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Toward the Light
Love and Pursuit of Happiness
by wisdom and intellectual means

Behind every domain  - there is a vision
Beneath every vision - there is a human being
In every human being - there is a story..

Below is «Over the Ocean»
the story within the human being
beneath the vision behind

Copyright © by VENUS
Venera Lokaj-Smit

Chapter ( I )
Born in Deçani,
small town in Europe..
I was just a little girl when I asked:
“Daddy, where is that big City?”
Without a hint of smile,
my dad answered:

“Over the Ocean, my little one..
Over the Ocean.”
It took me years to understand
where over the ocean was,
how to get there and once that
happens, how is it gonna feel?
Growing up among five other lovely
sisters and a wonderful brother,
I was raised by two beautiful Artists:

My mom - formal dress designer and
seamstress, in a small townhouse, on
the fourth floor,
surrounded by the magic and
the mystery of mountains,
playing mostly in my dad's art studio,
filled with cherries from my
grandfather's land, and was
constantly challenged by my dad
Nimon Lokaj’s visionary mind,
his chess - pertise,
guitar playing,
and his books filled with the spirit
of masters: Rembrandt, Da Vinci,
Picasso, Nietzsche , Dali, Freud,
Shakespeare, T.S.Eliot, Hemingway,
Kadare with ‘The General of the dead
army’ and Frost  with ‘Miles to go
before I sleep’.
Although living in an oppressed
part of the world and later on,
faced living nightmares of humanity...,
in 1994 I finished Prishtina University
Faculty of Filology in English Language
and Literature and was honored
with the university title Professor.
A year after
I finished private art classes
in my dads small art center
where he tutored people of all ages
mostly living abroad.
I taught English to Kosovar students,
instructed art and was honored and
awarded as the teacher of the year too,
and a distinguished artist for sharing
‘Tafa’s Story” concerned
with the social status of a human being.
Although aware of the meaning
of my name Venera which is Venus
in Latin, and knowing that human senses
expect such ancient Goddess shine with
steady light  – at age 23:
I graduated, painted, wrote, recited,
taught and later on interpreted aiming
to shine playful light but my posture
was a clear reflection of my ancient
Illyrian origin and for some reason
no hint of smile always spoke deeper
than my smile.
Chapter ( II )
But then tragedy hits Europe!
War.. War at the heart of the Balkans!
In 1999, Deçani burned to the ground
around me; Peja.. Gjakova.. Prishtina..
Drenica you name it.

Ethnic cleansing.. Genocide..  
Kosova a burned land!
How horrible it was,
how crude and cruel
How monstrous!
At this difficult time in my life,
I kept repeating to myself
but one line from a poem I once wrote:
I’ve taught flowers many words, painted
and learned your language along –
was I wrong?
America my dream!

Sometimes it’s all about the Power
of Words and faith that the wind
may carry the sound over the ocean..
seas.. and mountains ..
Thus, not long after, out of nowhere
this creature comes into view: Boldly
courageous, arrogantly handsome;
kind, respectful, compassionate,
serious, highly intelligent,
and opinionated,
with an attitude to love.
A man this is,
who spent most of his life
dancing between the rain drops,
snow, ice and fire.
Mysteriously enough,
all the way from that big city,
he crossed the ocean and then the
mountains with no horse, shining armor
nor a lance, but love, strength within,
truth and justice - the American way.
He gently looked at my eyes, gave me his
hand and helped me stand on my feet.
He brought my spirit back to me
which gave life to my soul;
asked my father for my hand in marriage;
took my:

‘Women in Tears’,
‘Poor Tafa’,
‘The Old Man from Drenica’,
‘Gjergj Kastrioti‘,
‘The Glimmer of Hope’
and few more under his arm,

and ‘America my Dream’ poem I wrote
he kept in his pocket, and holding
my hand from one land to another,
in 1999 he helped me cross the Ocean...

And I was there, Over the Ocean,
and once that happened,
This is how it felt:
Chapter ( III )
I had nothing but Love
and a Dream come true
in that big city I once asked my dad –
the New York City.

Never again, I thought, never again
will tears run down my cheeks.
After midnight when the World sleeps,
I’ll sleep too – Never again
will monstrous knocks tremble my dreams.
And I will shine like the Moon, burn like the
Sun and I will sparkle like the Star,
for never again my streets will be cold and
empty. I survived to say Dreams Come True
and more than that Love makes it happen.
Weeks earlier, a deadly earthquake struck
Turkey. I was looking forward to my
morning flight to America,
when the entire hotel was swaying left
to right; as we were running
down the stairs, I slipped and fell
over a magazine.
It was the picture of Princess Diana.

‘I’m taking you with me‘ I said to her,
as I felt an unclear echo
from the unspoken words
of her sadness...
It is the first artwork I created
once I touched
the ground of America.
In New York too, I was honored
with an exclusive opening of a
personal art show and my art
and poetry was published
and appreciated.  
I was paid in advance to create anything
I thought a New Yorker would like to see
painted by a Venus now that I was
living in peace and freedom -
I created 'Passion in Autumn'.

“Isn’t that something'' my artwork
caused a lovely reaction and put a
big smile on owners face, and that
truly made me quite happy too.
Chapter ( IV )
In 2000, after sending a greeting
to the white house, directed to the
President, I was greatly honored
with a response back from
President Clinton;

thanking me for sharing my views,
caring about the future of America
and our World.
Still touched and moved today
I thank mr.President
for his gesture of kindness
and greatness,

my husband for helping me live my
dream and my mom and dad, for all
their love, education, support and
freedom they’ve blessed me with…
For, "Love, peace and prosperity,
starts with family, spreads around
nations, countries and the world, "
convincingly say the two Kosovar
Artists, Hatmone and Nimon Lokaj,
a couple this is that has enabled
engaged and empowered their
Violeta, Teuta, Venera,
Arjeta, Artan, Ardiana and Arianda’s
educational lives.
Painting, working and trying to teach
again in United States too was just
a part of living my dream and
although not that smooth
and easy I did it.
Chapter ( V )
But then tragedy hits America,
in 2001 my big city,
the New York City.

How horrible it was,
how crude and cruel,
how monstrous!
I remember being in south teaching
in a classroom at the time and
Abraham Lincoln from a book of
literature gave me a sad smile...
‘With a task before me’
I gave a farewell to teaching
and created this 'Tribute in Blue',
my husband’s portrait and
many others after.
Chapter ( VI )
And then , In 2003
I was honored
with the American Citizenship.
My God, I could feel the
‘I have a dream’ spirit of
Martin Luther King Jr. in the air.

I could feel his vision, love,
passion and cry to be free.
Soon after I was blessed with
a beautiful flamboyant son.

What a feeling.. what a joy..
what a sparkling triple
dream come true!!!
So if you ever wonder:
Do dreams come true?
Think of me -  because Yes..
yes, they do!

Dreams do come true
and more than that,
Love makes it happen!
The excitement flourished
all over me before I could sit down,
take a deep breath and relax
so I could move on....
Chapter ( VII )
There’s no code to decipher
how to raise children,
but with love, nourishment,
sacrifice and dedication.  
Besides being an artist and a
teacher, being a wife and a mom,
remains my most beautiful
rewarding and intriguing life

It’s challenging, it arouses
interest and curiosity,
it inspires selflessness
and teaches unconditional love.
As time permitted I created 'Hope',
shared 'Tease',
'Dreams come true'
and artful smiles with the world.

Humanity has given so much
to me, I thought, I wanted
to give something back in return,
my way.
Talent Awards and other internet
global honors were heaped  upon
my name throughout the years.
In 2011 some of my art videos
got sprinkled with love too,
as you know, this time
YouTube was issuing global honors.
How exiting!
It felt like ice cream topped with
whip cream, chocolate swirls,
diamond walnuts and strawberry;
Delicious indeed!
But making thematic productions
with your own pictures you have
to take, art you have to create
first, writing you want to present
and authenticity, requires great
deal of thinking, planning and
executing so it is quite
time consuming;
takes days, weeks and sometimes
months too, therefore, although the
outcome may be quite delicious,
this is a taste I would Not quite
recommend, to any married Artist..
So you don't miss good times
with your life partner and
best friend who loves
and respects you,
and you should
love and respect back.
Especially if you happen to be
a mom too homeschooling
your child,
for although creativity
may be a blessing,
family you’ve created is divine..
And it should always come first.
In my case, I try to balance all,
and when time permits,
by blending art and literature
in English with a sense of education,
I continue to speak, connect,
contribute and share virtues
with the World;
to inspire, motivate
and make a difference.
Chapter ( VIII )
Earlier that year, I remember I wrote a
poem titled ‘When the Rain Falls’
and what if, I thought, what if I turn
myself into the subject, showing
a woman trapped between feeling
of Love and Passion.. waiting..
landscaping.. and as rain falls,
somewhere in horizon she notices
her man coming back to her…

It  felt like playing drama or a silent movie.
I simply wanted to help my readers
visually comprehend and enjoy my poem.
And I also wanted to see what will it show,
what could it be?!
My photo happens to touch the heart
and the mind of a great Kosovar novelist
and in 2011, I am honored
as the cover of his intriguing
romance novel ‘The Rain Speaks too' .
At the same time, here in America,
the United States Army honors
me for my personal sacrifice and
And then mysteriously enough,
a former Kosovar journalist,
takes a photo of this tree at
the same time and writes:

"Venus, here is a tree facing
Rrafshi i Dukagjinit in the shape
of - V.

It is breathtaking and so true,
it is there.. Living, breathing,
profound, it is artful my friend,
just like you.
Chapter ( IX )
Intrigued by global love, passion,
pleasure and pain, all arts, languages,
friendship, the origin, freedom,
imagination, magic, mystery and
the meaning of life way beneath
and beyond my name.. I had to call
my dad and ask him another question
after like three decades or so, I said:
Dad, where do I go from here?

As he was retouching his 'Triumph',
without a hint of smile, my dad
answered: ‘There’s always the moon
Venus, there’s always the moon!’
No way am I gonna go there,
I mean look at that place:
so shiny but far away,
like a lonely boat.. so remote..!!
And as I touch this beautiful
Globe today, it is year 2012,
enjoying my friends’ successes
from around the world,
their Symphony, albums, their
searching and great poems they
write and publish too..
With all my four seasons, love and
passion I keep in my heart, I say:
This may be a land of tears,
pain, and broken dreams too,  
but it’s also a land of
dreams come true.
For apparently, even after a storm,
as long as you’re healthy enough,
creative and free - You can do it!

You can make your
dreams come true
and live them too..!
Chapter ( X )
And as I overocean you,
my son asks me:
‘Mommy -  what’s that sound?’

Without a hint of smile
I tenderly tell him:

’It’s just the wind my little one,
it’s just the wind! ‘

Venera Lokaj-Smit
Listen to Venus narrating her autobiography, accompanied with
music by Steve Paled
( watch on YouTube to comment  )
I  -  II  -  III  -  IV  -  V  -  VI  -  VII  -  VIII