Therapeutic Benefits of Visionary Fiction – Examination – Part 4

This is part 4 of the Visionary Fiction as Personal Therapy Series inspired by  an article on bibliotherapy by Debbie McCullis in the February, 2014 issue of the Journal of Poetry Therapy.  In part 1, we discussed recognition, which is when a reader experiences a sense of familiarity while reading. In part 2, visionary fiction authors expressed their feelings of recognition while they were writing their stories. In part 3, various authors discussed how they reacted to issues in books they read. Today we will discuss juxtaposition, which is when a reader develops insight from the  books they have read.

Inspirational books remain with us long after we read them. Sometimes the text speaks to our souls, extracting truths that have been hidden from our awarenesses. When recognition first strikes, we get a sense of familiarity, as if what we’ve read is something we’ve already known.  Some of us might experience elation, others dread, especially if what is pulled out from us is something that challenges our world views. For those of us courageous enough to continue examining the truth that was drawn out of us, we develop insights—at times powerful enough to change our world views and even the course of our lives. I asked some of my author friends about insights they gleaned from books they’ve read. Following are their responses.


Saleena Karim

Although I had read a few works of Parwez in English, I learned much more from translating him over a number of years. It was challenging work, since I am not fluent in Urdu and so I always had to co-translate with my father, but this also afforded me … Continue reading

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.

Saleena Karim

planet-6-1442966-mParwez wrote much of his work in Urdu but his exposition translation of the Quran was available in English. What struck me from day one was how this exposition seemed so much more scientific, and culturally neutral, than commentaries I had read in other translations – which to me was conducive to a book containing a universal message. It, along with his other writings, also brought into sharp focus this emphasis on Islam as not religion. He wrote on controversial topics firmly but with refreshing honesty, constantly asking his readers to check with the Quran for themselves to verify his claims. While gradually accessing his work and studying the Quran for myself, I reacted to this bombardment of … Continue reading

Therapeutic Benefits of Visionary Fiction – Recognition – Part 2


By Eleni Papanou

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.

Margaret Duarte Sometimes recognition for the author comes in unique ways as expressed from the point of view of Marjorie Veil Sunwalker, the protagonist in the Enter the Between Series.

“Margaret Duarte, the writer of this novel, believes she has created me. She believes she has made up the events and details of my journey. What she doesn’t realize is that I have been with her for a long, long time. She was only an instrument, my interpreter.”

When it finally hit me that I needed to write my own fiction in order to open up to, expand, and maybe even someday complete my spiritual journey, I knew my work would be different from any fiction I’d read up to that time. I didn’t have the genre vocabulary I have now and had definitely never heard of the term “visionary fiction,” but I knew it would include a plot and characters beyond the experience of the five senses and would help me delve into the questions/mysteries that had nagged me since I left childhood behind. “Who am I?” “What am I doing here?” “What … Continue reading