Where is Love?

wave washed heart and pink shovel_4500Where has the romantic gone?

How did she become lost?

Where is the lonely little girl who constantly poured her soul

Into a few choice words—laying bare her life, her heart, and her mind?

I have searched everywhere, yet she remains lost.

I see a form; it could be her.

Instead I am confronted with some glowering old woman

Whose sour disposition seeps forth from every seam of her face,

and every pore of her skin.

Like the odor of spoiled meat, it surrounds her in a miasma,

full of despair and dislike.

When she sees me, she grabs my sleeve

and demands querulously, “Where is love? Where has it gone?”

“I was a young woman once—in love with life and filled with joy.

Now, here I am dressed in these rags. My hair is coarse and my

face is wrinkled. I do not understand. How did I come to be this way?”

Her tears follow the runnels of her face

until they tumble free and splash against her shawl.

Her claw-like fingers still grip my sleeve

and I find myself patting her age-speckled hand.

Love is so fleeting, so swiftly fading.

With its departure do we lose our youth,

our beauty and our way.

Feeling her pain, I turn her toward the light.

Wiping away her tears, I softly explain

that love is there, in front of her.

For within the light all is joy,

and within the light all is music,

and within the light everything is love.

With a look of awe, she releases me

and reaches toward the light.

As she shuffles forward, her countenance changes.

Her face grows smoother, and her back straighter,

and as the glow surrounds her, somewhere deep

within myself I feel the tones of love resound.

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Tran’zr series…coming soon

I’m currently working on the first book in a paranormal romance series. I’m finding it fun, and definitely different from any of the other books I’ve written.

Here’s a draft of the blurb that will go on the back of the book:

Changing dance partners can be dangerous. When a young lawyer waltzes into Terra’s life, she decides to give him a whirl. But when she tangoes with Death, someone she never expected dips into her life and steals her heart.

I’ve already gotten some book cover ideas from my pal at DL Design and Digital Art, which I’ve posted here. (If you like any of the designs, let me know. I always enjoy learning what appeals to folks.)

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The short synopsis is:

I’m Terra McGinley…Tran’zr and technical writer, and I’m dating-impaired. I’m okay at getting first dates (though my mom would say otherwise—she’s always trying to fix me up; if it’s male, single, and over the age of consent, she’ll drag it home for me to meet.) However, when it comes to follow-up dates…well, let’s just say that my mother shouldn’t expect to hear wedding bells any time soon.

Being a tran’zr is a part-time gig—which is a good thing, because the pay is non-existent and the hours are horrible; otherwise, it’s a great job. Tran’zrs help transition people from the physical world to the spiritual and vice versa. Some people call us Grim Reapers, while others refer to us as Death Escorts, but we prefer Transitioner, or Tran’zr for short.

Black Holes and the Art of Writing

blackhole1Wow, I can’t believe it’s been just over a year since I put anything new out on the blog. Forgive me dear readers for being so neglectful of you. I hope you will forgive me once you find out the reason for my neglect.

You see, I had dreams of writing another book (a novel this time), and thought that I could do that and continue my blogging, too. Unfortunately, I found that writing a novel is like getting sucked into a black hole. At first I merely crept up to the edge of the blackness and peered inside the void. I would gaze down into that dense blackness and wonder if I could actually fill enough pages to create a book. After all, I’ve spent the greater part of my life writing short, novelty pieces, how-go guides (which are by their very nature short), and short stories. (Do you see the pattern there? Everything is short…).

However, after spending enough time gazing into that black hole, I decided I was ready to give it a try. After all, how difficult could it be? I’d been writing my whole life, and if the story didn’t take off, well…no harm done, right? I’d simply back away from the black hole of authordom, and continue being the writer of short pieces.

So, I started writing—a paragraph here, a chapter there—but nothing that really interfered with my “real work” of writing (for my blog, for my paycheck, for myself). But after a while the little bits I had created started to come together into something bigger, something more than just a short story or a novella. Soon, I was caught up in the fever of the characters I had created. Their needs and their desires became all important; they began to run my life. Before I knew it, I was no longer standing on the edge of the black hole, I was falling into it. (And let me tell you, once you start falling, it goes on forever.)

Here it is, fourteen months later and I’m finally at the other side of that black hole. I have a completed book, I’ve written a rough draft of the second adventure for my characters, and I’ve done up an outline for book three. Wow! It’s like waking from a dream and finding out that it wasn’t a dream at all.

It may have seemed as if I fell off the face of the Earth (and in a way, I guess I did), but the results are worth it (at least to me). If nothing else, I proved to myself that I could survive falling through a black hole. But I also learned that writing a book is hard work, and writing the story is only half the job. There’s so much more to do and I may make a lot of missteps along the way, but you’re welcome to journey with me.

I assure you, the journey is mystical, mundane, mind expanding, and life enriching.

mysticjourney

What Dreams May Come…What Dreams Have Come

WhatdreamsposterA friend of mine invited me to watch a movie with her. She said it was something she had seen when it first came out and, knowing I hadn’t seen it, thought I would really enjoy it. That’s all she said. She wouldn’t give me the title, tell me who starred in it, or even give me a synopsis of the plot. Deciding to humor her (and wanting to spend time with her, anyway), I agreed to her “movie night”.

The movie she chose was “What Dreams May Come” starring Robin Williams. And to say I was surprised by the movie is an understatement. It was like watching my own book, “Escorting the Dead: My Life as a Psychopomp”, come to life.

The movie was based on a book by Richard Matheson, author of such books as “Bid Time Return” (which became the movie, “Somewhere in Time”) and “I am Legend” (which also became a movie with the same name). I had loved all the movies made from Mr. Matheson’s books, including this one that I had just seen, so I went to the library and got copies of his books.

Reading his words pulled at something deep within me. It waCover3s as if we were connecting on a soul level. It made me wonder just who was Mr. Matheson and how did he come to write these books; what was his inspiration. Did he have a near death experience of his own? Was his just a finely tuned imagination or was there some “secret” knowledge there?

What I found was that he wasn’t all that different from me in his beliefs and in how he built his spiritual foundations.

Fascinated by parapsychology, the paranormal, and metaphysics since boyhood, Mr. Matheson used his storytelling platform to explore and express his beliefs. Having read everything from Emanual Swedenborg and Harold Percival to Raymond Moody and Kubler-Ross, Mr. Matheson compiled his own spiritual belief system which he published in a book called “The Path”, a non-fiction account of his ideas and concepts.

That same belief system was used as the basis for “What Dreams May Come” but was expressed as a story; however, in an introductory note to the book, Matheson explains that the characters are the only fictional component of the novel. Almost everything else was based on research, and the end of the novel includes a lengthy bibliography.

Placing the material in a fictional, story-like format allowed Mr. Matheson to reach a wider audience with his ideas of how life (and death) works. His book explores a range of paranormal and spiritual concepts and puts forth his philosophy of mind over matter, that ideas are the basis of creation, and his beliefs that the human soul is immortal and that a person’s fate in the afterlife is self-imposed.

The book, which was originally published in 1978, received mixed reviews. However, Mr. Matheson considered it one of his greatest achievements and was quoted as saying, “I think ‘What Dreams May Come’ is the most important (read effective) book I’ve written. It has caused a number of readers to lose their fear of death – the finest tribute any writer could receive.”

That quote also fits me. I may not sell very many copies of my book, but that’s okay; because if my book can give even one person some comfort regarding their death or the death of someone they love, than that’s what counts. It’s really the reason why I wrote it.

So, in our own way, I guess Mr. Matheson and I do have a connection. We both developed similar belief systems and have tried to express those beliefs through our writing. It’s nice to have validation of how you think the world functions, and it’s even nicer when that validation comes to you unexpectedly and without strings.

Sleep Walking

dreamer2There’s a passage in one of Stephen King’s books where he talks about how his protagonist is avoiding life by burying himself in his writing. SK goes on to say that to the protagonist, the characters in the story he is writing are more real to him than the world and people in which he actually lives. I mention that because for a while I felt as if my life was that way.

I had been burying myself in a pretense of life to the exclusion of what was important. I went into work and I busied myself with how-to guides, indices and table of contents, images and tables. I scurried to meetings, and followed agendas, and answered phones, and all the time all I was really doing was avoiding life—real life.

Oh, I can see you going, “Whoa! Wait a minute; what you described is life.” But you’re so wrong. For me life has never been about creating a physical product or object, or going to meetings so I can listen to someone worry about whether deadlines will be met, or whether we should change the template of our how-to guides. For me life has always been more about why people act the way they do, care about what they do, or say what they do.

Seeing beneath the surface of the games and dramas that people participate in has always been easy for me. So easy, in fact, that I rarely got caught up in the dramas myself—at least not for any length of time. I think this is why, when I realized what I was doing, that it hit me so hard. Here I was, going through the motions of living every day and thinking that this was what it was all about, this was living; then suddenly realizing that what I was doing was really avoiding life.

I literally became a sleep walker during the days—I came into work, did my “thing” and then went home, never recognizing that what I was doing served little purpose but to occupy my mind and keep me from actually seeing beneath the surface to my real life.

I suddenly recognized just how much people do things out of habit. We’ve all been brainwashed into thinking that if we don’t have gainful employment that we’ll starve, if we have nowhere to live, we’re failures. Yet, look at how many people manage to do what they want and still get by. How many people are painting, sculpting, selling poetry, hanging out at the beach riding surfboards and just enjoying life?

There’s nothing wrong with any of those options, just as there’s nothing wrong with “working” for a living. I think everyone needs to make their own choices. It’s just for me, I finally recognized that what I was calling “working for a living: was really “hiding” from life. While I want to write, and I want to make money enough to support myself and my husband, I also needed to unbury myself from this false life and continue my search for what’s real—for me. And what’s real for me is understanding the BIG picture—who we are, what we are, and where are we going.

So, although I still work writing how-to manuals, and I still participate in “normal life”, I’m also spending much more time in the astral plane. In the astral plane I can interact with others like myself who are ready to know, who are ready to see what lies beyond. Then during the day, rather than lull myself back into a walking sleep, I study the people around me. Not in a disinterested, mad-scientist way, but rather as stranger to a unique and extraordinary world that I need to understand and figure out.

I see the world through the eyes of someone new; and, like a child, I revel in the beauty and simplicity of a raindrop, or marvel at the sound of bird’s call. I enjoy the fragrance of fresh brewed coffee, or the sight of someone laughing.

Every day is a unique and marvelous occurrence just waiting for me to experience, and experience it, I do. I no longer sleep walk through life, but instead I try to make each day something joyous and positive, even if all I am doing is going to work. Every day is a wonder, and every moment a precious gem.

Escape

panicEscape. I need to get away.

Frantic, I peer around searching for a way out.

Heart pounding, I know if I don’t move quickly, they’ll be on me.

In a panic, I dash for the darkened opening that leads who knows where certain that I’ll be caught any moment.

So who are the ubiquitous “they” who are chasing me? I have no idea.

I have no idea what I’m afraid of, where I’m running from or to, and who it is that is pursuing me. All I know is that each night for the past 2 weeks, I’ve awakened in a cold sweaty panic, as I try to evade my pursuers.

Sometimes, I’m with one or more other people and we’re all trying to escape, other times I find that I need to rescue a child or puppy from imminent death; but most times, it’s just me, the dark, and the panicky need to escape.

So just what it is I’m running from? Based on other aspects of the dreams, I’d say that there are situations that I don’t want to become entangled in, and there are people and situations that I really prefer to avoid. The biggest issue I face while awake, though, is trying to determine just what and who those situations and people are. It seems so clear to me while I’m dreaming, and yet when awake, the details of the dreams are muzzy and unclear, which leaves me wondering just who I need to avoid—is it someone at work? Or is one of the projects going to cause me problems and upheavals? Is it merely a lesson that I need to learn, or is it truly a situation that is best avoided if my life is to continue on the path best suited for achieving my soul’s goals.

OnDreamsCover_Smashwords_withtextWhile I’d like some more meaningful answers to help me decide just what I need to do or not do, I do so wish that nightmares would end so that I could get some restful sleep. I understand and appreciate when my inner self needs to communicate with my waking self; however, sometimes the messages just don’t seem to make sense. There are just some times when a different means of communication are needed, and this is one of them. The nightmares are doing little except creating havoc with my sleep cycles and leaving me sleepy and irritable. It would be so much better if my inner me could just whip out a pen and paper and write a note in plain and simple words that I could then read and act upon.

As it is, whatever it is my inner self is trying to warn me about, will probably occur simply because I’m too sleepy and tired to see it coming.

The Closet

clutterI’m exhausted again this morning. It’s not easy spending most of the night holding the closet door closed against all those boxes and objects that keep trying to fall out. There’s just so much you can do when the closet is too full, but you just can’t bring yourself to empty it.

However, last night, I had to let some of the boxes tumble out into the hallway. It upset me to have my things exposed where anybody might see them. But I had to rescue several puppies that had somehow found their way into my closet. They were so cute and absolutely adorable, and for some reason someone (I have no idea who) was trying to poison them, so both the puppies and I hid in the closet, which meant that some of the boxes had to be displaced.

Yes, I’m describing a dream. But it’s a strange, repeating dream, with odd variations played over a central theme—a too full closet the contents of which I’m having difficulty containing.

Sometimes, I can keep all the boxes hidden within the closet, and at other times (like last night with the puppies) I have to make a choice to let some of the contents out of the closet or allow something or someone to come to harm. Each time, I’ve chosen to “rescue” the person, puppy, kitten, bird, or whatever, and each time I’ve had to allow some of the “boxes” to escape the closet.

My initial reaction to this dream (besides the exhaustion from fighting to hold the closet door shut seemingly all night long) was that I was trying to contain my “secrets”. You know the type of stuff I mean—information that I didn’t really want people to know about me; information that I deemed too personal; or information that might make me “too human”. Usually, though, once I figure out what it is a dream is trying to tell me, it stops. But since this one hasn’t stopped, I had to wonder if my interpretation was off.

OnDreamsCover_Smashwords_withtextDuring a luncheon with a friend, I brought up the odd recurring dream, and was surprised by her take on it. She posited that perhaps I was attempting to hide (from myself and others) those aspects of myself that I wasn’t fond of, no longer needed, or had outgrown.

She thought that if I tried accepting all these hidden or no longer wanted aspects of myself, that maybe I wouldn’t have to hold the closet closed anymore. She also thought the puppies and other pet-like creatures that I was finding in the closet were to help me understand that not everything I was shutting away was really “bad”. That I was closing off good things along with the (perceived) bad, and I should stop shutting off pieces of myself and just accept myself, all of myself, for who I am.

I was so surprised by how accurate her insights seemed to be, that I had no response for her. I realized that I needed some time to think over everything she said, and to read over my notes of each occurrence of the dream. So, this morning I’ve been doing just that, and I think she’s right.

Over these past few months, I have been trying to move forward with my life. For a while I was caught in a chasm of depression, but now that I’ve climbed out of the pit I was in, I want to move on. To do that, I thought I had to lock away all those pieces of me that I didn’t think would contribute (in a positive way) to the new me I wanted to be. I wanted to shed the parts of me that wouldn’t help me move along the path I wanted to take. But, locking them in a closet (metaphorical or actual) is unrealistic. All those pieces that I locked away in boxes and tried to hide away are part of me. They have contributed to who I am, and without them I can’t move on.

So, instead of holding the closet closed tonight, I’m going to fling it wide, and then I’m going to open every one of those boxes and let everything out. I’m going to let the pieces fall where they may…I’m ready to change, but not until I can accept who I’ve been and I am now.