The Most Exciting Time of My Life

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In 7th grade I began to rewrite Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I had thunk up a new character that I felt the story needed. ME. I longed so deeply to be in that world with those amazing people in those desperate, dark times to do what I could to help. To spread love and light.

But I was born to this world, perhaps for the same reason. And the character I once forced into Tolkien’s world began to demand a world of her own. One where she could set the rules and shape the story to her liking. And that’s true for life, isn’t it? Isn’t this our story that we write everyday? And when you think of it that way it certainly opens the possibilities and helps you to think objectively. Well, if the story sucks, you have to add events, drama, conflict and sort it out over a period of growth and self-realization. A character arch for your life. For your storyline. Isn’t that something to think about?

Anyway, my character became a representation of my highest self. My greatest good. My perfect soul. And she expanded out and into other’s lives in her story and became part of them as well. And others expanded, touched by her show of love and compassion for even the most troubled souls, and they too expanded and became bright lights of their own. The story became a tale, the tale stretched out into a book, and now 23 years laters later, a series of six books (if I can get away cheap!) And this Friday is my first book signing, my first book discussion and event and I am curious how this insanity will be received.

This should be the most exciting time of my life. But I am terrified. I am broken hearted at the direction of our country and our world. We’re more divided now than ever but isn’t that how it goes? We must descend further to the deepest depths, hit rock bottom as they say, to turn around and begin the slow journey upwards.

My book does that. My life does that. Our lives do that. We are all one after all, anyway. I think of us as the ‘god pizza’ each a slice of the greater soul at our head, each empowered to do the work mankind has always expected a ‘GOD’ to do. It is us. We are God. We are have the power to overcome, change and grow. We are miracle workers and profound healers, just look around you. That light is within you so embrace it. You are god. I am god. And there’s no use in dying for it because we are here to live amongst each other. To experience love. To grow our understanding.

This is the most exciting time of my life because it is a time of change. How lucky we are to be here for it, no matter how bad it may seem. Gandalf once said ‘All you can do is decide what to do with the time that is given to you’ and he was very very right. Decide to be part of the growth.

Mind Dump

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I have to get myself organized. I have to remember to experience things. Maybe if I write them down, make a list, put them in a row and number them, I will actually do them. Usually I go through life pretty numb, pretty introverted and absorbed with what’s going on inside. That would be ok if it wasn’t mostly worry, fear and anxiety of late.

I was never that person, never negative, jealous, angry, afraid. I realized early on that those feelings are useless and destructive. I embraced people and things. Especially different people and things. I learn when I experience things and I am a sponge by nature. I’m an empath and I absorb people. Maybe that’s where the trouble began?

I absorb people. I absorb their energy in such a way that it becomes a part of me. So it becomes mine. And their emotions, their jealousy, fear, anxiety, becomes my jealousy, fear, and anxiety- things I never felt before! Things I can’t make sense of or explain. My mind says, this is foolish, don’t feel this way and yet my heart is heavy, my soul is saturated with THINGS I don’t understand or want. And I stopped experiencing things for myself. And I stopped feeling powerful.

I think everyone goes through something similar at some point in life. I mean, we are all connected and we are all part of a single consciousness that is pushing out the same frequency to us all. The good news is, it is pushing out enlightenment. We are AWAKENING to ourselves and to each other so at first there will be pain, confusion, fear, GROWING pains as I’ve come to call it. And I feel myself expanding. I feel the triviality of everything. There is something so much bigger that we all belong to and it’s beautiful. We are evolving. We are leveling up.

I am expanding and I feel myself dissolving into the very air, the atmosphere calls me, the world calls me out of my shell, out of my body. This sac of meat quivering in the universe. My soul aches to be free of it, but not yet. There is so much more to EXPERIENCE. To learn. And then to share. To teach, to love. It’s all for love. And I realized how much I love you. If I just take a moment to SEE you for what you are. For the beauty in you. Not the fear and the pain, I don’t have to absorb that anymore. I know it’s there now so I can work around it and find your love. Find your strength and absorb that and expand further. Further WITH you now and you expand as well.

You are next to expand.

The World

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The world. Our world. So beautiful, so precious, so fragile. At times I feel the rotation of it and hear the universe rushing by with inspired gasps at just how many other worlds there are. There are millions. And even more astonishing is the number of worlds within each of us. My book is a tribute to one of the most powerful worlds swirling around inside of me.

From when I was a child I knew this inner world existed. I would play outside in the fresh air, pretending to be hundreds of miles from where I stood, and a hundred lifetimes back before this one. There was magic in the air and it came from my soul. I put it there, with a dirty twig and a thrust of my small hand- the magic surged from my grip and out into the atmosphere. And at that moment the wind would pick up or a cloud would scurry passed the sun and I would believe that I wielded some power over the world! How encouraging for a little mind. So my world grew, and so did the magic.

As an adult, the magic manifests itself in more casual ways. I no longer shout commands at the trees as I walk to a lunch meeting or wave my hand over a puddle (to part the water) before I get the bottoms of my dress pants wet. I keep the magic to myself, but I bless people everyday with it. How, you ask? With my belief in their magic, with my support of their abilities and power, with my unwavering faith that all of us are inherently good and capable of whatever we can dream up.

And then I go home to the quiet and I lose myself in my story world, and I give this incredible power to my characters, to be the rulers of their fate, to wield the boldest magic ever imagined and to express the most intimate and dark and private and compassionate parts of me in such a way that I am bleeding on the page.

And then I see the world. Our world. And my world, in harmony.

The Outsider

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Folks, I give you HP Lovecraft. It is a known fact that my inspiration has always been JRR Tolkien, who introduced me to characters so well written and developed, that they became real to me. And so, the journey began, to make the characters in my mind real as well.

That said, it was HP Lovecraft that truly took the art of writing to a level rarely seen in anyone else’s work, that absolutely fascinated me. While Tolkien was imaginative and wholesome in his struggle between good and evil, Lovecraft was so truthful it was painful, horrifying, haunting, and disturbing to a point where I would find myself clutching the book, wide eyed, heart pounding, experiencing this abhorrent disgusting thing that he described with such finesse and detail, AND YET, with plenty of room for my own mind to run WILD with fear as it concocted it’s own terrifying image of whatever the hell he was describing! Invigorating, entertaining, scary to the point where I would slam the book closed and toss it away.

And so my own writing pales in comparison to both of these geniuses, but everyday I strive for it. As Book 1 begins it’s slow crawl out into the world beyond the safety of my embrace, I ponder just how will I top it? How will I get better as a writer to give my characters the author they deserve. The story is bigger than me, it has no business staying with me, it wants to be out there with others, attracting more people who may understand its message and get something profound from its pages. The answer; I must continue to read these greats, absorb more of their style and talent and regurgitate it in my own twisted mix of their best skill.

Invigorating, exciting, life changing!

Fun fact? Or destiny?

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I was named after Carson McCullers. My mother adored the timeless expression of abject sorrow that Carson created in her characters in ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’. I grew up hearing quotes about it, being told bits and pieces of the story and watching my mother get so much joy from other books as well. Was this something that pre-destined me to be an author? Was it that she sent me to Bennington College so intent on making me achieve my full creative potential?

Could it just be fate? And by fate I mean, the universe already knowing I would be an author, so it left its little stamp on me by giving this love of reading to my mother? So one day she would love this novel, this one author so much that she would name her precious baby girl in tribute? My middle name is Carson and so it became the most important name for my authorship and my tribute to a great American novelist, who I can only dream to be as good a storyteller.

For the record, my grandmother’s name was Rose and it is also my mother’s middle name. So there are three incredible women credited with my authorship and pen name, which would not exist without each of their very important contributions.

From Brage to page

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Brage: In Norse mythology, the god of poetry and prose, and son of Odin.

Thought that was fitting since my book deals with old mythologies and lost histories from that general part of the world. Really I focus on Irish history, pre-Christianity and for that matter, pre-recorded history.

So I write fiction.

But how does one get from an idea, a story, a character, to immortalizing it in ink? How does one get from Brage to page?

For me, it begins with an impulse, a feeling. An emotional pull inwards that demands my attention. And it manifests into a fictitious event, like two soul mates meeting for the first time, and what that would feel like and how would it play out. What would they SAY to each other? And from there I literally WATCH a scene in my mind’s eye. I see these people speaking to each other, hear their words, feel their emotions and it catches like wildfire.

So now I scramble for pen and paper- and of course I am not prepared, so maybe I have a broken pencil and a napkin, or worse, I’m writing in red lipstick on my vanity mirror. I’ve written on everything with anything I could find, just to record these moments. That’s all a book is really, a cohesive collection of moments the author managed to catch, with as much authenticity to the moment as possible. Staying true to the characters and how they react, how they respond to each other, is important and will allow the story to write itself.

I don’t think writers…. wait a minute, wrong word…. I don’t think STORYTELLERS, cause that’s what we are, have to over complicate the writing process. Just write it down. What you see, what you feel. Reread it in a  day or so. Let it grow. Write more. Don’t worry about it making sense yet.

I used to write ‘episodes’ as I called them. 15 single spaced pages that completed an entire ‘thought’. Sometimes it was 5 short scenes that expressed that ONE feeling and sometimes it was 2 longer scenes that made an ‘episode’. Soon, I ended up with about 10 episodes, so when I started my first novel I went back to these episodes and fit them in like puzzle pieces, either full chapters or parts of chapters and then I smoothed it all out by editing them in seamlessly with the other scenes around it. Voila! Book.

I guess it’s like baking? I don’t bake- but I told my writing group (informal name for my friends for life who helped me finish the first book) I told them my chapters were cupcakes! And all the cupcakes together equalled one BIG cake that was delicious! They liked that idea and began writing their own cupcakes and the technique helped them.

Do this; pick a quiet time in your day. For me it is when I first wake up or when I am laying down to sleep. And I go to that feeling. I go to that scene. I watch those characters. And it grows. It unfolds. And then I scramble up and find a crayon and an old receipt from Target and scratch it out! No, be prepared. I sleep with 2 notebooks beside me and I move them from room to room all day. I always have one in my purse, anywhere I go. (I had to get a bigger purse).

Don’t over complicate it. Write 5 sentences if that’s all you have. And when you get another impulse, write more! Write it, damn it! Cause I can’t imagine dying one day with this story still inside of me. Dormant. In the darkness. My characters deserve better than that and so do yours!

The Noise

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You know, the stuff that buzzes and trends and mainstreams. The stuff I have no clue, nor does anyone else for that matter, how to pierce. If I were Justin Bieber, it would be much easier.

For an author, in a world where most people watch videos and have smart phones in their hands 24/7, how does one get a BOOK noticed? Well, we have ebooks and that’s been a great option, a clever way of getting the tech junkies to READ. But that’s contributed to some heartbreaking changes in the literary world, Barnes and Noble is scheduled to close it’s last brick and mortar in Queens within the next two weeks and more people now wait for the TV series or movie to come out, rather than READ anything that isn’t a Tweet.

I’ve decided, whether I’m right or wrong I really don’t care, that the best way to market, promote and sell, shouldn’t be over-complicated or reinvented. I have an extensive background in sales from portrait photography to real estate and I’ve met (probably) thousands of people at this point in my life, and all of them responded to ME. And some have admitted that they took a recommendation from a friend who had an equally good experience with ME. Word of mouth marketing is free and the most effective tool in sales. Hands down. So how do I get ME out in front of everyone so everyone can recommend me to everyone else, especially if the ultimate goal is to sell a book?

Media stunts. No just kidding. I think it starts right in your own circle of friends and acquaintances. Don’t worry about family, they will buy the book anyway, or not, no matter what you do. I think the answer is meeting people. Relating to them on a basic human level. Not only at work, or in your normal trajectory each day, but go out of your way to meet more people. Help a stranger with their bags, hold the door for someone, sort of random acts of kindness are jarring to the Matrix anyway! People will notice if you’ve taken the time to notice THEM. Then they actually SEE YOU. And more importantly, you’ve piqued their interest.

If you have nothing nice to say don’t say anything- or even better, if you’re being nice just to promote yourself, it won’t work. Be genuine. It’ll feel good too. And eventually people will like you and they’ll want to help you with whatever you do.

In my real estate field I’ve met dozens of people in publishing, and yet after hundreds of rejections, I’ve self-published. Why? I wasn’t following this advice. I hadn’t truly solidified it yet. I was TELLING them about my book and ASKING them to read it. WRONG!!!! I should have been talking about THEM and made a real impression, and in conversation, the writing of my debut novel may have come up. It may not. Let it be organic. And if it’s a numbers game, get in front of more people! Volunteer! I don’t care for what! Anything!

On that note, I have a Christmas Party tonight. I was invited by the Vice President of the co-op board, of the building I have 33 sales in since 2013. I made a significant impression on him and the 33 people I’ve helped to place in that building. What better way to sneak it in, since all the good work is done and these people are INTERESTED in me now, since I had their best interest at the forefront when they needed someone there. 34 more people will be ordering my book when it’s released. Because I made them matter to me, and now I matter to them.

And here’s the good news… there’s thousands of buildings out there 😉

Happy Holidays!