Sunday, July 31, 2011

Before Ever After...

What does it take for a human being to transform their imaginings into something tangible-- a poem, a painting, a musical score, a sculpture, a novel, ART. Why do some of us create it, while others do not? Time, passion, talent, desire....magic? I contacted Samantha Sotto, author of the novel Before Ever After (due to be released August 2 and already making quite the buzz) to hear what she has to say about such things...

When did you first decide to become a writer, Samantha? Was there a moment when your imaginings stopped being content to sit quietly alone inside your head?

Max, my main character, introduced himself to me while I was stuck in traffic one afternoon. I learned three things about him:  he had a penchant for not dying, adored chickens, and was not a vampire. He was chatty and filled my head with incredible stories that the history books had left out. I knew then that I had to write his story down. I began researching for the book the next day. That was three years and a lifetime ago.

What were you doing before Max's visit? And how did you fit his visit, this new idea of writing a book, into who you thought you were?

I was thirty-four when Max hopped into my car. I had made the transition from the corporate world to full-time mom and my focus had shifted from my own dreams to helping my children pursue theirs. Max helped me discover that I didn’t have to give up on my dreams to be a good mom. It was the opposite. Following my dreams turned out to be the best way to show my kids that they could make their dreams come true too.

(click on me to make me larger)

Do you think creating art is a choice or a calling, or both?

Art calls and you choose whether or not to answer it. You also need to constantly choose to open yourself to inspiration. It’s so easy to miss the wonder in the everyday – especially when it’s standing right in front of you.

Why do you think you answered the call of art when so many others have creative ideas but don't actually do anything with them? How did you open yourself up to 'inspiration' as you say?

I think answering the call is only half of the equation – the other half is about showing up for work – even if inspiration gets caught in traffic or plays hooky for the day. It was important for me to be at the “office” whether it showed up or not.

What inspires you, excites you, puts the sparkle and magic into your life?

I read once that a parent’s role is to be the ambassador of the world to their children. Sometimes I feel that it’s the other way around. I get inspired when I see the world through my kids’ bright, wide eyes. They can look at the simplest thing and say “WOW.” (They remind me a lot of you, Brynne! :D) (thank you, sweet Sam!:)
To support the lovely Samantha Sotto and her dream, find Before Ever After at any fine book store or click HERE to buy it from Amazon. I haven't read it yet myself but you can bet that's all I will be doing on August 2nd! Here's a taste of what we have in store for us:

Thank you, Samantha, for following your dream of writing a book and for sharing a little bit of your beautiful Self with us here today. All the magic in the world to you, my the world.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Wednesday Wish (3)

To find that silent flower in your life, the one that sits waiting in the back of your mind’s closet, to invite it into the light to be seen, heard, honored. This Wednesday I invite you to blossom your buds into the joy they were always meant to be, into the joy you were always meant to feel.

And then
the day came when
the risk to remain
tight in a bud
was more painful
than the risk it took
to blossom.
--Anais Nin

Monday, July 25, 2011

Novel Idea

Writing of the magic in my every day, here on my blog, fuels the fire within my imagination, that place where my dreams speak the loudest, their faces and expressions, voices and emotions, all becoming as real as the world around me….

*          *          *

Venice, late 17th Century

She ran in short spurts through the frigid rain, bare feet numb with cold, eyes peering from beneath her cloak just enough to watch her step. Falling and losing her lead would be worse than being recognized. In this part of town there were sure to be allies. Discrete, but allies, nonetheless. She hoped any others would be asleep or warming themselves beside their fires, not peering out their windows at a dark figure slipping through the winding streets of Venice. Nobleman or peasant, everyone knew any honorable citizen would be behind closed doors at such a late hour. Isabella’s eyes scanned above her, resting on an oil lamp flickering in the breeze, behind her at the monstrous shadows lurching back and forth. She adjusted her hold on the sacred book clutched to her chest, squeezing it closer as if it were an innocent child. Don’t worry. I wont let them find you. But where? Where will I hide you? Guide me. Show me the way. My very life depends upon it.
A gust of wind hurled toward her, ripping the cloak away from her red hair just as she entered the piazza. “There she is! Over there! Quickly!”
Isabella’s heart froze. Her lungs heaved under fire. Suddenly, she knew where to go. Yes, it was her only option. She rounded the corner faster than she knew her body capable. Only a few more paces. Just the book. That’s all that matters now. Just the book.

Few knew of its existence. Even fewer were allowed to enter. And certainly no one considered a woman capable of appreciating or even comprehending the contents of the library. Only the highest circles knew that a courtesan was afforded such privileges. The book would be safe there. Isabella leaned into the polished wood door with her one free hand, pushing it open with the divine grace she was famous for. Not a sound. Just hurried breathing and a pounding heart.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wednesday Wish (2)

One of things I love most about Mexico is the love of COLOR. In the North we always talk about the new black. Why don’t we ever talk about the new scarlet or turquoise or shade of orange? Why is it more fashionable, appropriate, ‘cool’ to have a neutral colored home or a quiet colored car instead of something fun and alive? Today, my Wednesday Wish for you is to dare to add some COLOR to your life. 

Maybe on your wall

Maybe in your bathroom

Maybe on your floor

But somewhere that makes you smile, feel alive, enjoy the COLORS of your world.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Gift of a Monsoon Rain

Thunder grumbled. The sky moved like a muddy river, swirling and shifting, unsure of its direction, festering, moody, passionate. Long grass on the edge of the jungle moved in waves, the wind playing, racing with excitement, inviting me to hurry. Was I too late?

I closed the screen door behind me, the worn wood edge catching my skirt. I slipped my feet into my sandals only to take them out again, leaving them where I found them. This was my first time. I wanted to do it right.

The flagstone was still warm from the heat of the day, my toes delighted as I leapt from stone to stone careful not to touch the dirt. Not yet. I looked up and around, my hair licking at my eyes. Where? Beneath the orchid tree or the banana leaves? Beside the white ginger and the poinsettia? With my back to the vine covered wall? Or out in the open, my bottom in a mess of grass, my eyes arched out to see?

I chose the orchid tree with its heart shaped leaves and graceful curves. I found a niche and plopped down, just as the show was about to begin.

One drop. Then seven. Then too many to count. I wanted to watch. To be a part of it all. But it came down so sudden. And hard. Harder than any rain I had ever known. Harder than any shower I had ever known! Dirt turned to mud, drops turned to bucket fulls, and the orchid tree sagged. I sagged. My body more soaked than if I had just stepped out from the soul of the storm itself.

First my shirt, then my skirt. Useless. Sticky saran wrap clinging to my skin. I peeled them away then dropped them with a plunk into the middle of the mud. There was no one for at least a mile away. I was in the Southern Highlands of Papua New Guinea. The middle of some of the heaviest, most uncharted jungle in the world. And while tribesmen knew where we lived, they never came to visit unless a fire was burning. Unless a cake was in the oven. Worry? I was better off worrying about missing my chance!

They always say to dance naked in the rain. At least once before we die. And we always smile when we dream it. When we see it in our mind’s eye. But how many of us dare to do it? How many of you have felt the rain dance on your skin, on your chest, on your belly, covering your face and legs and feet with kisses? And why haven’t you felt orange mud splatter the backs of your legs as you stomp and twirl and fall into a giggling mess upon the ground? Why haven’t you given your Self a gift like that? Yes, why not? For I’ll tell you a little secret: It’s one of the most treasured memories of my entire life.
 *          *          *
Brynne? He sang out from the safety of the covered porch, his voice a muffled cry through the still gushing rain. You ok?
I waved, my smile bigger than it had been all week.
Magic! I yelled, as I gave him a twirl.
My laughter bubbles, rising as fast as the rains dared fall.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wednesday Wish (1)

To visit a forgotten dream or to create a new one that gives your heart an innocent, childlike smile.
I will wait for you the second star to the right.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Forgetting to Remember

If the river had a choice, which way would it flow?
Up stream,
out to sea or…
to conscious eyes and thankful hearts
To the thirsty young woman who gulps with sensuous pleasure
Or to the overheated children who dream of their own summer pool
Or maybe to the farmer’s parched field—mouth open, arms outstretched—to weep the gift of rain.
But then, the river’s ache for the comfort of a human body, the warmth that comes with life, the desire to be felt and appreciated every night without fail—might it be a treasured water bed that lures it the most?

*          *          *

If the wood-paneled library had a voice, what would it say?
Welcome back! Remember me? I’m where your imagination sprouted its wings!
Speak softly for my head is spinning with all the words floating around in here.
I’d much prefer you tear down the wood panels and replace them with your hand painted dreams.
And while you’re at it, could you take down the florescent light and hang a candle chandelier? Anything else, gives me and my books a headache.
Oh, and please plant the garden right here beside the puffy chair. That way more children will come to play.

*          *          *

When we forget to remember that everything has consciousness, a blank canvas remains blank, a moonless night stops being seen, and flowers droop far too soon. But when we remember to remember, the tiles on the old kitchen floor make us giggle, sunshine licks our foreheads inviting us to join the day, and life suddenly remembers how to give us new joy.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

To Be or Not to Be...There is Always Magic.

She waited for me where the white caps nestled, their heads shaded by the aged wood planks. My hair blew in circles trying to whip my eyes, my cheeks, catching itself in the corners of my mouth. It was a blustery day on Washington’s rugged Pacific coast, no rain, just sea spray, cool air, and at least one warm heart.

He never told us why. Just put the boulder on his heart and pulled the trigger. Sending not just him but all of us out to sea. We didn’t expect it. But sometimes people are sad. And sick. And they forget how to live. Forget how to find joy.

In time, we found a way to live in joy for him. We connected. When we wouldn’t have. We spoke and laughed and filled our eyes with tears. When we wouldn’t have. The rain had new flavor. The flavor had new rain. His tragedy still lingered but like sprouted wheat, his gifts grew. For out of everything, I once believed, seeps a little joy. And if I held tight, it would come back to me.

Death…a musing on the beauty of life? 

An unveiling of the disbelief, the avoidance, the pretending it never happens, to each the all of us, reveals the why. Energy cannot be created or destroyed. Not even death can carry your essence from me. You teach me to feel. More. To be human. Always. To remember the magic of my every day and to share that joy. Often.

A lovely heartfelt hug on a wind-whipped day at sea is a memory I will never forget, a memory Rob gave to me. And now, I have a new friend. Her name is Andrea. This is the beginning of our story. The story of how energy transformed and magic grew. Not from something beautiful or even kind. From Tragedy.