Today, I am daring to go outside of the normal author blog scenario and share a bit of something super personal with you.
I believe that every writer puts a piece of their soul in their works to one degree or another, however that is maximized greatly when within your writing (specifically in works of fiction) you've secretly added an element of real life. Such was the case when I wrote "MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis".
Today, I'd like to share with everyone the process, that was the creation of "MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis".
Please understand that this is a very personal situation for me. I will try to not get too emotional during this process, but I cannot promise that I won't.
In 2009, my very good and best male friend Harold Ortiz approached me with a dare."Jazz," he said, "you should write a Medieval Romance." Instantly, I was sucked in by the idea, and within mere seconds the opening scene of this novel came to my mind. Moments later was pecking away at my keyboard.
"Midnight. Still he had yet to take recess from his vigorous stride. He had to make it. He needed to see her! Just a glimpse, as always, would make his day complete. Just a small glance at her smile and her eyes; that was all he needed. All he truly needed to commence the fight all over again tomorrow. His faithful steed, as accustomed, did not give up on him even after an entire day of battle.
His life wasn't easy. His battle was continuous. If he was not battling against others, he was at war with himself. As he rode he thought, and it occurred to him that his internal war could quite possibly be the biggest fight of his life.
“Mush, Altivo, anda!” he called out, as he coaxed his exquisite Caspian horse to move forward. “Anda, Altivo!” He’d learned that he could count unconditionally on his beautiful Altivo. He was after all, the only true friend that MarcoAntonio had. He knew what it was like to have acquaintances come and go through his life. He knew people. Many people. Yet, none was as true a friend as Altivo, his milk chocolaty, muscular, and strong Caspian horse. Altivo knew how to listen when necessary. He also knew how and when to act when necessary. What more could any man ask for from a friend?
His focus returned to her. What cruelty life offered him, that his one true love was unattainable? Yet, obtaining her was his only conviction—his only mission and obsession. She was in fact, the most beautiful woman he'd ever known both inside and out. She'd yet to fully be his, but he was certain that one day, she would be his—totally and completely. He would fight for her until he exhaled his last breath. Even if that were the very cost.
However, for today he'd be content, as he always was, with just looking at her from afar. Contemplate her beauty and know—in the depths of his soul—that this was a battle worth fighting."
When I started the project I was instantly captured by the would-be intensity of the story.
"LOVE is the result of ALL things conquered."
Yet, I hadn't experienced love in a long time. As a matter of fact, I was recently a divorced single mother, struggling to make ends meet. I didn't know anything about love any more as everything I had know had proven to be unreal.
Nevertheless, completely engulfed with the idea of a boundless love, I continued with the project. Within a month or so I'd succeeded in getting about 5 chapters in.
Then came the writers block. I mean, holy moly was I blocked! There were many things that attributed to the writers block. The most predominant of the reasons was the enormous amounts of stress that I was under in my home life. There was just too much going on around me and I simply could not focus.
I'd rather spare you all the grueling details.
During this time I lived in Florida.
Ultimately, I decided to move to New York. With all of the craziness, all of this had added up to basically a year's time where "MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis" sat stagnant on my computer, incomplete.
Finally, I moved to New York and the change in ambiance seemed to help clear my mind and I was able to get started on the project again. Suddenly, the passion for the story was rekindled so there I went ... pecking away at it once more.
Some months after having been in New York I got very sick. I was constantly in and out of the hospital. Steadily ill, and between bouts of hospital visits I wrote as much as I could in the story. Then, writers block came again as the stress of being a single mom, out of work, continually in the hospital with a child with special needs whom I wasn't able to care for was eating away at me mentally.
Low and behold I stopped writing somewhere along chapter 17'ish.
In the interim…
Marco realized that there was no use in screaming or arguing. This was probably his end. Though the desperate, nagging, ever present need to save Amaryllis was killing him. He was slowly but surely coming to the realization that he may never get out of here. And that it would be very likely that these witches would be his demise. Just as they had abolished Amaryllis’ father, they may very well finish him as well.
As he stood there, bound by hands and feet, naked and helpless, many things ran through his mind. He thought of his beautiful Amaryllis, and how much he loved her. He thought of his family: his mother, his sisters, his dead father, his brother. He wondered where Damian was right now. He reflected on his life in general, and all the things he would have changed given the opportunity.
Then something miraculous happened. I started getting a little better, and with that newly found hope also came newly found love.
It was at about that time that I met a man ... a man that took my breath away! A man which I consequently fell madly in love with. I loved him more than I'd loved any other man in my life, including my childrens' father. This guy was all I wanted, needed and so much more. He was my night in shining armor come to life.
How do I know it was true love? Because even to this day, I still have lots of love for him despite everything that happened.
Getting to the point; I'd fallen so blindly in love with this man that I trusted him more than myself. I trusted him so much, in fact, that I allowed him to read my work in progress, "MarcoAntonio & Amaryllis".
Suffice it to say that he fell as madly in love with the story as he claimed to be with me, per his own acknowledgment. It was at that instant that he became my MarcoAntonio and I became his Amaryllis, and so that was what we called each other. He was "My love, my Marco." and I was "His love, his Amaryllis."
At the worst of our times together, whenever we'd argue and then made up, he would ask me, "Baby, am I still your Marco?" My reply was consistent, "Always and forever." and every single time I meant every word.
After about a year of being together, we'd planned our wedding, we'd put down a deposit on an apartment, we'd made all of the moves necessary in order to start our lives together, when the unexpected blow came.
My beloved knight in shinning armor, my life, my Marco, had been unfaithful and slept with his ex-fiance.
How did I find out?
Well, one day, he called me from his house crying. "Jazz," he said "I did something really bad! I can't believe that I did this! Please tell me that no matter what, I'll always be your Marco...!"
"Always and forever."
"I really did something terrible, something that you don't deserve! You're too good for me! I don't know why I did it! Oh my God, am I really still your Marco?" he asked in disbelief.
There was a pinch in the pit of my stomach. "Yes. Like I said, always and forever." then I paused for a moment and then asked, "Who did you sleep with?" human premonition I suppose.
Instantly he started crying again, "My ex...!" he sobbed, "I dunno Jazz! I don't know why I did it! I think I still love her too! Could it be possible that I am in love with two women at the same time?"
My world came tumbling down!!!
On October 14th, 2012, I was shattered. Needless to say, here I am reminiscing on love had and love lost. Yet, it was at that, one of the worst moments in my life, that the end of my novel came ...
"The familiar scent perforated the air and a brisk nip chilled the expanse: the unforgettable ambiance that reminded her of the approaching autumn. The aroma of pine and frozen water—the brumal wind carried it all too well, directly into her nostrils. The morning dew that dressed the already wilting flowers, which covered the field, had been turned into droplets of ice that grazed them. Altivo, a short distance behind her, nibbled on the semi-moist blades of grass.
There was something comforting about this scent and this breeze to her. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but somehow it allowed her ever grieving soul a moment’s rest. Maybe it was because of the memories that this time of year carried. The memories of him.
She never got over him. She never could! Who could ever become accustomed to being incomplete once true completion had been such an important part of their life?"
It was only in my moment of profound pain that I was able to complete the book that had started 3 years before. A book, that to this day contains a piece of my soul.