The Olympia Theater : WORDS! In the Lobby Lounge

olympia theater, words, stacy conde, the red speck, s. conde,
I am delighted to participate in this event at the gorgeous Olympia Theater.  Come join us on Wednesday, February 3rd for four readings from fictional works by Miami authors: Chantel Acevedo, JJ Colagrande, Vanessa Garcia, and myself, Stacy Conde.  Each reading will be followed by a jazz interpretation of the work, performed by the Gary Thomas Quintet.

Doors open at 6pm, the readings start at 6:30 pm. Cocktails will be available at the cash bar.  
Attendees are invited to enjoy a guided tour of the historic Olympia Theater during intermission. This is a free, open to the public, event.

Presented by the Olympia Theater, in partnership with DASS Miami. Grant funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, Miami Downtown Development Authority & Miami-Dade County Department of Cultural Affairs.

The Gift of Maya

Driving to the gallery today, I began thinking about the beautiful letter written to me the other day.

The reader claimed “The Red Speck“, “stalked” her.  The book would magically appear in places she hadn’t left it.  The slim text “fell” on her chest twice while she slept…

I love the idea of the book as more than an inanimate object, walking around on little legs, hiding, waiting for the opportune moment to plop down on an unsuspecting reader, all for purely positive purposes.

I filled it with magic and symbolism from a variety of traditions, choosing concepts to help move the main character forward through emotional pain and broken thinking.  Why wouldn’t the book be able to materialize magically?  She called the book to her on a subconscious level, repeatedly.

The point to this long winded blog post is that in writing the book I was determined not to explain myself. If the reader understood the concepts presented within the allegory great, if not, it was my hope, that the book would still be understood albeit on more of a surface level, but understood nonetheless.  What has shocked me over the last couple of years is how strongly people relate to “The Red Speck” on a purely visceral level.  I attribute this to the use of symbolism.  I purposely avoided the intellect and spoke directly to the collective unconscious, through ancient symbols.

Now with time and a bit of separation, I’m ready to explain certain aspects of the book. Whereas “The Red Speck” is written in the simplest of language, as a fairy tale of sorts, the concepts held within are a bit more complicated.  Bear with me, the definitions are a bit laborious, but I think worth the effort.

In Chapter Nine “The Gift of Maya”, Sophie meets a character named Maya.  Maya appears as a little girl who gifts Sophie a prism. In this chapter I’m having a wonderful time playing with two really interesting and completely different concepts, one from religion and  one from physics: maya, and Total Internal Reflection.

Maya : 

“In the religions of India, Maya (Sanskrit māyā, from“not” and yā “this”) is a term denoting three interrelated concepts: 1) power which enables those in its possession, most often gods, to produce forms in the physical word, 2) the reality produced by this process, 3) the illusion of the phenomenal world of separate objects. In early Vedic mythology, maya was the power with which the gods created and maintained the physical universe. With the onset of the more philosophical Upanishads and eventually the school of Advaita Vedanta, maya came to refer to the illusion of the worldly realm as it related to Brahman, the supreme cosmic power. Each physical object, as well as each independent ego-consciousness, is deemed illusory when considered in the monistic context of Brahman. In many branches of Hinduism, maya must be overcome in order to liberate the soul from reincarnation and karma. Similar conceptions of maya are held within Buddhism and Sikhism.” – from the New World Encyclopedia

Total Internal Reflection :

“When light propagates from air into glass or from glass in to air it may change its direction of travel.  Snell’s law reveals the relationship between the directions of travel in the two media.

n1sinθ1 = n2sinθ2

Consider light propagating in glass with index of refraction n1 = 1.5 towards a glass-air boundary.  If the angle the light makes with the normal to the boundary in the glass is θ1, then the angle it makes in the air is given by

sinθ2 = (n1/n2)sinθ1 = 1.5 sinθ1.

If sinθ1 > (1/1.5) = 2/3, or θ1 > 41.8o, then sinθ2 is greater than 1 and there is no solution for θ2. The angle θc for which sinθc = n2/n1 = 1 is called the critical angle.  For angles greater than the critical angle there exists no solution for θ2, and there is no refracted ray.  The incident light is totally reflected, obeying the law of reflection.  If n2 = 1.5 and n1 = 1 then the critical angle is θc = 41.8o.

Total internal reflection occurs only if light travels from a medium of high index of refraction to a medium of low index of refraction. 

Summary:  Let light travel from medium 1 into medium 2 and let n1 > n2.  Then the critical angle θc is given by

sinθc = n2/n1

For angles greater than the critical angle the incident light is totally reflected, obeying the law of reflection.

Prism reflectors

An ordinary glass mirror consists of a reflective metallic coating on the back of a sheet of glass. This is not the only way to make a mirror. Total internal reflection can be exploited to make a perfectly reflecting mirror using only glass, with no metal backing.  It is possible to use prisms of various shapes to reorient images.” –  More

Maya literally means “not this“.  Maya is an illusion.  The little Indian girl does not exist, she embodies a concept.  She gives Sophie the prism, a tool to help her in overcoming false realities created in the mind and manifested in the material world, all based on the projection of an inner narrative that does not serve her best interests.  It is possible to use prisms of various shapes to reorient images.”  

The term and physical phenomenon of “Total Inner Reflection” is so metaphorically perfect for what I was trying to communicate, as it highlights the process of allowing light from the outside world in, (…from a medium of high index of refraction to a medium of low index of refraction…), to illuminate our beings.  …that at just the right angle, it creates a reflective mirror like surface with which we can examine ourselves completely, was a gift from the writing gods.

 

S. Conde

A Letter : My Gratitude

I received this in my email today. What an absolutely beautiful way to start the morning. Thank you for taking the time to express yourself. Letters like this encourage me tremendously. Thank you.

“I really must tell you about my relationship with The Red Speck.

So it all began innocently enough. Strangely when I first got it, every time I sat down to read it something would come up. So on my bed stand it sat. A few months go by and I’m resolved to just read it already. Most of the books I get I read within the first week.

Finally the day comes, and there I am with The Red Speck. 20 pages in I’m, how do I put this, hysterically crying. I’m laughing now as I write this but really, sobbing hysterics. I know “the red speck” in the distance too well. SO in my hysterics I fling the book back onto the night stand and sit sobbing to write a letter I’ll never send, to my speck… I was an emotional puddle on the floor. Determined not to be a total emotional blob, I am now cursing the book and telling it to kiss my ass. Yes, so it sat there. Then it began stalking me. YES the book stalked me. In the bathroom? I didn’t put it there. It fell on my head twice while I was sleeping and I woke up with it on my chest.

Kicking and screaming, I become resolved that this book will not allow me not to finish it. The next 20 pages had me in tears again. Not just crying, but releasing pain that for too long I’ve held to my chest.

A few weeks later I finished it. WOW, when the universe wants to tell you something it doesn’t mess around. What a wonderful, cleansing, healing calm this little book has brought me. Kicking and screaming the entire way, because why do anything the easy way?

Remembering who you are is the gift I took home from “The Red Speck”. It will forever be on my book shelf next to my Richard Bach, who is also amazing. Well done Stacy, well done indeed.”

-Lyric Thompson

(published with her permission)

Lyric was also kind enough to post a review on Amazon.

My Gift to You

BookCover

The New Year is upon us, resolutions and all.

Considering “The Red Speck” is about personal growth and transcendence, I felt now would be a good time to give it away as a holiday gift to all of you who follow me and have supported the book with your kindness and shockingly heartfelt positive reviews.

Follow the link below, at checkout, enter the coupon code : YH35D

My free copy of “The Red Speck”

If you’ve already downloaded the book, share this with anyone you think might benefit from the lifting of Maya and total internal reflection.

The coupon for 100% off is good through the 9th of January. Thank you so much, truly. Let’s see what good we can do in 2015.

oxo,

S

“The Red Speck” blends lush, sensuous imagery with raw emotion on an individual’s otherworldly journey to psychological wholeness. Sophie’s heartbreak leads her to awaken in an unknown but strangely familiar world in which she meets and learns from gorgeous archetypal characters tinged with the colors of Miami and the old South.”

“While an engaging story on its own, the reader will find genuine insight into into their own fixations that hold them back from happiness, including hints on how to move forward. The author has a gift for taking airy spiritual and psychological experiences and thoroughly grounding them in the body. She accomplishes this by painting vivid, emotionally engaging scenes with words, evoking a visceral and sympathetic response in the reader in a manner similar to the techniques found in the poetry of Rumi. In this way the protagonist’s alchemical transmutation of leaden emotions to joyous golden freedom becomes our own. Highly recommended.”

The Immortality of Thought : Part Three

The woman stood up abruptly which caused the girl to open her eyes.  The woman extended her hand.  The girl reached out and took it.  The two women walked hand in hand, out of the house onto the simple wood slatted porch.

“Our thoughts are of the utmost importance.”, said the woman as she led the girl down the concrete steps.  The girl loved them, odd though it was to love such a thing as steps.  Thirty years ago when the cement was poured and just beginning to harden, three of her second cousins pressed their names, written in marbles, into these very steps.  Sometimes, the girl would sit at the bottom and run her fingers over the smooth glass marbles.  From the smooth marbles to rough cement, and back again.  She traced their names and pondered the permanence of things.  She always secretly wished her name was among theirs.

They stepped out onto the lush green lawn, which gave way gently under their feet, and walked over to the swing.  The swing was chained to a massive oak branch.  The woman loved the swing, as did the girl, but neither of them knew why.

The women sat and began to rock gently to and fro.  The girl lay down and rested her head in the woman’s lap.  The woman stroked the girl’s hair, as the breeze gently caressed her own.

“Remember, every thought which has ever been had exists.”

The girl closed her eyes and listened quietly.

“It will manifest as reality, either in this world or the next.”  The girl thought about what she had created so far.  “Thoughts do not die, they merely transform.”, said the woman.  “Your reaction to each situation you encounter acts as a building block for your world.”

“…but then there is no hope…”, said the girl.  “…if the bad thoughts just go on forever.”

“There is always hope.”, said the woman smiling kindly.  “A genuine change of heart, can transfigure the original idea.”

This made the girl smile in turn.  “You had me worried there for a minute.”

The woman laughed.  “There is no need to worry, you’re the architect of your world.  Just as you can create your own hell you can create your own heaven, in this world, the next and beyond.  The choice is yours, you get to decided which path to take.  Just be mindful of your decisions.”

“You have created this place and you have brought me here, which is in itself a small miracle.  Imagine all you’ll take back with you to the material world.  Soon you’ll be able to access this place at will.”

“What does it matter what I take back?”, asked the girl, “…if I’m unable to communicate the truth without destroying it.”

“There are nonverbal means of communication.  Learn them…and anyway, I didn’t say destroy, I said corrupt.  The kernel of truth will still be there when you speak, for those open to hearing it.”

The girl pulled a face, rolling her eyes and puckering her lips.  The woman smiled and continued loving on the girl’s hair.

“There are so many things which can not be learned by the intellect alone, or at all even.”, spoke the woman.  The girl let her eyes wander down the drive.  She focused on the old pecan tree off to the right of the gravel path. The woman barely needed to push the swing with her feet at all.  Still it swung.  The tree was at once closer then farther, closer then farther.  The great pecan tree was old but still producing; the driveway was littered with pecans.  The girl admired the tree, she remembered it so well, so fondly, from her youth.

“Didn’t you ever wonder why the teachers of awakening speak in riddles?”, asked the woman.  “I thought that was just how they talked.”, replied the girl.  “No…”, laughed the woman, “…it’s to free the mind of perfectly reasonable thought processes.  Certain concepts can not be grasped, only understood.  Sometimes, one and one make three.”

“Mother, father, child.”, said the girl.

“Mother, father, child.”, repeated the woman.

The girl turned her head and looked up at the woman.  She was so lovely.  How she had missed her.

“Pecan pie?”, asked the girl.  The woman nodded.  “Yes.”

The End

 

S. Conde