If I Had One Last Post

For the last few months I’ve been quietly writing… trying to get to a place in my novel where I can seriously begin editing it down to a tangible piece of fiction, one of which I can have edited for review.

Almost 3 years have past and every fiber of my body wants and needs this story to be told. Its unimaginable how much I want to see it printed, binded and know that people, even if it’s just one person, one person that will  feel the love, see the tragedy and witness the joy within the story I’m trying to tell.

No End in Site

While taking a few creative writing classes this fall I spoke with a few writers, those who are also writing books and have already completed one. One Instructor told me it took him 8 years to get their first one out, another said five! I freaked out when I heard that. In my mind I don’t want to take that long, in a way I can’t. But then I know I want to do it right, and I still have a lot of learning (editing) to do.

Part of my drive is stemming from the need for it to be over, not the process of writing- that has been an adventure and I’ve gained and continue to grow from it. It is the need for the story to be done.. A need to let it go. You see, the story I’m writing is very personal to me. For more reasons than one, the weight of my characters in my mind seem to be getting heavier, especially when at times it can be difficult to find a way out of the maze I’m creating.

I often wonder if its wrong for a writer to feel this way (wanting the story to be over). My guess, it’s a natural one, one that I suspect other writers at times feel. I also realize this feeling comes from being too close to the story and dwelling on it even on the days I attempt to give myself some respite from it.

For example, on one of those ‘days off’, I was online listening to music clicking on artists I love and am curious about. This was when I ran into the video below. I was so moved by it. At first I cried, then I watched it again, then again… then, I started feverishly writing. I made adjustments to the plot, emphasized things I knew I wanted to show but felt weren’t clear…… all inspired by the images I was seeing and the music I was hearing.

(Note: Expand the video so you can see it enlarged on your screen….trust me its better bigger)

The three minute and 55 second piece was created by a Videographer named Paulo. He mixed the modern electronic music of James Blake with a choreographed piece from the late Pina Bausch‘s stark depiction of the Rite of Springto make (in my mind) a piece of art in its own right. It exemplifies the second underling story within my novel… the discourse of love, loss, fear, anger and desire. It depicts the laborious requirement of it, both dirty and beautiful. I believe the quote from Marguerite Duras, author of The Lover and  The Malady of Death best describes the images within the video when she stated:

“…in heterosexual love there’s no solution. Man and woman are irreconcilable, and it’s the doomed attempt to do the impossible, repeated in each new affair, that lends love its grandeur.”

– Marguerite Duras

Clearly for me, its hard to see an end in site when I’m still making changes, editing huge chucks of narrative and still questioning the direction of my story. In my heart I know its not a bad thing to take this long, especially when I want to do it right- my story deserves it, they, my characters deserve it, I want to be proud. Truth be told, I know myself enough to know when I actually do finish, I will be upset for the loss of finally being done.

So, if I finished my book and had one last thing to post, it would be of this dance, this song, this art, this love that I’m trying to communicate…even to that one person that will eventually get to read it.

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Fiction Is My Truth

Image ByAntonio Bolfo/Reportage by Getty Images

Writing Too Close To The Truth

When I first began writing this novel I was moved by a person, a life and a family- the greatness of it, tragic and beautiful. I befriended a long time veteran of the police force, and in return I learned about a world and a life I had never given a second thought to. Each time we spoke I would quietly listen to stories of life altering experiences that dealt with two decades of witnessing the ugliest most part of people- both horrific and heroic.

With a new found respect, I was inspired by his strength and in awe of their steadfast dedication and endurance to keep waking up each morning to do it all over again, it became one of the many reasons why I began writing my novel.

Obviously I’m aware of the origins of my story, however not since the beginning stages of my writing had I really thought about the difficulty I had when trying to create fiction from something real. It wasn’t until one of my a brief #ROW80 updates that I thought about the muses that inspire so many of our stories.

We’ve all heard at least once in our life, in order to be great or begin to be successful you should write or talk about the things you know. This concept can be applied to many professions including writing.

Even during a fiction writing class, I recall my instructor saying that most first-time writers in some way shape or form often write stories and create characters that are composites of themselves and their own lives.

Knowing I could write about the experience that moved me enough to start writing again; I took to my computer and created the outline to my novel. The first few months of writing began as a page-by-page biography of sorts. I didn’t mean to be so literal as I didn’t want my story to be a work of non-fiction. The anonymity and trust of my Muse was and will always be extremely important to me.

With this in mind, I wanted my story to contain the seminal feelings and ideas that moved and inspired me when I first felt and heard them. I just didn’t know how to go about it.

“Fiction is the truth inside the lie.Stephen King

Take Stephen King as an example. The protagonists in a large number of his fictional worlds are writers, and the settings take place in and around Maine (where he lives). His writing tends to carry a constant theme of isolation, either through the physical state his characters live in or within the internal conflicts they struggle with; this can be seen as a parallel interpretation to a writers life as they create. But these are not literal translations of his own life. Even when you read his book “On Writing” you can see how both similar and dissimilar his works are to him as a person. However, they still carry the essence of who he is, almost like a marker that says hey “That’s a Stephen King story’.

So, a few months into my own writing I began to take a hard look at my inspiration. I started pulling apart the cogs that created the structure that stood in front of me. By doing so I began to understand the foundation that built the real world I felt inspired by. The concrete and mortar was made up of universal truths, most of which we have all experienced at one point or another in our own lives.

It was the idea of family and the potential dysfunction of it; the experience of love and betrayal, the concept of fear and regret; purpose and loss; identity and legacy. These were the ideas and feelings I wanted to write about.

Soon I realized that my story needed to be more than changing names and locations. I began creating a world and a cluster of people that contained their own realities. The causalities of my main character wouldn’t be the same as any one person I knew in my life, but of the experiences, thoughts and feelings that I knew could happen depending on the choices I decided he/she would make in the story.

Now I’m beginning to understand that we contain a full catalog of knowledge both real and imagined, each tucked away within the fibers of our brains waiting to be called upon. Our minds contain countless hopes, dreams, observations of life and experiences- each available to us as we create the worlds within our stories.

So, still using as an outline the initial inspiration that lit the fire under me to write, the story that I’m creating today has become a mosaic of all the people I’ve met, information that I’ve read, watched and learned over the span of my lifetime. The words that I write are ideas that I imagine and some things that I have been witnessed to. It contains small nuggets of experiences and feelings that I have felt as a child and as an adult.

Either through writing prompts, a picture, a song, a news article, a scent, a person we may meet or even through something we have touched, I believe we have most of the tools needed to begin creating a great fictional piece of literature…even if it’s based on something real.

She Had Given Him Her Entire Life In Those Final Moments…

(Snippet Of My Novel- A Work In Progress)

The game was running into overtime as his mind wandered. There were moments that seemed to blur. His thoughts, reality and not, all jumbled into one very real alternate universe. It was sometimes difficult to discern time.

“Look there, my son” he thought.

Seeing him now, a young man of fifteen. Fifteen? Juan shook his head as if to rewind back time. It was impossible to escape the ever lingering sensation he felt when looking at his son. It was the sense of accomplishment and one of awe. His son on the soccer field was the same 7 pound 5 ounce baby that once entered the world from his wife’s body to then be placed into his arms—both warm and small.

And now here was, his son gliding across the vast expanse of the green field and blue sky, confident and strong. Juan reminds himself how fortunate he is. He had finally brought something good into this world, uncorrupted and untainted.

Robbie had been born during a time when fathers had just been allowed into the delivery rooms. He could recall the mosaic of sounds that beeped from the many machines monitoring her and the baby’s heartbeat. The piercing smell of bleach and blood that seemed to linger in the air fueling the thought of life and death. Giving and taking, both intermingled together in one place.

It was their third try. It hadn’t been easy. She didn’t want this. He knew it. But he pushed just like he always did. They both believed they needed this to mend a marriage; to consummate something beautiful and permanent despite the obvious seams that had been fraying at the edges.

In some ways he knew it was over. The last battle for their love was won and lost by his wife Rosaline. Juan felt the moment during his son’s birth when she broke away from him. She was there, she was smiling, she was holding his son, but she had already left him.

She had given him her entire life in those final moments; each year passing with every push.

As she grasped his hand to bear down for the final time, out came the last string of love that lied between them both, now beating in the soul of his son.

Robbie was the last gift of her youth, her independence and her innocence, all given to him. Just as he had always received everything he had asked for, whether given freely or taken by demand.

Now, looking at the face of his son as he kicked the black and white paneled ball in mid-air, it didn’t matter anymore. It didn’t mean anything but what was in front of him in these moments.

Music & Writing

The Push Pull of Love

Within my novel I’ve been  attempting to show the universal experience of pain, regret, love and family. Suffice it to say, far too often  these topics tend to drudge up my own personal experience with these same issues.  Essentially, this is where I use my poetry as a cathartic process of releasing the things that weigh heavy on me.

So, in between my novel-writing I’ve been working on one particular poem that speaks of my own intimate experience with the push-pull of love, anger, longing and desire. Honestly, I’ve been having a lot of difficulty with it. My words have been feeling like a tangled web of hair, unable to comb through. This is where music often helps me…it puts me in the right mindset.

Pandora, my iTunes and CD collection are always on or within reach. I’ve even gone as far as using my Sound machineapp on my iPhone to use as I write. Depending on the particular scene I’m working on (hospital setting, outdoors in a park) I pick from the various sounds they offer. There I have a sampling of thunder storms, forest sounds, rain falling on a tin rooftop, traffic and distant train sounds. It may be a bit weird but for me it helps.

For my novel and this particular poem the song below is always looping in the foreground. I feel like the music embodies the idea of  leaving behind while moving ahead. You can almost sense the movement as you listen… well at least I do 🙂

I hope you enjoy it.

“Untitled #4” (a.k.a. “Njósnavélin”)  -By Sigur Rós
The song had a Hollywood debut in the movie ‘Vanilla Sky’ during the final scene.

My Soundtrack To Falling In Love

Another late night writing session…Pandora is on and this song comes in my queue.

When I first heard this album ‘ComeFromHeaven‘ I was falling in love with the person I would then go on to be with for the next 13 years.  Alpha, Fiona Apple and a few others provided the soundtrack to  some of the best moments in my life. I hope you enjoy.

‘Sometime Later’ By- Alpha

Untitled

By: N. Guadalupe

Falling deep, falling hard
I’m losing all sense of me
This adult version of she

College educated, career oriented
I’m losing the jaded most part of me

This teen is falling deep and falling hard
Becoming the younger version of me

Filled with insecurities and exposed virginity
I’m losing sight of me

Naïve in the language of surface truths
Unrevealed and uncertainties she wades the deep

Watching the slow tempering of real and make-believe
These stiff brick walls remain unrelenting on me

I think I’m losing all of me

Put a Fire in My Belly

By: Natasha Guadalupe

Craving violence
No more complacent me
Understanding and peaceful talks has made this me

Put a fire in my belly
Fill it with the instability and unpredictability of it all

The feeling when first strapped to the chair
Heart racing with the clink, clang of the worn track
Gripping the bar as you anticipate the decent

Swooshhhhh
Down the windy slope, stopping midair, upside down, only to be whipped whipping around
Right-side up

Unforeseen curves,
The weight and push of the bends
Exhilarating!
Until the end

Creeping to the place where you began,
Unstrapped, released, and shaken
Left with only the echo of ride