Monday, December 23, 2013

There and back again.

Two weeks away from the blog and other bits of work feels like an eternity. For the inquiring minds, I did not update because I had an impromptu trip to New York City. I didn't tell very many people why I was really there, why I was back in the home state so last minute; it's still not something I'm willing to speak about in great detail so I can only reveal that it was not for a pleasant reason. It was a miracle I was able to see so many relatives within that week, on both sides of the family. It was a miracle I even caught a day with two of my friends who live in Jersey (and even threw in the second Hobbit movie during my visit...Lee Pace is a VERY good Thranduil *smiles*). I maybe only had two days of that week where I woke up when the sun was already up. It was the most stressed, depressed, and disoriented I've ever been since college. I didn't even bring my work to the East. There was no way in hell any of it was going to get done. It was foolish of me to think that I would even make a dent in the research material I did bring.

How am I now, you ask? I can honestly say that I am still not up to 100%. My brain is still functioning on New York time. I've gotten some rest since my return to Santa Fe, but I'm still not fully myself. Since the week I've been back, I hadn't laid a finger on book 3. I just couldn't. I can't even figure out how I managed to function, let alone reread "The Hobbit". At least my Christmas shopping was nearly done before the trip.

Also, I did complete a week of early morning Zumba before the NYC trip. When I'm completely back to my normal self, I'm going to start that up again. I'm determined to get back to the shape I once had back in the volleyball and lax days. It was a little frustrating when some people "grew concerned" about the sudden need for Zumba because I'm already skinny, but this was never about weight loss. It's as I told a friend, I was once a "Skinny Minnie" with muscle...getting that back along with the old toned self is all I'm trying to do. No need to freak out, peeps.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in the last blog entry, but I suppose it does not hurt to be redundant when it comes to the books. I did finish my first run through of edits on book 3 before my NYC trip (and goodness gracious, there's SO MANY Sharpie pen marks...don't get me started on the extra passages I wrote in the editing notebook!). I intend to transfer the written edits to the electronic version after Christmas. You can surmise that my original plans of starting book 4 in January has been nixed; the start day of book 4 is currently TBD. I have a lot of work to do with book 3 still, and I must go back to the first two to ensure the desired cohesion. It will all get done, I promise.

And just so you know, 2014 is when I plan to have book 1, Child of Blackwen, out for you all to enjoy! It'll just be later than expected...but it shall happen.

So I did promise on my Facebook writer page that I would make up dearly for my absence the past two weeks. What do I have? Two poems that were written while I was in New York! Just a disclaimer, however: I rarely edit my poems. They are not considered in the same category of importance as the novels to me. Once in a while, the ideas or feelings come and I jot something down. Another fair warning: these were written in the worst of my stress, depression, and disoriented state. I got away with many poems written in times of sleep deprivation (story of my life for the poetry workshops back at GMC!), and I would never dare to explain to a professor that I just never cared for editing them. I always felt that the raw words at first glance in a poem are more powerful than the ones under constant editing. There were some poems in my life that I actually edited for the hell of it, but again, it's extremely rare.

Here be poem numero uno:

Maiden of the Island

She is of the sand.
She is of the sea.
She has a sharp tongue—
as dangerous as the summer gale.

She became one with the modern world.
She missed the island.
She loved her children and their children.
She staved off her freedom, for them.

She stumbled into a cage—
all watch her every move.
She despises the chains that bind her earthly body—
none choose to save her.

Let her slip between the bars.
Let her spread her wings and fly.
Let her return to the sand.
Let her return to the sea.
Let the sun kiss her flesh.
Let her spirit meld into the universe.

The maiden of the island—
she will always be with us.

©Melanie Rodriguez

It's an ode, really. I could say it is also a bit of a plea. Nonetheless, this is how the heart feels. I can at least be in peace now...and that is all I shall say about the matter.

Here be poem number two:

The Tangled Web

He spins a thread.
She adds another.
As one creates a knot,
the other severs it.

He draws close.
She steps aside.
Another takes his place—
the threads are destroyed. 

She draws him back.
He begins the image anew.
She creates a knot.
He destroys it.

She is pushed away.
He springs a web in the darkness.
She tries to follow the cold path.
He cannot see the light of her truth.

He looks back—
the web is tangled.
He sees her path.
He does not follow.

She weaves her own image.
He carefully observes.
She sees his fear.
He sees her pain.

She does not show her love—
it would spook him.
She only reveals a path out
of the tangles—
only if he wants it. 

He questions.
She keeps silent.
Does he dare?
Does she?

©Melanie Rodriguez

This one...this one I haven't quite figured out yet. I reread it earlier this morning and saw that perhaps this could fit in the Shadow Walker storyline...maybe even in the Artemis Ravenwing tales. One part of me thinks it's just one of those poems where my subconscious in a sleep-deprived state knows something the waking self does not, but the other part reminds me of a set of recurring dreams I've had since moving to Santa Fe. Time will tell, I suppose.

Before I flee, I would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holidays. As a child of two worlds, I've spent my life having two Christmases. The Polish side always celebrated Christmas Eve, whereas the Puerto Rican side celebrated Christmas Day. This year, I will return to having a Spanish Christmas Day; it may not be in New York with that side, but the cuisine will match theirs at least. I really look forward to this year's celebration, despite the dark paths I still walk. Now is the time to really embrace the blessings you have, and you must never EVER stop living. Sadness and anger may feel like an eternity to you, but true happiness erases all of that. You can't fault people for not understanding your path in life, and instead of cursing them, you should just thank them for the time they did spend with you; not all of them are meant to walk the roads with you. Hug the people who are still there beside you, and remember that they are the true gifts each and every holiday, not the ones wrapped up under the tree.

Until next week, my dearies.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Remembering the light.

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! It was Shadow's first one with us. Needless to say, the boy had a very good time. The food coma that took over him was rather entertaining, and I think this was the biggest smile he's ever sported around us.

Speaking of which, today marks the one year anniversary of adopting Shadow! I've always wanted to rescue a husky; the idea first came as a child after watching Balto. The first time I ever saw a Husky in person, it only solidified how much I wanted to have one. I've learned the hard way that adopting a Husky in Santa Fe is really difficult; they get adopted quite quickly. Also, we were living in a home where the dog would not be living comfortably in. Once we moved to this current home, it was time to find the "dog of my dreams". I even told Mom that I would go for a German Shepherd for my second choice. We ended up finding a description of a dog labeled a "Shepsky", which is a mixture of both. A friend drove us to the shelter, and the moment Shadow (who was then named "Plex") propped his head onto the gate and laid it on his paws to watch us, I was attached. He was sharing a pen with another Husky mix who kept trying to push him out of the way and tried to win me over. He was a beautiful dog, don't get me wrong, but Shadow knew I came for him. We spent time with him in a separate pen (labeled #6, which we took as a sign because that was my volleyball number), and I tested the name "Shadow" to him; he responded to it immediately. I will never forget the fear he had in those golden eyes; we learned that he ran away from his previous owners several times and lived some time on the streets. He was surrendered to the shelter four times before the owners told them to just keep him. When we read the report the owners filed on Shadow's personality, you can tell within moments that they did not know this dog. This poor boy had a major case of separation anxiety, which can happen with a Huksy who was clearly neglected. Huskies in general need attention; you cannot chain one up in the yard and ignore them! You could tell then that he never knew what love was, and he had no idea what toys even were! The first time I held him, I could feel the outline of his ribs; I was angry at the people who knew him for his first year of life. The smartest decision those people ever made concerning him was to let the shelter take him. We had some trials with Shadow since his adoption; he was so afraid that we would surrender him and it took him a while to trust us (I did not blame him one bit). The first night he slept here, he kept running into my room and licked my face just to make sure I was still there. He's escaped the house before, but the amazing thing about it was that he did it to follow us; the chance to run away was there but he did not take it. There was a day where he escaped the house when Mom, my two friends and I went food shopping, and we found him sitting outside the gate; he pushed through the window screen (it wasn't even a wide opening!) because he did not want to pee in the house and he could not find a way to get back inside, so he just sat outside and waited. Shadow has to have some sort of physical contact while he naps; he's also the ultimate love hog and WILL demand your affection. He's even taken over my room for his own; he loves curling up next to my pillow. Toys? He can't get enough of them. Some people truly do not understand that the littlest thing like acknowledging a pet (hell, even other humans) goes a long way. We really did save him from the sad existence he knew before us. And the truth is, he saved me too. I gave him the name of a character that is very special to me, and everyday, Shadow just reminds me of how special our bond really is. The greatest fact about him? He was born the day after I graduated from GMC; Mom made a longtime promise in my tween years that she would get me a dog as a graduation gift. Coincidence? I think not.

Public service announcement for the day: go rescue a pet from your local shelter. Your life will be much brighter.

Speaking of the character my dog was named after, I should report that I was not nearly as productive with editing the past week as I had the week before. I'll be starting from chapter 18 today; I still have a ways to go. I blame Thanksgiving; the food coma was quite powerful this year (as evident by Shadow, who is ALWAYS full of energy and was thus knocked out after his meal). I'm still fighting the urge to write book 4 too; keeping the peace in my "creatively insane" mind is very exhausting. I'm still dealing with the recent pattern of "going to straight to sleep after waking up ridiculously early for no reason". Well, Saturday was a "good reason"; I returned to Tia Sophia's for breakfast and scoped out the Winter Indian Market (of which I had yet another spiritual experience that pretty much reaffirms a part of the path that's opened up to me...I still chuckle when I was told that my buying a wolf pendant meant that I am "looking for someone"!). And...being a writing recluse has effectively destroyed my once "in-shape" self; it's been almost three years that I haven't been involved in my sports, so I have to have other means of returning to that version of myself. Don't let the "Skinny Minnie" fool you! All that proves is that I still have a decent metabolism (which I plan on exploiting for as long as I can, you know...). So what does this new regiment entail? Early morning Zumba (and hopefully some yoga at some point) sessions as much as possible. I had it for the Wii, and I finally started it. I think it'll help calm the workaholic part of me too; I'll be more relaxed by the time I start on the writing and editing. So wish me luck! I start this new routine tomorrow!