Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: soul

This Is Not a #BookReview . . .


Five days ago, I published a post with a video featuring the author, Elif Shafak… The Forty Rules of Love

Shortly after I finished that post, I downloaded a copy of her book, The Forty Rules of Love : A Novel of Rumi.

I was stunned…

In a very positive way…

Have you heard of and/or read Rumi?

He lived back in the 1200s…

Coleman Barks, considered one of the best translators of Rumi, has said:

“Rumi is one of the great souls, and one of the great spiritual teachers. He shows us our glory. He wants us to be more alive, to wake up… He wants us to see our beauty, in the mirror and in each other.”

But Elif Shafak has written a novel about Rumi (and, Shams of Tabriz); plus, a host of other characters—including a modern woman and those involved in her life…

The book begins in the 2000s, then begins to shift back to the 1200s, then continues to move back and forth, in and out, round about, in a delightfully dizzying manner—enchanting, enticing, alluring, captivating…

A quote from the book:

“Love is the water of life. And a lover is a soul of fire!

“The universe turns differently when fire loves water.”

There is really no way to tell you how the book affected me.

I can mention the simple power of the writing, the charm (and, mystery) of the situations depicted, the intrigue of the plot…

But, to “explain” what the book is about would make what happened to me dry up

Yes, I hope you read the book—you will take a trip—you will find something you may have lost…

Yet…

Well…

A quote:

“…when you have both eyes closed to the world, a third eye opens in your heart. And only then do you come to realize that eyesight conflicts with inner knowledge. No eye sees so clear and sharp as the eye of love. After grief comes another season, another valley, another you. And the lover who is nowhere to be found, you start to see everywhere.”

And, because this is not a book review; and, because I really hope you’ll read the book…

A last quote:

“The universe is one being. Everything and everyone is interconnected through an invisible web of stories. Whether we are aware of it or not, we are all in a silent conversation.”

And, because an author is, somehow, always “in” the stories they write, here is Elif Shafak, such a movingly competent speaker, in a video I hope fascinates you and helps you find a reason to read The Forty Rules of Love : A Novel of Rumi………


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What Is Soul? & Does Every Artist Have It?


My dictionary has, for its first definition of “artist”: “A person whose creative work shows sensitivity and imagination.”

When I check the root meanings for “soul” I find this first: “spiritual and emotional part of a person” plus “animate existence”; then there are a bunch of languages sources in a row, tracing its history to this interesting meaning: “of uncertain origin“.

No doubt the soul has always been a bit hard to nail down but it seems to appear that folks with “sensitivity and imagination” are clearly tuned into the difficult to describe qualities of soul.

I read a guest post from Haley Whitehall on Elle Beauregard’s blog called, On The Soul of An Artist.

Haley says: “Even when they are feeling the least creative, artists have something in common—they look at the world differently. They see the world as a place to express themselves….Writers can take English classes and artists can learn from professionals how to paint. People can learn the skills but if they do not have the soul of an artist nothing original will come of it. They will not look at the world differently.”

To me, that last sentence is extremely telling: “They will not look at the world differently.”

I wrote a comment to Haley about her post which said:

I think the distinction between “education, training, and talent” and “the way of perceiving life” is critical when deciding if one is a true creative artist.

I do think there’s a discernible difference between talent and creativity. A talented person can follow a pattern of making art and produce some extremely valuable work. A creative person will infuse any talent they have with the Soul that makes it much more than valuable work…

What are your thoughts and feelings?
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Coming Out of The Closet ~ I’m A Poet At Heart


I’ve written what one author friend has called a Documentary Novel which will launch on May 16th.

That will be followed by a Short Story Collection.

I have two other publications that are free to download.

Then there’s my Poetry Book

It was reviewed recently by an author I’ve interviewed on this blog–Joel Blaine Kirkpatrick:

“Don’t be surprised to learn that Alexander is a poet. A fine poet.

“I own his collection from 2005, which he subtitles ‘A Poet’s Struggle With God’.

“This is not poetry in a page, nor in a phrase, or sentence.

“It is poetry within a word.

“Here is my review:

“How many words does it take to say something profound? If you are Alexander M. Zoltai, sometimes only three or four. ‘Is Your Soul in Here?’, is not a question this poet is asking you, the reader. He is asking himself, and listening very hard for an answer. In this book is the silence of rushing waters, the stone-stillness of clouds, the laughter that pain causes, and joy in feeling the search for love in your soul.

“Alexander claims this ‘spiritual struggle [is] an activity best performed alone…’, and he’s listening to hear if God agrees.

“This is a deeply personal writing, dedicated to his daughter–with the simplest expression of pure love that I’ve ever seen in text.

“I wanted to share this, to thank him for those pages. I find them wonderful to know.”
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I’m A Writer With Roaring Flames In My Heart…


One of the “rules” of blogging is: “Don’t talk about yourself.”

Another “rule” is: “Let your readers know about you.”

Sometimes “rules” are dumb…

If people don’t understand anything about me as a person, how will they understand what I write in this blog?

The title of this post is my personal motto. Awhile back I posted an “interview” with myself and appended a video of Diana Krall, my favorite singer, with the song, Temptation, being an indication of those flames in my heart. That song has the flames Deep within and I thought I should give another, more obvious, example of what it means to be a writer with flames in his heart.

The video below also helps give more understanding to why I posted about the problems in educational systems and why I love to study but have always had problems with schools

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Where Do Writers Find Their Ideas? ~ Revisited…


For anyone who happened on this post by mistake, I put a cool music video at the end.
Please don’t tell the folks who actually read the post that it’s for them, too :-)

Back in February I wrote a post called Where Do Writers Find Their Ideas?. The post may or may not be valuable but the conversation in the comments really got interesting.

I hope some of you will read that post and its comments so you can become the scouts for the territory this post is revisiting.

I want to add a few notions to my ponderings about where writers find ideas and, if the gods of blogging allow, perhaps the comments on this post can recall and carry forward what folks began exploring back then–especially if we get a few scouts to help us in our wanderings…

A few of the comments back in February touched on writers finding their ideas in the lives they lead–essentially, right in front of their noses. While it can certainly seem that way at times, I’m going to step out on that limb I keep weighing down with my own ideas and suggest that even what seems to come from in front of us is actually coming from deep inside–somewhere about six inches behind the nose and seemingly buried in the black hole that leads to another dimension some call the soul.

For the truly brave readers, I’ll link to a page about some of Plato’s ideas and another about some of Jung’s concepts.

O.K., now I’ll wait for the scouts and brave ones to carry out their missions………

………………………………………………..

Alright, let’s carry on.

Look! There’s a writer right there, sitting at the computer desk writing on a piece of paper. Let’s peek over their shoulder.

I walked to the store. Strange lady there. Seemed kindly and normal till I looked in her eyes… Weird. She seemed to be damning me, calling me out on what I haven’t done for the kids, making me wonder–ok, she’s a witch but only uses her power to uncover what people are hiding from themselves. It feels like a judgement when she trains those violet eyes on you but she only wants you to realize your hidden strength, only wants the best even if if means a time of suffering through–

No, she wants no suffering and what looks like damnation of you is her own suffering, not being able to stop the manifestation of her power, her gift…………………….

O.K., I cheated.

I made the example adhere to my theory that even what seems like an idea from outside actually lives and breaths with what we add to it from inside.

But then, plenty of sane psychologists would say that everyone does this to some degree. Writers just can’t seem to help focusing on the process–taking what happens around them and infusing it with what-ifs and I betchas and spinning tales and knitting plots.

Then there are the writers who research various topics and use the fabrics of history as their launch pad. [mixing metaphors like that is one tactic some writers use to make their everyday minds jump the track and spin out yarns that glow in the dark]

Then we find the writers who go deep into the cave behind their nose and pull out whole worlds glimmering with unrealities that illuminate our lives with hope and courage, making our own dreams blossom and flourish.

Like almost all my posts, I don’t intend to lay down any rules or make up any musts. I want to incite. I want to prod. I want to tease out your own ideas; and, I pray you’ll play along and tell me the effect my words had on your own remarkable mind :-)

And, one last kind of writer, sitting alone with just their thoughts–full of characters they wish were real, that they’re working hard to make real. To that writer who can’t seem to let themselves crawl out of their cave and find a kindred soul, here’s a video with musicians from around the world, singing a song just for you:


Comments anyone?
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