Oct.01

Choices

Dear Constant Reader,

While catching up with a friend today, she made the comment, “I am not a fan of this second half of 2015.”  And in looking at my year to date, part of me was inclined to agree with her.   It has felt at times as though the universe was…is…testing my resolve to hold the course.

I can almost envision the the universe peering over my shoulder, dubiously surveying my current endeavors as it leans in and whispers in my ear,

How bad do you really want this career that you claim so ardently is your calling?

Have I faltered undered pressure of that question over the past year?  Please see massive gaps between blog posts for that answer.

But more importantly, however is despite the gaps, I  keep finding my way back.  With every missed step there has been a clear and conscious choice to get back to work.  A choice to not give up on my writing…my art…myself.

“You must find the place inside yourself where nothing is impossible.” -Deepak Chopra

The universe may be determined to test my mettle this year, next year or more likely everyday for the rest of my life, but I am equally determined to make every one of my goals a reality.  How long will it take me?  I have no idea.  What I do know is all things will come with time and hustle.

image

So as I sit here writing this, a new month stretched out before me and I am ready.  While I may not be a fan of  how 2015 has rolled out so far, I know I am stronger than whatever it can swing my way.  I may have tripped and stumbled, even found myself on the floor a time or two, but I keep getting up.  Keep going and pushing forward.

Its time to hustle harder.

V-

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,Constant Reader,On Writing

Jun.29

A Question Posed

Dear Constant Reader,

There are somethings that I believe in with all my heart.  Things that have no tangible proof other than my gut tells me so.  One such truth for me is if you are open and willing…and quite often in dire need…there will be moments when the universe will speak to you.

Ok, now before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, know that I speak of not of an actual conversation but more of a directing of purpose and passion.  In life there are moments…actions…encounters that will help steer the course of your life.  Sometimes we are able to see them later in life with some consideration and retrospect.  But there are also those rare and beautiful moments where you are so open you know the moment as it happens.

Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives.  There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. -Steven Pressfield

It will take the form of a directness so clear and profound that it resonates within you down to your core.  Your very spirit will vibrate like a  struck bell.  And please trust this my dear Constant Reader, you will definately know when it happens.

I had one such moment this past weekend, when I was speaking to my beloved Comadre and she asked the question…

Are you interested or are you committed?

Maybe I have come across this question before, maybe not,  but it is one thing to be asked this question and it is quite another to really and truly hear it…digest the intent of those words and then to be honest with yourself about what the answer is.

Those words have played in a loop in my mind since then.  My dear Constant Reader you know the octopus rears her head with me time and time again.  My tentacles stretch and begin to maneuver to so many projects.  But then comes this question…

It is so very easy to over extend oneself on things that are interests but in actuality we are not really committed to pursuing.  Am I over reaching in interests to the detriment of that which I am truly committed?  Even as I write this the question replays and I am pulled to look into so many aspects of my life and ask it again and again.

In the pursuit of my dreams, am I interested in being the greatest version of myself or am I committed to giving every ounce of my power, my passion and my purpose to become the greatest version of myself?

I stand before this questions, the answer resonating within me, and I am humbled.

Vanessa

 

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,Constant Reader,On Writing

May.19

The Octopus Rises…

Dear Constant Reader,

Its been almost a month since my last post, but that is not from a lack of want.  The realities of my day to day life seem to outweigh my artistic vision from time to time.  And while I would love to proclaim that I am a die hard member of the Hustler’s Team No Sleep, I can not.  There are some things that must take precedence over others.  It took me a while to stop trying to fit the “I’ll rest when I make it” ideal into my life.  My day job, which is crucial to my being able to help take care of my family, cannot be done bleary-eyed and fuzzy brained.  Some may say if I wanted the dream bad enough I would make it all work.  I say you don’t slight one aspect of your life to shove in another.

I am still far from being what I want to be, but with God’s help I shall succeed. Vincent Van Gogh

My mantra to make it through my day to day is…Patience and Faith

Patience in the belief that all thing will come in their own due time and faith that the fruits of my labors will  come to pass.

I have no doubt that one day I will be able to maintain and support my family with my writing career.  But, as much as I wish it were, that is currently not the case.  Nonetheless, I will keep striving towards making that desire a reality.  In the meantime however, I will not berate myself for those time when taking care of family obligations and work responsibilities dictate that the dream of a writer’s life must take a backseat from time to time.

The Octopus Lives

The octopus needs to rest now and again.  But the break is over.  Steadily I rise from the sea floor.  Even as I write this I feel my tentacles flexing.  Time to get back in the groove.

Besos y Abrasos,

V-

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Constant Reader,On Writing,Artist

Apr.21

Enter the Muse…

“So the Muse whispered in Beethoven’s ear.  Maybe she hummed a few bars into a million other ears.  But no one else heard her.  Only Beethoven got it.”

– Steven Pressfield, “The War of Art”

Dear Constant Reader,

I recently re-discovered the above passage from Steven Pressfield’s “War of Art”.  It was one of the first books of non-fiction which had a dramatic impact on me as a writer and artist.   And while I had read it many times before, this reading seemed to hold a resonance and impact that was different than the first.

I was introduced to this book about 3 years ago at the recommendation of a then recent acquaintance.  She like myself, was just at the beginning of her path towards self discovery.  Since then she has become a beloved friend, who has grown into such an expansive version of the woman I first met.   I now look at her in awe of all that she has accomplished.   And I have no doubt the Muse holds court at her side.  But, I am sure she would say as much about me and my journey as well.

the-dream-of-the-poet-or-the-kiss-of-the-muse-1859-60-oil-on-canvasbal155451When I first read those lines I was still struggling with defining not just who but also what my passion was as well.  The voice of the Muse was lost to me.  But as I write this, I can confidently say that I know I am a writer and an artist.  I know what my passions are.  In finding that part of myself, I have opened the door to so much more.

I remember having moments when I struggled to make a simple sketch or random doodle on a page.  The inspiration was not there.  And writing…well let’s just say if my struggles in painting left me blind of inspiration, then with my writing there was a defining silence.

However, in reading the above quote, I can now see how much has changed for me.  Ideas come to me like waves crashing against the shore.  Paintings bloom behind my eyes and in my dreams.  And at all times I an beset with the voices of the characters in my stories, who clamor to be made whole on the page.

Where I once struggled with even the concept of a Muse giving divine inspiration, I now lean into her sweet voice, ever present in my ear.  At times I wonder about all the years she stood beside me whispering…willing me to reach…to stive…to create, and all that I could have done if I just listened.

My dear Constant Reader… please know even in this moment she sits at your shoulder willing you to greatness.  Will you wait as I did or will you listen?

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,Constant Reader,On Writing,Artist,Latinas Write Romance

Feb.26

Latinas Write Romance…Author Maria Ferrer

Dear Constant Reader,

I am pleased to share my blog today with Latina romance author Maria Ferrer.

Writing the Latino Hero

by Maria C. Ferrer

I am writing Latino heroes, and they are different from white heroes or African American heroes.  It’s not just the color of their skin because — believe it or not — Latinos come in all shades.  And, it’s not the dark hair, because some Latinos are blonde…some are even bald.

9ff6637c5069d53caf25e8ea1c85b98e

Being Latino and writing a Latino hero is more about culture and language.

 

I won’t bother to talk about regurgitating the Latino Lover mystique, because I find clichés so passé, unless the author uses them properly.  But that is another article all together.
What it really comes down to, what really shapes the Latino hero is the author.

 

My heroes are usually Puerto Rican, because I’m Puerto Rican. When I am writing a Latino hero or fleshing him out, I already have a blue print in my mind of who he is.  My hero is Catholic; has a close knit family; visits Puerto Rico often to see family and friends; still asks for his Abuelita’s blessing when he sees her; likes to dance salsa and merengue; and prefers rum to vodka.

Michael%20Pena

Of course, if he’s a New York Rican — that’s a Puerto Rican who grows up in New York, whether they were born in Puerto Rico or not — he will have all of the above, plus a New York City attitude and sophistication.

51155d9d6d68d777d89558ce91d68050

The easiest and fastest way to show the hero’s Latinidad is through language.  My hero speaks English, Spanish and Spanglish.  (Yes, Virginia, Spanglish is a language.)  He says, querida and amada / lover and beloved.

 

This is what I start with.  Then the story’s plot line will shape the hero further — where he lives; where he works; his immediate family and friends; the women in his life, past and present; etc. My hero has everything a “regular” non-Latino has/ could have; he just has a little something extra that I will weave here and there into the plot to enhance the story.8603464_gal

 

What is that something extra?  What makes a Latino Hero?  Amor y sabor.♥

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Maria C. Ferrer is proud to be part of the Latinas Write Romance Blog Tour with Mercedes Cruz and Vanessa Peters.  Maria writes contemporary romances under her real name and erotica under the pseudonym of Del Carmen.  Her stories have been published by Cleis Press and Ravenous Romance, and have appeared in such magazines as Cosmopolitan for Latinas, Penthouse and Star.  Visit her at www.marializaferrer.blogspot.com and www.mydelcarmen.com.

Motivation,Writing,Romance,Multicutural,Constant Reader,On Writing,Latinas Write Romance

Jul.02

What The Wall Has Taught Me

The first half of the year is done, and what have I learned from it?

I’ve learned that hitting the wall hurts, and hitting it more than once leaves a bruise.   But, in the healing I have found my resilience.

There has been a significant learning curve for me.   My passion and belief in myself as a writer and artist is what has kept me rising from the dust and ashes again and again.

Follow your bliss and the universe will open doors where there were only walls. -Joseph Campbell
These months have taught me that my creativity requires me to use a more tactile and basic technique. For me, the creative process must begin with no more than a pen and paper.  I must start with these basic tools before I can even attempt to sit before the canvas or a keyboard.   Attempting to follow the methods and structures of others has failed me time and time again.  But in this approach I found I can be consistent.

So, maybe for you, my dear Constant Reader, this year has been filled with the sort of magical kismet that has the stars aligning to present one opportunity after the other for you.   Or, if your year has been more like my own, you have found yourself standing in full dark with no stars to light your way.

Courage dear heart.

Regardless your path or methodology, stay the course. Hold true to your dream and the universe will follow.  I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year will hold.

Self Discovery,Challenges,Motivation,Writing,Quotes,Constant Reader

May.16

Planting Seeds

I have an idea which I have built into the core of the novel I am currently working on.    I am writing with the intention of planting a seed in the mind of my reader; a seed of possibility.  It is a seed born of lost loves, old crushes and lovers of nights past.

Sure the sexy and steamy parts of a story will pull readers in, but there is also the lure of possibility.  What draws the Constant Reader in is the fantasy of it all; things that they know could never happen but nonetheless they love getting caught up in the idea that it could.  But for me there should also be a touch of the actual; some anchor in reality for the Constant Reader to be able to associate with.  It is in the actual that they will find their possibility and connect to a part of the novel.  It is there that the novel becomes more than just a story for them.  That is when they can begin to imagine that fate will weave a web of events and chance encounters that will bring their love back to them.

I have an image of my reader in my mind and it is to her and her possibilities that I am writing.  For her I will put in to the story all my best plot twists and intrigue.  I will write to keep her turning pages.  I want her to be so enthralled with the story that she will make moments throughout her day to get back to it.  I want her to be caught within those lines until the very end.

And when she puts the book down after the last line is read, I want my seedling of possibility to sprout.  I will have planted it with a kiss and a blessing for fated love.  I want her to wonder if maybe, someway or somehow my heroine’s story could happen to her.   Could she one day get back to the love that she lost so many years ago?  Maybe he is her teenage love which burned so hot and intense it terrified her and she ran.  He is the love she has wondered about for so many years.  What kind of man has he become?  So many unanswered questions that build on themselves and she imagines any number of scenarios of how they would meet again.

Black-white Photographs of 1980s New YorkAnd just as those last tendrils of the daydream fades and she pulls herself back into the reality of her everyday life,  she will step off a crowded train as she does every day, but on this day she will hear a familiar, “Hey Love.” And he will be there.

Ah Fate… you are you are a sneaky beast; there I go falling for your trap yet again.

 

Writing,Romance,Novel,Constant Reader

Mar.16

A Candle in the Dark…

There has been an unyielding sense of ennui that has wrapped itself around my shoulders. It laid in like a second skin and I just couldn’t seem to shake it.

So I turned to what has always been my comfort…books and the stories that live within them. My status as a constant reader, while it’s had moments of wax and wane over the years, has held as a steady necessity for me. It is within a book’s pages that I turn when I find myself lost in moments of weariness. I looked through my catalogue of books already read, knowing it would be there that I would find my reprieve. This feeling which grew from a mild nagging to a sudden constriction of my creative flow, would only be improved by the familiarity of a story, well-known and loved.

I settled on a romance; a novella I’ve read a couple times already. Some would mock the choice, I’m sure, but everyone’s comfort is their own, and I find no shame in mine, nor have I ever cared much what others thought of my choices in literature. But I digress…

I eased into the story and familiarity of the characters created by author Patricia Briggs in “Alpha and Omega” and felt the tightening slowly alleviated with each page turned. The story, a paranormal romance, is also one of fate and destined love. It is the story of Anna, a broken and battered woman, and Charles a powerful, heart harden and stoic man; a story of soul mates. Their story, as favorite stories are known to do for those that love them, improved my mood. It was through the storytelling and writing (thank you Mrs. Briggs, I have been your Constant Reader for some time now) but also in something much deeper that I found solace in.

Within the lines of this story lies a tale of hope; even when life feels at its most dire there is light and within that light is love, strong and unwavering. This may be the opinion of one foolhardy romantic, but it was that thought that eased my restless heart.

So, my message to you, my fellow Constant Reader is to go forth and seek out your comfort, wherever it lives and cherish it.

This is my candle in the dark…what is yours?

Challenges,Writing,Romance,Constant Reader

Feb.16

My Birth as Constant Reader…

I have spent a good portion of my reading life thinking of myself as Constant Reader; as a lover of stories.  It is within the context of this label that I first identified myself and where my writing-self was born.

“The glory of a good tale is that it is limitless and fluid; a good tale belongs to each reader in its own particular way.” –Stephen King

I write as Constant Reader.  I write with the mindset of one who desires to read a great story that will linger long after the last page has been turned.

What brought all this to mind was finishing Joyland by Stephen King.  I enjoyed it as I have so many of his novels and it took me back to being 12 again when I first discovered his books.  Back then I couldn’t wait to tell someone about the stories I read.  His books left me mesmerized and afraid to go to the bathroom late at night.  After reading his novel It, I have never looked down a storm drain or at a clown the same way ever again.  I loved it.

Even more importantly, it was within these novels that I first identified myself as Constant Reader.  In many books, either in his foreword or afterward, Mr. King addresses them to Constant Reader.   In reading them I felt as though he was speaking directly to me and reshaped my way of thinking of myself.  Who was I if not the epitome of the Constant Reader?  I lived with my nose tucked in books.  If there was a great story to be read I was in search of it.  This great author was writing to me, giving me insight into the magical worlds he let me slip into.   His stories, so vast in range of characters and storyline, were all so very real to me.  I was able to see them so vividly in my mind’s eye.  It was also within these books that I felt the first stirrings of wanting to be a writer.  I wanted to create stories just like Stephen King.  I too wanted to write for the Constant Reader.

Finishing Joyland reminded me of all this and more.  So I ask you my fellow Constant Readers…What was the last book you read that you couldn’t wait to pass along or talk to someone about?

Self Discovery,Motivation,Novel,Quotes,Constant Reader