Being a writer is no easy thing. Like all artists, you are perpetually traversing between the world that exists inside your head—and the world outside your head. To find a peaceful existence between the two, you become a type of medium—a channel in which these two worlds can co-exist. It is sort of like Michelangelo’s perspective of himself as the sculptor, and the marble on which he rendered his artistic masterpieces. His job wasn’t to create them; his job was to set them free. This in essence is the job of the writer. The stories already exist; you just need to find the voice to capture them.
This for me is one of the biggest challenges, but bigger still is the emotional component. I don’t think it is a coincidence that so many famous artists were insane or became insane. Being that acutely aware of the state of things takes its toll. But an even bigger aspect is the sheer nakedness; my nakedness—your nakedness—every writer’s nakedness. While not every work is autobiographical, they are always personal. Personal in the sense that you are taking something that is a part of you, and putting it out there for the world to see, and since the world is a pretty damn scary place, it takes either balls of steel, a massive ego, or firm conviction in what you are doing.
Since I physiologically cannot possess balls, and have an aversion to over-inflated egos, I see myself as a woman of firm conviction. My conviction isn’t so much that I believe that I am an innately superior writer; rather it rests in the fact that I am a storyteller with a tale to tell, and I know that if I can find them, an audience lies in wait. This determination, this conviction, is what has propelled me through some of the most challenging moments of my life. When things failed me; when friends failed me; when love failed me, and at times when life failed me—this storytelling ability of mine is what got me through.
So now I have finally taken one step forward on this monumental journey of mine, and have successfully published my book, Valdivia: A Family Dynasty. The world of self-publishing is fraught with so many ups and downs, and hidden expenses, that had I not had faith in what I was doing, I would have forgone it long ago. Nevertheless, I haven’t the slightest bit of regret, as Valdivia is a realization of a fifteen-year old dream of mine, whose roots go even deeper. It is the story of many things, but for me it represents an incredible dimension of my life. On my website www.thevaldiviasagas.com, in the About Valdivia and Valdivia Influences sections, I go into the details about certain elements of the story, and specific things that inspired me. However since I do not want to be redundant, I won’t go into all that here. Instead what I will speak about is its true significance to me.
The story behind the story of Valdivia is one of friendship between two young girls. Like all girly friendships, there was of course playful chit-chat and occasional doll playing; but beyond that was something rather unique. Between the two of us, we began this peculiar habit of making up and telling each other stories. Why in the hell we did that, I have no clue, but these stories were an intricate part of our friendship and evolved over a twenty-year period. Over time, I began to take on the role as the teller of these stories (or dreams as I would tell her for years) and she became my audience, and in many instances back-up coach or subtle plot instigator (if she liked something or if she didn’t like something, she was quite vocal about it). Through the many years, these stories of ours evolved from Saved By The Bell, or Sweet Valley High, themed backdrops, to what would eventually be the groundwork for Valdivia.
What finally made me put fingers-to-keyboard after many years of coaching on her part, was a subtle comment she made that inspired me to write, what would eventually become part one of Valdivia. I wrote the entire section (which formatted is now 105 pages) in three days. When I received more encouragement, I continued writing, and ended up with something that has totally transformed my life. This book, indeed this entire series (as this portion is Volume One out of the four volumes) has taken me on an incredible journey. It is a reflection of my passion, fascination, and all the things that intrigue me about the flawed state of humanity.
At the end of the day however, Valdivia will always for me, be about those two little girls, and what we eventually termed La Cosa Nostra (our thing—in Italian). We no longer share our tales as we once did, as life, and grown-up responsibilities, have taken its place. While this is something I miss dearly, I will always be grateful for those many incredible and countless hours on the phone we spent, where we were able to get lost in our fantasy world. But what I am perhaps most grateful for, is the courage she gave me to move forward with my convictions. It is this courage that has allowed me to finally share this story with the world.
If you are interested in purchasing a paperback edition of Valdivia: A Family Dynasty it is now available on Amazon. I am working on having the Kindle version re-converted and formatted. This hopefully should be completed in a few weeks.
If you would like to read an excerpt of Chapter One, you may click here.
And for the friend who was my ear, my confidante, and motivator for so many years—thank you. This one is for you.