inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #0 of 99: Hal Royaltey (hal) Wed 6 Apr 05 15:44
    
Joining us today is Deborah Santana, whose memoir -- "Space Between the
Stars" -- chronicles her young years growing up in San Francisco and her 
life as a bi-racial person in the early Civil Rights days, her coming of 
age, her 31+ years married to Carlos Santana, and her continuous search 
for spiritual growth.
  
Ms. Santana is COO of the Santana Band and vice president of the non-profit 
Milagro Foundation, which was launched in 1998. The foundation has granted
almost $2 million to 501c3 organizations that serve children and youth in 
the areas of health, education and the arts.
  
Ever growing and learning, Ms. Santana offers her writing and work so that
others may perceive life as a walk toward compassion and selfless love.
  
Su. Suttle (aka Susan Taggart), a WELL member since 1998, leads the
conversation. Ms. Taggart has been creating entertainment graphics for as
long as she can remember. She's been working with her favorite client, 
Santana Management, since 1986.
  
Some of her work can be viewed on her website: www.nekostudios.com. Her
continuing New Year's Resolution has been to update her site, which
hasn't been touched since 1997, but she is not known for her housekeeping
so it could be decades before more current work appears. Meanwhile, she
considers it a historical document, because she will never again create
anything, for anyone, for any amount of money, in HTML.
  
Welcome to Inkwell!
  
  
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #1 of 99: Suttle (su) Wed 6 Apr 05 16:21
    
Thanks, Hal. And Welcome to the WELL, Deborah! It's great to see you
here. I've got lots of questions to ask about your amazing book, and I
imagine anyone who's read it will have questions of their own.

Before we get started, remember that non-WELL members can read Inkwell
by going to: http://www.well.com/conf/inkwell.vue/ and clicking on
your  name in the topic, but only WELL members can make posts. So if
you have non-WELL friends and fans who'd like to have their comments
read, they can email them to: inkwell-hosts@well.com and the
ever-wonderful hosts will post them here.

So, let's get started!

I thoroughly enjoyed reading your book, but I was continually taken
aback (as in, Whoa! Did she really just say that?) by the incredibly
private aspects of your life that you've written about. What prompted
you to expose your life to public scrutiny? 

Also, how has your story been received so far?
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #2 of 99: Deborah Santana (dssantana) Wed 6 Apr 05 16:33
    
Thank you, Hal.
Hello Su,
It is exciting to be here talking about SBTS.  I want to mention that
everyone can read excerpts from my memoir, as well as hear samples of
the beautiful music from my audiobook at my website: deborahsantana.com

Just hearing you say you enjoyed reading my book gives me great joy
(or goose bumps, if you really want to know).  Many people at my book
signings have told me how honest and vulnerable I was in the memoir. 
My longing to let people know me, Deborah, rather than "oh, you're
married to Carlos Santana?" prompted and empowered me to speak about my
life candidly.  Wanting to be seen as a real, flawed, spiritual person
was my motivation.
I don't feel I've exposed myself to public scrutiny as much as I've
shared the journey I've been on and what I have learned.
Perhaps when one's life begins as an outsider, as mine did as a
bi-racial child in the 1950s, one develops a strong character.  
Also, the process of writing took a bit of the sting of my past away. 
Writing consisted of many hours of developing story, hearing critique
from  my writing group, re-writing, editing, and when I found a
publisher, re-writing again.  The stories of my life gained a healthy
distance as I honed the craft of writing.
The response to my memoir has been overwhelming love.  Of course,
that's from the people who have read it.  The media that have read SBTS
has been positive, but there hasn't been national interest, which is
fine with me.  I loved the process of writing and I love reading at
bookstores and connecting with people.
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #3 of 99: Suttle (su) Wed 6 Apr 05 16:56
    
I certainly learned more about Deborah than I ever thought I would! I
can imagine (almost) revealing the sort of stuff you did maybe at the
age of 70, but you're relatively young, and still have teenagers! And
you've given them the perfect excuse, It's not like YOU haven't done
it, or worse, MOM!

How did you prepared your kids for the revelations in this book? 
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #4 of 99: Suttle (su) Wed 6 Apr 05 18:31
    
(laughing at all the xclamation marks in above post. I'll try to
restrain myself.)
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #5 of 99: Deborah Santana (dssantana) Wed 6 Apr 05 19:55
    
I hope I have not given our children, 21, 20 and 15, an excuse to
experience what I experienced, but an example of what types of
challenges life can bring and the delicate balance that exists between
living true to oneself and living what others might influence them to
do.  My intention was to share the vulnerable place in my heart that
says, "Here is what I have lived.  May these intimate depictions
inspire you somehow."


The physical abuse I suffered with Sly is the most painful revelation
in my memoir and was difficult for our two older children to bear when
they read it.  Our youngest has chosen not to read SBTS and I am
grateful for that.  When I weighed hiding my life experiences (which
may have prevented me from writing my memoir), I believed I had come
through the past with redemptive feelings and positive lessons to
share.


I don't imagine that life has not been interesting, challenging and
full of multivarious experiences for every person here.  The quote in
the beginning of SBTS by Sojourner Truth, "Truth burns up error," sums
up how I feel about every human being's life.  If we can stand in our
truth and be illumined  in the telling and the feeling, then we are
victorious.
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #6 of 99: Suttle (su) Thu 7 Apr 05 00:58
    
One hopes that your honesty and the story of your quest to walk the
true path will be an inspiration to others, but I wonder how you can
knock down the walls that protect your privacy with such confidence?
Where did you get the strength to make yourself so vulnerable? 

You must have had discussions with your family about your book,
because it is also their story, to some extent. Are they all copasetic
with your decision to publish? 
 
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #7 of 99: Deborah Santana (dssantana) Thu 7 Apr 05 10:15
    
It is all perspective.  You look at my revelations as knocking down
walls.  I look at my memoir as my subtitle says: My Journey to an Open
Heart.   Because of my bi-racial heritage and growing up in the Civil
Rights Movement, I became an adult with an edge and my outlook was that
I needed to protect myself from the world.


In the past ten years, or so, and in direct relation to my writing and
other spiritual work I've done, I've become more confident in who I am
and I have released the world's position of separating people by
ethnicity, by fame, by class - all of these outer identifiers have
little to do with who we are inside.  

So, my privacy is not important.  My oneness with people is what frees
me and excites me.

Regarding my family's concerns about me publishing:  I did not share
my manuscript with many family members.  I showed Carlos and my sister
Kitsaun an early draft, but then I realized that if I received too much
feedback from family, I may have become paralyzed and unable to write
my truth.  My  local writing group and my multiple writing workshops in
Taos with Natalie Goldberg became the creative circle in which I sat. 


My family was extremely supportive of me being published and Carlos
and Salvador created new music for my audiobook, which is so beautiful.
 The audiobook also includes my dad, Saunders King's music.  

When I gave my mother a copy of the hard cover book, I clipped the Sly
pages together and told her she could not read them because I thought
they would break her heart.  

Carlos has said, "I wouldn't be married to a person who didn't have
the convictions that she has."  It wasn't up to my family to be
comfortable with me publishing my memoir.  It was up to them to find
the love and compassion to support my efforts and my love of writing.
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #8 of 99: Suttle (su) Fri 8 Apr 05 00:44
    
It makes my heart ache to read of your concern for your mother if she
read those pages; my heart also ached when I read about that part of
your life. And I was really surprised, too.

I've always thought of you as a naturally centered person, someone who
must have sprung forth at birth giggling, filled with inner serenity
and grace. It never occured to me that you were such a wild child,
really.

What was it that made the young Penecostal girl jump off the cliff
into an alternate universe? 
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #9 of 99: Deborah Santana (dssantana) Fri 8 Apr 05 07:55
    
Growing up, I followed a wholesome pattern by attending church, being
a Girl Scout, taking music and dance lessons, content with the
fulfillment of these spiritual and cultural involvements.  In high
school, I was aware that my friends were having sex, taking drugs and
rebelling from their family structures, but I had peace with the life I
had chosen.  

When I was 18 and met Sly Stone,  the fact that he was older intrigued
me and he was so vibrant and an incredible poet/songwriter.  For a
cheerleader/choir girl, his life was incredibly exciting and I did not
realize that his 7 year age difference or his background of being a
seasoned musician, DJ and, I later found out, a pimp (!), was part of
his character.  My dad, who was also a musician, had never brought
other musicians to our home and I had not been to nightclubs or around
drugs or older men.  I was too young and unworldly to understand that
people have core personalities that speak much about who they are and
how they treat others.


His alternate universe, which I lived in for one and a half  years,
was enough of a scare for me that it has guided these 33 years since
that time.  I turned away from drugs,  outer glamour, the falseness of
fame's lure and have devoted myself to meditation, truth, hard work and
fidelity.
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #10 of 99: Suttle (su) Fri 8 Apr 05 13:26
    
It must have been terrifying for you when you realized what a wrong
turn your life had taken. And it must have seemed the right spiritual
path when you and Carlos became devotees of Sri Chinmoy. 

But it turned out that Guru was as manipulative as Sly, perhaps even
in a more insidious way, because he was a holy man. I cannot conceive
of the pain you must have endured when your spiritual father told you
that you had to have an abortion. But you were obdedient and did as he
said. How could you possibly have followed him after that?

In the book, it is not easily apparent how many years you, Carlos, and
your sister Kitsaun were devotees. Can you talk about this? Why you
followed Guru and for how many years?
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #11 of 99: paul (paul) Fri 8 Apr 05 14:37
    
I've been reading this book all week, some nights my wife and I have taken
turns reading the book out loud.  I find it compelling and especially
interesting since I lived in a lot of the places in the Bay area that form
the backdrop for this book.  I'll wait till Su wraps up this first round of
questioning to ask a few questions.  I feel lucky that I got on the book
list this time!
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #12 of 99: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Fri 8 Apr 05 15:57
    
Deborah, what a warrior spirit you have. Your book is an oasis along
the spiritual highway of life. Thank you so much for baring your heart
and soul.

Your openness is probably the most singularly striking feature of your
writing, that and your beautiful use of imagery and style. You must be
in a blissed out place a lot of the time.

Do you find that the ashes that result from the fire of truth and the
obvious bonds you have with your family, simply become crusts of bread
to share with others, or is it something a bit different for you?
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #13 of 99: Deborah Santana (dssantana) Fri 8 Apr 05 18:33
    
I love that - warrior spirit!  So good to hear from both of you.  

Thank you for your feedback and for sharing my story with me.  

The ashes from my "Vision Fire" have become knowledge that love is
bigger than life's problems, that pain in one's heart becomes flakes of
gold - brilliant and shining the way to inner peace, if we can
forgive.  

For so many years, I strove to raise my children to be the smartest
they could be, to know God, to serve humanity; I worked diligently so
that Carlos's career would continue to grow with musical integrity -
always trying.  In publishing SBTS and sharing who I am internally, I
was able to rest.   Somehow the telling of my story brought me to who I
am and I could stop trying to be someone I thought I should be.

I am not blissed out most of the time, although I do try to reside in
my heart, rather than in my analytical mind.  It is my perspective that
the world is our school, life experiences our education, and I want to
receive straight As by learning as much as I can. 
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #14 of 99: paul (paul) Fri 8 Apr 05 19:09
    
The problems with Sly, the cult, and the other mishaps that people fall in
to, why is it so hard to be blinded to these pitfalls?

I have to confess I am only on page 149, but I'm going to read as much as I
can this evening.  I've been reading slowly because it's so worth savoring
every word, so well written, the places and people you talk about really
come alive in your book.
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #15 of 99: paul (paul) Fri 8 Apr 05 19:10
    
should have said "so easy to be blinded . . . "
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #16 of 99: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Fri 8 Apr 05 19:53
    
My brother's take on the title, "Space Between the Stars", was "oh,
Sly and Carlos". I'm sure he's right, he sees things pretty
straightforwardly. I tend to see things a bit more complex and took it
for that and a bit more cosmic in terms of spiritual development. Are
we both right?
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #17 of 99: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Sat 9 Apr 05 04:48
    
Would you talk a bit about your dad, Saunders King, his talent as a
jazz guitarist, his strength and his decision to stay at home once you
kids were born. I find that extraordinary in a time when so many did
not even think about such a thing.
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #18 of 99: Deborah Santana (dssantana) Sat 9 Apr 05 09:18
    
<it is not easily apparent how many years you, Carlos, and
your sister Kitsaun were devotees. Can you talk about this? Why you
followed the guru and for how many years?>

You'll notice I put "guru" into lower case, Su, even though you had it
capitalized.  Carlos and I followed Sri Chinmoy 9 years; Kitsaun
probably the same time or a bit longer.  In the first 5 years, we
followed because the meditation path offered us purity.  Carlos and I
had both come from the 60s drug culture and were seeking spirituality
as the core for our lives.  I opened our vegetarian restaurant, Dipti
Nivas, on the corner of Church and Market not long after we became
disciples.  The restaurant was an incredible joy and such hard work
that I felt I was doing something meaningful in my life and for
humanity.  There was only one other vegetarian restaurant in SF when we
started and people lined up outside our doors to eat every day.  

After those first 5 years, Carlos and I wanted to leave, but never at
the same time.  We felt pushed and squeezed by all the rules and
regulations, and we definitely were asked to proselytize around the
world.  But each time we sat in meditation we felt God's peace and
light.  We didn't understand then that it had nothing to do with the
guru and everything to do with the universal Spirit that is available
to everyone.  

Many devotees capitalized the G in guru, believing he had some special
in-road to Spirit.  He gladly accepted that false deification and said
that he was meditating on us and creating the light.  

Ah, hind sight and maturity....

The beauty of those years lies in eating vegetarian food, learning
more about health and organic foods, not drinking or smoking, running
and living healthy, and developing a habit of meditating and learning
to sit in silence.  My only regret is that people followed us there
because of Carlos's influence and had negative experiences.
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #19 of 99: Deborah Santana (dssantana) Sat 9 Apr 05 09:58
    
<"why is it so easy to be blinded to the pitfalls. . . ">

Life is an experience.  We learn with so much more certainty through
our personal trials and challenges.

Innocence is not ignorance.  With Sly, I had no experience with deceit
or vanities of one person caring so much for himself over others.  It
was similar with Sri Chinmoy - I had an innocent willingness to better
myself and many of us definitely saw something above what we held
inside ourselves at the time.

At my book events, one question I often get is, "Do you have any
regrets?"

I look back at my choices in life as appropriate for the knowledge and
search for happiness I had at the time.  The universe provides a
bountiful banquet of options for living.  In my particular neighborhood
(and I do mean global neighborhood) I met up with the people and
experiences I write about in my memoir.  There was a reason for every
one of them.  Did I learn from my choices?  Absolutely.  Am I a better
person - having more compassion and understanding about life - because
of them?  Definitely!  
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #20 of 99: Deborah Santana (dssantana) Sat 9 Apr 05 10:46
    
<Would you talk a bit about your dad, Saunders King, his talent as a
jazz guitarist, his strength and his decision to stay at home once you
kids were born?>

Dad was a monolithic power of support and guidance in Kitsaun's and my
lives.  We had no idea, when we were young, that he had chosen to stay
at home, rather than tour, to be with us.  He was there everyday,
watching Liberace on TV as we got ready for school, playing his guitar
when we returned home, then getting ready for his own gigs on weekends,
filling the house with his music, his strength and his coolness.

There was always a suspicious, protective tone to his guidance.  He
had received a tremendous amount of racist actions and he measured
people carefully.  He questioned Kitsaun and me without blinking an eye
if we asked permission to go anywhere with anyone.  I understood this
more than ever when I left Sly.

Hearing his fingers run scales up his guitar strings over and over
daily, playing for hours on end probably taught Kitsaun and me as much
about jazz, blues and excellence in music as it did about hard work in
life.  I didn't need to be told that to do anything well, I would have
to devote myself wholeheartedly.  Here was my mother who worked
everyday and worked overtime whenever possible to help us get what we
needed.  Here was a musician who honed his craft even without public
acclaim.  

They both gave me what I needed to love our three children
unconditionally, and to teach them how to be present to themselves and
to life.
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #21 of 99: Deborah Santana (dssantana) Sat 9 Apr 05 10:55
    
<the title, "Space Between the Stars">

When I first saw these words written, I felt as if I was the dark
place in the sky that is not noticed - in between brilliant stars who
are living their light.  Definitely beside Carlos's stars,
insignificant in his constellation because of the attention he received
and the way I was not addressed when in his presence.  After a couple
of decades :-)  I felt emotionally degraded - but it was my choice to
stay quiet and in the background.

As I wrote myself into existence through SBTS, I became more confident
and I didn't need to hide in the darkness anymore.  I was happy to
claim the truth that I was instrumental in running Santana, and how
important that was to Carlos.  I realized that the space between the
stars, the ether that powerfully pulses between the stars, holds the
stars in the sky.  
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #22 of 99: paul (paul) Sat 9 Apr 05 11:21
    
How is your book tour shaping up?  Have you made some dates at bookstores
and will you be coming to Bookpeople in Austin?  Does the audio book version
contain the full text of the book?
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #23 of 99: Suttle (su) Sat 9 Apr 05 12:37
    
www.deborahsantana.com has all of Deborah's tour dates, excerpts from
the book and audio selections as well.

I've been listening to the bonus CD that comes with the audio version,
Deborah. How wonderful that you were able to include several
selections from your father's catalogue. I wanted to hear more! 

A few days ago I left the CD on the kitchen and was called away to do
something else. When I walked in the room later, I heard your voice
being interviewed and thought, Why didn't Deborah tell me she was on
Fresh Air? It took be a few minutes to realize it was the interview on
the CD.

I know you spent the last month touring and have more events lined up.
Has there been any interest from the big guns like Terri Gross or
Oprah? And I have to know: Has anyone optioned the movie rights yet?
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #24 of 99: It's a new sun to me (nukem777) Sat 9 Apr 05 20:03
    
I love your quotes, especially "to ....(my family) who holds my
heart". That is deep. Would you speak to that a bit please.

You have so many gems: "I am a bridge to my parents and the
generations of humans who have come to earth to learn what life is
truly about." That's a biggie.

"I continually become a new person, a transfigured body, whenever I
transcend an outdated belief or change my focus and expand my dreams."
What sorts of things help you to transcend, change focus, and expand
your dreams?

"Portions of me have died hundreds of times." Why is that do you
think? Do we keep resurrecting old selves or is just the process we all
live with? Or something totally different for each of us?

And, finally, your daughter's beautiful ode to her grandfather at the
end of the book, ...."he is in me." You have certainly passed it on.
The joy and healing that abounds in your book is so liberating,
refreshing and moving in the best possible ways. You have done us all a
great favor. Blessings and beams to you and yours.
  
inkwell.vue.242 : Deborah Santana, "Space Between the Stars"
permalink #25 of 99: Deborah Santana (dssantana) Sat 9 Apr 05 20:09
    
<Have you made some dates at bookstores and will you be coming to
Bookpeople in Austin?  Does the audio book version contain the full
text of the book?>

Hi Paul,
I have been loving my book store events!  If you look on my website:
www.deborahsantana.com you'll seethe bookstores I've been to already
and where I am scheduled to go (which is added to weekly).

I would love to come to Bookpeople in Austin and will ask my publicist
to inquire of them if they want me.  

The audiobook is abridged - with 5 hours of me reading, a bonus CD
with music from our son, Salvador, my father, Saunders King, and two
unreleased tracks from Santana.  As Su mentioned above, there is an
interview with Carlos and me as well (I seem to keep forgetting about
this!).

I have only listened to the audiobook once in its entirety.  I listen
to the music CD often, especially Salvador's first track where he is
playing the grand piano, and the second track where he is on piano and
Carlos on acoustic guitar.  They recorded these songs just for my
audiobook, so the feeling of the tunes is heavenly.  

When I listened to my story when the audiobook was first completed,
the painful parts and the end when my father dies, were emotionally
draining.

Please let me know what you think if you listen.
  

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