While I’ve made the decision to not invest the time and energy required to format “Ophelia’s Wayward Muse” for the Kindle, Nook, and other tablets, I have decided to offer a .pdf version of the book for sale on Lulu.com

There are a few reasons for this. The product I designed was specifically designed to be appreciated as a book. From the cover art to the colours to the font choices, it has a slightly antiquated and personal feel that simply can’t be conveyed on a computer screen. I firmly believe that what I’ve created is meant to be read in such a way that you might forget, for a few moments, that everything we do is electronic, instantaneous, and impersonal.

Yet, I am aware that people enjoy having a lower-cost option available, and many people simply do not want stacks of books cluttering up a space. So, in the spirit of compromise, I’m offering an electronic edition of “Ophelia’s Wayward Muse in old-fashioned .pdf format. There are no bells and whistles, and you’re missing out on the back cover (which is really just a lovely quotation and my bio).

The .pdf is $2.99 (compared to $7.99 for a hard copy on Amazon.com), and can be purchased instantly on my Lulu Author Spotlight page. However, for the truly old-fashioned book lovers and romantic spirits, I’d still recommend ordering the book in physical form. You’ll enjoy it all the more for being tangible. :)

Thank you to everyone who donated to Ophelia’s Wayward Muse, and to everyone who gave me advice about the publication process! My goal was to raise $600 towards publication of my poetry compilation, and ended up raising $625, so it means a lot to me that my friends believed in this project, and in helping me cross an important goal off of my bucket list. :)

I’ll now be spending the next few weeks working on editing, typesetting, cover design, and making sure that the finished project is something to which I am thrilled to lend my name. I anticipate that publication of the book will be in completed in November, and I’ll also be releasing an e-book format, and listing the book for sale on Amazon.

Of course, we’ll be throwing a huge event in honour of this achievement, because any reason is a good reason to get together with friends and celebrate life, right? It may not be the world’s biggest achievement, but for someone who has spent a lifetime writing poetry and hiding it under her bed in hopes nobody would ever read it, it’s a monumental step. Self-confidence and not diminishing dreams, however small, are an essential part of happiness.

I have never been emotionally fearless enough to put myself out there, because the inevitable criticism and judgment and “You suck” is always hard to take. Acting is a little different; it isn’t *you* who is being judged, so much as a production, a director, a character you’ve been hired to play. Writing, especially the kind of creative stuff I put out there, is intensely personal.

Earlier in the year, I decided that’s exactly *why* I had to start putting myself and my work out there. I have a voice, and a story to tell, which makes me just like every other human being on this earth. Yet, most choose not to tell their stories and not to share their voice with the world, because insecurity and criticism and fear of rejection are really strong demons.

This year, I decided it was time to prove I was stronger.

Some supportive friends have told me this may just be an important and transformative step in the journey of my life, one that admittedly doesn’t have a map. I’m not nearly that ambitious, but it touches me to be reminded that people believe in me. Some people believe in me a lot more than they ought to, and give me more credit than I deserve (I often pretend otherwise, but deep down, I’m a pretty humble person). I think that has been the best part of this process, being reminded I have a support system out there, and that’s a pretty remarkable gift. I may have left New York a long time ago, but a lot of the New York mentality has remained with me: I have the gift of mistakenly feeling I am alone and isolated, even in a crowd of people. I tend to be a bit distrustful, to think the worst of people, especially when it comes to what they think of me.

I woke up really happy this morning, after having a dream in which I was perfectly content and happy. It was an unrealistic dream; in real life, the things that made me happy would never work out that way, but it was a reflection of my idealistic self peeking through.

Being reminded that sometimes, people care about you and believe in you is important, for everyone.

So, a huge thank you to everyone who reached out to me to show support, encouragement, friendship, and to remind me that my friendship has touched them in a positive way. All of you have touched me, as well, or there’d be no inspiration behind this book in the first place. :)

Stay tuned for the occasional update on how Ophelia is progressing. :) Now, time for possibly the least exciting weekend ever. *laughs* (What happened to those days when I was not ill, and lived in a walkable part of town, and downtime was a rarity? I’m not as young as I used to be, but I kind of miss that.)

For friends and blog readers who may care, I’ve been working on finally getting a compilation of my poetic efforts ready for publication. The book is entitled “Ophelia’s Wayward Muse”, and is a project that’s existed in one form or another for 10 years or so. It’s finally at a point where I have a “finished” and typed manuscript, and am ready to begin pursuing the publication process.

Since doing so is relatively expensive, especially for a girl whose life has started overflowing with bills over the past year (for anyone who doesn’t know, it’s cheaper to die than to recover, should you find yourself seriously ill. I think our medical system could use some serious revision.), I’ve decided to look into alternative methods of funding. Kickstarter is a great site to raise money for artistic projects. With the number of people I know, it seems to me that just having friends, acquaintances, and loyal readers of this blog donate a few extra dollars here and there is enough to help me accomplish this rather modest fundraising goal.

So, in order to fund my “crossing this off the bucket list” endeavour, I’ve set up a project to support the publication of Ophelia’s Wayward Muse. If you want to help me see this happen, please consider donating a few dollars to the project. In fact, if you’ve ever enjoyed my blogs, my e-mails, or my snarky, entertaining Facebook correspondence, it’s a great way to encourage me to keep on writing and being productive. Of course, if you have reason to believe there’s a poem about you in this anthology, you should definitely show some love. :P *laughs*

I’m intending on the publication of my first poetic collection to be a fabulous way to celebrate the end of 2012 (which also happens to include my birthday!), and of course, there will be a huge party to celebrate when all is said and done. I have 30 days to raise the necessary cash for this project, and it’s an all-or-nothing deal…if I don’t reach my goal, your payment is not processed and nothing is ever sent my way. :(

A separate page has been established on this site for Ophelia’s Wayward Muse, which currently includes a sample poem from the book, acknowledgements in the form of thanks to those who have donated, and will keep interested parties updated on the progress of the publication. Please share with your artistic and literary-inclined friends, as not only do I want to raise money for this project, but also interest and support!

Please help me to build a home for wayward words! :)

“”Too many guys think I’m a concept, or I complete them, or I’m gonna make them alive. But I’m just a fucked-up girl who’s looking for my own peace of mind; don’t assign me yours.”—“Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind”

Over the past year or two, one of the things I’ve struggled with the most in my life is the balance between establishing something resembling “security” in my life, while also feeling the freedom to be myself, and express myself and create myself freely. It’s odd, because I’ve never been one of those people who had to go looking to “find myself”. I’ve made a lot of mistakes, journeyed down a number of different paths, but I’ve always had this fundamental understanding of who I am. (I think it’s why my Meyers-Briggs and similar personality tests have remained almost identical over a period of nearly 12 years, while most of my friends’ have altered with their lifestyle changes and personal growth.) No matter where I am, what life I’ve chosen to live, what I choose to do with my time, who I choose to surround myself with, I’m largely the same person. I’m more than a little quirky, creative, colourful, insecure, snarky, outgoing with a definite need to escape into my own little world sometimes, a little demanding and outspoken at times, a little withdrawn and inaccessible at others, divisive and intimidating for reasons I’ve never understood, stubborn, charismatic, energetic, intelligent, quick-witted, funny on occasion, unconventional, naturally attractive to some and naturally repellent to others. I sense things about other people and situations that others don’t always see. Sometimes I see too much about others for my own good, or for theirs. I am an observer of human nature, inspired by the dark and idealistic alike, and have dreams and visions that are so vivid they seem a part of my reality. I’m extraordinarily passionate about everything except the daily, mundane, repetitive stuff I’d love to be passionate about. I’m not like everyone else, and I’m long past the point in my life where that makes me feel badly about myself, though I’d be lying if I didn’t say I often saw people who represent my vision of conformity and the road usually traveled and wonder if I’d be happier and life would have been easier if I’d only been born that kind of person.

Interestingly enough, another thing I’ve always been for people in my life is a muse. I don’t know why; I’m with myself all the time, and I don’t find myself particularly intriguing or inspiring. I’m not the smartest or the most beautiful or the most interesting or the most assertive person in the world. Although I’m different, I’m also fairly low-key and ordinary in many ways. Yet, a lifetime of surrounding myself with artists and intellectuals and unconventional people has taught me that others see something in myself that I do not.

Over the years, I’ve been the subject of short stories and poems, posed for sketches, and had my portrait painted. I’ve been, although to a minor extent, immortalised in book form (for which I’ll always be eternally flattered.) I’ve starred in a number of different plays, musicals, operas, put on a one-woman show, and learned that every director I’ve ever met has looked at me and seen a different person. I’ve worked with artistic photographers and appeared in exhibitions. I’ve had a number of people tell me I inspire them to live, love, grow, and create. I’ve had some friendships and love affairs with people whose names you might recognise, although there’s not that much recognisable about me.

On one hand, it’s very flattering. On the other hand, it’s a great burden, being the thing that inspires someone else. I’ve had too many relationships end because someone fell in love with the girl who was going to help them break out of their shell and see a wider, brighter world, only to abandon that girl when the mission was accomplished (and marry or move in with the next girl in their life, one who was inevitably much more focused, much less flighty, but much less passionate about life.) I’ve discussed this story before, in my entry about the role of manic pixies in real life, so this is not a story about that.

Neither is this a post about “You should like my stories; I am awesome.” In fact, it’s a reflection from a girl who has learned that stability has come at a price. While I’ve been busy over the last two years or so struggling for “independence”, “respectability”, and “stability”, all things I’ve told adults need and qualities I naturally seem to lack, I’ve put many of the things that make me who I am on the back burner. My self-confidence and self-image has suffered greatly, from the emotional toll of trying to figure out what I need from my life, and wondering why people often judge and disapprove of me, to the physical trauma and side effects from illness that have affected me mentally, physically, emotionally. I don’t have the energy I once did, and never anticipated living without. The 25 pounds that got added to my body left me looking at a person I don’t love, a person who doesn’t care to flaunt herself, a person who isn’t always flirtatious or interesting to others, a person who no longer wants to be photographed or put on stage or be the centre of attention. In my mind, I no longer have it in me to inspire anyone, including myself…and I can’t help but think that’s a great loss. In reality, I’m still finding I occupy space in the world where I encounter men and women who idealise me, are curious about me, are enamoured of me, want to know me better because I bring out some creative and imaginative spirit. Apparently, a muse does not have to be in good spirits, young, beautiful, or easy to get along with, something which fascinates me. What is it about people that “inspires” certain other people?

Recently, I was having drinks with a friend of mine, and he said he didn’t know why others found him inspiring. In fact, he felt soul-baringly self-conscious about the idea, as if there were this fear that at some point, everyone would see he was just a scared, ordinary guy, and he’d be accused of being a fraud, a poseur. Really, when it came down to it, he didn’t see anything inspiring about himself at all. I’m not sure he even is at a point in his life where he knows who he is, or if he likes himself.

However, when I look at him, I see someone extraordinarily inspiring. He’s a person who once weighed over 650 pounds, and 2 years later, has lost over half of that. He’s been so inspiring to other people that, after finishing a tough obstacle-course type race here in Atlanta, he received an offer to spend the next 6 months training for a marathon. Not only that, he’s going to have the right kind of people to get him in shape, and help him reach his goal weight.

You see it on TV shows like “The Biggest Loser” all the time (transformations that are not always the healthiest), but to know someone with the sheer amount of willpower he has, someone who not only knows what he wants to do, but has the fortitude to battle against obstacles to get there, that’s true inspiration. When I felt too dizzy to be able to go outside and walk for five minutes without having a panic attack or worrying I’d have a heart attack, thinking about all he’d conquered gave me the strength to keep going, little by little. I’m a naturally impatient person, so accepting what I wanted was never going to happen overnight was the hardest part, but accepting that it wouldn’t happen at all if I didn’t start taking those little steps was what kept me getting out of bed on days it didn’t seem worth it to do so.

I’m telling this story today because my friend is leaving for his 6 months of training today, and although I haven’t known him for that long or gotten to know him as well as I’d have liked to, the few serious and thought-provoking and downright funny conversations we’ve had have made me an instant fan. He’s been nothing but supportive of me in the time I’ve known him, but in that honest, “It’s not really my job in life to flatter you and you can handle some constructive criticism” way that I need, but can only accept from certain people without being too emotionally impacted. There’s no doubt about it, I’ll truly miss him, and have no doubt he’ll be out there accomplishing everything he puts his mind to for the next six months.

People never really know when they inspire others, and when they discover that they do, the reaction to that is usually one of feeling flattered, mixed with “Why on Earth would you think anything special about *me*?”. For much of my life, I’ve felt a bit like the creative and often romantic “inspiration” I’ve evoked from certain others in my path has been unwarranted; the work of overly idealistic people who look at another overly idealistic person, and grow attached to a reality that isn’t there. I’ve always felt the need to shake people and say “Don’t you see there’s nothing special about me? I just pretend because you can’t go through life letting the world know that.”

Yet, what I’ve come to realise is that, like my friend, my own lack of self-confidence and skewed perception about the power I have to affect other human beings in this world, has kept me from seeing things that other people see in me….and those things have little to do with whether or not I’m in a positive mood, whether or not my body is in ideal shape, whether or not I feel like putting the effort into being charming or I end up being just downright impossible. I don’t know what people see in me, what inspires them…but I also know the people in my life probably have no idea, as an artist, who or what inspires me.

For years, I’ve kept a series of poems called “Intrigue”. It is not, as you might imagine, a recounting of all my various flings and fascinations and relationships. It is a collection of emotionally-based sketches, people who were able to evoke a response from me that inspired me. There are friends, lovers, acquaintances, enemies, people I no longer know, even people I’ve never met, detailed in these poems. There are people with whom I’ve spent years of my life, yet never wrote an “Intrigue” about.

Recently, a friend of mine who is a writer and all-around creative individual urged me to collect these, to turn all my “Intrigue” poems (and subsequent spin-offs) into a small volume of poetry. It likely wouldn’t be more than 30 pages, and few of the poems are any good; they’re merely emotional sketches. When I told her this, she repeated her encouragement for the project.

I again asked why, and she said “Maybe I just want to know what really moves you, what makes you tick. And if I do, so do more than a handful of others.” (I decided that, in my free time, I’d work on this and perhaps end up sharing with a handful of people who like reading my stuff.)

Everyone is inspired by someone, in some way…and in return, everyone inevitably inspires someone else.

I suppose it’s the circle of artistic—and emotional—life.

And I hope my friend remembers that when he’s missing home a bit, and off changing his life for the better..there’s simply no shortage to the amount of inspiration you can offer, even to your friends and family back home.

If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are gone, either write things worth reading or do things worth writing.”
~ Benjamin Franklin

Although today was not the best of days, mostly because health-related issues were the worst they’d been in some time, probably due to the weather changing rather dramatically (from 83 and sunny to 53 and rainy in 48 hours), I did try to make the best of it. In addition to work and reality TV night, I also caught up on some phone calls, did some reading, completed some SwapBot stuff, and in a burst of inspiration, decided to write in my poetry journal.

I’ve been writing poetry since I was about 8 years old, and my first published piece was in a literary journal at the age of 10, so it goes without saying that it’s been a crucial part of my life for much of my life…and like many pieces of myself, one that got lost along the way.

Almost as if by a message from fate, I lost my beloved poetry journals, which I’d meticulously written in for years. Shortly thereafter, while indisposed and without internet, I lost my domain, which stored the only remaining copies of many of my poems and all my short stories. For the past year or two, I’ve been trying to piece together fragments of lost creativity, always excited when I come across something not taken away from me.

At one time, I had a significant amount of material for an amateur writer: three volumes of poetry (one each from 1993-1999, from 2000-2005, and from 2006 until the present), plus a collection of 12 short stories. In addition, I was publishing a daily and verbose blog, until deciding to take my feelings offline entirely due to some negative experiences in 2006.

I had kind of had to come to the acceptance of the fact that, through some bad luck and negative situations, much of my creative work from most of my adolescent and adult life was gone. It was a hard separation to deal with, and as a result, I largely stopped expressing myself, writing few poems and not resurrecting my blog until last year.

Today, the best thing in the world happened. I was able to rescue a huge portion of material from an earlier, more online-oriented phase in my life. Not everything was there, of course, but I was able to retrieve a number of webpages, all my short stories, and close to 100 poems. It isn’t that everything…or even anything…I retrieved is good, worthy of reading or compiling, but it’s mine and it is immensely special to me.

I feel like a piece of me has been restored. This autumn and winter, which I anticipate will largely be a period of convalescence and solitude, since I’ve been suffering with illness, and feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders, I intend to reconstruct my poetry journals, and also perhaps add some of my old pages to this site, just for nostalgia’s sake. At some point, I’d like to cross off one of my “bucket list” goals and actually publish my volume of poems, even just for those closest to me.

Some days, you feel like life has rewarded you with allowing you to unexpectedly unearth a jewel. This is one of those days, a day where I’ve regained a piece of myself that’s been gone for some time. I feel more complete, more inspired, and jubilant about this admittedly unimportant discovery.