Thursday, October 22, 2009

There's Always a Rainbow After the Storm!

The week might not have started out well, but I found my rainbow after the storm!  Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised when the rainbow started to make itself visible to me in the form of a brown UPS delivery uniform.  Back on September 23, 2009 I received an email from author and blogger Mayra Calvani.  She had held a book giveaway, sponsored by Hachette Book Group, for Hispanic Heritage Month.  I entered and I won!  I won not one or two or even three books, but five! 

Mayra Calvani has given me a bigger gift than I originally expected.  I was so thrilled when I received word that I won!  I haven't won anything since a Christmas poster that my teacher raffled off back in the fourth grade!  No kidding!  Oh, how I was so excited the morning I opened my email and read the words: "Hey, Anna!  You won the Hispanic Month Book Giveaway! Congrats!"  It felt like fourth grade all over again.  I immediately phoned my husband and shared my good news! 

I waited, waited, waited, still no books.  I knew that several other writers were holding similar contests sponsored by Hachette and therefore, I figured they'd wait for all winners to be declared before sending out the fabulous prizes!  So, I resigned to wait some more as patiently as I could.  Then, projects, family, stress and unfortunate and unforeseen drama began to occupy my thoughts. 

So when the books finally arrived this week, I realized that I had no longer focused on them daily and in fact was allowing myself to focus on junk that was draining the creativity and love from within my soul!  I needed something great this week.  This was it!  I received a comment to my previous post that affirmed for me that someone somewhere can relate to my words and may need to read them at the right moment in their journey.  As a writer, I don't only want to entertain, but to inspire others as well!  I love when I am so enthralled with a book that I forget where I am, what day it is, what may be going on in my life, or that I am reading fiction- really good fiction!  I appreciate the efforts all writers make in creating their art to be enjoyed by others.  Writing is hard.  It is a time-consuming process, but most of those who do write do so because they feel so passionate about it.  That's why I say when I come across a book that stays in my soul well after I've finished reading the last page...I feel a debt of gratitude to the author.

Therefore, receiving these five books this week, in particular, has encouraged me to continue with my dream!  Maybe one day it'll be my book that another aspiring writer will have won and will receive at a crucial moment in his or her life.  Yeah, that's a pretty darn good aspiration!  For now, I send a heartfelt "Gracias" to Mayra Calvani for she has gifted me twice...back in September and again this week when I thought I might lose faith in the kindness of others!

I had not heard about all of the books prior to winning them.  I did have Damas, Dramas, and Ana Ruiz by Belinda Acosta on my must read list, so I am thrilled that it was included in the prize package.  I have read some info about the other books and was excited to learn that one is basically about getting active/losing weight Latino style! 

Hacking, cutting, slicing, and tearing into the Hachette Book Group box was like being a kid and breaking the pinata to discover that "Yes, it was filled with the GOOD candy!"  Thank you, Hachette Book Group!
Stay tuned as I read each of these Latino treats and let you all know what I really think! ;)

Wishing you dreams to fulfill and the inspiration needed to do so! 
(Oh yeah, and really good books too!)
~the sol within~

Give it a listen!  The song that inspired this post:
~You Can't Always Get What You Want
("But if you try sometimes, well you might find you get what you need!") by The Rolling Stones

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

When it pours!

So, my week began completely unexpectedly.  I must say that I never meant to use this blog as a personal diary to dish out the details of my life, but after much consideration and thought, I will discuss something very personal in this post.  I am a writer, although I have not had anything published yet, I am still a writer.  I took a major leap this summer into following my dream of becoming a successfully published author.  I have written several children's books and have a novel that I am working on.  I have just recently met many of the authors, some via the internet and some in-person, that I have come to admire!  Some have been incredibly supportive, others (more like one) has been a little diva-ish.  BUT, I persevered.  I continued to drum up the courage needed to "network" to meet people in the business and in-the-know of all things writing and publishing.  I thought I even made a friend along the way in a fellow aspiring writer. 

Have you ever been so betrayed in your past that you didn't think you could ever trust again, but you did anyway?  Yeah, that is me!  I allowed myself to trust someone that really seemed to care about my journey as a writer and before I knew it, it became a friendship, or so I thought!  We would email -sometimes several times a day- about our lives.  And it all began because of our similar love of writing.  I cannot express enough how much I cared for this person as a writer, friend, and fellow human!  This person shared some details of their life and work with me and I even gave detailed ideas on how they could pursue seeking the "right" people to help see their dream work become a reality.  Sometimes I gave more attention to their plans or the possibility for a collaboration with them than I did to my own personal work.  I was sending them ideas left and right and was so excited about the possibilities!  There was something in the pit of my stomach, but I ignored it.  Damn!  I wanted so much to see that this person really did care.  My entire family knew of my relationship with this person and recently I was even requesting some of them to help create some artwork for a collaboration that I was working on with this person -or so I thought. 

I woke up Monday morning to an email from this person and it hit me like a sucker punch to the gut!  They decided that we are no longer friends, collaborating, or communicating.  I sent an email asking if what I was reading was correct.  I guess I missed the fight or something.  I did not hear back.  Last I knew, we were looking forward to our friendship growing and working together! It sucks because I knew better than to trust, but I did!  I saw what I thought was another beautiful writer and I wanted so much to believe that they were as real as I am.  Toward the end, I ingnored the red flags and kept sending my ideas and kept trying to invest in a friendship...I knew I was alone, but I did not want to see it! 

After the initial shock, tear drop, and confusion I got myself together and drove my children to school.  I was just about to leave the last school when I noticed several missed calls on my cell.  I saw that one was from my mom so I called her and learned that her cousin had just died.  She was my moms age and had a daughter only two years older than me.  They live in the Northwest and throughout our high school years we were pen pals.  She and I wrote to one another several times a week.  I recently came across her letters and remembered how much I looked forward to hearing about her life in Washington.  Now, my heart breaks for her and her children...I just can't imagine the sadness they are enduring at this time. 

Out of the blue...we had a down pour here.  It rained and rained and rained!  This particular day, I felt the rain was extremely poignant.  I had to go to my former high school in the early evening and was able to be outside in the downpour.  At one point I was able to close my eyes and recall better days as the cool rain bounced across my face.  I saw new faces and recognized many others from my high school days.  I also met up with my parents and saw the sadness in my mom's face as she recalled her youthful days running around the streets of Washington with her cousin.

This day was also the birthday of someone very special to me.  We ended the long, crazy, rainy day by quietly celebrating this special day.  It was an awful lot of emotion for one day, but I found some strength within this soul to continue on hour by hour.  We've had a lot of stress lately, but who hasn't, right?  I always think that everyone has something they are enduring.

So, I send blessings to my family, especially my cousin as she finds her strength within to kiss her mom goodbye for the final time.

I send birthday blessings to my special someone and wish them wonderful things this year!

I also send blessings to the person that has hurt me!  Don't get me wrong, I have already gone through all the stages...hurt, confusion, anger (lots!), and sadness.  But, I'm happy to know now that I didn't mean anything to them if it was so easy to toss me and our friendship aside!  I trusted someone and I don't know if I can do that again.  I have something to learn here and I am trying to see that.  I guess I can say that I can send this person wishes of blessings because they didn't know that they were going to add pain to a day that was going to be impacted by other more important family matters.  Maybe they don't even see that what they did is wrong.  I realize that some people are so business-minded that they do whatever it takes to get ahead, but that is sad to me.  More than anything I feel duped!  Duped out of my creativity, my ideas, my time, and my true friendship...and that stinks!

"Cherish your friends 'cause they don't come that often and when they do they're worth keeping." I heard Whoopi Goldberg say this on the View today and I thought, Wow...what timing!

Wishing you all dreams to fulfill and the inspiration needed to do so.  I also wish you true friendship in your life and people appreciative enough to care for your gift of friendship! 

~the sol within~

Give it a listen.  The songs that inspired this post:
~Friends by Whodini
~People Are People by Depeche Mode
~Nothing Else Matters by Metallica
~Blue Monday by New Order
~Joy 'n' Pain by Rob Base & DJ E-Z Rock
~The Power by Snap!
~Shout by Tears for Fears
Especially for my mama and for my cousin...
~My Girl by The Temptations
~A Song for Mama by Boyz II Men

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Getting them all to face the right direction!

I feel as though it has been quite some time since my last post.  Well, that is because I make a promise to myself to commit to posting daily.  As a writer, I have made such promises to myself before.  Every time I do, something interferes, oh yeah, LIFE! 

Over the past couple of weeks I have encountered some hurdles.  To begin, one of my kids sustained a concussion during an athletic game.  My husband and I were present at the game and monitored the situation.  We allowed our child to play another game and even over time.  It wasn't until the hours following that the pain intensified and so began the incredible amount of facial swelling and bruising.  Our kid is beyond a trooper!  I believe the coach refers to it as "True Grit!".  I sat outside in the lobby as one of my babies entered those big, cold doors to have a CT Scan when the doctor revealed that there was a cause for much concern.  As a mom, I felt punched in the gut!  I held it together for my child who was in severe pain! 

Thankfully, we received the magnificent news that the injury was only external and internally everything was great!  My husband and I stayed home for a few days carpooling the others to and from school as we nursed the concussed child back to health.  I thought that I'd have time to write, but no such time ever made itself known to me.  My focus was on my family and I felt the need to nest, remain at home with my family as we ate comfort food and noticed the weather begin to show signs of cooling.  That made the days better, for we just adore the cool weather, actually the cold!  We pulled on our sweats and ate homemade stew in a bread bowl.  Some days I found myself completely exhausted by 6 in the evening.  I even fell asleep at 6:30 one evening when my kids had all eaten, bathed, and went to their rooms to relax for the night. 

My child fully recovered and discovered how many teachers, coaches, friends, teammates, as well as older players of the sport really were concerned for my kiddo.  Cards, flowers, emails, phones calls, and texts were all sent during that tough week.  I finally had a moment where I broke down in tears and said a prayer of great thanks for our blessings!  Still, I was not able to write.

During this time I also had moments where I felt as though I had to explain myself far too many times than I ever allow myself to.  It was almost as if there was something in the air.  This was not with someone in my family so I could've just walked away from the whole thing, right?  No, because I learned when confronted with such a challenge that what I was encountering was important!  Just when I was about to give up, I received a very poignant email.  It was not a personal email, but more of a thought-for-the-day type of thing.  It said to persevere with my dreams, despite the obstacles that have shown up recently.  "WHAT!"  It continued on to say to try to see the best in the person that was sent to help me regardless of the extra challenges that they seemed to present at the moment.  It was truly one of those moments when I looked behind me to see if my angels or deceased relatives were actually standing beside me!  Later that day, I was contacted by people that I had given up on and discovered that opportunities are still available!  Deep down I knew they were, but sometimes a little nudge is needed to get us over those extra-rough weeks! 

I decided not to give up on certain opportunites and push myself to expand out of my usual comfort zone! 

I have been in contact lately with other bloggers and aspiring writers and listened to them discuss their challenges of finding time to write daily, especially blog.  How does one find time to do it all and then, BLOG about it at the end of the day?  Well, that's the million dollar question!  It's not just a challenge for mommies or married couples, anyone with any amount of life has to learn to find the time.  I have come to learn that I need to be disciplined and allow me the time to write...for me!  It is my dream, but as soon as I need gas in the car, laundry needs to be done, or the home needs to be vacuumed I give up my desires to sit and write.  After speaking to so many wonderful writers this week, I didn't even have to share my dilemmas, I discovered that in this moment in time I am not alone.  Many of us are struggling to "get it all in"! 

I forced myself to write a post a few days ago, but it was not real.  I forced it too much and I found myself struggling to punch each key.  I opted not to post and instead decided to step away from my blog.  I wasn't exactly sure what to do, but I knew I needed to get re-energized!  That's exactly what has happened.  I began working on a collaborative effort.  I celebrated life with my family and in one crazy second, I found incredible inspiration for another three books.  I am loving the projects I am working on.  Just a few moments ago I agreed to work with two authors for some upcoming projects. 

How does anyone do it all?  I don't know, but for me it means having the love and support of family and friends!  I need to have all of my turtles moving along in the same direction.  Sometimes one might get distracted and start to veer off the path, but with a little nudge that turtle can turn around and re-focus!  Your turtles may represent any number of things from family, friends, health, finances, work, education and some may hold bigger meaning or value than others.  Whatever your turtles mean to you...I hope that they move along their path with ease...for your sake! 

Wishing you dreams to fulfill and the inspiration needed to do so!
~the sol within~

Give it a listen!  The songs that inspired this post:
~Lost by Coldplay
~It's Tricky by Run DMC
~Hold On Tight (To Your Dreams) by Electric Light Orchestra
And For My Child...
~Lean On Me by Bill Withers
~Wonder by Natalie Merchant