Pregnant Thoughts on a Visionary Storyline – Matt D Kambic

It’s a long way from Pennsylvania to Mount Everest. I’m still on the road (a bit closer – now living in New Zealand) but don’t know if I’ll ever get there. It’s not unlike the journey from being born to understanding, or at least making peace with, the meaning of life.

I’m an American man married to a Kiwi woman, retired from Carnegie Mellon University (Pittsburgh, PA) in 2013. My first novel was published a few months ago. It’s called Everest Rising, and the plot is relatively straightforward – the Earth is pregnant.

The idea came from a few different places. I am always searching for the new storyline– a tale that hasn’t been told and an engaging core around which to build a compelling narrative. I want my characters to grapple with both the commonness of existence and the wonder sneaking in around the edges. This wonder serves as a catalyst for transforming the human experience; a transformation revealed through the senses, understood by the mind, and confirmed by the heart.

The ‘pregnant Earth’ construct allowed space for various themes to intermingle and for passionate conflicts to play out. There’s conflict concerning the Earth: a living, possibly sentient entity about to safeguard its existence against humankind’s wayward stewardship. There’s conflict among the characters, many of them scientists who must decide how to deal with an unprecedented, physics-defying chain of events. At its center, the story is about acceptance. Accepting how little we know, and in that unknowing choosing how to use our energies and where to direct our focus. Where can one find answers – or some version of a contented frame … Continue reading

Visionary Fiction’s Role as Catalyst in the Evolving Human Mythos – guest post by Gerald R. Stanek

I’m going to go out on a limb and suggest that those of us writing Visionary Fiction have had some sort of vision, be it a lucid dream, an unexpectedly successful meditation, a trip brought on by a substance outside the normal diet, or even a near-death experience. It may have lasted several hours, possibly a day or two, but more likely it was only a few minutes. Nevertheless, a mere glimpse beyond the veil is all that’s required to alter one’s consciousness. We are suddenly aware that we are more than; more than we had been taught, more than we believed, more than we could have imagined. We are aware that things are not as they seem, and perhaps more importantly (as a motivating factor), we are aware that things need not remain as they are, that if only more people were clued in to the true nature of reality, the manifested mundane world could be modified in ways that would benefit all beings. So we are driven to spend endless hours of our short time here on earth piling up words, in hopes that our work will open the minds of our readers.

I’ll go out on another limb and presume that as writers of fiction we have all learned the maxim: show, don’t tell. Yet how do we show the qualities we have come to know in that eternal moment snatched from the other side—timelessness, infinity, unity—given that our only tool, language, is linear, finite, and distinctive by nature? How do we convey a globe to Flatlanders at all, let alone without technical ‘tell-y’ … Continue reading

Visionary Fiction and the Science of Consciousness, Part 3

Applied Parapsychology: Synchronicity and Super Synchronicity

To read or revisit Part One of this series, click HERE. For Part Two, Click HERE.

Parapsychology in its various aspects is an enormous field of study and practice both for evolving humans trekking through the maze of physical/mental/spiritual existence and for visionary authors narrating that tortuous saga, aptly named the Hero’s Journey by mythologist Joseph Campbell.

Super SynchronicityBut prior to it becoming a way of life or genre of fiction, parapsychology is a science: a body of knowledge that can be trusted because a scientist, in the broad sense of the term, did the proper lab work and wrote the requisite papers that other scientists diligently vetted. Such science takes dedication, time, and resources, and often must be done in the hostile environment mentioned earlier. So, a work like Super Synchronicity: Where Science and Spirit Meet is a priceless gift to humanity.

For someone coming cold upon the concept of synchronicity, this book might initially evoke a “You’ve got to be kidding.” Why Gary’s degrees and experience are necessary for him to get away with it.

But as a VF writer, who sees that reality is often stranger than fiction, I came to it already familiar with the concept and experience of synchronicity. Even supersynchronicity (six or more events “in close proximity that do not seem to have any causal connection but are still related meaningfully”) was not too much of a stretch. But rarely did I pay attention long enough to count that far. Also, I had no idea how many others had such experiences and in what quantities, or what might cause such chains of events.  All … Continue reading

Visionary Fiction and the Science of Consciousness , Part 2

Undercover Agents of Consciousness

To read or revisit Part One of this series, click HERE.

Like researchers venturing beyond the known and allowed boundaries of sanctioned science, visionary authors often strike radioactive material that incites incredulity, hostility, and worse. For these, in the words of Carl Jung, “The experience that furnishes the material for artistic expression is no longer familiar…. It is a primordial experience which surpasses man’s understanding, and to which he is in danger therefore of succumbing. The value and the force of the experience are given by its enormity. It arises from timeless depths; it is foreign and cold. Many-sided, demonic and grotesque.” Writing, even if obviously fiction, that calls another’s sacrosanct belief system into question invites attack and ridicule. Ask Dan Brown or J. K. Rowling.

While we create stories to ostensibly enthrall and entertain, we are, in fact, undercover agents attempting to ignite the universal but often lethargic human impulse to grow in consciousness. That effort, like a medicinal shot, is rarely appreciated. Becoming more aware is hard; it takes change. Everything that improves our chances of success is on the table.

The state achieved by taking the recommended hero’s journey has to appear valuable, and the trip itself better seem doable, or we’ve lost our knight-errant. Readers want to see themselves performing the feats that our heroes do and to come away with some tools to do likewise. The more accurately informed (scientific) our work is, the more they will be inclined to try similar experimental deeds on their own.

Since we are dealing with the paranormal, too often misread as abnormal, and the unusual, also misread as untrue, we must ensure that our facts are facts more so than those who write realistic fiction. As Gary Schwartz reminds us in Super Synchronicity, Dr. Carl … Continue reading

Visionary Fiction and the Science of Consciousness, Part 1

Introducing Gary E. Schwartz, Ph.D.

Parapsychology is a field of study concerned with the investigation of paranormal and psychic phenomena, which include telepathy, precognition, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, near-death experiences, reincarnation, apparitional experiences, and other paranormal claims. It is often identified as pseudoscience…. Parapsychology has been criticized for continuing investigation despite being unable to provide convincing evidence for the existence of any psychic phenomena after more than a century of research. It has been noted that most academics do not take the claims of parapsychology seriously.

The above, in italics with the bolding mine, is a quote from the current Wikipedia entry  for Parapsychology. I could spend time berating its fake facts as ought to happen with the fake news all the rage today. Instead, I’ll cut to the chase and, as an allegedly sane visionary novelist who specializes in historical fiction featuring reincarnation and other paranormal phenomena, take down this benighted description with the example of a highly-credentialed academic who indeed takes parapsychology seriously.

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Pondering the Fifth Element in Story

Have you ever wondered what makes certain stories more powerful than others? Could there be such a thing as a story’s fifth element. If so, what is it?

The Fifth Element in StoryAlthough in recent times, the basic elements have been recognized as four, in most ancient cultures and religions there are five. Hinduism acknowledges five great elements—earth, water, fire, air, and the ether, aka akasha. In ancient Tibetan philosophy, the fifth element is the space and in Japanese traditions, the void or spirit. In Ancient Greece, the ether was the most sacred element, for it was unchangeable as opposed to the other four.

Also, the primal geographical directions have been subject to confusion in this matter. Most Eastern and Mesoamerican natives viewed the center of the Earth as a fifth direction, the principal essence from which the other four primal directions derived. In the West, this center is called the Axis Mundi and is the connection between heaven and earth, the point where the four cardinal directions meet.

When I learned of the five elements and directions, I began wondering whether stories, being the reflection of life, could possess them as well? And if so, then what could such elements represent in regard to story?

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Our Visionary Responsibility – Gordon Keirle-Smith

We are living at a crucial moment in the advancement of humanity. Everything is in flux. Materialism and reliance upon ever more sophisticated technology has reached unprecedented extremes, while in parallel a new yearning for purpose and a path to attainment is swiftly gaining ground.

Visual and literary visionary creators have a key role to play at this time. For by our very nature, we instinctively see beyond the apparent veil that separates our “material” reality from the infinite realities in which we move and have our being.

As visionaries, we cannot – and must not – ignore the growing rapprochement between the latest developments in quantum physics and the enlightenment sought by mystics.

The implications of the common ground between these two disciplines allow us to put forward the following Visionary Writers’ credo:

  • QUANTUM META-PHYSICS tells us that REALITY is an ILLUSION.
  • EXISTENCE plays out on limitless numbers of parallel TIMELINES.
  • VISIONARY insight empowers us to alter the makeup of our single NOW.
  • In turn, WORLDVIEWS shift and we gain greater control over DESTINY.
  • Our PURPOSE is to SHARE these visions by forging PARALLEL REALITIES.
  • To trigger varying degrees of KNOWING among our AUDIENCES.
  • Thus contributing to RAISING AWARENESS and ushering in the NEW PARADIGM.

All of this means that we, as visionary writers, have a particular responsibility in these transitional times. We are writers with a mission and can make a very real contribution to heightening collective consciousness wherever our works may “happen” to be read or heard.

Shaping our own destiny

Since we all share this huge responsibility, we must also learn how to “jump” the timelines and steer ourselves into the parallel universe where our visions are able to fulfil … Continue reading

Build Your Own Author Website Header

I can’t begin to tell you how many frustrating hours, days, and months I worked to create the website header for my original author website. I went as far as to purchase a program called Photo Shop Elements 10 and then spent months learning how to use the program in order to come up with an image that worked for me.

For one thing, it’s hard to find images that are not protected by copyright. For another, size matters. Stretching images to fit the required header dimensions often distorts them. Cropping doesn’t always work either. And then comes the issue of fonts and font placement.

Don’t get me started.

Since then I discovered a website called Canva (Thanks, Jane Friedman) that saved the day when it came to creating the website banner for my Book-Snapper theme.

And that’s what I want to share with you today.

Assuming that you’ve purchased and installed Book-Snapper (or an equivalent) author theme for your website, let’s get started.

First, go to the Appearance menu on the vertical panel below the Dashboard to your Book-Snapper author website. On the pop-out that appears, click Theme Options. There you will see a screen that looks like this:

Book-Snapper Theme Options

From there click Banner. Under the Banner image, notice that it says “Enter your 960px x 400px banner image here. Yikes! That’s one big banner.

No problem. Let’s head to Canva.

Once there, create a free account and log in.

In the right upper corner under your account name and profile, you’ll see “Use Custom Dimensions” in small letters.

Click on it and two boxes will pop up for width and height. Enter … Continue reading

How I Became Inspired to Write a Visionary Fantasy Series – Stella Brians

New England Inspiration

I grew up in Norwich, which is a little town in Connecticut rich in beauty and in history. Old buildings lined most streets, and are still used as existing businesses. The Norwich Post Office was built in 1905, in the Classical Revival design. I attended Norwich Free Academy, a high school mainly composed of very old and beautiful buildings. Perhaps the most notable is the Slater Museum. The museum has always kept a variety of different art pieces, but what always stuck out to me was the plaster cast collection of Egyptian, Greek, Roman, and Italian-Renaissance sculptures. I lived down the street from my school, which was very close to the Yantic Cemetery, and the Indian Leap Falls. The Yantic Cemetery was special, because it was built in the Victorian era, back when they used to design graveyards like gardens. Pathways, trees, and aesthetically pleasing graves were only a few of the lovely features. I would often come to the graveyard, to walk and have some time alone to think. Sometimes, I felt as though the tall trees could hear my thoughts. It is one of the most peaceful places I have ever been to, and there is something about it that does not make one fear death nearly as much.

Norwich CT Main Street, New England     Slater Museum      Continue reading