I don’t meditate. I wish I did. Every now and then, I try, then give up again. One day, I might get better at it. After all, we only make progress by trying, failing, and trying again, right?
Until I get to meditate successfully, I know, at least, I have a few activities I engage in, that make me forget the whole wide world, and in that sense, are just as healing as meditation would be. Writing is one of these.
It’s such a privilege to get immersed in an alternate world, one of my own creation, and to allow myself to experience all sorts of things, without even leaving the room. As a writer, I can be anything I want. I can be my dog. I can be a man. I can be a millionaire, or a pauper, a flight attendant, a luxury prostitute, or a rock star. It’s an incredibly liberating exercise of the imagination, and an ideal escape.
Of course, at times, escape is not the answer. At times, we’d rather write about what bugs us, because the piece of paper in front of us, will listen, won’t judge, and won’t charge a dime.
Sometimes, when I feel sad or frustrated with others – or even with myself -, I let my writing soak that in. My characters might go through sadness similar, or even worse, than mine. My characters might deal with difficult bosses, drama-prone friends, or their own inability to curtail their spending in the face of temptation. My characters might also do things I know better than to allow myself to do, and in a bizarre parallel universe, they might suffer the consequences of skipping town in the middle of a crisis, maxing out their credit cards, punching someone in the face, being rude and obnoxious, or going to bed with someone they know is bad for them.
In the end, my writing helps me deal with my almost constant struggle: I’m lucky enough to have experienced the rhythm, energy, and emotional vibration of many different places, some I have trouble letting go of. I’m torn, most of the time, between different lives I can see myself living, in different settings that appeal to me. I don’t think this is just the blues of the immigrant – besides, I don’t really see myself as an immigrant, but rather as a citizen of the world -, but rather the melancholy of travelers in general, of people who love discovering the world, but might have to pay the price of knowing that there are many places where they feel they might belong. My best tool for dealing with this particular problem – my desire to not just see the world, but live in different places, have a more intimate experience of them, and make them my own -, is writing. If I can convey some of the emotional resonance a place has with me, through my fiction, this does not begin to liberate me of my longing to be there, but it does bring a certain comfort, and opens up a whole new can of melancholy, which I can then savor, at leisure, with the gusto of an internationally-traveling drama queen.
Liliana is the disappointing daughter of hardworking immigrant parents. She is a girl looking to be rescued from her own insecurities and bad decisions. Unable to afford rent in New York City proper, she is craving a life of luxury that isn’t hers, while subsisting on bagels and coffee. In desperate need of support - emotional and otherwise -, she clings to potential saviors, never bothering to question if the attachments she forms really fit her.
In a parallel storyline, her mother, Maria, is trying to reject all offers of help, especially those of her estranged husband, whose unexpected generosity forces her to revisit past mistakes she hasn't come to terms with. Enmeshed in her own drama, she doesn’t notice her daughter’s troubles until it’s too late. Desperate to keep Liliana from making a mistake that will alter the course of her life, Maria reveals her best-kept secret, a story so shocking it might have the power to jerk Liliana back to reality. It could, on the other hand, alienate her forever.
DOGS WITH BAGELS is a story about the American dream gone bad. It is also a story about mothers and daughters, about female friendships, the struggle to survive in one of the world’s most expensive cities, and women’s secret desire to have wild passionate sex with their exes. A cross between Bridgett Jones’ Diary and Sex and the City - with an accent! -, DOGS WITH BAGELS is as addictive as a trashy tabloid you can't seem to put down.
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Genre - Contemporary Women's Fiction
Rating – R
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