Meet the Author May 14: “Thoughts to Heal Your Soul”

In 1985 Gilbert Sierra wrote “The Greener Side of the Tracks” - a song that inspired him 35 years later to write a book, “Thoughts to Heal Your Soul,” filled with poems and stories about dealing with tragedy, of living with Parkinson’s disease, about resilience and the human condition. Saturday, May 14 brings a chance to meet the author at the Miami Mercantile building (the historic YMCA) from 1-5 p.m. during Miami’s once-a-month Second Saturday event downtown. A Miami native, Sierra will sign copies of his book and chat with visitors through the afternoon. He is excited to host a book signing in his hometown.

“I began writing poems in 2021 to express my feelings, experiences and emotions because I lost my musical expression outlet to Parkinson’s disease. When I realized I had compiled many poems, I decided to explore songs and poems I had written since 1985, and I noticed a recurring theme. I have always written about other people’s sufferings, attempting to be a voice for them,” he said.

“Thoughts to Heal Your Soul” approaches human suffering and tragedies not by simply telling the stories of events but by capturing their emotions. The reader will feel the people’s struggles, pain, sorrow, tears, joy and resilience. The true stories lie in the feelings experienced while living and fighting through difficult times. Finally, this book accentuates the courage of these individuals to allow all of us to see the courageous person within us and be inspired to fight onward when things seem hopeless.

Gilbert Sierra had a 45-year career as a tile contractor; now he’s exploring a second career as a musician, songwriter, recording artist, sound/recording engineer and music recording producer. “I have played guitar for 57 years and written original songs for 30 of those. My focus changed in 2020 when I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. I experience severe tremors in my left hand, which now prevents me from playing the guitar. It also prevents me from writing music because the guitar was my instrument used for writing songs. This new reality was very difficult to embrace at first, and normally I would express myself through songs, but alas, I can’t do that.

“I found myself expressing my daily experiences with Parkinson’s disease through poetry. I decided to organize the poems in a book. As I was arranging the poems, I found a folder with some songs I wrote in the 1980s. I decided to add some of those songs to the book in the form of poems. Since some of the poems are songs, my publisher suggested I record the songs and put them on a website. We can put a link to the website in the book, and readers can purchase the musical version of the poems as well. The title of this first book is ‘Thoughts to Heal Your Soul: Poems and Stories of Living with Parkinson’s Disease, Human Conditions, Tragedies  and Resilience.’ I am also currently writing my second book, entitled ‘Mexican-American Servant Leaders from Miami, Arizona,’ which I hope to complete in about two years.

“A portion of my sales is donated to organizations helping children with cancer. The first two songs on the website were written for and about an eight-year-old girl who had brain cancer. The songs were written and recorded for the sole purpose of helping the family of this young child with the expenses. Sadly she did not make it. She passed away, but she inspired me to help other children with cancer. These first two recordings will be used to help Luke Ozga and his mother Heather with the expenses they have incurred since Luke was diagnosed three years ago. Heather had to quit her job to take care of Luke. So a portion of the sales will go to Luke and his family, and a portion will go to assist me to buy a better computer, recording software, hardware and other things necessary to record about 20 original songs to be made available on this website to continue to raise more money for Luke's family."


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