Today I would like to discuss something I've been pondering lately. Just a short, breezy discussion here, but it's something I wanted to touch upon for all of you.
On the topic of human emotions, I'd like to explore my theory that they (emotions) are not in fact the soul-feelings of a person; rather, emotions come from the earth-matter of the person entirely. Well well I know this is controversial, but it is what I think, so I don't care if it sounds controversial. I believe that emotions come from an area within the human belly (stomach); while the destined soul-feelings of an individual come from the chest area of the person (right there in the middle of your chest.) I do believe emotions to be from the clay and soil while destined, purposeful soul-feelings are of an entirely different origin.
I have found human emotions to be rather destructive and I have seen that it is obvious that the most highly-emotional nations are also the most poverty-stricken nations, the most highly-emotional people are the ones most likely to take everything personally, thus hindering the course of mature progress in life and so on and so forth. I think that when people hear the phrase "Follow your heart" they immediately think it means "Follow your emotions;" on the contrary, when I hear that phrase, what I think of is "Follow the soul," which is what I believe the heart is. Emotions are not from the heart, at all. Purpose, Destiny and all things Unbroken are from the heart. Emotions are often not purposeful, not destined, and very often broken!
As a writer, I am perceived to be in love with human emotions or something, simply because of my humanistic views on life, but, it's really not the case. Humanism is a perspective and a perspective I take for observation. I find emotions to be the earth-version of Destined Purpose (Destined Purpose being what I think is the driving force of the gods and the angels.)
Well, that will be all. Just a slight touch on this topic because I don't want to lead into a too-controversial engagement here! That will be it and I hope you all have enjoyed this short read for today!
Here is the second half of the very insightful feedback on my novella that I shared just recently, coming from the same person, Zohar Raphael. This second half contains spoilers, so, if spoilers aren't your cup of tea, please skip this one and keep your satisfaction with the first half!
With this "episode" we conclude an extremely insightful look into my work, Saint Paul Trois Châteaux: 1948. When I wrote my novella, I had a strong feeling that my audience would be primarily male; not female. So far, it looks like my initial instincts were right on the money! :-) You see, to write a novel for the typical YA female audience, an author has to take on a whole different process of styling, concentrating on the things that would "latch" the young, modern-day woman into the protagonist's character, tell that character what every woman wants to hear, and etc. That wasn't my aim when creating my manuscript; my aim was to create a classic piece of literature that could be discussed in University's Literary courses, a book that people will a hundred years from now proudly mount onto their shelves so that all their friends may bear witness to their taste in literature, and so on and so forth. I wanted to take all readers on a wild, mad, poisoning, breathtaking and breathless experience! I wanted everyone who reads my book to taste, smell, feel, hear, and see! Chew and swallow! Close their eyes and breathe in! I am very happy with the feedback I have been receiving recently because it shows me that I have been successful in what I wanted to be successful at! Well, it's not a hundred years later yet, but, we're on the way there! :-)
Please enjoy the read...
"So, now that I've had a little time to reflect, allow me to finish my thoughts on the book. I was very pleased I got to see young Lucy on the streets of New York, and being who I expected. I have a great affinity for characters that reject the "practical," and who have a strong sense that they know what's best for themselves. Life is a work in progress that can never be truly engaged when one is surrounded by people attempting to shelter them from making "mistakes." Brene Brown writes that children are "hardwired for struggle." We do not grow without failure, and we do not know real strength until we experience getting back up to continue fighting for what it is we want. The mark of wholeness, in my opinion, is having confidence in knowing what is best for oneself, while not assuming that what's best for you is what is best. Not everyone loves chocolate (I don't understand those people but, as my mother often says, "That's why they make vanilla."), but it is not up to those of us who know that chocolate is evidence of Divine Providence to convert these poor deluded souls. :-) Lucy loves chocolate. Lucy is perfectly happy blazing her own path, to the point of walking into potential chambers of pain in order to find clarity on that path. Everyone should be so courageous. The world would be a lot shinier if this were so, I believe. So, thank you for giving me Lucy. It is no wonder that Thibaut and Pierre-Auguste were so passionate about her. The Lucys of the world captivate and take hold of men's hearts. It is unavoidable I think. This leads me to the end. I am a firm believer in love. It is a many faceted jewel filled with lust, passion, devotion, pain and, most of all, doing. It is a curious phrase "making love", isn't it? Love is not a noun. It's something we do. It's something we make. When one allows their soul to be filled with lust, desire, and passion for another, if they truly love, they do for them. They will bare themselves, expend their life blood, and sweat, and open themselves up utterly for the one who moves them thus. This is why the ones we love can devastate us like no other. You will never be truly pained by someone to whom you have not fully exposed your heart. It's the risk we take to have this ultimate experience.
It was with this in mind that I started thinking, as the pages were becoming fewer, where was Pierre-Auguste? I was glad to see you didn't send Lucy after him. That wouldn't have felt true to her. I wanted Pierre-Auguste to dare greatly, to rekindle his fire for her, to at last go for what it was he wanted, rather than sacrificing himself on the altar of his fidelity for Thibaut. There is nothing glorious or heroic in letting what you want slip away for someone else. For me, the darkest, the most painful part of the book was the moment you described the world leaving Pierre-Auguste's eyes when he surrendered acting on his love for Lucy to Thibaut, who never honored his brother's sacrifice in any way. What a wretched crime to commit against the human heart! I will be frank and say that Thibaut made me sick inside from the start. I could not even cultivate any sympathy for him and the internal pain he carried for what he had done. Unable to act on that which he wanted, and unable to confess knowing he would never have any hope of having it, that agony is exactly what he deserved. He hoped for redemption, but did not have the courage to claim it. It had to come from the one person who could give it: Pierre-Auguste. As a man, I was very moved in the moment he told Thibaut he was taking Lucy back, that he sought to reclaim the love that was rightfully his, and that Thibaut was never worthy of having. Ken Kesey used to say that we should live life as the stars and directors of our own movies. When Pierre-Auguste confronted Thibaut, I could see the world returning to his eyes, only rather than just taking it in and giving it away, he was going to claim it for himself. So brilliantly human! Well done!
And then, the bonus chapter, the mirror of the washroom. Again, your painting was lavish (You rekindled my desire to visit Italy. I have always suspected that if I went up north I would unknowingly find an existence there and never leave, save to bring my dogs. :-)). It was a beautiful, etherial dream you made of it, the most atmospheric chapter for me. As Lucy leapt from the bed to window, I envisioned that, down below was Pierre-Auguste. He dared to live and risk his heart to try and take the life he wanted, the love he wanted. This is a thing that many people sacrifice in the name of safety, resigning themselves to living half-lives of quiet desperation. Perhaps he would have gone down in flames, but he was there. Regardless of the consequences, he was there, and the moment he saw Lucy appear at the balcony, if I were him, would have made the journey entirely worth it. And, because you never named him, that's exactly how I can leave it. I'm sure it is the natural reaction of readers to speculate what would happen: meeting his daughter; would Lucy tell him? Would they live happily ever after? Would she kick him in the chins and send him packing? Was it even Pierre-Auguste at all? Oddly enough, none of that mattered to me. What mattered, in my mind, was that he showed up. He risked everything. That's a life worth living, and that's all I needed to take away."
I wanted to share with all of you some feedback I received from a fellow writer, Kabbalist, and reader of my work. This is about my novella, Saint Paul Trois Châteaux: 1948, in particular.
It has been difficult for me to receive reviews of my work, as mostly my readers have this desire to keep my books "secret" for some otherworldly reasons of their own. People want to keep my books as "their secret treasures" and I understand and appreciate that, on the other hand, it's not good for my sales! :-D Nevertheless, I encourage people to feel whatever way they want, about my work. But I am grateful to receive some extremely insightful feedback from this particular person and I hope that his insight to my novella, being the perspective of a reader, will prepare all of you and anyone for the contents of my short novel, readying your minds and hearts for what to expect from my writing. Thank you, Zohar Raphael!
Enjoy the read!
"I'm going to have to stick to The Washroom, otherwise I could easily end up with the skeleton of a screenplay by the end of the week.
I began reading yesterday afternoon. I took in the first few chapters, and nodded off for the obligatory Shabbat nap :-). When I returned home from synagogue later in the evening, I got into bed, hunkered down with my dogs, and read by yellowed lamplight long into the night, letting myself take the time to drink in the atmosphere and feeling.
Let me start by wondering how it is that no one has really picked up on the notion of The Washroom as the literary heart? I could just tell. You set up the drama exquisitely, "filling her senses with the eternal...almost poison..." That was the point when I began feeling the anticipation of revelation. But my "here we go" moment came when it was clear you were going to let us be alone with Lucy, and began describing the washroom itself.
Up to that point, you had painted the scenes concisely, generating a sense of place and mood with a subtle ease, leaving behind any need for overburdening detail. You gave just enough for me to see it, and let my mind conjure up the fine details. To me, stylistically, this is the overarching strength of the work. It reminded me of J.D. Salinger describing the Waldorf Astoria, the atmosphere of Holden's train ride, the concocting of a pitcher of Tom Collins in Raise High The Roofbeam...
But the washroom...I could tell you wanted to make sure we were realIy going to be in there, as if we should be able to find our way around because things were about to get very intense very quickly. I knew you weren't going to let Lucy leave the room without showing me the nexus of this story. You fashioned the atmosphere, maintaining the richer detail of the description of the layering elements of Lucy's rising chaos: the broken glass, her hair, the tears, the music, the makeup...while applying your delicate, concise descriptive subtlety to her memories, which I felt you presented with a tranquility that could have been mistakenly seen as an escape when, in fact, that seemingly pleasant glance over her shoulder to the past only seemed to fuel the confusion, the heartache. If that duality of feeling was your object, you nailed it. I envisioned her feeling trapped between all the possible pasts, and an as yet unreckoned present. If a reader sees Lucy in this state, and doesn't wish they could bring her some comfort, even for a moment, they might just be a zombie.
I cannot emphasize enough how your conservation of detail is allowing me to feel like a participant, a collaborator...your prose and my mind's eye. It feels a lot like making music. The space between the notes, the unspoken, the unsaid...I felt as if you left enough space for me to enter with my own brushes, so I could complete the feeling, the timbre of a scene with my own personal touches. I love when a writer lets me do that.
I could see it, feel it...the chiaroscuro of the pub and village; the creaking of the worn but polished chairs; the provocation of body heat, smoke, wine, and background conversation. You let me decide that the mossy bank's surface was warm from the noonday sun, the pressure of their toes revealing the lingering cool of the previous night beneath.
The image of Pierre-August's shirt on top of Lucy's camisole...for me it worked akin to Andrew Wyeth's oft employed portrait style that I like to refer to as "psychic anthropomorphizing", where the subjects are portrayed by their ubiquitous but uninhabited belongings: a favorite coat hung on a wooden peg...an empty pair of weather worn boots. I believe I was able to experience a heightened atmosphere of the mingling sensual innocence in my mind that way than had you taken the time to describe the removing of clothing.
I painted in the sensation of the swirled subtle rush of the water that Pierre-August must have felt on his stomach as he drew Lucy close. You let me imagine the nervous electricity of the anticipation, desire, and knowing between them in that lingering moment.
You wrote of the warmth of his lips on her fingers, but allowed me to imagine what must have been his intoxication from her closeness, mingling with the taste of the cool moist sensation of her fingers, and the perchance trickle of lingering drops of water passing from her skin, over his lips and onto his tongue; the sublimity he would have felt had he then drawn her in closer, perhaps pressing his lips into the palm of her hand as he felt the totality of her body against his...the kind of moment that forever lingers in the pantheon of memory of anyone who has been fortunate enough to have had such an experience. And all the while you deftly cast these pieces of memory across the narrative. If you turned this into a screen play, I feel like I could direct it with my eyes closed. Absolutely tremendous.
It has been a very long time since I've felt anything like this from a work of literature. I'm not so interested in reading fiction if the author is going to leave nothing to the reader's imagination, if they spoon feed the reader so they can focus on snappy dialogue, or action. I suppose a lot people go for that. It prevents them from having to think, or even feel. They can just escape, let it wash over them like a Saturday matinée. Reading this has been a truly intimate experience, and at this writing, I have yet to even reach the end. I've been trying to tend to my garden, though the sun is cold here today.
And now I am wishing there was a way for you wire into my brain to experience my impressions in the moment, rather than this somewhat degraded electronic echo."
If you would like to submit feedback about any of my books, please do so here. Better yet, write a review on Amazon, B&N, Goodreads, or wherever you feel like leaving a review! I would really appreciate it! xx