original folkloric fiction narrative about the importance of maíz, frijol, y calabaza, in Indigenous Latin American communities. If you haven’t yet listened to “Maíz es Vida,” go do that right now!

 I got the chance to speak with Paloma during the earlier stages of production about their previous audio work inspirations for this piece and adjusting from student life to the professional realm. Here’s Paloma Moreno Jiménez. 

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: My name is Paloma, I use she/they pronouns, and I, I see myself as a storyteller firstmost – and currently in my life, an audio storyteller, because I really fell in love with audio. 

Shaylyn Martos: Beautiful. Paloma, you’ve worked in audio for a bit now, which is awesome. You are an accomplished producer and engineer as well, so can you tell me a little bit about that journey so far and your goals for the future? 

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: Oh my gosh. Hearing you say that, that means a lot. Yes, my journey with it, my junior year of college, I did a program through my school where we got to spend three months in New York and at the same time we had to do an internship. So I applied to intern at Radiolab and this was like, zero audio experience whatsoever. I didn’t even know what podcasts were! 

But I, I feel like I love collaging. So, like, collaging visually collaging, like sound collaging and just mixing mediums and stuff to create more like abstract like textures, like different textures within a story that represents like the layers, the complexity of whatever I’m focusing on. And so I applied to Radiolab, but at that point I didn’t see it as journalism. It felt very distant, like very unreasonable for me to call myself a journalist or like a reporter, you know, at the end. I think, like everybody’s journalism is different and. Especially for people of color, like immigrant folks, like, inevitably, I think, are you going to bring your own experience into it. And so coming to terms with a style of journalism that might not be as objective. 

Shaylyn Martos: Quote unquote, “objective.” So it sounds to me that, like, including your perspective and then making things very complex, but then also sonically, how to make things interesting and complex sonically. 

But I would love to talk about this piece in particular. It’s a completely narrative piece about the role of frijol, calabaza, and maíz in Indigenous communities. And you made the choice to personify each of these foods as sisters who grew together and died together in the harsh environment that humans created. So what inspired this choice? What inspired this narrative? 

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: It really came from my grandma. My grandma passed away when I was, I think, middle school and we had immigrated to San Diego. And during that time my sister and I didn’t have papers, so we couldn’t cross to like, visit our family. 

One of the things I come back to often is a craving for having my elders around me, because all of my elders have passed away, unfortunately. So for me, it was a way to reconnect with my grandma as well, because she grew up in Ozuluama, Veracruz. And my dad, like often times I’ll say, my dad as I try to dig his brain to like stories of my grandma or who she was and where she came from. 

My grandma’s grandma was Totonaca. And so that’s a part I’m really interested about, but has been hard for me to find more about. And I know that my grandma grew up, you know, in a rural area, growing corn and making tortillas a mano, like, her cooking, her cuisine was incredible. And her tamales were out of this world. And I remember, like, when we would go for Christmases and, like, you know, Navidad, she would make the tamales from scratch and, it was just – 

Shaylyn Martos: That’s a labor of love. 

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: Labor of love, yes. So a big part of it is inspired by my Abuela and wanting to connect with her. Another part is, maíz is so important, so important in Mexico, Central America, South America. But I grew up with just hearing like, Maíz es vida.

Shaylyn Martos: In this piece, you essentially are kind of creating your own folklore. And is that kind of influenced or connected to the stories that you hear from the other Latin communities that you’ve either been a part of, or have supported, or were welcomed into? 

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: Recently, last summer I went to Guatemala. My dad and I actually did the trip together. When he was younger, he was living at the border with Mexico and Guatemala. But he was going to cross over. But he couldn’t because of the Civil War. So he’d always wanted to come back at one point to, you know, get to know the country. We were in Lago Atitlán, and we did a hike called Rostro Maya. And the tour guide, his name was Mingo, and he is from Lago Atitlán. He and his family are Indigenous to, like the first peoples that were from Lago Atitlán. 

And when we were climbing the mountain, we saw these huge, like maíz  plants, huge. Just like I’d never seen, like my eyes that tall. And my dad and I were just like, shook, right? And Mingo was telling us about the volcanic lands because our land is surrounded by volcanoes and so the land is so fertile. But it was a whole community who could come and grow their food. It was like shared, you know? And so I got really emotional, I think, because I feel like we really take for granted our environment. At least I didn’t grow up exactly understanding what relationship I had with my environment. Right. 

Shaylyn Martos: And so right now, at this point, you’ve finished three different versions of your script and you’re gearing up for your final tracking session. Has this experience helped you grow as a journalist, as someone in audio and podcasting? 

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: Yes, 100%. Writing a fiction story was something I hadn’t done before, especially for audio. It reminds me of what I’m capable of and that I am a storyteller. I think oftentimes I, I kind of discredit myself. Um, so I definitely feel like it’s helped me grow and feel more confident in my ideas. 

Shaylyn Martos: A conversation that you and I had very early on, you reached out and asked me about hiring in this industry, and we talked about how difficult it is to find full time work. And I am so proud that you have gotten your first full time job. I think our listeners could really benefit from hearing your perspective on hiring in the industry, especially right now.

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: Oh my gosh. It was a journey. I was on a job hunt, I think around seven months, and I know people who have been in it much longer. Yeah, I graduated last June, last year. It’s hard. It’s like you need to have a portfolio, but it’s an entry level job. And so something really precious I learned through my job search journey was beyond applying to full time jobs, as you’re applying to projects like Inherited and NPR and Next Gen Radio. And those were really helpful experiences because it helps you build your portfolio, but also reminds you of like, I’m in it and I love it, and like what I’m doing is worth it, you know!

Shaylyn Martos: And hopefully you get paid! For those projects. 

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: Yes, 100%! There’s a lot of like paid gigs, like pitch calls are really great and then you get to do your own thing and be your own manager in a sense of like what story you’re creating and how you want it to be made. 

But yeah, it’s definitely difficult. The first three months were hard. And then I had to learn to give myself more grace. I know it’s difficult as well, like depending on your financial situation, but I think networking, as icky as that might be? I think I learned a different – what works for me. So I think I learned that I want to reach out to people I’m genuinely just fascinated by and I would love to be friends with and just have a genuine conversation. You know, like, I think when I started doing that, I started feeling a lot more validated. I think it’s just key to start creating an audio community so you feel supported and encouraged in the process. Yeah. 

Shaylyn Martos: See, that’s that’s a really, really great way to rephrase this really toxic idea of, “Oh, journalism is all about who you know.” Like, “Oh, you’re not going to get a job unless you know, someone high up.” But it seems to me like in your experience, it was less about meeting, like really impressive people and then getting a leg up that way. But it was about like fostering that community.

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: Mmm. I think for a while I had a lot of ideas, but before I would even explore them, I would shut them down. And one thing a friend told me that – we’re talking about it, and they were like, I’m tired of having a graveyard of my ideas. Like I want to let my ideas live. And I would encourage folks to also let their ideas live. They’re not going to be perfect. Yeah, let yourself create and you’ll figure it out as you go. You’re going to grow up a lot, through it. 

Shaylyn Martos: I mean, yeah, Growing pains, you know. As we wrap up our conversation. I mean, I could sit here all day and talk to you. But as we wrap it up, is there anything that you’d like to plug?

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: Yeah, I just did a story in, what was it, March for Next Gen Radio. And it’s about, you know, navigating queerness in the home. And I would love to plug that, you know, it’s a very special story to me. I think I related to it a lot. Yeah. The story’s called Coming Out and Coming Home. It’s on Next Gen Radio’s L.A, USC website. Yeah, you can find it there. 

Shaylyn Martos: Great. Paloma, do you have anything else you’d like to share with me? 

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: No, that’s all. I appreciate you a lot. I really love talking to you every time. And. But, yeah, I don’t have anything else. I just want to say thank you to inherit it for letting me explore my ideas and create a beautiful story. Yeah. 

Shaylyn Martos: Fantastic. Well, thank you so much, Paloma, for making the time to talk with me today. And I just really appreciate getting the chance to talk to you and reach out any time. Any time your community will uplift you, as long as you pay it forward and you lift as you climb. 

Paloma Moreno Jiménez: 100%. Yeah. Thank you so much, Shaylyn. 

Shaylyn Martos: Thank you for joining us for this bonus episode. Season three of Inherited continues Wednesdays, wherever you get your podcasts. Next week, storyteller Mo Isu shares his own memories and the voices of Nigerians adapting to devastating yearly flooding in the Niger Delta region.

Inherited is brought to you by YR Media, a national network of young journalists and artists creating content for this generation. We’re distributed by Critical Frequency, a podcast network founded by women journalists. For more information about our show team and storytellers, visit our website at yr.media/inherited. 

See you next week!

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Invest in the diverse voices that will shape and lead the future of journalism and art.
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