Oscuridad is Spanish for Darkness
Nina’s Story, at first subtitled “The Crimson Flowers” was meant to be a catharsis for me. It evolved into more. The main villain, Oscuridad the sorcerer, symbolized the founder of my childhood church. The healing that was to come from writing my story was halfway due to the fact that I was getting the story out, and halfway due to the feeling of hope that it would help others avoid my pain. As I wrote the story and became more aware of how the story’s elements still showed themselves in the modern world, I realized that darkness comes in cycles, like solar eclipses. There is always more to learn.
“He introduced himself as “Oscuridad the Magnificent.” His smile, vaguely resembling a snarl, was not exactly friendly. Still, there was some kind of vulnerability about him that the people warmed to. There was a tinge of sadness in his dark eyes. It was quickly replaced with a strange light that made them glow almost orange when he clenched his jaw and squinted.” Excerpt from Nina’s Story
Darkness Falls No Matter How We Cling To The Light
One lesson of Nina’s Story is that darkness is inevitable. It is part of our journey. It is the part that feels uncomfortable, yet the part that creates growth, if we want to grow. If we want to stay stagnate that is our prerogative. Life allows us to stubbornly dig in and refuse to move forward. Life allows us to cling to our prejudices and go no further. We are given the choice to create our own hell and live there, if we so choose. But the moment we forget that we have a choice is the moment that darkness takes control.
I Wanted To Tell A Story Of What Makes Us One
It was very important to me to write what was in my heart – that we are one underneath the ridiculous prejudices and bogus judgments that divide us. I envisioned a society of people dating back to the time when the island of Madagascar had newly broken off from Africa’s mainland. I read about those native to the island and decided that I wanted to pattern the characters in Nina’s Story after the first people of Madagascar. They are said to have been Indonesian and African. It was so important to me that people of origin be celebrated in the story. I believe that Africa is the source of origin for us all. Call it a gut feeling. It may also be the greatest irony of ALL time – the empirical truth that shuts racism down for good.
Further back, we all come from the stuff of stars. One. How ludicrous to forget that we are all spirits – “hueless,” but clueless once the skin goes on. I knew that I didn’t in this life have the cultural background from which to speak, but I had a human background. Nina’s Story, I planned, was to be about human nature, people’s feelings and emotions when confronted with conflict. It was to be a story about human resiliency to rise above adversity. It was to be a story of our sameness as human and spiritual beings.
Lemurs And Vanilla And Trees, Oh MY!
I studied books about the wildlife on the island as well. Lemurs fascinated me, and being native to Madagascar, I thought they would be perfect pets for 5-year-old Kenji, Nina’s little brother. I learned what semi-precious stones could be found there and was thrilled to discover that I could accurately use magical amethyst in the story. It was equally thrilling to discover that vanilla was an important modern-day export of the island. I began noticing labels with Madagascar vanilla when grocery shopping and happily began using exclusively that type for baking.
One of my greatest discoveries about Madagascar was its baobabs. Trees are a passion of mine. I love them and named the huge guardian of my front yard “Rhiannon.” She’s a honey-locust, not a baobab, but I feel her wisdom every time I look at her, especially at night when her leaves sway in the moonlight. Knowing she is there is a beautiful comfort. Like the baobabs in the book are to Nina, Rhiannon is a protector and friend to me. The trees in Nina’s Story are not just bystanders. They guide other spirits on the mystical island of Mazin.
Like Solar Eclipses
Like solar eclipses, darkness comes to temporarily blot out the light in individual lives, families, social groups, and even entire countries at times. But the light is not gone. It is temporarily obscured, blocked – hidden. It can be terrifying if you don’t know when or if the life-giving light will return. On the darkness side of things, it can feel like the world is ending. Someone comes with a message of fear, control, and disregard for the diversity and beauty of our multi-faceted human existence, and we forget for awhile that the light ever existed.
As Nina finally did, we must all call upon the healing, warming rays to shine again, to extinguish the cold harsh gray fingers of chaos. Golden layers of light encircle us, winding around our spirits, moving higher and higher to the sky. We are the light. The light is love. Any who do not wish to live in love will, like the darkness, disappear.
Oscuridad, you teach us many things, most importantly we continue to learn that the light must return and you must go. To embrace your lessons may terrify us, but we will push through your darkness with the light of love.
“The trees deeply felt the losses the villagers had suffered, and mourned along with their human friends. Their wisdom was once again treasured. They vowed to do their best to assist in the healing process, refraining from reprimands, and instead offering hope and comfort that blessed all who came near enough to listen.”
Nina’s Story: Endymion Oracles in paperback and ebook.