I did it!

I apologize for my long absence from posting here on SoulSEAker, but I was among the missing for a good reason: I finished writing my novel! If you’ve been a long-time follower, you know that this has been a project for over two years in the making. Chapter One – A Novel by Jill Ocone is the result of opening my eyes and believing in the universe. There’s no doubt that two special spirit guides helped me along the way, and I am forever indebted to both of them.

What is most satisfying is that as I wrote, the story took its own shape and form. The original idea that came to me in August of 2014 is still the backbone of the story, but the plot took form as I typed, and things happened that I never expected. The story’s timeline just happened as I was writing. I am, indeed, a real author/writer now!

While I plan on still posting here, I will also be posting specifically about my journey as an author/writer over at jillocone.com. I invite you to visit me over there and check out my professional site. There’s a synopsis of Chapter One posted over there, as well as a form to request a sample copy if you are interested. If not, no worries!

My “mission from the universe”, however, is far from complete. I’ve begun querying agents and publishers in hopes that I am guided to the right opportunity to take Chapter One to the next level. If nothing comes of it, or if everything comes from it, I’m happy regardless of the outcome. I accomplished what I set out to do, even though I had no idea what that was two years ago. I’ve already reached the milestone of receiving my first rejection, and that excites me! Again, I’m a real author now!

Your support has made my journey all the more meaningful, and I am extremely thankful for YOU.

Today is a snow day here in the northeast, and I plan to use part of my day to plot out an idea that again came to me in a dream which could be my second novel.  Here’s hoping! Be safe, my friend!

 

Something to SEA: Thank You For Your Gifts, 2016

Yep, it’s almost here. The end of 2016. Many people will say that 2016 was cursed because of so many notable deaths, but I disagree. I’ll be honest and admit I cried a few times over Carrie Fisher and Prince. I think those are only two of the three celebrity deaths I ever cried over, number one being Chris Farley. Death sucks for sure, but 2016 was not cursed for me.

I usually write a retrospective of my year in February on my birthday, but I think 2016 itself deserves its own shout-out because of the wonderful gifts and experiences it gave to me, regardless of the highs and the lows.

The spring was rough for me as I experienced a very debilitating Lupus flare. There were some days that I literally could not even get out of bed, days that were filled with overwhelming defeat and sadness. However, those awful days made me put things into perspective and focus on what truly matters. I now aim my sight on the big picture without all of the little hassles or others’ priorities that might try to steal the show or detour my focus. Making my soul happy and MY priorities are now number one: living, laughing, loving, writing, and teaching the lessons my heart knows need to be taught.

Because I listened to the universe, I traveled abroad to Dublin not quite sure of the purpose of my trip, but now I see it as clearly as ever. I know what I want and need to do in 2017 to make my passions come alive. I am more confident now as a result of following my heart and kicking fear to the curb. I’m learning more about myself months after my trip, too, as I look back upon my experience while researching the life and works of James Joyce. In addition to Joyce, writers Paulo Coelho, Seamus Heaney, Declan Kiberd, and Jeff Goins provided an immense amount of encouragement and guidance.

I found inspiration in the lyrics of many songs by Red Hot Chili Peppers (Look Around, Goodbye Angels, Dark Necessities, The Longest Wave, Encore, Hey, Can’t Stop, The Zephyr Song, Midnight), The Cure (Treasure, Open, From the Edge of the Deep Green Sea), Coldplay (Midnight, Up & Up, 42, Death and All His Friends), 311 (Golden Sunlight, Beyond the Grey Sky, Never Ending Summer, Tranquility, Hey You, Something out of Nothing, Two Drops in the Ocean), Blackbird and Hey Jude by The Beatles and Pilgrim by Enya.

One surprise that 2016 provided was learning I might have Polish heritage through my father’s mother, not Russian or Austrian as we originally thought. I plan to continue exploring my family heritage in the coming year.

2016 gave me so many splendid memories filled with giggles and smiles, especially those made with my niece and nephews E, N, H, and I. I loved our Six Flags and Sesame Place trips, the tree hunt, boardwalk and aquarium days, Star Wars night at Yankee Stadium, going to LBI and Margate, lining up 120 Disney Tsum Tsum figures, playing games, and more. I’m a very blessed auntie, and I am lucky that E, N, H, and I are in my life. And #5 will be arriving in April, something more to look forward to in 2017! I’m putting my money on another niece, as H and I are both hoping for a sister.

Some of my favorite experiences were Star Wars Night at Yankee Stadium with my family, seeing the Yankees in July with my friend M and her family, random trips with my friend C (especially the NYC ones), seeing Rogue One on opening night, seeing The Cure with friends in June (bucket list!), the Wings of Freedom air tour, and seeing friends once a month again like we used to years ago. The holidays of 2016 (Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, birthdays) were better this year, too. Despite my health in the spring, I said YES more to life this year than I have in a long time. I am glad I did.

I know my worth and that I am good because of my nephews, my niece, and some very special spirits and people in my life. I learned that being in a photo is more important than my ego, a lesson that will fuel part of my journey in 2017. Additionally, I’m eternally grateful for people like you who never gave up on me and continue to read what I write even though it might be self-indulging like this post.

My word for 2016 was DETERMINED. However, it was hard for me to be determined when I knew the goals I set at the onset of the year were not what my heart and soul wanted me to accomplish. Plus, feeling as awful as I did in the spring, it was hard to be DETERMINED about anything. In May, I changed my word from DETERMINED to OPEN and that made all of the difference. I went with the flow and allowed life to direct me through the rest of 2016, and what a ride it’s been…exhilarating and comforting and so much more! I have selected a new theme for 2017, one which I will post about tomorrow, but being OPEN will still play a pivotal role as I shift focus a bit for the new year.

A final lesson from 2016 is that I can MAKE time for anything, I don’t have to find the time. If something is truly important, the time is there. I just have to re-evaluate my priorities. With each day passing by quicker than its yesterday, I learned the colossal significance of NOW while allowing the light to shine ahead. I mean, wasn’t it just yesterday I wrote my farewell to 2015? No, it was 365 days ago. One year, not one yesterday.

I am a different person now than I was a year ago, and for once, I like myself a whole hell of a lot better now.

Anthony Kiedis sang, “…this life is more than just a read through” on the song Can’t Stop. And he’s right.

Thank you, 2016, for all of your gifts, lessons, experiences, and blessings, all of which will fuel me through 2017 as I march onward. This life is, indeed, more than just a read through, and I intend to make it extraordinary.

20160814-today-use-days-blog-photo-new-fonts

Looking Back: Day 8 in Photos – Goodbye, Ireland, and Thank You!

Monday, August 22, 2016: The time has come to say goodbye to Dublin. I didn’t take many photos, but here are a few to sum up our final day. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

What did Ireland give to me? A whole hell of a lot…

I returned with over 2,000 images and even more memories.

I returned with an overwhelming sense of calm and a joyful soul.

I returned with a deeper understanding of human behavior, of James Joyce and his literature, and of what it would be like to live in Dublin.

I returned with a sense of accomplishment and awe. I still can’t believe I actually did this.

I returned filled with gratitude for every single moment I enjoyed. I am immensely thankful for not only this experience, but also for my traveling companion who joined me (by choice!) on this awesome journey.

I returned with my spirit guide still at my side. SHE has given me clarity and assurance, and continues to guide me towards my focus, which is finally clearer than ever.

Part 1 of my mission from the universe has now ended, but part 2 has already begun: writing a novel.

OC1_16IRE_0820_1758

I believed I could, so I did.

How about that?

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 22, 2016 and are copyrighted. However, since there’s nothing all that Earth shattering here, you have my permission to steal these images and claim them as your own!

Looking Back: Day 7 in Pictures: Bray

On Sunday, August 21, 2016, we packed up and left Tara Towers Hotel and headed south to Bray. Tara Towers was booked when I made the reservations, plus it was neat to venture out to a new area. Our hotel for the night was The Martello Hotel, right across from the Irish Sea. Bray was a fun and festive place. If you are familiar with the Jersey Shore, it was part Belmar, part Manasquan, and part Point Pleasant Beach. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

Bray was the vacation from the vacation and I really enjoyed it. The only thing I would change would be to build an elevator at The Martello Hotel. We had to climb a lot of stairs to get to our room with our bags, which was a little difficult. Otherwise, everything was splendid. If you would like to learn more about any of the places from today’s post, please visit these links:

Bray, Ireland

The Martello Hotel

The Harbour Bar

Katie Taylor

Coming tomorrow: Day 8: Goodbye, Ireland!

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 21, 2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance

Looking Back: Dublin Day 6 (Part 2) in Pictures: Dalkey

After leaving the James Joyce Tower and Museum on Saturday, August 20, 2016, we walked to Dalkey. The water was so beautiful and blue. Dalkey began as a Viking settlement and was an important port. These days, it is a very cute little village. It also was part of Ulysses’s plot. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

The rainbow was definitely a sign. If you would like to learn more about the places from today, please visit these links:

Bulloch Castle

Dalkey Castle and Heritage Center

Discover Dalkey: An Illustrated Guide

Dalkey Village

The Corner Note Cafe

The Gutter Bookshop

Coming tomorrow: Day 7: Bray

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 20, 2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance. 

 

 

Looking Back: Dublin Day 6 (Part 1) In Pictures: Sandycove and James Joyce Tower

Saturday, August 20, 2016, was my sixth day in Dublin. I couldn’t wait to get started on my adventure today! We took the DART to Sandycove, about a 15-minute ride or so. From the station, we made our way along the waterfront and walked to the James Joyce Tower. Some history about the tower: James Joyce stayed here for a short time, and it is the location where Chapter 1, Telemachus, in James Joyce’s Ulysses begins. The Tower has so many James Joyce artifacts and displays. If you are a fan of literature, the James Joyce Tower is worth checking out.

If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

It was amazing to be in the same spot as James Joyce. My footprints walked in his footprints, and also walked in those of Stephen Dedalus and Buck Mulligan. If you would like to learn more about the locations mentioned in today’s post, please visit these links:

James Joyce Tower and Museum Site 1

James Joyce Tower and Museum Site 2

Sandycove Beach

Sandycove and Glasthule

Coming tomorrow: Day 6 Part 2: Dalkey.

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 20, 2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance. 

Looking Back: Dublin Day 4 in Pictures – Dun Laoghaire

Day 4, August 18, 2016: My day in Dun Laoghaire (pronounced dun leery). On my 2014 trip, we stayed at the Royal Marine Hotel in Dun Laoghaire, and I would have stayed here again had the universe not had other plans. I was very excited about seeing Dun Laoghaire again. I loved it in 2014, and looked forward to returning, walking the pier, and just “be”ing. I have to say that it is one of my favorite places on Earth. No idea why, it just is.

Dun Laoghaire had a role in WWI history. Known then as Kingston, the RMS Leinster, which was its mailboat, was torpedoed and sunk by a German submarine in October 1918 four nautical miles into the Dublin Bay. Over 500 people died in the attack.

Dun Laoghaire was only four DART stops away from our hotel, which was a ten-minute ride at most. Our first stop was the east pier. There were a lot of single people who seemed to be enjoying their lunch break outside at the pier area, as well as a lot of families spending the beautiful day outside. I was able to see the James Joyce Tower in the distance (which I visited later in the week; stay tuned for the post from Day 6).

After enjoying an ice cream cone from Teddy’s on the pier, we visited the National Maritime Museum of Ireland, went to my favorite store, Eason, and had dinner at O’Neill’s Dun Laoghaire. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

 

If you ever visit Dublin, be sure to check out this wonderful area, as well as the other towns up and down the Dublin Bay. You won’t be sorry. If you are interested in learning more about any of the places I included, here are links for you:

Dun Laoghaire Town

The Forty Foot Pub

O’Neills Dun Laoghaire

National Maritime Museum of Ireland

Eason

Coming tomorrow: Day 5, Part 1: Hill of Tara (Celtic Boyne Valley Tour)

 

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 18, 2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance.

Looking Back: Dublin Day 3 (Part 1) In Pictures

For the Joycean fan, Day 3 was perhaps one of the two most important days of my mission. Despite the rain, it was a memorable day. Today’s post will feature photographs from the first half of Day 3 (August 17, 2016) along the Talbot Street area to the James Joyce Centre. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view.

If you are interested in learning more about today’s locations, please visit these links:

Talbot Street Memorial

Connolly Station

The Celt Traditional Pub

The Spire of Dublin

The James Joyce Centre 

Coming tomorrow: Day 3, Part 2

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 17, 2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance.

Looking Back: Dublin Day 2 (Part 2) In Pictures

Today we will look back at the second part of Dublin Day 2. I think we did the most walking on Day 2, and while my legs were screaming in pain by the end of the day, I was glad the reason they were screaming was because of such a wonderful day versus hurting for nothing at all. Surprisingly, the pain subsided while I slept, which hardly ever happens. I know I had some special spirits looking over me, and I like to think they played a hand in my better than expected health throughout the week. Day 2 Part 2 takes us through Merrion Square through our storytelling dinner at The Brazen Head Pub, Ireland’s oldest pub. If you click on one of the pictures below, it will turn into a gallery which you might find easier to view. Cheers!

If you would like to learn more about the sights I saw on Day 2 Part 2, here are links for you:

PDF Copy of “A Selection of Stories from An Evening of Food, Folklore and Fairies at The Brazen Head

Oscar Wilde Statue, Merrion Square

O’Neill’s Pub

Knobs and Knockers

Molly Malone

Bewley’s Oriental Cafe on Grafton

Dame Tavern

Costa

Dublin Castle

Queen of Tarts

Dublina Viking and Medieval Museum

The Brazen Head

I hope that you visit tomorrow for Dublin, Day 3, Part 1 (including James Joyce statue and James Joyce Centre). Until then, be well my friend!

*** All photographs that are a part of this gallery were taken by me, Jill Ocone, on August 16,2016 and are copyrighted. It is illegal to reproduce or to take credit for my intellectual property contained on this post. Thank you for your compliance.