— JCioffa (@makeupmodelciti) April 18, 2015
For those of you that don’t know me and most don’t, I led a privileged life for many, many years. Traveled to exotic locales on somebody else’s dime lived in Paris, Milan, London, Barcelona, Madrid, Cape Town, Miami, Hollywood, NYC… I was a fashion model who earned a living with her looks.
The bizarre, crazy existence was the difficult lifestyle to explain. It was a job with bonanza benefits. I never took myself too seriously.
When my fashion career was over I had to reinvent myself. Makeup artist, why not? Started at ten bucks an hour and worked my way up counting Mariah Carey, Anne Hathaway, Sandra Bernhard, Connie Britton as clients. I had connections, and lots of help. Again, I didn’t take myself seriously. I knew how to coddle the celebs, after all I’d been on the their side for years.
My spirit was unsatisfied, intuition nagged this wasn’t it. This wasn’t what your supposed to be doing.
I can’t say the precise second, the exact hour my mind blew. It was a rapid, out of nowhere burn.
When something serious happens to your health something so surreal and uncertain you dig, claw, and dig deeper. You fight. There’s a cosmic shift. Something changes in your core on a molecular level.
Nothing is ever trivial again, coasting is not allowed and everything about you feels strange. You’re different.
I found my way back, returned to my old life. It was fine for a time. Mediocre, but fine. The next break would not let me be the drifter, laid back traveler, not this time. Nope, I had to work hard. This time, I was the paradigm shell.
I had to shed the old, and let her go.
Brutal leaving your identity, friends, city, what you know, the familiar, your favorite pizza joint behind. It can be brutal or it can be something different.
It didn’t matter, I learned. I understood other stuff mattered more; family, well-being, sanity, gardening, solitude, writing, walking the dog. Basics became survival tools.
The voices nagged. You better get your shit together. Don’t fuck up. You’ve got one chance to do something good, something beautiful, something true, something with purpose.
I have always been a writer. It’s my DNA, in my marrow, my blood, my heart and my brain.
The words have always been there.
I wasn’t listening. I just wasn’t listening to them.
A book signing at the Landmark Gala during Syracuse Fashion Week is my life come demi-circle.
The irony is not lost on me.
The Vast Landscape follows the “brash, vulnerable, raw Harrison in pursuit of ‘movie star’ dreams navigating her way through the painful and the beautiful. It is more than just an incredible love-story.”
Most days life kicks you in the ass and you do your best to manage.
Sometimes, indigo sky sunshine and karma throws flecks of silver star-dust your way.
When you lead from the heart, those are the best days.
Every little thing matters.
You can’t know when the stardust might shine.
I’m prettier today, inside out.
“When writing the story of your life, don’t let anyone else hold the pen.” Harley Davidson
Thank you, David Lewis for the totally rad, awesome The Vast Landscape review.
Keep riding the wave…
A year in the making, decades of prose, essays, blogging, writing, re-writing and working the craft. My debut fiction novel (a love story, go figure) is almost here. This close. I can’t wait to properly introduce you to Harrison. She rocks. THE VAST LANDSCAPE rocks and rolls. So I’ve been humbly told.