Visionary Fiction;Crossing Over is Easy

Visionary Fiction; Crossing Over is EasyI didn’t choose to write visionary fiction; it chose me.

This may sound strange to you and what I’m about to share even stranger, but I can think of no better way to explain how I ended up writing in a genre that parallels the new neural sciences and has yet to find a receptive audience.

A word from my protagonist

I open my case with a message from my protagonist, written shortly after I completed my first novel.

Dear Reader

My name is Marjorie Veil Sunwalker. 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.

Margaret first felt my presence during a visit to the Monterey Peninsula in California. It was August of the year 2000. She was on the 17-Mile Drive and had stopped at the landmark of The Lone Cypress. There, I gently touched her, beckoning her for the first time. At her next stop she saw what remains of “The Ghost Tree,” bleached white by wind and sea. As she stood entranced, I nudged her one more time. Finally, at the Carmel Mission, I set the trap and she was caught. She didn’t know the how and whys, but she knew she would write a story.

From then on, I’ve been her invisible guide. I’ve whispered my thoughts and experiences to her, lifting the veil a bit at a time. It was her job to put all the pieces together. She was to make sense of all the twists and turns that appeared along the path. She was to be my voice.

Another thing Margaret does not know is that this was also her journey. We traveled the road of my quest together. Often my surprises were her surprises, my trials became her trials, and my awakening helped her to awaken. I give Margaret credit for taking on this large project. She was obsessed and stubborn enough to carry it through. She kept unraveling, sorting, and weaving until the invisible threads of my tale were connected into an intricate web, ready to preserve between the covers of her book.

Margaret has learned to receive my message with the single eye of her heart, instead of the eyes in her head. That’s the eye that sees inner reality and the world of Spirit. However, she still doesn’t think I’m real. I say it all depends on one’s definition of real. The membrane between Margaret and me is very thin, and the crossing over is easy.

The path we walked together was a sacred one, not bound by space and time. Because you are alive, you may find yourself on a similar path one day, trying to open your eyes to the Sacred Mystery. We may have more in common than you think. If this novel happens to get into your hands, I hope you can join us in our dance of discovery.

By the way, Margaret is still unaware of one last thing. The circle of my life and hers is not yet complete. We have only reached the opening stages of our journey. We have only been awakened. Our story is not over.

Other influences on my journey

So who or what else influenced me on my visionary path?

I could start with nature, my constant companion growing up as a child — talk about opening up and clearing the mind. Or I could mention how church on Sunday did its number on me as far as attempting to capture the un-capturable, share the un-sharable, and show the un-showable. But to narrow it down to the tangible, here’s my list:

FAIRY TALES: Einstein once said, “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” I still own the original book of fairy tales that fascinated me as a child, a thick volume now missing several pages and held together with postal tape. Fairy tales taught me about choices and consequences, jealousy and greed, cruelty and redemption. They taught me the beauty of words and how to use my imagination and dare to dream. But most of all, fairy tales taught me that in reality all is not what it seems.

THE TWILIGHT ZONE: Oh how I loved Rod Serling and the famous preludes to his television series when I was a teen. But I didn’t discover until later how closely they parallel what I now think of as visionary fiction (I have emphasized some of his words in bold, so you know what I mean).

Season 1:  There is a fifth dimension beyond that which is known to man. It is a dimension as vast as space and as timeless as infinity. It is the middle ground between light and    shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge. This is the dimension of imagination. It is an area which we call the Twilight Zone.

Season 2-3: You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead – your next stop, The Twilight Zone.

 Season 4: You unlock this door with the key of imagination. Beyond it is another dimension: a dimension of sound, a dimension of sight, a dimension of mind. You’re moving into a land of both shadow and substance of things and ideas; you’ve just crossed over into the Twilight Zone.

The Twilight Zone series, which ran for five seasons from 1959-1964, consisted of stories depicting paranormal, futuristic, and unusual events, each story featuring some sort of plot twist and moral. In 2002 it was ranked number 26 of TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time and in 2013, the Writers Guild of America ranked it as the third best written TV series ever, YET, in its infancy, it struggled to find a receptive audience of television viewers (Sound familiar?).

NON-FICTION WRITERS:

Ken Meadows: Earth Medicine and The Medicine Way left such an impression on me during the early stages of my writing that I ended up using the directional paths of the Native American Medicine Wheel to map out the journey of my protagonist. The lessons she learned on each path became a separate novel.

Hal Zina Bennett: In 2002, I read an article by Bennett titled “Visionary Fiction; Rediscovering Ancient Paths to Truth,” where his definition of visionary fiction so closely matched my writing that I believed it had finally found a home. For more on Hal Zina Bennett’s view of visionary fiction, read The Puzzle of Visionary Fiction.

FICTION WRITERS:

James Long: Ferney (a story of reincarnation) was one of the first novels I read that fit the category of visionary fiction. When I asked James Long recently if he considered Ferney an example of visionary fiction, he said:

I suppose I’ve never really set out to write my book with that sort of categorization in my head. The stories grow and need to be told in their particular way and it is probably more for the reader to make that judgment than the writer? I find certainty on these things gets further away as the years pass.

Dean Koontz: In response to my post at VFA Is Dean Koontz a Visionary Fiction Writer? Koontz wrote:

After a long career as a novelist, I’ve learned that what anyone writes about my work, good or bad, will only occasionally, very occasionally, be written with true insight regarding my intentions. For so many years, I have denied being a horror novelist, never thought I was, and struggled to prevent earlier publishers from putting that word on my books.

You got to the heart of what I try to give readers when you mentioned hope and healing, and spoke of seeking to “help readers see the world in a new light and recognize dimensions of reality they commonly ignore.

Joanne Harris: Harris’s books satisfy my adult need for fairy tales.

Chocolat (in Harris’s own words): I wanted to write about magic. Not the popular view, but about the magic of everyday things and the way something quite ordinary can, given the right circumstances, take on extraordinary properties.

Blackberry Wine: There is something magical about this wine; something which brings the past to life, an agent of transformation. Under its influence, time can work backwards and the dead return to life.

The Girl With No Shadow: In this book, magic is everywhere, although there are still “rational” explanations if you choose to look for them.

So that’s my case.

Though I didn’t consciously choose the genre of visionary fiction to categorize my fiction, I have, over the years, found plenty of reasons to be glad I did.

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About Margaret Duarte

Although warned by agents and publishers that labeling her work Visionary Fiction was the “kiss of death,” Margaret Duarte refused to concede. “In a world riddled with fear, misunderstanding, and lost hope,” she says, “I believe there are people prepared to transcend the boundaries of their five senses and open to new thoughts and ideas. The audience is ready for fiction that heals, empowers, and bridges differences.” Margaret joined forces with other visionary fiction writers to create the Visionary Fiction Alliance, a website dedicated to bringing visionary fiction into the mainstream and providing visionary fiction writers with a place to call home. In December 2015, Margaret launched BETWEEN WILL AND SURRENDER, book one of her "Enter the Between" visionary fiction series. Through her novels, which synthesize heart and mind, science and spirituality, Margaret encourages readers to activate their gifts, retire their excuses, and stand in their own authority. Margaret is a former middle school teacher and lives on a California dairy farm with her family and a herd of "happy cows," a constant reminder that the greenest pastures are closest to home.
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20 Responses to Visionary Fiction;Crossing Over is Easy

  1. Admin - Eleni says:

    I love your intro, and what a creative way to introduce your series. An incredible bonus of being a writer of VF is that we awaken alongside our characters. I think that’s why they feel so real to us.

    I was delighted to read about your love for the Twilight Zone. It's also one of my influences. Many of the episodes deal with a character evolving and would fit in the VF genre. Mr. Bevis is one of my favorites. From goofball to rich man back to goofball again, he realizes that he already had what made him happy.

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    • Hi Eleni. My protagonist has taught me a lot over the course of writing my series. She knows me better than I do and says it like it is! I've been promising myself for years to buy the complete collection of CDs with all 156 episodes of The Twilight Zone. It comes with Serling's college lectures, music scores, etc. Ummm, I think Marjorie Veil Sunwalker is telling me to quit stalling and buy that collection NOW. Guess Amazon will be my next stop.

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  2. Pingback: The Greatest Feeling | Benign guy

  3. I love Marjorie's letter to you and her perspective. I think many VF authors can relate (I know I do), especially to the parallel awakening that occurs between us and our protagonists as we write our novels. I have found that when I have a temporary 'halt' to my writing, it is because a piece of awakening is asking to be birthed within me first. My last novel waited for grief to be healed before the novel could move forward and be completed.

    Your article is full of wonderful influences on your writing, and I so enjoyed the creative way you told us about those influences. Because of this, I am eagerly awaiting to read your novel!

    And, Yay! for fairy tales. For all the reasons you so eloquently spoke about…and because they mirror both tradition as well as our collective soul in its evolutionary journey.

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    • Thank you, Jodine. And I so eagerly await my first novel's publication (followed by the second, third, and fourth). The process is a slow one, but, hopefully, worth it in the end.

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  4. vicsmith0123 says:

    Great stuff, Margaret. Several things that jump-started fresh mental threads re Visionary Fiction for me.

    In your opening, the phrase, "how I ended up writing in a genre that parallels the new neural sciences and has yet to find a receptive audience" pinpoints two things: the avant garde nature of VF, even scientifically; and the dumbed down (by mis-education, media, low motivation, etc.) intelligence level of the larger reading audience, what's left of it, today. Somehow we have to take this new and usually complex information and put it in a form the general public will be able to digest. A daunting task.

    But your further comments point in a hopeful direction when you mention fairy tales (loved the Einstein quote; did not know he said that). Growing up as a guy in macho America, I had no time for fairy tales–they were silly or for sissies–until, during a life crisis, I came across Robert Bly's Iron John, which used a Grimm tale by the same name to describe the male initiation process. Many personal insights from his work, but also a new respect for the fairy tale as a vehicle for presenting a complex sequence in a way that can be remembered and thus practiced. So began my new respect for fairy tales.

    This further developed in my current novel in progress in which Wolfram von Eschenbach's Parzival plays a strong background role. A close reading of that poem, with every detail a symbol of a very specific path of initiation, and written in the 12th century, the supposed Dark Ages, has me floored with the poet's and the poem's genius. (Somewhat of a snide aside: how ahead of his times was Wolfram and how receptive was his largely illiterate medieval audience? We VFers may have to resign ourselves to posthumous fame. )

    Final comment: the letter from your protagonist is brilliant. Did you include it in your first novel or a later novel, or is it a standalone you are just sharing here? Even if it is only a literary device, which I don't believe is the case, it's a heck of a way to bridge the gap between the two worlds, something I constantly tinker with in my works which cut across lifetimes. One that belongs in some form in every VF writers tool box.

    Thanks for taking the time to write this piece. A catalyst!

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    • Talk about a catalyst! Victor, your comments always prompt deeper thought and further research. For starters, I need to look up Robert Bly's "Iron John" and von Eschenbach's "Parzival." Sounds like I've missed something good – twice, actually. And yes, it's our daunting task as vf writers to present complex ideas in understandable form, not only via entertaining story, but though emotion and the senses. Our readers must feel and hear and see and taste and smell what we are attempting to share, so very hard, but oh so satisfying if and when we get it right. As far as my protagonist's letter. Well, she wrote it in a rush after I completed the first of my four novels. So it's definitely a standalone. I think at the time, I (she) felt the need to explain to the reader – and to myself – what the heck I was doing. All my books have the word "Between" in the title and later I started a blog called "Enter the Between," because that's where I feel I am when I write and where I am taking the reader, sort of like the Twilight Zone, between two worlds. Serling says it so well: the "middle ground between light and shadow, between science and superstition, and it lies between the pit of man’s fears and the summit of his knowledge." Like you, I'm prepared for the possibility that my stories may only be recognized (and hopefully enjoyed) posthumously, but darn it, I'm enjoying the process too much to quit.

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  5. Admin - Eleni says:

    "I think at the time, I (she) felt the need to explain to the reader – and to myself – what the heck I was doing."

    Sounds like some of the internal dialogues I have with myself!

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  6. LOVE the letter from Marjorie! I felt it!

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    • Thanks, Jodi. I was reluctant to share Marjorie's letter, thinking it too long and that people might not understand. So much for "logical" thinking. I'm glad I followed my gut (or should I say inner voice?) on this one.

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  7. Jo Chandler says:

    Hi Margaret,
    I must say that I literally, literally, got chills as I was reading Margie's letter. I have learned so much reading this blog. Thank you. I can hardly wait until your books come out!!

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    • Hi Jo. I considered deleting Marjorie's letter from the post, but now I'm glad I didn't. It seems to have struck a cord, especially with other writers. I'm anxious to see my first book published, too. What a milestone that will be. Then I can concentrate on the three other books in the ENTER THE BETWEEN series. It's about time!

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  8. Rosi says:

    Fascinating throughout. I loved the letter. Simply a wonderful introduction. Thanks for the Einstein quote. You will see that one in my blog one of these days.

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  9. Pingback: Twilight Zone to Visionary Fiction | Margaret DuarteMargaret Duarte

  10. I had a "somewhat similar" experience with my last book (before I joined VFA)…

    From from the Prologue:

    "What I say next may or may not be believed but, either way, this story is true—true as fact or true in the way fiction can rise to heights unattainable by mere facts.
    I am a woman from a star system about twelve light-years from Earth. If you choose to believe me, my story might be considered a history lesson—how to achieve unity and peace—a lesson that Earth desperately needs. If you choose to not believe I’m real, my tale might be considered a science fiction story about how to achieve unity and peace—a lesson that Earth desperately needs…

    "I'll proceed on the premise that I am real."

    "Alexander is my transducer—my way of communicating with Earth's people. We have an intimate mental/spiritual bond—not "conversation" but something much deeper and higher—a conceptual bonding. A simplistic example would be to say that we share things like the idea of dog and cat but not the knowledge of beagles and tabbies. A more accurate example would be that we easily share an idea like four-footed, domesticated animal but not ideas like dog or cat or lizard. Those differences take much more conceptual exploration and sharing."

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