Insanity a Blessing?
I believe it’s my job as a fiction writer to condense research of complex subjects into understandable language and then play them out in story, almost like creating a PowerPoint presentation to compliment a written narrative.
My four-book series, titled “Enter the Between,” can be summed up by the question: WHEN DOES INSANITY BECOME A BLESSING?
By insanity I mean experiencing an overwhelming trauma that needs to be metabolized, digested, and integrated, before it can be rejected as debilitating or embraced as liberating. It’s traumatic, for instance, when our sense of security and of right and wrong is shattered by an unexpected event.
In 2001, we were traumatized as a nation by the 9/11 attacks against the World Trade Center by Al-Qaeda. The psyche of physics was also experiencing a meltdown with advancements in quantum mechanics, which muddled the separation between science and spirituality with its weird theories about the state of matter surrounding us and talk of parallel universes.
There seemed to be a war going on against our collective world view. The world was going crazy.
In the course 2001, my protagonist, Marjorie Veil, discovers that sometimes what is labeled as insanity is instead a spiritual emergency, which if treated with support and understanding, can lead to personal freedom and authenticity.
Enter the Between Series:
Marjorie slowly loses her mind, and in the process, discovers her soul.
Marjorie has been conditioned to ignore her own truth, to give away her power, to subjugate in relationships with others, and to settle for the path of least resistance. But all that changes in the wilds of the Los Padres National, where she goes on retreat to make sense of her life when she believes she’s going insane.
Marjorie experiences a crisis of faith when she confronts the spirit of her dead mother.
IN BOOK THREE, Between Yesterday and Tomorrow (pub date 2018), Marjorie reunites with her identical triplet sisters to face truths about change, transitions and death.
IN BOOK FOUR, Between Now and Forever (pub date 2019), rookie teacher Marjorie challenges school tradition and authority to launch seven troubled teens with unique psychic abilities into their own life stories.
My four novels take place in some of the best settings nature and technology have to offer: the wilds of the Los Padres National Forest near Carmel Valley; the Esalen human potential Institute in Big Sur; Pacific Grove, home to the Monarch Butterfly, and Silicon Valley, center for technological advances.
THE BETWEEN, where insanity becomes a blessing:
When I was a teen, I loved Rod Serling and the famous prelude to his television series The Twilight Zone. But I didn’t discover until later how it paralleled what I think of as “the between.”
There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.
I used my fascination with The Twilight Zone for a short story I wrote, titled “A Fifth Dimension,” which was published in the California Writer’s Club Literary Review.
My book series introduces the reader to the world of metaphysics, the bridge between the seen and unseen, science and spirituality, classical physics and quantum physics, which serves as a key to understanding consciousness, death, and the meaning of life.
The concept of The Between, is the engine I use to carry the thematic focus of spiritual and emotional freedom. The between is a scary place that most of us don’t enter willingly. Instead we’re catapulted there by a life-changing event, which in fiction is called the inciting incident.
Like the fictional hero, we enter the between kicking and screaming and confront obstacles and tests we aren’t prepared or equipped to handle. We face-plant over and over, or so it seems, until we finally surrender to the new circumstances of our life-journey and decide to go with the flow instead of against it.
Then it’s amazing what we learn and how we change.
The very thing we turn away from is where the gold is found.
My series also revolves around the power and symbolism of circles for spiritual transformation: including the seasons of the year, the four cardinal directions, the liturgical cycle of the year, the Medicine Wheel, the labyrinth, the Wiccan Circle, and the life cycle.
MY JOURNEY AS A WRITER (Meeting place between insight and insanity):
I had no understanding of science or religion as a child. But I had a deep, unconscious understanding of spirituality. Spirituality came easily. I glimpsed the sacred everywhere. I heard it in the sharp tweets of the Long-legged Sandpiper, I smelled it in the scent of freshly mowed hay and fermenting corn, I saw it when the sun dropped like a pebble on the horizon, I felt it on the hot rocks and cool grass beneath my feet, the cool breeze on my sweaty skin.
I didn’t try to pin it down.
In my teens, science and religion forced a split in my simple understanding of the spiritual.
It became a matter of choosing between fact and faith-based ways of thinking about and explaining the world. Fact-won over faith, and, for a while, that was enough.
In time, I missed the wonder and joy I’d once felt toward to the unknown. And eventually, my need for a renewed spiritual connection became impossible to suppress.
Why did I have to choose between science and spirituality anyway? Why not embrace both in my world view? As Einstein said, “…religion can be ennobled and made more profound by scientific knowledge.” There had to be meeting place between matter and consciousness.
I carried the thought of finding that meeting place around with me until the year 2000, when I finally experienced what we fiction writers call an “inciting incident.”
Have you ever been to a site that felt sacred to you, be it one of the seven wonders of the world or your own back yard? A place where you listen to your goose bumps.
During stops at the Lone Cypress near Pebble Beach and the Carmel Mission Basilica, it struck me. I didn’t know the hows and whys, but I knew was going to write a novel.
WHAT MAKES MY BOOKS UNIQUE?
My work bridges science and spirituality with paranormal and supernatural underpinnings and contemplative messaging that aims toward a kinder, wiser, more peaceful world.
By “Paranormal” I mean, as defined on KnowedgeNuts, something that is not understood by current scientific knowledge but has the potential of someday being explained scientifically, with possibly a good natural explanation.
Supernatural, on the other hand is explained as a phenomenon that is beyond our capability to understand, now and forever, because it just doesn’t operate under our rules.
My work encompasses twenty years of research into contemporary paganism, holistic theory, quantum mechanics, and transpersonal psychology. It takes readers into the depths of consciousness, to the unified field underlying physical existence, where separateness is an illusion.
My Enter the Between novel series welled out of me with no consideration to genre. When the flow slowed to a tickle and I began the revision process, I was forced to eye my work through the viewpoint of editors, publishers, and marketers—which led to a brick wall with a sign: No admittance without genre ID.
I went on a hunt, using a new lens of perception, one focusing on such mainstream genres as women’s fiction, magical realism, and commercial fiction, but no genre fit what I had written.
In 2002, I came across an article titled “Visionary Fiction: Rediscovering Ancient Paths to Truth.” Hallelujah! The definition of VF so closely matched my writing that I believed my novels had finally found a home.
What separates what I write from other speculative fiction, such as science fiction, fantasy, and magical realism, is intention. Besides telling a good story, visionary fiction enlightens and encourages readers to expand their awareness of greater possibilities. It helps them see the world in a new light and recognize dimensions of reality they commonly ignore.
Then came another piece of bad news: When I started searching for publishing opportunities, visionary fiction was rarely mentioned as something agents and publishers were looking for. Most mainstream publishers were hesitant to read anything that called itself visionary fiction, certain it would be ‘religious’ and that the author would sermonize.
As a result, I joined with other VF writers and starting a website called the Visionary Fiction Alliance to encourage the evolution and embracement of this genre. VFA currently has hundreds of members, most of them visionary fiction writers who are grateful to have found a home.
In parting, I ask:
Does the space between you and me separate us or unit us?
The answer is both, depending on the way you look at it.
As poet and scholar Rumi said:
“Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing
and rightdoing there is a field.”
Read my novels and “I’ll meet you there.
Thanks for stopping by.