Thursday, January 31, 2013

241 pages.
70,277 words.
16 Chapters.

I am done with my first draft.

Now on to re-writing, adding, subtracting, editing... and god willing, becoming published.

But before that?


I wrote a book!!!!
I wrote a book!!!!

Love and Light,

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

And speaking of old stuff, I watched a documentary aptly titled Sing Your Song on HBO tonight, then DVR'd it and watched it again.  It is about the life and work of actor/activist Harry Belafonte.  

His life is an inspiration. 

In the documentary, Belafonte discussed using the power of art as a means of resistance and change.  He reminisced on singing songs of rebellion... songs of joy and songs of love.  I had no idea how instrumental he was in the civil rights struggle. I also had no idea just how incredibly talented he was/is. He was handsome (I mean, the man was beautiful), strong and courageous. I fell in love with him... about fifty years after the fact... but I fell in love with  him nonetheless.  Then I googled him and fell in love with this picture of him and the lovely Dorothy Dandridge.   

Why would anyone want to be anything other than an artist?

Love and Light,

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Currently, I am in our playroom, feasting on pretend food prepared by my boys ("Salt and egg sauce, Mommy," which is only delicious in pretend) and daydreaming about the inevitable conclusion of my novel.

Music is playing. 

Not the kind that they can wiggle too but the kind I can think too.  The kind that makes me feel as though I am laying on blades of grass on a warm day, watching my barefoot children playing around me.  Sun is shining... not too bright.  The leaves of the trees are blowing with the cool summer breeze.  And its smells like barbecue... because I LOVE it when it smells like barbecue.  The kind of day where my husband reads a book and I fall asleep with my head in his lap daydreaming with a small smile on my face. 

Sometimes good songwriting can be just as satisfying as reading a good book. Maybe even more so.... I hope I die with headphones in my ears and my arms full of the people I love.

Enjoy an old song.  Happy MLK day, folks!

Love and Light,

Friday, January 11, 2013

Since I started this blog, I have received a great deal of support from (most of) my friends and family.  People seem inspired by my decision to follow my dreams and I have had deep conversations with people I never thought I would about things they have always dreamed of doing but never dared to take on.  I know so many more frustrated professionals with artists burning inside of them than I initially knew.  It has me thinking a great deal about fear and how it keeps us from pursuing the things we know will make us happy. 

I am not a naturally fearless person.  In fact... I am actually pretty anxious.  I think... and think.. and over think every decision I make and I even lie awake at night wondering if the decisions I made are the right ones.  For instance, when I decided to go to law school - I was the first in my family to go - in fact, I was the first of my siblings to graduate college.  I thought to myself - who am I to think I can do this? No one in my circle was a lawyer.  No one in my family was a lawyer.  From my first day of law school to my last, I was afraid.  Afraid I would fail.  Afraid I didn't belong.  Afraid I wasn't smart enough.  Emotionally, I would constantly beat myself up for my feelings because what kind of person is afraid all the time? 

Then, I read this quote by Mark Twain.  I am not sure where, when or why but I did.  You may know it.  It read:

"Courage is not the absence of fear; it is acting in spite of it."

I can barely articulate how much inspiration this quote gave me.  I had long believed fear made me weak.  Reading this made me realize that despite my fear, I was still there - I hadn't quit... I graduated... I took the bar... and I kept going.  I wasn't fearless... I was brave. 

As I take on this new journey in my life, I am plagued by the same fear of inadequacy.  I worry I am wasting my time.  I worry no one will like my book.  I worry I am not good enough.  The fact remains, my book has not been published yet and right now, I am driven by a dream.  My reality is a stable government job, good salary, high promotion potential and increasing stability for my family - my dream is a BIG question mark.  In the depths of the night when I am tossing and turning and wondering if what I am imagining can ever be a possibility I remind myself of this quote.  I remind myself that I need to keep on acting in spite of my fear, enjoy my journey and not worry too much about what may (or may not) come.  What I remind myself and what I want to encourage anyone else out there with a dream is that you don't need to be fearless... just courageous... and sometimes courage is just taking those steps and continuing to move... sometimes courage is just taking that first step. 

Source: via Carmen on Pinterest

P.S. On a completely unrelated note, I highly recommend reading this and signing the accompanying petition! We need to put a stop to horrible, destructive reality television!

Love and Light,

Friday, January 4, 2013

Announcer: Congratulations, you've reached 60,000 words! Tell her what she's won, Bob!

Bob: Faye McCray, you've have won complete OBSESSION with your novel! OBSESSION comes equipped with sleeplessness nights, distracted conversations, using your husband and his body parts to heighten your description writing capability and the ability to turn every single conversation into conversation about your novel!

Wooo hooo!!

I am well on my way to completion, folks and I am feeling more and more like the hippie artist I always hoped I was.  Yesterday, I was sitting in my favorite spot in my favorite writing place having breakfast and reflecting on how far I have come in my novel.  There was a time where I felt like I could never write a novel because I truly believed my stories needed to find their own length and I needed to feel my words - not plan them.

Pretentious much?

Understand, my writing came of age in college when everyone was doing Spoken Word.  My writing during that point was heavily influenced by college politics, the Iraqi war and really cute guy who called me "sista" and wore red, black and green beads around his neck.

Anyway, I am currently reading Stephen King's On Writing.  In it, he discusses falling in love with his wife/her writing.  They were in a poetry class together in college.  It was 1969 and a time when not making sense was considered deep and prophetic - apparently, my generation didn't create that (thanks, Mom).  When his wife got up to share her poem with the class - no one knew how to react.

He wrote: "[h]er poem [also] made me feel that I wasn't alone in my belief that good writing can be simultaneously intoxicating and idea-driven.  If stone-sober people can fuck like they're out of their minds - can actually be out of their minds while caught in that throe - why shouldn't writers be able to go bonkers and still stay sane?"  He references a part in the Lorraine Hasberry's Raisin in the Sun where a character crys out, "I want to fly! I want to touch the sun and his wife replies, "First eat your eggs." 

As I reflect on my own evolution as a writer - I realize just how true this statement is.  While I once thought the process of planning and thinking would be oppressive to me as an artist, I have now come to truly appreciate it.  Novelist Joyce Carol Oates said in an interview with BBC that she enjoys revision because when she revises she has direction - she knows what the characters want and what story she is trying to tell.  I must say... I agree.  While I truly value the free fall of my fingers dance across a page (or keyboard) to the rhythm I still have not found the words to describe - I also value going back and making my words clearer - sure to convey the message I intended - even if that means I need to figure it out.  Awesome of Mr. King to figure that out before he got a little gray in his hair.

Here's to eating our eggs, writers!

Love and Light,

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

It was about ten to midnight last night when we prepared for our quiet welcoming of the new year with family in New York.  We had a bottle of Moet, a few champagne flukes and munched on treats from one of those Pepperidge Farm assortment of cookies boxes. My kids were fast asleep, one beside me and the other across the hall. I was fighting sleep, just a little bit, I had a wonderful day in the city - seeing Les Miserables with my husband and spending the afternoon with Greek food and an old friend.  The day before, we braved the cold to take the kids to see the holiday train show at the New York Botanical Gardens

It was magical.

When the clock struck 11:59, we counted down - exchanging glances from across the dimly lit room, careful not to wake the sleeping children.  We are a family that has experienced loss.  So, we were thankful for another year we were able to spend together.  We counted down, curious as to what another year would bring but hopeful that it would be filled with every blessing we had in 2012.  The ability to kiss each other goodnight each evening, to fill our bellies when we were hungry, to remain healthy and experience laughter that tickled our souls, to love and be loved and to dream and hope as if we could rely on tomorrow. 

At midnight, our grins were widened, our glasses clicked and clanked, our tongues tasted of champagne and chocolate - and we welcomed 2013. I closed my eyes and breathed in the air of the new year, warm, bright... sweet... my lips still wet from my husband's kiss and arms still full from my mother's embrace.

Ready... I breathed in.... set... I breathed out... go.

Happy New Year <3.

Love and Light,

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