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.
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.
“no sabe el rio que se llama rio…”
The river, says Pablo Neruda, doesn’t know it’s called “a river.”
Considering Neruda’s river as a metaphor for the potential of a single human life, I’ve found two messages in his poem that tug against each other; both feel true.
One is that the river becomes itself simply by being itself. We are here to become what we’re here to be. Stress diminishes in proportion to how well we’re able to get out of our own way. Rocks in the landscape may pose challenges, but as long as we remain true to the core nature of “self” we will re-create the landscape and become part of it in beautiful, lasting ways.
The second message is equally potent. We are not rivers. We are not unconscious, conscience-less matter winding through a landscape. We have both mind and soul and we are aware of how we tread upon the land, our choices and each other. It’s not enough to mindlessly create or shape our surroundings; we have to know what we’re doing, or at least recognize context and potential. A river can do terrible things and beautiful things at the same time. Somehow, as humans, we have to embody both concepts if we want to reach our highest potential.
We have to be mindful of how we’re shaping matter, consciousness and each other.
And we have to move forward in a state of wild, raw mystery – allowing the truth of who/what we are to predominate – trusting the truth to manifest in our own best interest as we allow it to become something others may be swept into or nourished by.
The plants in the stone
stiffen their spikes against it,
the hostile soil twists it,
gives it the shape of an arrow or a horseshoe,
narrows it almost to invisibility,
but it resists and goes on,
crossing the rusty threshold
of the volcanic night,
drilling, wearing away,
emerging hard and whole as a sword,
turning into a star against the quartz,
eventually slower, open to freshness,
a river at last, steady and abundant.
Every action is a choice and there are only three types of actions to choose from:
Things you want to do.
Things you want to have done.
Things you don’t want to do.
You want to have done the laundry (clean clothes are delicious).
You want to have paid the bills (clean slates are liberating).
You want to have completed that assignment (fulfilled promises are your gain).
You don’t want to bark at your kids or co-workers (grouchiness isn’t sexy).
You don’t want to skip breakfast (running on fumes wears you down).
You don’t want to argue for your limitations (you know you’re capable of greatness).
You want to live a jazzy, very cool life.
You want to summon inspiration and encouragement from all available resources.
You want to be true to yourself, no matter what.
Keep clarifying what you want.
Be picky, in favor of delight.
What you want
What you want is
newness that fits like a broken-in skin of golden potential, funded by the universe.
What you want is
to be a million bucks, hatching sunrise in a sky made of levity.
What you want is
realistic; even if you haven’t built a net flexible enough to catch that lighter-than-air truth as it lights on the unseen orchid, it belongs to you.
What you want is
to laugh more
to mean more
to have less to tend to
while you go about creating the substance of a most deserved uplift….
What you want
wants you back.
The first step in getting anything done is showing up in the space where that thing takes shape.
- If you want to wash a bowl, you’ve got to stand at the sink where the water runs.
- If you want to get a bachelors, or masters, or PhD in X-Y-Z, you’ve got to enter into agreements with teachers and masters and academic button-pushers.
- If you want to write a novel, you’ve got to spend time with your characters and show up ready to write.
- If you want a meaningful, elegant life, you’ve got to start each day as if you’re right in the middle of exactly that: meaning and bliss, your projection from within illuminates this and that context.
Clear the space inside and show up, radiant grace-haven that you are, there’s work worth doing and it’s not the least bit hard. Your heart’s pre-coded to elevate the best you’ve got; upgrades and challenges, just enough to keep it interesting — love songs and power outages, wisdom in the dark — a clean and empty bowl, a degree in self-mastery, a story that matters, the meaning you impart simply by existing, exquisitely and routinely choosing to be more.
We are here to wake each other up; no other reason I can see but this sacred, simple, meaningfully mundane purpose. We are here to wake up; we are here to wake each other.
Not that one person can MAKE another wake up. I need to re-phrase it. I can’t wake you up and don’t bother trying to wake me, either. But we provide the context for each other in which we wake ourselves. Catalysts. Matches in a dark room. Spur on tough hide. Spark, shock, shooting star, bucket of icy water over the head, clear affection, permissive silent acceptance, caught off-guard laughing, warmth, betrayal, gifts. The right word at the right time; the wrong word at the right time. Compassion’s neutral stamina. Someone who notices: you cut your hair! Someone who fills your coffee to the rim, sees your exhaustion, enjoys your enthusiasm. Discourages you, tells you it’s impossible, let’s you down, insults and dishonors you. The ones you forgive, avoid, deny, disappoint, seek, respect, love unconditionally, delight in, seduce and ravish.
Relationships are THE context of enlightenment.
The constant epiphany – if you care to notice.