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

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

Read that baby

My editor has made many “suggestions” like get rid of all the quotation marks I use (like that one), stop all the ellipses, learn the difference between using “the” and “my” (there I go again with the quotation marks) and many others (like not using the word many twice in one sentence). It’s a lot for me to ponder when all I want to do is get my story going and done! Impatience is one of my faults.

She revised my manuscript for Coney Island Siren and I not only received advice but mini-lessons regarding more incisive writing. One suggestion was to read my sentences aloud. Okay, I thought. I can do this. This isn’t the first time that I’ve heard it but this time I figured I would actually do it. Wow.

I’d finished all of her suggested revisions and then started reading it aloud for my daughter who listens to me when she visits from Texas. My spouse, goddess bless her, was in the room too. Half way through the page I realized I had no feel for the protagonist. Who the hell is talking here? My structure was off and sounded way too formal. No easy-listening rhythm here. Back to the drawing writing board.

This time around, I’ve read it aloud sentence by sentence. Would Maggie say this? Does Frank really sound like this? Am I letting my characters speak or am I speaking for them? It’s slow-going but fun. I’m pleased with the results. I’m accepting the fact that my revisions still may need more revising.

Recently, I read a few pages at Bluestockings with La Pluma y La Tinta. As Raquel Penzo puts it, I’m an OG. Vet of the reading force. We’d started that workshop group in my living room about eight years or so. I have lots of writing and reading experience but am always open to learning more about the craft. While my other two novels are good friends of mine, my new work requires nurturing of our relationship. No matter how long it takes.

This short video is me reading some of Coney Island Siren. See you on the boardwalk.

IMG_3718.MOV

Writing: more of the character, less of me

I just finished reading the novel, Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. I have to admit I only closed the book when I absolutely had to get off the train or my eyes shut against my will at night. The book was that good. At the end, I decided I may not like the writer. Wait, I had to check myself. Not like the writer? That’s crazy talk for what’s been going on in my head as an author.

Recent discussions with my friend, fellow author, Manny Melendez, had him reminding me there’s a big difference between an author, an author’s persona, and the characters who beg us to put them down on page. Manny’s not a murderer. A woman poet I know who portrays herself as a thug, isn’t- I think! I wasn’t Julia Acevedo, the protagonist of my beloved, Covering the Sun with My Hand. There’s a magic to telling the story as the characters want it told. The story is their experience not mine. It is weird to have people nod knowingly at me asking if “Covering…” is my memoir. No, it’s not in a million different ways. I know that writers are not their characters unless they brand their work- memoir!

This leads me to my novel, “Coney Island Siren,” that’s nestled in this computer somewhere. This novel is beyond me. It’s not beyond the characters who live in a surreal, sometimes drug hazed, very gritty reality based, non-comedic, somewhat erotic, definitely not a memoir of mine type of book. I’ve been gifted by the story by a couple of pretty intense muses. Where they came from I don’t know, but they are there. I had a tarot reading last summer, the reader told me, “Don’t let that character get into your head.” Well, I have to admit I was struggling there a bit.

I worry about a lot of things. One of those things is that my readers may think I’m an abusive jerk who takes advantage of his almost unformed, while quite informed partner. It’s not his fault she goes back for more. It’s not mine either. It’s the character’s. So, for today, thank you, Gillian Flynn, for writing the book. If it’s your memoir, please stay away from me. If not, I applaud you!

There, enough said, to be continued…