Thanks to The English Informer for reminding me of this fun Italian adventure!
I recently received links to a couple of remarkable documents from a Palestinian friend who goes back to my time in Cyprus. I described my harrowing last days there in The Lullaby Illusion.
In addition to the linked photos, I have posted photos given to me by a UN employee. Because of its historical significance, I have created a page instead of a blog post: More firsthand accounts of the Cyprus invasion, July 1974.
Cyprus was an awakening for me on many levels. I lost everything I owned, escaped with the clothes on my back, and felt grateful to be alive. Others weren’t so lucky.
Cyprus taught me that doomsday can happen anywhere, at any time — a natural disaster, a financial disaster, the loss of a home. The important thing is to be aware and plan, so that your assets don’t all sit in one basket under one government.
Buen día from Atlantida, Uruguay, South America! It’s winter in the southern hemisphere.
I’m delighted to participate in this event featuring talented authors from all literary genres—from all over the world.
Four winners will win eBooks for this stop. Your choice of:
In order to win, you must comment on this post. Be sure to visit other blogs on the tour to be eligible for more prizes.
Born in Los Angeles, I spent most of my childhood in Tucson, Arizona and returned to LA as a young working woman. Inspired as a child by postcards from my globe-trotting great aunt, I left the United States at age 20 to see the “great big wonder-full” world.
I planned on being gone for a year, but ended up living my 20s and 30s in Europe and the Middle East. A Jill of all trades, I worked as a secretary and a freelance writer, taught computer classes, wrote songs, and became an accomplished artist while writing my first children’s book, Peel, the Extraordinary Elephant. A charming man who I met at a dinner party in Germany illustrated my book and later became my husband. Serendipitous events showed us that Universe had plans for us together.
After many years of writing and editing children’s books, the 2013 release of my first memoir, The Lullaby Illusion: A Journey of Awakening, represented a profound personal transformation and a new phase in my career. My second book in the ‘Journey’ series, Good Morning Diego Garcia: A Journey of Discovery is a psychological and psychic exploration forged in the chaos of horrendous storms in the Indian Ocean during monsoon season. Following the loss of a child, war in Cyprus, and with growing suspicions that my husband has a secret life, I confronted the elements, and viscerally realized that nothing is as it seems.
My third memoir is about soul connections and the force of pure energy which moves us to the unique place we belong in the universe, and how we fit into the bigger picture of life.
Doug and I love to explore different countries and cultures, learn about their history, and enjoy their distinct traditions and cuisines. We’ve just returned from a trip to Peru and Bolivia where we visited ancient civilization sites, saw alien skulls, and the mysterious Nazca lines in southern Peru.
Thanks for stopping by. Hope our paths meet again.
Featured Author of the Day
Thanks Diane Donovan for reading and reviewing my book!
Excerpt from Chapter One
“I’m sure they’ll teach us the ropes; how to hoist, and lower sails. Should be easy. Tomorrow,” he said, heading to bed, “we’ll book our tickets.”
“The Cyprus book can happen later. After our return,” he said, kissing me good night.
“Good night” I said. “Think I’ll read for a bit.” Instead I found myself thinking about life and the places it can take you, if you’re open to an adventure. I thought about the influences that move one forward and the obstacles that hold some people back. I remembered the cocktail party friends had in their home to welcome us to LA after the Cyprus War. Lots of interesting, high powered people in the entertainment industry welcoming us into their world. Many mentioned how they wished they could leave it all behind and explore other countries; all had a great excuse for why they couldn’t possibly leave their comfort zone.
Wonder why Charles didn’t want to finish the book? Perhaps he couldn’t? I enjoyed researching and writing. It was a challenge trying to figure out the unknowns surrounding the coup and subsequent Turkish invasion. Maybe Charles wasn’t free to tell his story. If so, why wouldn’t he mention it to me? Was he protecting me by not telling? I pondered that possibility. Oh well, I thought, tomorrow I’ll research Sri Lanka, the Seychelles, pleasure yachting, how to handle sea sickness … and how to avoid drowning at sea. Just in case.
I opened the book I had checked out of the library earlier that day. It was written by Jess Stearn, an author who explored the hidden dimensions of man’s mind. I had read a book by him some years ago about Edgar Cayce: The Sleeping Prophet; a book about an American psychic, a clairvoyant who could, under hypnosis, diagnose physical illness, prescribe cures, and even see a subject’s past and future lives. I had found it comforting after a near death experience following routine surgery in LA years ago. The book explained many things to me—like astral projection, near-death experiences, out of body experiences, and reincarnation.
The Search for a Soul: Taylor Caldwell’s Psychic Lives by Jess Stearn had me hooked from page one when writer friends Stearn and Caldwell are at a social event, debating the concept of reincarnation. She is adamant about not believing in it. He says he is skeptical, but open to the idea. Caldwell is a best selling, award winning author of historical fiction; Stearn is a best selling author of works on spirituality and psychic phenomenon. Stearn is convinced that Caldwell’s brilliant books are a sub-conscious recollection of her own previous lives. She makes light of his suggestion; pooh-poohing the idea, and agrees to go to a hypnotist and be hypnotized to prove her point. In session after session, Taylor Caldwell tells of the many lives she has lived and all seem related to the “fictional history” accounts in her books.
Fascinating. I thought, placing a bookmark into the book.
I went to the kitchen sink, turned on the water and began cleaning the wine glasses. I found myself staring out the window, into the dark of night, imagining being out in the middle of the vastness of the Indian Ocean somewhere. Seemed profound and overwhelming.
While living in Frankfurt, Germany in the late 70s-80s, this glass head was my magic mirror, reflecting the world around me. It was purchased in late 1971 before my first husband and I set sail on a cruise from Venice, Italy to our new home in Cyprus.
We hopped on a water taxi near St. Mark’s Square for a short ride to Murano, an island in the Venetian Lagoon where glass has been made for more than 700 years. We followed small groups of tourists in and out of several large factory showrooms where glassblowing demonstrations were short, but fascinating to watch. Ambling down a side street, we came across a smaller art gallery. We entered and looked around, eyeing the colorful art on display. Within a few moments, a salesman joined us and asked if he could be of assistance. Seeing our casual attire (we were dressed in jeans and sweatshirts), he directed us to the “affordable” section of the shop where glass goblets, clown statuettes, and other glass trinkets were displayed.
“We’re actually looking for something unique. One of a kind,” I said.
He looked at our casual attire again, tapping his chin.
“An original piece of art,” I said.
“We do have original works,” he said, “but they’re quite expensive.”
“How expensive?” I asked.
“Very,” he answered. “They’re one of a kind done by glass masters.”
“That’s what we’re looking for. Something unique for our new home in Cyprus.”
He hesitated, then motioned us to follow him.
As we entered a large, dark back room, we saw glass sculptures sitting in rows on deep wooden shelves. He excused himself then switched on lights.
“Oh my,” I exclaimed, seeing the brilliance of glass on display flooded by light.
He nodded. “These are the finest works of glass art anywhere,” he announced, inviting us to look around.
“I love this one,” I said, walking toward a smokey black solid, glass head sitting atop a amber colored solid glass pedestal. “Is it for sale?”
“Yes,” he answered, lifting the heavy piece off the shelf and placing it carefully on a table near a window. He took a cloth from his pocket and wiped it clean.
“Wow!” I said, watching the African shaped glass head reflect its surroundings. Like a magic mirror the image changed each time I shifted my angle of view. “It’s exquisite!”
“It is, but quite expensive,” he said, knowing I really wanted it.
“How expensive?” I asked, eyebrows arched.
The salesman scribbled some figures on a a piece of paper and showed us the final figure.
I looked at my husband. He nodded.
“We’ll take it,” I said smiling.
“You will?” he asked, looking surprised.
“I’ll get it boxed for you,” he said leaving the display room.
While my husband signed numerous travellers checks to pay, I turned the head to reflect different angles and stroked the smooth surface of the glass.
The salesman returned a few moments later with a box and packing material. Before placing the head in the box, he showed us the artist’s signature on the bottom of the pedestal.
Siguoretto Pino, 8-8-71
“Wow!” I sighed, rubbing my fingertips over the signature.
“Would you like to meet the artist?” he asked, smiling.
“The artist is here? Now?”
“Yes, he’s working on a new piece.”
“We’d love to,” I said.
“Follow me,” he said, inviting us into the hot furnace room. A smiling young man walked toward us.
“Venetian maestro, Siguoretto Pino,” the salesman proclaimed.
“Your work is beautiful! It will have a special place in our new home in Cyprus.” I said, beaming.
He bowed. “Grazie! Buon divertimento!”
Waiting on a water taxi to take us back to Venice, I asked my husband to guess the age of the artist.
“He’s quite young,” he answered.
“Looks too young to be an Italian master glass artist,” I said.
Years later I learned that Siguoretto Pino was born in 1944 in a small town near Venice. In 1954, at age 10, he began working in a chandelier factory. In 1959 he apprenticed for the great master Alfredo Barbini and others, and in 1960, at age 16, he became a master Italian glassblower. In 1978 he opened his own studio in Murano. Today, Venetian maestro Pino Signoretto is recognized as one of the preeminent glass sculptors in the world, universally recognized for his mastery in sculpting glass while hot.
Following the Cyprus War in 1974, the glass head was removed from our home by a neighbor for safekeeping (the same wonderful neighbor who looked after our cat Sam when we were evacuated from the island). The head was later packed and shipped to us by our Turkish friend, Sabri Tahir. Sabri (a main character in the book, Bitter Lemons by Lawrence Durrell) became the new mayor of Kyrenia/Girne when the Turks captured northern Cyprus.
The glass head continues to brighten my life and home. I feel a surge of creative energy each time I look into its magic mirror–reflecting light and life around me.