by Cesar Moran-Cahusac
How did this poem come about?
Well one night I walked into Paddy’s, the Irish bar in Cusco; the one the proudly says it’s the highest Irish owned bar in the world and sat at the bar. As I ordered a bottle of beer and a glass I saw that the bar was packed with thirsty parishioners, all rowdy and telling each other of their adventures while visiting Machu Picchu or maybe celebrating their Salkantay hike. There was laughter and a lot of clanking.
The bartender, a young woman, was running back and forth serving and talking with a big smile that shone more with her dark black curls. But the peacefulness was interrupted by one customer who insisted in inviting her to partake in shots. She laughed and kindly rejected his offer, but the man insisted and got her to have a shot or two with him.
This individual was quite drunk and behaved as a continuous and persistent whirlwind that was full of heat. or of himself. and wanted her to drink more while boasting out loudly that he would take her with him that night. As the young woman moved about I got a glimpse of a phoenix she had as a tattoo on her back that swirled as she was serving and bringing drinks.
This interaction made me feel like I was in the middle of a windy day where the leaves are blown carelessly and the feathers of the fire bird flew with them. In fact every time she said NO, this man blew a fit that sent his frustration all over the room like those colorful leaves and feathers.
In a brief moment she turned; we exchanged glances and she smiled at me as if to say: “No worries I have this under control. I am used to taming ferocious winds that don’t bite." And as she turned her head back to him, the gentleman left tumbling away with a breeze.
Now enjoy the poem!
She Said No To The Wind
Wuthering wind came and blasted her with words and she said No.
The wind was bringing up storms, chasing her with arrogant bluffs and she said No
In doing so she rode them like an acrobat, a barefoot fire dancer.
As she hovered she swiftly looked at me, her gaze had beaming sparks.
In an instant the wind dumped air all over the place and she said No
Delivering vanquishing thoughts the wind smirked; stomping hurricanes on the walls and she said no.
She turned around and the phoenix on her back, brushed its tail on my face.
The event drove me to serene incantations; into a land of imaginary constellations.
In her move a myriad of colorful feathers flew through the room as she said no.
The wind left howling; dragging a breeze and with her eyes said: “I like your energy.”
I slid on her grin, fantasizing that one could see the sun, the moon and stars through her dark curls.
I said: “How so?”
She: “When your eyes crossed mine I read fantasy, a will for care.”
I held her hand and we danced to courageous tunes leaving a trail of happiness over the wooden floor.
In the affair the solar bird was flicking its feathers; creating a maze of delight.
Cesar Moran-Cahusac is an ecologist, peace advocate and martial artist whose poetry weaves an expansive range of exotic, sensual and surprising life experiences into a dance of verbal refinement. From pig farmer to poet, from Sensei to CEO, from dreamer to truth-seeker, a man without energy and enthusiasm, he certainly is not. After gaining a master's degree from the Yale School of Forestry, Cesar returned to his native Peru to lead the Amazon Conservation Association, an international NGO spanning three countries: the United States, Bolivia and Peru. Cesar is a third-degree black belt in Aikido, a Japanese martial art known as "The Way of Peace," and the students at his dojo in Cusco, Peru, lovingly know him "Sensei." She Said No to the Wind is Cesar's first full length publication.
By Debbie A. McClure
People ask writers and other artists all the time, “How do you do it?” I have to admit, I don’t know. When I think about the hours a writer, musician, visual artist, clothing designer, interior decorator, architect, basket weaver, whatever, spends on his/her chosen craft, there’s this huge mystery around the how of it all.
So let’s tackle the “why” question then. We create things because something, anything, sparks our imagination. We see or hear something that resonates with us, inspires us and puts a mental picture in our heads of what that something means, or could mean. It’s different for each person. A painter will see it in terms of paint, a musician will see and/or hear it in terms of notes of music or song, and a writer will see it in terms of words on a page that tell a story or impart some sort of information.
Because we are moved by these experiences, we want to capture them. We want to bring them to life – much as a parent who is pregnant and wants to bring their child into the world and hold it. Creation is actually a very selfish act. We need to bring it out of our heads and into a medium we can manipulate. If we don’t, it won’t let us alone.
Ever had an idea that just keeps repeating in your brain? Yep, that one. You know it won’t let up until you do something about it. A business person who creates a new business to service a need in society is driven to make it happen. He/she eats, sleeps, dreams about this new idea until it just about drives them crazy. Same with the creative artist.
An inventor or scientist is driven to bring their vision or hypothesis into being, sometimes to prove that they aren’t crazy. Sometimes it’s to prove they’re right and everyone else is wrong.
In the beginning, the creator doesn’t care what others think. They do what they do because of an internal drive that has nothing to do with other people. It’s only after the creation is finished that our thoughts turn to showing the rest of the world what we’ve brought to life. Talk about visions of grandeur, but oh how beautiful it is!
What about when we fail though? Well, that’s okay too, because failure is part of the road to success. Can’t have one without the other. In fact, people learn more from their failures than we ever do from our successes. That’s why we do it over, and over, and over again. We want to make the finished product fit the image we carry around in our minds. We are our own most ruthless critic.
Of course we love to hear other people tell us how much they adore our newest book, play, movie, piece of music, building, clothing line, or room design, but if we aren’t satisfied, nothing you can say or do will convince us that it’s perfect and couldn’t use a little tweaking here or there. That’s why each creation is slightly different that the last one. As creators, we are forever perfecting our craft. My father is a retired building contractor, and I remember him telling me years ago that whenever he finished a project, he could always think of ways he’d change this window, or move that wall the next time. Now I get it.
As to the how of creating something new, well, that’s as easy, and difficult as you can imagine. For me, it’s about setting routines and sitting down to write five days a week, from around 9 or 9:30am to about 4-5pm. I’ve worked at this writing gig full time for the past three years now, and I’ve made some serious sacrifices to do that. Doesn’t make it right, or easy, but it’s right for me right now. I typically sit down at my computer and begin with a to-do list of things to tackle each work day. I don’t worry about prioritizing, but I usually have a pretty good idea of what needs to be done first and last. As I do each task, I cross it off my list. This gives me the illusion of control. Every creator has his/her own flow and schedule. Life also gets in the way, and allowances are made for life, because in the end, it’s where we draw our inspiration.
I’m a novelist, so as for the writing part, I don’t let myself focus on what isn’t there in front of me. I just re-read the last page of what I’ve written the day before to refresh my memory and pick up the threads. Then I start typing whatever comes to mind about what happens next. I don’t edit as I go when writing the first or even second draft. I don’t worry about what works and what doesn’t work. I don’t concern myself with plot or character development at this point. I just let myself write, and the time flies. I see the story roll out like a movie in my head. I’m just recording it. I do research of course, some of it before I begin to write the story and some of it once I’m writing the second or third draft. I’ve discovered that research is a great boost to the imagination, because it gives the writer more information to play with. In addition, you just keep writing, and reading, and writing, and reading … You get the picture. Practice makes, if not perfect, then at least eventually, better.
I’d have to think the same is true for any creative expression. When you’re in the “zone”, it just takes you away. When you’re working on the craft, you learn more about what you love, so it doesn’t feel like work. When you practice, you sloooowly get better. You also gain a small measure of confidence. Through research and study of your chosen field, you learn what’s been invented before so you don’t have to go down that road. You also start talking to other creative people, and begin to realize we have many things in common. There’s also an energy and strong vibe among like-minded creative people.
Entrepreneurs fit in here too, since they have a vision of what kind of product or service they want to bring to others. Don’t believe me? Just go to any industry conference or workshop and you’ll hear and see groups of people gathering and talking about what brought them together – their work! I’m not talking about the company employees who could care less and are there for the drinks and socializing; I’m talking about the visionaries, the creators, behind the businesses. They have invested in their creations whole-heartedly, with every fibre of their being and every resource at their disposal. That’s not to say that employees can’t share this buzz, if they too have a vision for the future. After all, leaders learn by watching other leaders.
Here’s the thing though; creative people aren’t just dreamers. We express our thoughts in concrete ways, then move heaven and earth to share it, in the hope that the creation will have a positive impact on others. If we fail to hit the mark, then it’s okay to rant, rave, and howl at the moon! Decry the unfairness of it all, and the stupidity of the fates. Then it’s time to suck it up, buckle down, and go back to square one. Creativity will always find a way to express itself. Your job is to help it accomplish the task.
Contact Debbie A. McClure at:
By Christina Hamlett
Have you ever wondered if the characters in your unfinished screenplay will finally get so tired waiting for you to wrap up their story that they just write the rest themselves? Real life, alas, has a pesky way of encroaching on the time you need for your “reel” life. If you’ve ever caught yourself saying, “But there aren’t enough hours,” consider this article your wake-up call. You actually have all the hours you need to keep on schedule with your writing; you simply need to allocate them more efficiently.
By the Numbers
If your boss gives you a task, there’s probably a due date attached to it. Writing, however, is a solitary craft that often embraces a “get-to-it-when-I-get-to-it” mindset. Unless there’s a specific deadline looming, it’s too easy to let a project slide by falling back on the excuse that your muse just isn’t cooperating. Well, it’s time to readjust that attitude, put on a “boss” hat and become more accountable for product delivery.
Let’s say you’re writing a 100-page script and you’re set on a 4-week deadline. In order to meet this goal, you need to produce 25 pages a week (5 a day if you take weekends off). It’s really not that much but where most writers err is in editing as they go. Don’t do this. Just write. Edit when you’re finished. If you edit as you compose, you’re going to spend way too much time agonizing over the perfect first line and never get to the second one.
Another approach is to commit to writing one page a day for 3-1/2 months. Even if you have a wild spurt of creativity and write 10 pages in a single afternoon, it doesn’t let you off the hook for the next 10 days; it just means you’re that much farther ahead. We’ll still expect the mandatory one page from you tomorrow. Psychologists say it takes 21 days to incorporate a new habit into your behavior. If you steadfastly apply this to a daily writing schedule, you couldn’t not write on Day 22.
When I was penning romantic suspense novels for HarperCollins, I worked with several women who were voracious readers. Rather than join a critique group of fellow writers, I found it more valuable to test-drive my material on people who represented my target demographic. Every Friday afternoon, I’d distribute copies of my latest chapters. Since it was my style to end each one with a cliffhanger, they’d usually accost me first thing Monday morning and demand to know what happened next. I dared not show up empty-handed.
Whether you recruit your own readers or work with writing partner(s), engaging others in your writing process is a powerful motivator to impose stick-to-itiveness. If you don’t have access to supporters to push and prod you along, the next best thing is to never end your writing day at a point where it’s too hard to restart. Finishing a scene, for instance, makes you feel less inclined to begin a new one than if you end in the middle of a line: “Oh, Jeffrey, I know it’s bad timing but there’s a—” There’s a what???? Yes, you know what “it” is and it’ll drive you crazy to have to wait a day to type it.
Finding the 25th Hour
Could your writing schedule use an extra hour? Of course it could, but to paraphrase Captain Jack Sparrow, “The Isla de More Time cannot be found except by those who already know where it is.” If you want to keep to a code of high productivity, it starts with aggressive decluttering. For a single day, record how much time you spend checking email, surfing the Internet, reading TMZ gossip, looking for lost notes, playing computer games. Yikes! Who’d have imagined how it all adds up!
* If you live with others, how often do they interrupt and derail your train of thought? Writing is your job. Insist on respect.
* Learn keyboard shortcuts to save typing time. (http://www.microsoft.com/enable/products/keyboard.aspx)
* Consolidate/delegate your errand-running.
* Identify your most productive writing zone and consistently stick to it.
* Remove distractions from your workspace.
* Get up earlier; go to bed later.
* Read Laura Vanderkam’s 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think, Kenneth Atchity’s A Writer's Time: Making the Time to Write, and Pilar Alessandra’s The Coffee Break Screenwriter: Writing Your Script Ten Minutes at a Time.
* Invest in electronic programs such as NewNovelist.com, StoryCraft, Quick Story, Writer’s Café, Writer’s Blocks as well as voice recognition software.
* Use rewards – a spa day, chocolate, new shoes - to stay motivated. (Didn’t you always do your homework faster when you knew you could go play afterwards?)
Inspired? Great! Now go get back to your characters. They’ve missed you.
Former actress and director Christina Hamlett is an award-winning author, professional ghostwriter and script consultant whose credits to date include 31 books, 157 stage plays, 5 optioned feature films, and squillions of articles and interviews. Learn more at www.authorhamlett.com.
It is interesting to see that despite the popularity of social media, many small business marketers still think it is a passing fad and therefore do not pay much attention to it. Most likely that is due to the fast rise of the widespread phenomenon and they think that it will die just as quickly. However I think that it is safe to say that it will not be going anywhere anytime soon.
1. It helps you connect with your client base.
Getting to know your audience is made easier with social media. You can immediately find out their likes and dislikes by testing the water and asking direct questions. Statistics will help you find out demographics and other sorts of helpful information to enable you to create extensive marketing campaigns to aid in the long term success of your business
2. An affordable way to increase awareness
Years ago getting your name out there in the business world meant expensive advertising campaigns. Social media has changed all of this and for basically the cost of your time, you can set up social media accounts and start to grow your customer base. Social media for small businesses is a very affordable option.
3. Create meaningful relationships to help you last the distance
Social media is not all about selling however. If you take the time to cultivate relationships and connections in communties and groups, you will find you develop a strong number of allies who you can use to your advantage. Whether it is just for advice or creating brand advocates, these people are the ones who you can count on the most.
4. Social media helps with SEO
SEO is a very interesting subject and unless you have time to spend a lot of time studying this ever-changing field, it can be very confusing. Social media posts such as well written blog posts ensure that new content is being constantly created and will help with your Google searches and keyword quality naturally. Think about it, when you rank higher in the Search Engine Results Page (SERPs), the easier you will be found.
5. Richer client experience
Your clients will love the fact that you are accessible through social media especially when they can instantly connect with you without having to contact you by telephone or having to leave a message. They can leave reviews, ask questions, provide feedback all in an instant and whether you are a fan of this type of exchange, it is the way of the future. It is this personal touch that makes your customers feel special and they will remember you for it.
There are many benefits of tapping into social media to take your business to the next level of success. Note that the longer you put off working on your social media, the more you have to lose. If you want to get started, but are not sure where to begin, then contact me today.
Together we can make a plan to lead you to the business success you seek. There is no time like the present.
Last week I reviewed not one but two restaurants in Arequipa for Living In Peru and I must admit I really enjoyed it. It's not often I get an opportunity to dine out without the kids and it is not often I eat out with my husband so I killed two birds in one stone in one week.
The reviews are not published so I won't say much yet but the two restaurants offered the best in Peruvian fusion and European and Peruvian fusion around. I will definitely be on the lookout for more opportunities like this in the future.
Here is a little sneak peek to tempt those tastebuds...
I am sitting all alone in my dimly lit room trying hard to focus my thoughts. I can hear the cacophony of all manner of birds and beasts outside my window, it is the sounds of the jungle in all its glory. But tonight I find it distracting. I am irritable and the sweat dripping off my brow and down my back while normally refreshingly cool, is extremely bothersome. I lean forward to focus on my writing, aware that the wick of the candle is burning low and I drip sweat directly from my brow. The ink blurs on the page and I struggle to make out the words.
I hear a scratch at the window. I choose to ignore it for the moment aware that I have a deadline to meet. I hear the scratch again.
What on Earth possessed me to come to this god forsaken place! I could’ve gone anywhere but instead I am sitting in this dark, dingy and seemingly desperate room trying to please my editor. I am certain that she is living in luxury while I am centre place amongst squalor and unending heat.
I can’t see my time piece but I know it is late and the work must be done. A crack of thunder sounds across the sky. I must’ve missed the lightning prior to this noisy event. I dip my pen into the inkpot scratching out words, hurrying my normal customary pace.
Lightning strikes again and I catch a flash of something at the window out of the corner of my eye. I pause. My eye wanders back to the window but I see nothing through the gloom. The noise of the jungle continues to serenade my restlessness.
As I write the next sentence I realise my ink is fading and I lower my pen into the inkpot – a screech pierces the darkness.
Give me the sounds of a bustling city anytime. The silence which follows is almost deafening.
The candle flickers brightly and I realise the wick is almost at an end. I fumble in the drawer trying to find a replacement before the light fades completely. Once lit, I sit back down, slightly relieved that there shall be no more interruptions tonight.
I embrace the action of my right hand as pen crosses the paper. I curse my editor but relish the creativity which is pouring from my soul.
A scratch, this time at the door. My curiosity gets the better of me and I must see what it is. I glance out but no one is there. I poke my head further down the corridor but no one seems to claim the mysterious scratch.
I cross the room to my desk and stop…suddenly…an animal of four or five inches is sitting cross-legged on the desk beside my inkpot. Its eyes flash scarlet in the candlelight, the jet black fur appears to merge into the darkness. I daren’t move. I don’t want to frighten the animal or god forbid, force it to attack out of fear or vengeance. As I watch, the animal folds one forepaw over the other.
It seems to be waiting for me to make a move – but what that move is, I do not know. I take the last step to the desk and slowly sit down on the wooden chair.
The animal upon closer inspection seems to be a monkey, although what breed of monkey I cannot fathom. My forays into the jungle have never produced such an animal such as this. It continues to sit, watching me, waiting…I immediately get the instinct to reach out and stroke its silky soft fur but I kerb the desire as quickly as it appears.
Minutes pass and an itch passes over my body. I must move at least to scratch it but I don’t want to take my eye of the monkey. I pick up the pen and instinctively scratch my ankle with it – relief is quick but short.
An idea for my writing enters my head and I fear that if I don’t get it down immediately the thought will leave me. I write. It watches. I write some more. It continues to watch my movements – eerily silent continuously watchful. If I didn’t have to complete this epilogue tonight I would take a moment to view my night companion.
But work I must…and within the hour I find that my ideas come together in a rapid pace and the words settle into form. It is done.
I realise I am tired – more tired than I have ever been before so I cautiously move over to my bed keeping a watchful eye on the desk for fear of sudden movement or approach.
What happens next even my imagination could not fathom. The animal with the scarlet eyes and inky black fur picks up the bottle of India ink and proceeds to drink it. It tips the bottle upwards ensuring that every last drop pours out onto its tongue. It then sits back on its haunches looking extremely satisfied.
I could’ve sworn the monkey smiled at me or was it my imagination just playing tricks on me. A few late nights in a row had left me in quite a delirious state.
Then I heard it, the screech that had echoed through the night earlier. I froze. Then the monkey swung over the door and cocked its head waiting for me to make my next move. I slowly moved over to the door, turned the handle and gave enough space for the monkey to exit. And without a glance it left as quickly as it appeared.
I left the jungle the next day, whether it was the monkey who prompted me to do so, I cannot say. But some nights as I lay restlessly upon my bed, even amongst the noise of the carriages on the cobblestones, those piercing scarlet eyes still haunt me.
What makes people open up and share their inner most secrets? Why would someone bare their soul and share their stories with strangers? It's an interesting question and one which I was asked recently about my love story anthology, Love Alters.
Motivations vary; for me it was the idea that I wanted to work on a long term project and I couldn't very well do so without have submitted a story to the project itself. And of course I thought my story was interesting and worth sharing with others.
Some of the writers in the anthology wanted to test themselves and writing about yourself is a great way to do it, it is actually much harder than you think. What do you leave out? What do you put in? Would your readers even find it interesting. I had more than a few comments about how challenging the process was for them as writers, but for the most part they persevered and completed it to their satisfaction.
I had a number of other people who felt that they wanted to share someone else's story for the anthology, to commemorate their relationship. And I couldn't really think of a more fitting tribute. We sometimes forget that our aunts or grandmothers were young and had the opportunity to fall in love and discover life the same way we did - and for me, I must admit, I found these very moving to read.
Some of the authors are working on building up their writing portfolios and writing short stories is a great way to do this without any major commitment from their perspective. A short story can be churned out in a couple of days if necessary - although for many of course it took quite a bit longer.
Writing your love story is an interesting project in itself and while we aren't taking any more love stories for this project, if you are looking at a personal project to build up your writing skills, I recommend you try it. I guarantee it sounds a lot harder than it actually is.
And if you do get a chance to do so, I would love to read it.
Well I thought I would step out from behind the scenes and do a podcast interview to help promote our travel adventure and book, And Off We Went.
I was a little nervous - it's not perfect - but it's me!
A huge thanks to The Marketing Mentress for helping me get my words out and sharing them with the world.
So here they are - http://www.practicalpodcasting.com/and-off-we-went-by-michelle-tupy-ghostwriter/ - I hope you enjoy them. And if you like what you hear, I would appreciate if you could share and support our campaign.
Not content to have just one book in the works, I have started working on our travel book entitled "And Off We Went". The book will follow our journey from South America to North America - 2 adults, 2 children, 1 VW Kombi and a whole lot of adventures.
'“Why not”, we thought. It probably wasn’t the most ridiculous idea we had come up with in our 10 years together. So we had no money to speak of, no vehicle at this point in time, but surely a road trip with the four of us from Cusco, Peru to Niagara Falls, Canada wasn’t impossible.' - Michelle Tupy
I love maps. I always have. Growing up in a small Australian sheep shearing community with less than 1,000 people, I constantly dreamt of my escape. In my room I had a small desk with the world map laminated on the top. I spent many hours looking at the map (instead of doing my homework), imagining that I could one day visit these mysterious countries I had only read about in my books or seen on television. My childhood heroes were Amelia Earhart, Gertrude Bell, Nelly Bly, Louise Boyd and Mary Kingsley. Strong women – independent pioneers – I wanted to be like them, to travel the world without fear.
Africa, South America, Asia, Europe; you name it – they called. As a child, if you had asked me what I was going to be when I grew up, I had no idea. All I knew was that I was going to visit each and every one of these continents given the chance – to me they were all well within my reach.
My mother always taught me to be strong and independent like so many other women pioneers before me. This was my life’s challenge – laid out by the women who dared to do. I was entranced by movies like Roman Holiday, African Queen, The Last Emperor, Death On The Nile – exotic destinations filled my every waking moment…
Fast forward 30 years and here I am living in Cusco, Peru – a far cry from country NSW. Yet some things never change – I still have a map in my room although this time it is a beautiful hand drawn creation of South America courtesy of the King of Maps. My children are entranced by it, asking me question after question and I hope it inspires them as much as my little map did when I was young.
I am using my map for inspiration for my next journey – a road trip across South America. Cusco is the starting point and I have no idea where the end point will be. Destinations unknown…it’s all in the journey.
“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring
Maps allow us to dream and plan and conquer our fears. The landscapes are in our imaginations, the locations peppered on the map for us to seek out and explore. And as beautiful as this map of mine is at present, hung on the wall; I know it will become all the more beautiful when I have embarked on our journey allowing my family and I to seek out our lust for adventure and enhance our knowledge of the world.
Preface to And Off We Went
Social media, Facebook, E-books, Travel, Lifestyle, Business, Blogging; you name it we talk about it.