How Steven Got His Groove Back

Part IV: Imperfect Symmetry

Part III: Pretending to Sleep

Part II: Back to the Drawing Board

Part I: An Open Can of White Paint

Stella is a highly successful, forty-something San Francisco stock broker who is persuaded by her colorful New York girlfriend Delilah to take a well deserved, first-class vacation to Jamaica. As she soaks in the beauty of the island, she encounters a strapping, young islander, Winston Shakespeare. His pursuits for her turn into a hot and steamy romance that forces Stella to take personal inventory of her life and try to find a balance between her desire for love and companionship, and the responsibilities of mother and corporate executive

Wait.

That’s not my story. That’s the synopsis to How Stella Got Her Groove Back. I mean, the plot points are just SO similar I was momentarily confused. I¬†have been told I bare a striking resemblance to one Ms. Angela Bassett.

Ok, let’s try this again:

Stella Steven is a highly successful motivated, forty twenty-something San Francisco stock broker New York City grad student who is persuaded by her colorful New York girlfriend Delilah to take a well deserved, first-class vacation to Jamaica became disenchated with his quiet suburban life post-graduating from College, so he decides to take a much needed trip, come back rested up for graduate school. [Fast forward a year] As she soaks in the beauty of the island he finally comes to terms with who he is, she he encounters a strapping, young islander, Winston Shakespeare fellow of Greek and Arabic descent who turns his world upside down. His pursuits for her him turn into a hot and steamy romance that forces Stella Steven to take personal inventory of her his life and try to find a balance between her his desire for love and companionship, and the responsibilities of mother and corporate executive drive to become a published author and successfully write his debut novel.

Pretty much the same, right?

The summer of 2010 was the best on record. I had met the love of my life, I had come out to most of my friends and some family members, and, most important for the sake of this particular series of blog posts, I had completed my first year at The New School.

Golf claps for Steven!

It wasn’t like completing the first year of grad school was any sort of insurmountable task, because it wasn’t, but it was the culmination of a two-year-long journey to find peace. When I graduated from Ithaca College in 2008, I was lost. I started grad school the following fall semester at Manhattanville College and left after one semester because I absolutely ABHORED (my favorite word, BT-Dubs) it and got nothing out of that program. As a result of that $10,000 decision mistake, I decided to travel out west, as detailed in Imperfect Symmetry.¬†Two days before I¬†left for that trip, I recieved my acceptance letter from The New School, so I knew I had something to look forward to. And what better than a 2.5 month long journey to get my creative juices flowing again, right?

Because running away solves EVERY problem…

When I got back, I¬†quickly discovered that¬†the New School wouldn’t be easy. The program challenged me in ways I had never been challenged as a writer before.

I thought my writing would be epically recieved.

I was wrong.

I stumbled.

I stumbled again.

And again.

Until I was finally able to be honest, I would continue to stumble. And then I met Steve. Yeah, we have the same name. (If you ever run into us, yell “Steve” and we’ll both answer. And then you’ll inevitably joke about having us having the same name, and we’ll chuckle awkwardly because, well, it would be the 102,283,283,298th time we’ve heard that little gem.) ¬†The summer of 2010 was exactly what I needed: an honest rejuvenation. The excitement of discovery, of something totally and completely new and foreign. My first glimpse into love and everything that love could be and stand for and how it manifests in new and intriguing ways every single day: I had never experienced that before.

It was terrifying and exciting and absolutely breathtaking. Literally. There were some days when I was so happy that every moment was breathless exhilaration. And there were days when I was absolutely petrified that I wouldn’t survive this.

I felt fully and completely alive for the first time.

Love and honesty go hand-in-hand when writing. True love is unapologetic; it’s harsh and hard and it totally BLOWS YOUR FUCKING MIND! Love that is emotionally and spiritually honest is rare, and when a writer can capture that, it’s like personally discovering a new species, even though it’s been done before, since the dawn of time. And even though love is well-worn theme¬†common (in some way, shape,¬†of¬†form)¬†in¬†most compelling novels, discovering true, unbridled, impassioned, REAL love for yourself and tapping into that is pure magic.

Capturing lightning in a bottle suddenly becomes child’s play.

So when I went back for the Fall 2010 term, I was more focused than ever. I had rediscovered my voice. I figured out the main characters story and his character arch, the plot points, and every other detail in between. I had a clear vision in my head.

His voice was ringing in my ears again, louder than ever, begging for me to finally get it right.

And I did.

To Be Continued …

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