The Melancholy Dance That Became My Battle Cry: Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear

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

Continuing this week’s theme of revisiting each of my written work, I decided to write about my last and latest poetry anthology: Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear. Today’s blog discusses what my inspirations were, where I came up with the concept for this piece, and why it defined this new and improved version of myself for 2019.

2019 didn’t start off at all how I had anticipated. 2018, 11:59 p.m. Ireland time, 6:59 p.m. EST, New Year’s Eve. This was the last minute that I had a fiance, I had the prospect of a life in Ireland, I had hope for a brighter future that wasn’t filled with misery, depression, hopelessness, anxiety, extreme and painful poverty, and sheer and utter disgust and hatred for myself as a failure of a human being. My ex filled ideas in my head that I could have a fulfilling life with him and I wanted so much to believe that. I so wanted to be that girl in those fairy tales that were whisked away by Prince Charming and finally had her happily ever after. I salivated at the thought with the prospect of change and hope that this man would be my one true love and I would live and die with him happily in our little love nest in the middle of nowhere in Ireland. That’s the life I had hoped to have and at the time I couldn’t imagine anything better.

I am so impressed by how the next turn of events occurred because they truly felt like a plot from a movie. Midnight struck, his time. I decided to go and look into his Facebook page and kept clicking on pictures, and other people’s FB pages on his feed and then BOOM! The reveal. And it wasn’t what you’d expect. Yes, a betrayal but not of the cheating variety. My heart sank. A huge part of me died that evening. I wanted to die that evening. Everything I ever hoped for died in just sixty seconds. Spending my entire life pretty much being morbidly obese, you pretty much have it drilled in your head that no man will ever love you and you’re going to die miserable and alone with eight million cats. This man changed that perception for me. Before I found out he had betrayed me, he made me feel loved and made me feel that I was worthy of someone else’s love. Weight didn’t matter to him. We are inseparable. Two peas in a pod. Twin Flames. Or so he had me believe.

I’m not going to delve into much deeper into the events that occurred because that’s not the point of this blog. The point is what happened afterward. After making a clean break, I decided that 2019 would be a time to find myself again. Recapture the momentum I had previously before I met this guy and learn to live life with just me again. Being with him for two years, I was nestled in this safety cocoon. The best way to describe the feeling is that feeling you get after reading a really good book series and when you’re finally done you happen to look up around you and realize you are not part of that book series. You have a life of your own and you must continue on living that same dreary life. Upon looking up and seeing the world for what it truly was, I was so depressed, so scared, so uncertain about everything. I felt like a complete loser, a failure, someone who couldn’t even be successful in a relationship. At that moment, I felt like I was indeed the biggest fuck up on the planet. I have literally ruined every single thing I’ve ever had. Being engaged granted me a sense of pride and I loved being this person’s fiancee. I loved the exotic belief that I was going to move overseas. (My box of crap is still there which I will never see again in this lifetime). But there was something about him that in the back of my mind I knew I couldn’t trust. I had intended to go to Ireland in September 2018, but I completely choked and ended up not going. First of all, having crippling anxiety I am not good even in a car by myself so I didn’t have much hope that I could get on a plane alone. My mom had asked my fiance to come here first so that I could fly with him and he declined. My mom told me right then and there that that was a surefire sign that he was not the right one for me. I also was reluctant to leave because my father was pretty unstable at the time and I just didn’t feel right leaving my mom and brother with him while my other siblings were working full-time. They relied on my assistance and I knew that they were not going to be okay without me.

There were so many things running in the back of my mind, but there was also a lack of trust of him from the beginning. He was erratic, flighty, flaky, switching from job to job. He was poor too and he just wasn’t solidifying on a path that would bring him prosperity. I ignored the warning signs despite my family’s pleas. I was deeply in love. Being in love was a potent drug. One that I had never really experienced before and one that I hope to never experience again. The whole ordeal was so troublesome and I’m only now feeling somewhat comfortable in my own skin again.

One of the constant themes of our relationship dealt with farming, flowers in general, geraniums, wildflowers, etc. So upon our breakup, I derived the concept of the Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear as the title of my latest poetry anthology. Perennials being flowers which grow back every year. We had talked about growing our own vegetables, flowers, etc. on his land. So that theme always intrigued, impressed, and inspired me. The idea of them being wilted to me, symbolized the loss of dreams, loss of hope, loss of a better existence. He promised me a pre-Raphaelite existence. A life where we stood hand in hand walking into the multi-colored hues of the fiery sunset experiencing all of life’s ups and downs together. But that was ripped away and is now but a distant memory that seems like several lifetimes ago but yet having it only happened last year, hence my use of the word yesteryear.

I started working on this anthology right away as the new year started. I had compiled all of my floral photography that I had taken over the years and then furiously wrote poem after poem after poem of heartache, loss, betrayal, disappointment, disgust, hatred, madness, sadness, desolation, bereavement, anguish and pain. I not only wrote about my ex but wrote about feminism, about the pain of my dad’s illness, frustrations of family life, and even included a short horror story which I called “The Clown-Covered Canvas” which was inspired by two paintings I found in my dad’s closet as I was reorganizing the attic to convert into my bedroom/office space.

All of this work together became what is now known as Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 3: The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear. This piece was so much more than just poetry to paper. This piece helped me merge into the woman I am today because of the events that occurred at the beginning of the new year. It made me stronger, more confident in my work, and was really the first piece that made me feel like a true writer. Unfortunately, this piece is the most expensive piece I have up on Amazon and that’s because it’s a fully colorized photographic experience that accompanies each poem and story. Like Volume 2, it’s colorized and expensive because it costs a lot to print colorized photographs and digital art. This piece deserved to be in full color. To me, the colors added to the imagery of the poetry.

I incorporated a lot of different types of poetry in this piece too. Volume 2 featured my first attempt at an epic poem. For Volume 3; however, I wrote sonnets, limericks, haikus, elegies, couplets, free verse, acrostics, villanelles, sestinas, ekphrastic poetry, concrete poetry, epigrams, ballads, epitaphs, tankas, odes, and more! I really utilized my skills and challenged myself to branch out and try new writing techniques and I definitely feel this was my most mature piece to date. I’m highly proud of this book. What is most amazing was this was the first writing piece that was featured in a newspaper article since 2009. In 2009, I won the 3rd place prize for the Ella T. Grasso award sponsored by UNICO. The prize was for my short story “A Breath of Freedom” which is featured in my Dark Musings Poetry Anthology: Volume 2: The Storm Over Vermillion Fields. The newspaper article spawned much-needed confidence to seek out other methods of advertising my work. It also inspired me to reach out and interview a fellow creative for the first time on my own Podcast. So the broken version of me merged with this new, improved version of myself who believes in herself and the work that she presents to the world.

This book will always signify to me who I am now and how I should never sacrifice or compromise my values and standards for anyone and that being alone is better than being with someone who makes you feel alone. The Wilted Perennials of Yesteryear is a book for any woman who wishes to regain their sense of strength, to reclaim their power and aims to provide the confidence, the perseverance, and resilience to overcome any adversities and challenges life has thrown at us. This piece is my love letter to any woman who felt wronged or betrayed or blindsided. For every woman who felt slighted, embarrassed, shamed, gaslighted… As the great and powerful Chaka Khan sang, “I’m every woman.” Thank you for reading today’s blog!

For this and all of my other works please visit my Amazon Author Page here: amazon.com/author/psglopes.

VISIT THE MOONLIT GODDESS PATREON PAGE HERE

 

My Comparison of Netflix’s “You” to Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?”

january 24th blog photo

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

When I was in college, Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where are you going, where have you been?” haunted me but not in the way you’d imagine. As an undergraduate freshman, I was not a very strong student. I always struggled in all of my classes and even though I enjoyed the art of writing, I was never good with analytical depictions of stories. I was a casual reader, never really delving much into meaning or imagery of a writer’s work. I was reading for entertainment at the time and found analyzing text to be one of the most dreadful experiences of college that I can remember to date.

I realize now as an adult nearing forty, that it was not necessarily that I lacked the skillset to be analytical. What I realized was that I lacked life experience. How can one step in the shoes of an author if that individual has not suffered or experienced anything close to what the author is writing about? I feel that in order for someone to forge an attachment to an author, there has to be a kinship, a shared connection. That’s why we have favorite authors. Sometimes you click with a writer’s work and sometimes you do not. I realize that now and I have since revisited Joyce Carol Oates’ work and have a completely different perspective. Not only can I directly relate to this piece, I saw such similarities to the new Netflix series, “You.”

How? Allow me to explain.

Upon watching “You,” I found the lead character, Joe, to be one of the most fascinating creatures I have ever witnessed since Showtimes’ Dexter. Joe’s complexity and the way he grapples with his consciousness and how he justifies each act of violence is captivating and immensely intriguing. Joe was the true anti-hero. Falsely claiming his acts were those of love and to protect someone from themselves, watching what Penn Badgley’s wonderfully acted character did next was simply enthralling and beyond suspenseful.

When we watch or read something for entertainment, we, the viewer, are trained to view certain individuals as villainous or unsavory. What made “You” so conflicting was that you weren’t exactly sure who to defend or empathize with in this story. Do I empathize with Joe? With Beck? Paco? Ron? Peach? Benji? Mr. Mooney? Dr. Nicky?

I feel that as human beings we will all get to experience what it is like to be slighted in some way. Whether we get fired from our jobs, endure a horrific heartbreak, or experience some other tragic hardship in our lives, internally we cope with these tragedies in our own way. We find healthy coping mechanisms to help us overcome these low points and we eventually move on rising above whatever adversities we are handling at any given point in our lives.

With “You;” however, the anti-hero forces us to think further than this. While watching, we come to terms with our inner darkness—that little piece of us hidden away so far within our psyches, we refuse to allow ourselves to believe it exists. With all of the hardships revealing themselves throughout our lives, we realize that internally, our subconscious minds want resolution. Once resolutions are sought, we wipe our hands clean of that darkness and commence being that holier than thou person we were before the hardship. We continue acting like we are better than everyone else—denying there was any darkness within us at all. We push back that part of ourselves and return it to where it belongs. That dark part is pushed so deep inside—we completely tuck it away neatly in some dusty, cobwebbed compartment in our minds—once resurfaced, and we realize what was done, it becomes too horrific to admit that we’re capable of such evil—but we are capable of it. Every single one of us.

Evil spreads—it’s there latent, waiting for us to call its name and unleash its unholy fury but you must have the stomach for it if you are to survive this darkness. Death is merely symbolic to the vengeance our minds sometimes seek to help justify the pain, the grief, the loss, the injustices our hearts endure in our everyday life.

We are trained to acknowledge that Joe is the true villain of this story. But what about Candace, Beck, Paco, Ron, Peach, Benji, “The Captain,” Mr. Mooney, Blythe, Dr. Nicky, or the rest of the individuals in the story? All of these people are sinners. They are all flawed, and all served as triggers to Joe’s neurotic perception to “clean house” and make the world inhabitable once more.

I found Paco to be the disciple to Joe’s anti-hero persona, a true believer to Joe’s cause. Paco was a blind participant and felt justified to the extremeness of Joe’s actions believing that such actions would quell the chaos, but we realize it is merely the beginning, an opening for all of Pandora’s troubles. Joe’s presence was Christ-like in that he took on the job of judge, jury, and executioner. Candace served as his conscience—appearing as visions to remind him of what he had done in the past. Joe had a destructive pattern and no matter how he justified his actions, there was no way to quell the beast. There was always going to be some event that arose in his life to somehow justify his actions. He would always bear the burden and possess that insatiable need to serve as the sacrifice, the savior that he believed the women in his life needed to make them their best possible selves.

Alternatively, with Joyce Carol Oates’ “Where are you going, where have you been?” you have a young girl, Connie, struggling with who she is and harboring secret resentment over her older sister and overbearing mother. Connie’s mother is always comparing her to her perfect sister and Connie finds it so stifling and suffocating that she often wishes for her own demise or her mother’s just to end the conflict and inner turmoil. She appears to be looking for salvation of some sort as well. The figure in the car telling her, “Gonna get you, baby,” conveys the impression that he may be just the savior she is looking for. Arnold Friend arrives at her doorstep, when her family went without her to a barbecue on a Sunday afternoon, taunting her and repeatedly coaxing her to get in the car with him.

That bitter realization that Arnold Friend was going to get what he wanted and the last fleeting thought she had in her mind before succumbing to his demands to go with him was that she was never going to see her mother again or sleep in her bed ever again. Despite every desperate thought to get rid of this menace, she knew she had no other choice but to go with this mysterious depraved figure. The moment where she finally concedes, the all-too eerie last words Arnold Friend delivers before Connie pushes past that screen door regarding a little girl with blue eyes, even though she had brown eyes, is all the more chilling. It would have been different had this been a traditional victorious story where the hero and heroine walked away into the sunset, but Connie walking into this chilling figure’s arms is unsettling and distressing. The entire scene gave new meaning to the saying, “Be careful what you wish for…” Connie appeared to have made a pact with the devil when she had wished to separate herself from her mother and sister and came face to face with Satan himself when encountering Arnold Friend.

Connie’s case was that of buyer’s remorse and I felt that so much in Beck’s character in Netflix’s “You.” Beck had issues with her father, whereas Connie had issues with her mother and sister. Beck’s lack of fulfillment as a writer stemmed from her lack of acceptance of her father’s abandonment and him starting a new life without her. That abandonment leeched into her social life and she was unable to forge healthy, enduring relationships with them because she was constantly choosing men who were no good for her. Beck was chastised for dating the pauper bookstore clerk. Beck, being an aspiring writer, wanted to believe that she was accepting of all types and forced herself to believe she had a connection with Joe. Beck followed him blindly and allowed herself to be vulnerable and denied the advice of her equally troubled friend, Peach. Upon realization of who Joe really was, Beck knew it was much too late and there was no amount of quick thinking to absolve her of her foolishness in order to save her life.

The same happened with Connie. She wished for separation, for an identity not to be compared to of that of her sister June or her disapproving mother. The alternative; however, was so damning, so salacious, and perverse for someone so young and so unprepared. As soon as she became aware of it, Connie knew of no further solution but to follow Arnold Friend to what would ultimately become her demise.

I have a deep appreciation for these two very distinct pieces of work. “You” captivated my attention from the very beginning and I found an instant connection to Oates’ work.

Has anyone else watched “You” yet on Netflix? I’d love to hear about your own thoughts and theories on the show.

Thanks so much for stopping by! I look forward to hearing from you all!

Podcast: The Imperfect Science of Forgiveness

blog pic january 18th 2019

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

In this week’s Podcast, I talk about the imperfect science of forgiveness, my anxiety and depression, a PSA for fellow self-published writers, my freelancing, donors, passion projects, writing contests, and MORE!

Listen to my Podcast here: PSG Lopes/The Moonlit Goddess Podcast

Thanks for your continued support! Have a great weekend everyone!