Today I’d like to welcome Angela Panayotopulos with a guest post and extract from her latest book, The Wake Up. Over to you, Angela…
It took me six years, but I did it: a novel on love, loss, deceit, and truth. It feels good and it feels right. Who knows? Perhaps the book I wrote may be as cathartic for you as it has been for me.
I was a peculiar child; for years, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you how to get from my school to my house because I spent every day in the school bus reading. From a young age, I realized that you could live a thousand more lives if you read a thousand more books, and I delved into stories like a man on fire dives into water. I quickly learned that love and lust are very different things, that there are many layers of emotion, that being smart and being clever are not the same, and that a genuine love is the rawest, most stripped-down, most vulnerable and heartbreaking and pure of all the loves.
My theories, a patchwork of book pages that smelled of dust and dreams, were put to the test later in life. Every person I’ve met has ended up being a friend for life or a lesson of life. I’ve had my heart scratched and my body bruised. I once stumbled across a quote by Mary Oliver and it has haunted me since, whispering at me like Jiminy Cricket perched on my shoulder: Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to realize that this, too, was a gift.
I began this book with the revelation that a breakup can be a wakeup: the most powerful turning moment in the plot of your life. The word indicates that something has broken—and yes, it has. It’s up to you to determine what. A heart? A spirit? Or have you broken free, like a butterfly fleeing the cocoon or Lazarus torn from Death’s embrace?
If a breakup is righteous—if it’s healthier than the withered skeleton of your once rosy-cheeked and red-lipped relationship—then the breakup is a “wake up” in disguise. Take it for all it’s worth: a lesson, an opportunity to grow, an injection of strength. It may be a breakup with a romantic interest, a friend, a political or cultural affiliation, or even a conviction. A relationship is like a car that runs on trust. You can sit in it all you want, but if there’s no trust, you’re not going anywhere. There are only so many hours you can sleep in a stranded vehicle and there are only so many times you can try to revive the dead.
Move along. This chapter is called Resolution. Heart will bleed and eyes will weep; weigh the promises, examine the oaths, and reprioritize your desires. After Resolution, you’ll flip on over to the next chapter: Heartache. You’ll find long paragraphs to shed tears upon, blank pages to use as tissues, a few lines of bitter self-pity, mourning, frustration, fury, a sending-off of a beloved antagonist guised as a protagonist. The next chapter is Resurrection. I don’t know how many pages it will take you, but you will find it. The pain dims like the fading stars in the dawn sky; always there, half-forgotten. Joy dawns like the sun, re-illuminating such things as friendship and family and purpose and potential.
Do not be afraid of your past. Do not be ashamed or regretful of your mistakes. These are the exact things that have helped forge your armor and whet your mind. These have enabled you to become the person you are today. As oxymoronic as it may sound, your heart is fuller because of them; it has been stretched with pleasure and pain alike.
Paulo Coelho once wrote: “If you are brave enough to say goodbye, life will reward you with a new hello.”
That chapter is called Refresh.
About the Book
For years, Lexi has repressed her secret gift: a rare ability to glimpse the angelic or demonic manifestations of people’s personalities in their mirror image. With her family’s glass-blowing studio as her playground and her mirror-making grandfather as her mentor, Lexi comes of age when the nation’s president—an undisclosed Seer who demonizes his gift as fiercely as Lexi treasures hers—bans man-made reflective surfaces, plunging the nation into a dystopia where government agencies annihilate families like Lexi’s.
As her family breaks apart, Lexi falls for a man who comes to stand for everything she despises. Betrayal and deceit ignite a domino effect of dangerous consequences in a world of blurring boundaries between the worldly and otherworldly. Caught up in a battle as old as time itself, the last mirror-maker must revamp a breakup into the greatest wake up of her life, embracing her forbidden capabilities in an attempt to rouse her world out of darkness.