Say her name- Gladys Ricart

Gladys Ricart. Say her name out loud and she will live through all eternity. She will never be forgotten.

I didn’t know her personally, but I’d heard about her. How? I’m not sure. I think that I told someone about the book I was writing, and they mentioned the annual bride march. Ms. Ricart is one of those people who became famous after her death, although to her family and friends she was loved profoundly both on this planet and after she’d been murdered by an ex-boyfriend who purported to love her. Instead, he shot her in front of her loved ones on her wedding day. This all happened in 1999. There’s so much backstory that I don’t have. I only know the spirit of what occurred through my reading.

Ms. Ricart’s death was yet another in the senseless push-pull of one person’s dominance over another. She’d, according to what I’ve read, claimed her space in the world and chose to walk away from what was not healthy for her and walk toward love. This was effectively stopped by a coward who couldn’t handle the devastation he felt by her ability to be a fully independent person- functioning separate from him. He chose to engage in this act of rage and cease all possibilities for Ms. Ricart’s future.

When I began writing Coney Island Siren I wasn’t so thrilled when I realized it was going to be about domestic violence. As a mental health nurse, in all aspects of my practice, I’ve worked with women who have barely survived similar terribly harrowing situations. What I’ve desired for many has not come to fruition, in terms of my clients getting out of these disastrous relationships. It devastates, not only the individual, but families, children, and whole scores of women. I know that some of you will say it’s not only women, it’s men too. I respect that, but I’m focusing on the women in my experience.

In Coney Island Siren, the protagonist, Maggie Fuentes, lives this same type of existence. Always looking over her shoulder. Trying not to say the wrong thing. Sneaking her way to happiness. My heart is hurting for these women. I know I’ll probably sit in front of another tomorrow in my office at work. For this, I am committed.

On September 26, 2018 the 27th Annual Brides March will be held in NYC. We an join that march to honor Gladys Ricart and all women who valiantly march on this path on a daily basis.

Here’s the link for more information on how you can participate:

http://www.bridesmarch.com/

Time takes Time

 

 We had lots of chaos at our house during the spring when a harsh wind took down several of the tall pines on our property. We hired the landscaper to pull down whatever trees and branches were still dangling. After carting lots of the branches off and grinding huge stumps, the landscaper’s truck broke down. It seemed like we’d never be rid of the last tree carcass that took up the back of the house.

Our prayer and meditation site had also been blocked by fallen trees way in the back and we decided he could help us by moving some rocks to bring it closer to the house. The landscaper got the truck repaired but found a busted part that was made by the repair person. That was fixed eventually too. He’s finally finished the whole job, now in early September. Trees and rocks have been moved. Our prayer and meditation site is serene perfection. The fairies are happy and so are we.

That’s all just a snapshot of the backstory of my life. The frontstory about my writing is that it’s also stalled. My computer went dead. I couldn’t decide which computer I wanted to replace it. It seemed like there was a big old foot on the brake of my life. I eventually got a replacement writing implement. But I couldn’t do my creative writing because I’m tying up two projects that have been in the gestational stage forever.

I guess the projects are twins. The oracle is being born first. That makes it the younger twin who is scouting out the road for the older twin, Coney Island Siren. The oracle is on a hard path already. It’s kind of born but not. We’re having template issues with the printing company and just can’t seem to get it right.

I’m hoping these problems will be resolved like the trees, the rocks, and the computer. It’s taken group effort for each of these projects to be completed. Every person on the team is incredibly motivated, talented, and giving their all. While I’m dealing with technicalities and administrative processes my creative writing is quietly waiting for its turn to be back in my front story.

It seems like time is stalled. A few months back during my trip to Cuba a wise elder told me to get rid of any watches that had stopped running. I held onto two. One was my Timex that takes a lickin’ and keeps on tickin’ and the other is my silver Mercury watch. The face is of the mercury dime with a headdress of wings to fly. I especially love this image of mercury. It reminds me of the FTD symbol. Ready to go and deliver at a moment’s notice. The deeper meaning for me is that Mercury, Mercurius ter Maximus also known as Thoth, and as Hermès Thrice Born, Hermès Trismegistus, who is adept in alchemical processes. Magic.

I went to a local jeweler convinced I’d have to be rid of the watches lovely silver mesh band that I thought was beyond repair. He suggested leather but then looked at me and said, I think you prefer silver. Of course, I’m a child of the moon! He told me he could easily fix it. A few minutes later both watches were in fine working order. Time was moving again. The jeweler was just another person who stepped in to make things work for me.

Time is rolling nicely again. There have been solutions and resolutions to things that I couldn’t figure out by myself. My impatience will admonish me about all the things I’m not accomplishing. When I’m right-sized I know something or someone other than me will come forth and help me and my creative endeavors move forward nicely again.

I prayed that to the moon.

XO

Theresa

 

 

 

Chasing the Moon

I’m smitten with the moon and that’s something that anyone who’s read my posts over the last few months knows. This last full moon-the full sturgeon moon seemed to go unnoticed by me. There was no post. I hadn’t forgotten it. I was out chasing it.

Pat and I were on Coney Island Boardwalk waiting for Luna’s appearance in the sky. We’ve been going there frequently taking photos for the cover of Coney Island Siren.  We sat near the Parachute jump. It was dusk so we were witness to many families dragging coolers, carts, and kids. Toddlers were carried along with umbrellas. I marveled at the energy needed to make it back home after a day in the sun. The sights brought back my  memories of hiking to the beach with my children when they were little. This was something my parents did for us too.

The sky was quickly darkening and we were scrutinizing it. Was it too cloudy to see her? Were we at the right place? We had pulled up our directions on the phone and we were certain she’d be up soon. Moon rise was almost here. As we waited, we saw a couple toting the supplies they needed for the day. Mama was pushing a stroller and seemed weary as she lugged a few bags along with it. Papa was alongside speaking loudly, insultingly, to her. She appeared to ignore him. I guess trying not to rile him up any more than he was. But he got louder and louder. It seemed like he had one ray of sun too many. He reminded me of a cranky toddler whose parent forgot to give him a nap.

Up close, as they neared, it was obvious that this was a scene that was all too common. For them. For many. A shiver went over me although it was about 85 degrees on that boardwalk. It occurred to me that if he felt free to act this way in public that it would be a lot worse when they arrived at their home. Another family walked by and the man in that group suggested the first guy take it easy. He said it gently. He saw the danger and wanted to quell it. Instead, this peaceful action antagonized the angry one who began focusing his anger on the man instead of the wife. For the moment.

It chilled me. This was a scene right out of the first chapter of Coney Island Siren. Frank takes hold of Maggie and tries to insinuate his misery on her. A passerby tries to stop him. To no avail. There’s never rhyme or reason to violence, in this case, the domestic kind of violence. There’s an entitlement to it that says I can do this. I own this and I can do whatever I want. It never makes sense. The families separated at the stairs, one to the parking lot and the other toward Surf Avenue.

Pat and I decided to walk down toward the other end of the boardwalk. Still searching for the moon. Trying to make sense of what we just saw and how we saw it on a night we were scouting out for a cover of the book that had the almost exact scene in it. Suddenly we saw her. Luna called down to us with her beautiful orangey glowing countenance. Pat took pictures from the beach. We let Grandmother moon turn her embrace of kindness, caring, and warmth on us and prayed that the woman who we saw would feeling the energy too. We prayed for her and for the women we aren’t, the ones who live these existences in their daily lives, like dresses that don’t fit but they’re the only ones they have, so they wear them. Some of them inherited those dresses from their mothers and they don’t know what to do to get a different one.

The August Sturgeon moon is called that because it is when an abundant number of sturgeon were caught in North American lakes and rivers. Among other names, this moon is also called by the native people’s name, Berries Ripening Moon. This is a time of gathering the ripe fruit and making jams that is traditionally women’s work. Women and children gather and may only include a very young male child who may still be breastfeeding. There is a power to women working, playing, and praying together. My teacher, Oh Shinnah Fastwolf, used to tell us that only women belong in women’s ceremony together. Gathering berries and making jams is a ceremony, I believe. Oh Shinnah said, the men should be holding their own ceremonies.  I’m hoping that more ceremonies, that is part of creating spiritual lives, will take place. Ceremonies contain tradition, ritual, prayer, and a sense of honor and respect for oneself and other.

I prayed that to the moon.

XO

Theresa

Full Thunder Moon

cosmicpsychic.com

I, as everyone else, have been reading many articles and posts on Friday’s Full Thunder Blood Moon that is coming with a total eclipse of the heart. We expect lots of intense change and there are predictions of much negativity afoot. As I read, I remembered that at some point I had decided to be one on this planet who views the glass half full and then some. The opposite of total negativity is that we see the coming times in a most positive light and that this is an opportunity to embrace change. No matter what your sign, baby! Lovely, isn’t it?

There is talk of what’s been hidden coming to light and we all need to watch out. I look at this all in a different light. I see it under the soft light of Grandmother Moon. I often have the opportunity to feel empathy for the many I connect with who become paralyzed with the thought of working with their shadowed sides. The fear of the darkness within us is just that- fear. Most of us have already lived through great darkness and while we don’t want to recreate those painful times, we can allow them to merge with the light by engaging in healing practices.

The dark that merges with the light creates balance. The moon that I know is kind and gentle. She only wants what’s best for us. She comforts us and lights our paths in the darkness of the night. The moon doesn’t disappear when there is an eclipse. She is there and can still light our way in the dark if only we’d let her. The ways of mystery are often created in the dark. We may ask ourselves, what have I forgotten or have chosen to forget about myself? Have I forgotten that I am resilient and strong and on the beauty road? Have I forgotten how loved I am? Have I forgotten that magic is often made at night. The night belongs to the Feminine. It is the time of intuition, compassion, and healing.

In the Orisha Tradition, when we hear the sound of thunder, we call to the Orisha, Changó. Kabio Sile! We give thanks and listen for the sound of the drum that resonates with the beating of our hearts. We listen to the call to stand tall and be in charge of our lives knowing that the charge from thunder and lightning brings electricity and light to our lives. This time of year the paradoxical forces of the Full Thunder Moon will bring the intensity that is predicted, but it can be one of balance, if only we’d allow it.

I invite you to engage in a ritual during this powerful spiritual time. Going out on the earth is wonderful but focusing on the images in your kitchen, living room, or indoor sacred space works just as well. Stand on the Earth, dig your toes in. Call to Grandmother Moon and ask for what has been hidden to show itself not only in the dark of the night but in the light of the day. Know that you will receive only what you can handle for growth and transformation. Pray for balance. Give thanks for all you have and all you’ve learned in these times of chaos and strength building.  Remember that you are not alone and only one among many who dance under the night sky filled with billions of light points. Reach out to find yours and it will connect with you. Allow those filaments of light connect under the earth with like-minded people who also want to dance the dance of healing, love, and balance on this Earth at this time.

All is made beautiful.

XO

 

 

 

 

The Pink Moon

almanac.com

The full pink moon called me out of a deep slumber this morning.  I realize that I’ve been writing a little something about the full moons this year although I admit I don’t really know anything about astrology or astronomy. I do like to think about what the month will bring in terms of the phases of the moon. The moons just call to me. I am a daughter of the moon.

The idea of a pink moon is compelling. It reminds me of things new and tender and gentle. The image I chose to represent this moon is one of beauty. As I think about the moon a few images jump out at me. The weather has started to change here in NYC. The flowering trees are budding. The bushes are showing growth and the streets are cleaner from the heavy rains that are kinder to our neighborhoods than many of us are.

Yesterday, I was picking up the smaller branches left over from the nor’easter that devastated our area in PA. As I was walking across the lawn, piling up the remains, I felt a sense of loss and grief about the beautiful pine tree that had come down in the storm. I knew deep inside that the other trees missed it too. I told my spouse and we planned to do a corn meal prayer to acknowledge all that it has meant to us over the years that we have been on the property.

We had thought about taking the tree down a couple of years ago. It groaned. It whistled. It made all sorts of noise and it was huge. We were fearful that it would come down on our house or fall toward the front of the property and come down on cars on the road. We had a tree specialist who came out and told us that the tree was just talking to us. That it had some years left in it and we should leave it alone. We did. It left when it was ready.

The tree meant many wonderful things to us. It shaded and protected us from the sometimes harsh elements. It was a home to many a crow, blue jay, or hawk that came to a stop there for a rest. It also gave the hummingbirds a place to sit between their jaunts to the feeders filled with sweet waters. The tree was life. A gentle life that we experienced as we sat on the porch on  many a warm sunny day. We are thankful for our time with that tree and we our now getting used to the openness in that space. The sun shines into our living room a bit more now without the tree’s foliage blocking it.

Bringing those thoughts to the pink moon, I am again visualizing new things. Things that are new need gentle tending to, like plants, flowers, new friendships, projects and especially, our feelings. This is a time of growth. Of being gardeners of our lives. What have we let go of that no longer serves us? What needs pruning?  What would we like to see bloom? How is it do we wish to be in the world?

Welcome to the newness of the spring and to the newness in ourselves!

xo

Theresa

 

Grandma goes to CUNY

For one hot moment I returned to college. Forget about the fact that I have a PhD. A degree that had more to do with my writing than my nursing career but I’ve never given it much credit. Research and theory development? What could be better for a writer? Instead, I pined over the ever elusive MFA in creative writing. I applied for that degree a year ago in the CUNY system and was rejected. I was disappointed but since I believe the Goddess knows much more than I, I thought I let it go. I didn’t.

The pangs of I-must-be-missing-something continued to be strong. As an over fifty Latina there weren’t many opportunities for us to pursue art and writing degrees back in the day. Many of us stuck to school programs that would guarantee beef in our sopa de fideos. Our families dictated our choices. A few of us were able to pursue those creative degrees and I have no idea how.

I drew creatively as a child and the drawings helped me to make sense of lonely days without my sister by my side. Pencil and paper constructed the worlds I lived in after school. I believe my pictures were early attempts at storytelling. I had a friend in grammar school who pleaded with me to help her enter into her first choice of high schools. I did most of the illustrations for her application portfolio to Art & Design. It was meaningless to me until I met her years later and she told me that she designed baby clothes for a living. Then it mattered a bit more. I realized how out of touch with myself I’d been as a teen and felt the first pangs of regret.

To fill that longing I recently registered for an editorial processing course at CUNY. These  in-person classes took place for me after a nine hour work day. I thought I could overcome that. I decided to ignore my fear that the professor would call on Ashley… Jordan… and then me, Grandma. My grey hair was a beacon among the twenty year old blondes, candy apple reds, and brunettes.

I hesitated to share with my spouse the two episodes when the security officer asked to see my ID or some proof I belonged in those hallowed corridors. She loudly asked me whether I had an adjunct faculty badge and when I said no, asked if was I a professor. No, I am a student, I replied. Twice.

I shared my tale with my spouse, in spite of my ego. It turned out that during her recent return to CUNY for undergrad music courses her experience was worse. She’d been escorted out of the music room when she’d attempted to practice the piano by security officers who couldn’t believe she was a student. Twice.

I found I was exhausted in the morning without the pleasure of a real hangover. I didn’t have time to create in my mind the lovely stories that tend to bubble up there when I am calm. The informational sheets the professor handed out covered either something I already knew or my real-life-editor had discussed with me. I didn’t need to spend two and a half hours in class with two and a half hour commutes for validation or to revisit an old dream that had already been fulfilled.

I didn’t go back to class last night. I’m finally a college dropout and I’m proud of it. I ate dinner with my spouse, worked on my new novel outline, and chatted on the phone with my dear Uncle Louie. I woke up this morning refreshed.

I am a writer. An author. I’m growing my creative life as I hadn’t for years. It’s never too late for us. This growth is something that I’m now sharing with like minded individuals who have also woken up and said, it’s my turn. The kids are grown. The parents have been satisfied. We’ve survived and now we will flourish in creating those parts of ourselves that have been patiently waiting for us to reawaken.

What is your dream?

xoxo
Theresa

The Full Worm Moon

 

almanac.com

It’s hard to believe that we’re already gazing up at the last full moon before the vernal equinox. Spring is almost here again. There was no full moon in February but March will have two moons. The blue moon will shine its glory later in the month.

The Worm Moon is also known as the Crow Moon for the murders of crows often seen at this time of the year, as the Crust Moon for the changing soil, and the Sap Moon for the maple sap that oozes from the trees just as the worms slither out of the soil aerating it for a flourishing spring growth.

What a great time for reflection. The Lenten moon is another name for the traditionally called Worm Moon. The holidays are behind us. That school break that pops up between Christmas and Easter is done for many. It’s the perfect time for looking within and deciding what doesn’t serve us in our lives and what we might discard. That may be different for all of us. It might be time to be rid of the old and declutter that hall closet. It could be time to add healthy veggie or fruit smoothies into our diets. Meditation opens the gateway for your spirit guides to whisper your individualized plan meant especially for you.

The worms have been here for millennia. They go along churning the Earth in preparation for growth for our continued existence. I want to do the same. Maybe I won’t blindly spin my way though fertile soil but I will do my part. I gladly take part in toiling the Earth because she is the Mother, Gaia, and I want her to prosper abundantly. My relationship with the Earth tells me that she is grateful for my work as I am indebted to her.

How will you celebrate the Full Worm Moon? 

xxoo

Theresa

 

Corkboards and cash

The couple standing on line behind me at Whole Foods were annoyed with me. I could tell by their body language and the energy of disdain that seeped out at me. I can understand why. It’s because I was paying with cash. We’d just bought a cartful of groceries and I pulled out my old-fashioned purse with old fashioned greenbacks and began paying with them.

The cashier cheerfully chatted as she counted out the bills, returned my change, and gave me my receipt. I get it. I sometimes seethe at the deli counter when someone pays for their bagel and coffee with a credit card. I usually have a dollar in my pocket for my roll and often resent the time it takes for them to sign for their two-item purchase with a debit or charge card.

It may be passé to use cash but when I do I can forget about the purchase and not have to look at it again at the end of the month. Questioning myself as to the numbers of rolls and bagels I’ve eaten is not appealing.

I’ve just put up a cork board on the wall at my desk at home. There are colorful tacks to go with the pastel index cards I’ve placed on the corkboard. It’s taken me a while to accept that I function best the old-fashioned way. Using electronic calendars and to-do lists are okay but in the case of lists I like to know what I’ve accomplished. Call it silly, but I feel a certain joy when find one of my old index cards that show what I’ve done. The delete button erases all traces of my work unless it’s a novel.

My feeling of being busy is confirmed when I see that I made four phone calls for my Dad’s health insurance, worked on a poem, sent a gift to a loved one, and on and on. When it’s wiped out in cyberspace, the feeling of being overwhelmed is there but I need evidence that I’ve done something. Otherwise, I tend to forget. That’s just who I am.

I’m thrilled with my corkboard. It’s right next to my vision board. Everything I’d like to do is in front of me. I don’t have to open an app to find it. Index cards rock. Cash rocks. There’s something in the use of paper and pen that is solidifying to me. Knowing what works for me is especially soothing. I promise not to judge your debit card, if you won’t judge my cash. 

There’s a whole world of corkboard ideas out there. Hmm, I wonder about cash!

XO

Theresa

 

 

 

 

A Lunar Trifecta

new.nationalgeographic.com

A super moon happens only once in a blue moon. This time coinciding with a blood red moon. Coinciding with an eclipse. Like, really? What do I do? What’s important about this for me? I’ve read a few posts on social media about it.

The takeaway is that if you think last February or August along with their eclipses and other lunar influences undeniably impacted you,  that this one will too, in a different way. Whew! I don’t think that I could handle another last year.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe that when the countdown commences on Times Square and the ball drops that the New Year ushers in newness. I’m a One Day at a Time gal. But this year I secretly hoped that 2018 would bring in lightness that was hard to find during the previous year.

Last February’s eclipse shone the light on scary illness in my family. August cast the dim light on my family placing my Dad who has Alzheimer’s disease into an Assisted Living facility. We’ve shouldered our way through and have some balance. Sad but balanced.

This lunar trifecta almost elicited a bloodcurdling scream from me until I read the posts. I was glad to read that a wrapping up or resolution may be afoot. I’ve been ruffled and my feathers need settling. I’m hoping this will happen. It’s time. Breathe in. Breathe out.

My morning meditation reminded me that although sad things may happen, I can still be a happy person. It reminded me that I have a full and wonderful life. It also told me that in happiness is prosperity. Serenity is more about the state of mind than outside issues. Acceptance is the answer to all of my problems. Just for today.

XO

Theresa

Enter Ego

 

via GIPHY

Ego elbows its way into my writing and promises to sabotage everything I’ve worked for in my latest novel Coney Island Siren. The manuscript is ready for its next trip to the editor. I’ve made the revisions and added the new sections she suggested would enhance the book. Ego’s sharp bones cut open the perfect gateway for fear to come waltzing through.

My wayward anxiety has me believe that I am the great Creator of the innovative and imaginative works that I issue forth from my being. There are such things as skill in writing and the ability to tell a story. I can learn those inventions in workshops and in creative writing courses but for me, there’s also the knowledge that I should step aside and let Spirit channel whatever Spirit wants to come through me do so. When I hang on too long to my fears, my being becomes thick with ME  leaving no room for the creative juices to flow and develop into something that is not me.

Ego tells me that my work is not creative enough. It tells me that I don’t really know what I’m talking about. It tells me a million lies that attempt to keep me quiet and not share my voice or the voices of the story characters. I don’t need outsiders telling me grating and awful things about my work. I can do that all by myself.

Fertility needs a nurturing bed that is given tender care and eventually a new being is born. Angst doesn’t belong in this enterprise. The protagonists in Coney Island Siren, Maggie and Ellen, told me their stories and they were a challenge to write. They were both women who had been silenced too long and whose days were filled with the belief that they were somehow at fault for wanting lives filled with love and the ease of fulfilling their dreams. Surely, women aren’t the only ones to suffer the indignities of persons who harm them but this is the story of two women who did.  I listened to the best of my ability and now I share their words with my editor and hopefully, soon with you.

As a more seasoned author, I’ve chosen to publish my work through my company, Pollen Press Publishing. Just as the name of my company indicates, writers are meant to grow and to spread their creative works across many lands. My company isn’t meant to stifle the growth of new seeds of creativity or to brusquely step on tiny green shoots just emerging from the earth. I’ve experienced both and my ego was healthy enough to encourage my developing Pollen Press Publishing. It’s all a balance.

XO

Theresa