Can I Be Candid With You?

I’ve been contemplating this tarot reading I did for a quick glance at the year ahead and how when I arrived at these cards they made no sense.⁣

In December, I was confused in many regards. The future appeared uncertain and insurmountable to me. I felt like it had power over me — a restless wind and I was a Paper sail to be spun about by its whims. ⁣

I stared at these cards, asking what meaning they had to impart to me. Who was I? And what power did these cards have over me in my life and endeavor for meaning?⁣

Months later, I arrived at a new understanding of meaning for myself and my soul as we arrive at the conclusion of 2021 in nearly three months.⁣

Crazy to believe, isn’t it?⁣

Every decision I made has led me to this moment of unfolding. This moment of courage. This moment of creativity — to say, ah yes, here I am.⁣

This time, I can be Candid with you.

Riddle #2

Downstairs by Arthur Hughes

Dear Reader,

I’ve crafted a clever series of riddles with Easter eggs in preparation for the release of my first linked collection of short stories: The Council of Amara.

Here’s the second riddle. Follow the journey (with tons of goodies) on my Instagram.

BSYLI
⁣⁣
Riddle 2
⁣⁣
In order to recover my name, turn to page 22 of Goodbye (Hello) and contemplate these words;⁣⁣
⁣⁣
An Oracle.⁣⁣
A Prophet. ⁣⁣

Until we meet again,

Ilyssa

Dear Stranger

Leaving Signed Copies Behind

I’ve been contemplating the place the stranger occupies and our relation to it.

Who is the stranger? When does someone cease being the stranger, or the specter, in our eyes?

How did we come to calling the stranger our enemy? I suppose my spirituality predicates many of my views on the stranger as the one who is truly the familiar and it has informed my belief that we are all connected in our uniqueness — all divine expressions of the same source no matter what you want to call it.

In my first poetry collection, I consider the stranger my familiar — my lover, my beloved, and my dearest friend.

Today, my Dad asked me why I sign books for someone I’ve never met and left it there with no clue who may be receiving it.

And as I’ve told you now, I communicated the same message in kind to him.

I believe no one is truly a stranger.

I believe we share this moment and all the ones which came prior.

And if you greeted me on the road, asking for my solace and my embrace, would I not give it?

Would I not call you friend?

Listening to the Muse

The cover for my first linked collection of short stories

I’ve been pretty cryptic for a couple weeks now, dropping hints and mementos of lines on my socials from my first linked collection of short stories, which I’ve decided to publish.⁣

The Council of Amara, for me, was a project, which began in a dream, and in the nature of the muse we must listen to all our dreams and treat them with a kind of devotional care.⁣

During my senior year of college, I wrote and defended a linked collection of short stories, which spoke to the strength of femininity and the nature of seeing female as strong. Prior to this point, all I had witnessed within film and media was constant caricatures of women as hyper masculinized — cold, frigid, and ready to battle the world with an AK-47 and a bold red lip. ⁣

As you might imagine, this deeply disturbed me on several levels. In my stories and the stories I saw painted on the page, I longed to see a woman like me: strong and feminine, vulnerable, brave, sometimes uncertain of her path, but strong despite it all. ⁣

So, I wrote these stories as I contemplated desire and what decisions we are forced to succumb to in the nature of our desire as its magical enchantment grabs us with its silken golden threads and never lets go.⁣

I wrote for the women who cry and about the men who watch women cry and do not know how to properly witness it and care for it. I wrote for the men who do not know how to cry. I wrote for the women who long to see themselves in their own stories. ⁣

And I wrote for myself. ⁣

The Council of Amara, in its completed form, will be out on December 31st.⁣

Preorder is available now.⁣

Pressing Publish

Today marks the official release of my Dad’s novel: Retrieval. I feel honored to hold space for my Dad and have been incredibly honored to make my Dad’s lifelong dream a reality.

In July, I decided to publish my first full-length poetry collection. This action, in turn, inspired my Dad to pursue his dreams and make them a reality. With my help with digital know-how and formatting, I helped my Dad finally hit that publish button yesterday and I can’t tell you how humbling that feels.

I’ve been mulling over these feelings for quite some time, so I thought I’d put them to the page now. I can’t tell you how honored I feel to have inspired another to go after their dreams after years of conceding to the whims of the traditional publishing industry who deemed my Dad’s manuscript not worthy.

For many years, I was in a similar boat as my father. I thought I would never publish if I couldn’t walk through the golden gates of traditional publishing.

And yet, here we both are now, victorious, with our words written on the page and now in your hands.

Thank you.

Unexpected Leaves at TSA

This morning, as I made my way to the airport, I was in a rush, surrounded by metallic drab grays and blues with insincere faces and the imminent will of the clock speeding me up.

I reached for my great grandmother’s gold necklace and fixed it onto my neck, combatting a headache and a sleepy daze, which I hadn’t been able to shake since last night.

I’m going home, I kept thinking.

As I rifled through my pockets at the TSA station, I discovered this memento I stowed away days ago from Yosemite Park. Instantly, it brought a smile to my face and made me remember, just like that, the divinity of this moment.

I’ll close off this note by wishing you well on your journey. Make sure you pack spare leaves and mementos as you traverse the darkest corners and emerge brilliant and golden with everything to show for it.

-Ilyssa