Novel

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Soul Eyes

Ever since Olisa was a child, Joseph Carpenter has feared that the world would one day find out what he has always known about his lovely daughter – that she has been blessed with very special gifts. Such a discovery might not only shatter their family’s lives but also cause Olisa to suffer potentially grave consequences.

   His anxieties are realized on a fateful July the 4th. A minor skirmish flares into a major conflagration between gangs on the renowned Venice Beach Boardwalk. People flee in all direction except for one woman. She is not afraid as she cradles the head of a notorious gang leader who has been fatally stabbed. As she tenderly massages his bloodied chest, it seems time has come to a standstill. The fighting ends and the beachgoers watch intently. And when the young man slowly rises to his feet clutching his chest not from pain but from shock, a collective gasp is uttered. A random shout of “It’s a miracle!” reverberates along the Boardwalk. But the impact of this phenomenon will not be exclusive to Venice Beach. A local reporter, who on a fluke captured this miracle on film, will broadcast it throughout the world. The event catapults this striking, yet demure woman to fame overnight. 

   Soul Eyes is a story about an extraordinarily gifted woman. What would happen if the Second Coming were not what everyone had anticipated? What if the very embodiment of goodness and love, the salvation of a people, came in the form of a tiny, beautiful black woman, born of the Watts riots and living amidst gangbangers? Could our contemporary society simply accept this gift or would it seek to corrupt her into an icon, a diva, and a commercial entity the likes of which the world has never known? What is known is that the world’s survival rests on her delicate shoulders.




Excerpts & notes about the story from the author
(A reporter discusses her interview with a woman and her sons)

  "Señora, Señora, are you okay?  What happened?" I asked.  The Señora's eyes were glazed. 
I wondered if she was even aware that I was walking alongside her."

"My boys are going to be fine.  We are going to be fine. God is here.  God is here," she repeated with such finality I glanced over my shoulder." 

"Mi no comprende, Señora.  What do you mean?"
"Eyes closed the Señora's fingers grazed along the sides of her face as if it had been transformed into gold.   "Her hands, God's hands..."

  "What are you saying, Señora?  Are you saying you felt the power of God in her hands? 
Do you feel like He is working through her?"

"A childlike giddy laughter erupted from her mouth as she grasped my hands.  
"Señorita, did you say HE?"
"Yes."

"All three laughed euphorically."

"Señora," she said, a crazed look in her eyes, "God is not a he, he is a she."
"What?"

"She is God."
  

   I stood transfixed as I watched this person who I pegged earlier as a staunch, Old World Catholic woman dance down the boardwalk with her sons, spinning and weaving as if it were the Yellow Brick Road.


   Like the old woman dancing down the boardwalk, I tried to imbue Soul Eyes with themes of joy, faith, hope, comfort, strength, courage, and family. The novel chronicles the life of Olisa Belle Carpenter whose Christ-like powers and innocence have an immeasurable impact on the people she meets. It is rare to see in past or contemporary literature a woman, particularly an African American woman, who is blessed with such uncommon talents and abilities. I believe during these disturbing times we are starved for heroines in the marketplace. Olisa represents a unique, fascinating, and strong protagonist, albeit, at times, a reluctant one…

   Olisa hesitated and then reluctantly sat down folding her hands around his.  A sneer lurked on the tattooed surfer's face as he edged in closer trying to hear.  It wasn't difficult because it became unbelievably quiet.  All you could hear were the waves breaking along the shore.

   Olisa's dark eyes gazed beseechingly into Mayor Halpern's.  "Sir, I'm really uncomfortable about this..."
"Why?  Oh, I see, is there a fee or donation or something?  Is that it?"  He quickly waved at his assistant, Maude, as she rolled her eyes and lethargically stepped forward.

"No, sir, money is not the issue." 

He patted her hands encouragingly, and whispered "I may be mayor, but you can talk to Happy Halpern like you'd do anyone else.  Let me tell you, it's never held the press back!" 
He winked at the reporter, Eva Sanchez, who politely smiled back.  Her eyes, filled with anticipation, were twice their normal size.


"Come on, now, time is wasting, let's hear it."  She sighed resolutely, "Fine, but no cameras."
He shrugged his shoulders and then swept his hand across his neck.  Olisa waited patiently while all the cameras clicked off.  The mayor continued to play to the crowd grinning and joking while she clasped his hand again. 
"Before I begin, I want you to understand something, sir.  This is not a game to me.  When I talk to you about your life and who you are, I become a messenger relaying only what I see.  Do you understand?"
He nodded his head.  And when his eyes connected with hers I think it finally hit him that he had just stumbled into some quicksand.  But now, it was too late.  The cloud fell over her eyes.  She was there.

  Olisa has been blessed, sometimes cursed with her special talents. She and her family have tried to keep it a secret because of the repercussions, but on a hot July the 4th her secret is finally exposed to the world. She finds she is forced to wrestle with her true calling. Throughout her entire life she has heard the whispering voices, foretelling the future…she has seen visions…even encountered angels…but now she must confront her own destiny. She must overcome her own human frailties and summon the strength and courage to find a way to save humanity from itself. 

  This begins when Olisa is thrust in the forefront of a new spiritual revolution of the people. When she speaks about the purity of God's love and asks people to mobilize and go out and spread that love, they listen. They realize she is the real deal. She has performed miracles on stage.  But she is also beautiful with dark brown eyes so deep you can lose yourself in them and possibly even find your soul...

  Olisa is a paradox; so fragile, yet, able to command the attention of thousands. People find themselves magnetized by her comforting and maternal aura.

  "If we're really honest with ourselves, " remarks Jonathan (Olisa's brother), "doesn't society just want to be mothered? Our society runs contrary to our emotional makeup. We elect a male president to run the country…. But no matter how much we love our dad, when we are sick, we high jump daddy to get to mommy. We want mommy to give us chicken soup, wipe our foreheads, cuddle with us, and read stories. In these troubled times I'm not sure male energy is what we're looking for. I think we need a woman's touch. This society is begging for a goddess, and her name is Olisa."

  Olisa is the "people's champion". She has rocked the youth with her hip spirituality and wrapped the disenfranchised in her loving arms. She has helped people to restore their faith in God, themselves, and all humanity. However, this raises issues of concern with some who discover she is a challenge by virtue of her gifts to their authority and power.  And this creates enemies. 

  Olisa's very existence is in direct opposition to those who refer to themselves, as messengers of God but I would liken them more to spiritual pimps. They defile and corrupt religious faiths for their own personal gain. For centuries these psychic vampires have utilized the very cornerstones of religion -- love and salvation -- to exploit a person’s weaknesses and need for meaning in their lives. They offer spiritual services, but in reality divest people's money from their wallets.  One of these unscrupulous people, a powerful televangelist, fears his power and wealth are being threatened by Olisa's emergence as a spiritual leader. He makes it his sole mission to destroy her, her family, and everything she represents.

  I’ve lived in Venice Beach for many years and it was the ideal setting for the novel with its inherent quirkiness. I used much of its ambience and crazy-quilt characters to build Olisa’s world. Consequently, I also did extensive research on world religions, including old world beliefs, goddess studies, paganism, and more contemporary religions.

  Soul Eyes was written with the knowledge that it might be viewed by some as controversial simply because the novel raises issues that not only gnaw at the fabric of organized religion, but human nature itself.  The book explores such issues as society's creation of divas, crass commercialization of religious and/or spiritual products, whether Christ is black or white, and so much more. There is a transcendent pathway in Soul Eyes that must be traveled by the protagonist. But she is not alone. The book also revolves around the impact of Olisa’s sudden celebrity on her family and how they struggle to cope with their own inner struggles and how despite their petty bickering find a way to pull together as one.

  When I first conceived of the character of Olisa it became a projection of what I imagined by daughter might be like growing up with extraordinary powers. Her father and narrator, Joseph, is the one who conveys his fears and love for a child he may ultimately be powerless to help.  Consequently, it is Joseph who is both comforted and tormented by the presence of a mysterious and foreboding angel:


"So why are you here?"


"I am here, Joseph, because I have been called."
"What do you mean?" My body shivered, but I was hardly cold.

"Your world may be about to turn in on itself. It is quickly becoming a planet that no longer values itself. It's a world bent on self-destruction. Your daughter may be its last hope." 
Not a muscle on my body moved.

"My daughter? Olisa? Olisa is a single person, how can she..." 

"Shhhh..." he said, holding a finger to his lips. "I only know who she is and that she will save all of you from yourselves. Yours eyes widen with fear, but fear is your worst enemy, Joseph Carpenter. Trust is your friend. Just be there. Olisa will need you." 

"My wife once said the same thing."

"You are fortunate to have married such a wise woman."

   The comment brought a smile to my stricken face despite the foreboding words I heard earlier. He stood up and we shook hands, his engulfing mine. And once again I experienced that snugly warm feeling. I watched him slowly saunter away into the night. Before he was completely out of my sight he turned. And from that distance the voice I heard should have been a yell, but it traveled to me as a whisper: "Always remember, Joseph, nothing is impossible."

   He placed the trumpet to his lips and shockingly, the street lamp's glass casing imploded shattering into millions of pieces and fluttering dreamlike to the ground. The isolated light bulb hovered unnaturally in the air like a tiny yellow moon. And then, slowly, effortlessly, I saw those same pieces ascend from the cement and reform anew enshrouding the glass bulb. It now shined with a light more brilliant than before.
And the horn player disappeared so swiftly I thought my mind was playing tricks on me.




Please see “Book Excerpt” for a more extensive version of the angel encounter

   Music has served as a great inspiration to me. Listening to music often triggers an old or sometimes recent memory that I can transform into its own life. The book’s title, Soul Eyes, was originally composed by pianist, Mal Waldron, and made famous by saxophonist John Coltrane.

   The book certainly raises serious issues, but I’d like to believe it offers a heaping dose of poignancy, humor, spirituality, and action. The protagonist may be black but the issues tackled in the novel are universal and are more focused on a colorblind faith. It's about society's reaction to one among us that has the sight and the ability to heal others.  It's about God, faith, innocence, pure love, and the contamination of some of our most revered institutions by man-made rules.

   In my opinion, what makes Soul Eyes so unique is that it features an empowered and beautiful black woman in contemporary times with incredible gifts. It is rare to see such a remarkable combination in either films or literature.  I sincerely believe there is a major audience waiting to become devoted followers of Olisa's journey through life.



Soul Eyes - Order Book

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"Wilson is a literary genius and does a first-rate job at weaving this science fiction novel together.

He writes enough truth to make the reader believe this could be real, adds just the right flare to make the readerwant to start a love fest on your block.

This is masterpiece, a must have for every science fiction lover".

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