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.
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.
Indulging a second cup of coffee in new territory – lines, scenes, mosaics of dialogue leveraging a rare moment of unfettered solitude in the wake of a great night out… I feel the second book as palpably as I felt the first — one exists on paper, the other nags me from the ether.
Once broken open
don’t endeavor to crawl back in.
Expand, raw and unscripted,
decisive and blurry in clear purpose.
Love the rise, your presence becoming.
Nothing has a hold on you, this I promise.
Supernova – quiet dream unchained – heart
awakened: let’s be stars to each other!
Where light dims, shine simply
because you remember now
what it’s like
A short list of things I’ve outgrown the need for evidence to support:
Proof is in the pulsing of my heart.
This is not a foolish statement.
Your love for me is inside my love for you. Needing proof of it is like needing proof that I myself exist. If someday it turns out I don’t (by some unimaginable standard) actually exist, then and only then can you speak to me of the need to rationalize Love.
Read my new novel, released like a valentine this month… The LOOK unravels life, love and the mysterious, precarious, perilous truths funding our existence: It’s here!
I was made to be inside
and free from it, too.
You have a body. A life forms around it. Consciously or obliviously, you experience yourself in structures held in place by myths your active presence here creates.
In the context of a room, a neighborhood, a city block, the spinning planet, a galaxy uncharted: you seem quite small and inconsequential in your fleshy vehicle.
This is the deception you’ve agreed to — a willful forgetting keeps you safely tucked into a pocket of existence your brain can functionally fathom.
Souls are big.
What do you imagine when I say big?
A soul’s much more than that.
Poets speak of mansions; mystics speak of infinite space between the lines of a good poem. I’m saying: it’s not that, either. A soul can house a planet. And the giant star round which it orbits. The spiraling tendrils of our Milky Way, tacky with enormous stars and icy comets burning through: a single soul can hold that, too.
It’s misleading to offer adjectives for tangible sizes and shapes, but we have to start somewhere. To go beyond everything you’ve ever known, we have to take a step in language, where you feel easy and confident and trusting.
I’ve seen you measured in your body; inches and feet on one continent, centimeters on another. Oceans of emotion lapping within shores of persona, dreams, identities, desires, strands of DNA, skin — eyes that open and close. The soul, bigger than your best guess, can funnel in and drive a single cell with as much enthusiasm as it drives the entire universe.
And here, still, I’m misleading you.
The naked noun is wicked misdirection. To imply there’s this thing we can distinguish from others like it —a “soul”— yours, mine, his—the soul of humanity, soul of the land—the very suggestion is just wrong.
One “soul” expresses itself through many personalities, timelines, projects and life experiences simultaneously. Physicists are right to say time’s not linear but spherical, happening all at once. For real: past plus present plus possible future = now.
There is no subtraction, only adding to a state of being, one infinite moment at a time.
A single soul may be simultaneously acting out the life a lost child in 1728, a 1950s has-been, a farmer in 2029, Wall Street thug in ’81, a continental pillager in 1221, Sumerian astronomer in BC 3019 and, well, of course: You.
If you could trespass souls the way I do, the cascading truth of what you are would catastrophically undo the fabric of assumptions holding you together.
Your brain’s not wired to process infinity.
A surge of timeless perception destroys the texture of this world so immediately, you won’t even have a chance to ride the thrill of perceiving the cosmic, orgasmic, bliss-tastic value each pulse of your vessels contributes to this grand scheme-less scheme. You’ll simply be ripped from the dream, destroyed in my wake.
And so I sneak through your seams in intimate silence — and when we meet in The LOOK, you never remember it. This is my kindness: you will instantly and irrevocably forget my hushed invasion of your soul.
* * *
As far as I know, I’m the only one with The LOOK—an ability that self-activated when a Dutch assassin snapped my bleak and meaningless life in two — because that’s exactly what I unknowingly hired him to do.
Seven years ago, when I was 27-going-on-nothing, he dragged me from the frozen grave I was digging, and crushed me painfully, then passionately, in the isolated elegance of dark Icelandic winter.
What happened that night pushed me through a door within a door and I said yes to what I became when I reemerged, unnamed, profoundly new.
I never look back, only forward.
Which is as it should be: once broken open, don’t endeavor to climb back inside the shell you were. Infants scream themselves awake because the womb is over.
That winter in Iceland was irrevocable rebellion. I changed my name on the flight home, filed the papers when I landed. Today, when we meet, you’ll call me Amie, as in mon amie, French for friend. We meet in mystery. We are huge beyond measure. And I belong to none of you.
Paying writers by the word is equivalent to
Architects by the bolt
Chefs by the ounce of ingredient
Haircutters by the snip
Directors by the frame
Musicians by the note
Night skies by the stars you can see with the naked eye….