Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Intimacy Between Author and Reader

I have a gift. I am a writer of souls. I pay attention to everything. I understand the intimacy between me and my reader as the reader is the recipient of my passion...the reader is my lover.

I have a gift of discernment that allows him to hear more than I should--an ability to read the souls of people through their eyes. No, you cannot hide from it and your desires to know more are what keep your focus, and your focus is what allows me to see within your soul. This is inevitable.

I can see things, hear things—those tiny whispers and pleas and cries for attention. I study people, all of them, each of them and their souls tell me the truth, the truth of reality, of life and of our existence. Your soul tells me your story.

I pay attention to everything, to all my lover has to share, as the reader is my lover and my reader is both hunger and prey to my intimacy.

I study my reader as though she were my lover. I study the movements of the body, every twist and curve of her body, the subtle sounds she makes, the sounds of her body calling to me, searching for truth within the pressure of my being. I know her tastes, her smells, her desires; I know and recognize the pulsating beats of her heart as she sways in unison with my force as she is taken, taken to solitary places with the power of my words—through doors and hallways within her soul she would never admit to, never share. She will never confess to their existence. She will lie to the world to keep them safe for all of us cling to that one sweet vice.
She, my reader, is my lover and my lover is my reader. I watch her, study her, taste her, smell her, hear her, and listen to her until my words become all she was longing for.
My words are that thing you search for when walking aisles and aisles of cover, in search of the book, not the one you want to read, but the one you need to become, to fulfill that void that brought you there to that place to begin with. They are the fulfillment of your desires. My words are the cotter to that hole in your heart and that confusion within your mind—the answer to those elusive questions.

You ask how I can do it, how I can know those tiny little secrets? It's because I am watching you, always watching you and listening when no one else will pay you that attention. I touch you with only words when you are sleeping and my words are the restlessness of your nights and the soft quench of thirst in the morning dew. I have become a part of your soul now and my words will not escape you. You cannot avoid it. This too, is inevitable.

Your desires to be taken somewhere new are fulfilled within my words. You cannot deny them or escape this truth. All you have waited for is written there on the pages. They are the calming of your soul, the petting of your patience and the warming and comfort of your sleep. You don’t have to play small to suit those around you any longer, for a void has now been filled. Keep me to yourself and turn my fiction into your truth and their truth into fiction.

I am a writer, an author born with a curse that has become my gift. You have only to lay down your guard and find the intimacy and power of the written word within my pages. I know my reader...and the reader is my lover. That which you seek, you have found.

I am the writer…and you are my reader…and the reader is my lover…and the lover knows his reader.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"The closer you get to your dream, the more your Personal Legend becomes your real reason for living."

~Paulo Coelho, from "The Alchemist"


There was a time some years ago when I thought I understood the complexity of these simple words. When I look at them today I realize I did not have the faintest idea what they truly meant in relation to the struggle an artist must undergo as they move up the mountain towards the mystical realm of success. In this life, we all struggle, some greater than others and some consistently greater than all. I do feel however those who possess the artist's soul suffer far more than the common man or woman, if not for anything else, but the pressure and the burden of responsibility of their gifts. Artists envision things most people will never see and they understand things most people will never comprehend. They hear the faintest whispers of the world around them and then, they hear the other whispers, those which torment their soul at night. They long for attention for the sake of thirsting egos, as criticism is the thorn in their side and compliments and praise are their Sirens. And, when they find themselves swarmed within the world which they fashioned, they scurry, racing away without warning to crevices and cracks in dark places, to find sanctity from the reality of the life they have created. It is a pattern that sparks arousal, mystique and disgust from those burdened to partake alongside them in their euphoria and their suffering.

There is a certain level of responsibility due those who are gifted with the artist's soul and because of that, a greater challenge and walk in the journey and quests of our life. But, I do see today that journey has a purpose. I understand today that my path, unworn and unknown by those around me—those who would try so desperately to love me—does have reason and purpose within it. Like Robert Frost, I have bragged of the "road less traveled" when in actuality, it was a psychological means to mask my commonality from those who expected much more from me, as though I did not have the right to be ordinary or complacent. I can only sum up this unbeaten path, this long and winding road as this: I struggle and have struggled as a person, for the sake of my art, so that my art would not destroy me. For to be elevated to high regard, with such talents as have been given to me, without however obtaining any real experience of life--from both the clean waters and the most murky creeks--would have destroyed me. My life has taken a course that I did not want, and I have ventured and endured things I did not want to understand, but I realize now, it was for the sake of my art, so that I could become a beacon of light and true representative of the soul of humanity--not simply for myself, but for those who would dare to pursue their dreams after me. I suffer and have suffered for each of you, so that I could offer substance and value and reason to your journey on the quest to find your place in relation to your dreams. It seems everyone loves the ocean and yet we don't all have the courage to jump in the deep waters and just when one of us does, the world will not lend a hand, but rather wait and watch, to see if you will drown. The world watches your struggle to survive, not in hopes of your demise, but in hope that you might show them the way to the wondrous islands on the other side of those dark and dangerous waters.

When I look back at my life, my early youth and my aspirations I never imagined I would end up where I am today--not physically or financially--but spiritually, emotionally and of course, in direct correlation with who I have become as an artist and contributor to the lives of others. I had no idea I would become this man but looking back, today, I better understand the reasons and alterations of my life's course, from things I wanted to do with my life to things life has determined I will do instead. I once feared the duality of virtue that dominated my life, tearing me from one side and ripping me away from the other but today I embrace it, welcome it, knowing full well not every writer has the capacity to identify with people on both sides of the pendulum of existence. Today I understand not every writer would dare venture into the darkness to better appreciate the light, nor appreciate the light for sake of the darkness.

I am liberated today by the falling of the shroud from my eyes, from the path that seemed to wind ever onward without end in sight and today, instead of fearing it, or like so many nights spent hoping I could perhaps end my own life in spite of it, I welcome the journey and I appreciate the role I am to play for the sake of others. I am liberated to know I have the power to forgive myself of my past, releasing myself from the burdens I thought were placed in my life by others. I am liberated as an artist by the understanding that my past is my past—a mere footprint on a path so few will take—and my demons are no longer the rulers of my mind, but ephemeral reminders of where I have been and how far I have traveled.

It is true, as Paulo Coelho says, "the closer you get to your dream, the more your Personal Legend becomes your real reason for living." The further I sway from the road I think I am supposed to be on, the more I understand the complexity of preparation in each step of this present course--the road that bears greater burden, this path of struggle—and what role the struggle signifies for my future. The higher you climb on the mountain, the lonelier the road. The higher I climb, the less people I will see, and of those few, the greater few to mentor me. As I press onward, I identify with less on an individual basis, but identify with many as I serve the masses. And the further I walk this road less traveled, the more I lose along the way, and yet still, the greater my gain for it seems the closer I get to becoming nothing more than the dream, the closer I get to becoming all I was born to be--all that was given to me at birth--and all I shall be forever.

Today, I am the dream and the dream has become me.   

~Bobby Ozuna |  Jan 21, 2010

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Hero and His Mentor

It was in Homer’s The Odyssey we first learned (or discovered the use) of the word mentor, which was actually a character portrayed as the guide to the hero Telemachus on his journey. Today we use the term mentor to describe someone (or perhaps some thing) that aids us on our own personal quests towards fulfillment, be it physical, mental, or spiritual. A more loosely defined term of the word mentor could be someone who helps in the aid of our growth, whether through a difficult situation or period of our life, someone who nurtures and helps ‘take us under their wing’ as we learn a series of skills or perhaps someone who acts as a pillar of stability during various phases of our growth and development. Either way, it seems the word mentor better fits our society when describing a person who in some way, helps develop our personal growth or teaches us to bear the burdens of our seasons as we push through the trials, tribulations and adversity of Life. Everyone, at some point in their life or another either plays mentor to, or is aided in some way, by what the psychologist Carl Jung calls, the archetype: mentor.

Christopher Vogler in his work, “The Writer’s Journey—Mythic Structure for Writers” says a mentor (figure) is “an archetype found frequently in dreams, myths, and stories [which is] usually a positive figure who aids or trains the hero.” Joseph Campbell described this archetype in his work “The Hero With a Thousand Faces” as “The Wise Old Man” or “Wise Old Woman” depending, of course, upon the particular role they fit within the journey or quest of the hero. Christopher Vogler goes on to say of the mentor, “This archetype is expressed in all those characters who teach and protect heroes and give them gifts.”

In dealing with and addressing the adversity and the conquests of my own writer’s journey, I can’t help but consider recognizing the person(s) who has played the greatest mentor to my work as an author—to my work as an artist within the soul of humanity. For me, there are two figures that have represented the beacon of light and stability through my most trying course of life—my most difficult season of my life. In the spiritual realm of understanding and dealing with the complexity and power of a gift such as mine, it has been my faith in God and my time spent getting to know and understand—by biblical definition—what my gift means in relation to my life. In the physical realm of the actual practiced work of becoming a better writer, it has been for me the author Paulo Coelho. Therefore, in honor and tribute to both my faith in God and the philosophy of Jesus Christ and also my appreciation for the works and life of Paulo Coelho, I am dedicating a new series of blog articles to them, but on your behalf. As inspiration for each posting, I will share a quote from Mr. Coelho or a scripture from the Holy Bible and shed light on the truth within my struggle to come to terms with my gift(s) as the person you have come to know today. I shall call this blog content: The Hero & His Mentor.

...To Be Continued...

~Bobby Ozuna
author of PROUD SOULS

The Critic

"The true artist fears not the expression of his soul...nor the critic who cowers in the dark to pick and poke its thorny fingers...knowing full well, the critic is bound to the darkness, which is after all, the only place it can hide its miserable self from the world in which it cannot share in honest pure expression, but in its stead, mingle amongst the company of those who are bitter, lost, tormented by the inability to express true self, which is to share the soul, which one must have to ever become an artist."

~Bobby Ozuna | Jan 19, 2010

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

"Quadrivium: The Devil, As I"--introducing Tomas Alasdair Mendez

Tomas Alasdair Mendez was born in a community hospital on April 1st, 1971—a bad omen to his family, one frequently ignored by his parents and never discussed in the Mendez household. As if being born under a bad sign were not enough, complications at birth almost ended his life before it ever began. At a time when medical science was crossed between traditional remedies and advanced technology, Tomas’s parents found themselves on this most comical day of the year at a crossroads of choice. The baby, a boy weighing approximately 6 pounds, 6 ounces, was slowly being suffocated in his mother’s womb. In the final push towards delivery the umbilical cord found its way around the baby’s neck, chocking life from lungs that were yet to breathe their first breath.
“You will have to choose,” the doctor said to the unborn baby’s father. Because time was of the essence, the man, Rafael Mendez, father of four, acted on the only likely decision he could make considering the circumstances. Having already one son and three daughters, the decision was easy, he would say later in defense of his decision, “I am a worker. What can I do without a mother at home for my children?” The statement, said in question to the doctor, a replacement for the family’s customary specialist who was away dealing with immediate family matters, was his justification.

“I am sorry,” the doctor said. “We cannot guarantee both of them, but you will have to sign for one. You will have to choose, but please note, time is not on your side.” Without hesitation, the unborn child’s father signed the required form which would indicate the emergency surgical procedure for a staff waiting down the hall. In a room of white, electrical devices monitored the fleeting rhythms of two heartbeats, ready to act on only one’s behalf. In a moment anticipated by family as the start of a new chapter in an ever growing volume of family lineage, two lives hung on the decision of one. The doctor and an emergency aid hurried away to act on behalf of the fortunate, and administratively prepared for the fate of the other. In a miraculously course of chance, movement within the womb, and perhaps an act of fate, the mother’s life was spared and her child was born—not dead—but alive.

Divine intervention may have played a part as the doctor proceeded with incisions as part of a cesarean birth, believing the stillborn child would not be born vaginally without pending further complications. Nurses, now numb to the process, prepared the station normally set aside to welcome life in its first moments, instead to make way for a child snuffed of life by the creature destined by God to secure life for all. As the moments ticked by, nurses tended to the mother, Victoria Buenostro Mendez, each second and each tear of her skin by skilled hands, added to another beat in the rhythm of her heart. She would not remain conscious long enough to hear the faint first cries of her newborn son as the doctor pulled him away from the slush of amniotic fluid and the sack where the seeds of sin nurtured his conception.

The boy was born “completely healthy” the doctor would later say, with adoration for his own efforts to a sullen waiting room of family and friends. “We were able to save them both. They are fine.” Tomas Alasdair Mendez came into the world at exactly 3:00AM on the morning of April 1st, 1970. He was examined and cleared of any possible birth defects and was displayed hours later after having his skull reformed by carefully attentive hands. Ugly as he may have been, he was welcomed into the world as ‘normal’, the proud product of a humble family. To the casual observer, he was exactly that—normal. But only with an eye keen to the ways of heaven and knowledge of hell would anyone see beyond his flesh to understand the encompassing battle between the Angel of Death and the Guardian Prince from heaven chosen to protect his life. With a hoard of faces pressed to a cold glass window, he was welcomed into the world and for the next thirty-five years he would always seem to exist in a world opposite an imaginary glass. This day in April, charted on an official hospital record is the only time Tomas Alasdair Mendez would ever appear or be classified by those who knew him, as ‘normal.’

Monday, January 4, 2010

"The Indie Author Show" features award winning book cover designers, TLC Graphics, LIVE!


The award winning team of TLC Graphics will be featured LIVE on The Indie Author Show @ 7PM CST with host and author, Bobby Ozuna. There is a saying, never judge a book by its cover, but in the indie publishing world, that statement has never been more inaccurate. A book cover can make or break an author's chance of gaining recognition due their writing style, based solely on the outward impression of its "look." Discover insider tips from a team of designers who have cornered a market for their ability to create high-profile book covers that help their clients gain the attention and recognition they deserve.

Together, TLC Graphics and Narrow Gate Books transform manuscripts into beautiful, marketable, and salable books, escorting your project from idea through marketing and sales. Providing publishing production and development for the serious small and independent publisher. Services include award-winning cover and interior design, editorial, printing, distribution, and PR.

From our clients:

“I set out to create 'as good or better' a book than any commercial publisher could have done. That goal has been met—and then some. I'm moved to tears to call each of you my teammate." 
– Doug Koktavy, B Brothers Press

“Their level of integrity and honesty is very rare. They are professional, creative, and go above and beyond the call of duty.” 
– Christina Avaness, Tiara Publishing

"I was immediately hooked by their professionalism and approachable personalities. Since 2006, the insight and talent offered us have been crucial in developing our books. Their artistic talents gel with their keen marketing abilities to create books that sell themselves."  
– Kelly Gilpin, managing editor, Future Horizons




 
TLC Graphics and Narrow Gate Books
Award-Winning Publishing Design and Development Firms with Biblical Values
Phone: 512-669-5744 / Fax: 512-904-8120 / Austin, Texas
Web site: www.TLCGraphics.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/helpmepublish
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/tlcgraphics
Blog: http://helpmepublish.wordpress.com

Sunday, January 3, 2010

"Quadrivium: The Devil, As I"--a mythological tale


There is a story told about a tribe of native American nomads who called themselves the Watashati, who believed their spirits would continue to wander the Earth—the great plains—after their death. This process was not however open to all tribesman, but only a select few who mastered a technique of spiritual telepathy. It is said among these practices, the ability to see into the future allows the member to meet the spirit of the encompassing person by which they will one day ‘coincide’ in a future lifetime. In their knowledge of advanced spiritual telepathy, a master spiritualist would free themselves of their physical body and in an almost epileptic trance, move into spiritual realms of time that were yet to exist. The people believed every person was a representative of the soul or the spirit and each spirit was given a guardian—or a Guardian Prince of Heaven as they were referred. The Great Creator assigned a guardian prince to every soul and their duties included a conscientious reminder of good deeds and actions and a primary service of protection against the Angel of Death and his many legions of servants. Today we call them guardian angels or in agnostic terms, a conscience.

Upon success, the member of the Watashati people could secure an extension of life after death, waking again in spirit form at the birth of a newborn child years or even centuries later. This magical experience did not come however without its side effects. There are horrific tales of master spiritualist getting ‘lost’ between the two worlds, having tapped into a future to meet their Earthly partner just before birth. Master headsmen of the Watashati are told of sharing such tales and of the fate of those people whose partner died at birth, having their spirit taken away to an abyss by the Angel of Death alongside the spirit of the unborn child. Back in their present state, the member of the Watashati would become ‘lost’ or as they say in modern medicine, senile, suffering the loss of mind and living the remainder of their days in torment, being unprotected themselves without the aid of a spirit or Guardian Prince.

Such was the case when an elderly woman, a matriarch in her own respective clan, as she became ‘lost’ during one of her telepathic trances. Unlike most members she was able to return back to the present in right mind but told of a horrific tale and the fight between the Angel of Death and the child’s Guardian Prince of Heaven. Her escape was secured only after disrupting the Angel of Death long enough for divine intervention to intercede and the boy’s guardian was able to prohibit the boy’s spirit to be taken.

As her story is told, upon arrival into the spiritual world, some five generations into the future, the Angel of Death was suffocating the boy’s spirit, choking him with enlarged fingers that coiled around his neck many times over, like a band of snakes. The boy’s guardian was able to break the boy loose, but in the battle for his life, the Guardian Prince fell, never to return to Heaven and never gain to serve a greater cause.

This woman, known among her people as Chepetewa—or great tree of good and evil as she was known in the Watashati tongue—was able to ward off the Angel of Death in a series of tormenting screams, which allowed time for the boy’s spirit to encompass his body. She watched as the boy was pulled away by ‘two great hands’ in a world of ‘bright lights.’ Later, she would tell of a dream where the Great Creator came to her in a vision and said, “As the boy’s Guardian Prince has fallen, so shall you be charged over his life the entire length of his time on the Great Plains. Without the aid of higher angelic power, you will now become responsible to the fight against the hoard of demons who will forever work to recapture and reclaim his soul. And in that fight, they will forever torment you.” After sharing the tale only once among the people, the matriarch, Chepetewa, fled to the mountains knowing she would have to prepare her spirit for the daunting task that now lay ahead in wait for her. She was never to be seen again, nor her remains to be found, but legend of the Watashati say how on nights of the full moon, during the strongest pull of the Earth’s life force, or gravity, you can hear her wail for the spirit of the Guardian Prince who fell and for the agony lay waiting for the boy child.

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