My Mentor Joseph Cambell

josephcampbell-450x450Within the current socio-political circus came the idea to write an article about the Hero’s Journey for the Visionary Fiction Alliance (VFA). Although the topic relates to myths and stories, we can also become heroes in our own journeys. Each completed cycle can be  an avancement in evolutionary growth that  continues until our last breath.  But sometimes we get stuck along the way.

BELLY OF THE WHALE

I stalled during the middle of writing the VFA post because the election led me to an existential crisis.  I found myself stuck in the belly of the whale stage of the Hero’s Journey.  Seeing people fighting each other in order to prop up two flawed humans made me question why many of us still place other humans above us.

“I stopped getting mad at politicians years ago and started getting mad at myself instead. The blame for the grinding dullness and depressing predictability of the current election cycle is on the electorate as much as it is on the candidates. That America gets everything it deserves and settles for is a hard truth to swallow. Maybe one day, we’ll get tired of choking on it.” Henry Rollins

Those of us who pulled out of the political church reach the same conclusion as Rollins. We become ideological atheists because we see that it’s our ideologies that are choking us. We’re the rebels that scream for the empire to topple, so we can live freely with one another. You might not hear us because we’re few in number, so we’re never really heard other than through podcasts or blog posts.   Instead,  we’re called crazy or mentally disturbed because we refuse to capitulate to majority groupthink. We have strength of mind and spirit and are immune to whatever names we’re called. Knowledge of our inner-truth is our shield. We’re  grounded in our spirit. But sometimes even hero’s fall and have to rise up again.

As I listened to the media, politicians, and some of their followers spew hatred and hypocrisy, I thought about the future my daughters would be growing up. I became despondent imagining what today’s children would be inheriting because of our shortsidedness.  That thought awoke a fear in me that I had to deal with.

IN A POSITIVE FREEFALL

How do we stay on the path when we’re facing our version of an empire run by  shadowy Darth Vaders? From beyond the grave, Campbell answered the question.

free_fall

“We’re in a freefall into future. We don’t know where we’re going. Things are changing so fast, and always when you’re going through a long tunnel, anxiety comes along. And all you have to do to transform your hell into a paradise is to turn your fall into a voluntary act. It’s a very interesting shift of perspective and that’s all it is… joyful participation in the sorrows and everything changes.” 

― Joseph Campbell, Sukhavati

FREEDOM TO LIVE

If hell is being created, I don’t have to play along. I can forge my own path. With that realization I was shot from out of the belly’s spout and on to the Freedom to Live stage of my journey.

Spiritual lessons never end. I find it more difficult now than before I started the journey. The more the veil is lifted, the harder I have to work to evolve. And since I evolved a little bit more with the writing of this post, I guess you can say this is a visionary post!

Please click here to read the article about how the hero’s journey relates to visionary fiction.

Therapeutic Benefits of Visionary Fiction – Examination – Part 3

This is part 3 of the Visionary Fiction as Personal Therapy Series, which was inspired after I learned about bibliotherapy in my psychology classes.  It led me to discover an article by Debbie McCullis in the February, 2014 issue of the Journal of Poetry Therapy.  McGullis listed  a four step process used in bibliotherapy, which strongly resonated with me as the process sounds similar to why I write visionary fiction.  In part one, we discussed the first step, recognition, which is the moment when a reader gets a sense of familiarity while reading. In part two, we examined recognition through the lens of a writer’s perspective.  In this week’s installment, we will discuss what happens after recognition strikes. We want to understand why we had such a strong reaction to the text we had just read, which brings us into the second step, examination. Click here to continue.

Therapeutic Benefits of Visionary Fiction – Recognition – Part 2

This is part two of the Therapeutic Benefits of Visionary Fiction Series.  In part one, we discussed recognition from the reader’s perspective. In this week’s installment, we’ll focus on it from the author’s perspective.

Authors have their moments of recognition during the writing process. This phase is important to many of them. I asked some of my author friends to discuss their own experience with the recognition while writing their books. Following are their responses. Click here to read them.

Therapeutic Benefits of Visionary Fiction – Recognition – Part 1

Some authors find their focus in their childhood. It’s something they know they’re born to do. Not me. I was a late bloomer—a seed stuck beneath a thick layer of earth. Something kept the water supply from reaching me. For many years, I pondered if there was something wrong with the way my brain functioned. Turns out my brain functions well—albeit a little more hyper than the average brain. I was a stubborn little seed. A seed that refused to take in the sustenance that I needed to grow. I thought I had the strength to pierce through the earth on my own.  (Continue reading at the VFA website)

Motifs: The Harbingers of Transcendence

Motifs are very effective in visionary fiction. For those not familiar with the term as it is used in a literary sense, motifs are either a repeating image, phrase or any other symbol an author uses to convey a message, theme or idea represented in the book. Ideally, it should be organic to the story and not forced.

In my own writing, a story will feel incomplete without at least one strong motif. In books I read, something feels missing when they aren’t included. Two days ago, as I was nearing the end of my final read through of Beyond Omega’s Sunrise, two motifs came to me as I was fleshing out two scenes. The first was a silver charm bracelet with the focus on an angel. The second was a short phrase (not mentioned as it leads to the climax). When I placed it in the story it tied into both the plot and theme of the book. A major breakthrough!

What else makes a book visionary fiction is that the author, moi in this scenario, can transcend alongside the story. The realization of how my book affected my own evolutionary growth happened today. While I was working on a paper for school, feelings of insecurity about my work arose. I phrase it in such a way as I identify these feelings as invaders from the past. I used to be a perfectionist, and I often sabotaged my work because I never felt it was good enough. Through the years, I learned that confidence comes through hard work, uncovering my weaknesses and working on them until they become my strengths, and doing the best I can in my life and work. What helped me accomplish all of the above was mindfulness meditation. It freed me from being a perfectionist; however, on occasion, the “old me” sneaks out and tries to get the best of the new and improved me.

To combat the negativity that infected my mind today, I got up from my desk and went on a three mile walking meditation. It was healing, but it got intense near the end, when I passed the apartment I used to live in. It symbolically represented the old life I’d left behind. I never felt any particular emotion about it until today. I cried…a lot. There were no conscious thoughts behind my spillage of tears other than a strong sense of relief, as if my mind spoke the phrase from my book that perfectly fit this momentous occasion! I experienced both closure and liberation, and I can now officially call Beyond Omega’s Sunrise visionary fiction!

Beyond Omega’s Sunrise will be published April 15th, 2014, in Kindle format. Paperback soon to follow.

Love and light,

Eleni

Jessie’s Song is Ready to Go Live and Gets 5 Stars!

Before I begin the post, I wanted to mention that Unison has been reviewed by Fiction For A New Age.  You can read the review here.

As of this week, I’ve completed the final proof of Jessie’s Song, and I’m happy to announce that it will be published on June 20th in eBook format at Amazon. The paperback version will be released in the fall. If you’d like to read the first chapter, you can do so here. I had so much fun working with the protagonist, Markos Adams, that I decided to start a new series with him. I ended up deleting the prologue and epilogue, which I liked immensely. Nevertheless, I’m truly excited to keep Markos’s story going. I’ve already started to plot out the next book.

Jessie’s Song is completely different in setting and tone than Unison. It’s still visionary fiction but told with an urban fantasy flavor. My lead characters always tend to interact with some humor and with urban fantasy, it felt organic to the storytelling style.

The protagonist, Markos Adams, is a Greek-American jazz guitarist and poet who also happens to make a killer baklava. I had fun using my culture in this book, particularly with coffee ground reading. I’ve also included some of Markos’s poetry at the end of the book, some of which has his sense of humor and some that also depict his love for his ex-wife and first love. It was a surreal experience to write love poetry from a male perspective, but we women know what we’d love to hear written about us in a poem! One of the poems from the book is here, and it’s going to be part of a charity anthology, Twist of Fate, to benefit the victims of the tornados that recently ravaged Oklahoma. As soon as the book becomes available, I’ll post the information on where to purchase the book. Being a part of the project inspired me to write more poems, and I plan on releasing a poetry book in the future.

Jessie’s Song Gets 5 Stars!

When I woke up this morning, I got my first review back from Jessie’s Song. It’s always great to get a glowing review before publishing.

Markos Adams, a well-known Jazz musician, has just committed yet another suicide attempt and it is all over the news. A year later, he is back on stage while struggling to shape up, trying to straighten out his life. Through his ordeals to keep his sanity, he spends time with his daughter Jessie, and still loves his ex-wife Stella, although they are no longer together. A day after his return to the spotlight, his daughter is abducted and things go out of hand. He must determine the identity of his daughter’s kidnapper; otherwise he feels he must kill himself and he must do so within the next twenty-four hours. Will this finally be Markos’s last day on earth, and will he face death without seeing his daughter?

“Jessie’s Song” is a wonderfully crafted mystery novel that explores themes of life, love, art, sanity and death, in rather unusual ways. When reading the book, it is as if various items were neatly packed in a box for us to enjoy unraveling and perusing piece by piece. Many portions of the book give us insights into art, what with the author also being a songwriter, among others. Fast-paced and action-packed, it is a most uncommon, yet exciting case of abduction to read about, written with thrilling passages and sequences. Moreover, the love that Markos shares with his daughter, and the strong emotions he still holds for his wife are absolutely heart-wrenching, especially as Markos struggles with his possibly impending death to save his daughter. “Jessie’s Song” is definitely worth keeping in one’s collection. I really enjoyed reading this book! – Maria Beltran  of Reader’s Favorite

Visionary Fiction Alliance



As a founding member of the Visionary Fiction Alliance, I’m excited to announce that we will be launching on the new moon which falls on August 17th.

The Visionary Fiction Alliance started as a Goodreads discussion group prompted by an article written by Jodine Turner.  Saleena Karim and Shannan Sinclair joined in the discussion, and as it grew to twelve members, we decided to form the Visionary Fiction Alliance. The purpose of our group is to bring awareness to visionary fiction that encompasses many different sub-genres. Authors, publishers, reviewers, agents and readers are invited to join us for articles, book reviews and all things visionary.

If  you’re unfamiliar with the genre, click here for an explanation.  If you’re an author, you may be surprised to learn that’s what you’ve been writing all along. That was the case for me.  I found it difficult to find a genre that described my style until I happened across visionary fiction, then I knew I found my home.

We hope to see you there.

Love and light,

Eleni

On Being An Author Of Visionary Fiction

I’ve recently met other visionary authors, and we’ve come together to create the Visionary Fiction Alliance as a means to promote the genre. What I value most about this group is that even though we all have diverse opinions, we get along great. The reason for this is because there is no dogmatism in Visionary Fiction. By letting go of beliefs, we humble ourselves and  recognize there are many roads that lead to the same truth…at least that’s how I see it.

What is my personal philosophy as a visionary author? 

After my kundalini awakening I detached from religion, and accepted I cannot know anything beyond what I’m experiencing, as it’s happening.  My characters tend to have difficulties because of their expectations of an outcome along with inflexible thinking.  Only by exploring and expanding their inner-awareness can they hope to find their way out of the mess they got themselves into.  I deal with this aspect mostly in subtext, but it can definitely be felt in the actions my characters take.

What do I believe in?

All the visions and insights I’ve gained since my awakening have opened my eyes to a myriad of possibilities.  I make no assumptions  or claims as to their meaning. Some people have visions and make pronouncements regarding them, but I see too many possibilities as to what mine can imply. That is why writing fiction is the better option for me.  It gives me the freedom to explore all possibilities.

My personal world view is:

Something exists that is greater than us. It presents itself to those of us who seek it out, and we can connect to it if we so desire. When we are connected to this something, we are at our happiest. If we stray too far, we’re mired in materialism, needless rituals, empty vices and are disconnected from that which makes us whole. This disconnection makes us feel like there’s something missing in our lives when, in fact, what makes us whole is already present in each of us, waiting to be rediscovered. 

The above is my personal truth. I don’t expect, nor would I want, others to accept my world view as I learned this on my own. Being a skeptic allowed me to find and connect to this realization that I’ve now internalized. When I refer to being a skeptic, I don’t mean the type that writes books denouncing God, UFOs and all things paranormal. That’s not being a skeptic; that’s another form of dogmatism. In one of my meditations, I received the following message:

“It’s not about being right or wrong. It’s all about the experience.” 

Being a true skeptic is seeing a world filled with infinite possibilities, and while I personally use the term, Divine when I connect to the inner-light, I don’t attach a definition to what the light is.   Narrowing it down to one absolute meaning is impossible, in my opinion. We can only analyze our visions through the lens of this reality, and our interpretations are based upon our understanding of this reality.

In my stories, my world view is clearly established, and I also write to expand my own consciousness and learn new truths. It’s the receptiveness to all possibilities that makes life more exciting and unpredictable to me. With this mindset, there’s no fear of damnation for questioning or choosing to opt-out of dogmatic practices. This includes politics, nationalism, religion and all other groups that adhere to one fixed opinion.  Out here, in the beautiful chaos of independent thought, I’m responsible for my own fate, and I get along with people of all backgrounds because I don’t hold an opinion that I think is superior to anyone else’s. It’s the most liberating feeling—to think freely and openly.  I liken it to having the mind of a child in that I’m not afraid to take chances. To me, this is what it means to live life to the fullest.

Love and light,

Eleni