When I was 3 years old, I stopped a murder. I literally placed my body between two people who were killing each other: my parents. I remember it vividly; someone would have died that night had I cowered in my room. The most common mistake people make when they see me going on about love and themes of compassion and joy is that my ideas come from an idealistic, unchallenged place of fluff and fairies where no actual strife exists. But I grew up in violence with distress spewing from all directions – parents, grandparents, aunts uncles cousins – bipolar, personality disorder, alcoholic madness confounded by cancers that made frequent guest appearances.
In March 1968, at the peak of dark insanity and bright potential in the Civil Rights movement and the war in Vietnam, I chose to be born in Memphis, TN to two people who had no business being married to each other. My mother used to tell me the story of how the nurse working to help her recover from the cesarean ran screaming from the house when she heard Martin Luther King had just been shot a few miles away. She ran screaming into the street, believing the world was coming to an end – it was. We had a freak snowfall that spring, and a few months later Bobby Kennedy was also killed.
I arrived in a world of extremes and violence and leading edge growth on both macro and microcosmic scales.
When my parents divorced, I was 4 and relieved to experience a house without fighting. That peace was short-lived, though because my grandparents were melting down, too. At 5 years old, it was Gran and Grandaddy I had to stand between, blood on his face, weapon in her hand. After that, it was my mother and grandmother – verbal brutalities escalated over decades of low self-esteem and anger. I was an only child and sole grandchild inside a system of rage and mixed messages. Through all of their storms, I was the eye in the middle. When someone’s sobbing echoed through the house at 2am, I was the one who stood and soothed.
I can keep layering details (there’s so much more), but you get the picture. These things are all past, not because I’ve forgotten but because I no longer identify with that story. I moved to the desert, I gazed at the big horizon, I endured the sweat lodge, worked 30 different jobs, lived in 5 countries, practiced Qi Gong, read and studied, became a Reiki master, burned through ink and keyboards, wrote thousands of pages and taught fearlessly all I know and keep learning more. And I let the injuries go. All of them. When I say things like “love is more powerful than hate, more resilient than fear” I know what I’m talking about. It’s not a hallmark card; it’s a gritty truth. Love is stamina. Love is relief. Love is potency. Love is vibrancy. Love is courage, underscored and elevated.
Love is sanity.
Raising a daughter now, I’m most grateful to have the perspective I’ve earned. Our home is a conflict-free haven – not because we lack difficulties or frustrations, and not because we’re freakishly perfect (ha! so very not), but because love is the assumed priority here and 99% of the time we let love make the call. When we slip, we catch ourselves quickly and return without hesitation.
When you look at the world and see things you don’t like or behaviors you disapprove of or fear, you’re really on to something. How you respond is key. You can point a finger in disgust, or you can inspire by example. You can add violence to the storm, or you can become the eye.
“Hate the sin, love the sinner.” ―Mahatma Gandhi
You can shame people into hearing your message OR you can empower them to see things in new light, to see their options with a more soulfully-enriching perspective. One approach reinforces separation; the other encourages community. One perpetuates distress, intolerance and judgment; the other fosters creative action and compassion.
One mindset feels riveting-yet-raunchy as it courses through you; the other feels nourishing and uplifting – you know the difference.
“Becoming the eye” doesn’t mean submitting to a life martyrdom or codependency. It means filling up with light and allowing that light to radiate from and carry you. Light is never passive. It’s the real deal: how you think impacts the world; the light of your perspective is your first ripple in the stream. Love one another. Solutions depend on it.
Cynicism stems from a feeling of disempowerment, yet all people are innately powerful in a way that cannot be diminished by even the most extreme brutality. Love is how you turn the key to access that power and move forward.
In high school, I marched in peace rallies, protested “white trains” with my math teacher, became an autodidactic expert on the conflict in the Middle East, wrote my congressmen and had pen pals in the war zone. It’s only in retrospect that I can see it as a metaphor for what was happening at home.
The world at first appears to be much too big for one person to impact, but the world is in you, not separate and out there. Loving and forgiving and transcending what is immediately active in your daily life is the essential step toward enlightening all the rest.
“I can’t change the world, but I can change the world in me.” -U2 (my campaign slogan in 1985)
Love is an all or nothing deal.
If you don’t love them, you can’t love yourself. If you haven’t learned to love yourself, you can’t handle them. Love YOU first, just as you are. Love every seed of possibility, know who you aim to be, then walk your talk, lovingly. Love the oppressor and the darkness, too, for they are the players who need it most, emerging from the mulch of great awakening.
“Strangely intimate. Strangely nuclear and cosmic at the same time – time that you point out is circular in the prologue, ‘We are not wired to process.’ Strangely euphoric in the way it hits secret passworded buttons that open niches, cracks and gates to hidden gardens in the mind that unveil insights. Beautiful.” ~P. Shukla
“This book is a masterpiece! It should be made into a movie! It has the fire, it has the spark we all crave. I do not read many novels any more, but this… this book pulls you inside and you can’t put it down… You will want to BE the main character. The books starts in a poetic way and it only gets better. One may think it’s fantasy, but if you are working in certain field, you know that what for one may be impossible- for another is a possibility and a reality.” ~Amazon Reviewer
“…a fantastical trip through the possiBilitiEs,,, smashing illusions, holding space for us to realize the expansiveness of our souls place in this human experience… what a gift she offers us, right here and NOW.!!! I love Amie Martine and so will you…” ~N. Halberstadt
“This novel is so beautiful! I certainly hope the author shares much more of her work with us all. Wonderful writing. It is luminous!” ~M. Schaller
“Every few pages, there’s a line that cracks me wide open. Or an experience that is exactly as I experience things. Or a way of describing something that fits precisely something I’ve been trying to understand, or at least hoping I’m not the only one who sees it that way.” ~M. Chai
“It’s like you are writing me as Amie… The being of the person. It’s incredible how you write similar to my experiences… I love it!” ~T. Wry
The LOOK of Amie Martine by Laurie Perez | ISBN 1523664339
The Amie series: novels for lightworkers, filmmakers, saboteurs, vodka drinkers, poets, myth lovers, Phoenicians, paradigm shifters, travelers, creatives, people who are stuck, people who are rising, introverts, extroverts, women, men, human beings – (yes, you!).
Writing book two, it turns out, is more terrifying than writing the first in the series. It’s more terrifying as the downloads of scenes and dialogues and meaningful discoveries line up to be delivered to the page – each bigger than the last (will I be able to type that fast?). It’s more terrifying as the sense of obligation to these characters roots deeper, pushing down into the unseen well. It’s more terrifying – but also more compelling. More than the first, writing the second book is something I can’t not do.
After The LOOK, The POWER of Amie Martine is a non-negotiable promise to be kept. Each new page turn effects (on a personal scale) the next rotation of the earth – a pulse essential to my heart – respect for a binding agreement to have more fun, be more true, excavate something undeniably new.
Rumi said: unfold your own myth. That is exactly what she did.
Get The LOOK
“Don’t be satisfied with stories, how things have gone with others. Unfold your own myth.” -from The Essential Rumi, by Coleman Barks
Set in the late ‘90s, Torpor tells the story of a young man searching for his father – and coming to terms with his own identity in the process.
On the 20th anniversary since I finished the book, I opened and read a few pages and once again was hooked. Here’s to you, Peter – muse who kept me sleepless so many nights and taught me how rich the process can be when you surrender completely.
Someday I want to go back to San Felipe de Jesus and find the Jesus in that place. Someday I want to trap myself in those washboard towns, Aconchi, Magdalena; I want to meet their saints someday. I would ask them if they have ever been in love.
I don’t mean the syrup they lay on you in the media. I mean the meat of love, the hardness of it, the ice water that wakes you up into the heat of day. The Mexico of love, with rocks, pickup trucks, fat men and sugary children. Cock-sure, moonlit tequila, sweet lime, metallic bed for secret touching. Did they ever reach that side of life? Those mealy saints with their crosses on their backs, did they have enough stomach for the midnight lunch of love?
At first it was enough that the tree was there
That something generous and wholly undemanding had appeared
An opening for wonderment in a beleaguered space
It was enough by itself — adding more too soon
Would have tipped it in the wrong direction
Trust had to bloom with it first
And then, primed and steady, they started to receive
From the working draft of book two in the Amie series: The POWER of Amie Martine.
The cocktail napkins on the bar were a discouraging, stylish black. Pen in hand, I asked the bartender if he could scrounge up a scrap of paper, something more inviting to the ink. He didn’t jive – smiled and offered nothing. I sat a while contemplating skin – wouldn’t be the first time I’ve made fast notes on a forearm – but knew there was a tide coming in, needing serious shore. It took a few minutes to remember: the restroom was well-stocked in neatly folded, off-white towelettes – perfect texture for a ballpoint to roll over.
Need addressed. Resources at the ready.
Prolific tangents called ink out into open air while the ice melted in a disappearing pour of good tequila. It feels good to be in the process, driven to turn thoughts into words, words into scenes, scenes into worlds.
Nod if you’ve been there. When the muse says, “Work,” you say, “Yes.”
A new bedtime tradition is taking over — it involves me improvising tales of Princess BooBoo who lives in a Bandaid box and has the most varied, spontaneous adventures. My 5-yr-old daughter, Sachi gets so tickled as I make the stories up, she demands more and wants a new one every night. Nothing written – this is strictly an oral tradition. What I love is the momentum of the story being summoned through me by her eagerness to receive it.
This is why writers need readers!
The very first reader of a book is the author herself – on behalf of the many, she opens into that state of eager innocence and from there the story begins its telling. Of all the gifts Princess BooBoo has been delivering, this pure delight in creative process is the gem for me.