Dreaming Worlds Awake by Esme Ellis – A Visionary Fiction Alliance Book Review By Pat Perrin

Review by Pat Perrin

This is a personal book, a narrative of experience that leads the reader through some very nice juxtapositions. In her introduction, the author says, “Of its own volition something began to take shape. Stories arose, dreams came, a poem or two, a letter here and there.” And that is what the book consists of. In poetry and various prose styles, Esme Ellis describes dreams, synchronicities, channelled entities, and everyday life. She treats them evenly, finding something to learn of all of them

Esme Ellis is open to the wondrous without insisting on dogmatic interpretations. She says that dreams may, “if you learn to ‘live alongside’ them without pressing for instant disclosure, reveal their secrets later, in their own good time.” She could be describing her approach to adventures of all kinds. Her discussions range from the philosophies of Freud and Jung, to insights from the spirit of the sculptor, Jacob Epstein, to advice from an ancient consciousness, to encounters with animal totems and other unconventional topics. She looks on it all as a “playground of boundless discovery and spiritual expansion“ that is simply not to be missed.

My personal favorite is a brief story about helping a blackbird to protect its nest from a feral cat by …. well, you’ll just have to read the book. I recommend it for those who are searching for a playground such as this.

Reviewed by Pat Perrin.


12 thoughts on “Dreaming Worlds Awake by Esme Ellis – A Visionary Fiction Alliance Book Review By Pat Perrin

  1. Esme Ellis says:

    As author, I had a few qualms about how this book of mine would fit into the V F category. It crosses the line into Visionary Literature. But since there has been some discussion recently around including the latter, I think Dreaming Worlds fully lives up to the founders 'vision' of work who's aim is to expand human consciousness and our unlimited human potential, at the same time telling some fascinating stories. (Many thanks Eleni for posting Pat's review.)

    • Victor Smith says:

      Sounds like a worthy read, Esme, but the same qualms struck me as I was reading the review. Then the light of inclusion came on, and I thought: why not have a section on the site devoted to the art and craft of VF? How do we crazies come up with the stuff that we do and why? Would allow VF writers to expound on their sources of inspiration, the extra-normal experiences that led to material in their works, and the experimental struggles to form the nonverbal into the verbal. (If you'll ignore the self-promotion, an example directly to the point re my novel The Anathemas is found on the page entitled The Parapet on my website.)

      Every other art form has its theorists, critics and scholars. Why not us? Would add to our credibility, incite interest and allow us "to preach the VF gospel" outside the pages of our books. I have not read your book yet, but it sounds like it contains a wealth of this type of source material. I can see it sparking some ahaa moments for VF writers looking for new tools to tell their stories.

      I like this idea. What say the rest of you?

  2. Esme Ellis says:

    Just a thought: following your interesting comment, Victor, (and a quick look at your website) I wonder if anyone would be interested in having a copy of my book with a view to writing a review, perhaps with an opinion on how it fits, or slips between, the VF and the VLit categories. I'd be pleased alternatively to provide the first 2 or 3 chapters. It's a very slim volume; only 123 pages.

  3. Victor Smith says:

    Hi Esme.
    Would love to read and review your book with an eye to what I wrote previously. Won't get to it immediately, as my reading is stacked up, but within the month.

  4. visionaryfictionauth says:

    Victor, the idea of having a section for the art and craft of VF writing is something we talked about as founding members – it is a fantastic idea and I am so glad you brought it up. We are in a unique position to build a foundation of ideas about this because I haven't seen it anywhere else!
    Everyone – shall we do some brain-storming about this? Either here or, as we did with our VF definition, we can email each other in the initial stages to put forth ideas. Who is interested? If those interested will email me I will put our emails together and we can start a discussion.
    Esme, I am not sure of the difference between VF and Visionary literature. Can you describe how you see that? And I'd be delighted to read/review your book also.

    • esdragon2 says:

      I’m rather feeling my way here, as I picked up the concept of V Literature from a comment on this site.

      My initial qualms about my own latest book, Dreaming Worlds Awake, were because it is not a work of fiction. At the half-way stage during the writing, Crysse Morrison, who edited and reviewed my previous book, (This Strange and Precious Thing,) read through my draft MS. Crysse is an author herself of two published works of fiction, and she remarked that DWA seemed to fall into the same category as a book she’d just read; W.G. Sebald’s The Rings of Saturn. The best I can do to illustrate this is to quote from its back cover:- ‘A highly original work … part memoir, part fiction, part meditative essay ….’ Sunday Telegraph. “The finest book of long-distance mental travel that I’ve ever read.’ Jonathan Raban, Times Literary Supplement. ‘Sebald is surely a major European author … he reaches the heights of epiphanic beauty only encountered normally in the likes of Proust.’ Independent of Sunday.

      So as not to confuse, neither she nor myself are in any way comparing Dreaming Worlds to Sebald’s quality writing. And Crysse’s fiction is in no way ‘Visionary.’ What I’m tentatively putting forward though is that writing can be Literature without being strictly Fiction. (This Strange and Precious Thing, however, I do count as Visionary Fiction.)

    • Vic Smith says:

      Have been busy for the last several weeks with little computer time, so I missed your above message re brainstorming on the art and craft of VF. Would certainly want to be part of the discussion either here or by email. Count me in. Thanks.


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