Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Why Do I Study His/Herstory

Today in an interview with Powerful Latinas, I was asked the question, why do I study history and use so much of it in my books. Interesting. I hadn't been asked that before. I said something along the lines of "knowing the history of my family tree helps me understand the branch I am a little better. Of course this doesn't mean I'm stuck repeating family patterns, but it helps me recognize them. This is particularly important to me because I live on the land that my family once owned in 1806. A large land grant, 72,000 acres that makes up about 7 cities. Sometimes I feel my ancestors. Deepak Chopra once said if we can pass eye color, preference for peanut butter sandwiches, and curly hair through our DNA, why can't we pass on memory through our gene pool. (I'm paraphrasing; I don't remember which examples he gave). Sometimes if I'm out in nature and meditating a bit I can remember what Orange County looked like 200 years ago. And sometimes I seem to have memories of great, great grandmothers. How amazing would it be, if I could heal unresolved issues just by the power of noticing."

I said this while staring out at an Australian bottle brush tree with hummingbirds zipping in and out of it. It's not a native tree, but it’s been in Orange County for awhile. Of course, before this tree were the citrus trees: orange and lemon trees. Last week I visited the Villa Park/Sunkist Packing House, built in 1918, where my grandparents met sometime after WWII but before 1948 when my mother was born. My grandmother died before I was born and my grandfather died last year, right before Christmas. But here, at the last Packing House in Orange County, they were young and fell in love. There used to be over a hundred of these houses all throughout Orange County. Now they pack mainly avocados. Back in the 1930s and 1940s, it was lemons, oranges and almonds.

I walked around, marveling at the long, wide, conveyor belts, the original hardwood floors (which I was told were polished once a year and celebrated with a huge company picnics), the north facing windows cut high into the ceiling to let in light, but not heat. No longer did they have the traditional wooden crates with packing labels, promising to bring California Sunshine to the world. They had biodegradable crates that are of course great for Mama Earth, but not as cool-looking as those crates. The doors to the coolers were tiny, maybe six feet, with steel hinges and locks two feet long and painted green. After the war, they stopped using so much steel for hinges. Makes sense, but let me tell you those were some tough looking hinges. The coolers were insulated with black cork that was peeling away in places, revealing the red brick of the building. The long hallways led to double wide doors that opened to railroad tracks, where the packed fruit could be loaded onto the train and hauled off to their final destination. Now they are delivered in semi trucks. It was all so nostalgic.

As I looked around, I wondered where or if my grandparents might have scuttled off to for secret kisses. I asked the owner if the Packing House was haunted. He said there were some rumors of a couple people who had died a long time ago and that he didn't want to find out if it was haunted so when he worked late at night, he blasted his music. I liked the idea of the Packing House being haunted. I liked the idea of their spirit, their laughter, maybe even the sounds of their sweet whispers echoing through the vast building.

My guide pointed out where the school was built for the workers' children - long time ago the Mexican children had to go to segregated schools. The groundskeeper lived across the street. Everyone lived nearby. The local people had built the Packing House he said. It was one tight-knit community.

My history, my herstory tells me where I've come from. It gives me a foundation to come home to after I've wandered around, tried some new things, maybe gotten hurt, maybe gotten scared. A place to come home to share my successes and joys. It's my rock, my security. No matter where I go, no matter how far I've traveled, my his/herstory will always be there. And the really cool thing is that each time I come back, my perspective changes it just a bit and that history or herstory opens up to tell another story.
For more on the Packing House, check out

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

From the Land of Reviews

I once wished for reviews from bigtime reviewers - getting rave comments from little remote pagan newsletters only boosted my fragile writer's ego and need for stability so far. Then my baby, Rogelia's House of Magic, got blasted by Kliatt and I decided that as an artist and an author I needed to stop putting so much stock in reviews, book sales, how long my books stayed in print or at the top of Amazon ratings. What was most important is how I felt about my writing and how others were affected by my words. I stayed pretty zen until this awesome review for Rogelia's House of Magic came in from School Library Journal. Now on this high, the first thing I wanted to do was share my good news with you!!

Gr 7-10–Set in Southern California , this novel is about three teens who find a common bond and grow in their relationships as they learn the healing arts from a curandera (folk healer). Marina , from a newly wealthy Hispanic family, struggles with her mother’s insistence that she forget her Mexican heritage and barrio roots. Fern, whose Colombian family still lives in the old neighborhood, is a free spirit who has trouble trusting a potential boyfriend. When Rogelia Garcia, a wise curandera from Mexico , becomes the maid at Marina ’s house, the girls befriend her granddaughter, Xochitl, who grieves for the twin sister she recently lost in a tragic accident. Rogelia takes the girls on as apprentices and helps them to understand and control their innate magical powers ( Marina hears voices from the beyond, Fern sees auras, and Xochitl has the ability to disappear) while teaching them that by caring for and healing others, they can help and heal themselves. The narrative is well written and descriptive, incorporating Spanish phrases that are easy to understand in context and add flavor to the telling. The characters and their relationships with others are solidly developed. The novel will appeal to readers interested in magic and astrology, and several spells are appended (charging a crystal wand, a confidence incantation, etc.).– Lorraine B. Wiener, Inglewood High School , CA, School Library Journal

YEAH!! om. YEAH!! om.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

More thoughts raining down

People can hold beliefs in their minds, stories they tell themselves. But connecting to the essence of Life is what it's all about. The reality is, we are eternal. If you experience that, then you handle your own personal losses. Sometimes, no matter how much we set intention or pray, things don't go our way. What we're left with is to accept things they way they are. It's the only place of power. You realize you have an illimitable "time," with all the experiences available to you in this ever-expanding, never-ending experiences of Life.

And this...

In this story Lord Krisna invites the milkmaids to dance with him in the forest. The night is dark, the fire in their midst roars and crackles, the beat of the music gets ever faster - the girls dance and dance with their sweet lord who has made himself available and so abundant as to be in the arms of each and every girl. But the moment the girls become possessive, the moment each one imagines that Krishna is her partner alone, he vanishes.

Musings of FairieWorlds

Fairie Worlds is an amazing festival held annually in Eugene, Oregon. My aura is still filled with pixie dust and my feet have not touched the ground. Transition is difficult, but writing helps...

A very large part of me wants to escape into the trees, to live in the woods among other wonderful hippie, free-spirited fae folk and submerse myself in that space until all the sad or angry thoughts I've ever had just leave - fade to nothingness so that I can live in the muggle world and be free, impervious of pain and the weight of this world. I want to always feel, vibrantly alive in me, the world of light when and where there are no cares, no worries, only music, friends, acceptance and play. I want to be in the space of intense connections that you are able to fall into - to completely lose yourself to the moment - to be the juice of the apple, as well as the apple and the one eating the apple - no separation - no fear of the juice running out - no ownership. Only letting go - going in deep - deep into the wild – deep into the dark – deep into the mystery with trust and power, love and respect for myself and others. I want to move in spaces as open energy, following the music until I become the song. I want to dance to the sun until I become the light. I want to connect with others and never, not for one moment, think or concern myself with their opinion of me. I don't want to lose myself in them – to consider that their appreciation or disapproval of me can or will change one step in my Dance of Life, Love and Spirit. I do want to connect in the sharing of magic. I do want to see the light in my brothers' and sisters' eyes and rejoice with Spirit most high and always available to us all. I want to feel the synergy of our bodies and energy intertwining, dancing together, like the colors of the rainbow. I want to share my thoughts, my poems, my words so that I can see my Light – hear the ring of beauty and wonder in my observations. I want to be the deep waters and I want to be light as a feather. I want to be free from condemnation, whether from my own imaginings or from people who don't understand or fear me. Words and energy cannot reach me if I am not reflecting or sending out a similar vibration. I want my vibration to be of a carefree nature that reaches into the deepest caverns of emotion and experience. I want to trust the Universe – knowing that I am like any native plant or tree – in exactly the right place at exactly the right time. I want to be in the flow of my life, like driftwood on the river. I want to bear witness to the wonder and beauty all around me and I want the courage, the freedom and the willingness to surrender myself to the Gifts of Life. I want to be in constant appreciation. I want to hug without fear. I want to love without fear. I want to kiss without fear. I want to speak my truth without fear. I want to feel the ever-omnipresence of God/Goddess constantly with me, living through me, as me, in harmony and joy with Life. I want to be the juice of life, constantly swirling, swinging, changing in flight, consistent in trust and swelling heart center, emanating pure white light and darkest mystery of night.