My Pilgrimage to the Ironbound

blog pic april 26th

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019. 

I had an enlightening morning today. My father worked in an area known as the Ironbound section of Newark for nearly forty years. Shortly after he retired, my family and I realized that he was going through something because he began behaving erratically and drove our family crazy for months before we figured out his catastrophic diagnosis. Upon revealing his diagnosis of dementia, our family was devastated but we weren’t exactly familiar with the disease. We were unsure of its progression, we were uncertain of his prognosis; we were basically left in the dark. With each passing month, we become more knowledgeable and educated ourselves on his illness. A lot of what we learned was from witnessing it first hand. There really was no appropriate preparation for what was to come.

Before my father was diagnosed with dementia, my family was pretty much estranged from him. Even though we all lived in the same house as him, my father was a private man and preferred to live his life separately from everyone else. Because dementia is all-consuming and requires round the clock care, this introduced us to a whole other side of my father we never really knew. I realized that I never really fully knew this man I called my father. Not because I did not want to, mind you, but because as I said he wanted it that way. He had his job in the Ironbound, his clubs and organizations that he was a part of, he had his writing and art that he would pursue on evenings and weekends. He would travel and drive around areas alone and we were none the wiser. Since his illness, we became so intimately familiar with our father that it was as if we entered a rabbit hole, an endless fountain of knowledge and information about him, some unsavory, but for the most part, we learned of some things he was interested in that we never knew about.

Today I met with an amazing woman who is well-respected and revered at the Luso-Americano newspaper and discussed my children’s book which I wrote in his honor: My Pápá and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia. It was so nice speaking to someone who knew my father well. I could almost feel his presence in that building. My father, once notoriously known for how well-dressed he always was, proud and confident in himself walking into the newspaper building and talking away with all of these fine people. It was so comforting to know that he was well remembered. A big motivator for me writing my latest children’s book was to ensure that nobody forgot about my father. He was so important for so many years in the Ironbound community and then he disappeared into the ether and not many people knew about what happened to him. Many abandoned him, some called about him in the beginning but then very quickly it was as if my father ceased to exist. That didn’t sit well with me. As complicated as our relationship was towards the end of his healthy years, I would never want his legacy to fade. My children’s book was essentially my way of coping with this devastating situation my family and I have been dealing with for the past six to seven years. It has been a long, torturous, and highly emotional road for us all. Our goal and mission are to make damn well sure that my family receives the best possible care for him and that he is remembered for his positive contributions to society. I may not have known this side of him well but it was clear from my interview today that he was respected and that provided me with reassurance.

I know that I will continue advocating for others going through similar circumstances. This disease is tragic and heartbreaking. So many times I sit and think about telling my father about all of my accomplishments in writing and I wonder what he would have thought about it. I try not to romanticize his reactions too much because prior to his illness our relationship wasn’t the strongest. But I’ve gotten to know this version of my father and I can honestly say he is lovely and sweet and we currently have the best relationship that we have had since I was a little girl. I have actually read my children’s book to him and he gave me a thumbs up and told me in Portuguese that it was good. I thought his reaction was sweet and heartwarming. This was not exactly the same as if I were to have shown my dad prior to his illness but I accept that. Our family loves him and are fiercely protective of him. I will continue watching out for him and I will continue to fight to ensure that each day he is met with the dignity and respect he deserves. His legacy will persevere. I will make sure of that.

If you are interested in purchasing any of my work, you can always check out my Amazon Author Page here. (click on the orange link).

You can also click on any of the pictures below to order any of my books, audiobook, or music.

My novella, A Wynter’s Tale, is also now available as an audiobook and is featured on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes! If you are interested, you can order my audiobook here. (Click on the orange link above for the audiobook!)

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Thank you very much to everyone who has already purchased my work in the past. Please make sure to leave a review and let me know what you think of my work! I appreciate you all always coming back and returning to read my blogs and to visit me on social media. I am continuously humbled and honored to have you all be a part of The Moonlit Goddess tribe!

The Balloon Launch

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

One of my most vivid memories as a child which also happens to be one of the most environmentally reckless decisions my elementary school had ever made was the balloon launch my school did on Halloween when I was in Kindergarten. I remember those cheesy trash bag cheapy Halloween costumes we used to buy in the 80s. I was Mickey Mouse that year. I remember entering Kindergarten was such a hard time for me because I was so horribly shy and anxious and I was always nauseous and gagging from my anxiety and I just hated being in school that first year. For some reason, this event was what helped solidify my position in school and made things seem not as dire as they had been at the beginning of the school year.

I grew up in Yonkers, New York. I went to a Catholic school for nine years (K-8th). The walk from my school to the nearest park was short so our entire school walked over to the local park with a balloon in hand. The balloon had a note attached. The note contained our names and the address of the school with a letter stated if found send us a letter. So when they blew the whistle it was our cue to release the balloon and watch the multitude of colored, helium-filled plastic ascend into the air. Their final destination was unknown. Whether they got wrapped around trees, or eventually descended into ponds, and lakes, damaging living beings’ eco-systems, or less likely landing by people, one would never know.

I remember how naïve and foolish I was then, and even now. I was very Catholic and I believed in all the teachings we were taught in school. I remember foolhardily wishing that my letter would be found and that I’d be the one who would get the letter sent to my school. I remember the ridiculous daydreams I’d have about it in class. Having my name called from the P.A. system. Me proudly walking down to the office to claim my letter of victory. “Ha, Ha! Suckers! My letter was found and yours wasn’t!”

But that victorious day never came. There were only two students in the whole school who got letters sent to them and of course, mine wasn’t one of them. Of course, it had to be someone from my class who was chosen and then one other from another grade that was chosen as well.

That Halloween, in general, was ill-fated. My Mickey Mouse costume did not make it the entire day. My older brother, who was a lot older than I was, walked me around our apartment complex and took me trick or treating and we didn’t make it past two apartments because as he was holding my hand in such a hurry because he was so mad to be trick or treating with his baby sister, I tripped and fell down the stairs ripping my costume straight down the middle. Hysterically crying, my brother now mortified, dropped me off to my mother and then he went off with his friends.

This was my first real experience with being let down by holidays. Yesterday, Easter Sunday, I reminisced on all the past Easters my family and I had celebrated together and I realized how lackluster all holidays have become as an adult. You romanticize how things should really be and how they used to be. The new spring dresses, the pastel colors, the dyed eggs, the daffodils and tulips, the cherry blossoms, the birds chirping, the bees buzzing, the Easter bunny, the endless chocolate, the money gifts from relatives, the train of people coming in and out of your house, the long-ass masses we used to endure when we were practicing Catholics. Now, even though all those things still exist around us, they just don’t bear any meaning. That could also be the depression talking, but I just find it not as exciting and just feels like just another day to me. What I’m left with is the memories of all the past holidays. Every Easter, Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentine’s Day, and so on where all of my family happened to be young and healthy and had the illusion of happiness and gratitude.

That Kindergarten Halloween was memorable to me not because I unceremoniously tumbled down hard clay tiled stairs successfully tearing off my entire costume Hulk-style. That Halloween was memorable because of that balloon launch. The explosion of colors, the anticipation, and excitement being a part of something greater than myself. That was the first time I felt like I was a part of the community around me. I felt included. I felt like I belonged. Now, as a jaded adult, I’m left to my own devices more than not. People only come around when they need me for something not because they actually want my company or attention. I’ve seen and done it all and I just don’t feel that magic anymore. No Technicolor, no enchantment, no hopes and dreams of a brighter future. This is it. All I have left are the memories of the colors, excitement, and that feeling in my stomach of anticipation and excitement. All I have to show for my Easter is a hollowed out feeling sitting in this chair in my “Stay Golden” Golden Girls t-shirt wondering if this is all I have left.

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On a brighter note, I want to thank everyone who has purchased a copy of my new audiobook for my novella, A Wynter’s Tale, so far. Please don’t forget to leave a review after you have listened to my book. I am so grateful to each and every one of you. Thanks for always coming back to keep reading my blogs, buying my work, listening to my podcasts and saying hi to me on social media. I haven’t been posting as often as I know I should. I have been trying to be present for my father. I don’t know how much time he has left, so the moments I have with him where he is having good days means that much more to me. I am happy to report that I am currently working on my next project. This work is a little more involved and I am hoping for a July 2019 release. So I am always plugging away at some new project. For those of you who are interested, you may purchase my audiobook in the orange link below (Just click on the orange link of your country of origin). Thank you all again! I hope you and your family had a wonderful Easter yesterday, to those who celebrated. Whatever you happen to celebrate, as always, I wish you all much happiness and good health!

The audiobook for A Wynter’s Tale (Written by PSG Lopes, Narrated by Chris Kenworthy): Available through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes!

US: A Wynter’s Tale Audiobook

UK: A Wynter’s Tale Audiobook

FR: A Wynter’s Tale Audiobook

DE: A Wynter’s Tale Audiobook

The Audiobook for A Wynter’s Tale is Now Available Through Amazon, Audible, and iTunes!

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

Here we are in April 2019! I feel like I have a lived a thousand lifetimes this year and we are only three and a half months into the new year! So much has happened to me personally and with family, and instead of dwelling on negatives in life I chose to turn my life around in a positive manner and got to work on several projects which are only the beginning for me this year!

Here is yet another accomplishment for me this 2019, so far! Thank you to everyone who is consistently viewing my website and reading my blogs and listening to my podcasts and has always been a beacon of light in the darkness. Your constant encouragement and praises are what motivates me to try harder and to keep going!

NOW AVAILABLE IN THE AUDIBLE, AMAZON, and iTunes apps: My first audiobook for my novella, A Wynter’s Tale! It is narrated by voice-over artist Chris Kenworthy! I am so proud of this work and having my work created as an audiobook has been a dream of mine for a long time! I am so happy to see it come to fruition! It is available now for $14.95 on the above platforms! I hope that you all enjoy!

Click the following orange links below to get your copy of my audiobook in the various platforms:

Audible: A Wynter’s Tale Audiobook via Audible!

Amazon: A Wynter’s Tale via Amazon!

iTunes: A Wynter’s Tale via iTunes!

 

A Wynter’s Tale is also available in paperback and Kindle Editions! Click on the picture below if you are interested in buying a physical copy of my novella!

Read-Aloud of My New Children’s Book: My Pápá and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia (Podcast)

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

Hello, everyone! Please listen to this week’s podcast where I discuss and perform a read-aloud of my latest children’s book: My Pápá and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia, discuss updates and latest projects, and more!

Thank you so much to all who continue to visit my blog, purchase all my books, listen to my podcasts, and just overall offer their emotional support. You all are amazing and I cherish each and every one of you!

Enjoy the podcast and hope you all have a fabulous and restful weekend!

Listen here to this week’s podcast: PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess Podcast on Anchor

 

April Updates!

blog photo april 3rd 2019

ALL WRITTEN AND ARTWORK ARE THE INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OF PSG LOPES. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED, 2019.

It has certainly been a while since I have last blogged about anything in particular. This past winter has been hectic, to say the very least!

Between the new year’s eve debacle, the torturous January that followed, being sick this past February with the flu and having both my parents afflicted with the flu, my dad being hospitalized with both the flu and pneumonia and spending his 76th birthday with strangers, our family being prepared for the worst thinking this was the end for my father, the stairs of the attic completely crumbling and not having access to my office or bedroom for a few weeks while my younger brother and brother from another mother created all new stairs, all contributed to my absence from the blogging realm.

2019 hasn’t all been bad! On a much brighter note, my father is doing very well, thankfully! He is situated in our living room with a fully functional hospital bed. He eats well, he enjoys reading magazines, he watches television, and he is able to answer simple questions and has become more verbal over the weeks since he’s been home from the hospital. Aside from the obvious afflictions that come with advanced dementia he is doing remarkable! There are still things that need to be taken care of, he’s obviously still in physical and mental decline and there’s no way of knowing when the end will occur. He has good days and bad days, but he can still laugh and still smiles and can still interact with us and that has been a huge blessing for my family!

Also occurring this year so far, I have released my third poetry anthology: Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear, which has been featured in my town’s local newspaper, and I finally released my new children’s book: My Papa and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia. I decided to do a meaningful children’s book. It’s a simple poem illustrating what I went through when I found out my dad was sick. It is said in simple language and does not get into too much detail and is meant for children of all ages to learn and understand about this treacherous illness that their families may be experiencing themselves with a loved one. With every piece I create, I vow to not be frivolous with my writing and to write with purpose and meaning. I see so many ridiculous children’s books out there about topics like farting and other crude topics and I just feel that books are like food for the soul. You wouldn’t want your child eating junk, so why feed your child’s mind with junk, too? They deserve to read meaningful and powerful literature to inspire them and nurture their souls. That was my intention with my latest children’s book.

This piece was a real labor of love. It took weeks to get it all together and to finalize the formatting. I laughed to myself thinking I’d do a children’s book next after the poetry anthology because I thought it would be an easy venture. So many things went wrong during the production of this book and it dragged on many weeks more than I had originally planned. I am happy it is all said and done and the book is now fully released. I am pleased with the end results and am looking forward to my next projects in the upcoming weeks!

Another interesting opportunity that I got involved in this year, is the creation of the audiobook version of my novella, A Wynter’s Tale. I was presented with an opportunity to turn my novella into an audiobook and I set up an advertisement to do so and the lovely, incomparable Chris Kenworthy was gracious enough to accept my proposal for the audiobook and now the audio production of my novella is one other feather in my cap added to my work portfolio. I am super excited for its release and I will inform you all when it is finally available and will give all of the information on how to order your copy of the audiobook. It has been two years since I have released A Wynter’s Tale and I have learned so much about myself as a person, as a writer, as an artist, and I have pushed myself farther than I ever imagined I was capable of going. I am so proud of myself for continuing on and creating new pieces for everyone to enjoy. Each day I am blessed to present new works that demonstrate the varying aspects of the human condition and how we can all be better people if we all just work together. Thank you, Chris, for doing a phenomenal job bringing Wynn and Linda to life!

I realize my podcasts have fallen by the wayside as well over the past few weeks and I will resume podcasting this coming Friday. I will be doing a read-aloud of My Papa and Me. So stay tuned for that!

I also have my Goodreads page all updated. If you are interested in adding me through there, just click here.

Another thing that has gotten me through the painful start of 2019 is playing Pokemon Go. I am not much of a gamer, per se. I do play Animal Crossing: New Leaf for the Nintendo 3DS. I am also looking forward to the new Animal Crossing that is supposedly going to be released later this year through the Nintendo Switch. I have also played Pokemon on the 3DS during the Sun and Moon and Ruby and Sapphire eras. I played Pokemon Go for the first time in 2016 with my siblings. There were so many bugs throughout the game’s launch that we couldn’t stand it anymore and stopped playing.

This past Christmas, my sister renewed her interest and told my siblings and me how good it became and we all got into it again. What was so life-changing about this game was that I went through such a dark time this past winter with my breakup and my father being ill that I just didn’t want to leave the house. I just wanted to stay nestled in my room all day and I simply wasn’t living my life to it’s fullest. I mean, yes, I was able to function in terms of eating and sleeping and getting on with my daily responsibilities in terms of the house’s upkeep, taking care of my cats, and my father’s daily care, but I stopped caring about myself in the process. I literally would not wash my hair for weeks, not do my laundry, I would stay in the same clothes and I just was simply existing. I would breathe air involuntarily. I ate and drank to live and derived no pleasure in it. My world was gray.

By playing this simple game on my phone, it rejuvenated my will to live. I started wanting to leave the house again. I started caring about my appearance and started fixing my hair and my makeup again. I started wearing more clothes that I have in the closet other than the one green dress I wore on repeat because I just didn’t have the physical strength to go looking for another outfit. My family and I even found this amazing park that is a joy to play in because of the amazing wildlife and scenery, and also because there’s so much valuable gameplay in this particular area. All of this together has made life worthwhile once more for me.

The game is complex, it’s designed for everyone to enjoy. I appreciate the challenge and how it’s essentially a world-wide scavenger hunt. I like that it encourages people to get exercise and to leave their house. I like that it is a community-building game where you can make friends out of strangers. There are many friendly faces we have met along the way since we started playing and it is nice to see that this little game can bring so many people together especially during such a tumultuous time for our country. I know you’ll always find a friend when you know they play Pokemon Go. Regardless of any perceived differences, the game brings people together and that’s why I really love it. For anyone who plays, if you’re interested in adding me as a friend, my friend code is: 5019 3681 8101. My name in Pokemon Go, of course, is MoonlitGoddess. That’s how you’ll know it’s me.

On a final note, if you are interested in buying either my children’s book or my latest poetry anthology, just click on the picture links below. My children’s book, My Papa and Me: A Children’s Book About Our Journey With Dementia is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats ($12, $5, respectively). My poetry anthology: Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear, is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats ($25, $9, respectively).

I want to thank everyone for continuing to come back and read more about me and what is happening in my life. I appreciate each and every one of you. Thanks to everyone who has purchased my book in the past and recently. It means so much to me! I will let you all know when the audiobook comes out for A Wynter’s Tale. I am super excited about this latest addition to my writing repertoire and I look forward to hearing what you all think about it! I wish you all a wonderful week ahead!