A Poetic Manifesto

A Poetic Manifesto by Valerie Parente

What it means to be an artist is that I take my life experiences and process them through a creative filter. My internal world manifests best through the art of written word. As a result, when I’m in pain I might write a “dark” piece. To those who find this work disturbing, this is my rebuttal.

"Scar Tissue"

I have every right to say anything I want to say
because this page is my stage and this is my brain
and the reason you felt uncomfortable when you read it
was because you have resonated with it.
If you become upset knowing that I am broken
then please understand that writing about my mental health
is how I begin to heal myself.

I will never stop emoting and hurting and healing and if any of this is problematic for someone then I pray you find the strength to learn how to be human one day.

– Valerie Parente (5-30-2019)

Switching Perspectives (Analysis of In Touch) [Part 1]

Why is it so much easier for me to write from the point of view of a male? In Touch, being the third story I’ve completed, was by far the most effortless piece I’ve written to date. One could claim this is because the themes of In Touch were purely an autobiographical experience against the backdrop of a fiction story. The odd but magical part of writing this book, though, laid in the fact that I was writing about obsessive compulsive disorder from an outsider’s point of view… a male’s point of view. Sitting in this Starbucks, for the second Sunday in a row, now writing scenes for another story through a male narrator, I find myself asking the question- why is writing from a male’s perspective so much easier for me? My guess is that it has something to do with the prisons we call ego and expectations.

If you’ve read any of my poetry and prose work then you’ll quickly realize it is no secret that I am extremely tied to my female identity. So you would think I would write more effortlessly from the female point of view, but from a personal standpoint that just doesn’t feel like the case.

In Touch was honestly the easiest book I’ve written to date. Was it the “best”? I don’t know. But it was certainly less difficult. Most notably, it was effortless. The words flowed from my brain with no hesitation. I barely had to think. I just wrote. I remember lying in bed scribbling dialogues between the main characters, Jef and Lacey, with no interruption of thought. I remember phrases and comments popping in my head when I was working my retail job and jotting them down on scrap pieces of paper. Many brief but key comments unraveled into beautiful chapters and concepts that I genuinely do not feel took any brain power. They just popped into existence and my mind acted as the translator between wherever art spawns and where it is destined to be recorded. Bringing my daily thoughts and imaginary conversations alive on paper was as easy watching TV.

In Touch (Cover, No Binding)

Writing as a person who is so obviously not me, that being a young man, brings no pressure. There’s no ego conflicts or stress to “get it right”. Any expectations I have on the identity I project to the world is irrelevant. All that matters is writing meaningful passages. The ego that haunts “Valerie” is no longer in control. It really is freeing. I imagine this kind of disconnect from the self but connection to the collective consciousness that is the rest of the world is what it is like to feel free. And for this reason I think I not only have a more effortless experience purging the words on paper through a male narrator’s voice. The idea that it is easier to write as somebody who is not me is rich with irony, and that fascinates me more and more every day.

When I have writer’s block I look at that 488 page novel and wonder how the heck I did that. Then at moments like today when I started writing from another male narrator’s perspective new words flowed instantly and I remembered what it was like to be inspired.

Yes, I identify with all my narrators to some extent. We do share the same brain after all. But there’s something flawless and liberating about writing without Val’s ego and Val’s expectations breathing down my throat. No interruptions. It’s easier to write and write and write until the thoughts dry out. I feel more “natural” writing as a different gender and identity, and I think that’s why In Touch came out exactly as I dreamed it would.

To purchase In Touch you can go to Amazon.com!

The Silver Screen

Bloom

The Silver Screen by Valerie Parente

My daydreams bloom from whatever prominent emotion I am feeling.

My daydreams seem to subconsciously and intuitively unravel themselves into ideal scenarios.
Like a movie the daydreams play out in a succession of mental frames on a cortical film reel. At best the mental fabrication distributes its duty between the two-track mind and I maintain my presence; above the absolute threshold I am in the audience and below the absolute threshold I am in the director’s chair. The dialogues between imaginary friends on the silver screen happen so instantaneously that the script’s origin teeters on the line between voluntary and involuntary awareness.

My daydreams are finalized by obsessive and repetitive hindsight.
When mentally reviewed these fantastic mental purges reveal subliminal truths. The loose reigns of control over the internal screenplays, regularly referred to as “imagination”, masquerade as intrusive images too appropriate and too satisfying to be resented.

– Valerie Parente (2-18-17)

The Daydreamer’s Inner Playwright

The tough part of being mindfully present when you are an introverted daydreamer is separating yourself as the existential human you are in reality aside from the inner playwright tinkering away within your brain. Daydreamers always have that anticipatory screenwriter designating mental energy, time, and focus onto future “could be” situations. The screenwriter’s role is to fantasize, modify, and mentally record dynamic imaginary scenarios onto the false memory film reel of the brain. They hone a future-oriented duty to wonder how events might transpire in the best possible way- “best” determined by an idealism based on multi-dimensional enlightenment from both profound and simple life lessons, not the same “best” seen as consecutive achievements of one-dimensional pleasurable experiences. Like any good book, the anticipatory daydreamer cares about writing your lifestory so that it conveys important messages and strikes as interesting.
But here’s where the dilemma arises. You are not an omniscient author of your lifestory. You cannot control or inherently understand the underlying workings of the external world, other people, and forces. You can only control and understand you.
To be grounded with your head in the clouds poses an impossible Schrödinger’s cat kind of dual state. A grounded, mindful person makes the most out of their experiences by coexisting with nature, observing and recognizing the sensations in the present. Meanwhile, a person with their head in the clouds is figuring out how to control and create nature- too busy being a superhuman scribe to be an affected character in the cosmic blueprint. Daydreamers are omniscient playwrights heedlessly attempting to define real people and real settings into character roles and plot lines. They are compelled to think up ways in which events will unfold, how Person A will come to meet Person B, and what the underlying motives for all parties involved might be… these are tasks no human being can do with their reality outside of penning a fictitious narrative on the sidelines.

With This Pen, I Thee Write
There is an anticipation in the daydreamer that can inappropriately bleed into the unfolding plain of the material world. This is not to say that anticipating life’s experiences is unhealthy- anticipation serves a very healthy purpose when used appropriately. You should anticipate your actions, reactions, and emotions, not those belonging to other people. There is a difference between anticipating how you will deal with given situations versus anticipating how the world will deal out situations. It is not your job to think up who you are going to meet at a certain setting or how people are going to feel about your choices. Leave the ‘how’ component to whatever omniscient forces dictate the universe. Focus on your current goal, focus on being the best you can be in this very moment, and do not focus on how every future person, place, or thing could play out in relevance to your goal until that person, place, or thing has stumbled its way into the reality of your present state. Daydreaming can be an exhilarating activity that can turn into worthwhile projects about alternate characters leading alternate lives, but daydreaming is not how you make the most of the life you are currently leading.

-Valerie Parente (10-29-16)

You’ve Made An Author Out Of Me

You’ve Made An Author Out Of Me by Valerie Parente

She does not read for leisure. She reads to study. To learn. To quench a thirst for knowledge, knowledge that constructs her entire outlook of reality. So when she couldn’t find out anything about him… she was lost.
“I want to know who you are, what you are about, what you have been through. But you are way too hard to read. When I’m with you, you refrain your diction. When I’m not with you, there’s no context. I have to use my own imagination to explain the content of your character. You’re giving my mind way too much freedom to play around and cultivate false memories. This isn’t your story any more, it’s mine. Don’t you see what you have done?”
His disposition tightened and his jaw clenched. He was about to apologize when the sudden euphonious plot-twist of her voice took him by surprise.
“You’ve made an author out of me,” she smiled.
Her eyes were fixed onto his with a firm stillness, but the shimmering of her tears created an illusion of movement. Under the influence of emotion her pupils flickered… as if she were reading from left to right.

she reads to study

– Valerie Parente (6-22-16)

Personal Business

tulips

To have a career creating art must be very rewarding, but also very exhausting. As a professional artist there is no separation between your work life and your personal life, because your business draws from your personal business. Still, I can’t imagine a career avenue more perfect.

– Valerie Parente (5-16-16)

 

 

The Miracle of Language

darkI correct people’s grammar. I criticize poorly worded sentences in commercials. I cringe at ridiculous lyrics sung on the radio. I proofread my text messages before sending them. But I think the reason language is important to me is because so often I have a jumble of irrational snippets of information and lacerated thoughts senselessly flying around my head. So to be able to pull that structureless jumble outside of my own head and construct it into coherent sentences is a big deal for me. To be able to put into words what doesn’t quite make sense to me is nothing short of a miracle.

– Valerie Parente (5-6-16)

Damsel in Distress

Damsel In Distress

“Damsel In Distress” by Valerie Parente

Growing up I admired the damsel in distress in every movie I watched. The scenes that got me most excited? When an emotionally invested prince caught a glimpse of his princess in trouble. Not the spectacular moment right before when he swooped in on a stallion or right after when he saved the princess by slaying a dragon, but that exact moment in between. That fleeting succession of frames where the prince’s poignant eyes fixed on the princess writhing in her conflict and you could see him processing the sight. That, to me, was the pinnacle of romantic. The simple act of boy witnessing girl. And, in hindsight, I think that warped level of infatuation that I had as a child alluded just how prevalent daydreaming would be to my emotional being. Because that moment when the prince watched his true love suffer wasn’t some concrete action of heroic proportions with no substance further than what it offered visually. That moment was an intimate connection where one character mentally absorbed the dire state that another character was in, and it gave me as a wide-eyed viewer an empathetic opportunity to freely imagine what prince charming and his straining heartstrings might be feeling regarding his beloved. And that practice of fantasizing his emotions through the infinite flux of my own imagination provided nothing but ecstasy for the emotional daydreamer in me.

– Valerie Parente (4-28-16)

Validation

Valerie Parente (handwritten)

I think, from a psychoanalytical standpoint, one of the key reasons I write down my thoughts and daydreams is to validate my own stream of consciousness, as if ink on paper could assert the existence of my mind in this overwhelming universe.

– Valerie Parente (4-8-16)