I prepare to travel to the land where Ernest Hemingway wrote war and bullfighting; love and bravado at street side cafes. I am beside myself with excitement!
My cafe is Starbucks. Born in 1971. Like me. I have become addicted to the peppermint mocha, but more so the open netbooks and voices encircling enterprise, dreaming and movement. In the swirl of voices and multi-syllabic coffee orders, I have completed my first novel. The first of what I pray will be many because I have done it before. I have authored countless mead composition novels. I loved how the characters would speak to me and take on a life of their own—the goal always getting them to a place of love and friendship whether they lived in the projects or were the first in their family to get to college. Love and friendship had to live somewhere and so this story, the first one in my serious move toward living as an author, is about love of family and culture and the search for that man that will shoulder life struggles at your side.
My aunt has just done my first official reading. All 350 pages. I can’t thank her enough. I can only make it my business to take her notes and take this story across the finish line. I admired her as a little girl. She was the cool teenage aunt with posters of Sugar Ray Leonard on her wall and perfect English. We have checked in over the years, from time to time, but now when I needed her balance of American experience, Garifuna roots and Honduran birth, she came and told me that she didn’t want to stop reading. Finish reading. The highest praise. She missed the characters when she was done. She almost forgot that I had asked her for notes on how well the culture was represented; how easy the story was to follow and where the language got in the way of the intent. She remembered though and delivered notes organized by page. A lot of notes. So I have work to do, but I have had my first reader! And she edits for her company and said the needed notes were minimal. They never kept her from seeing every scene vividly and finding the ending brilliant.
I am humbled.
And I prepare to travel Europe seeking inspiration of the writers and artists who have told stories so rich and so vivid that the places where they worked and lived are hallowed ground. I can hardly wait to experience the cafes Hemingway frequented, the waters that influenced Dali’s backgrounds, the cobble streets where Dickens set stories or redemption and the Parisian sights that left Picasso enamored. Ah, artists. Talk to me.
Because there is a character trying to reach me. She is surrounded by music in a small, dark club owned by a fan of Miles Davis and she wants to tell me something. She has selflessly dedicated herself to her loved ones, but has stumbled on a talent that is bringing new clientele to this club that wants to single-handedly save music.
I know that much.
Muses be with me. I won’t have a peppermint mocha within reach and honestly, I need to lay off the stuff for a minute, but I am looking forward to being inspired and sneaking a word or two in in the land where some of the most poignant stories originated.
I am an artist, muses. Pass the torch.