One night, when I was around 4 years old, I decided to disobey my mom’s order to sleep early and sneaked into the kitchen instead to have some sweet desert. As a green chili burned my mouth mercilessly, I learned that looks can be deceiving and that bad decisions can bring consequences hard to digest.
On that same year, I finally got the hang of riding my bicycle after many, many, MANY falls, learning that perseverance and determination were needed for happiness and confidence. And when I got my favorite chocolate – which came with COOL animals’ pictures and that I was saving for a special moment – stolen from my Care Bears backpack at school, I learned that people could be selfish and envy what you have, even if their actions make a little girl cry.
It was another unexpected, weird moment that made me realize I wanted to be a storyteller. My two-years-older brother took up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and decided to draft me as his “sparring partner”. As much as I tried to escape, I’d always find myself keeping my dogs company on the floor after his sweeps. But one night, surprisingly, he left me alone. He didn’t search the whole house for his victim. How come? After getting up the nerve to look for him instead, I found my brother glued to the couch watching The Goonies. His eyes locked on the TV, his mouth half open, breathing deep and slowly. He didn’t even bother to cast me a sharp look when I borrowed some of his popcorn. I wanted to channel that power, the power of a great story!
Later, I noticed that same hypnotized look when my mom was reading a novel. Everything was going wrong for her that day, but the book somehow managed to extract a grin from her and then even a laugh. I felt like I was witnessing a magic trick. The book had not only grabbed my mother’s attention, it had completely cheered her up and made her forgot about her troubles. Could I ever create something similar?
Soon, I found myself smiling while holding books too, and preferring to go to the bookstore rather than to stay home playing Mario Bros. It wasn’t long until I had some paragraphs and then a story of my very own. I wish I could say that one day I felt inspired while watching the birds singing and a strong force compelled me to grab a notebook to share my thoughts with the world… but, no… It wasn’t that poetic. I was coerced to write my first story – I wanted to buy some candies and, to solve my problem, I offered my dad to clean the car for spending money. He liked the idea but ended up giving me a different assignment: write a small story about the city where we lived, Rio de Janeiro.
I accepted the challenge, angry with the audacity of my dad’s proposal, but it paid up a lot more than a box of gummy bears. I realized that seven year old me was able to perform some magic myself. The feeling of being able to combine words into a story was so overwhelming that I didn’t want to let it go. Now it was just missing the second part of the trick – inspire people with my stories or just simply make them smile.
That goal made me start paying more attention to my surroundings to use them as a source to my stories. The housekeeper’s black clothes and strong laugh made her into a character of one of the horror stories that I created to terrify my friends. Their high-pitched screams told me I was on the right path.
As I developed my story-telling abilities, I realized that no matter how crazy my life was, or how stressed I was, writing could always make me feel cheerful. Time could pass, Santa Claus didn’t exist and my housekeeper no longer seemed scary, but the magic of story telling has only grown.
The pleasure of writing and the idea of brightening another’s day inspired me to create theater plays, then screenplays, then finally to my first novel – The Chosen of Gaia, a book that combines everything I’ve loved in a good story: deeply human characters living out adventure with humor, suspense and personal growth.
Check it out, and let me know if I brought some magic to your day.
M. Mariz is an actress, lawyer and writer with more than 20 plays produced. Her debut novel The Chosen of Gaia (Sept. 28, 2012) was inspired by her own Revelation dream.
Born in Rio de Janeiro and currently living in Southern California, Mariz writes screenplays and novels in both Portuguese and English. The artist has more than 15 years of acting experience, encompassing works in theater, television and movies. She has multiple plays and sketches featured in theaters, including a teenager play that was performed by young Brazilian celebrities all over the country, and has written many other plays for different Brazilian companies to present work-related themes in a funny, entertaining way.
She lives with her husband in Orange, California, where she is constantly developing ideas for new stories to tell.
Fifteen-year-old Albert has just received an invitation that could transform his disappointing life completely – a chance to belong to an advanced and hidden society that only reveals itself to a select few.
Immersed in a new world of mind-boggling technology and intriguing peers, Albert will overcome his fears enough to ignore a few suspicious details. But soon he’ll find his family dragged to the center of a scandal that threatens to tear them apart and erase their very identities.
A conflicted Albert must find the strength to challenge authority by relying on his newfound allies and gift for Revelation.
Prepare for adventure, humor and suspense in this fast-paced tale of a “normal” family striving for their place in a “perfect” world.