Re-reading old letters, reminiscing the darkness of the past, I think of my actions and how I hurt people. I am not perfect. Today, I try to do the next right thing because I learned how to be a better person. One cannot live with regrets, or fears, because life is not about the past. Life is about now. Action. Constant change, and revolution, on the outside, and on in the inside. And change isn’t easy. Oh no, change is uncomfortable. But no growth can come from a dying flame. The fire burns brighter when the heart is filled with acceptance, love, and understanding.
I was once a lost little girl. I lost myself in the darkness, and thought I’d never find my way back. Memories were like daggers, piercing my soul, bleeding me into a puddle of despair and sorrow, for what? Nothing. Sadness leads straight into a wall. There’s no shame in being human and having feelings. But there is shame in not wanting to do anything about them.
Love came, and went, and I experienced pain. A lot of it. Did I die from it? I wanted to vanish into thin air, but my inner voice reminded me life was beautiful. And love would come again. If I finally faced my demons, and looked at them for what they were – the insecurities that had piled up since I was a little girl – I would laugh again. And one step in the right direction was all it took for me to realize I didn’t need to cry anymore.
In the most hopeless times, one must not lose hope. Without hope, the world is just a blank canvas. I saw my canvas as the most insignificant piece of art in the gallery. But like a diamond in the rough, my canvas was waiting to be discovered. I dusted the cobwebs, and applied colors, creating a design that was mine, and mine only. With faith, and fortitude, my canvas became a gem.
I am but another human being on this planet, and my purpose is to be happy. So when dark memories resurface, and remind me of how bad I felt once, I look but don’t stare. The dark memories are quickly replaced with joyful ones, and I’m grateful to simply be alive.
Drumroll, please! And Julie Jones is here to give you an excerpt of her upcoming story, 32 Seconds. Hope the week isn’t treating you badly – after all it’s only Tuesday – which means that the crap can hit the fan anytime now. It’s alright, we’ll stay positive, right Julie? At least, we’ll try.
My butt hit the pavement. As I opened my eyes, and tried to figure out where I had landed, an explosion popped right next to me. I ducked flat on the ground.
From the corner of one eye, I saw columns of blackish smoke in the distance, and the ruins of a town I didn’t recognize. The air had turned into a toxic mess, making my eyes water. To add to the pleasant experience, a violent cough proceeded to shake my core.
The explosions continued and were deafening. My mind told me to run, but my body remained stuck in place.
I rubbed my eyes to make sure this wasn’t a dream. It didn’t feel like a dream. Maybe the old witch I met by the one-dollar store did poison me with her chocolate, and I had landed in hell?
My body trembled from head to toe. From the little I could take in, the area looked like a war zone. I needed to find shelter before figuring things out. Struggling up on my wobbly legs, I turned in a circle, trying to find an escape route. I strove to regulate my breathing. My lungs burned. I wanted to get angry, to scream and pound my fists at something or someone, but I felt so weak. The same question looped inside my mind. Where the heck had I been transported to, against my will?
Asking Didi for directions was out of the question, since I had been robbed of my phone too. It was clearly my lucky day.
A shape moved ahead of me. I thought it was smoke, or an optical illusion. After a few seconds, I realized the shape was coming in my direction. Shizznit. Was it an animal? The thing ran quickly toward me. Soon I realized that something was actually someone, and that someone looked like a boy.
The muscles of my legs gave up and I fell to the ground. The cough was killing me. My heart was beating at a hundred miles per hour, my quickened breath jamming inside my throat as I stared at the approaching stranger. He opened his mouth and said something, but I didn’t understand a word through the ruckus of the incessant explosions. Through my watery eyes, I took in the sight of him. The dark-haired boy wore black jeans and a t-shirt, and his skin was covered in grayish dust.
He yelled something. It sounded like “un.”
Not sure what to say in response, I waved at him.
When he finally reached me, I noticed his eyes were glowing green.
“Hey…” I slurred between coughs. To my shock, he leapt like a jaguar and grabbed my arm in the process.
“Run!” he yelled, and propelled me off the ground like I weighed nothing.
Caught in his grip, I had no choice but to follow.
Strolling yesterday among book shelves at Barnes & Nobles (always wondered why people hang out in bookstores but not in libraries), I told myself the day 32 Seconds comes out, I’m taking the place hostage until they kick me out. And if I don’t have the guts to take the place hostage, I’m dumping my book everywhere. You think someone will notice the book isn’t supposed to be there? An innocent bystander will totally buy it.
Anyway, long story short, yesterday I re-read my manuscript one more time and finally sent it for formatting and publishing prep. All the good stuff has to come to an end eventually. I’ll disregard the blood, sweat and tears, and the million hours spent writing this story. The torture was totally worth it!
I take the writing bug like an addiction. It’s not as out of control though. And while 32 Seconds gets beautified, I’m working on the first volume of the Manicheans (one out of many). I wouldn’t write if I wasn’t inspired by the Big Apple. I hate and love this town, but thank God I have it! It’s my muse. The stuff I see, hear, smell – the unmistakable stench of Times Square in the summer, the homeless passed out on the sidewalk, the teens smoking a blunt outside the bus terminal, the girls wearing clothing even a respectable hooker wouldn’t dare steal, all that stuff – it’s my life. I thought I could stay away from it, and just write from staring at trees – which I can do, but it’s just not the same – New York brings me back every time.
I not only live for this town, I also live for its people. The mix of cultures, languages, ethnicity, sexual orientation, and all the other stuff that make the City so unique, so vibrant, so entertaining, drive me to watch, listen and learn, until I’m full and words cascade down the page like a waterfall. Worse image would be like vomit, but I don’t really vomit words unless I’m pissed.
32 Seconds doesn’t take place in New York City but the City totally inspired me to write this book. Hope you’re as excited as I am for its upcoming release.
Stay out of trouble. Until tomorrow, folks!
When it comes to books, do you like to cry or laugh? Or both? Do you want the love story to end well, or badly (like the dude or the dudette dies, not like Kramer vs. Kramer).
At the beginning of my writing journey, I was all about the darkness. Drama, death, destruction, you name it. Of course, I loved the darkness because my life was dark, or at least, my mindset lived in an era where fire hadn’t been discovered yet. Today, I love to laugh. I always loved to laugh, but I enjoy it more now than I did when I was five.
Long story short, my favorite stories (books and also movies) are the ones that are epic, dramatic but also funny. Tarentino executes this combo perfectly. And to me, the secret hides within the dialog. When one character breaks the tension with one silly comment, and I laugh, laugh, laugh…
I try to translate this in my writing obviously. Sometimes I go over the top and my editor says – hey, too much! Yeah, beating a dead horse doesn’t work well. It’s all a matter of balance.
When the character is quirky, you got me. I’m not saying silly though. I’m saying quirky!!
Yes, the title says it all.
Not that I will punch people in the face. Well not really. In my head though…
So what to do when you’re so angry you could kill, but since you still have a vague understanding of right and wrong and the values society taught you when you were little, you won’t go to jail and fight other angry people for the bar of soap simply because today is just not the day? A few options: bite your nails until you have no fingers left, eat, overeat, work out and punch a bag, scream, drive in circles, cry, pet your cats, go for a long walk… I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a horrible mood, I need to laugh. And distract myself writing. Which, I wanted to do, but given all the other stuff I have to do so I can continue to get a paycheck, the writing will happen probably later. Much later.
Anyway, let’s look at the silver lining – it’s raining today, maybe it will magically appear in a rainbow.
Always a joy to hit hump day, isn’t it? And as I go over the hump and prepare myself to experience two (maybe three) more days of ARGH!!!!!!, I also want to share this post with you.
I used to live in New York City until last November, when I decided to move out and take a leap of faith by becoming a New Jersey resident. Yes, some shook their head in disbelief, but the change was actually beneficial in many ways: I fell in love with a wonderful man (from New Jersey), I bought a house (in New Jersey), and as a consequence have slowly morphed into an anti-New Yorker. I still work in the City though, so every day I commute and spend thirty delicious minutes (each way) on the bus with tourists (because my bus line happens to service the hotel row).
And every time it’s the same reaction. No matter where these guys come from, once we drive down the I-95, follow the Hudson and hit the Manhattan skyline, they make this face:
And it’s great. What am I saying? It’s priceless. You know that’s the face that translates every feeling and emotion coursing through their body and mind – the WTF, this is amazing shit, who the eff had the brilliant idea to build a road right across from the river so we can all stare at this magnificent sight, and think Gosh I can finally check that off my bucket list – and I can’t help but laugh (at/with them) because I felt the exact same way the first time I saw the skyline.
It’s true. But now I’m a jaded New Jersey patriot for wanting people not to look surprised and happy when they see the Manhattan skyline. I certainly don’t have that reaction anymore, so why should they? Get over it. The Giants stadium is as cool, if not cooler, especially when there’s a concert going on that night because concert = fireworks! But no, the tourists won’t make the same face, and rush to pull their iPhone to take blurry pics because the driver is too goddarn selfish to stop the bus so they can photograph every angle of the buildings, and the sky, and the line where concrete meets water, and oooooooooh! I think someone just fainted. People travel thousands of miles to see this architectural beauty so why shouldn’t I make the same face every morning/evening? It’s right there. I live right by it.
We take a lot of crap for granted. I take this skyline for granted. And I’m not proud. I should be grateful. This is the morning view:
And this is the evening view: