Wednesday, November 25, 2009

And...We're Back!!

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.
- Jonathan Swift

What a hiatus it has been!!

I have an explanation, although not a terribly good one. Last spring (when the last post took place), work got terribly busy - acting, writing, VM, and just about everything else. At the time, I had also begun work on redesigning my website to incorporate both my blog and my acting and writing portfolios.

And then the summer hit, with all those things that summer comes with, like day-long outings (every other day), family trips, the beach, tennis (another blog in need of an explanation...), late nights, adventure parks, 5K races, go-kart racing, shopping, car shows, swimming, trips to the city, trips in general, and on and on and on.

In the midst of all this, The Vigilant Monkey got underway in July. Exciting!! And, more recently, we celebrated our official launch party back on Wednesday, October 28, 2009 at Greenhouse in NYC and raised over $600 for Child's Play, a game industry charity dedicated to improving the lives of children with toys and games in their network of over 60 hospitals worldwide =)

Not to mention, we also raised over $1,000 for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and participated in its Out of the Darkness Community Walk in Long Island, NY, held at Old Westbury Gardens.

I also began an ambitious ghostwriting project with an amazing individual in the medical field, as well as continued work on a joint novel with an acclaimed physician out here on Long Island. Of course, I was also still freelancing for the NAVEL Expo team (who recently held their fall event in early November).

Then, as summer was winding down, I was chosen to be the copywriter for Totsy, the premier private shopping network for moms, on the launch of their website.

But wait - there's more!! In August, I made the bold step of purchasing my first Apple product, other than an iPod. I bought myself a 15" MacBook Pro...and fell in love. Naturally, I decided I had to work for Apple. So I applied, and a month later, I was training to be a Specialist at the yet-to-be-opened Manhasset store, the fourth on Long Island. On Saturday, October, 17, 2009, we celebrated our grand opening, and my life has gotten even busier even since.

Okay, okay, we get it, you say, you're a busy writer. Well, yes, but remember that other thing I do? Besides talking a lot...

Acting!! Back in August, I got a supporting role in a short film adaptation of the Metal Gear Solid video game series. And then in October, I was cast as the lead in a two-part film currently shooting in Boston, MA. Oh, and let's not forget the six-week audition technique class I just finished with Jonathan Strauss, casting director of Law and Order: SVU.

I think that's about all the updating you can take and I can give for the moment. But stay tuned, the new is days away...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

april reading brings...more reading

Those who write clearly have readers. Those who write obscurely have commentators.
- Albert Camus

Only a couple of more weeks of April, and already I'm feeling the end-of-semester reading (and writing) crunch, not to mention some books I've just been wanting to read.

Check out four that are topping the list -

1) The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge, by Rainer Maria Rilke

Sick in its search of self-awareness, acutely aware of the trauma of modernity, and refreshingly, in a depressing kind of way, poignant - I think I've found my new favorite writer/poet of yore. I've been getting the same feeling I had when I first read Richard Corey by Edwin Arlington Robinson. Published in 1910, it follows Malte, a young Danish nobleman and poet living in Paris, obsessed with death and the deceptiveness of appearances. But aren't we all? The work is semi-biographical, in that Rilke draws from his own childhood and adult years in writing it, which makes the overwhelming sense of anxiety that pervades the book that much more disturbing.

Just a sample of what you'll read...

I don't even know how it is possible for children to get up in the morning, in their bedrooms full of gray-smelling cold, and go to school; who strengthens them, these little hurried skeletons, so that they can run out into the grown-up city, into the gloomy dregs of the night, into the eternal school day, always small, always full of foreboding, always late. I have no conception of the amount of help that is constantly besing used up - p. 213 (trans. Stephen Mitchell)

I prayed to rediscover my childhood, and it has come back, and I feel that it is just as difficult as it used to be, and that growing older has served no purpose at all. - p. 64 (trans. Stephen Mitchell)

2) Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary, by Brandon Mull

Book IV in the series and bound to make me even angrier than the last three, what with it's name alone being too damn clever and perfect for my liking. Click here to read more about it in an archived post of mine.

3) Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by David Allen

A nice woman who was very excited about the dozens of pockets built into a lululemon backpack recommended this book to me. I am looking forward to learning more about this crazy "stress-free" concept...must be some newfangled trend.

4) Film Theory & Criticism, edited by Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen

All film theory. All the time. A must-have addition to the library for any film major.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

a poem on easter day

Obstacles are those frightful things you see when you take your eyes off your goal.
- Henry Ford

Happy Easter!! My day was just fantastic. It kicked off with one of the more eventful masses I've ever attended (people fainting, lemming-like confusion, hour-long search for boyfriend who was stuck on the other side of the church, the sign of peace being sent via text, stories of people getting locked in bathrooms, etc.). At home, we had a most awesome meal of empanadas, plantains, rice, beans, and soup. Then we divvied up Easter chocolates (peanut butter and chocolate could quite possibly be the most perfect edible match ever). And then we napped!! When we got up, there were movies to watch, Internet to surf, singing to be done, more things to eat, and time to chill.

Faith, family, food, and fun - Easter and alliteration, all wrapped up in one =)

Now to transition to some writing updates...I recently entered yet another writing competition, this time for poetry, sponsored by the Utmost Christian Writers Foundation.

The winning results were posted earlier today. I didn't win.

How fitting, right, that I should find out I didn't win any prizes in a Christian poetry contest on none other than Easter Day =P

While I can't quite see what was so amazing about the poems that did win, I will acknowledge an amount of bias on my part, and let you be the judge. Check out the winners here.

And now check out what I entered. Let me know what you think!!

And If Sleep Should Come

By: Melissa C. Navia

The sun tiptoed in, one morning long ago
Only to find me, young and curious, hunched over an antique, wooden desk
Writing and dreaming, thinking and plotting, stressing and striving
About things I wanted to do, places I had to go, and people I was certain I needed to meet
So on I trudged, with a mad pursuit, as the sun settled in
To watch me in my youthful craze, all excited in a cloud of work and haze
Content to madden me with its warm embrace and soft, yellow glow
Go away, I implored, all too aware of its oppressive gaze
But stay it did, and my eyes began to wander, my pen began to falter
As I looked out the beckoning window to see the people below
Talking and laughing, playing and dancing, strolling and smiling
How I would like to dance, I thought, feeling my resolve weaken
So I snapped up my pen and shut the shade
The sun’s touch quickly starting to fade
Yes, dance I would, until my feet were sore
If only it meant I could work some more!

One day, not long after, I left my work chambers
Armed with my papers, my books, years of work, and the best of intentions
I swung open the front door, stepped out onto the pavement, and began the arduous climb
Up roads and dark alleys, through canyons and the loneliest of earth’s valleys
The sun, too, was there, as I knew it would be, watching and waiting
Just watching and waiting
But pay attention I couldn’t, because people, the masses, the many soon appeared
Cheering and smiling with eyes wide and ears shut, hands clapping, gums flapping
It must be my books, my papers, I concluded, the work done in those years all secluded
And I cannot deny, that a wide grin appeared on my face
Validation, success! I thought, overcome with the sudden desire to rest
Tugging at my tired feet, nipping and scraping, my chest left heavy and oppressed
No! No, I fought back and shook the pestering feeling away
Roads still left to cross—things to do!—no time to waste, not on this or any other day

And with that, the work refused to cease, the frenzy only worsened
Days turned to nights; minutes rolled on, and the hours tumbled with them
Paths untouched, I would clear; earth untouched, I would claim
Buried ruins, I would discover; and for more than this, I would win fame
Endure, urged unseen voices, as I stumbled in the heat, with blistered, wounded feet
And the burdensome sun looked on, brutal and ominous where it hung
Keep going, came the whispers, keep working and cursing, reaching and pursuing
But my head began to nod amidst the prodding and the poking, signs I was subduing
And if sleep should come? asked a man, a traveler I had not seen before
But it never does! was my frenzied response, as my fists dug into the earthen floor
But if it did? he gently persisted, reaching down to pick up my overburdened sack
I would sleep, I whispered, as the land of endless promises—and things to do!—went black

And with that I fell
In a weightless, worry-free spell
Into a deep and endless embrace
Of light, of warmth, of rest, of some strange and awesome grace

What seemed a lifetime later, I sensed the silence of my room
In the stillness I waited, unsure and hesitant, but wonderfully relieved
Feeling that my books and work and wild notions no longer, somehow, burdened me
And then my eyelids fluttered and soon began to open
My conscience filled with light, rendering the shadow, in my head, irrelevant and broken
Was this a dream? I gasped, as I beheld my beckoning window overlooking my own desk
My achievements on the wall, my papers fluttering in the breeze, my silver pen glistening
As the sun filtered in, its warm caress illuminating all, even my newly humbled face
But a dream it could not be, because I had yet to sleep
I mused, as I stretched and skipped—yes skipped!—to fling open the window
And as expected, by some ancient premonition, I saw the traveler I had seen once before
Nodding his head with assurance that I had plenty of years left to do and create and explore
But now it was time to rest, to take better care of nothing and no one else but me
Now it was time to sleep, and with that I had nothing left to do but breathe, smile, and agree

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

vm: the blog

You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.
- Jack London

It's April already, and I can see I have a lot of posting to make up for, especially considering the goal I set for myself in the new year.

A swift kick in the pants it is - two new posts every week, coming right up!!

Let's get back on track with something you should all be excited about -

VM: The Blog @

Yes, the launch date of our magazine might have been delayed, but we figured we'd get a jump start on making a stamp in the online realm. Right now, the blog will function as a spot to feature writers, articles, links, news, and updates, but once the magazine launches, it will continue on as the main site's trusty sidekick in watchful news and culture reporting.

Let us know what you think of the blog's layout!!

And by us, I mean Alex and me. Tomorrow we're off to the NY Auto Show for the start of two days of press conferences, sneak peeks, fast cars, and free food. Check the VM blog in the near future for recaps and pictures.

Speaking of Alex, he's been doing a far better job of posting on his blog, Autokinesis, and prepping for the loads of auto content VM will soon be featuring. Check out his latest test drives and automotive commentary -

Autokinesis @

And if you're reading this...comment, dammit!!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

more stuff to write

Auteur, yes, but what of?
- Andre Bazin

It's hard not to quote film theorists when all you've been doing for the past three hours is reading film theory. I'm working on a paper discussing Guillermo del Toro's role as auteur in The Devil's Backbone and Pan's Labyrinth. Interesting terrain to cover about a director equally as interesting. It's technically supposed to be a short response paper, but at the rate I'm going, I think it's going to be lengthier.

These days when I'm not writing papers for class (a second one, for another class, is due this Tuesday about Marcel Proust's Swann's Way in relation to one of the psychoanalytic texts we've discussed) I have been occupied with writing health/medical articles, doing research and conducting interviews for the nutrition/medical autobiography I am co-writing, and making some headway with VM. I also submitted my poem for entry into the Utmost Christian Poetry Contest last weekend, and winners will be announced in April.

Stay tuned for news about the official VM blog, aptly titled Vigilant Monkey: The Blog.

Do I sound tired? Way too concise for my normal self?

Maybe because I am exhausted. 2:45 AM will be an early bedtime for me tonight =P

Sunday, March 8, 2009

my dad, ancient aliens, and the history channel

Only those who risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.
- T. S. Eliot

My dad, Luis E. Navia, is going to be on the History Channel!!

He is one of the scholars interviewed for Ancient Aliens, the station's newest special on the ancient astronaut theory. It airs for the first time tonight at 8 PM.

Check out the link below for other upcoming episodes -

Ancient Aliens - Synopsis and Schedule

Leave a comment - let me know what you think!!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

hard work and no play

I find that the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.
- Thomas Jefferson

The end of February, and this is only my second post. Tsk, tsk!!

But I have my reasons. One has been the immense amount of work that has been on my plate and the other has been that it feels like I was sick or recovering from being sick for most of the month. First I got sick for about a week, then I got better, and then I got sick for about two more weeks with something that resembled the flu and the plague all in one. It's been exhausting. And the funny thing, in a way, is that I probably got sick for an extended period of time due to a lack of sleep and overexertion. Ironic, indeed.

When I was trying not to be sick, I was writing, writing, and more writing. For starters, I completed two more articles for the Health Media Group, featuring two speakers that will be giving lectures at the NAVEL Expo in May. I have also been attending writing group meetings every week My featured submission and sample of my novel is due in two weeks. For me, when I've been unnecessarily putting something off - cough, like continuing my book, cough - I find it helps when there is a deadline imposed by someone other than yourself. People will be counting on me to have a submission in two I better have it. There there is some more freelance writing happening, and I have been commissioned to write two Long Island family-related articles (due in one week). And lastly, work has begun on the medical, autobiographical book I am co-authoring. A chunk of a chapter is due by Tuesday.

In terms of competitions, I find out how I did in my latest short story competition in a few weeks. As for new challenges, I am going to submit a poem to the Utmost Christian Poetry Contest. I was fortunate enough to have had the deadline for it extended until next Saturday, as opposed to today. Right now all of the poem that I'd like to submit is all in my head, so I'll have to work on getting it on paper in the next few days.

What about non-writing activities? Yeah, been doing them, too. I finished off Chines New Year lion dance shows with Alex back at the start of February. Not sure what that is? Check out his blog post about our kung fu academy's school show. Of course, I've been playing tennis every week. I've also been going to more acting auditions in the city. No big break yet, but every audition has gone very well, with some great reactions from the directors in the room. I'm also taking two graduate classes a week at the City University Graduate Center.

Oh, and let's not forget The Vigilant Monkey =) The magazine still isn't up, but we're taking a little bit of time to make sure the programming is done right. In the meantime, look for a VM blog to be up within the next two weeks, featuring articles, writers, comics, and the like.

And that's the update of the work I've been up to, in the midst of, been occupied with, etc.

Stay tuned...posts to come galore in March