I don’t tell him nearly enough, but my father, who is an architecture connoisseur and long-time Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiast, is a man in my life for whom I am truly grateful. As a small gesture to show him some love, I booked us tickets to tour Wrights home and studio in Oak Park. To our great surprise, we discovered that the Robie House, gem of the Wright Prairie style movement was offering gratis entry today as well. After a lunch at a Forest Park diner, where we took a seat at the counter to enjoy our lunch, we headed south to Hyde Park. And that is where we found out that the whole city was offering the opportunity to visit architectural gems, with a tour included, for free. Apparently, it had been going on all weeekend, and we had been ignorant of the facts and late to the party, as it were. But, late or not, we arrived, and it was an absolute treasure of a day. I couldn’t possibly list all the things that I not only love and appreciate about my dad, but also have had the fortune of inheriting from him as well. My time with him was incredibly fulfilling; from the dialogue and laughs to the deep understanding and appreciation for art and design. It was beautiful. Pictures cannot capture a meaningful relationship in its entirety, but they are wonderful triggers that will transport me to precisely this day for many years to come. (Featured image is Wrights home)
New beginnings are about a lot of things. Mostly, though, they are about the moments to rise from the ashes of the past, see the world for what it is, and let go in order to let something else in.
The turning of the new year, for example, was more of a metaphor than anything else; my new beginning was born on a warm day in July, over six months ago, and I haven’t turned back since.
No. In fact, things have only become sweeter. Though there was suffering, I remained on my feet with a happy soul to cling to. Looking back over the last year, I realized every trial I came up against brought me further in my journey, prodded me back onto my path.
And now, here I am. And here is good place to be.
I realize, the more I go along, that it takes tremendous strength and courage to walk away from something that is not of my soul and to continue to walk on. But, the feeling that comes with it, the one that I wake up with everyday, is the validation that gives life its meaning. Knowing I am right where I am meant to be, regardless of what happens, is a freedom unlike any other. And this knowledge, coupled with a positive mentality, has made all the difference.
There is a word in the German language that, until recently, I couldn’t quite define. More of a multifaceted feeling than a tangible element, Ausstrahlung can be defined quite beautifully and accurately by Roald Dahl’s astute definition.
This is both my favorite word as well as my favorite feeling. It is the “qua”, the something, that is undefinable yet unmistakable. It is the light, the radiance, that shines out from within. And that, my friends, is true beauty.
As I write, “The Last Ship”, these are the kinds of images I have in my mind as I walk with my characters through the fictional southern Italian town. Actually, though, the setting of the story is based on a town in the province of Salerno called Agropoli. I spent time there visiting the extended family of some friends from Rome. So, many of the situations that Lilya finds herself in are similar to things I experienced while taking part in their family operations. The story is to be continued, so stay tuned! And I welcome feedback on the beginning, especially relating to the imagery of the setting. Cheers! And happy reading!
On a beautiful day in July, 2016, I found myself in a place of dynamic solitude; a place that I often had come to when I had been much younger and was distraught over whatever stumbling block life had placed before me. As I sat, contentment in my heart and peace in my soul, the words came to me as gently yet as assertive as a gentle wind. There, on that rock above a modest waterfall, with these words, a perspective that would forever change me was created:
Monday’s, especially the morning of, usually make the shit list for a lot of people. It’s an interesting, fairly understandable social phenomenon that usually makes me try all the more to make the start of the week a positive one for both myself and the people with whom I come into contact.
This particular Monday morning, however, had me feeling sour, dour, and otherwise unenthused about the coming week. Here’s why.
That word ‘rejection’: we’re all familiar with it, know it intimately in some facets of our lives to be sure. Well, (and here I am going to do something that I will try very hard to refrain from doing in the future) to generalize, anyone who has been out and about looking for a career–or job of any kind for that matter–may have noticed that this process is laced with rejection. The silent kind where one hears absolutely nothing after sending an application or having an interview, the flippant and generic email informing that the position has already been filled, or (my personal favorite) the formal letter that comes in the mail in a standard-sized envelope, which already tells you everything you need to know before you open it.
Additionally, of course, there’s always the unavoidable and somehow inescapable rejection of the dating world. Finding that balance of how much to put out there, what to say to be honest yet intriguing, and when to run for your life is not the easiest of feats by any means. And, often enough, you think you nailed it and still end up being ghosted, dumped, or given some bullshit line.
It’s all rejection. And it all finds its target to some extent or another.
So, this morning, while being fed up, frustrated, and quite frankly on the verge of either crying and refusing to stop, or finding some cave I could curl into and, thus, take a hiatus from life, I somehow managed to throw myself a private dance party, which, in turn, gave my blood enough of a rush for me to step back from the morose alley my brains and heart had been hanging around in. I sat down with my notebook, stared at the page for awhile, wrote something acutely depressing on one page, and then realized that I was doing nothing and nobody any good by being a defeatist. In a literal burst of inspiration that came out of some optimistic sliver of my mind, my hand began to scrawl something meaningful across the page. That’s kind of how it happens for me: I get going on something without being certain of where it will lead me until I’ve finished. What I ended up with was something that I was not only proud of, but I also believed it with all my heart and thought it might do a few people a little bit of good to read it as well.
And here we are.
I also realized, during the day (which continued to produce a roller coaster of emotions), that my art, my writing, is something that I would like to share. Not for my benefit so much as for a means to connect to others. Producing something that may speak to or touch just one single person is where it’s at for me. After all, who says Art can’t change a life?