Wednesday, August 1, 2007

"Project PS" Part I: The Summer of 2003

This Blog is the first part in a series of blog’s, which I have entitled “Project PS” or Project Proud Souls. I felt inclined to share the actual process of creating a novel, from initial thought, to draft, to completed manuscript and in doing so, I hoped it might help encourage others who too have wrestled with the idea and notion of writing a book. This is the story of the idea that became the thought, which became the dream and became the novel, “Proud Souls.”

Part I: In the Summer of 2003

As I have explained before, the stories I create are formed out of the creativity within my mind--either from a dream, a thought, a whisper or an actual moment I have experienced--and from those instances have stemmed the foundational pieces that have become many of my stories. There was a moment in my life I actually thought I was crazy, tormented by the sounds and voices within my own mind, the images within my own head. It took many years and lots of praying to understand and appreciate those things I felt were haunting or plaguing my existence were actually instead, the silent sounds of my own soul. It was whispers of my own creative mind which manifest into something real, expanding and growing until I reached a point where I worked to understand the essence of my own soul. Whether I would ever become a "best selling" author was now irrelevant for me. My greatest challenge would be learning how to understand and utilize this gift, dream, passion and pain, which has become my creative art form.

Now for "Proud Souls", this particular story began in the summer of 2003. It was a chance trip to a small city called Seymour, off Highway 199 westbound towards the Texas panhandle where I wrote the opening chapter to what has now become my debut novel. A very close and personal friend of mine and brother within the Marine Corps--Ralph Ponce of Abernathy, TX--and his family own a small cabin just off Lake Kemp in Seymour. He asked me to visit with him one weekend that summer and I accepted the invite. I took my wife Michele and two of my children and he took his and we spent that entire weekend fishing, drinking, talking, laughing and sleeping out under the stars. Oh and naturally, we watched the Cowboys play that Sunday afternoon. Missing that game or any Cowboy game for that matter would have really been "roughin' it." It was as primitive as it was peaceful. But something more significant happened during that trip, or actually on the way home.

When it was time to say good-bye and leave, I fell silent. I have always had the tendency to become overly quiet and distant when saying good-bye. I suppose that has to do with the fact that I have had SO MUCH practice over the course of my life, saying good-bye to friends and family when I left for bootcamp in San Diego and then saying good-bye each time I came home to visit. I have had to say good-bye to my oldest son Lazaro, each time we have been fortunate to see one another and I have had to say good-bye (for the moment) to my children, when my wife and I separated and then divorced. I had to tell my brothers good-bye within the Corps and I have said good-bye to loved ones and friends who have passed away. It was on the return home from the cabin that I wrote the initial pages to what would become my first novel, "Proud Souls." I remember being quiet and attentive to my surroundings and working hard to draw this mental picture of the events of my weekend, under the stars, with a fishing pole and then with a drink, as if somehow the moments between then and again when I would see my friend next, wouldn’t tarry if I could somehow memorize the moment.

I remember the solitude of the moment, the quietness of the world surrounding the cabin and I remember spending the entire trip home, some 2.5 hours back to Ft. Worth, visualizing the scene that would become the opening chapters for my novel. When we finally returned home I wrote the first 14 pages to ths story and when I was done, I put a title on it: “The Cabin.” I wasn’t sure what I was writing, only that I was indeed, writing. I opened the story with a faceless character, not even sure at the time if that person was male or female, and since I wasn’t sure what the story would be about at the time, I personified the cabin, making “it” as real as the human who would one day occupy its setting. I drew this amazing mental picture, with fine detail, describing every aspect of what I just experienced just days before. When I reached the stopping point, which is essentially the end of Chapter 1, I put it down and wouldn’t touch the story again for 2 full years.

to be continued...

~Bobby Ozuna

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