No matter what, no one can take the memories: Aftermath of 9/11

I owned a travel agency. It was a dream come true and my husband, Matthew, and I, loved traveling with loyal customers and friends to the outer-most parts of the earth. The horrible events of 9/11 took that dream away from me and changed my life forever.

Here is an excerpt from a journal I kept on our last trip. It was to Alaska over the first anniversary of that fateful day:

Riverside Lodge 2002

9/8/2002
The adventure begins as we arrive in Fairbanks, Alaska, at about 10:00 a.m. We are bused to the Riverside Lodge, nestled in a secluded valley. Our room is breath-taking with a view of the river. We take a walk around the grounds where majestic birch and spruce trees line the paths. It’s a little cloudy today with sun breaks. The birch leaves are bright yellow, and when the sun sprays through them they become like shimmering gold, luminous and spectacular!

Alaska mountain rivers 2002

The river here is somewhat muddy and calm. Across the water from the lodge is a beautiful private home – a “heavenly” home, I’d say. I wonder what it’s like here in the wintertime. The pine and spruce are rather spindly indicating harsh and freezing weather. I imagine Alaska winters are not for sissies.

I lay on my log-framed bed, with an over-stuffed down comforter, trying to take a much-needed nap. But my mind just wanders to the travel agency. It has been such a difficult year. With terrorist threats continuing, the talk of war with Iraq and the Nation’s economy, we are poised for tough times… I’m afraid I am poised for very tough times. I don’t want to lose my business. I keep telling myself that there is no failure, only experiences that will lead me to a greater understanding of who I am and why I am. And that I already have what I need to know the answers and make things work out somehow. One thing is certain in this moment, I don’t know everything, and that’s okay.

Brave group of explorers 2002

I am on this trip with forty wonderfully “hell-bent” people. These folks were willing to travel, even on the first anniversary of 9/11! They are adventurers; they will not be shaken. I wish there were many more of them, and my business would be saved. But I appreciate their stamina, their undying commitment to the belief that no one will take away their right to travel.

9/9/2002
Today we have many activities planned. The Stern Wheel Riverboat Tour and the Gold Rush Tour! We will pan for gold – I hope to get rich!

What an inspiring cruise down the Chena River! We came across a salmon smokehouse where Dixie, an Alaskan Native, showed us how she could fillet a salmon in 38 seconds! She explained how they hang the fish to dry under tents, and when ready they throw them to the sled dogs for a feast.

We stopped the boat right by the home, and training camp, of Sue, a woman who ran in the Iditarod. Her dogs raced to the shore as our boat passed – we waved to them, and they barked back. There was a connection of which no human words can express.

Alaska historical trapper cabin 2002

Next, we saw an authentic Native American village and we were able to pet the sled dogs. There were old cabins filled with stories of trappers and displaced dreams, and fabulous artifacts and works of art, including beadwork coats and dresses. Our friend, Dixie, was the creator of these exquisite garments and she had won many awards for her talent.

For a short distance on this cruise, we traveled the glacial waterway, Tanana River. When we sailed into this river, we could see the dramatic difference between the water and the glacial “milk” that filtered by. It was interesting and amazing how it didn’t mix together – the glacial milk just continued traveling its own path. I’m sure there is a powerful lesson in that!

Panning for gold 2002

This afternoon, we panned for gold. Each of us had a chance to pan and I was so afraid I would accidently empty my gold off into the water. I couldn’t get used to draining off the top layer of rocks and trusting that the gold was heavier and would sink to the bottom – desperate not to lose even a flake!

We rode on a small train around the mine, as our guide gave a talk on how it worked. Water sprayed and gushed down a long trough right in front of us. It was a lot of fun, and everyone came away with a little “yellow stuff” to take home. I bought a necklace charm and filled it with Matthew’s and my treasure, worth about $19 – but the charm cost $10. Oh, well, at least I came out ahead this time!

Scenic train to Denali 2002

9/10/2002
Today we went to Denali Park, toward Mount McKinley and the Fairweather Mountain Range. The train was impressive and extremely comfortable. What a view along the way! We saw the Fairweather Mountains in full glory (an unusual sight we were told) and took some fabulous pictures. The wind was blowing, and it was very cold out on the platform. It was a photo op any photographer would die for, and Matthew was in “photo heaven.” This 3 ½ hour tour took me to another world.

Denali Park and Fairweather Range 2002

After the train, we went to Denali Lodge and rode school buses into the park. Becky, our guide, presented the history of the park and it was an incredible day! The photos we took said it all. From the yellow an orange tundra to the yellow and dark green forest, to the snowcapped, pink-tinged mountaintops – it was magnificent. Matthew’s camera shutter continued to click, and ten rolls later we were sure we got some awesome shots.

I must admit, where better to be, than in the heart of the Alaskan wilderness on the anniversary of 9/11.

Matthew and Jane Fitzpatrick 2002

9/11/2002
Today we remember. It was this day, a year ago, that the world changed. It was the day that crushed my dream. This will probably be the last trip we will take as travel agency owners.

We spent the day in the rain, hiking seven miles around Byers Lake trail. WOW! We did not see an eagle, but we did watch mountain sheep and caribou traverse their terrain. And we saw a grizzly bear across the river. He had a golden coat and the sun danced on his wet back as he lumbered along. Just think, to him nothing in the world had changed…

UPDATE April 2003 –
My predictions played out. This was the last trip we were to lead. I struggled for a little longer with the agency, then closed my doors. I’ll never forget my travel experiences – no one and nothing can take away those memories. In fact, I have albums of photos and an entire cabinet filled with bells from around the globe.  And what followed was a whole new world of opportunities that I may not have experienced otherwise. Indeed, to reach for a life-long dream … to become a writer and try to make a difference through words.

Love,
Jane L. Fitzpatrick
Sacajawea, The Windcatcher – Script
Moon Drake Series – Children’s Series, Five Scripts
Embrace the World with Love Words Series – Vol. 1
The Grass Maiden, Sacajawea – Children’s Book
Crabtree – Children’s Book
Kimama’s Wings – Children’s Script

Fairweather Mountain Range 2002

Kimama’s Wings

Kimama’s Wings is a story that touched my heart while I was living in Los Angeles trying to get Sacajawea produced. Over that difficult time period of two years, away from family and friends, I finally realized I wasn’t there to actually get that epic movie made… I was there to learn some hard truths, and to experience a life-changing realization.

When I look back now, and I put together the projects I am working on at this time, I absolutely know, I was in California to clear my head and my heart. I was there to develop contacts and revise Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, to create the premise for the Moon Drake Anime Series and to write the beginning structure of Kimama’s Wings. Every one of these stories embrace human emotions and spiritual Truths that help us remember what our heart already knows.

But, these stories would not be what they are if I had not sojourned to Los Angeles all those years ago – and though I had struggles and made many mistakes, there were also successes. “I” was a work in progress and finally, I learned through it all – I could “go to the edge of the cliff” in Faith, even if I did not know everything.

By 2015, I had only written half of Kimama’s Wings, but it was enough to know it held an important message for children about racism in everyday life. The storyline evolved, as well, and it created a deep richness and meaning for Kimama’s beginning.

When I finally came home to Washington, I finished the first draft and it has continued to grow and change. Considering COVID, we may decide to use animation, but, regardless, Broken Hand Productions has added Kimama’s Wings to their Development slate for 2022! It may not be completed this year, but Development is a vital step to making sure the story and project are ready when the time comes.

Here is the premise of Kimama’s Wings:

LOG LINE – Victoria’s heart is broken after losing the first love of her life… She’s too young to understand racism and people’s intolerance for diversity. But, then, a spirit guide named Kimama helps her, and those she loves, to see something greater than themselves.

Character design of Victoria
by Shawna N. Fitzpatrick-Harris.

PROJECT SUMMARYKimama’s Wings is a timeless story that shines a light on the hurtful effects of judgment and racism, and also on the power of faith. An adopted African American girl, Victoria, is devastated at the loss of her father. The tragedy forces her and her Japanese mother and sister, to move to an unfamiliar place. A place where those who are supposed to love her do not accept her diverse family. But a Native American spirit guide, Kimama, helps them all see something else. Kimama’s Wings is about learning to live life in a spiritual way, by becoming aware of one’s greater purpose and the infinite Oneness of all Creation.

Keep Reaching for your Dream!

I have always had a dream to be a writer. I think it was formed because my mother read to me every night. But, when I was six years old, I was having such a hard time learning to read myself. In first grade, the school I attended taught reading by vocabulary. About mid-year we moved and the new school taught phonics. I became completely lost and embarrassed reading in front of the class.

Eventually, it began to make sense, but I think the hurdles I had to climb just made me appreciate words and their meanings. Through my desperate desire to understand, I realized I loved to write – mostly poetry at that time.

As a young woman, in 1972, I found myself in Spain for 3 ½ years. Television was not available and the only entertainment I had was reading. I read at least two used paperback books a week. This taught me so very much about story, context, content and structure – and it led me to something I didn’t expect.

In 1987, I was taking a two-year course in children’s literature. It was very focused and concise, and I loved it! One of the assignments was to develop a children’s book – which I called, Crabtree. We were to create the initial structure and a storyline, writing about 100 pages. After I graduated, I packed all my writing into boxes, and with my husband and kids we moved to Bozeman, Montana.

Little did I know, I was stepping into a new purpose, a powerful calling that would soon make sense to my life. It was then that I began my research and initial storyline for what was to become, Sacajawea, The Windcatcher.

From that point on… what followed was purely an awakening, a journey that would take many, many twists and turns. It was hard, crazy, mystical, wonderful and completely life changing. What I began to realize was that this very journey was a vital step for me to be able to reach my writing dream. For I needed a deeper understanding of Spirit as it related to me and the world.

When COVID hit, many things were put on hold, even our movement with Sacajawea.  I had always wanted to finish that “Crabtree” book, and this would be the perfect opportunity. I had revisited it a few times over the years, but now I believed I was ready. With the basic story of 100 pages, I began to push and pull the words into finally realizing the message they needed to bring.

The story talks about change, about adjusting, about things we cannot explain and about the importance of writing our own chapters in our lives and not letting someone else write them… It is about walking toward the light even through the darkness. If you have a young person in your life (ages 7-12), I invite you to share Crabtree with them. It will be published and available in early 2022.

We are given dreams for a reason! One thing I’ve learned, “If you have a dream written on your heart, there’s already a way to reach it! Keep Walking! Keep exploring the possibilities! Keep reaching!”

I Love you,
Jane

Awakening!

Sometimes we just cannot see…. we can’t see an answer, we can’t see a purpose, we can’t see our dream, and we question and wonder why. So many times we over think and we don’t realize we just have to get out-of-the-way.

For two years, while trying to get Sacajawea produced in LA, I came to realize I was actually there for a different reason. It was painful and lonely… it was life-changing.

“Awakening” is a compilation of thoughts and wonderings. Some of these words came to me as I slept… usually I was awakened around 3 AM. There was always a Sacajawea script laying on my bed; I wrote the words on the backs of the pages. This happened night after night.

What I came to remember through it all, is that life is not what we think in our minds… and that we are reverently and wonderfully made. 💖🥰❤

“The essence and words of this book came from Nature, from walking a path, from listening, from the sun and moon, the wind and waves, the clouds and birds, the shifting sand and rocky soil – the light and the dark.”

This is the first in a book series called, Embrace the World with Love Words, and the World will be Changed. AWAKENING

Watch for the Wonders

A couple of years ago, the Sacajawea production team had the most amazing experience along the Oregon coast. We went to film a teaser reel for Sacajawea, but it happened to be a complete snowstorm all up and down the coast – from California to Canada!

There was a moment of wondering what we should do… And then we got an answer from a cloud formation in the sky… Hands reaching with an angelic image reaching back. We knew we just had to have faith.

As happened, we proceeded onward and our faith was truly honored. The day was amazing with enormous waves, a bank of storm clouds all around us, and sunshine right above. There was a hole in the clouds assuring us that the blue sky was still there. It was an incredible lesson in perseverance.

Here is our original teaser reel, though we will be expanding it and making it even better. And, here are pictures of the clouds that called us to stay. See the photos from the books, “The Path” (Sacajawea collectible book series) and “Awakening,” the first book in a series of writings from this journey.

Always walk with confidence toward your dream, because you have the power of the Universe at your back when you believe it!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucrHtcS5eDw

What does, “It is Finished,” mean?

“It is finished, ” what did Jesus mean when he said these words on the cross? Literally, figuratively, what does it mean after all he had been through, all he had tried to do in love, the Sadduces the Pharisees… the 30 pieces of silver. What did he die for that would cause him to call out in his final moments, “It is finished”?

Was it greed that was finished? Hatred, alienation, poverty, violence, lying, racism, judgement… these are finished? All condemned, all crucified? Now rising to the glorious release of God’s unbounded Love embracing the entire world.

Indeed, calling for all “Believers” to rise with it, through his sacrifice, to the true attributes of “God’s” Spirit… not bound by anything. Multi-generational, multi-lingual and ethnic, multi-orientational, multi-gender, in generosity and total love, in truth, forgiveness, compassion and healing, in mutual understanding and patience. In true transformation… Is that what Jesus meant for us to embrace when he said, “It is finished”?

I believe so. But, the greater question is… is that how we strive to live?

Happy Easter, sisters and brothers.

Love,
Jane

Interview about the Windcatcher, Sacajawea

Script at Fort Rock 2015Photo: Jane returned to Fort Rock in 2015 with the completed Sacajawea script, to close the circle and fulfill her promise.

January 28, 2016 — Screenwriter, Jane L. Fitzpatrick, always believed in her heart she should write this story. Her life has been filled with “connections” leading her closer to its creation. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest gave her a natural backdrop and understanding of the environment, the rapid rivers, and ominous mountains.

Jane was born along the Lewis and Clark trail in Richland, Washington. Her parents named her Janie, not knowing it was the very name Clark gave to Sacajawea because he couldn’t pronounce her name. As a child, Jane’s family had close friends related to a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition, Sergeant William Bratton.

During Jane’s middle school and teenage years, she lived in Portland, Oregon, and spent many weekends at the beach where the Corps built their salt works. Jane’s early high school friends were Cliff Lewis, John Clark and Jayne Scott (another Jane) and she had several co-workers along the way who were related to Sacajawea’s husband, Charbonneau. There were many other connections, but these stood out in her life.

As an adult, in 1987, Jane and her family relocated back to the Pacific Northwest and their car broke down in Bozeman, MT. Being adventurers themselves, the family chose to stay in the beautiful Montana town for three years. Little did Jane know she was about to be introduced to Sacajawea. Drawn to the very place the 12-year-old girl was taken from her people, Three Forks, MT at the headwaters of the Missouri River, Jane sat alone on Fort Rock watching the eagles soar above her. That day, May 20, 1989, she was touched by the spirit of the Windcatcher and knew she had to write the story.

After attempting to write it as a children’s book, Jane realized it wasn’t a children’s story. For years, the tale stirred in her heart until 2003, when her daughter, Jerah, a film student, encouraged her to write it as a screenplay. Jane had never written a screenplay, but after four years of writing, re-writing, researching and trying different beginnings and endings, developing characters and dialogue, the script came to life. Through Jane’s creative blend of history and heart and her tenacious passion, we can all know this very special icon of the west.

In Jane’s words, “Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, is not watered down, or sensationalized — it is not a fairytale. It tells the story of this woman with all its joy and pain. It is captivating and it is inspiring. Who was this brave woman who carried a child on her back across this treacherous land, and how does she stand the test of time to remain one of the most respected women in American history? It is finally time for Sacajawea to have a voice, yes, to share her story in an epic feature film.”

For more information about this project visit: http://www.sacajaweathemovie.com

When will you hear your heart song?

In 2012, I wrote this blog on my website. It seems an eternity ago, and so much has happened in the interim. In 2012, it had been 9 years since I started writing the screenplay, Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, from a manuscript I began in 1989…

Yes, 31 years ago, I sat on Fort Rock in Three Forks, MT, watching the eagles fly above me, knowing in my soul I was here to write Sacajawea’s story.

“April 3, 2012 — What makes us happy?  From childhood we’ve been aware of things that give us joy. Oh, the specifics change over the years, but one constant is the feeling we get when we do what we love.

Life isn’t easy. It holds many challenges and sometimes a lot of pain. At times, it’s easier to align ourselves with the sorrow, especially when it shows its face daily. Friends come and go, families get misunderstood and circumstances can be devastating. When we’re down and out, what will bring us home?  Home to the warm smiles, the big embraces, the cozy backdrop of a crackling fire…

‘It is essential to our well-being, and to our lives, that we play and enjoy life. Every single day do something that makes your heart sing.’ ~ Marcia Wieder

Wouldn’t it be amazing if every day our hearts could sing, despite what’s happening around us?

I will soon be stepping into the last third of my life. I have experienced motherhood, grand-motherhood and I was fortunate enough, even after great heartache, to find the love of my life. But, over the last nine years – oh, my, what a difficult nine years – I have been trying to achieve my “heart’s” desire.  Writing, creating, pitching, imagining, pitching, visioning, creating, writing, writing…

What is my heart’s song?  To be a writer – to share the stories of people from history, and capture the essence and purpose of their lives.

This blog is a place where my heart will sing.  It has not been easy getting here – in fact, it’s been down right hard. But, nevertheless, here I am writing you on this day, April 3, 2012. I am so excited about where this path will lead, and I know in my heart this is what I must do.”

Divine EnergyIn 1989 or even 2012, I had no idea this journey was going to be so completely transforming. In the beginning, I thought I was just writing a story of an Indigenous girl. And, what emerged was an awakening that has taken nearly half my life. I have been shown messages in the clouds, visions and wonders and words that were so deeply spiritual, I usually had to walk a little further to understand. And, I’m still walking.

I would never trade this path, nor wish it had been different, for what I’ve learned is that the heart’s song is already in me – I just have to work every day to embrace it. Every day I must do something that helps me listen.

What are we called to do in our lives? Certainly not what’s easy, not what’s obvious, not what makes sense… We are called to a spiritual melody just for us, and we have a lifetime (it may take that long) to learn to hear it.

ONWARD!
Jane

I remember my vision from when I was a young girl –

From Sacajawea, The Windcatcher – A Novel by Jane L. Fitzpatrick

Sacajawea shell

“I saw myself sitting on a narrow strip of land that seemed to never end, weaving along the edge of the sea. Water crashed and climbed over the sand, again and again, creeping up higher toward me.

A mist hung in the sky and there was no definition between it and the earth. It danced with foggy shades of blue, red and gold. The sound was like the rhythm of wind and rain pounding, crashing through a forest, yet, there were no trees. White birds cried with shrill voices, climbing and diving in freedom, transparent in their existence…

An Elder of my people was with me – though I had never seen him before. We sat together by a roaring fire. He took two diamond-shaped shells from his pouch and gave them to me.

I followed his caring eyes and I will never forget his words. He told me, ‘These shells were tossed back and forth for ages in the great sea. The sand and rolling waves made the edges smooth and easy to carve into these shapes. You are like the shell, young one. Remember this, for it is part of your journey.’

I believe in visions. I believe they can mirror our path, but I do not know how. I breathe deeply and my heart begins to pound. I lick the shell and taste the salt… a mystery. There is a remembering, like I know something in my soul, yes, something to come.”

The Novel – Sacajawea, The Windcatcher

book cover hardbackFor the first four weeks of the Covid-19 pandemic quarantine, I was feeling quite down – which is unusual for me. For over ten years, I had been devoting nearly my entire life to the pursuit of Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, an epic film project. Through incredible ups and downs, from hard situations to truly inspirational wonders, the journey has been life-changing.

And, just as the project was ramping up, moving closer to the next phase, a pandemic took over the world. Yes, a powerful set of brakes hit the road and absolutely everything stopped. Not only did it stop, there was also no game plan for when, where, how we would all continue… If there’s one thing I’ve learned along this path, Creation has its own timing about things, and that is one of the biggest lessons!

So, as I said, the first month was shocking and scary, and all I could do was try to protect those I care for and believe for a better world to come.

As those weeks went by, with so much time to think, I began to look at other ideas.  Last year, I had started the novel based on the Sacajawea screenplay but had not gotten very far, only a few pages. I was too busy trying to produce and get the funding for the film.

Desk from officeAs I read the script again, it seemed like now was the perfect time to pour myself into the story by writing the book. So, from my office on the second floor,  I began to get serious about this endeavor.

Now, writing a novel requires a very different writing technique than writing a screenplay. And, I had the idea of writing Sacajawea’s thoughts in present-tense, so we can understand her more deeply and experience who she was from her own heart. This decision has turned out to be quite difficult going back and forth in tenses, but I feel it will be compelling and moving.

I will be sharing with you some of the FIRST DRAFT of this book as I write. I am on page 25 at the moment with many pages to go. But, I am inspired and I believe this is the very next step on the journey to share Sacajawea, The Windcatcher, and her message of Love, Peace, Oneness and Respect for the Earth, with the world.

Here is the beginning of her story that I want to share with you.

 

Creation has a way of slowing us down, making us uncomfortable at times, and giving us an opportunity to awaken.

Love,

Jane