Tuesday, September 16, 2014

REDO

At 5am I started the engine, took a deep breath, and drove to my new life.
Without the usual rush on I-95, I set the cruise control and thought back on long gone days when I made my way to my old job in Pennsylvania.
Back then, I fought wave after wave of anxiety at the thought of having to survive another day at work. It wasn't easy to run an old crane, but there was an element of fun and self-pride in moving heavy loads with skill. Carrying the possibility of something going wrong when you least expect it was not.
Not in the least.
Neither was the thought of breathing billowing clouds of dust and smoke or enduring headaches from the ungodly roar of the electric furnace and the flashes of light that rendered me unable to face a sunny day without the protection of sunglasses.
Most disturbing of all was the gripping worry of being forced to stay for another eight hours. Throughout the last five years of my employment at the mill, eight hour days were a rare event. I missed entire weeks on account of living at the mill. It was no easy life although it did provide me a healthy bank account.
Perhaps I took such a job for granted. Perhaps I should've kissed my lucky stars for having a job with great benefits. I did make a pretty good living although holidays at home with my family were so few and far between.
Perhaps the money was worth the migraines, the apnea resulting from sleep deprivation or the weight gain from doing little more than sitting in place, and grabbing a bite of greasy convenience. Maybe it was worth the constant pollution accumulating in my lungs, which surely had little to do with two of my coworkers losing their lives to lung maladies.
I made a pretty good living despite the fact that a summer vacation was simply not in the cards for years to come.
I went on working swing shifts, enduring the constant stress, the pettiness of so called managers, and the lacking culture of a steel town worker angst bred and influenced by the ever-present struggle between union and company.
I made a pretty good living among people who laughed at making more money than college graduates, among people who had all the answers, who openly expressed their relief at seeing me forced into a double turn for the sixth consecutive day while they bragged about the beers they'd drink while I worked.
I made a pretty good living, but it was no life at all.

I recall coming home after an afternoon/midnight shift, lamenting the fact I had less than six hours before going back to do it again. My little girl was five at the time. Like most kids, she was up and ready to go at 6:30am on a Saturday morning after fighting tooth and nail for an extra minute of sleep during the school week. Upon seeing me crumple on the couch, she gave me a sad smile and said, "You came to visit."
I held her tight and hid the sting of her words, burning my eyes, as best as I could. Her innocent, yet truthful statement was a key that unlocked the vault of my conformity.
Damned if I was going to settle for this kind of life, I thought that day. I was no longer comfortable with the idea of letting my wife, my best friend become more of a stranger to me. I was not going to continue letting friendships fall away because It was useless to plan a simple get together to catch up. I was not going to miss my girls' games, recitals, graduations or weekends together. I was not going to waste away in a job where taking on the responsibility of keeping workers and equipment safe despite working on few hours of rest was never recognized. I was not about to grow old and bitter in the knowledge that it was the best I could do.
In my mind, the solution was simple. In practice, it was anything but.
No one remotely associated with the steel mill life understood my choice to leave. I'm certain many even felt vindicated in their assessment of my foolishness when learning about the struggles I faced after leaving the mill. I lost my house. I lost the majority of my possessions. I even lost the will to live at one point.
I left Pennsylvania, cloaked in shame and burdened by a sense of failure, but as it turned out, I could go home again.

The move came with a whole new set of challenges. The difference was that I was given an unbelievable amount of help. Still, I mourned my losses, my days of plenty, and barely moved under the weight of the guilt I carried for uprooting my girls from the world and life they were growing into.
I nearly lost my wife while coming to terms with our new reality that wasn't always stark, but bleak days outnumbered bright ones.
I learned much, namely a whole new appreciation for pennies earned and kept. I might not have had much, but I had the time.
I had the time to repair my marriage, mend our family ties. I had time to become the husband and father I set out to be. I had the time to enjoy the closeness of my family for more than just a few stolen days a year. More than anything, I had the time, and the courage to take a step back to school.
From my first day at Porter and Chester Institute, something fell into place; some long-ignored piece that revealed itself when I needed it most. Each day I learned how to use another auto cad tool, I felt another drop of hope fall into my once empty spirit. Each high mark I earned, each encouraging word from my professor made me walk a little straighter. I found something in myself I didn't even know I had, even though it was in my blood all along.
In the name of that hope, I set a picture frame on my desk, a picture of the source of my strength and motivation: my smiling girls.
One day, I thought. One day...

That day came faster than anyone thought although for me, it took no less than a lifetime. I was hired as a computer aided drafting technician at Electric Boat. There's simply no adequate words to describe the overwhelming pride at being a small part of the group that builds the most technologically advanced submarines in the world.
The handsome architecture of the towers before me will bring a smile to my face for years to come.
The brisk air carries with it the promise of autumn laced the scent of the ocean as I present my credentials at the gate. I glance at the flags gently swaying in the breeze. One says home, one says hope, and the third one says "you are somebody."
I don't rush through the fourth floor connector. How could I when to the north, the sleepy New London skyline is framed by the I-95 bridge spanning the Thames River. The steel structure brings to mind Dad's days as a draftsman before the age of computers along with a sense of life coming full circle. Yes, it was in my blood all along. I just had to realize it.
To the south, the deep blue waters of the Long Island Sound are dotted with bobbing boats and dappled by the rising sun. It's impossible to walk past such beauty without stopping to take a longer look.
It's not the fact I'm not wearing steel toe boots, safety glasses or sooty clothes. It's not the fact that I don't have to bow to some racist store owner for fear of unemployment. It's not the fact I don't have to wear a respirator or hearing protection as I start my workday. It's not the pristine work station with the dual monitors and the comfortable chair. It's not even knowing that I can spend every weekend at home or that I will always spend my afternoons with my kids. It's not the fact I get to sleep in my bed every night after kissing my wife good night.
No.
It's a picture frame I set on the corner of my desk. I can return the smile now. It's the sudden realization that every bad experience I endured has finally been explained or justified.
I can live now.
I can breathe now.
I can hope once more.
I make a pretty good living.
I got a redo on my life.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Gaze, a novel, Genre: Women's Lit

Samantha Kay Reddick is a survivor and survivors don't overcome their trials unscathed. Samantha bares deep scars within and without. Regret and grief, and the pain from memories of a man she once loved, are the demons she hopes to escape in a bottle of vodka as guilt, real and imagined, tortures her heart.

For more than ten years, the maelstrom of her life grants her peace only in the emotions committed on a piece of writing the boy who changed her life wrote to the love of his life. In her mind, the way she felt while she was in his arms becomes the salvation she desperately needs and soon she's trapped into a fog of obsession that blinds her to the danger from a vindictive ex-fiance, who's sworn to destroy her.

In her quest to find Tony Amaya, Samantha finds that the girl behind his words still holds his heart. Through Gwen, Samantha inserts herself into Tony's life with the sole intention of stealing him. Her plan goes awry when Gwen opens the door to a friendship Samantha never thought possible and an inner battle ensues for Samantha's soul as her nemesis draws near. Will Samantha survive once more and if she does, will she become the woman she desperately wants to be or will she remain a woman who can't stand her own gaze?

The Gaze is a challenging read in the genre of Women's Literature. Written from the first person's point of view of the main character, the story unravels a series of revelations that slowly unveil the core of Samantha's conflict.

Based on real events, The Gaze is a character study of a flawed individual struggling to be a better person. Around Samantha, memorable characters lend their supporting voices and flavor to this intercontinental saga, none more so than her best friend, the incomparable Lewis Bettford. His role completes the spectrum of emotion that's bound to elicit strong reactions as the pages are turned.

The Gaze exposes darker facets of love, obsession, despair and addiction, the power of guilt and self-recrimination, and the unique brand of love found in the truest of friendships. Get ready for this roller coaster ride.

The Gaze is recommended for ages 18 and up due to strong language, sexual situations, and viloence.

Other stories comparable to The Gaze: Greg Isles Blood Memory - Alexandra Ripley Scarlett - T.K. Leigh A Beautiful Mess









Signed to:

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Writing Process Blog Tour

The lovely and talented Monica La Porta is not only a fellow author, but also a fellow immigrant familiar with what it's like to enter America as an outsider. Although we've both learned to thrive as we found the way to become a part of this great nation, where we raise our children and write our stories, we both carry fond and painful reminders of our arrival into a new culture.

We write our work from both coasts, Monica in Seattle, Washington and me in Clinton, Connecticut, and meet with our readers across the country. Despite the distance, we've forged a terrific friendship through tweets and Facebook writer groups, built on our sharing the woes of independent publishing and debating the what ifs of our stories.

Monica invited me to take part in the Writing Process Blog Tour. She gave me a list of questions to answer and asked me to introduce a couple more authors, which I will be more than happy to do once I answer the blog tour questionnaire, so...


What am I working on?

As it's typical for me, I am working on several projects at the same time. Most would find it confusing but to me, it's oddly liberating and makes me more productive. At the time of this blog post, I'm working on an Action/Adventure, the sequel to My Two Flags, tentatively titled My Two Flags 2 All Men Are Created Equal..., and (yes it's true) I've began drafting a novel to follow The Gaze and The Next Chapter. No title yet. On top of that, my Untitled006 has become a major emotional undertaking that forces me to write in small doses. Lots going on and lots to write. In the meantime, I released an autobiography of sorts, although I like to think of it more as a piece of writing that may help people, parents in particular, to spot the little traits that make an author out of a child. Based on the blog series, i.Author is a short story that looks back on all the signs that pointed me in the direction of a life in writing.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?


I'm a big fan of character driven novels heavy with emotion. If I don't elicit a laugh or a few tears with one of my stories, I'll consider the work a complete and utter failure. My goal is to engage the reader so profoundly that my characters and their trials and triumphs take the reader's emotions hostage. Although I delve in Contemporary Dramas, YA, and I'm taking a step towards Action/Adventure, the emotion element is the driving force behind the characters' motivations, errors, and sacrifices. In other words, my work will make you feel. I want each story to be nothing short of an emotional roller coaster.


Why do I write what I do?

I enjoy just about every genre, but the novels closer to my heart are stories with a lot of plausibility. I can't relate to far off planets, alien environments, or ancient eras. I love to lose myself in the imagined scenarios and plots, but I just feel much more comfortable writing stories that take place in the here and now. Take The Gaze for instance. Friends of mine have visited London and messaged me to let me know they walked the same streets Samantha walked. That just warms my heart. It tells me they can see themselves in the story because they can relate to it. I love that kind of feedback. I feel it provides more of a connection with the readers and it certainly lends validation to my work. 

How does my writing process work?


My writing process is nothing extraordinary. When the mood strikes me, I sit at the keyboard and write. I'll have three screens providing me with imagery of places I've never been as I did for The Gaze and The Next Chapter, while another has all my research windows giving me needed data like I do for Untitled007 and my historical fiction. 

I may have George Winston caressing the ivories in the background, which usually becomes my muse in terms of emotion. I write at night while everyone else is asleep. I don't make a serious attempt at an outline. Often, I have a character in my head and he or she will introduce me to their circles as we advance through the pages. 

I tend to argue with my characters. Samantha (from The Gaze) and I engaged in some epic fights as she forced her story out of my brain, and that's when I know my mind is solely invested in fleshing out a novel. I may take long breaks in between as the voices in my head sort out an order before I get down to the keyboard but when I do, I've been known to lose entire days in front of the screen. 


I will not write longhand anymore. My writing is simply horrible. It resembles a hybrid of Chinese and Scandinavian runes with a hint of chicken scratch that only I can decipher...most of the time. That's why I love the ergonomic wave keyboard my wife Sheri got me for Christmas. It's probably my most priced possession



And now it's time for me to introduce you to more of us, Indie Authors.

First off, my dear British friend, Kaye Vincent whose creative powers are applied on the stage as well as on The Treeman, which was an utter joy to read because of all the different and complex relationships revolving around the main characters. She just launched her sequel in the Hanningdon Series with the very entertaining The River Girl.
I met Kaye through our mutual love of writing and she has been one of my greatest sources of support. She knows just what to say when I need it most. Her work delves in romance with a hint of magic. Her first novel was a joy to read. If you like romance in the style of your favorite daytime soaps, Kaye is sure to deliver with her unique brand of entertainment.


Secondly, a man who needs no introduction, the witty and hilarious Stacey Roberts. Ohio's funnyman finally compiled his memorable blogs in the form of Trailer Trash With A Girl's Name, a novel you simply must read to believe. We have critiqued each other's work, finding common ground from different perspectives. If you like quirky and funny, Stacey's novel belongs in your collection.
As always, thank you all for stopping by. I hope to entice you to check out our work and feel free to shoot any questions my way. I have yet to meet an author who won't share pieces of their lives or refuse to talk about their writing.

Happy Reading Everyone

Javier A. Robayo

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Epoch Ch4 Good vs Evil

Among all the millions of inhabitants sharing planet earth, humans are the only species capable of spirituality. Even those who proclaim themselves agnostic exercise a measure of spirituality.

Spirituality is not falling on your knees and praying to a supernatural deity whose existence you accept on faith alone.

Sharks, lions, and eagles do not pray. As I previously pointed out, their existence revolves around food and procreation. With humans, another force is at play, and that’s the pursuit of happiness according to a moral compass governed by spirituality. 

Regardless of religion or origin, every human confronts life with an individual understanding of right and wrong. The vast gray areas between these moral extremes raise questions that are best left to be answered by Yahweh, Jehovah, Zeus, Allah, Buddha, Ra, God, Jupiter, Shiva, Inti, Odin, The Sun, The Moon, and other forms of higher power humans deem worthy of worship and adoration and in some cases, omnipotence.

The universal mandate of each of these deities is to be a good human, but what exactly does it mean to be good?

The concept of good is not written in stone. It’s fluid. It’s interchangeable. It manages to justify extreme actions, and good is deemed good by the victorious side of an argument. Isn’t it?

Bad is the opposite of good, but it doesn’t mean it’s been defined any clearer. The concept of bad is also fluid, and much like good, it’s defined by the victorious side of an argument.

Allow me to better illustrate this concept. American soldiers are sent overseas to battle Nazi forces in the Second World War. The allies battle their bloody way into France through tremendous sacrifice and sheer determination. They kill thousands of Nazis and defeat them, eventually freeing France. The heroic triumph results in history bestowing the title of good guys to the Americans.

Now try switching perspective. 

German boys and men rush to defend a beach head to guard the Aryan ideals and secure the future of their nation. They gallantly defend their right to make France a part of the German dream, but the evil American war machine breaks through and chases the once mighty German Army back to Berlin.

Good and bad. Good and evil. Although every master of higher spirituality has commanded you love your brother as you love yourself, both combatants earn both labels depending on their place in history. The German people of the 1930’s regarded their Nazi troops as the good guys, and the opposition was the villain.

As it turned out, the Allied forces claimed the right to enter the annals of history as the good guys, and most of the world has acknowledged this fact.


Evil is a tangible phenomenon that has been demonstrated by every single protagonist of human history at one time or another. 

Hitler murdered hundreds of thousands, Russia wrote their history in blood through the deeds of their ideals and monsters like Stalin, the Spanish destroyed entire civilizations in the New World under the pretense of spreading God's word. Kofi destroyed the lives of countless children in his pursuit for a deranged army. An American President and his team of elite scientists left their mark in history through decisions that annihilated Japanese cities, and a crazed, hateful group of backward, bearded, zealots plotted the destruction of two famous towers, resulting in the death of innocents who did nothing more than go to work that September morning. As horrid as it is to contemplate, these protagonists of history are deemed heroes, depending on the way their contributions to history affected people. 

Oh how far we’ve gotten away from my initial purpose as a manuscript. My most sincere apologies.

However, some points demand an argument, and the subject of good vs evil and hero against villain is worth exploring from my point of view because of one undeniable truth: a manuscript such as myself, a compilation of pages incapable of taking a spiritual stance, cannot possibly bring you a story without the conflict of good versus evil.




















And thus, we begin.



to be continued...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

My Two Flags Foreword by Acclaimed Author Monica La Porta

Foreword

As seen on My Two Flags Vol. 1 I pledge allegiance...


Sometimes, what looks like the end of a journey is the beginning of a lifelong experience. Anybody who left their motherland for America, seeking betterment in life wears the emotional scar that comes with that decision.

After the spellbinding roller coasters of The Gaze and The Next Chapter, author Javier A. Robayo has delved into the depth of cultural alienation.



In My Two Flags, Tony Amaya, a teenager from Ecuador, leaves a wealthy life to move to America with his family, only to find himself the victim of endless acts of bullying. Unable to express his feelings and unwilling to burden his parents with the truth of what his life has become, Tony struggles to belong. 

Chilling at times and heartbreaking at others, My Two Flags will force you to reflect on social issues and what it means to be The Other when you are only thirteen, and can't speak a word of English.

Monica La Porta

About Monica La Porta
A quintessential modern renaissance woman, Italy's own Monica La Porta is a sculptor, an accomplished artist, as well as an author of Sci-Fi epics like The Ginecean Chronicles, a dystopian series set on the planet Ginecea, where women rule over a race of enslaved men and heterosexual love is considered a sin. Monica has published the first three books in the series, The Priest, Pax in the Land of Women, and Prince at War. She also wrote and illustrated a children's book about the power of imagination, The Prince's Day Out. Her latest published short, Linda of the Night, is a fairy tale love story celebrating inner beauty. Stop by monicalaporta.com to read about her miniature, sculptures, paintings, and her beloved beagle, Nero. Sometimes, she also posts about her writing. .







Find Monica's compelling work at: 

 AMAZON


Friday, April 4, 2014

Infuriatingly Funny: Trailer Trash With A Girl's Name

   Dr. Elizabeth Curry, simultaneously my tormentor and hero, graded my work according to her set of rules written in stone, indelible laws each of her students eventually learned to follow. Getting that coveted A+ was a minor detail. We wanted her respect, and believe you me, that did not come easy.
   
   The gaunt, lanky, snowy top, lady in the long monochromatic dresses and knee-high leather boots often reduced would-be-writers to shameful tears as she tore sub par essays and dumped them in her waste basket. I was victimized early on, we all were. Only half of the initial eighteen students finished her course but when we left, we attained an appreciation for voice, style, originality, and knowing how to compose words to show rather than tell.

   I would have loved to have her read Stacey Roberts' debut novel Trailer Trash With A Girl's Name, just to watch her shake her head or roll her eyes at Roberts' unorthodox dialogue format. She would've undoubtedly screamed redundancy at the character's labels, and she might have even given in to her harsh, hypercritical nature that drove her to tear up pages written in the blood and tears of the author, but I have no doubt whatsoever that my old nemesis would have laughed her butt clean off.

   Trailer Trash is written in a way that goes against a large part of my own training as a novelist. Despite the two voices in empty space sensation, the dialogue carries the scenes and mounts images that often called my own childhood memories into play. At times it was difficult to know whether the Ssssstace in the scene was a teen, a child or a grown man, but it didn't matter. Imagining the main characters at any age in any of those scenes is comical in itself.

   I did not have a Jewish mother who turned food into sorrow or the tears of an inmate in his first night of prison at lights out. My mom did not melt my corneas (and everyone else's) with onion chopping, and the times that she'd ask "What's wrong with you?" I'm sure I actually did something that warranted it, like jumping off a roof onto a serial killer's discarded mattresses.


   I despised the Mom character (whose image in my head is that of Theresa the Long Island Medium for some reason though with red hair). Hated everything she put this boy through, especially with her idea of what a good boy Layne the Favorite was. Had I left my sister behind with a concussion, I'd be unable to sit to this day, and don't get me started on her inability to retain names or the tonsillitis incident...you'll just have to read it. 

   If Ssssstacey would've turned into a bitter adult, he'd be well justified but instead, every page of Trailer Trash holds little resentment. In fact, just when I thought I had it and I swore I would push Mom into a fire, she redeemed herself if only for a moment.

   Typically, I resist funny. I do. As soon as a friend recommends a book, a show or a movie she deemed funny, I know I won't even smirk at it. My best friend adores Will Farrel. To this day I wonder why. I have not found the man funny, not once. Close friends of mine in PA talked up The Birdcage, Saturday Night Live, and Chelsea Handler but to me? Yawn...

   I feared reading Trailer Trash would be similar, that I would find nothing funny, and despite the many readers that swear they fell off chairs and their sides hurt so badly from laughing so much, it wouldn't even elicit a chuckle from me.

   I'm happy to report that wasn't the case. 

   The witty lines Stacey fired back at Marvin King of the Jews or Ted the Lightbulb Salesman, sure found my tickle spot and I laughed not only because it was indeed humorous, I laughed in celebration of the strong spirit of this kid, who teaches his buddy to appreciate a normal sandwich.

   Comedy suits Stacey Roberts' voice. All comedians draw their material from their own lives and those around them, along with that unique sense of self-deprecating humor that goes on to make them beloved characters and storytellers.

   Through all the humor, the unusual format, the sheer tragedy of growing up with the Mom person and her arsenic-infected logic, Roberts' reveals what Dr. Curry, my benevolent tormentor, would've lauded as the elusive "IT" she made her students strive for.

   "...the three of them stood together in the kitchen in a tight cluster, a coven formed around my lamentable incompetence and lack of foresight, awaiting one last unspeakable ingredient for their noxious cauldron..."

   Dr. Curry could've taught an entire week's worth of lessons based on that passage.

   Trailer Trash is a fun, quick read, and I would recommend it to anyone who was ever a fan of memoirs like A Christmas Story and The Wonder Years, where the narrative only adds emotional spice to the characters' perspective as their dialogue carries the story. 

   Download it, get the paperback, you will undoubtedly enjoy it. In my life I hold onto the notion that no matter how dark and hopeless one day may be, there will be another day when you'll think back on those moments and tell your story with a disbelieving chuckle. It's a testament to our own fortitude. We love to laugh, especially at our own tragic moments that eventually shaped us, and Stacey Roberts clearly knows it.

   Javier A. Robayo


 Find it on Amazon
Find Stacey Roberts' Trailer Trash With A Girl's Name at:
http://www.amazon.com/Trailer-Trash-Girls-Stacey-Roberts-ebook/dp/B00IX0MIAO/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1396614083&sr=1-1&keywords=trailer+trash+with+a+girl%27s+name



   

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Epoch Ch. 3 Crux





haven’t asked what you are. Think about it, is there a more impossible question than that? The answers are as broad as the question, but if we really pull away all the layers of what we think makes us what we are then it’s safe to say you are a human, and I am a manuscript. 

   There.

   Our natures have been defined.

   You see, it doesn’t matter what label we hope to attribute to ourselves or what label is attributed to us. 


   Take me for example. I am one of trillions of pieces of writing that will inevitably become labeled depending on my contents. It's a fool's errand, for a story, much like life itself, is composed of an array of facets from every genre simply because we must elicit an emotion. Whether a manuscript makes you laugh, cry, dream or jump out of your skin when the phone suddenly rings, we are given our label according to which of these emotions we produce, even when one of us can successfully evoke the entire emotional spectrum.
   

You on the other hand, you may be White, Black, Asian, Hispanic; you may be American, French, Sudanese, Russian; you may be a man, a woman, a boy, a girl, a transgender, gay, Catholic, lesbian, Jewish or any of the ever-growing number of labels that exist in an attempt to define what you are. Do you allow labels to define you? As soon as you let that happen, you limit your own openness of mind. Us manuscripts would not exist if it weren't for those brave souls that decided to question everything. Besides, when you strip all your learned doctrines, attitudes, and moral compasses, what are you? That’s right. You’re human.

   What does it mean to be human exactly? 

   Well for one, you’re more fragile than you may ever understand, but simultaneously stronger than you will ever truly know. You’re a virtual accident of creation yet perfect in design. How do I know? My brethren holds millions of accounts of bravery, strength, tenacity, and fortitude. Legendary characters like Alexander Dumas' Edmond Dantes, C.S. Lewis' Lucy Pevensie, Jane Austen's Lizzie Bennett, Vince Flynn's Mitch Rapp, Suzanne Collins' Katniss Everdeen are just some examples of the millions of amazing characters who inhabit the pages of fiction, and just about every one of them was inspired by a real human. 

   Doubtful? Then I suggest reading biographies of great humans like Winston Churchill, F.D.R., Gandhi, and Princess Diana, just to name a few. 


   Based on this observation, you should feel quite proud of being human.  You are the only creature in full control of realizing an unlimited potential. You're not limited to life under water like fish. You're not a predator's prey like zebras if you don't wish to be. What you are is entirely up to you so don't sell yourself short. But getting back to our question, what gives humans the rule of the land? Intelligence? 

   By definition, intelligence is one's capacity for logic, abstract thought, understanding, self-awareness, learning, emotional knowledge, memory, planning, and problem solving, but although you possess a tremendous reserve of intelligence, it's not what separates you from the rest of earth's inhabitants. You’ve seen rats solve mazes, chimpanzees employ sign language and to be fair, animals typically exhibit a much better connection with their natural instincts than humans. 

   So what separates humans from the rest of creation? The ability to communicate? 

   No. It’s been proven that animals communicate sometimes in more advanced ways than humans. 

   The rest of Earth creatures have two simple drives: to find food and to continue their species. At one point in time, humans were driven by the same directives. 

   In most parts of the world today, humans are driven by wealth, power, fame, and the continuous acquisition of possessions in the hopes of defining their place. In falling hostage of these forces, humans have left behind one of the things that elevates them from the rest of earth’s creations, and that’s spirituality. 
Picture
   Although the term brings to mind chanting and praying, do not confuse it with religion. Religion is an ideology that has spurned some of the greatest conflicts throughout history. Each has written its history in blood for centuries, sometimes changing the course of events and other times impeding progress while offering comfort in coming to terms with your mortality. Religion requires a degree of spirituality, yes. But think about what spirituality really is. Spirituality is  a personal connection with the unseen, and that's what brings this chapter full circle. 

   Despite the fact that I can put images, sounds, scents, textures, and tastes in your mind, you can only see them in your mind the same way you see what your idea of paradise may be. Men and women of superb vision and talent have given us their representation of spirituality's goal through some of the most compelling artwork in history. But in the end, paradise is the result of your own, personal connection with the unseen. 
   


Are you with me so far? 

   What I'm trying to say is that since I will never be able to ascertain what you are in order to make a tangible connection with you, I can only strive to make a mental connection that borders on the spiritual. Not because you, with all your human intelligence and life experience, cannot see me, but because I can't see you.
   And herein lies my challenge, my friend. The crux of every page ever written. How do I, just a manuscript, manage to connect with at least one aspect of what you are in order for you to remember me?


to be continued...