Passages & Prose: A Gathering of Authors & Their Books

 

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I am pleased to announce the upcoming Passages & Prose: A Gathering of Authors & Their Books literary event.

This wonderful book fair is a celebration of local, Pittsburgh-based authors and their amazing works. The day-long affair provides an opportunity to meet & chat with the authors, listen to book readings, ask questions and engage in activities. The event hosts authors who pen in a variety of genres, to include; children and young adult series.

The event was developed in collaboration with fellow author, Beth Caldwell, the Cooper-Siegel Library and Barnes & Noble booksellers, and sponsored by; Embroidery from the Heart and Exceptional Gardens. Our hosts for the day are Ann Andrews & Jill McConnell (Cooper-Siegel Community Library), as well as, Tonia Caruso (WQED Pittsburgh). Additionally this event, will launch my new endeavor as a literary promoter.

If you are looking for a family friendly event, Passages & Prose is the perfect way to spend the day with loved ones. It is open to the public and free.

Date: Saturday, September 19, 2015
Time: 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Location: Cooper-Siegel Community Library
403 Fox Chapel Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15238

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FROZEN MEMORIES

In the early stages of the onset of the PTSD, flashbacks were a common occurrence in my daily life. They were a constant reminder of what I saw, what I heard and what I smelled. Any similar prop which presented itself to me caused the prompting of a frozen memory to become the reality of the day. The past merged with the present and my mind became a tangled web of misunderstood messages, thoughts and (on occasion) ill behaviors too.

Over these many years, the flashbacks have decreased. Now their arrival is usually beset by some prop which resembles past days walking the field and watching all which resulted from 9/11, and post days as I watched over those who suffered most. Yet there are times when the remembrances result because I am inadvertently drawn to something viewed on television or heard in the every day doings of life. One such incident took place last evening as I watched the ending of a movie titled, “Unstoppable.” The storyline is based on a true story. In short, the movie tells the tale of two men who risk their lives to help stop a train which is on the fast track to destruction. Their need to help their fellow man outweighs their fear of imminent death.

Now, I usually try to avoid watching any type of movie or television program which may possibly prompt a negative memory. I abhor any violent programming and tend to prefer the comedies and romances which allow me to dream. But, as I watched the last few scenes of this particular movie, my mind was immediately transferred to the image of the passengers and crew members aboard Flight 93 and the remnants of the crash site. My thoughts focused on what must have gone through their minds in those last moments as they made their choice to help save humanity. I kept hearing the word “heroism” across the whispers of my ear. I felt the mixed emotions of pride and pain for these heroic individuals. And in the midst of these feelings, came a sense of helplessness as well. I felt somehow responsible for not having been able to aid them in some way. After all, I was a law enforcement professional and responsible to serve and protect. And on that fateful day in our history, I fear I failed to do so. If this is the deep-seeded feeling which still lies dormant in the dark abyss of my mind, I pray for a reprieve from the distant memories to come soon and set my mind in motion to heal.

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HEAVEN CALLING

When first I wrote the initial two chapters of my book, I did so in response to the deep-seeded fear dwelling inside my soul. It lived there as if it had a mind of its’ own and a heart beat which breathed life into too. The fear I was feeling was an automatic response to my declining health. I feared losing all of the details of 9/11 and the post days. If I forgot these important facts, who would then know about the angelic visitation. As the effects of the Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and the depression set in, the anxiety flared and my mind became a convoluted version of its’ own design. My mind now seemed to reflect the image of a complex puzzle with the many pieces scattered across the landscape of my once finely tuned mind. I was afraid of all which was taking place and felt as if the real me no longer existed. I had lost control of the issues surrounding me. So, in order to preserve the story of 9/11 and the Angels who presented themselves at the Flight 93 crash site, I removed myself from the pain and authored the pages about the celestial beings. These two chapters were written in 2002 and it would take another eight years to complete the entire manuscript.

 

Heaven-CallingWhen my mind began to open in memory of the tale, the many pieces once fractured began to realign and allowed for the distant memories once frozen in time to retrace and enter the present moments. With this healing, came the realization of the importance of telling my story.

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REVISITING THE FIELD: IN SEARCH OF THE ANGELS

For nine years, I delayed revisiting the Flight 93 crash site. I hadn’t been to the site since the first anniversary events in 2002. I believe I deliberately stayed away from field as a means of avoiding addressing any hidden emotions not yet explored and/or expressed. Nevertheless, I was drawn to it and any news about the development of the Memorial gave me a reason to listen and learn of the most recent news. And, over the prevailing years, I watched as the Memorial went from concept to the beginnings of its’ reality.

In the days leading up to the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, my anxiety flared in anticipation of attending the dedication of the new memorial and the services planned. I feared my visit would prompt additional recalls of dormant memories which may cause flashbacks. Also, I was hesitant of seeing the distant faces of those whom I had met some ten years ago. My mood moved between the usual depression and anxious behaviors and caused many a restless day and sleepless nights. In the midst of my mind’s struggle, there was a tiny ray of light which stirred deep inside my soul. It was a small illuminated ray from my spirit urging me to walk the field once again. It shined and peered through the vast and dark murky shadows of my mind. It was a light inside of me which had held the remnants of hope sustained. The hope of recalling a past in sequences of beckoned learning. The hopes of a present with the possibility of new beginnings on each and every day. It was a hope which provided inspiration for what was yet to be. And, the hopes for a future of better tomorrows. A dawning of life in pursuit of the fulfillment of purpose and the pleasure of dreams.

On that day when I once more walked upon the field, I felt as if I could retrace my steps from the long-ago place and space of time. The field which once contained the devastation of Flight 93, now housed the memorial to honor the 40 fallen heroes and their brave story. My eyes misted and my heart beat raced as the memories came flooding forward from the dark to the light. As I searched about the horizon, purveying the entire scene, I found myself searching for the Angels I had once seen.

How my eyes longed to see the celestial beings first viewed on that fateful field. How I prayed for another glimpse of their beautiful faces and illuminated wings. Yet as I looked across the newly created memorial with its’ white and black marble lines, my eyes could not help but transfer to the field of long ago. For a moment, my mind traveled back in search of its’ last view. My eyes opened again and one scene after another recaptured the frames in reflection. Ever so slightly, my mind moved back to the present time and stilled the memories once framed and frozen in time.

I searched the sloping hills with their scenic views of trees and wild grasses and looked for the Angels once more. In an instant to the left of the stage, I saw the Heavenly visitors standing tall among the trees and observed several of the spirits as well. It took but a moment to see them, hear their voices and listen to the messages to be shared. Each came to whisper a “goodbye” and explain it was time to go. They had awaited the building of the memorial for all to remember and to understand. And now, as the instruments played the music and the voices lifted in song, the souls prepared to depart this earthly domain. It was their time to ascend into the great abyss of blue and bid a farewell in their moment of adieu.

Yes, I came in search of the Angels for one last glimpse and to recall. And, on this day of memory, I found them and bid them another welcome and a goodbye as well.

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