Sandi Badash

Biography

Sandi Badash has a Masters Degree in Art Education, teaching in high school, College, and Adult Ed. Today in addition to her writing, she continues to paint and design what she calls custom “neckart”.

Badash's novel ”Ancient Rights” is set mostly in Ghost Ranch NM, Georgia O'Keefe's former home and now a well known location for summer seminars. Her novel comes out of her experiences as an award winning painter, jewelry maker, lecturer and art instructor. While painting the incredible scenery at Ghost Ranch, she also fell in love with Abiquiu, Santa Fe and the Native American culture so pervasive in that area.

But her artist background isn't all that prepared her for this artistic mystery romance set in the mountains of New Mexico, and the Florida Keys where she was a resident for many years. While living in Santa Barbara, California, Badash experienced other worldly events in a home she rented built on Chumash burial grounds. These events opened her eyes to the Indian spirit world and fed her more material to eventually add to her novel.

Badash's protagonist, Merrill Darwin, doesn't live a conventional life and neither does Badash. In addition to having solo art exhibitions in Europe and the United States, she has lived on a sailboat, traveled on a small powerboat and recreational vehicle for months through the canals and roads of Holland, Belgium and France, as well as through Germany, Italy and Spain; has lectured on cruise ships on four oceans, and competed as a body builder for eight years winning the title of Ms. West Palm Beach over forty.

She is currently working on her next novel set in Southern California.

Smashwords Interview

What motivated you to write your first novel now?
Actually, I started writing this book in the early 90's when I, like my main character, left The Florida Keys to spend time at Ghost Ranch in Abiquiu, New Mexico. I realized without having ever been there before that I had some sort of affinity with the Southwest, then and today. That feeling has never diminished. I call it my “holy place.” When I returned home I was bubbling over with such happiness, that I decided to start a journal after the fact. As I filled up the pages I realized that a story was starting to come alive. I've been in the arts for so long that my imagination doesn't need much tweaking to get it going, and my story was created from what I felt could have happened there.

Ghost Ranch is magical and powerful. The mountains continually change color and mood, seeming to have mystical properties that are alive and palpable and speak for themselves. It was easy to fill in the blanks with Merrill’s journey towards her “Ancient Rights.” The backdrop for a story was all there. During my own self-imposed semi-isolation away from my routines, I experienced and lived the daily existence as Merrill does in my book. I met interesting people from all over the world who were there to take seminars in a myriad of subjects.

I lived alone on a mesa overlooking the rest of the ranch and only went below to eat meals. Being on my own gave me the freedom to paint as long and as often as I wanted to without interruption, it gave me so much peace, and fed my hunger for a place I never knew existed, but quickly became part of my soul. Creating a story with metaphysical appearances and words of wisdom was part of the very real possibilities that I imagined I could find there. The characters just seemed to walk into my daily writing which turned into all-nighters and I felt compelled to keep them there to get to know them better! My story became so real to me that the next time I visited Santa Fe, I actually felt a void when I couldn't find the characters in my story on the city streets!

Because I was primarily painting at that time, I put my journal away after a month or so of writing non-stop and it gathered dust for over twenty-one years. This past year I was asked to co-facilitate Julia Cameron's “The Artist Way” and her book on creativity motivated me to go dig up my story. I needed to bring it up to date and give it life again, finish the writing and actually have it published this time around. I've even started another novel which is entitled “Ancient Voices,” a step forward into the past.

While neither of these stories is purely autobiographical, I have experienced certain aspects contained in both. Perhaps now is the time for me to reflect through my protagonist how I myself have grown over the years, and am realizing now how through maturity I've found my own “Ancient Rights.”
What were you doing in your life before writing this book?
I’ve had a full life filled with creativity since I can remember. In Kindergarten we were all asked to design wallpaper for the life size play house in the classroom and my design won. Everyone had to copy it so we could paste it to the walls. That was "IT" for me, and I was forever deemed “the Classroom Artist.” The big difference I see in me now and as I was growing up an only child is the realization that I'm now aware of who the “real” person is. For most of childhood I became who the adults in my world expected me to be. I learned what behavior was acceptable to those important people who had "power" over my small self, but gradually I like most other children, moved forward into my own world to eventually become my authentic self. This was done automatically without much thought, and the natural maturing process helped me to arrive at this moment in time. I'm very happy to be where I am today!

My main character in “Ancient Rights” is purposely in her forties which I think is one of a woman's important times to discover herself and be at her most beautiful inside and out. It's a turning point, and setting the stage for the rest of her life. Merrill’s journey is taken at Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, but it can happen in our own homes. I've had so many “Aha” moments during the many transitional periods I've gone through, and they've helped me to achieve goals I wasn't sure would come to fruition. One of them has been to dust off my manuscript of over twenty years ago, get the process underway again, and to arrive at my destination. What a thrill it's been. I've been able to relive the time I spent at Ghost Ranch many years ago to tell a story of a woman’s journey on the road to discovering her own Ancient Rights.

As far as my activities over the years, I received my Master Degree from Southern Connecticut State University, had many one woman exhibitions which began with a show of my paintings in Cambridge, England (where I lived with my husband and small children for two years), I was a body builder for eight years, and was Ms. West Palm Beach over forty in 1986. I love to dance and my partner and I belong to a Ballroom Club. I was a cruise ship lecturer for thirteen years, a live-aboard on a sail boat before moving to The Florida Keys, and was a sales person in a Native American Art gallery for a decade and a half. I am currently co-facilitating groups using Julia Cameron’s “The Artist's Way” and “The Vein of Gold.”

All of these experiences have taken me on the road to personal growth, feeling the serenity and balance we should all strive for without ever losing the joyfulness of each day. I'm also starting on my second book which will be entitled “Ancient Voices,” a Step Forward into the Past. I believe writing will be a major constant in my forward walk in life.
Read more of this interview.

Where to find Sandi Badash online


Books

Ancient Rights - a Woman's Journey
Price: $2.85 USD. Words: 72,440. Language: English. Published: January 31, 2014. Categories: Fiction » Women's fiction » General, Fiction » Visionary & metaphysical
Ancient Rights - a Woman's Journey, is a story of Merrill Darwin, whose art career is stalled, and relationship is waning She needs time by herself, to think clearly without interruption about what to do. This journey of soul searching includes romance, mysterious sources of advice, a ghost-like visitor, and an unexpected meeting throwing her off-balance as she looks for clarity.

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