The Sound of Silence

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Yesterday was beautiful because it snowed. Traffic stopped, almost all noise vanished and for a bit there it was, silence. There was peace at last. I felt calm and serenity and thought this is it, this is how I want to feel all the time.

Sadly, the peaceful interlude didn’t last. The snow plows came and then the sound of shovels echoed throughout the neighborhood. But it was still quiet enough for me to enjoy it.

Noise is everywhere. Everyone’s thoughts, usually private and internalized, have now to be blasted to the outside world, like we want to hear your opinion on everything 24/7. Truly, half the time you say something, we don’t care. You dump all your shit like an oil tanker in the midst of the ocean and strongly believe you’re entitled to do so. Last I checked, you’re not a brilliant philosopher, and even philosophers are full of it. You’re just another Joe Schmo who cruises through life with your wireless earbuds, perfectly sheltered from pain, hunger, or despair. You know nothing about half the theories and 2 cent statements you spew on your social media feed, especially after a few drinks, when your mind is lubricated, and somehow, it’s in those moments that you feel the most profound. You’re so out of touch with anything, I can’t do much but nod and smile or walk away because I don’t want to start an argument.

Doesn’t mean I don’t hear you. Doesn’t mean whatever you say pisses me off. You’re allowed to voice your opinion. Everyone’s got one. See, I’ve had those same conversations countless times. What’s the meaning of life? Why do people kill each other over money, power or out of sheer cruelty? Why is there still so much poverty all around us? Why, why, why… stop. Everything starts and ends with you. And if all of us focused a little less on the shit we can’t change, and instead prioritized our efforts on the shit we can change, there would be progress somewhere, don’t you think?

Some people will stop me right here, and say “But I care!” If you think caring is demonstrating once a year against whatever cause you feel strongly about, or donating money you will deduct from your taxes anyway, while you still treat half (or all) the people in your life like shit, I’d say “Think again!” But people like you like to take selfies all day long and pretend they live this glamorous life that you only see in movies. Then one day, you decide to look the part, and you pretend to care. It’s fantasy land for you no matter where you look. You’re going to take a selfie at that event you attend because if you don’t no one will believe you were there. That’s how shallow you are.

Truth is, working on yourself takes too much work, and there’s no app for that. Who wants to spend their precious time introspecting? Who wants to peel the layers of the onion, expose all the painful shit, and learn from their mistakes not to repeat them ever again? And then, help someone else. No, you know what, it’s easier to buy a new outfit, get a makeover and blast everyone with pictures or videos of the last meal you had. Because we surely give more a fuck about that than your mea culpa.

I say “we”, maybe it’s just me. I don’t care about that. I’m the sadist who wants to get to know you, and catch your flaws. I want to learn what really makes you tick. Most of us hide everything under layers of cellophane like we’re afraid someone is going to find us out, and we’re going to start rotting upon exposure to fresh air and direct sunlight. God forbid you try to be honest and truthful to yourself for once.

Give me a break. I’m sure you heard the truth shall set you free. I guess you don’t care about freedom. The human spirit is such a beautiful and resilient gift we’ve received from evolution, but instead of nurturing it, you shit all over it and let it slowly die selfie after selfie because your self-expression has to be about just you, am I right? You love to starve yourself, and then you binge on garbage, and you still believe that’s the way to go. Somehow, it’s become a problem to think freely. Wait let me rephrase that. Somehow, it’s become a problem to think. The sound of your own thoughts gives you the jitters. Ultimately, you have lost all ability to feel comfortable with yourself, so you make up this image of you that you think the entire world will approve of, and as a result you will too! You fill up the beautiful peaceful silence with virtual diarrhea because you think you’re don’t matter otherwise. Maybe if you stay silent for too long you’re going to dry out like a prune and someone else is going to boot you out of your oh so important personal space and then what? Are you going to die? God forbid you don’t express your opinion at least once today. And take the selfie.

Maybe you need to prove the world you exist because someone is going to eat you up and shit you out. At least you would serve a purpose. You would improve the health of someone’s digestive track instead of posting countless pictures of your ass at every angle and under any kind of lighting. I have developed this unnecessary and completely unwelcomed intimate connection with you. Please stop harassing me.

Right, that’s why I have the Unfollow and Block features available to me at any time. Because instead of trying to be social animals, we work hard to be antisocial. I don’t think like you, so I must be wrong. Block. I don’t like your style, so I should never pay attention to you anymore. Unfollow. We’ve come to a point where we crave attention but don’t want any of the criticism. We just want praise. Let’s all win medals without doing any of the work. We are all winners, right?

I wonder if you pause to wonder about how people feel, the people who don’t have what you have, who live in a world where the bare necessities are a luxury, where their freedom of movement and/or thought are constantly threatened. Are you far less worried about the shade of liquid lipstick you bought online than the fate of these human beings? Granted, some are far away, across an ocean and in countries you’ll never set foot in. But some of them are right at your doorstep.

It wasn’t such a long time ago that tribes slaughtered each other over territories, men raped women as a right of passage and assimilation, children were being treated like slaves and freedom was a concept so foreign, except for kings and queens because they were the rulers and certainly didn’t want to lose that privilege. People survived more than they lived. Today, there are still lots of injustices all over the world, but some societies have evolved and built spaces where people can actually live.

And your biggest concern is how you look in that bathroom mirror. There’s nothing wrong about building up your self-esteem. But how many likes do you need? Maybe your own like should be sufficient?

So yeah, forgive me if I get pissed over that sometimes. Forgive me if I don’t express myself as often as I should because I would literally start wars, and in the end does what I think really matter? Do I want to be happy, or do I want to be right? I want to be happy. To be honest, I fall prey to the selfie every once in a while too. I can’t cast the stone if I’m not pure, right? There, I cast the stone and beat myself up too. That’ll certainly make some happy. Judging is oh so wrong, yet everyone runs when American Idol is in town.

I should seriously write a post on humility and open-mindedness another day or this will end up being a book.

There’s so much noise out there, I really like when everything just stops. It’s like a gift from God. It’s a reminder that we are very small at the scale of the universe, and our achievements, as wonderful as they can be, are also minuscule. I appreciate that. Silence helps deflate my ego. There’s no fantasy land, no filters. It’s life happening before my eyes, unaltered.

I really don’t need to be right. So I’ll shut up.

New Stuff (and old train of thoughts)

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So today is a snow day but I still made my way into the City this morning and on my commute, listened to a beautiful song by the (in)famous Ke$ha called “Praying”. When you listen to this song, you can really feel it to your bones she speaks from the heart, and sings with so much emotion. All the hardship she’s been through made her transcend herself. The pain she felt has become a vessel for her inspiration, and you can tell, by listening to the lyrics, that she remained true to herself. There’s no glitz, no glamour, no extra bright lights. It’s raw, it hurts, and it’s beautiful.

This song made me then ponder about my own writing and creative process. I started writing heavily in 2010 while I was going through a shit storm of everything and anything that can make your life hell, and I used this heartache to fuel my stories. My craft was not perfect by all means, but the message went across and many people identified. I used Twitter a lot, built a following and joined a community of writers and like minded creators and felt at home for a while. Then life got better, and my writing lost its spice. I disconnected myself from the community, and continued my writing journey away from Twitter and social media platforms in general.

I deeply believed pain was necessary for me to create anything worthwhile. And it’s not an exaggeration to say many poets and authors were tortured individuals, and they created masterpieces because of their misery. Happiness does not fuel the creative process the same way. I noticed it with my own process, and the stories I crafted and am still in the process of crafting. I, first hand, don’t want to sit down for hours at my computer anymore and write, and edit, and write and edit, but sitting down is not even the issue. My characters and my plots don’t feel the same when my life is good. I don’t need them to save me from myself. Because let me tell you the truth: I lived through my characters more than I lived my own life. I hated my life honestly, so fantasy was a good escape for me at the time. I wouldn’t say it saved me from myself, because I hit my bottom anyway, but it did the trick for a while.

So where am I now with my writing since my life does not suck anymore? Well, I want to write funny stuff. I have ideas about roller derby, and my alter ego Kiki Reynolds and her adventures. I also have my trilogy The Manicheans which has been on the front and back burners for years… Rewritten countless times, it’s way harder to write comedy than dwell on depressing garbage all day long by the way, and I still haven’t found my voice. Probably because my voice is constantly changing. I also don’t want to necessarily write commercial stuff. It’s rough. Writing is an art that lost a bit of its flavor over the years and development of self publishing platforms. Anyone can write. Anyone can publish. Freedom for all, which is wonderful and all at the same time awful for folks who really want to write quality content. You get lost in the masses. Marketing takes all your time too. Social media management becomes a second job. Automated tools to post and repost content are also a handful… See I started writing on a typewriter when I was about nine years old, so moving on to now, I did not consider writing as more than just you write your book, and you publish and that’s it, you move on to your next project. Yeah, I lost my inspiration. I really did, which made me question my entire creative process when I listened to Ke$ha’s song and wondered, do I need pain in my life to be able to write again?

I don’t think I do. I have to get used to creating without a crutch. Because pain was my crutch for so long. I have to really dig deep, sit down (and gosh I hate sitting down so I’ll stand), and draft outlines, character profiles, and plots. Practice can only make me so perfect. I’ll practice. The marketing component, however, just kills me. Thinking about it, I want to pull my hair out. Do I want to write something commercial? No. I don’t. Then I should not expect to find instant gratifying success and sell a thousand copies of my books in a month. I therefore should not worry about the marketing process. Stop projecting all together, girlfriend, and just write!

Now this post reads more like a rant than anything else. I swear I did not mean to rant. I’m not even upset it’s snowing out. I actually enjoy any weather now, and I’m not saying that with any sarcasm. I enjoy being outside. I love feeling one with nature, no matter whether it rains or shines. I find it peaceful. I don’t lose myself in the every day noise anymore. And not losing myself in my own head’s noise anymore either makes me not really care about spending hours marketing my talents and showing the world I can wow you with my words. Yes, I love to write, and I will write because I enjoy it. Period. I don’t need to sell or market, or develop content so that the world can treat me like an influencer. If I influence you, then it will be completely involuntary.

I’m not trying to impress anyone, and this has been the biggest change for me since 2010. I’m not running in this competition for Best Selling Author. I’m sure I will continue working on my works in progress when the creative spirit strikes me spineless. I’m mostly experiencing now. And experiencing joy takes over feeling pain. Just living makes me smile.

So do I have new stuff? No. Am I going to try to put new stuff on this platform? Yes, I’ll try. I always say that, and then remain silent for the rest of the year. But seriously, I’ll try.

I know I already said that. I have to repeat myself sometimes.

 

 

Hungry 

I’ve been reading more lately, way more than I’ve been in years. I’ve tried to focus my efforts on writing more, and felt thirsty for words. I had never starved myself as a writer. I thought with all the junk I read all day, every day, I’d been well fed. To the contrary. 

I’ve been working on multiple projects while not being able to really focus on one. My characters are patiently waiting to grow and do things but my mind is in a pit. Now I know why. 

I’ve been devouring psychological and horror thrillers and I can’t get enough. Is this a sign? I’m a big thriller person, always loved them for their fast pace and tension. They make me want to write like that. They make me want to hold my breath until the last possible second. 

I’ve neglected my craft and my muse isn’t too happy with me. I just need to focus. 

For now, I’ll satiate the hunger and read because writers can’t write if they’re malnourished. Enough of the junk, I’ll feast on the good stuff. 

The Art of Writing and Living

Hello!

Sorry for the silence. I’ve been working on The Manicheans Trilogy, and am about to finish the draft of Book 2. I started writing this epic tale in 2010, only to take a break to focus all my efforts on Stories from the Underworld and 32 Seconds. I thought taking a break was a bad idea, and publishing The Manicheans was a pressing matter. I, however, thought wrong.

The story evolved into something much bigger, and much funnier too. I needed the experience of working on two other projects before diving into the trilogy again. I needed a fresh pair of eyes. I also needed to feel inspired again.

Not feeling inspired is the worst thing that can happen to any writer. Yet, it happens. I had to deal with the “no inspiration” phase for several months. I even questioned whether I wanted to keep writing. I stepped away from Twitter, Facebook, and focused on other projects. I needed to find my balance. I needed to find my rhythm. Life had changed for me, and my free time to write had become extreme luxury. I asked myself if I still loved writing, and I honestly had to take a good look at myself and my goals, before saying yes, I love to write. anne-rice-advice

Here we are a few months later. The draft of Book 1 was finished fast; Book 2 was more laborious. Book 3 will probably feel the same way, although I enjoy the prospect of completing the tale and editing it, preparing it for publication and releasing it for your reading pleasure. I know some have been waiting, maybe they forgot about me a little too, because I wasn’t in the spotlight as much. Trust me, I’m still here. My silence is only evidence of my dedication to the craft. True passion is only tested during harder times.

I’ve learned to be gentler with myself, and not stress over my work as I used to. I’m not trying to become the next bestselling author. I wanted to at some point, but not today. I only seek to write stories that resonate with me, that make me laugh, and cry. I leave the commercial stuff to authors who want to write commercial stuff. I have the freedom as an author to choose what I want to write about, why should I burden myself with topics that mean nothing to me? Just for the money? I don’t even have that state of mind with my day job anymore. I love my day job today, and in the past, I didn’t. The money was there though.

imagesAll I’m saying is don’t limit yourself by what you know, and think will make you happy. As an artist, as a human being, you get to experiment. Take advantage of this gift! Don’t let money dictate everything you do. Remember, what happens after publication is not in my power.

I can only worry about so much. I’ve written daily, a little bit, sometimes three words a day, but the work keeps growing. I give it my all anytime I can, and I live, I live life and experience it without guilt, without regret, because living makes me a better writer and a better person. The days where I didn’t sleep enough, where I had my head buried in the computer, hurrying, pressuring myself to release a book because I had convinced myself this was what I needed to do, are over. I take my time today. I have this luxury. This doesn’t mean I don’t do the work. I just enjoy it more. I don’t do it like a chore. I can’t. Writing must come from the heart. If it doesn’t come from the heart, then it’s a waste of time.

You’ll see me around soon enough. I can’t wait to share The Manicheans with you all.

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Today #getinspired 

Today is a good day. I wake up with a smile on my face, I feel grateful, words toggle down and I am inspired! Inspiration is such a gift. I thought I had lost it for a bit, and this thought made me fearful I had lost my creativity. 

Many unexpected events happen in life, that’s why it’s called “life”, and the art of writing can be impacted by so much. Doubt is the biggest enemy! Don’t ever doubt yourself. It doesn’t matter what you do, how well you do it, as long as YOU DO IT! And these words are extremely important. I overlooked them. I thought I had all the time in the world to write my perfect book. 

Well guess what? Every day that passes by, I lose a little more of that time instead of taking full advantage of it. And why am I looking for perfection? Because I am always doubting myself. I am dissatisfied. I am way too critical, which can be beneficial when I edit, but not when I write. 

Therefore, drop the bullcrap and get going. Write like you breathe. Don’t second guess yourself. Follow the spark. Don’t look back. 

Get inspired.  

 

I’m Back. #writing #creativeprocess #mentalblock

It hadn’t rained for the past few months. The sky stayed clear, and the earth below dry, just like her thoughts. All inspiration was gone, just like the muse.

So she stared at the window, hoping the drought wouldn’t last too long. “It happens to all writers”, she convinced herself. “My time of complete mental block is just taking forever to lift.”

She sighed. Grabbing the cup of coffee in front of her, she took a sip and sighed again. “I never used to drink coffee. I need some awakening. I’ve been in the dark for too long.”

Words came so easily before. Now, her brain lacked any creative flow.

“No, it shouldn’t last too long,” she repeated, as if the words had some magical meaning. But they didn’t. The truth shall set her free.

“Maybe, I’m just not a true writer.” Ah that truth hurt like hell.

Because she really believed she had a gift. Words were her friends at some point. She would think of something, anything, and that mustard seed gave rise to a majestic story. Whatever the topic, she could write about it. No biggie. She had it all figured out.

Until a few months back, when she started focusing on selling her latest book, instead of writing more. The time she spent doing what she thought was something, but in reality was nothing, dragged her into a hole where inspiration wasn’t invited. Worse, inspiration didn’t matter.

She was trying so hard to fit in. To find the special formula that would make anyone eat out of her hand like she was pooping gold. And did she poop gold? To her, her stories were priceless. To the rest of the world? The world didn’t care so much.

And that was the root of the problem. She wanted everyone to acknowledge what a brilliant author she was, instead of not giving a darn, and keeping her writing fresh. There was so much to be thankful for. The bestsellers didn’t make a difference. Her stories were about human conflict. No sex, no violence, just tales of people who lived their lives the best they could, and were everyday superheroes.

Because her creative juices came from the streets of New York City. And she knew how to bleed these streets dry by watching, and listening.

After an everlasting period of no real writing, today, the drought finally ended, and for the first time she wrote something. Her mind ran, and she ran with it. It felt so good to be friends with words again, and not to worry about selling books.

She was an author. A real one. Riddled by self-doubt, and all kinds of negative thoughts about her worth and talent.

Doubt didn’t matter anymore though. Deep down, she knew she’d kick ass.

And all she had to do was write.

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Writing and Marketing – how I simply can’t pursue both #writingcomesfirst

Hi folks,

I have been out of pocket for the past few months. Life got busier, and the social media environment has changed so much over the past year that it has become a real battle to figure out which platform is more efficient for marketing purposes.

The truth of the matter is, they’re all efficient if someone spends a great majority of their time using them. Facebook is great when the content of a page attracts so many real likes that it jumps in the feed and becomes number one page to be advertised, and therefore clicked on. Instagram is amazing to showcase a brand. Twitter is awesome to run flash marketing to a wide audience. These three players are the biggest ones in the social media universe, there are obviously hundreds of tools to choose from.

I was an avid Twitter fan until my Twitter feed got so polluted with crap, and my automated TweetAdder app got disabled by Twitter, that I literally can’t spend several hours a day manually setting up tweets, or screening the feed and retweeting anyone’s content. Among other things, I would have to reset all my lists, and tweet users on these lists, with the hope that I gain lifers.

My Facebook author page is a waste of space at this point, and I’m highly considering deleting the whole thing. I can’t attract organic likes without gaining a high number of likes, and the high number of likes I have gained aren’t real, because Facebook gave them to me from clicking farms. I honestly don’t want to pay for more fake likes, because why make Facebook richer?

Instagram – I’m slowly getting used to it, and trying to brand myself there too, but it’s taking time.

It’s very difficult to balance everything, and I’ve come to the point where my love for writing is faltering because of the marketing involved in my indie writing career. I don’t want to lose my love and passion for writing because of this. I will remain an avid word lover, and crafter, but at this point, I have to take a step back and rethink my entire marketing strategy – and this will come at a point in time where my books have been finished, and published. I can’t do multiple things at once.

This blog will remain, as I still find that blogging is the best way I have to connect to people. I’ll post here again once my schedule frees up a little.

Thank you for the following, and I’ll be online soon.