Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Ode to Nature

I had the morning off, so instead of looking at a computer screen while eating breakfast, I put on some meditation music, gazed out my window and skimmed through a book of haikus.

I had an old nostalgic feeling of what it was like to be young and so amazed by the world, of walking over a bridge and getting lost in the sparkles of the water, of delighting in the way a grasshopper wrung its hands or the way a leaf gently floated to the grass. I miss the long nature walks I used to take, only to stop in my tracks to write a poem.

These days, I spend a lot of time in front of my computer, networking with people I used to see in person. I’m fascinated by a picture or link on the internet and I laugh at funny jokes people post. Have I traded some of my silent time for this? Have I stopped writing poetry and gazing at sunsets so I can boggle my mind with gifs and jpgs and other such things? Have I forsaken long talks, while sitting on the curb for short banters with people online who could leave at any time? It does change a lot. No more long goodbyes. Just stop typing.

I have to remind myself of the joy that stillness brings me. I have to remember what it’s like to be in the moment and just appreciate what’s right in front of me. A slant of light in my study space, the way dust floats in the air, the way my dog licks its paws. These are the little things that bring peace, joy and contentment. I have to remember that I don’t have to be moving and striving all the time. I can stop and rest and revel in what I have now.

If I get envious when I look at a child playing in the meadow or an old man just sitting there, smiling at the sun, I know it’s time to stop and smell the roses. Love, art, music, peace and reverie can only happen in the now. There is not time like the present. There’s nothing more beautiful than what’s right in front of you.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Why it Sucks to be Psychic

            Another T.V. show came about a psychic little girl. Why is the government always going after psychic people? Does the government really care about that? I’d like to know if there are really government agencies that specialize in capturing or genetically creating psychic individuals for the sake of national security. Seems to me there are more important things to worry about, like unemployment and the war on terror. Yet, in all these stories, the poor psychic people just want to be left alone. Damn you government. Just leave the poor psychics alone!

In my opinion, the government could give a crap about psychic people. If you’re psychic, that’s your problem. Lately, I was thinking that there are a lot of good reasons to not want to be psychic.

Reason 1: The government will be after you. Who wants to spend a lifetime running from the Feds?

Reason 2: You can hear people thinking. People spend all this energy blocking out the wrong kind of people and filtering out songs, commercials, or remarks that they don’t want to hear. But psychics can hear all the little thoughts that most people are supposed to keep to themselves. All the little snide remarks that were not meant for your ears are out in the open. I guess if you have been hearing that kind of unfiltered material all your life, you learn to accept it. Still, no one can pretend to be someone else around you and you learn quickly that everyone lies. Also, if someone has an annoying song in their head, you’re screwed.

Reason 3: You can see the future. This sucks more than it seems. Just think of all the Greek tragedies that involve man vs. destiny. “Oedipus Rex” is one of them. A man spends all his life doing everything he can to avoid a prophesy from taking place. In the end, he learns that everything he did to avoid his future, only caused it to happen after all. Knowing the future has all kind of weird implications. There was a Greek prophet named Cassandra whose curse was that no one would ever believe her. No matter what she did, she could not change the future. People don’t believe psychics and if they did, they rarely have the ability to stop bad things from happening. You either have to accept the future or become a basket case trying to change it. By the way, I can see the future and if you want to know what happens, read this past post:

Reason 4: Romance is dead. It’s very hard to fall in love the way they do in the movies when you can hear people thoughts and you can see the future. There is a vampire novel where a mortal girl falls in love with a vampire because he’s the only one whose thoughts she couldn’t read. But, in a world where no vampires exist, just psychic people, you’re stuck knowing every plan your lover has in store for you. It kind of ruins the surprise. I can see how a psychic person would turn off their power if they could, just so they could experience something they didn’t see coming. The feeling of exhilaration from something new or unexpected is impossible to get if you’re psychic.

Reason 5: You feel other people’s pain. Being a strong empath is the hardest thing. You feel other people’s pain. The good thing is you feel their joy too. But most people hide their pain behind smiling eyes and every empath knows that pain is more prevalent than we want to believe. An empath learns to live with pain like it’s some sort of congenital or chronic disease. They carry the weight of the world on their shoulders.

In conclusion, psychic people have enough problems of their own. I hope the government will leave them alone. You can’t force people to be weapons of mass destruction. People are people and psychic people are people too. Of course there are a lot of benefits to being psychic like winning the lottery but that’s cheating. You can make other people do things by controlling their minds, but that is unethical because it interferes with their free will. Good guys aren’t allowed to use their psychic power. It’s only great if you’re an evil villain.  So, in the end, it sucks to be a psychic good guy.  ;)

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

My First Heartbreak

I found this old poetry book I wrote when I was in high school. I never published it, but I was amazed at how good some of the poems were and how bad the others were. I couldn't help noticing how hard I took my first heartbreak. It made for some great poetry. I must warn you that I was never an apple pie teenager. I saw some dark things at a young age. I'm probably more of a rosy cheeked, easy go lucky person now than I was as a kid.

Broken Heart

Now all my fears are clouded by the pain,
And day by day I wonder through the years,
Pondering wirling riddles all in vain.
Oh, could I ever ever love again!
When once my life was happiness and bliss,
Now nothing can undo this heavy strife.
His tender kiss and soothing words I miss
And long the warming comfort of his lips.
Through empty streets of doleful thoughts I roam
With heavy tears I drown my nightly sheets.
I fill the hollow streets with woeful moan
And wonder if I'll ever find a home.
I plod with grief and anguish through the rain,
as stormy winds blow through the winter leaves.
What happy thought could overtake the shame.
How could I ever ever love again?
--Lacey Reah


Now wearied by distress my loved ones bring,
Yet knowing what distress I bring them too,
I'll ask them not for one more joyful thing,
And seek a world that's cold but plainly true.
I'll occupy myself in study's might
And substitute my friends with greedy goals,
without the pain of a true lover's fright,
who knows not when to rage or when to hold.
I'll turn from love of love to love of feat,
And lust for only what myself achieve,
To never know what strangers I may meet,
Lest they may touch my soul where it can bleed.
For if I ever look back on my youth,
On smiles, on tears, sweet friendships there will be.
In them was too much depth and too much truth,
And too much love, though not deserved by me.

So its becoming obvious that one of my main influences was Shakespeare, but its plainly obvious in the poem below, how often I read Poe.

I Fear No More The Coming of the Night

I fear no more the coming of the night,
Nor dread in shadows what may lie,
And all that once would fill me with affright,
Like mysteries that clung unknown,
Now draw me in with all their dark delight
Until to me their shown.

I fear no more the creatures that may peep,
From their bleak abodes of blackness,
That once would vex and ward me from my sleep,
With their lingering tales of yore.
I follow them into their caverns deep,
Until they be no more.

I fear no more what glaring eyes of hate,
May lurk behind a suave facade,
Or ghastly things that rage and curse my fate,
With their fiendish spell charms of old.
I quell their plagues before all is too late,
Their spells through darkness told.

Now, when I find a place that holds no light,
Surrounded by impending gloom,
I retreat not but seek out all its might,
To find when greeted by the sun,
The break of day is but the close of night,
When all the seeking's done.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Is World Peace Possible?

            When I was a little girl, my parents worked so I spent my summers with friends. I used to hang out with a family of three siblings. They often had their cousins and other friends come over. I was the quiet and watchful one. I often watched the dynamic of their bickering and disagreements. I remember coming over one day, only to find that the entire group had ganged up on one kid. They immediately asked me to join their side but I stood there and shrugged. They went on to belittle the little boy and ostracize him. I had seen this happen a lot on the playground. If the ostracized child was smart, he’d recruit his friends and start an all out battle. If not, he would just get bullied. I couldn't help noticing how easy it was to recruit kids to one side. Children, I found, wanted to belong to a group. It gave them something to be proud of and fight for. Yet, it seemed, I was always an outside observer. Even when coerced to join a side, I never felt like I was part of it. I always felt sorry for both sides and if it was just one kid being picked on, I always felt sorry for him and often defended him.

Already, I could see the writer being born in me. I had this uncanny aversion to be like everyone else and just be a part of a group. I chose to observe and I often I didn't like what I saw. Humanity, it seemed to me, had no hope. It was just the powerful or the manipulative choosing sides and doing what they could to put down the other. There were no anti bullying campaigns when I was growing up. We were taught that this was just the way of life. No one talked about it. It just was.

I saw that there was a difference between playground play, just fighting for fun or playing rugby or bull rush in the field and the true fight for power. It happened when one person insulted the other, often in an innocent way. But for some reason, the other person takes it bad and turns against that person. They get friends to back them up and form alliances. This is what malicious gossiping is all about. A fist need not be thrown. A person can be defeated by ruining their reputation; turning their friends against them and making them feel completely defenseless and alone.

The person who is ostracized may not have done anything intentional to receive this treatment. Maybe they simply had the wrong skin color, or had a different view point of religion. Either way, I see it happening everywhere. I see it happening on the internet. Groups are formed by people of like minds but if someone sees things a bit differently, they are ostracized and told to leave. They say the internet is supposed to bring the world together but I have only see more groups being formed, more communities of like minded people keeping those who have other beliefs out. And of course I see it happening in wars, in riots, in protests, in fights, gangs and all forms of violence. To this very day, I still see it happening and it still bothers me. As we speak, there are people getting blown up, prisoners of war being tortured, fights and riots breaking out, etc. The world has never known peace. There has always been war, and people like me who sadly observe these things have always existed. Writers, philosophers and peace activists have been around since the dawn of history. Many exist today, spreading the word through peaceful protest, religion, charity or social reform, yet there has been no end to war.

Some say religion is to blame. They say that when we form strong beliefs about God or right or wrong, it makes us feel morally obligated to fight those who don’t believe the same things. So we form sides and wars break out. I question this assertion but I must say that I have seen issues with beliefs. Almost all religions have a taboo, something that you are not supposed to touch or talk about. Often, what is sacred in one religion is taboo in another. You have one religion that sees pork as a delicacy and another who is against touching or eating it. They both see each other as gross, backwards or insane. While civil rights is seen as status quo in the laws that govern nations such as the United States, other countries are still mired in segregation. There are certain classes of people you aren’t even supposed to touch. How can the world get along when we all have such differing viewpoints?

Still, I don’t think religion is the problem. I have seen atheists also form sides for one reason or another. I’ve known people who don’t believe in God who have strong agendas to get believers to stop believing and they have also formed their own groups of people who feel the same way. China is an atheist government who does not believe in religion, yet they are suppressing the Tibetans. So the religious and anti religious will continue to bicker. It seems to me, that it is still something deeply rooted in human nature. Beliefs go beyond religion. Sometimes, it’s just how we were raised that form our beliefs and when we grow up and find out that other people were raised differently, we’re total shock. I remember my college roommates fighting over whether to plug up the sink or not. They just couldn't believe that the other person would think differently. Again, I just sat there wondering why people fight over things so petty.

In my observations, I have found that having an agenda makes people proud. It gives us meaning to push some kind of idea on to another person. People form identities around what they do and who they are. Pride makes them feel powerful. If they study yoga, they consider themselves yogis. If they study cross fit, they are hard core athletes. If they have an advanced education, they are intellectuals. If they are religious, they are people of God. If they are creative, they are artists. People love to be something and advertising campaigns feed on this psychological need by creating cult followings out of product names. Of course, those of us on the outside shrug our shoulders and just say, “They drank the coolaid.” Maybe pride is the real culprit.

In truth, cults are everywhere and they can be harmless or harmful. Most religions say that humans are special, that we are the greatest creation of God. Yet, many religions also preach humility. Buddhism even tells us to renounce all identity. Yet, if we do that, we could hardly call ourselves Buddhists. Of course this brings on more taboos. In some religions you are not even allowed to mention the name of God or even try to fathom what he/she wants. In others, you should pray to his/her very name. No wonder we bicker.

Some religious people are very peaceful. They say that god just wants love and peace. Yet, many religious texts such as The Bible, The Koran and the Bhagvad Gita show that war has always existed and that God often creates war for his own reasons. We are not to try to understand what those reasons are. It disturbs us, yes, but we have to trust that this is God’s way. There is a part in the Bhagvad Gita that says, “If the slayer thinks he slays or the slain thinks he is slain, he knows not the truth.” In this text and in many others, God goes on to say that war and destruction is part of the ongoing cycle of life and worlds, countries, communities and lives will be destroyed. But in a way, we are already dead because everyone dies. Some of the greatest ancient religious texts are epics of war. In many religions, one who fights and dies in the name of God is doing him the greatest service. The polytheistic Gods of old often fought wars among themselves for power. How could we expect humans to be any better?

This is what I’ve gleaned from reading so many religious texts, in my mission to understand my confusion about war and violence. The only thing I’ve learned from God is that we can only change what we can and accept what we can’t. In a passage in the Bible, Jesus was asked when the kingdom of heaven will come. He answered that we shouldn’t think of it as a time and place. He said that the kingdom of heaven is within us. The Buddha also said that the heaven we seek is in our own hearts.

Science itself shows us that worlds are created and destroyed in the span of millenniums. Even the sun will die and so will we. When we look at it all from this scope, does it matter that we are constantly loving each other yet destroying each other at the same time? Is this just the way of nature?

I won’t be the first to say that war, hatred, and violence disturbs me and makes me question the universe in the deepest of ways. I can’t say I have any answers for the questions I have for God, science or philosophy. All I can say is that as an artist, I can choose to accept life for what it is. I can choose to draw, write and record it. I can revel in its beauty and see depth in its ugliness. In a way, art is a type of religion where we can be sad, happy, angry and distraught but still have some kind of out. We are all just peons, surviving a life of impermanence. I may not see world peace in my lifetime but I can choose to find peace within myself.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

She Talks To Ghosts

She talks to ghosts
And loses her fear...
of loneliness.
She finds comfort in the might...
of their pain.
Like a child torn mother who always needs...
The needy,
Or something to do...
To make her whole again.
--Lacey Reah

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Getting Back to Lesbian Vampires (open letter and free gift to the fans of "Fireflies")

To the fans of Fireflies:

I hope you accept my sincerest apology for not coming out with the sequel yet. It was my intention to end with a cliff hanger and write a sequel if the book did well. Don’t worry, “Fireflies II” is in the works and it will be much more interesting and full of twists and turns than the first book was. I will leave a sneak preview of it at the end of this blog.

I had to first publish a novel I had been working on for years. In fact, I wrote “Fireflies” because I needed a break from writing, “Enlightened Ones,” which was released this year. To understand this better, you can read my blog on how writing about lesbian sex vampires is writing what you know:

Anyway, life doesn’t always go as planned and my day job and full time job of being a mother often gets in the way of being an edgy underground writer. To make it up to you, I will post a free excerpt of the yet to be released “Fireflies 2.” I haven’t thought of a name for it yet. Okay, here is a sneak peak of “Fireflies 2” which will be told through the eyes of Jessie, a character who is probably the exact opposite of Linda. Let me know what you think. I might post more if you like it. Btw, Happy Holidays… wishing everyone the most awesome season ever!!!!!

WARNING: The following excerpt contains sexually explicit material that may enhance the enjoyment of your consensual, romantic relationship, but will create a horribly awkward moment if your children get a hold of it...

It is my life that flashes through my mind as I watch Linda on the floor, cursing me for not letting her die. God, she looks so much like Ginger. I wanted to shove her face into reality and make her realize that her ideas about what we’re supposed to be are nothing but illusions. I didn’t ask her to make me into one of them and I don’t have to play by her rules. You’re probably thinking that I’m horrible. Why couldn’t I just play along and be the creature that Linda thought I would be? Let me ask you this: why should I have to kill and prey on the innocent like they do? You ask: why do I fight my destiny when it is so clearly set? Let me tell you the story from my point of view and then you can judge me as harshly as you like.

I was never one to care about what people thought and I always lived my life by my own rules. My parents enrolled me in a Baptist school and I lived under strict Christian rule until my parents divorced when I was twelve. The Baptists told me what I could and couldn’t watch on TV and schooled my parents on what I should and shouldn’t eat. My mother followed everything to the tee. Such a good obedient woman she was. I couldn’t have the toys my cousins had. I couldn’t watch the movies and shows they loved. Everything was evil and sinful and I felt a constant oppression for I loved everything about life and I didn’t understand what there was to fear. I suppose that putting the fear of God into a child would work if she is not curious about anything and needs to be told what to do, but it didn’t suit me at all.

            I got into mischief with my friend Sarah, Sarah Wilson. She was always scared at first but would play along in the end. I think she admired my ability to make her do things she wouldn’t do on her own. We never got caught putting mice in the nun’s desk drawer or writing Satanic verses on the girl’s bathroom mirror but when we got suspended for ditching school so we could spend an entire day at the park, Sarah was forbidden to see me ever again and my world crumbled. Perhaps I could have convinced her to come back to me but I could tell her parents beat her bad. She had bruises on her wrists and a welt on her leg when she returned to school. It was healing and barely perceptible but I was a keen child and I noticed everything.

            That was the fifth grade. I might have had to attend that prison well into High School had my parents not divorced that summer. I chose my dad for custody and saw my mom on the weekends. My parents had religious differences and my mom just couldn’t push her control on us any longer. I was free. I never thought I could ever have a friend like Sarah until I reached high school and met Ginger. Ginger reminded me a lot of Sarah but she was blond. Sarah was a brunette like me. Ginger was healthy and bright and when she smiled at me, she didn’t smile like that for anyone else. Ginger had the most intense intellect. She had a fascination for reading books that were ancient, forbidden or translated from another language. I could tell that daily life bored her just as much as it did me but she always had her books to escape into and they kept her sane. Because of her ravenous appetite for exotic knowledge, Ginger was sophisticated beyond her years. Most of the adults had no idea what the contents of her books were and she was introduced to the cultures and practices of exotic lands and times long gone. I remember her saying to me, “Jessie, they tell us about the way things used to be, that everyone got married before having sex and that everyone respected their elders but I’ve read books from hundreds of years back where people spoke up against the government. I’ve even read books about the sex lives of people back then and we can learn a lot from them.”

“Okay,” I responded. “Teach me,” there was a short pause and her blue eyes glinted as she laughed at me. Nothing was the same after that. I always looked at her differently and she at me and that was when all the experimenting started between us. But for me, it was more than sexual play. It wasn’t just an education in the lost arts. I was falling in love.

            All of us High School girls read Cosmo magazine and there were always articles on sex and how to do it right. It made us realize that for adults, sex is not a forbidden act. Rather, it is a form of play. I remember reading articles on the art of masturbation and we tried it together. We searched for our clitoris and g-spot. “Have you found it yet?” she asked me enthusiastically.

            “No… oh, wait a second.”

            Our mutual masturbation session was our first really intense sexual moment because we felt things in the presence of each other that we shouldn’t have been feeling. It didn’t matter, what was private to me could include her. She was a part of me then. I came before she did and she watched me gasp as I rubbed myself more vigorously. I was hot and sweating and spent while I watched her climax, her head falling back, her body heaving, her mouth moaning. She was so beautiful at that moment. We both looked at each other in silence for a long time when we were done, not knowing what to say. That was just the beginning.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Why I Never Went Back to Facebook

If I wrote this blog two years ago, it would be called “Why I left facebook” but since I never went back, I have titled it, “why I never went back to facebook.” I dropped my facebook account during a time when many other people fell off the facebook bandwagon. Many of my friends followed suit but just about all of them went back. Why didn’t I go back? I saw many issues with the forum so I weighed my options and decided it wasn’t worth my time. Others didn’t like facebook, but decided that the problems they had were small compared to the positives, so they went back.

Well, we are all different. We are all wired differently and my reasons for leaving may not be the same for others but since I’m constantly being asked to go back, I feel obligated to state my reasons for why I don’t want to. Please keep in mind that I am a writer. I am very introverted and private so keep this in mind as I explain why facebook is not for me. Also, facebook has created a new culture which is changing how we treat each other and ourselves and I feel obligated to share my observations on how this will affect us as human beings.

I decided not to go back to facebook for many reasons:

1) They do not care for the privacy or rights of any of their members. They have made my private profile public without warning due to their updates and they took away the ability for me to keep the comments I put on other people's statuses private. They seem to be hell bent on taking your privacy for granted. Of course we live in a time where nobody cares about their privacy. Still, privacy is important to me. It creeps me out that people can spy on you through skype and that we have given up our privacy rights to the government. It gives me the creeps that our fourth amendment rights are being taken away and that anyone can accuse me of being a terrorist. There is so much more to this that people are not aware of but that’s another blog, I guess.

2) I don’t trust them. When my private profile has been made public without warning so many times, how can I trust facebook at all? They will change their settings at a drop of a hat. Many people say to me, there is a way to change your privacy settings but that doesn’t matter because facebook messes them up all the time. When I become a member of a social networking forum or do any kind of business with anyone, I have to trust the entity I am engaging with. Otherwise, I live in a state of paranoia, constantly having to keep track of updates and personal settings in case of gliches. When I dropped facebook, I became markedly less stressed.

3) People don't communicate the way they used to because of facebook. I was once at a party and people started showing us things that were on their facebook page. Next thing I know, the whole room was silent and everyone was in their own world, forgetting that a social gathering was going on around them. People who have facebook have no idea what they look like to those of us who stopped using it. Is this where the world is going? There was a time when ignoring the person who is right in front of you was considered rude, but it has become the status quo.

4) I have an addictive personality. Facebook uses the psychology of reward to get you to go to their site. Reward causes dopamine to be released into your system giving you the sensation of temporary pleasure. You write something and you look forward to someone liking it or commenting on it. When someone does, you feel rewarded. You want to keep going back to see how anyone else reacts. Facebook uses optimal conditioning and trains us like dogs to keep going back. If you have an addictive personality, this can really take over your life.

5) It was a huge time waster and when I think of the hours I spent on facebook, it is depressing to realize those were days of my life I can never get back. One day I looked at the time and realized that I had spent three hours on facebook, posting pictures and responding to comments. When I told a friend of mine that I dropped facebook because I saw I had spent that much mindless time on it, she said that three hours a day on facebook is normal. What? With three hours a day I could finish writing a novel, take on a part time job, look for a job, learn a new hobby, and spend time with my family. Ironically, the same people who spend three hours a day on facebook are the same people who complain that they don't have time or money. Is facebook really where I want to be spending that time?

6) I wrote a novel. I had to make time to finish writing a novel and could only do that if I cut out distractions like facebook. Maybe I’ll go back but then again, I’d like to write another novel and work on other projects that help me grow as a person.

7) It made me a bad mother. I was being rude to my son, ignoring what he was saying so I could read a comment someone made on my status. Then, I have the nerve to try to control his computer addiction. I just heard someone say that the cynicism of teens is due to the hypocrisy of their parents. Why are children addicted to electronics and social media? Because their parents are.

8) I’m protesting free speech. I got kicked off of facebook for writing a political blog on why gay marriage is a civil right. This post was flagged by those who were trying to keep Prop 8 passed during a time when it was going to court. Facebook never considered my side of the story.  I have seen this happen with many other people. Misogynistic comments are spared while feminist comments are deleted. There seems to be a very biased moderation group that does not allow free speech. Yeah yeah, free speech is not an issue because facebook is a private company and can allow what they want. Truth is, we don’t have free speech at all. If I wanted to protest anything on the streets, I have to register with the government to rent out the public streets. The government has to approve it. People have gone to jail for speaking their mind and if you think we have free speech, it’s because you have never really tried to use it. We are becoming a country where everything you say is being policed. How do people react? They decide to never talk about politics. In a democratic nation where we vote for our own laws and leaders, this is very dangerous. If we don’t discuss important issues, we lose what is important to us. People need to wake up and start fighting for what they believe in. Social networking has empowered people to vote for who they want on American Idol but it has made them more timid when it comes to fighting for their rights.

9) It bombards me with advertising. When I left facebook, I could see the sky, trees and mountains again. I could hear the birds chirping. It felt good to leave the matrix. Now I can focus on what I want to focus on.

10) I was getting stressed out by the fact that anything I said could be taken the wrong way and often was. Most things are not to be said in a public wall, but directly to the people who want to hear it. Seeing how cranky facebook made people due to misunderstandings made me just want to go back to emails and phone calls.

11) I was getting bored by people talking about “fake friends.” It’s sad that no one on facebook seems to know who their real friends are. If you leave facebook, your real friends will email you, hang out with you and talk to you on the phone. The fake friends will still be wasting their time on facebook.

12) Do I really need to stay in touch with people I dropped as friends and lovers years ago? If I'm not your friend now, there's a reason for that.

13) I had been annoyed by so many of facebooks policies and the way they handled their business but I stayed a member due to peer pressure. I will never do something that I do not agree with again. I would rather give my time other websites who use practices that harmonize with my sense of the greater good.

14) It didn't help my business. Everything they say about facebook helping your business is bull. My numbers didn't go up after spending mind numbing time on facebook. You get more clients and buyers by contacting people and being good at what you do, not for getting likes on facebook. Since I left facebook, my business has gotten better because I started focusing on what I really needed to do to make it work.

15) It didn’t help me sell more books. I am better off finding forums and websites that specifically target readers and the type of readers who read my kind of books.

What have I been doing since I left facebook?

I’ve been exercising and taking care of my body.

I’ve been a better mother to my son

I’ve gone back to reading books and periodicals that are well researched and that come from reputable sources. This has made me much more intelligent and knowledgeable about what is really going on in the world, which sure beats reading someone complain about who their “fake” friends are.

I finally finished writing “Enlightened Ones”

I’m having more sex. Why did I spend mindless time sitting in front of a screen when I could have been spending quality time making love to my man? I must say, sex is much better for your skin than screen time.

I’ve been getting enough sleep, which is also much better for your skin.

Well, there you go. Again, if facebook is your thing, I totally understand. I just hope everyone understands why it isn’t my thing. We all have different interests and different lifestyles and staying off facebook really works for me.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Don't Be Afraid of the Dead

This time of year, for me, is as sacred as it is festive.

I still recall my first trick or treating rampage when I was nine or ten after moving to the United States.  I was in complete awe.  This was the mid eighties and my cousin's neighborhood was the place to be if you were a kid.  It was all families.  Ever watch E.T.?  That's what it looked like back then, a neighborhood full of people who worked in Hollywood and they all had children.  All houses gave candy and the streets were alive with every kind of costume imaginable.  Times were good and we got a ton of candy.  I couldn't believe it.  You go to people's door and they just give you candy, just like that.  It was unlike anything I had ever experienced.  I had been indoctrinated into the mass consumerism that was America and it left a long lasting impression on my inner child.

I have taken my family trick or treating in that very same neighborhood.  Some of those people still lived there but they were old and their children were grown.  Not all houses gave out candy anymore but it's still fun.

The day after Halloween, I usually go to the Dias De Los Muertos festival to relieve my cultural itch. Sometimes my pagan friends do a ritual for Samhain. Once, my druid priest friend let me join his group for an ancestral regression where I spoke to my long dead family members, shortly after my grandmother died. From the Mexicans, to the Pagans to the Catholics all over the world, we all have one thing in common. We set aside a special place and time to commune with the dead.

In the Philippines, we don't eat candy at this time.  We go on a procession with the family to the cemetery and pay homage to those loved ones who have passed away.  The cemetery was never scary to me.  All of the silly American lore that makes people scared of the dead means nothing to me.  The cemetery is a sacred place where we lay the bodies of our ancestors.  It is a place of peace, a home, a place to go when you are lost.  This is what All Hallows Day is about.

Later on, I moved to Australia and attended Catholic school there.  We didn't congregate at the cemetery but went to church.  Our ancestors were in a grave in the Philippines anyway.  I recall the Priest talking about a place called Purgatory and my parents explained that it was a middle ground between here and heaven and hell.  We prayed for the souls stuck in purgatory and hoped they would go safety into the afterlife.  The Catholic church gets a bad rap these days.  Well, all religions get a bad rap due to the conflict people have raised over them but that is only because we have forgotten the rituals that connect us with what is important.  Many have forgotten what these rituals were truly about.

Later on in my life, I became very curious about my psychic powers.  I dreamed the future and just knew things that scared people.  I made friends with others who shared the same talents and they taught me about the old religion that came before Christianity in Europe.  Most of my Pagan friends are Irish which is funny as I have some Spanish-Irish on my mums side.  There were a few times where I participated in the Samhain rituals.  It is very sacred and it should take place in a graveyard but often takes place in someones backyard or in a nature spot and once in a Unitarian church.  These rituals were very similar to the ones we did in the Philippines during All Hallows (or all Saints) Day.  I learned, that many Catholic holidays such as Easter and the Yule Tide have their roots in Paganism.

When I take my family to the Dias De Los Muertos festival, we eat some great food from the booths and the kids do some wonderful art projects and went on some fun rides.  There are alters for lighting candles, performances on stage by our local Latino musicians and lots of community outreach work going on.  My favorite part about the festival is looking at the chalk art.  I took some pictures once, and I'd post them but I'm very bad with retrieving photos.  the art is sometimes about the holiday, great colorful works of people with flowers and decorated skulls.  Sometimes  you see a random work of art that has nothing to do with the holiday.  Then there are a few beautiful depictions of people the artist loved who had passed away.  They are usually drawn in black and white.  

My two favorite chalk drawings were of these.  One showed two faces in black and white.  In between them was a large flame of what looks like the top of a candle.  The light that comes from it is rendered beautifully.  Above them is a round and serene face looking down on them.  Underneath them it said something about remembering my father and brother.  I wondered what the face on the top depicted until I passed by again and realized that it was the face of the artist.  Another painting in black and white shows the face of a girl and that is it.  I fell in love with it because you could see so much depth in that face even thought the work is in black and white.  I could see her soul in the drawing.  I think people who draw out of love, transfer their soul into the work and it is such a shame that eventually the chalk washes away.  There was a sunny picture of a dog with a hat on, probably a dog that had passed and one of Michael Jackson.

There is always a  parade at the end or an Aztec drum dance.  I love the half naked Latino men and the well dressed Latino women dancing to the live drums.  Once, while watching the parade, I noticed that they were lead by a cross and people in robes and that many people followed their dance with a solemn walk, heads bowed and candles in their hands.  The Catholic church was usually good about mixing religions with indigenous cultures if they were willing to adapt.  Here we have the Catholic holiday, intermingling with the indigenous holiday of the Mexicans.  People often put down living in the city but I love that all of us here have such varied cultures and can still find ways to relate. I can't help thinking how alike we all our.  From Europe, to the Philippines, to Latin America, we all share a common need, the need to remember the loved ones who have passed.

So after your thrill of Halloween and and scary spooky stories has died down, remember the dead for what they really were, people we once loved.  One of the things that separates humans from animals is the ability to think in terms of past and future.  They say it is a bad thing as it prevents us from living in the present.  Yet, it also helps us learn from the past and if we do not listen to the voice of our ancestors; if we do not take heed of our own history, we are doomed.  The voice of our ancestors are everywhere.  When they die, they never truly disappear as their memory and the result of their deeds always live on to affect the future generations. Here's to you, for my two grandmas and my too grandpas. Maybe you can hear me now that the the veil between your world and mine is thin.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

My Split Personality, The Marqis De Sade and The Holy Bible

A few years ago, we had an old friend over for dinner. The first thing he noticed was my ever growing book shelves. On one shelf was a stack of two books. The books were “The Holy Bible,” and “The Selected Works of the Marquis De Sade.” He found it so humorous that I would stack a holy work on top of a book hailing one of the most infamous sexual deviants of all time. But such is the story of my dualistic interests. I’ll read Deepak Chopra one day and “My Secret Life” another. I’ll read sacred books on Buddhism and yoga one day and violent horror stories about vampires, monsters and psychopathic killers another. I have read countless autobiographies written by the greatest people of all time and have been moved by their valor and heroism. I have also read the diaries of drug attics, prostitutes and criminals. I’m one big walking contradiction and I’m quite happy to be so.

            If you believe in dualism, this strange notion that there can’t be good without evil or love without hate or any other opposite, you can easily split my personality in two. In fact, I have done this myself, making Lacey Reah the author of books I would rather my boss didn’t know I wrote. Now I have two names. There’s Lacey Reah and… well… let’s call her Mary Sue.

            Lacey Reah writes about erotic vampires and has the guts to tackle socio-political ideas such as brainwashing, cults and even (Lord forbid) religion. Lacey Reah has a strange attraction to shibari, the Japanese bondage art of sexual rope tying and other eastern arts of submission and dominance such as jujitsu. Lacey Reah likes to experiment, go on night hikes, and check out strange venues, alternate lifestyles and crazy people. She has a dirty mind and a sick sense of humor. Though she might offend some uptight twats, she is pretty fun to be around.

            However, when I go to work every day, I don’t act like Lacey Reah. No one knows I’m Lacey Reah. All they see is Mary Sue. Mary Sue is very positive and professional. She is a great mother and role model. She always aspires to be a better person and she keeps her dirty laundry exactly where it should be kept, at home. I guess we all have this Mary Sue mask to wear. Though, every once in a while Lacey Reah might whisper an inappropriate comment at the PTA meeting, she is kept pretty suppressed.

            Lacey Reah hates being suppressed. This is why she writes. She sees no reason why she should put on a mask of professionalism all the time. She’s pretty gritty and wants to be a rap or rock star so she could get paid to act nuts, cuss and pretty much put down the establishment. Too bad she has very little musical talent.

            Mary Sue works hard, stays organized and doesn’t stray from her responsibilities. Her favorite words are: duty, compassion, discipline and service. Lacey Reah’s favorite comment is, “that’s what she said.” Her favorite response to any question is, “your mamma.”

            The two keep me sane. Mary Sue keeps Lacey Reah from falling into the rabbit hole of dreams, mysticism and addiction. She slaps her around and brings her back to reality when need be. She’s the one that says, “don’t forget you have to work tomorrow” and “is what you are doing really worth the consequence?”

            Lacey Reah keeps Mary Sue from being uptight and judgmental. She will often say, “lighten up and have a piece of chocolate,” or “when was the last time you got laid?”

            Lacey Reah has a light and dark side. Mary Sue has a light and dark side. Lacey Reah’s dark side can fall into a delusion of narcissism and over indulgence, allowing her whole reality to fall apart. Her light side keeps everything interesting, is the life of the party and keeps her loved ones amused and infatuated.

            Mary Sue’s dark side is too hard on herself. She is demanding and a perfectionist which can lead to tyranny and an inability to see or let go of the little things. Her bright side is honest and sane and loyal to her job and family.

            Mary Sue’s dark side has a light and a dark side and they have a light and dark side etc. In fact, each personality I have has a light and a dark side which has a light and a dark side which leaves me with an infinite number of personalities of which I can pick and choose from when writing characters. This infinity which can be reduced to absurdity is one of the reasons why I have become a non-dualist. There is no light and dark side, only infinite split personalities.

            In a way, this ability to pick and choose infinite split personalities makes me a better writer of fiction. It also makes me less judgmental of others because I know that they too have infinity of split personalities.

            So, how cool am I? Lol. Once again, I have taken one small philosophical rant and reduced it all to absurdity.  ;)  Maybe there was a lesson to this when I started writing but it got lost in the rant somewhere.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Ghosts -- Just because they aren't real, does that mean they don't exist?

In the past week, I watched two shows regarding ghosts. One was the movie, “The Awakening” and the other was the hit musical, “Next to Normal.” “The Awakening” was a horror film about a skeptic who disproved the existence of spirits, though deep down inside, she wanted them to exist. In the movie she said, “We all want ghosts to be real but that doesn’t mean they are.” “Next to Normal” never made any reference to ghosts. It was about a family dealing with a Mother who suffered from psychotic delusions. She believed her son who had been dead for years, was still alive. 

Ghost stories could fall into three categories, horror, paranormal drama or realistic drama. People who love horror get off on being frightened out of their wits by malicious ghosts who have the ability to terrify them to death. Lovers of paranormal drama fall in love with ghosts, want them to be real, and are touched when the dead are reunited with their loved ones. Realistic stories such as “Next to Normal” may never mention ghosts. The ghosts are memories or hallucinations. In “Next to Normal,” a family is torn apart by a ghost they know is not real and the mother goes through a series of horrible psychiatric treatments to help her get rid of her delusions.

Btw, I love ghost stories of every kind. I feel there is always something deep and archetypal about every type of ghost. They appeal to our own wishes and dreams much like vampires do. I think it is because we truly want ghosts to be real. I can’t think of how many times my door opened on its own. I realize it was just a draft but deep down inside, I was wishing it was the spirit of my long dead Grandfather watching over me. We want to believe that there is a connection to our souls that transcends death. Also, if ghosts are real, it would mean that we aren’t alone, even during our darkest days. They are our imaginary friends.

Harry Houdini, the greatest magician that ever lived, made it his life’s mission to expose mediums to be frauds. However, his initial intent was to contact his dead mother. He offered large amounts of money to find a medium that was real, but he proved them to be frauds each time. Here we have an example of someone who knows too much about magic tricks to be fooled. However, if someone did turn out to be the real thing, he was willing to offer them large sums of money. Deep down inside, he was looking for the genuine article. He never found him or her.

Until modern times, almost every society that ever existed; from ancient pagan cultures, to native tribal cultures, to Christian religions, believed in an afterlife. Coincidentally, most cultures attribute the start of winter or the end of fall as a time for the spirits to visit the living or to move on to the afterlife. I always find it fascinating that my Pagan, Christian and Native American friends celebrate a day where they give reverence to the dead all around the same time. In American culture, children dress up in costumes and haunt other people’s houses. They get candy in exchange for not playing tricks on the members of the household. Are we training our children to become mafia leaders when they grow up? Just kidding, I digress. While Halloween is a commercialized version of all these holidays, the truth is we all seem to need one day or more to pay homage the paranormal.

So the question that arises in my creative, rambling mind is: Just because ghosts aren’t real, does that mean they don’t exist? In the musical I just watched, “Next to Normal,” a ghost that didn’t exist was able to cause trauma to a family. If he wasn’t real, how did he manage to do this? To the writer of the musical, he was very real. He even cast an actor to play him. He wasn’t just a delusion; he was a metaphor. He didn’t just haunt the psychotic woman. In the end, we see how he haunted everybody. Yet, it was very clear that he wasn’t real. At some point in the musical, the mother complained that taking the delusion out of her head didn’t work because it wasn’t in her mind.  It was in her soul. Who can blame a grieving mother for harboring a ghost of a child she loves in the deepest parts of her spirit?

In Buddhism, no one really dies. We all share the same energy. Buddhists learn to accept death as an inevitable cycle, but there is no need to let go because nothing ever leaves and nothing ever dies. Death itself is an illusion. So if death doesn’t exist, is it real?

When I went on the Ghost Tours during my visit to New Orleans, I learned that ghosts are a powerful energy of something traumatic left behind. The haunted areas were more like historical landmarks where very bad things happened. Something still existed, a horrible memory that refused to die.

To those of us who write fiction, we create ghosts. We use them as metaphors. They remind us of people we loved. They help us let go or deal with the unknown. Malicious ghosts represent what we abhor or can’t face. We use them as archetypes and create myths and legends around them. They help us explain concepts that can only be understood through the use of stories. We shape them out of thin air even though they aren’t real. Yet, in the worlds we create, they exist. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Hacking into Society's Code

Clliff was one of my favorite characters. I like the idea of a computer genius who is also interested in how to hack into society. I also gave him a dark past so his rational methods are not always enough to save him from himself. When we meet him, he says that his major, computers fit in really well with sociology:

“Don’t worry about her. It’s my first year as an RA. I’m a sophomore. I didn’t get too involved in stuff last year, so I really want to be a part of the school system this year. Plus, it’s free food and board. That’s probably the best reason why I’m doing it. The only thing is that I have to act like I was born to be an RA to get in. There’s a system to everything.”
“You think?”
“Take that from a sociology minor. It’s okay to act like a stingy, old RA around people like Carmen; just don’t lose your individuality.”
“I hate to break it to you, but I think that’s how she really is.” JC smiled. “What’s your major?”

“Computers. They fit in really well with sociology,” Cliff responded as he turned the corner. JC was stimulated by the articulation and quickness of Cliff’s voice. He thought that Cliff could talk forever, and it would seem like no time went by at all. As he spoke, his eyes would flutter, as if the wheels in his head were constantly turning, then he’d spurt out his ideas without delay as his brain thought of them. When he stopped talking, his eyes would rest on JC, as still as untouched water. “Computers are the great manipulators of the day. You can use them to infiltrate any system. You can learn a lot if you analyze the programming of coding and decoding. It’s sociology in the making. Society’s just one big computer.”

I like to think of Cliff as the Ian Malcolm of my story. Ian Malcolm was the mathematician in the book, "Jurassic Park," who often rambled on about the problems with with using the power of science without considering the ethics of one's motivations.
Being one of the ex cult members and a bit of a quirky genius has given Cliff the ability to see what is going on in a very objective light. This is refreshing because as the reader gets sucked into the cult, the same ways the characters are, Cliff gives the reader a chance to put their reactions into perspective. When he meets JC and tells him his theories, it provide foreshadowing for what is to come:

“So what does computer programming have to do with society? You mentioned something about it when we met, something about decoding . . .”
“Society is just a computer program. We’re taught this language, and it permeates everything in our lives. It influences our culture, morals, what we think is or isn’t important. Bring in another language, and we have to change everything we’ve been brought up to believe. Think about it—why do you think it’s so difficult to learn a foreign language after the age of ten? There’s just too much deprogramming that goes with taking in a whole new culture. If you hack into a computer program, you’ve got to know its language. Then you manipulate it. You use that language to convince the program that everything is normal, but really, you are controlling it. That’s what our media, advertisers, and politicians do. They use code words that are found in our language to hack into our minds and control us. They’re like passwords.”
“So how do you stop them from controlling us?”
“Antivirus.” JC giggled at this and Cliff noticed his reaction. He smiled and continued. “Let me explain. There are certain words or phrases that rile up emotions in you. They stand for things that you believe very strongly in like ‘patriotism.’ ‘God’ is a big one; so are ‘power’ and ‘money.’ When you hear these words, don’t let them bother you. Turn on your antivirus. Take the word out of its context. Listen to what is being said without the word being spoken. If it doesn’t make sense, then you know it’s a bug. I say, even if it does make sense, further investigation is required. See, most people only hear the key words and not the context because our emotional reaction to these words overrides our intellect.”
JC nodded. He noted the word “God.” Oh, how that word riled up Maggi the night they were in the cave. It made her angry, but JC still couldn’t understand how John could have controlled her by making her angry at him. Yet he knew that hatred was a powerful thing, and Maggi wasn’t the same after that. But if she decided that she hated John Cronus too much to ever listen to him again, how could he possibly control her? He felt that Cliff still had a lot of revising to do with his thesis. He thought of mentioning the situation to him, but decided against it. He would rather keep the subject away from such examples that were too close to home. He preferred sticking to the abstract, to the art of hacking, and the rules of the stars.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Art, Opinions, and The Voice

You may not know this about me, but I’m the biggest “The Voice” fan. The weird thing about that is I have always liked obscure cultural phenomenon years before anyone else knows about them. Then it blows up and I get dismayed by the fact that what I used to think was cool is suddenly trendy. Alas, I lose my uniqueness and move on. Well, that was when I was young and egotistical. I get more humble and wise in my old age.

I came across “The Voice” when there was nothing else to watch on T.V. and it just turned out to be the number one show in America. I guess that means I have good taste for an artsy fartsy bohemian. This contradicts me always identifying with obscure pop culture but I like what I like.

            The truth is, underneath my brooding, philosophical side is a quirky chick that enjoys life. I love music and am in awe of the talent of that show. I thought of taking voice lessons just so I can compete on “The Voice” and work with the most brilliant musical artists of our time. The show is remarkably uplifting and the coaches are not judges but mentors that always encourage their team to have faith in their abilities and follow their dreams. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside, and these days, I really need that.

            One of the lessons I have taken from watching the voice is a constant validation of something I learned years ago, when I was a young acting student in New York. I was in a scene study class and performed a two person scene from the play, “Angels in America” where I played a bum. My teacher gave us some great direction. Later on, we had to perform for the acting director. His note to me was that I had bad posture. Later on, as I got to know the man, I realize that he believed that posture is the most important mark of a great actor. However, I made a creative choice to not use great posture because I was playing a homeless person who was used to being hunched over her can of stale soup.

            I asked my teacher why he hadn’t given me this note. After all, if he said it, I would have a chance to improve upon it and receive a better grade from the acting director. My teacher was very politically correct about his answer. He simply told me that “art is an opinion.” This was his way of saying that he liked my choice to use bad posture but he didn’t want to contradict his superior.

            The truth can be painful at first, but eventually, it sets you free. You can do everything in your power to perfect your painting, music, acting, writing etc. but in the end, it all boils down to someone’s opinion. In the end, it all boils down to whether or not your audience agreed with the choices you make.

            This brings me back to the voice. The other night Shakira coached a singer to yodel as often as she could because it was her signature sound (and Shakira’s too) and it would make her stand out among the rest. At the end of her performance Blake Sheldon told her she overdid the yodeling and Usher argued that he was about to compliment her on it--two extremely divergent view points coming from two very respected artists in the field of music.

            Over and over again, I watch the coaches disagree with the choices the artists make or whether or not this artist deserves to stay on the show compared to another one. I am constantly reminded that success is a game of chance. One person can wow all four judges with a mind blowing audition, and then sing a song that isn’t good enough to keep them on the show a week later. I know what that’s like. I’ve been there.

            And I guess it boils down to that. I can relate to the voice because my whole life has been a struggle with my own art. I come to terms with this fact when, after receiving some glowing reviews of my book, someone comes along to bash it because she just didn’t like the lead character.  

            My son has a very prejudiced loathing towards Justin Beiber. I’m pretty sure it’s because he’s dating the lovely Selena Gomez who my son just adores to pieces, but that’s beside the point. For everyone that hates Justin Beiber, he has millions of adoring fans.

Anne Rice, one of the greatest and most respected vampire authors, had a ton of glowing reviews for her recent book. But I couldn’t help noticing the one star reviewers who were probably disappointed that she wrote about werewolves instead of vampires.

Our relationship with our entertainers is a love story that involves chemistry. I can’t exactly say why I think John Cusack is such a great actor while Tom Cruise, who is even more famous, gives me the creeps and does nothing for me acting wise. It’s just the way it is. I’m just not attracted to Tom the way I am to John but there are plenty of women who would gladly take their clothes of for Tom Cruise.

            It’s all still worth it to have one or just a few people love you because to them, you have awoken something in them and this is a special relationship to have with your fans. It’s chemistry. They relate to you and because of this, someone out there is a little less lonely.

            So don’t be afraid to tell your story. Stories are wonderful. They help people connect with each other and bring the world together. And if someone breaks your heart by leaving you a bad review or a heartbreaking critique after all your hard work, remember this story:

            A young man auditioned to be on “The Voice” and did not make the auditions. He took the notes the coaches gave him and practiced every day. This season, Shakira became a coach for the first time. She was the only one to turn her chair around and give this teen a second chance. If she had not been on the show, he would not have had this chance. Thank God Shakira had an opinion that contradicted the others. No one thought he would make it past the battle rounds but he surprised everyone and he is still on the show. Often, life is just a turn of a coin. You meet the right person at the right time and chemistry happens. Don’t give up if it doesn’t happen right away. Commit to your choices. They are what make you who you are.