The Ruby Dares Me

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Someday, I’ll get to hear these lines spoken by an actor with a true Irish accent and the soul of a poet…

Spoken word version of a poem by D Dodds Berry, featured in The Amie Series novels. All images, music and words (c) Laurie Perez.

A quick note from the author: D is an Irish poet, raised in County Mayo in the west of Ireland, now teaching in the wilds of Arizona in the western US. Someday I’d LOVE to hear his lines spoken by an Irish actor… if that’s you, consider yourself invited: send me a track.

FULL TEXT OF THE POEM:

Colors don’t lurk in you, needing
to be turned this way and that,
begging harsh light to call them forth.
Frivolous diamonds expect you to bend
and squint and seek refraction from greedy
elusive facets keeping
all their vibrant secrets hidden
in the hard chisel of war-born crystal.

That won’t do.

For you it must be real.
Juicy, ripe, fired from Earth for
being too brilliant to abide our dust.
Not cold and distant like a taunting star
you’ll never reach within a lifetime,
but perfervid, nucleic fusion
burning away borrowed echoes
of self-limiting stars across all time
to venerate newness in a gem.

Like your pulse, the ruby dares
me daily to remember: we are
for each other alive
and alive for each other.

D Dodds Berry, in The POWER of Amie Martine, sequel to The LOOK  http://mybook.to/the-look ISBN 1523664339

 

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a new kind of superpower

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THIS is the episode in which Neil deGrasse Tyson and Kevin Smith speculated on a radical superpower. They were excited by the concept, even though Chuck Nice thought it might “kill comic books.” They all spoke as if the concept had never been developed. I was excited, too — because it HAS been developed — in two novels I’ve published! I want them to know these books exist.

The Superpower Kevin Smith told Neil deGrasse Tyson he wants: that’s The LOOK! 📚 ISBN 1523664339 Conceived in 2013, The LOOK has evolved through two speculative fiction books published in 2016 and 2018 as part of The Amie Series. A third book is in progress now.

Amie Martine is a complex (often flawed) character, worth much more than “a half page” as they mused near the end of the episode.

When Kevin Smith first described the idea, Neil deGrasse Tyson was moved and inspired. “It’s profound,” he said. Why put Lex Luther in prison when his heart could be rebooted… This is the line of thinking Amie Martine explores — reluctantly in the first book before taking it to the next level in the second. It is profound — a true paradigm shift. That’s why I’ve spent five years writing this premise in the Amie Series.

Learn more about The LOOK: The LOOK: a story by Spark

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PS: Since I first squeed about this via multiple outlets and phone calls last week, several bright, enthusiastic friends (and a few supportive strangers) have urged me to “send the book to their agents.” Can you imagine the truckloads of books, gifts and myriad things aspiring sci-fi writers and avid fans send in that direction! Most are asking for something in return — a review, an endorsement, a public nod, etc. I just want to put Amie Martine on their radarbecause it’s relevant and timely in a unique way. Beyond that, I’d naturally love to think they’d enjoy the books — what author wouldn’t wish such an outcome — from any reader? If it happens organically, so be it. At a minimum, I invite discovery.

Thank you for sharing and reposting this story!

silent men

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Torpor - a novel by Laurie Perez ISBN_1453684751

“Too many silent men have ruined themselves in themselves.” –Maria, in Torpor

 

The last guest left at sunrise. Pedro and I were having hot chocolate in the kitchen, at his asking. I had not cleaned at all. The floor was a painting of brown sauces, salsas verde and rojo, corn crumbs and wine stains. The air sang heavy with warm fruit and garlic and cilantro and beer and pepper. I looked at that little one across from me and I said:

You talk to me now. Maybe you don’t talk to anyone else. But you will talk to me.  Too many silent men have ruined themselves in themselves. ~Maria, in TORPOR

Peter Arellano – or Pedro, as his grandmother calls him – grew up in the shadow of his father’s demons. Maria made serious mistakes with her son, Carlos – mistakes she hopes she can undo through his son.

 Set in L.A., Phoenix, Sonora & Nayarit Mexico  TORPOR: Though the Heart is Warm is a novel about spells we allow family to imprint on us – spells we must learn to break.

📚 http://mybook.to/torpor-perez | ISBN 1453684751 | This is Peter’s story – read it with a good tequila or mescal.

in that motion of divine stupidity

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Orpheus by Franz von Stuck 1891 rights-free

Orpheus by Franz von Stuck 1891 [rights free usage] – Both Orpheus and Eurydice are pivotal characters in The Amie Series by Laurie Perez

“At the last minute, he broke the rule and he looked. He was so rapt in his view of the light at the end of the tunnel, he got excited, tuned up, he got crazy nervous and for a second he wavered in his confidence and he looked! To confirm or affirm or just firm up,” students laughing, “his manly love for her and in that motion of divine stupidity, he killed her dead forever with a glance. Hades ripped her back into his den and that was, proverbially, that.”

A girl across from me says bitterly, “No second, second chance for Orpheus.”

“He was fucked,” D continues, nodding. “Not because the gods were heartless, but because he fucked up. The guilt of that. Can you imagine? Spent the rest of his pathetic days wallowing, lamenting, composing (or was it decomposing?) heartbreaking tunes upon his lyre, dissolving in grief and music and art, never being the least bit happy or lovable. The saddest sap of all. How do we tell a story like that without being sappy? Oh woe! How do we shape into lines our most harrowing mistakes and losses without drenching them in sticky poetic sap?”

scene from D’s MFA class

The LOOK of Amie Martine | novel | ISBN 1523664339
http://mybook.to/the-look amazon | #amiemartine

who’s better: library or amazon?

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OK – it’s an absurd question. We love libraries — in Arizona, we have some of the most compelling bibliophilic architecture I’ve encountered in all of my travels. Libraries are blessings! And we love amazon. I remember when it was new in the realm of book-lovers — in the days of noisy dial-up modems and Usenet — it rocked my world.

I was writing my first novel, living on a dirt road at the foot of the Huachuca Mountains in Southeastern Arizona, a short drive from the boarder of Mexico. The nearest big bookstores were two hours away in Tucson and the closest cool bookshop was an hour away in Bisbee. Having stacks of craved books and obscure titles arriving at my door was pure bliss. Yeah. I worshipped amazon.

These days I’m grateful for amazon because it carries my own novels. And I lament amazon because it buries them in the maze of more aggressively marketed titles.

Yesterday I learned a local library refused to stock one of my novels because it “doesn’t have many reviews on amazon.”

A Phoenix Public Library patron filled out an online form asking the library to purchase The LOOK. The response they gave baffled him: in a pithy email, a person explained they had rejected his request because “it hasn’t been professionally reviewed yet” and because it didn’t meet an unspecified number equating to “many reviews on amazon.”

This news came to me in the wake of another confounding experience — amazon’s algorithm deleted a cluster of positive reviews from the book’s listing over the weekend. The reviews were legitimate and they were glowing. Now they’re gone — five remain. Sadly, the library in my city would have thought they were important.

It would make sense had the library replied it has a limited budget and can’t stock new items right now. It would have made (semi)sense if they’d come back to him saying they don’t stock paperbacks, or applied some other technical justification. But to say they depend on the number of amazon reviews to make their decision…? It feels wrong.

I have no desire to be the romanticized underdog in a competitive landscape.

I’ve written the books I wanted most to read — books I myself would buy when I discovered them on amazon. Fans have written to me privately expressing gratitude and deep insights received after reading and re-reading the books. They haven’t rated them publicly, but they’ve confirmed to me my love of Amie is not one in a million, but one among many.

Helping a novel and its characters reach a wider audience is important. From the moment it’s published, the novel belongs on shelves the author has never seen. It belongs in readers’ hearts and minds the author may never get to know personally. I have no doubt The LOOK and its sequels belong to the universe of readers who want to experience what Amie and Sunny and D and The Actor and Eurydice and Attar and Connor and Kate and Sammy and Faas and Orpheus go through as their lives fall apart and come together.

The person who rejected the library patron’s request has not read the book and has no clue why the patron thought it was worthy of being listed in their catalog. Someday, that will change. Amie’s world and the reading world will interweave and expand unlimited.

richärd+bauer Arabian Library in Scottsdale, Arizona

Arabian Library in Scottsdale, AZ – image by richärd+bauer architects

Since I mentioned them above: here’s a small sample of the gorgeous libraries we enjoy in the Sonoran Desert. If you’re in town, be sure to check them out.

Arabian Library

richärd+bauer architects Desert Broom Library in Phoenix Arizona

Desert Broom Library in Phoenix, AZ – photo by richärd+bauer

Desert Broom Library

Will Bruder Architects - Burton Barr Library in Phoenix Arizona

Burton Barr Library in downtown Phoenix – image via Will Bruder Architects

Burton Barr Library in Downtown Phoenix

Thank you for reading today!

Readers make the imagined world possible.

 

BOOKS BY LAURIE PEREZ

so richly entertained

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The Actor's Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner TechniqueThe Actor’s Art and Craft: William Esper Teaches the Meisner Technique by William Esper
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

For The Actor’s Art and Craft to succeed, the writing must pull the reader directly into the class — it must be experiential, not merely intellectual. That’s exactly what the book has achieved.

Page after page the Esper and DiMarco invade your space and open you up to the challenges of the actor. You become the student, receiving the teachings directly — there is no cold, erudite curtain filtering the personal nature of what’s happening in Bill’s classes. Acting is visceral. It pushes buttons, stirs memories, demands vulnerability and confidence in equal measures. Intellect is circumspect — you have to learn volumes, then let go of thinking.

Throughout the book, descriptive writing successfully evokes emotional texture while substantive dialogue makes scene work and discovery fully palpable. I expected to learn technical facets of the actor’s experience. I expected to gain practical insight into acting’s complexity and particular challenges. What I didn’t expect was to be so richly entertained.

I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good story and finds the inner workings of the human psyche as compelling as I do. For actors, aspiring and/or seasoned, I imagine The Actor’s Art and Craft must be an essential companion. For writers, novelists, storytellers — this is a lovely complement to books on literary craft.

View all my reviews

kerouac: nemesis or muse?

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#RIOTGRAMS Day 18: The book I never finished

Embarrassing to say: it’s ON THE ROAD. I’ve poured through 90% of Kerouac’s published matter – much of it more than once (more than twice) – but when a writing prof. told me my first novel reminded him how he felt reading On The Road, I knew even opening that book would shut me down as a writer.
Kerouac book covers for On The Road

He made the comment praisingly – he meant well and I’ve never forgotten his encouragement. The day he said it, I was only 3 chapters into finishing a novel it eventually took three years to wrap. At that time, I’d read one thing by Kerouac: his LIST OF ESSENTIALS.

Over the months and years during which I pushed through writing Torpor, I accumulated a stack of Kerouac titles – including OTR. I didn’t open a single one of them until the week I knew I had not one more line to type in that novel. Like a glorious vacation postponed and held out as a golden carrot, I opened Dharma Bums and finally began to meet Jack Kerouac in the core of my spirit.

One after another I burned through my beat library, saving On The Road for last.

Less than halfway through, I abandoned it – relieved to discover it lorded nothing over what had become of Peter and Dennis and Maria and Carlos in the book I’d made real, free from Kerouac’s shadow. Free to love him ten times more – not as an influence but as a kindred spirit and fellow writer, one to admire.

All of the following Kerouac titles, I read through and through — these and more, including interviews and correspondence with other writers. Here’s the stack I devoured:

  • Desolation Angels
  • The Dharma Bums
  • Heaven and Other Poems
  • Big Sur
  • Book of Dreams
  • Visions of Gerard
  • Visions of Cody
  • Mexico City Blues
  • The Scripture of the Golden Eternity
  • Scattered Poems
  • San Francisco Blues
  • Pomes All Sizes
  • Book of Blues

The novel, TORPOR, finished in 1996 and published anew in this century, is available on amazon http://mybook.to/torpor–perez   It’s nothing like On The Road (let me know if you disagree…).

quote from Torpor with image of a classic Rolleiflex camera

Torpor: a novel by Laurie Perez | 324 pages | ISBN 1453684751 | Amazon | http://mybook.to/torpor-perez

 

calmness of a different caliber

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Enormous cactus bloom by Laurie Perez with quote by Eric Maisel

Eric Maisel’s quote has truth in it, but I haven’t found it to be true — yet. One giant thing merely leads to another. Expansion is perpetual.

The dream or vision or calling or driving creative intent waking you up at 4am and distracting you throughout the day — it innately has more room to grow. And so you think you’ve done the giant thing… then realize there’s something bigger, grander, stranger, wilder you want to do next.

The part I easily agree with is Maisel’s emphasis on calm as a result of saying yes to that giant thing. Not the calm of complacency or languidly going through the motions, the mental-emotional state that results is calm of a different caliber. The soothing Yin quality of acceptance contains within it the feisty essence of Yang that keeps you awake and active, challenging limits and pushing through.

Calm enthusiasm. Calm frustration. Calm urgency.

Calmly driven, start to finish to start again.

+:+:+

image collage of the Citadel in Amman Jordan with the vibrant Milky Way rising - featuring a quote from The POWER of Amie Martine

molecule by molecule: expansion

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“Fitting into the equation of humanity, we knead the poignancy of compassion and milk the headiness of creativity into ever more substantive knowing, pushing the collective, universal consciousness to expand moment by moment, molecule by molecule.”

 excerpt from The POWER of Amie Martine by Laurie Perez