Clarity

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Its only been a few weeks since I re-discovered my love for the water.  I should have understood this fact from the beginning as I’ve lived near the water at the highest points in my life.  However, life often blinds us to the simple things that enrich our lives.

I have spent so much time on my friend’s boat this summer, that I can feel the gentle rocking of the river even when I am lying still on my couch.  It’s an exhilarating experience when you first step onto the boat, feeling how small you are compared to the might of the James river.  You can feel the boat responding subtly to your movement as you shift from port to starboard.    And the smell of the water overwhelms your mind with a melange of fragrances, carried on gentle breezes in heat and in cold.

I do love the excitement of fishing, especially for catfish.  It has nothing at all to do with the need to forage for food.  It is much more than that.  When you are pulling in the fish, you have to be the fish for that span of time between hooking and landing.  For that short time, you have to be one with the fish, understanding how you would try to escape what you feel to be an inevitable end your existence.  You can sense the primal fear that is coursing through its veins as you try to coax it to the surface.  But, the fish is not wise enough to know who I am, or understand that I simply wish to catch it and release it back — and create an adventure for another day.

Friday, I was fishing and I landed a four pound catfish — miniscule compared the river monsters that lurk in the depths of the channel I fish.  That fish found me with the vigor or any human — rolling over, thrashing, trying to wrap my line around a pier.  It breached the surface three times in my twenty-minute struggle — that deep blue and white indicative of the species — teasing me with each laborious moment.  And, when I finally landed it, we saw eye to eye.  The fish acquiesced to the fact that I had bested it.  However, what was absent in its vacant black eyes was the understanding that I merely meant for us to compete.  I wasn’t interested in keeping it — though I do love the taste of catfish —  I can’t bear to take life.  It does not seem fair for me to decide such things — as with many aspects of my life.  I cannot be the judge or executioner because I do not have all the data that explains the full breadth of my action.

Fish are a lot like people.  They live, they breed, they feed and the die.  It is the fundamental aspect of being an organic creature in our wonderful but strange world.  What I like about the catfish is that they are extremely intelligent, and engaging them in a fight is truly satisfying, like playing chess with an unknown opponent.  But make no mistake on the level if their intelligence.  They will outwit you in a heart beat if you are not careful.

We often catch people in our lines.  You toss out your line into the water or into the world, and you do no know what will come up.  That’s the beauty of our world in all aspects.  I have often found that we are constantly casting our lines out into the world — to find friends, lovers or like-minded individuals. It is all done blindly because we cannot know what our line will catch.  It may be what we are looking for, but it may be something completely different.  What’s more, is it may be something more amazing than what we had originally intended to catch or do battle with.

I throw my line out with no expectations of what I will or will not catch.  I’ve learned that the moment I try to target something specific, it seldom yields the I wanted.  No, I’ve learned that the universe will give you what you need, when you need it.  It is the learning to listen that becomes the challenge.

I spent my weekend with amazing people, living in each individual moment, trying to improve who I am.  Everyone in your life — the ones that contribute something positive (not necessarily intellectually) — brings something useful and enriching to your existence.  You many not immediately understand the connection, or even the purpose, but if you look at the serendipity of those you have met, you will find that you are being guided.  This is not so say its someone controlling you.  This is to say that you impact on the universe is recognized, and you just have to learn to listen to those prompts.

After 43 years, I am only beginning to understand the music of our universe.  But, I will say that I have learned when to listen and when not to listen, because there is a fair amount of noise.

I wrote this post from a partially selfish perspective.  I wanted to record this weekend, for future reference, but I also wanted to impart to you — my friends — that life can truly be magnificent.   We simply need to see it for what it is — moment to moment.

The Nietzsche Files

Greetings, Dreamers!

I apologize for the long hiatus once more, but I have many irons in the fire which have consumed me, not to mention my day job.  But I wanted to update you on a few things, and give you a taste of things to come.  The Unkindness is still moving along quite nicely, and I expect it to go on pre-order sometime this fall.  However, as I write the novel, I realized that there are some other back stories I’d like to impart in the Waking Dream Universe before unleashing my unkindness on the world.

So, I plan on introducing a new set of short stories centered around the first Waking Dream “super-hero” — super-hero a subjective term in this instance.  There are no planned number of stories.  I will continue to write them as long as people stay interested in them.  But for now, I call them “The Nietzsche Files”.

These are the stories of an unusual character who solves crimes using his Weirdness, but not for the sake of humanity.  He has his own reasons which will be revealed as the tales are released.  And, to make matters worse, he has decided that he will work alone and try to show the local police department a thing or two about investigation and deductive reasoning.  All the stories will be fast paced mysteries which I hope will keep you guessing until the end.

As an apology for my absence, here is the first part of the first story in the collection…

Beyond Good and Evil

1.

Richmond, Virginia, November 2010

“911, what’s your emergency?” a tired and seemingly disinterested dispatcher answered the call.

“Well,” the caller began in a smooth, calm voice. “It’s not actually MY emergency, per se. You see, if you go to Hollywood Cemetery, there is a large sycamore tree just inside the gates. There you’ll find one Harold Pearson tied to a tree.”

“Sir,” the dispatcher interrupted. “Is Mr. Pearson alive or dead?”

“Oh, he’s quite alive, I assure you. A little worse for the wear, but he’ll most likely survive. But, please don’t interrupt me again, because I have other, critical information to impart to you. So be a good girl and don’t speak until I tell you. Yes?”

“I…yes…” the dispatcher replied.

“Very good. Now then,” the mysterious caller continued. “I’ve been hunting monsters, you see. Ones that you and your incompetent department failed to slay on your own. I’ve been rather bored as of late, and as such, I’ve decided to start fixing the problems in this little town that you fancy a city. Now, you’ll also want to send an officer to the seemingly abandoned home at 9202 Oak Street. There you will find one Melody Allen, the child that went missing nearly four months ago. She is quite alright, so you needn’t worry. She will be waiting just inside Mr. Pearson’s home as she was instructed to do. But please, do hurry, she’s had quite the ordeal and we want to ensure that she gets proper attention. I’ve not bothered to call her parents, I’ll try to save some dignity for the detectives at Richmond PD despite the abysmal incompetency they have perpetrated on this city. ”

The caller paused for a moment then continued, “Is there anything else your feeble little mind can think of, or do you think your people can handle unwrapping the little gifts I’ve given them?”

“Sir, can I please have your name?” the dispatcher asked.

“What a banal waste of your only question,” the caller responded coldly. “Good evening to you.”

“Sir?” the dispatcher said, but the line was dead. “Sir?”

She quickly ran a trace on the call, and found that cell phone was, of course, a disposable phone and the point of origin was at 9202 Oak Street.

“All units. All units,” she said urgently. “I need a unit to Hollywood Cemetery to investigate a possible homicide and another unit to 9202 Oak Street. Someone found Melody Allen, the nine-year-old Caucasian female reported missing four months ago…”

The masked stranger looked down on the frightened, yet relieved child sitting quietly on the filthy couch just inside the front door of the dilapidated Oak Street row home.   An opaque, black, nylon mask covered his face and head, making it impossible to discern his facial features. He crouched down in front of the child and handed her the phone, along with an envelope.

“It is over now, my dear,” he said in a cold, yet soothing voice. “The monster won’t harm you anymore.”

“Will I see my momma and daddy now?” she asked.

“Yes, of course,” he responded. “That is the only reason I am here. Men like Harold Pearson are like a cavity. Do you know what that means?”

She nodded slowly with big green eyes glistening in the moonlight, her face and hair covered in filth.

“And what happens when we get a cavity?”

“A dentist takes a drill and gets it out before it hurts?”

“Precisely,” he said. “And now, the world can smile just a little more, knowing that it has been fixed.”

She nodded with the first smile to curl her lips since the day Harold plucked her off the street and whisked her away to his lecherous abode.

“When the policemen come, make sure you give them the phone and my letter,” he said as he stood and pulled his long black trench coat around him. “I must leave because there are other monsters to find. But if you sit quietly, you can already hear them coming, can’t you?”

Melody listened then nodded with a small sigh of relief.

He patted her on the head, much the way an owner would any diligent pet. “Just wait, and soon you’ll be with your parents again.”

“Thank you,” she leaned forward as if to hug him, but he walked away.

“It will be okay,” he said as he strode to the back of the house, “Be careful out there, young lady. There are many more like Harold. I hope that I do not have to see you again.”

The dark stranger vanished out the back door and slipped through the shadows to Shedd Street down a narrow road passed an abandoned lot. He quickly pulled off the mask to reveal his chiseled, pale features and platinum blonde hair. He tucked the mask and his leather gloves into the inner pockets of his jacket, and steeled himself against the brisk November chill. A tiny smirk curled his lips as he started to hum “It’s All Forgotten Now” by Al Bowlly, and vanished into the night just as a police cruiser pulled up to take responsibility for his work.

Expect to see the rest of this story available on Kindle in September.

As always, I thank you for your continued readership and following of my mad ravings.

Lost Haven

losthavenfeaturedGreetings, Dreamers!

Summer has come and as a result I’ve been busy.  But fear not, I have been working on new material, including Book II, The Unkindness.

Today’s post is to remind everyone that there is an interim novella available on Kindle called Lost Haven.  This story happens a few weeks after the Halloween events in Waking Dream: Devlin.  The purpose of this novella was to give my readers a better understanding of my concept of Weirdness.  There are several different forms displayed in this novella, hopefully enough to spur your own creative juices so you can help me build the world.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I created the Waking Dream universe so that others could add to it, long after I am gone — such as Lovecraft fans continue to create new stories around the Cthulhu mythos.

Lost Haven is a fast paced story about a mysterious group of individuals called The Order of Seers.  It features several new characters as well as a couple of characters from the first book.

I had to throw my hat into the Zombie genre, just a tad, and give my take on the phenomenon.  While the story is primarily dark fantasy, it does have horror elements.  I try not to limit the story, because life nor the universe is limited.  Anything can happen in the Waking Dream.

You can buy Lost Haven for a mere .99 cents on Amazon!  It is certainly worth it for anyone who wants to explore the Waking Dream even further.

Soon, I will be releasing another novella, right before Book II.  “Shadows on the Soul” completes my trilogy of terror and my homage to H.P. Lovecraft, which started with “The House of the Dead Timbers” and “The Case Study”.  “Shadows on the Soul” will be available by the end of summer.  Even though they are horror tales, they all related, in some way, to the Waking Dream.  Can you find the connections?

I thank you all again for your wonderful support of my writing.  I hope you enjoy it.

The Apollyon Letter

WhiteMaskedFigureI initially received  this photo via email.  It had gone to spam, since the address seemed a bit dodgy, and over the top in its attempt to scare me into clicking the photo — awarningtoall@gmail.com.  Since there was no message, I simply deleted it, figuring it was some sort of mal-ware despite its unnerving appearance.  However, a few days later, I received it again and it contained the following message:

Your world is distorted and spiraling ever further into chaos. This is by your design. You have failed to understand the purpose of your existence, and it is not for me to explain. It was your responsibility to evolve into something more than an all-consuming swarm of self-absorbed locusts. That is at an end now. I have worked silently, detected, yet unknown, hidden in plain sight and murdering benevolently. I gain no solace from my work, nevertheless, I must continue before you commit suicide, collectively and completely.

Before I continue with this first letter – the first of many to come – I want you to be clear on a few simple points. There is no point in trying to ascertain my identity or find me in any way. You will waste your time, because you cannot find me with the limited capabilities of your feeble minds. In addition, those of you who are unfortunate enough to be on my list, you cannot hide from me. You make my work easy through your insipid need to be noticed – tweeting, status updates, checking in, photos, blogging, and “selfies”. I can pluck you off the streets or out of your bed in the dead of night and there is no stopping me. My experience is vast in the art of observation and extermination. My purpose is very clear and I have no doubts about my mission. Doubt is a human characteristic. I am more than human. I know you because I began just as you do, wandering listlessly through existence without the faintest of ideas on purpose. Knowledge comes through experience, trial and error. Now, I can see things you are unable to see. I can see things you don’t want others to see – things you don’t want me to see.

You think your darkest deeds, secrets and wishes stay hidden within the thin space between your ears, yet it is recorded on the fabric of space and time for all eternity. Once something is known, it cannot be unknown. This is a fundamental law of the universe, just as I now embody one of its laws – all things must die. I can see the thoughts on the record of the cosmos, then follow the trail of putrid breadcrumbs that lead to those who most deserve punishment. The only law constraining me is that my punishment must be equal to the deed for which I will punish you. I am not the cruel one, I merely a product of your actions. Since the dawn of humanity, I have been among you. I chose to reveal myself now because your world is ending. Many will die, and not just by my hands. I watch your news and see that you are quite astute in the art of killing. The pity is that you kill at all. The evil ones kill on a whim as by-standers look on like soulless zombies, recording the atrocious acts on their electronic devices, for the same selfish reasons you do anything else in your empty lives – to attain a fleeting moment of notoriety on the internet or the evening news. This is the very reason your world will end, more rapidly than you can imagine. I have written this in the hopes that perhaps knowing these facts will change your ways, though I remain skeptical.

People from every aspect of your failed society litter my list, which I prioritized by the severity your immoral acts. Crimes against the pure and innocent I deal with swiftly and innocuously. I used to empathize with your race, but that has left me now – all that is left is pity. The more I observe, the more I find that single smudge of black floating in your soul, a scar of the deed you committed against another. These shards of darkness sing to me across time and space. Eventually, I will come for you unless you find a way to expunge it from your being, and make an act of true contrition. However, I must warn you that the only god that can save you is the god within yourself, which you refuse to see. You look to the heavens with empty eyes and hearts, begging for forgiveness from an entity who has long since ignored your disingenuous atonement. From this lack of hope, I am born.

There is no heaven or hell. Life is a cycle of birth, death and rebirth. When the end does come, some will survive to rebuild. It will be their responsibility to learn from your mistakes, and perhaps I will slumber once more — but humanity has not allowed me to do so in a very long time. There are those among you who ensure that I have a constant supply of letches to eradicate from this world. You stray from the simple path easily, and you willingly destroy yourselves every moment of the day. You have unwittingly created the weapon of your mass destruction, and you are too blind to see it, even as you read this with skepticism and contempt in your heart. Your arrogance, your technology and your belief systems have brought us to this brief moment in the history of existence where the world will face its ultimate demise.

Why do I continue my work if the world is truly ending? The answer is very simple, even for you. I will pave the way for those who have remained true to themselves and realize their purpose. There are fewer and fewer of you left. You allow the licentiousness, debauchery and narcissism of others to dirty your souls, and only you can purge this from your being.

Those of you who have received or read this missive are targets for my list. As I said, I do have pity, for those who deserve it. It is through these series of letters that I will assist you in cleansing the darkness from the depths of your heart.  You can begin by looking into the mirror. Stare into your eyes and see your soul as I see it. There, the deed will reveal itself, if you truly wish to see it – however, most of you will dismiss this. Once you stare into the darkness in your soul, you will see me staring back at you. It is at that moment that either your mind will accept this and make amends or you will punish yourself by retreating into the waiting arms of madness, imprisoned within your mind.

Spread this message, or do not. My job will continue. Now that you know I exist, you may think twice before evoking further maliciousness against others. If you do not, you should not be surprised when a stranger approaches you from the shadows to force your atonement, and witness the cruelty of which I am capable.

Apollyon

Has anyone else received this email? Seems like some sort of creepypasta to me. I haven’t emailed the person back because it could just be some marketing scheme, or a nutjob looking to find someone to mess with. But, if you have received it, please put a comment below.

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Corridor 03 Experiment

corridor3Greetings, Dreamers!

Over the past year I have been asked on several occasions by people if they could contribute fan fiction to my sites for the Waking Dream.  This was my intention from the beginning.

I have 4 main blogs, two of which are set up for fan or flash fictionThe Way of the Weird (http://wayoftheweird.com) is a site that features information about the Waking Dream as researched by the character Justin, who suffers from multiple personality disorder.  Though I have been recently remiss in contributing to the site, I intend on beginning this weekend with new content.  Stories for the Way of the Weird are histories, folklore and current events in the Waking Dream Universe.

The second fiction blog I am just beginning which is Corridor 03 (http://corridor3.com).  This is a mock psychiatric unit where the fiction will center around case studies and personal journals of patients, doctors and staff in the unit.  Corridor 03 is a part of the psychiatric facility from Waking Dream: Devlin (Book 1).  I am interested in anyone who would like to contribute as a patient, doctor or staff.  The site will continue to grow, adding to Waking Dream Mythos, or as I call it, The Loethian Mythos.

Over the next month I will be putting up a series of posts explaining the Loethian Mythos which will serve as the framework for others to contribute.  One can learn a great deal by all the content on Way of the Weird, as well as reading the books I’ve published to date.

If you are interested in writing for Way of the Weird, please send an email to weird@wakingdreamonline.com.  If you are interested in writing for Corridor 03, please use the contact form on the Administration page.

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Lift Me Back Up To The Sun

sun-e1267491079993Greetings, Dreamers!

There is code embedded in our genes. Much of this is governed by mathematical constants, ratios and equations.  Why?

We do not know.

The beauty of our sun is irrefutable–a star adrift amongst a multitude of other kindred stars, a family so impossibly large one cannot be special.  The family is called the Main Sequence.  And we have found, spiraling around these other kindred stars, there are alien planets, strange and beautiful in their own right.  One can look at any planet, either within or beyond our Solar Family, and find beauty in it, something wonderful.

One of my favorite books, and one of the first I ever read, is The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury — the Martian genocide.  The allegory was immediately apparent to me, but, as I grow older, I find new rabbit holes to explore philosophically each time I read it.  I have always been fascinated with ancient cultures, even fictitious ones.  The strange, yet alluring, appeal to the Martian culture, for me, was its foundation in humility.  History does not make a philosophy real — meaningful thoughts create the future of any philosophy.  All we need do is not repeat the mistakes of the past, and history becomes irrelevant.  The Martians as Bradbury created them were beautiful and admirable.

With spring here, we are often reminded of the beauty that exists in and beyond our world — despite the chaos and discontent depicted on the nightly news.  Winter brings isolation, hibernation and introspection as we huddle beneath quilts, blankets and layers of clothes.  Spring unleashes our creativity, with the palette of color splashed over our gardens, forests and parks.  We take up our shovels and rakes to restore our yards to what we had before the cruel winter stripped it all away, leaving its mark as if to remind us that it will come again.

Now, you are probably wondering why I am mentioning all this. Why mention the Martians, beauty and our sun?  The answer is as simple as the answer to the purpose of life.  Life’s only purpose is the pure enjoyment of being.

There is a great deal of turmoil in our world, and it does not seem that there is an end in sight.  It is not isolated to one region, people or country.  It is a systemic problem that we continue to ignore.  The Martian Chronicles is a quintessential lesson on how we as humans trod clumsily through our existence, scarcely aware of the problems we cause because we have not reached a deeper understanding of the nature of the universe or ourselves.

Life is a waking dream — we can mold it, enjoy it, and improve it– but first we must recognize we have the power within us.  The purpose of my series The Waking Dream, is not only to entertain my readers, but also to plant that seed of suspended disbelief.  Once we start to collectively understand that things can be better, we will crave for them to be better.  This requires that we all get involved.  And this has been my steadfast message.

For me, the Waking Dream is to create a culture much like the Bradbury’s Martians.  A life full of philosophical discussion, creating beautiful things, and embracing the harmony that comes from a collective understanding, and engineering, of our reality.  The easiest way to begin is to look skyward to the real master of our world, the Sun.  Without its nurturing warmth, and tumultuous demeanor,  our lives would be very different.  But despite the dangers associated with being dependent on the sun, and its cyclical temper tantrums, it is nonetheless beautiful.

Our world is beautiful, yet, we were discontent to stay in the safety of its caves and caverns, so we have built temporary empires which will be long forgotten when we are no more.  The sun and Earth will exist beyond our brief moment in history — billions of years beyond our comprehension.  Each moment, each breath, each thought should be cherished.  We learn from mistakes and move forward, ever pushed by the arrow of time.

At the beginning of this post I mentioned the code embedded in our genes that define our existence.  This is only the operating system.  We are all programmers with a keen, yet often overlooked, ability to write new code, new apps.  These apps are not limited to our smart devices — “smart” being a grossly overstated term.  We can reorder things by reprogramming the world around us — we do it all the time.  Every time you move something from one side of the room to the other, you are reprogramming your environment, but this is only the most fundamental ability we have — overcoming gravity.

If we embrace the possibility that the universe is ours to mold, then we can explore new avenues of consciousness.  We all have special abilities which we tend to ignore or keep to ourselves, for fear of being labeled negatively.  We have a nasty habit of admonishing those who are different from the rest of the herd.  This is an instinct we must learn to overcome.  Are the things that interest you really things you enjoy, or do you do them because everyone else is?  This is a flaw in our societal structure.  We are individuals first, and community second.  At the end of it all, you will leave this planet by yourself — how do you want to be remembered?

I’ve talked on many occasions about our inherent abilities, things we don’t talk about with a sense of earnestness — telepathy, empathy, telekinesis,  communing with the dead.  But why are these concepts so difficult for us to grasp as possible.  Nothing is impossible, and we know this due to our exploration of the quantum world.  However, some things are highly improbable.  For instance, a single electron has the probability of being anywhere in the universe at a given moment — the probability never makes it to zero.  They pop in and out of existence in ways we cannot understand.  There are strange attractions between certain particles that allow them to communicate with one another instantaneously over limitless space, defying what we know about the speed of light.  We have only just begun Kindergarten in the school of the universe.

The code in our genes is what allows us to operate on auto-pilot — breathing, protecting, foraging.  It also tends to hinder us as we rely on our instincts as well as our social engineering to define us.  Whenever I feel as if I am straying from the path I’ve set before myself, I look to the sun and ponder its existence.  From a distance it is a perfect orb of glowing life, but up close it is a tempest of plasma and fire.  The same can be said of our world.  From a distance it is a shining jewel in the crown of the sun, but as we look beneath the clouds, we are a hurricane raging across the planet, unable to find peace in our existence.  We are ever rushing forward to meet the future without taking time to enjoy the now.

We must look to the future, so that we can clear a path through existence.  But we must ensure that we don’t forget to enjoy our being.  The easiest way for one to do that is to step away from the computer, go outside and feel the warmth of the sun on our skin, smell the fragrance of life being renewed, and look within ourselves and ask, “Am I happy?”  This question is the most difficult to explore.

Today the sun is shining, and it is a pleasant day.  Despite being at work, I steal moments to stand outside and look to the sky.  Summer is coming, the flowers are in bloom, and before we know it, we will be back in hibernation.  But in the time we are active, we should explore new ways, within ourselves, to change the world around us.  Things are not horrible, but they are not what we should want.  We should collectively create a dream in which we all are happy, and each of us must strive to make it happen.

You are more than you think you are.  We are all stars, we are all god, we are all beautiful.  Be different, be yourself, be wonderful and the universe will reveal itself to you.

 

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Books to Dream By

used-booksGreetings, Dreamers!

I have not forgotten about the rest of the story I started, however, lately I have been working on several different projects that have been coordinating.  But, things are moving along nicely.

Before I get into today’s post I did want to mention that there are several things coming out over the next few months that may be of interest to you:

1) The Little Book of Dreams: This is the bible or Necronomicon for the Waking Dream.  It is a major expansion on material that I have already published on The Way of the Weird. I feel its time that you should know more about the Waking Dream.

2) Getting to Devlin:  This is a Waking Dream Young Adult novel, with events leading up to the first novel, Waking Dream: Devlin.  This is a collaborative work.

3) Super Secret Project:  I am collaborating with others on a series and though it is not a Waking Dream novel, it will have elements of the Waking Dream woven within.  I will have more information on this in the coming months.  I am very excited about the project.

4) Waking Dream: The Unkindness:  I have been working diligently on this book, however,  I feel I want to take my time  until others are more familiar with the series.  Fear not, it is coming, and you won’t see it coming.

5) Shadow of the Soul: This is another Lovecraftian piece I am working on for exclusive publication on Kindle and it will be finished by mid summer.

I thank you all for your continued support!  Now, my top 13 books to dream by.  These books were major inspiration to my writing, and I feel everyone interested in my work would find these books equally inspiring:

  1. Illusions by Richard Bach
  2. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  3. The Theory of Relativity by Albert Einstein
  4. The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury
  5. At the Mountains of Madness by H.P. Lovecraft
  6. Experiences by Arnold Toynbee
  7. Dune by Frank Herbert
  8. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  9. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
  10. The Stand by Stephen King
  11. Animal Farm by George Orwell
  12. The Seekers by Daniel Boorstin
  13. Watership Down by Richard Adams

I mention these particular books because they were instrumental in helping me formulate my ideas about life, spirituality and the universe.  All of these I have read numerous times, and each time, I find something new and noteworthy as a read.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I did!

Happy Exploring!

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Resurrect Dead

ChesapeakeHouseMDGreetings, Dreamers!

I wanted to talk about something that has become a bit of an obsession.  I am one of those people who, if presented with a mystery, won’t stop until I’ve figured it out.  So I’ve been researching a 30-year-old mystery that I myself witnessed back when I lived in the Philadelphia area — The Toynbee Tiles.

There have been many that have come before me about this particular mystery.  Everyone has their own opinions, and it is time that I share some of my thoughts on the subject.  There is a wonderful documentary called “Resurrect Dead – The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles” that was done a few years back.  Using that documentary and my own independent research and thought exercises I think I have a pretty good idea about what is going on here.  But first let me explain the mystery:

In the early 1980’s, tiles, like the one depicted above, started popping up all over Philadelphia.  The tiles are embedded into the pavement through an ingenious method of using tar paper, asphalt glue, and linoleum.  The persons placing these tiles, or Tilers, cut the messages meticulously out of linoleum, then they deploy them through various means.  Tiles have been found in many cities all over the country and even in Argentina and Chile.  The message is always the same:

TOYNBEE IDEA
IN KUBRICK’S 2001
RESURRECT DEAD
ON PLANET JUPITER

Now let us dissect this message one line at a time as if it were a Nostradamus quatrain:

TOYNBEE IDEA

Arnold Toynbee was a British Historian & Philosopher.  His autobiographical work, “Experiences” delves into his beliefs on god, religion and the universe.  It seems that Toynbee’s idea comes from a series of passages in his discussion on the spirit:

Human nature presents human minds with a puzzle which they have not yet solved and may never succeed in solving, for all that we can tell. The dichotomy of a human being into ‘soul’ and ‘body’ is not a datum of experience. No one has ever been, or ever met, a living human soul without a body… Someone who accepts—as I myself do, taking it on trust—the present-day scientific account of the Universe may find it impossible to believe that a living creature, once dead, can come to life again; but, if he did entertain this belief, he would be thinking more ‘scientifically’ if he thought in the Christian terms of a psychosomatic resurrection than if he thought in the shamanistic terms of a disembodied spirit.

Toynbee eludes to the fact that resurrection is possible, but did he really mean dead people or something else? This message is augmented by the story The Toynbee Convector by Ray Bradbury, the premise also being based on another Toynbee idea that we must always rush to meet the future in order to survive, which means, we must believe in a better world and create a better world.  Life, after all, is a Waking Dream, as I’ve said on many occasions.

IN KUBRICK’S 2001

In Stanley Kubrick‘s magnum opus, 2001: A Space Odyssey, the story ultimately revolves around the cyclical nature of life and the cosmos.  This movie still has profound effects on people seeing if for the first time.  Even though it was done over 40 years ago, the message, the effects and the plot could easily be mistaken for a newer movie.  It has truly endured the test of time.  I believe that the Tilers had all seen this movie, and began to formulate their own beliefs on how we as a civilization can be resurrected.  The movie is based on a short stories by Arthur C Clarke called “The Sentinel” and “Jupiter V”.

RESURRECT DEAD

This particular passage is not as obvious as one would think, but on the surface it is believed that the Tilers were trying to explain that all the dead on the planet could be resurrected…

ON PLANET JUPITER

This is also not as clear as it may seem.  This could be seen as a direct reference to the movie 2001, which revolves around a mission to Jupiter.  However, people as ingenious as the Tilers would know from the book adaptation of the movie, which came out right after the movie, has the mission going to Saturn and not to Jupiter.  Kubrick’s special effects department could not model a believable Saturn with its rings, so they chose to model Jupiter instead.  However, in “Jupiter V” there is another clue because the space craft in that story, The Arnold Toynbee, does go to a moon around Jupiter.  Why would Clarke name the ship the Arnold Toynbee unless he, too, believed in his ideas?

THE TILERS AND THEIR MOTIVE

Each tile has a smaller side text attached and eludes to a grand conspiracy between the media, our government and the U.S.S.R.  Immediately one would think that they are merely a group of conspiracy theorists, yet, that is not the main purpose of the message.  The quatrain is the main message, the sub text is warning others to be wary of the media, and make more tiles.  Over the years it is clear that other Tilers have joined the movement because the styles have changed, and we have exceeded the life span of the one person, I believe, was responsible for beginning the movement, but we’ll talk about that shortly.

No one person has claimed responsibility for the tiles, however there was a group called the Minority Association which had connections to the message and philosophy of the tiles.  There are three suspects uncovered who would have the intellect, means and motive for trying to spread this message:

1) James Morasco – A carpenter from Philadelphia who had a beef with the local media mogul John Knight, and had a fatal disease.

2) Severino Verna – A blue-collar worker from Philadelphia whose family owns a funeral home.  He was also known to be extremely intelligent and kept dead pigeons so that he might be able to bring them back to life one day.

3) Railroad Joe – A rail worker who worked lines that ran near areas where tiles were found.

But the fact of the matter is that their identity was never meant to be discovered, and most likely never will.  The message is not about a person, it is about the message itself.  This group of Tilers, the Minority Association, saw something that today we still do not see.  And this is the core of my conclusion.

MY CONCLUSIONS

I believe that the person who began the tiling and came up with the original idea was James Morasco.  He mentions in a tile that he had a fatal disease.   We know that James Morasco had his voice box removed, mostly likely due to cancer.  He was faced with his own mortality, yet, I believe it was more than his own mortality he was concerned with.  The media do control the message, and did even more so back in the days of the Cold War.  But I believe that his original hypothesis was that we are killing our civilization.  This is another Toynbee idea. “Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder.”  If we are killing our planet, we are committing suicide.

Jupiter has many moons, and I believe that the Tilers believe that we need to colonize those moons to save our own world from extinction.  I interpret “Resurrect Dead” as resurrecting our dying civilizations, but learning from what we did wrong.  I know there are many people who want to turn a blind eye to the fact that our climate is changing.  I am a data geek, and though I don’t have all the data NOAA and other organizations have, I can see for myself that the climate has changed in my short 44 years on this planet.  I am addicted to the weather, and process roadway weather in my data experiments.  Things are not as they should be.

This is further exacerbated by the Solar Maximum, which happens every twelve years.  This is a time when our sun is most active and produces massive solar flares and coronal mass ejections.  This is to say that the sun has an eruption, like a million nuclear weapons going off all at once, then it shoots the debris in the direction of the blast.  This is what causes the Aurora at the poles.  And in the beauty of the Auroras is hidden a destructive force — Electro Magnetic Pulses.  While this is not directly harmful to humans, a large enough CME could wipe out ALL of our electronics.  A single burp from the sun could send us back into the dark ages.  Billions of people would die over the course of days.

I am not predicting the end of the world, because it is inevitable.  in 4 billion years our planet will be consumed when the sun expands to a Red Giant.  Our planet will be nothing more than a cinder floating around a dying sun. This is the cycle of our universe.  But, this effect would Jupiter a perfect candidate to retreat to.  There are so many moons, and there is water on some of them as recent probes have discovered, and scientists discovered in the 1970’s before the Voyager probes.

We are on a collision course with disaster if we continue to treat our planet this way.  Our Tilers know this, and they know that the media controls the message.  Any information that could trigger mass hysteria is suppressed.  One man’s plight has turned into a message that should not be ignored, nor be taken as the ravings of a madman.

And finally, we consider the film 2001, which is about a the stages of our evolution, and ultimate redemption.  It reminds us that we should not rely on technology for everything, embodied by HAL.  It reminds us that violence is never the answer.  It reminds us that all things in the universe is a cycle and we must forage ahead seeking new ways to ensure that we, our civilization, does not commit suicide for being short-sighted.  Kubrick believed this.  Clarke believed this. And Arnold Toynbee believed this.  If you look at the chronological events that happened in the year 2001, you can see that this movie is semi-prophetic, but that is something you need to research.

What does it all mean?  It means that if we must plan to colonize other worlds to ensure that our species survives.  We must learn that the wars we have fought have been needless.  We fight over dirt.  We fight over religion.  We fight over material things.  It is all summed up in Toynbee’s title, life is all about “experiences” and learning from our history.  We have learned from our history in all the wrong ways.  We have learned how to be more efficient at dealing death.  We have learned how to rape our planet to the point of extinction.  But we have not learned that we cannot stay on this planet forever.

I have said a great deal of things.  I respect Toynbee, Kubrick, Clarke and the Tilers.  They are trying to tell you something, but we are not listening.  My friends, the universe is a waking dream.  Each of us has the ability to force the powers that be to fix the problems.    Force them to see that our planet, our civilization is dying.  Awaken your weirdness and change the world.

So I will leave you tonight with a message from the Tilers, hidden in the subtext. “You must make + glue the tiles!  You!!!”

Toynbee tile photographed a block or so from t...
Toynbee tile photographed a block or so from the White House by User:Erifnam in 2002. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Toynbee Tile, 13th & Chestnut Sts., Philadelph...

 

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Blog Tour: Great Minds

sleep-tight_826049Greetings, Dreamers!

Mark Meier, a fellow writer, asked me to join a blog tour last week.  I am very grateful to be recognized by my colleagues and be asked to join in the fun!

Before I answer the questions for the tour, I’d like to introduce another blogger/writer with amazing insight and ability, Victoria Craven.  Victoria runs the blog, The Autodidact in the Attic, which focuses on the macabre, horror and a wide variety of intellectual stimulus.  Here is her bio:

V.L. Craven lives with her husband and pets. She writes fiction—both short and long—and reviews of books, films & art, as well as essays, articles and interviews with all sorts of interesting people.

She’s always appreciated the darker side of life, which is the focus of her blog The Autodidact in the Attic, (see also its Facebook page). TAitA has reviews of books, films, art, apps and games (and interviews with creators of those things) that will appeal to people with an interest in the macabre or gothic.

Other Ways to Interact with Her:
On Twitter: @vlcraven
On Tumblr: vlcraven.tumblr.com
On Goodreads: V. L. Craven

She will be posting her answers to the blog tour questions next Monday, so do yourself a favor and check out her amazing site.

Now on to my answers:

1) What am I working on?

I am always working on a variety of projects simultaneously,  that’s just how my brain works.  Right now,  I am doing a serial short story on this blog, writing Book II in the Waking Dream Series — The Unkindness — and I am involved in a collaborative series with two other authors (details to come later this year).  My Waking Dream Series is the primary focus and I am always doing research as the it covers alternate history, philosophy, and science.

2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I write novels and short stories.  My short stories tend to be very dark.  My favorite short stories are the ones I write in Lovecraftian style.  I am no Lovecraft, mind you, however I have enormous respect for his creations and imagination.

The Waking Dream series is really a mixture of many genres, so it is very hard to put it in any one box — I am not a fan of being pigeonholed.  The Waking Dream Series is an attempt to blur the lines between fantasy and reality.  Much of the subject matter is based on years of research.  I have always been fascinated with the paranormal and the supernatural — specifically the potential of the human mind.  The Waking Dream is my attempt to present a plausible framework for readers to suspend their disbelief and explore their own lives.  Life is a dream, if you really think about it.  We always have control over how our lives go, no matter the situation.  And once you believe that, you can do anything.

The Waking Dream series has elements of horror, paranormal, supernatural, romance, dystopia, apocalyptic events and fantasy.  It is very dark.  One of my fans put it, “It’s the Matrix meets The Stand”.  The first book is my Fellowship of the Ring. It is the twilight before the sun sets on our world. The subsequent books will descend further into the darkness of reality and the human mind.

One final note, there are many things hidden within the stories and novels, tying them together as well as giving avid readers something to discover within the text.  Everything in the Waking Dream Series is carefully calculated.  What have you found hidden within the story?

3) Why do I write what I do?

I love to create worlds.  The Waking Dream is, as I mentioned, an attempt to impart all I’ve learned about the human condition and get the reader to explore and create their own dream.  The world seems to be at an impasse, and we are not moving forward as we should from a philosophical sense.  While the Waking Dream is fiction, there are elements of truth in ever sentence I write — the things I believe to be true.

I write the Lovecraftian stories because I want his legacy to continue, as well as many other authors.  Being able to create a story that emulates the master gives me a sense of humility.  Many writers have walked in his footsteps, but his personal commitment to his craft is something to be admired, respected and remembered for all time.

4) How does my writing process work?

I don’t have a specific process for writing.  When I feel like writing, I write.  And because I have a wide variety of projects I am working on at any given time, I choose the project to work on that most suits my particular mood.  I believe that an author needs to be prolific to be successful.  Very few authors become successful with one book, or even their first book.  The more work you have out, you have a better chance of being discovered by new readers.  It is a snowball effect.

One thing I do tend to stick to in any project is that I usually begin with an illustration.  Next to writing, illustrating is one of my favorite hobbies.  I have over 50 illustrations for the Waking Dream,  as well as maps.  I want the Waking Dream to be similar to the Cthulhu Mythos so that other authors can contribute their own stories to the ever-growing Waking Dream Universe.

I hope that you’ve enjoyed this little excursion into my writing career.  Perhaps you’ll be interested in reading my work, which is listed on the right side bar.  Please be sure to check out Victoria Craven’s answers next Monday on her blog.

Happy Monday!

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The Third Floor – Part 1

Oggl_0000(1)Greetings, Dreamers!

Yes, I am finally back to my normal self, despite recovering from a dislocated finger! One of the most annoying maladies that a writer can endure!  But I am on the mend, and as a result, I’ve begun another serial short story.

I have been sitting on this story for many years because some of the elements of the story are true, yet, I embellished it a bit, like we writers do.  The paranormal constantly enters my life at the most opportune moments.  Being a dark fiction writer, it is as if the universe is slowly giving information so I can weave these tales and perhaps enlighten others to the things that exist just beyond the curtain of reality.

This story is a mixture of horror, paranormal and Southern Gothic genres.  It’s not true Southern Gothic because it is set in Pennsylvania, but it embodies the elements of Southern Gothic, which is an exposure of the shadows cast

So, without further babbling, let us visit…

The Third Floor – Part 1

When I pulled up to the mansion in the woods, I immediately had the urge turn around and drive off, but my situation left me little recourse. The ominous structure seemed misplaced in such a rural area and exhibited a mixture of both Georgian and Antebellum architectures. Ivy covered the majority of the southern side of the home, with ancient oaks and walnut trees towering over the third level of the home. Moreover, as I looked up into the empty windows, though I could not see anything, I could feel as if something watched me.

I came to this forlorn structure as a result of losing my job as a sous-chef at a prominent French Restaurant just outside Valley Forge.  My employer and I differed on several points of technique in the kitchen, as well as how long one should be required to work in a day. When I refused to work a sixty-hour week, he summarily fired me. I was thankful that it was summer as destitution forced me to live in my vehicle.

Fortunately, I quickly found a job posting in the local free paper. The ad was for a private chef, meals and lodging included, as well as a modest weekly salary. It was exactly what I needed, and I attributed the good fortune to providence.   I immediately found the nearest pay phone, and scheduled an interview.  This one encounter would change the course of my life and expose a new path, one I’d not considered before.

I arrived five minutes early, staring at the house for a few moments before I gained the courage to approach the main door of the house.

An elderly man with a cane, and two large German Shepherds, greeted me. This intimidated me, yet I smiled as warmly as possible and offered a hand.

“Mr. Pebble?” I asked.

“Walter will do, son,” he said. “And you are Zachary Tyler?”

“Yes, sir. Or just Zach is fine by me.”

“Very well, Zach.” He said turning, the dogs watching me with an eerily human quality. “Follow me.”

We entered a large foyer, with a crystal chandelier hanging from the second floor ceiling. To the right of the door, an elegant stair case wound up to the balcony overhead, like the tail of a dragon. We walked passed a large library with a hospital style bed in the middle of the room, then out to a large slate patio overlooking a stream fed in-ground pool, cut from the native granite on which the entire property sat.

Walter motioned to a chair at a wrought iron table. I took a seat opposite him. The two dogs dutifully took their positions on either side of him. Despite his hunched posture, he was a tall, thin man with sunken eyes, the youth long since drained from his body, leaving nothing more than a frail husk.

“Did you say you worked at The Forge?” He asked.

“Yes,” I said. “And to be quite honest, I did not leave on good terms. So, if you plan to call them for a reference, it will probably not be favorable.”

“Have you worked anywhere else around the area?”

I rattled off a few others local restaurants of lesser quality.

The old man nodded.

“And of course, I attended the Culinary Institute.” I added.

“Sounds good enough for me,” The old man said with a nod.

“I live here in the house alone. I have a housekeeper that comes several times a week and cooks for me in the meantime since my last chef quit. And calling her a cook is a bit of a stretch.” He said and then smirked. “There is also my gardener who doubles as a driver, but I would prefer you take that role on as well, considering you’ll be living here. Is that agreeable to you?”

“Of, course,” I said. “Do you have a car, or would you expect to use mine? My car has seen better days.”

“I have a Rolls Royce,” He said with an arrogant smile.

“A Rolls?”

“Yes,” He said. “Now, let’s discuss your salary. Because I am offering you room and board, I offer you two-hundred dollars a week. Is that acceptable?”

I pondered the offer for a few moments. I hoped it would be larger so that I could save money to get myself back on my feet.

“That’s just fine,” I said finally. “What about vacation time?”

“Maria, the housekeeper, can fill in for you if you feel the need to vacation. However, I will require at least two weeks notice, and you can never be away more than five days at a time.”

“Very well,” I said. “Will you be deducting taxes from my pay before hand?”

“No, young man. I intend to pay you in cash. It is none of my business how you manage your finances.”

“Thank you.” I said with earnestness in my voice. As adverse as I was to engaging in illegal activities, that extra percentage would allow me to leave his service sooner.

“Do we have a deal?” He asked.

“Yes, indeed we do, Walter,” I replied with fervor.

“Now,” He said as he stood; the dogs flanked him. “I will give you a brief tour, and then I will show you to your suite.”

He led me first to an enormous kitchen, which seemed to have all new appliances–they were immaculate.

“I eat all my meals in here at this table,” he said. “I am a creature of habit as you will come to find soon enough. Consistency and ritual is the key to a successful life. As such, I typed up the menu for you. You are free to prepare the dishes anyway you like, but you must adhere to the overall essence of the meal.”

“Very well,” I said.

“All the food is delivered to the house, so if you need things that are not on the normal list, you will need to let the delivery service know beforehand.”

He motioned to a door near the refrigerator. “That door leads to the second floor, the servant’s staircase. If you need to be in the kitchen when I am asleep, I urge you to use them. I am a light sleeper, and the dogs are always on alert when I am asleep. Once I am up, I will be unable to go back to sleep. So please be mindful of that.”

“Of course.” I said.

“Very well then,” He opened the door. I’ll show you to your suite.”

With excruciating slowness, he mounted the stairs to the second floor, rising like Jacob’s ladder. Once at the top, I saw the long hall that stretched the full length of the house to the balcony that overlooked the foyer. As we walked, I counted ten doors lining the hall. We came to a double door just beyond the balcony. There were two rooms behind the doors — the master bedroom and a smaller bedroom. There were also two restrooms.

“This is the master suite, and you are free to use it as you will.” He began. “Be mindful that Maria is not responsible for washing your clothes. She will change the bed sheets once a month, but that is it. You are responsible for washing your own clothes and keeping the room tidy.”

“Of course,” I said. “Is there a laundry room in the house?”

“Yes,” He said. “It’s in the basement.”

He turned and motioned to a walnut door, which had a twin at the other end of the hall.

“That is the door to the third floor,” He said. “You are not free to go up there. That is for storage, and there are things strewn about. I’d rather not be paying hospital costs due to carelessness.”

“I don’t plan to snoop around your house,” I said. “Rest assured all your belongings are safe. I’m a cook, not a thief.”

The old man nodded with satisfaction.

“I will leave you to explore the rest of the house. The library and my office are also both off-limits. But you are free to roam the house and use the pool as you like.” He turned and moved to the staircase, making his slow descent. “But for now, I must rest. I will let you settle in. But I expect dinner to be ready by six P.M.”

“Of course,” I said. “Thank you for this opportunity, Walter.”

He looked back at me over his shoulder, “No, thank you for not subjecting me to Maria’s meals any further. See you a six.”

While the pay wasn’t what I wanted, and the idea of being a servant didn’t appeal to me, I was thankful that I wouldn’t be sleeping in my car anymore.

After bringing my belongings in from the car, I started exploring. I had plenty of time to make supper, and it was an easy meal to fix. He simply wanted grilled steak, baked potato and corn — not what I was used to preparing.

The house was larger than I expected. Downstairs, there was a large formal dining room that could seat 20 people and another large formal living room with seating for at least fifty people. Walter must have been quite the entertainer back in his younger days to warrant such accommodations.

After changing to make dinner, I walked down the hall, opening each door and peeking inside. There were six bedrooms, one restroom and a nursery. I couldn’t fathom having such a large family. I am an only child, and my parents had passed only a few years before. It was no wonder that Walter had to amass such fortune.

Thought he instructed me not to go to the third floor, my natural curiosity urged me to at least peer up the stairs.  I glanced around carefully and listened for the Walter.   I could hear a rattled cough far within the depths of the house.  Satisfied, I opened the door slowly as it creaked with disuse.  Cold air immediately poured over me like a flash flood, causing me to shudder.  This caused me great pause, yet a poked my head inside and peered upwards.

An unnatural inky darkness, enshrouded the ascending steps and the hall beyond.  I could barely make out a door at the top of the stairs, and a mini dust devil no doubt perturbed by the sudden movement of air.  I stood and watched silently for a few minutes before closing the door again.

I decided it was best to leave the third floor alone for the time being, but something in my gut told me there was much more than boxes and cobwebs hidden away in that dark place.  But having just gotten the job, it was best that I waited at least a few days before secretly exploring the Old Man’s dark secrets.

I hurried to the kitchen to prepare the bland meal for the old man, but the chill persisted even as I entered the warm kitchen.  There was something more to that house and my eccentric employer.

(to be continued)

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Official Blog for Author Michael Hibbard