Sunday, March 23, 2014

Writing Captured by Life's Experiences

Today, while I was wrapping up one of the last chapters of my novel, I burst into tears.  It was the first time I had ever cried during a scene.  I saw one of my main characters as clear as day and felt his pain go straight through my own heart.  It was a pivotal and captivating moment for me; to say the least. 

As we grow within our writing and extend our fingers way past the comfort zones and strides of the keyboard, there is something spiritual which happens deep within our souls.  It’s almost as if we become frozen in time.  We melt away with all of the emotions we have created not only for our characters, but which have been flourishing from the valleys rooted beneath the surface.  Our writing forces us to venture to places where we never thought even existed within ourselves. 
A friend of mine passed away four years ago.  His 37th birthday would have been last February.  He had brain aneurism which suddenly burst out of nowhere, and he instantly fell into a coma.  His mother found him on the floor of the kitchen, soaking in his own vomit.  I wanted to be there for him as soon as he was admitted into the hospital, but my boss needed me that week and I couldn’t commute four hours each day for work.  As soon as the weekend arrived, I hopped in my car and went straight to pick up my sister and headed to the hospital.  I gave my friend, G, my favorite rosary which his mother left in his hands until he finally left our world for good later that evening. 

Can you believe it?  It was almost as if he had waited for me to get there so I could hold his hand one final time and speak to him before he passed on.  The monitor in the ICU kept making sounds whenever I got close to him and spoke.  I asked the nurse if this was normal and she said, “No,” and she believed he could hear us.  But truth be told, the doctors said he was brain dead and would never recover.  He died a few hours later; after my visit.

That moment right there; knowing I would never see my friend again nor have a second chance at continuing our love which was started when we were teenagers… that moment was engraved in a special part of my heart and will never disperse.  It has a certain rapture on my most kindred memories of the two of us together.  This doesn't necessarily mean I still love him the way I did when I was 16, 17 and 18 years old.  But it does mean I will always love the time we spent together and a rare companionship which lasted until the day he died. 
Why am I mentioning my first love, who was also a lifelong friend, and what does it have to do with my writing?  Everything. 
Letting my friend go was one of the hardest things I ever had to do in my life after I buried my Daddy C.  They were two people who loved and adored me; truly and unconditionally.  So when I had to say goodbye to someone in my novel, I felt those emotions rumbling in the depths of the deepest canyons of my soul.  I cried so much that I had to close the computer and run to Church.  I’ve learned the silence in prayer or the solace of an early morning on the beach can both help to sooth even my most dismal, sad and darkest thoughts. 

My friend would have been proud of the writer I’ve become and author I’m still aspiring to be.  I know he and my late father are looking down on me, weightlessly catching my tears as they stream down my curiously sad face.  But that is the thing we must always remember as creators, thinkers, mentors, writers, authors, etc.  We are still here, living and breathing and most importantly, curious… That waters may be shallow at times but on the other hand, they might also be ten thousand feet deep.  We have the opportunity to create the most epic and astounding reasoning; decorating this world with our imagination and endless thoughts. 

Sadly, some of our loved ones are no longer able to paint the world with us.  So now, when I get lost in a scene or drive my inner voice mad, angry or sullenly distraught, I tell myself that it is okay and I’m making something so beautiful, my Daddy C and my first love, G, are going to be proud of me today. 

Here’s looking at all of you, my fellow writers, family and friends, and wishing you an astounding week succumbed by a driving force so passionate, the keys on your laptop won’t know what hit them!

What has been the driving force or fuel in your life, blogs, writing and/or scenes? 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Your Soul Screams for Purpose

Last night, I had a dream and couldn't wait to blog about it.  My dream represented so many things going on in my life right now.  After some much needed reflection, I've decided to share my thoughts.  I apologize for dropping off the face of the planet, but I’ve been working on my novel which is in the final stages of the first draft.  Ahh… alas! I can breathe.

I have a dream journal which has been lacking entries since my work with children has picked up as well as my novel.  Honestly, my alarm goes off at 5am so instead of running toward my journal, I’m usually forcing myself to slowly rise from my bed and make my way toward the coffee pot like a groggily zombie.  Just so I have enough time to write or visit kids before the work day begins.   

Back to my dream.  It had to do with three of my favorite things; writing, fashion and religion.  Yep, all packaged and presented to me in one big fantasy.  There was me, as Carrie Bradshaw (of course), the actual “Mr. Big”, Samantha, Miranda and Charlotte.  I was also being recruited amongst Maggie from the Walking Dead, my ex-boyfriend from college who was posing as Glenn (yes, my ex was, too, Korean) and we were all in this big building with many stairs leading up to some higher power.  The strange thing was that certain people had the capability of floating or flying up instead of using the stairs.  I was one of them.  Mostly everyone else, including my ex, had to use the stairs.  When I was asked how I was able to fly, my reply was simple... or simple to the version of “me” in my dream.  “The happier and more awakened your spirit it, the more inclined will be to fly.” 

Simple enough and back to real life.  I took this theme to be as we are all humans having three power cords within us; our mind, our heart, and low and behind, our soul.  It’s obvious what we do to feed our minds and heart.  But the question is… How do we feed our soul?  Mmm.

There was also a part where I (Carrie) was pissed off at Big for standing me up at an elegant ball which I was dressed impeccably for.  I had a scarlet pink dress on which was blazing with fiery dowry.  My long, silken and wavy hair fell down to both my neck and breast and was laced in golden and brown locks.  Beauty and perfection all wrapped into one.  Well, after the ball ended and I was standing there utterly alone, I decided to run through the dark, heightened cold streets of Manhattan in my Manolo BIahnik six inch heels, searching for Big.  When I finally found him walking with some of his business partners, I asked, “What kind of man stands someone up at a ballroom?”  His answer was simple enough; “I forgot.”  Then, in true Carrie and Big fasion, he wisped me away with his handsome demeanor and infectious charm. 

All of the sudden, on our walk home together, Pope Francis was walking by accompanied by his six priestly body guards.  I asked Big to stop them so I could ask the Pope for his blessing.  Big stood there in awe and couldn’t mustard up the courage to approach him so I did.  When his gang let their guard down, he approached me and put his hand upon my head and then over my heart.  He told me I was being blessed and I should keep moving forward with my journey.  I was as happy as the morning sun returning from her glorious adventures while we lay lost in our dreams.

I took this as two separate entities... One; my connection to New York City was still trying to make its way back into my writing.  (My second novel will be based out of Manhattan) and two; our spirit needs to be spoiled with endless inspiration and higher knowledge in order to grow closer toward the destiny of where our paths will eventually lead us.  And I’m not just saying this for shits and giggles.  I believe in dreams because they have the power to connect us with our psyches as well as the energy of other human beings and passed loved ones. 

And what was even more astounding was that on this very day, I was supposed to have been at a Pagan shop looking for vitality to feed my soul with one of my besties.  She’s been there for me through thick and thin and during my socialite climbing and crumbling years as a teenager and college attendee in New York City. 

Well, we had agreed to go to this Wiccan store to look for some books, candles and anything else which would awaken the positive energy we knew needed some jerking around deep within.  Can you believe this?  I was so psyched to go to this store and then low and behind, the Pope who lives halfway across the planet, decides to visit me in my dream and tell me “I am blessed and my journey will find its own path.”  I don’t know about you, but I read this whole experience as, “Girl, sit your Godly butt behind and mediate with your higher power if its guidance and energy you seek.  But leave that Wiccan store alone.”

Not to judge or say there is anything wrong with Wiccan ways.  I will probably still go someday with my friend just to check it out because I love learning about other religions and spiritual reflections.  But for now, it is simply not my thing.  Pope Francis flooded me with assurance as I have been tossing and turning in woe and worry; trying to swim my way through a boundless sea of “what ifs” and “where do I go from heres.”   

We all have a purpose here and sadly for most, they never reach that purpose.  A few weeks ago, I had been working with elementary kids at a very low-income school in one of the poorest cities in New Jersey.  My aunt is a teacher there; not because she needs the job, but because she loves the children who attend this school. 

From the outside, there are tall fences guarding the kids as they play on the small, worn down playground.  Walking into the school, my heart sunk to my shoes as I read a huge banner which said, “Reading is Better Than Being in a Gang.”  The decrepit and dilapidated walls are decorated with paintings, artwork, and stories the children have produced to hide any of the sadness and pain which resides in the city surrounding them.  I have to admit; I was afraid and nervous about meeting these students.  But from the moment I observed my aunt speaking with them, I felt an incredibly warm toughness collide and conquer the aching pain slowly protruding from my soul.

After one day of working with these unbelievably talented and sweet kids, I understood why she chose to work there.  Whether or not she understood that this was her purpose and a place where her soul felt inclined to be… well that was up to her.  But standing there, behind my aunt, as the kids rushed up with excitement and stories, I stood there as another spirit, observing the POWER of finding one’s PURPOSE. 

Sadly, my aunt is very sick.  She was recently diagnosed with bone cancer and has already battled breast cancer eight years ago.  My aunt is a fighter which is why she is still working now with those kids who desperately need someone like her to look up to for hope, knowledge and kinship.  When I saw her at the school, I saw how frail and delicate her illness had progressed to.  I couldn’t even recognize her at first because she blended in with the rest of the elementary kids; like she had shrunk down to this flower which was slowing fading away amongst the others who were now growing taller than her.  It broke my heart as my tears shattered against my face.  She kept this hidden from me up until the day of my visit so I was able to concentrate and give good presentations.  My aunt defines purpose and her legacy will be something for everyone to live up to.

When purpose meets the soul, the outcome can be contagious.  I’ve seen this with my mother when she finally met death and consequently, instead of taking her life, it breathed a new one into her empty soul.  She was given a purpose on her deathbed and now she is able to help others who are struggling to stay sober or waiting for liver transplants.  My aunt’s purpose is to give those kids hope every single day they walk through those heavy, dismal school doors.  And my purpose… well, it’s in my hands now but I think I’m heading down the right path.  My soul is constantly craving its final destination but now I know, with the help and assurance of my higher power, it will find its home.

If you haven’t already done so, find a purpose.  And make it so big and infectious that everyone will look up to you in respect, guidance and awe.  Become someone’s hero or make another person’s day and keep paying it forward.  Every time a child tells me how much they have enjoyed my stories or presence, it truly tickles my soul.  And each morning when I wake up, fresh and clear minded, I know my day will have meaning.  I might not always have good days, but any day is better than waking up, knowing death is not knocking on my door.  I can’t imagine how my aunt must feel or how my own mother felt when she was desperately ill.  But they are two of the strongest women I’ve known.  And honestly, their legacy will always give my soul the drive to keep attaining its final purpose and destination. 

Do you feel like you have found your purpose in life?  Or have you ever gone through an experience or experiences which have helped you realize what you are truly passionate about?