Dimitri Iatrou- author. Seriously?!

If you truly love writing, you’ll find the time to write no matter what. And if you’re enthusiastic and entrepreneurial, you’ll promote and create opportunity for your work to be seen by as many people as possible, in order to make as many sales as possible. Because that’s the beauty of finally becoming an author, right? The fame. The adoration. The recognition. The achievement of hitting top ten on Amazon. The apotheosis of seeing your book in stores on a shelf. The heaps and heaps of cash, baby, cash!! Well, of course there are those for whom this is the definition of success. 

When I completed the (what I thought was the final- boy, was I wrong!) draft of Damastor four years ago, I had refused to believe that anyone would want to read it and couldn’t have cared less whether the content was of any interest to others or not. I wrote Damastor like no one else was going to read it. I danced like no one was watching. It wasn’t until I was contacted by a certain Senior Editor of a publishing house (you know who you are!) that I even dreamed that publication could even be a remote possibility. I remember being in complete shock when I was told that my manuscript was good, that my poems were beautiful, and that themes therein would resonate with a lot of people. I sat there, stunned, thinking that there must have been some mistake or a mix-up. It was because of this meeting that I was given the courage to move forward, carrying with me the knowledge that I was doing a good job. Even though the deal with this publishing company fell through after a couple of years for whatever reason, I still knew that this novel was going to be published one way or another. My ten-year journey lead me to the realization that I wanted to share my book with others, despite the horror of having my innermost crazy imaginations made public (publishing my first novel is like wearing new, incredibly-comfy, flannel pyjamas stuffed with poo- awesome yet uncomfortable at the same time). You see, like millions of other writers, I define success by just having my work read by other human beings. A book is just pages stuck inside a cover until someone reads it, connects with it on some level, and recommends it to another person so that it soars it into the world.

Last night as I was getting ready for bed, it suddenly hit me that I could no longer work on Damastor. It’s done. That is so weird. I want to say thank you to everyone who has contacted me and given me support. My spirit is soaring because of you, and the feeling of overwhelming dread and terror at the thought of you having read my work will follow me always. For me, this is the real beauty, the real success in becoming an author. The terror. The embarrassment. The dread. The nausea.

So now I’ll just sit back, relax, reflect and await the ripple of reactions of my first published novel.

Ok, chatty-time’s over. I’ve got a novel to write.

 

 

 

UPON AN AUNGELLE MY PRAYER IS LENTE

     

 

My chyld cryes for medycyn

As scourges hynge on all hys kynn

 

Hys herte of lyfe ys for drede

As I also laye on dethes bed

 

        To hym I make my herte steadfast

Both on erthe and in heuene vast

 

And on my ded beloved be my thoht anon

She was my smyle nyght and daye

The fayrest mayden that by my soule dyd laye

 

Now sinne on our flesshe hath richly fed

Sek and peynyng hangid so redde

 

Upon this aungelle my prayer ys lente

Bow I to thys lady bright,

Amen Trynyte for her heuene lyght

 

Dethes swete scent makes grate haste

Smell I encens, heuene erbe I taste

 

By me she kneeleth and calm is brought

O! By her grayce I suffer naught

 

Aungelle, if that you leste, be with my sone

After Gabriel from Paradyse for mi com

 

I se the mone and dethe I crayve.

Wyth meekness to the aungelle I praye

 

And wynne heuene blysse.

Amen.

My Testimony-

For many months I have been very nervous about putting my testimony on here. But after thinking about it for a while, I came to the realization that the reason I wouldn’t want it on here is because people would read it and would think I’m crazy. Maybe this testimony would also be detrimental to my novel sales as well. Well, I’m no longer worried about any of that. You see, what happened to me was so incredible, that it is my responsibility to share it with anyone who will listen. I’m not going to quote anything from the Bible, as I’m in the process of reading it, and I’m not qualified to preach it anyway. What I will write, is the truth, exactly as it happened to me. I think that’s all that’s required of me for now.

I was raised in the Greek Orthodox religion. My family and I used to go to church often, but the only reason I really liked going was because there was a comic store across the street that my brother and I used to frequent immediately afterwards. It was like a reward for having to put up with a couple of hours of sheer boredom. My mother was (is) very religious and I used to like getting under her skin by saying things like, “Prove that God exists.” and “There’s no such thing as God.” For 42 years I believed that Jesus was just a clever guy who pulled a few tricks just to get a lot of people pissed off at him. I didn’t believe in Jesus as the son of God. I couldn’t fully subscribe to the belief that there was a flying man up there who loved me so much, that he suffered on the cross for everyone’s salvation.

I always thought of myself as a good guy. I’ve never hurt anyone (intentionally), but I did have an illness that was a part of my life for many years. It was destructive to my soul… no matter how hard I tried, I could never get rid of it. I had had it for nearly 20 years, and I honestly did not know how I was ever going to be able to get free. I assume it would have taken months of intense therapy, drugs, etc. to purge myself of it, if entirely possible. I don’t know. On the night of December 21st, 2012, I was home by myself doing renovations on the house. Three hours previous, my wife had taken off on a vacation with family, so I had all the time in the world to work on DAMASTOR, so I got down to it. As I was typing away, I suddenly heard a voice inside of my head. It said get on your knees and ask for forgiveness from Jesus. I did as was suggested and got down on my knees and out loud, I asked for forgiveness from Jesus. That’s when the uncontrolable weeping started. I wept like a baby for two hours straight. The most incredible thing is that AS SOON AS I CONFESSED AND ASKED FOR HELP FROM JESUS, not two seconds afterwards, this energy enveloped me and coursed through me! The blackness (my sins) that was, up to that point, tucked away and safely hidden from me in my heart, was suddenly gone. I couldn’t believe it. I felt weightless. And it wasn’t until after it was gone that I realized that it had been hiding there to begin with. The most amazing, liberating, loving, intense feeling of pure joy overcame me and it was at that instant that I knew Jesus (the same man who died on the cross for us) had forgiven a miserable wretch that did not deserve it. My illness disappeared immediately and is no longer my master. And there is not one iota of doubt in my heart that Jesus loves me, loves us all. Jesus took the time to heal me and forgive me even though I had used His name as a curse on more than several occasions. I’m still reeling from that experience and I’ve made it a point to tell everyone about it. DAMASTOR was never meant to be preachy. I was going to keep it as non-religious as one could make a book about angels and demons. God was going to be called “The Light”. There was no mention of Jesus. Needless to say, I changed that after this occurrence.

Not all was well, though. Since I knew that I had just been healed by Jesus, that meant heaven was real. God was real. That meant hell was real. I freaked out. I couldn’t sleep for weeks out of pure, intense fear. I had to warn my friends, my family, anyone who would listen. Hell is no longer a myth in my life. I didn’t want to believe that such a place existed because it was too terrifying. It is. It is the most horrible thing there is. That’s why I needed to write this. I had to talk to a priest, which means I had to confess what happened to me. I had to figure out a way to get this panic under control. Our chat helped me more than he could ever know, and immediately afterwards, I went to Chapters to get my hands on a King James Bible. I had never read one before. And I’m still not even halfway done, but I’m reading it. People think (just like I thought) if they’re a nice person, they’re a shoe-in for Paradise. Nope. It doesn’t work like that at all. There’s still this matter of sin caked to your soul. It doesn’t matter how good you are, how much you donate to charity, how kind you are to others, how often you go to church, how often you pray. If you do not repent to Jesus and accept Him as your saviour, you are lost. I now know that if I had died before repenting, before being washed of my sins, I would be burning and breathing brimstone right now. It’s not enough just to believe. You have to repent with your heart to Jesus. You say you don’t believe in Him. I didn’t either until just a few years ago. I used to make jokes about Him. No more. When I hear the word “hell”, I cringe in fear.

Since that moment when I was forgiven, I have become a new person inside. I pray daily, I read the Bible, I attend church regularly, and am always conscious of the way God wants me to live. I never, ever thought that I would receive such a gift. It was free and unconditional. I will never forget this. Please believe me when I say He loves you so much. All you have to do is come to Him as a sinner, repent, and invite Him into your life. There is nothing more important than where you will spend eternity.

Jomo Otiende

Jomo looked over at Pascaline.  She could sleep through anything.  Her long, braided hair spread across her little white pillow.  He called her name softly and his eyes began to well up with tears.  She was beautiful.  She looked exactly like her mother.  Jomo felt his chest spasm once more in uncontrollable lament.  He slapped both his hands over his eyes and heard his sobs break the dark silence.  He breathed deeply and wept hard while the images once again unfolded in the night, the time when he missed her the most.  He begged her every night to come back. Memories of their courtship appeared.  I remember you. I remember when we would go for a walk by the river in the hot African moonlight and stare at the clouds hemmed to the mountain’s shadowy outlines. I remember.  Remember when we were a beautiful, young couple?  Our hearts blossomed for one another; the wind would play with your long, braided hair and we would hold each other and laugh on the grass. The hot rays of midsummer fuelled our passion.  Do you remember our jokes of growing old together?  I hear you calling me.  Do you remember dancing together in the firelight in an embrace we thought would last forever?  I remember.  Of course I remember!  The pain in my heart doesn’t melt away because I remember you and I remember how we were!  I miss you so much.

          Jomo came back to the present.  He thought he had screamed out loud, but no, the children still slept. They were the only anchors preventing him from abandoning his life.  He bent over Pascaline, listening to the blood pounding through his ears.  I’ve found the strength to live, Ghalyela. 

Immortal Eyes

Unclouded peace enveloped the man
The wind stroked his hair as he lay on the land

Did a ripple in the sea cry in sympathy
As the threshold of darkness whispered its mystery?

Was that long tree branch waving to him?
Did the mourning skies make their stars turn dim?

Did the hush silence of twilight dissipate its caress
Onto his unmoving hands so that he would cry less?

Did the earth-golden flowers weep their comfort song?
They were caught in wind’s lift, it would not take long.

Did the cool sand cushion his head like down?
Did the swirling, ice-cold wave crest drown?

Did the rain-heavy air clamour and ring?
He thought he heard the angels sing.

The coaxing echoes bid him rise
And cease to see with mortal eyes

Then did he see rapid darkness swoon
He loved too late and would die too soon.

Shallow water and empty air met with falling rain,
His eyes beheld a brilliant light and the angels sang again.

The Golden Arrow

May the Most holy, the most sacred, most adorable,

most incomprehensible and ineffable Name of God

be forever praised, blessed, loved,

adored  

and glorified in Heaven, on earth, and under the earth,

by all the creatures of God,

and by the Sacred Heart of Our Lord Jesus Christ,

in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.

Amen.

 

 

The Black Plague

The distant hills were silhouetted against a fiery sunset; they walked while the sky darkened, revealing its first star. A gritty breeze stitched itself to a hazy dusk. The moon rose slowly above the hush, serene expanse of the forest’s quivering canopy and then they halted.  Further ahead, Herendin perceived another small village cowering within the evergreens.

          Then, surprise and astonishment changed their faces. Branches snapped ahead of them as a man, stunned with horror and with branches lashing his shoulders, face and back, rushed out from within the forest carrying with him the stiffened corpse of his dead child, its head dangling to one side unnaturally. “My boy! My son!” he cried in agony.  Then he fell and his child’s body rolled and hit the stump of a rotting tree, its lifeless head buried in the grass. Grabbing the sack from Herendin without a moment’s hesitation, Ann ran towards them.

          “Ann, have a care!” Herendin called to her.

          Within a few moments, Ann had reached the man and found that the apple-sized buboes on his neck had burst.  His eyes wide open in terror, clutching his child, he lay dead spurting black pus from his boils.  She turned her gaze, fell and began to vomit violently.  Herendin ran to her side, helping her to her feet.

          “Nestor, be safe,” he looked behind him cautioning his friend.  “Do not look or breathe in their direction!  Ann, are you well?”

          “Herendin… this sickness… None shall be left alive.” Her face was frozen into an expression of fear.  “None shall be left alive.”

Saint Brigid of Ireland

“I would like the angels of Heaven to be among us. I would like an abundance of peace. I would like full vessels of charity. I would like rich treasures of mercy. I would like Jesus to be present. I would like the three Marys of illustrious renown to be with us. I would like a great lake of beer for the King of Kings.”

MacRaith

Herendin jumped to his feet and started tugging violently at his chains, which only served as amusement for the rugged, heavy-boned man who remained silent and unmoving before him. He looked like there was something of the Norse in him. Herendin was not awed in the least.

            “Finally,” Herendin said as he dropped the chains and stood there calmly with his head tilted to the side. “I have been expecting you. Before we commence with the pleasantries, you may fetch me some ale.”

            A strong, mirthful laugh poured forth from MacRaith that shook the walls, “But my friend, I have already begun. During your most peaceful slumber, I have been torturing the last of your kinsmen. You are such a cowardly lot; it does not shock me in the least that you were dismantled in battle so easily.” Herendin went silent and stared at him hard. “Aha. Your bravado seems to have lost its polished surface. I will not take much of your time, for I know it is precious. My name is MacRaith and in my presence you will groan your last and die. Nevertheless, you will be content to know that His Grace, Robert de Bruce, is very pleased with the outcome of the battle and he thanks you for your attendance.”

            “You may tell his grace that he is an ass.” Herendin growled.

“You will spend the next two weeks in a torture chamber. There, your hopes will dissipate like vapours in the night. You will soon embrace a thimbleful of water as you would hold close a loved one after years of separation from them. Your cell will be streaked with your blood. I shall break you and walk you into hell myself.” His face shone in delightful anticipation.

            Herendin narrowed his eyes at him. “Shall we be on our way then?”