DREAMWalker Group
Where creativity and spirit converge

 

 

 
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DREAMScene
The Newsletter of DREAMWalker Group

2008 Issue #4 (May)

Note:  Issues of DREAMScene may contain adult content and are not intended for readers below the age of eighteen.

In This Issue

  • Articles / Columns

General Community

Seeking Submissions

Arts Community

 

Disability Community

Seeking Submissions

GayLesBi Community

 

Seeking Submissions

Literary Community

 

Recovery Community

Seeking Submissions

Seniors Community

Seeking Submissions

Spirit-Guided Community

 

Transgender Community

  • Regular Features

   
  • Fiction

 
  •  

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On This Site

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Related Off Site Links

  • Got young ones who want to publish?  Visit Kids Can Publish University today. Kids can view articles from other young writers, enter contests, and more!!

 

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Buy books through Amazon.com

Help us to prosper by buying all your Amazon.com books through our site. In turn, we pledge to give 40% back to the community (see Pledge to Share Our Prosperity below).

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Mission of Creativity

DREAMWalker Group is a collective of inspired individuals who are dedicated to the idea that if one person sparkles, a group of people are brilliant.

As proprietor of DREAMWalker Group, it is Michael Walker's desire to express a deep sense of gratitude for all the good that has entered and continues to enter his life. To do this, he has created a site that offers free web profiles to creative people and provides a "one stop" venue for creative information and creative, spirit-based support. Insofar as this is a free site, he is also hopeful that this site will eventually become self-supporting. To make this a possibility, visitors to the site are encouraged to buy at least one item a year through the Amazon.com and other affiliate links.

NOTE: Profile pages can include the following information (or more):

  • Contact information (website and email, if desired)
  •  An historical listing of published books (current and out-of-print)
  • An historical listing of published CDs and tapes (when possible)
  • Cross-links to other subject-related books and authors at DREAMWalker Group
  • Links from author's book directly to Amazon.com (the money we make, currently about $400 per year, helps pay for the maintenance of this free site.

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Our Pledge
to Share Our Prosperity

DREAMWalker Group is a free site.  We believe that charging creative people for their profiles is unwarranted. It is our primary purpose to give back to this brilliant, inspired, and inspirational community for all the wonderful things they've created and continue to create.

Insofar as giving is good; receiving is also a nice thing. As is the maintenance of a standard of living that is conducive to happy creativity. So as part of its mission to give and receive, DREAMWalker Group hereby promises the following:

To give back to the community a full 40% of all additional money earned over and above $100,000 via DREAMWalker Group. (We haven't decided how best to do that just yet, but it will no doubt be in the way of several scholarships or prizes to current and future brilliant, creative folks and to supporting the literary/artistic community in other ways.)

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To recap:

Once we pass the $100,000 mark (per year), DREAMWalker Group will give back to the community a full 40% of all additional money earned via this site. This means that:

  • Out of every additional $100,000 earned over the initial compensation of $100,000, DREAMWalker Group will give back $40,000.00 to the creative community;
  • Out of every $1,000,000 earned, DREAMWalker Group will give back $400,000.00; and
  • Out of every $10,000,000 earned, DREAMWalker Group will give back $4,000,000.00. Etc.

Who will benefit most from this?

NOTE: Profile pages can include the following information (or more):

  1. The brilliant, creative folks who continue to get free publicity and exposure via this continually growing and popular website.
  2. Their publishers who can run free ads at the site once they agree to provide cross links to DREAMWalker Group or free advertising in return.
  3. DREAMWalker Group's proprietor (Michael Walker). Possibly freed from the burden of working a day job, he'll have more time and money to use in maintaining this site.
  4. Amazon.com Out of 351 referrals in 2007, DREAMWalker Group earned $304.12 and Amazon.com brought in a whopping $5,756.71). Just do the math!

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Added Brilliance

March 1, 2008, we added profiles for the following brilliant people*:

to be added

*Note: some profiles may still be under construction.

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Quick Links

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Communities

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Proprietor's Links

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Visit Us

Contact Us

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Welcome from Dreamwalker

Namaste. Welcome to the fourth 2008 issue of DREAMScene — the electronic newsletter of DREAMWalker Group.

Just s few things ...

  1. This month I've decided to begin using writer_mike@yahoo.com as my one and only email address. This is my way of becoming more integrated within my own skin. For years now I've had about 200 email addresses for various and sundry purposes. Now, I'm using this one as my (and DREAMWalker Group's) primary mail. So, if you haven't already done so, please put writer_mike@yahoo.com into your "safe (spam free)" folder.

Another reason for using writer_mike@yahoo.com as my primary address is because for years now I've been neglecting my writing. Hopefully by seeing the "writer_mike" portion of my address more and more, I'll remind myself to get off my creative butt and start that enlightened form of creating again. Heck, I'm always encouraging other writers to write — tis time I looked in (and listened to) the mirror!

  1. I've started to remove the italics in my company name. You'll remember at one time we were known as DREAMWalker Group. Spirit recently indicated that I was creating an awful lot of work for myself with that cute little maneuver. So I decided to let the italics go!

Michael Walker

Proprietor

writer_mike@yahoo.com

Missed an issue of this newsletter?  Click here to view old issues online

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We hope you'll enjoy this issue and anticipate more frequent updates in the future!

Michael Walker

Proprietor

 writer_mike@yahoo.com
 

Missed an issue of this newsletter?  Click here to view old issues online

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Noteworthy at DWG

 

  • Remember that DREAMWalker Group is broken into numerous creative "communities" -- which more jaundiced folks might like to think of as "market segments."  Each community, in turn, is broken into topics of interest.

    For a list of all general topics of interest, go to the General Community. For a similar list of topics related to other communities, go to that specific community*.

    To date, the communities include Arts, Disability, General, GayLesBi, Literary,  Recovery, Seniors, Spirit-Guided, and Transgender.

    Feel free to email us and offer suggestions for new topics or topics related to your own avocation or genre.)

    *Note that a topic may be under construction.
  • Our DreamTeam consists of three very talented folks who help make DREAMWalker Group the magical place it is today.  They are:
The DreamTeam

Proprietor

 Michael Walker

Editorial

  Catherine Groves
Michael Walker

Layout & Design

 Michael Walker
Wayne Price

  • And we're extremely fortunate that mediabistro.com recently announced our DreamTeam.  mediabistro.com is dedicated to anyone who creates or works with content, or who is a non-creative professional working in a content/creative industry. That includes editors, writers, producers, graphic designers, book publishers, and others in industries including magazines, television, film, radio, newspapers, book publishing, online media, advertising, PR, and design. Our mission is to provide opportunities to meet, share resources, become informed of job opportunities and interesting projects and news, improve career skills, and showcase your work.

Check out their annoucement of our DreamTeam at http://www.mediabistro.com/DREAMWalkerGroupcom-profile.html

Check it out and consider joining mediabistro.com today!

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  • New Town Writers (NewTownWriters.org) has introduced the Swell Fiction Contest.  Reaching beyond the traditional boundaries of the printed word by exploring the limits of form, structure, and content through Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender themes.  See www.swellzine.com for more information.

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Interconnecting through blogs.

  • This month  Robin Reardon continues her Blog — a series of installments using logic and facts, in the form of an open letter to humanity, to prove that the only thing wrong with being gay is how some people treat you when they find out. The Case for Acceptance presents the thinking behind Reardon’s second novel, Thinking Straight, about a gay teen who is sent to a Christian de-programming center to straighten him out.

    In the second installment of this open letter to humanity, author Robin introduces a logical, rational process for deconstructing and demolishing those nasty virtual cards that homophobic bigots flash at gays. The first card to go will be the one that reads “Unnatural.” (Read the introductory installment on Reardon’s blog and find out what a faggot-bag is and where it comes from) ...

  • And on another Blog front, author Tracy B. Evans, author of the suspense novel Fatal Kidnapping, has begun a "Write with me story" at her MySpace Blog.  "I think I should give everyone on Myspace a chance to join the contest. So, more or less, it is a competition."

    Continues Tracy, "I will start with a sentence, and anyone can add a line. Add your name in parenthesis after you write your sentence. If the story turns out good, then I will add the story to my next novel, coming out in a few months. I'm currently still writing it. Anyone who participates will get credit if this short story is published. It will be added as a bonus story on my next book - only if it's good. So, let's get to writing. Make sure to copy and paste the whole story when you add your line. It will make it easier to read. This will be fun!

    Her story begins:

She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, thinking about the horrible events of the day. (Tracy B.)

For the continuing results of Tracy's experiment, visit her MySpace Blog.  Tracy's website is  www.tracybevans.coms.

See also Hint to Writers: Persevere (below).

  • And finally, Richard David Kennedy's blog, The Portfolio — a repository for writers of all genres — continues to thrive.

    Says Richard, "We've got some brilliant people here — not a joke!  And I, for one, am always looking forward to seeing some really creative, exceptionally good stuff. This isn't about `politics, rules and regulations, or personality favs.'   It's about writing and a place to express and share your work with others who really do appreciate the work of kindred souls.  And you never know just who may be reading what is being posted here. Food for thought."

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By Father John W. Groff, Jr.

Father Groff's Pensive Pause column was featured in the premier issue of Christian*New Age Quarterly  (January 1989). From then through the January-March 2005 issue, over 55 of Father Groff's essays have appeared in the C*NAQ  and he continues as a frequent contributor to the periodical's Letters Library column.  Three Funerals and a Wedding was originally published in  Christian*New Age Quarterly 14:2 (July-September 2002)

The voice on the other end of the telephone was that of a recently ordained Episcopal priest from another diocese. He had made his preordination retreat with me late last year. Following his ordination, his bishop assigned him as the junior curate in a large, prestigious parish in his diocese’s see city.

After we dispensed with the usual pleasantries, he got to the reason for his call. One Saturday afternoon, some three weeks previous, he had celebrated his first Nuptial Eucharist. His rector, a priest with a well-earned reputation in the church for being abrasive, domineering, and exceedingly difficult to work for, had reluctantly given his permission for the curate to celebrate the Mass. Only because the bridegroom had been a college classmate of the curate and had specifically requested that he do the wedding did the rector consent.

In any case, because it was his first wedding as liturgical officer, because the bridegroom was a college friend who was now a communicant, and because his very stern and obviously disapproving rector sat in the congregation, an extremely nervous young priest stood at the altar facing the two people who sought the church’s blessing on their union. Increasing his anxiety was the couple’s request that both the Marriage Rite and the Eucharist itself be conducted according to the liturgical order of a Prayer Book no longer in general use within the church — one with which the priest was unfamiliar.

Very early on in this liturgy, the priest addresses the congregation with the words, “If any of you here present can show just cause why these two people may not be lawfully joined together in holy matrimony, ye are to declare it now or else forever hold your peace.”

But this priest on that Saturday did not speak these words. Instead he became the literal personification of an apocryphal story, told and retold among every class of seminary students since it all began.

On that day, at that wedding, the young curate did not say, “... lawfully joined together....”

He said, “... joyfully loined together....”

He was, of course, duly mortified. Instantly he knew, from that day forward and throughout all eternity, the story would no longer be apocryphal. Henceforth and forevermore, it would be he about whom all those seminarians would be speaking whenever the story was told.

The bride and groom proved to be gracious and understanding.

Beyond a few good-natured jibes, most members of the congregation were likewise compassionate — except, of course, for the rector. The rector has not spoken directly to the young curate since the afternoon of the wedding.

Liturgical blunder, writ large.

Liturgical blunder, big time.

The continuing education of a parish priest.

Enter the dark specter that crouches at the door, waiting its chance to pounce on each and every bishop, priest and deacon who presumes to clothe in a set of vestments and stand in front of a congregation of God’s people.

What, he asked me, could he do?

And so I told him the story of my own first wedding as a parish priest. Both the prospective bride and groom were faculty members at a local state college. Both held doctoral degrees in their respective disciplines. As the premarital counseling required by the church proceeded in the weeks prior to the wedding date, increasingly obvious to me was which of the two possessed the stronger personality. He was Caspar Milquetoast. She was Kali-Ma, the Vedic Goddess of dissolution and destruction who is often depicted standing upon the prone form of Shiva, her spouse, while wearing around her neck a garland of severed skulls.

On the afternoon of the wedding, after the bride had been duly escorted to the altar on the arm of her father, my eyes swept over the bridal party arranged decorously in the chancel before me. I first smiled at them and, then, in my best liturgical voice, inquired for all to hear, “Who gives this man to be married to this woman?”

Liturgical blunder.

The specter pounces and another one bites the dust.

Because my young friend was paying for the call, and because I had a good idea what he earned as a junior curate, I chose not to tell him of a visit that same couple made to my office some six months later. He was still Caspar, but she was no longer Kali-Ma.

“I am pregnant,” she stammered.

“Congratulations,” I replied.

Ah, but I did not understand, offered Caspar. They had no wish to bring a child into the world and had made this fact known to God in prayer. How, then, could such a thing have happened?

Had they not been practicing birth control, I asked, beginning to sense down which dark alley the conversation was headed and my own complicity in that journey.

They had not, whimpered Kali-Ma, Ph.D. cum Little Girl Lost. They were both baptized, believing Christians. They received the holy sacrament of the altar weekly. They prayed daily. In that prayer, they had told God they did not want children. Surely this was enough. Surely no protection was necessary. Surely He would not permit her to become pregnant. But He had.

And somewhere in the midst of her plaintive monologue, I vividly recalled the morning I had made the decision. Fueled both by the need to complete the premarital counseling in time for the wedding day and by the rationalization that across the room from me sat two highly educated adult children of the sexually liberated ’60s who doubtlessly already knew everything I might tell them on the subject, I decided to omit the session on human sexuality.

I have never done so again.

Not all clerical blunders are liturgical. Some are pastoral.

The specter wears many faces, but there is only one of him. He is a combination of the priest’s own ego-driven easy assumptions and, sometimes, an illusion named expediency.

Again because of my concern over the rapidly multiplying long distance charges, I chose not to tell my friend about a certain funeral at which I had officiated many years ago. My late parishioner had been a member of the Order of the Eastern Star, the distaff branch of Free Masonry. On the evening prior to the Burial Office, the Worthy Grand Matron of the local chapter of that order asked me if, following the Requiem Mass in the church, I would allow her to recite the OES prayers at the graveside prior to the conclusion of the church’s liturgy.

The following afternoon, she and I stood together at the grave, waiting for the family and friends to make their way from the parking lot. She was obviously nervous. This was her first funeral as the newly installed Worthy Grand Matron, she explained in response to my concern. I asked what she held cupped in her hand. “Oh,” she replied, “this is a live dove. At the conclusion of our order’s ritual, I will release it into the air as a symbol of our sister’s soul rising to heaven.”

Unfortunately, her anxiety over an unfamiliar liturgical role manifested itself in an unusually strong grip. When the appropriate moment to release the dove arrived, it did not ascend into the sky, but rather fell, quite dead, at her feet. Obviously, this was not quite the symbol intended.

I also did not tell my friend of a second burial liturgy shared with the same woman some months later. This time she was no longer inexperienced in her role. “That will not happen today, Father,” she assured me. And it didn’t.

But the specter proved to be no less a presence in our midst.

On that particular afternoon, it was raining. The funeral home had thoughtfully erected a canopy at the graveside for the convenience of the clergy and family.

The dove, at the moment of its release, valiantly attempted to fly off into the sky. Finding itself trapped under the canopy, the bird panicked and then did what birds inevitably do when they panic. All over the Worthy Grand Matron. And the family. And the parish priest.

I did not tell my friend of another burial on yet another rain-soaked afternoon. The rain this time was truly of biblical proportions. Both the funeral director and I attempted to convince the grieving widow that the service should be postponed until the weather cleared. She remained adamant: storm or no storm, her husband’s mortal remains would be returned to the earth that very day as planned. And so we proceeded.

First, my acolyte processed too close to the open grave, slipped on the wet grass, and fell in. A very bad omen. It was only to get worse.

As I read the office, I became aware of the mortician, standing just beyond the family’s line of vision, gesturing to me to pray more quickly. I glanced down into the grave and immediately saw why. It was rapidly filling up with water.

Nevertheless, we completed the liturgy, the only other casualty being my ruined Prayer Book. That, or so I thought at the time, was that.

When I arrived at my office the next morning, the telephone was already ringing. It was the funeral director.

“Does the Episcopal Church have a service for reburial?” he asked.

“Why?”

“Because I just got a call from a woman who lives at the bottom of the hill from the cemetery,” he responded. “The rain washed the vault and casket from that funeral we did yesterday down into her backyard and she is becoming hysterical!”

I suggested that he and his men remove the casket from the woman’s yard immediately, that he apologize profusely to her for her inconvenience, that the casket be taken back to the funeral home until the weather cleared, that it be returned to the grave as soon as the ground was dry enough to hold it — and that no one, absolutely no one, least of all the widow, was ever to know what had happened.

I did, however, tell the curate one other story before we ended our conversation.

It is a story an old friend, a Roman Catholic priest and Benedictine monk, once told me about himself.

In the Roman Church, bishops and priests say Mass every day of their lives regardless of whether or not a congregation is present.

On the morning following his priestly ordination, my friend rose early and went directly to the abbey church, where he sought out one of the many Mass altars set into the walls of the nave. As it was his very first Mass, he was extremely scrupulous in his celebration. Consequently, it took a rather long time to complete the prayer of consecration.

As he was finishing the ablutions and preparing to vacate the altar, he became aware of another priest standing behind him, waiting to say his own Mass. Just as he was preparing to leave, however, my friend saw — or thought he saw — several crumbs of consecrated bread, which he had carelessly left unconsumed, scattered upon the altar. Because Roman Catholics, like Episcopalians, believe that the consecrated bread really does contain the Body of Christ, he mentally berated himself for his carelessness. Kneeling down so that the altar was at eye level, he began to sweep the crumbs of the host toward his own outstretched hand.

Much to my friend’s horror, the priest who had been standing behind him waiting to use the altar leaned forward and very unceremoniously blew the crumbs, real or imagined, away.

“Don’t take yourself so seriously, Father,” said the other priest. “God can take care of Himself.”

And that is what I told my caller.

Don’t take yourself so seriously, Father. The sun rose in the east on the morning following that wedding, just as it did on the morning before it. Your two friends really are one in spite of what came out of your mouth during that liturgy.

It really is all right just as it is.

You have taken the teaching.

© 2008 Christian*New Age Quarterly. All rights reserved.

Reprinted with permission, “Three Funerals and a Wedding” was originally published by Christian*New Age Quarterly 14:2 (July-September 2002). For more information on Christian*New Age Quarterly, write to Catherine Groves, Editor at PO Box 276, Clifton, NJ 07015-0276 or visit christiannewage.com.

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DREAMWalker Group topics related to this article:

Catholicism    Christianity    Hinduism   Humor   Inspirational Themes   Marriage   Meditation  Metaphysics/New Age   Religion & Spirituality   Spirit-Based Humor   Spirit-Guided Community  

 

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By Catherine Groves

Catherine Groves is the Editor of Christian*New Age Quarterly: A Bridge Supporting Dialog, a journal of interfaith dialog, ministering to — and celebrating — the spirituality of both traditional Christians and New Agers, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and goodwill. To learn more about Christian*New Age Quarterly, write to C*NAQ at PO Box 276, Clifton, NJ 07015-0276 or visit christiannewage.com.

Human awareness can be an odd thing. And I don’t just mean capital “A” awareness as in spiritual knowing. No, I mean to include something much more mundane: what we see — and what falls through the cracks unseen.

Now I’m one of those folks who is, if politely put, quite detail oriented. I’m not sure I was born this way. In fact, I’d say the reverse. Early on I recognized how easily things could slip my memory. So I trained my mind to be pretty much of a steel trap when it comes to accounting for the details of life. My head holds a running list of those bits of routine I need to remember. And I preview the next step of my agenda by mentally reviewing that list. To be well-organized, and meticulous when it comes to the trivia, seems to make life simpler for me.

Too, I can usually sense when something falls out of the norm, out of the pattern. Perhaps it is a form of intuition, or merely a knack for keen observation. Maybe some angel taps me on the shoulder. But no matter how I might characterize this subcognitive faculty, I tend to smell something at the periphery of my consciousness long before I’ve a handle on its shape or effect.

But it’s not always the things of which I’m aware that cause snafus — not even those things I decide to ignore against my own better judgment. It’s those things I never dreamed to bear in mind that hold the more jarring consequences.

The October-December 2000 issue of Christian*New Age Quarterly is a good case in point. By the time I had finished laying out the issue for the printer, I’d been over it so many times that it was etched in the stone of my skull. Each page had been proofed time and again. Each character was scrutinized to make sure it would print cleanly. But I never spotted THE TYPO, which misguided the reader to a completely unrelated page for the continuation of a piece. I must have seen that typo a couple of hundred times before I really saw it.

Since it was too late to correct it, I simply figured out a way to make the best of it. After one has already made a mistake, so I’ve learned, agonizing over it is pointless. And I’ve found that’s all the more true of the bloopers in life, the stuff of no earth-shaking magnitude. No, the time for agonizing, if one is prone to do so at all, is before a mistake occurs so one can avoid ever making it. Once it has happened, I learn the lesson, make amends and move on. With no way to go back and undo the past, why dwell on the small stuff?

But that typo made me pause to reflect on how things I can’t anticipate turn out to be telling. And I lingered over it specifically because of an incident of a few days earlier.

Each morning when I leave the house for work, I review my mental list and check myself against it: have I latched the back door? are the lights turned off? what about the stove? do I have my lunch with me, my keys? After locking the front door, then rattling the doorknob just to be sure, I drove off toward work that day. It was one of those mornings when my mind was focused on all I intended to do, both on the job and on an errand run thereafter. The minutiae of the day’s agenda fixed my attention as I drove.

My commute is somewhat of a lengthy one. I was about halfway to work when a shudder of realization struck me: I had forgotten to stick in my teeth. Yep, here I was, midway to work with no time to rush home — while my dentures sat smugly, some ten miles away, on the bathroom counter. The shudder shifted into mounting waves of disorientation. So now what do I do? Go back home, grab the teeth and be late for work? I mean, I’m somewhat new to this denture routine. What’s the protocol on forgetting one’s teeth? Do people actually ever do this — traipse about in public without their choppers?

Luckily, vanity doesn’t loom large on my list of preoccupations. After a second or two of wondering what the heck I should do, I decided to do what I always do: stay the course. When in doubt, move with the momentum of the direction already chosen. After all, stuff happens. So I went to work, minus teeth, but plus one caveat: today, don’t smile, just grin.

Now my point in raising this isn’t quite to share about typos and teeth. Life, I think, is much larger than the portions that fill our awareness. And I don’t mean we can become mindful of the other aspects simply by refocusing our attention or learning more. No, it is precisely those things that do not occur to us that turn out to be striking. These are the kind of things we could kick ourselves for not noticing — but only after the fact. If I had seen the typo, if I had thought I might forget my teeth, those things would never have happened. Nothing I could have done would have brought those things to my awareness before they entered my awareness.

With life and spirituality and all those good, deeper things we tend to discuss here, what lies within our ken isn’t necessarily all that is. But we can’t stretch the envelope to see what we don’t. To do so is outside the nature of human awareness. Clearly, if we could know what exists beyond our focus, at once it would be within our focus. And that’s my point: we might not even slimly intuit what hovers just beyond the borders of our perception.

To know that relaxes me. I like knowing that I don’t anticipate some things because I can’t. Some matters of life are simply unavailable to me, outside my purview. And realizing that, much like typos and teeth, restores life’s sense of surprise.

© 2008 Christian*New Age Quarterly. All rights reserved.

Reprinted with permission, “Typos, Teeth & Trivial Oopses” was originally published by Christian*New Age Quarterly 13:3 (July-September 2001). For more information on Christian*New Age Quarterly, write to Catherine Groves, Editor at PO Box 276, Clifton, NJ 07015-0276 or visit christiannewage.com.

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DREAMWalker Group topics related to this article:

Christianity    Humor   Inspirational Themes   Metaphysics/New Age   Religion & Spirituality   Spirit-Based Humor   Spirit-Guided Community   Writers and Editing

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By Angelica Harris

Mythical Fantasy author Angelica Harris, www.angelicaharris.com, lives in NY with her family. She is the author of books The Quest For Excalibur and Excalibur and the Holy Grail. Harris is a member of the S.C. A. and loves Fencing.  At present she is writing her third book, Excalibur Reclaims Her King, with Corey Blake due out in December 2008.

To sign up for THE ANGELICA HARRIS NEWSLETTER, contact her at angelica@angelicaharris.com today.

I have been a writer since I was sixteen. In High School, I wrote poetry and essays and won some awards. The lessons of my teachers and the inspiration they seared in my veins made me the writer I am today.

If you are an author, you know that if you don’t have a publicist or an agent, it is hard to get out there. Especially in the beginning when you are an unknown. After I published my first book, The Quest For Excalibur, I learned about the industry the hard way. My publisher was not going to sit by the phone and make dates for book signings—I had to sit by the phone and advocate for myself; after all, I am not Michael Creighton or J.K. Rowling — at least not yet.

It took many trials and errors on my part to learn the jargon to speak to the Community Relations Managers in the bookstores, and believe me, there were days when the word “No” or “We not interested” made me feel very intimidated. I had to realize that if I did not have confidence in my voice and some plan to offer, they would not say “Yes”. It took as many as one hundred e-mails or calls and finally, I was able to procure at least two, maybe four dates. There were days when I just wanted to give it all up. I knew deep inside that my stories were good and that if I believed in my work and myself most of all, I could get out there.

Yes it was hard to be proactive — I took tables at holiday fairs and Community festivals and sat there and sold my books privately. I joined writers online groups, talked to other writers, and found out how to get out there. It is like playing Russian Roulette in that you never know when the bullet is going to fire, but after a time it does land and your work is finally seen.

I learned well the jargon and booked myself at “Meet the Writers” forums where sometimes I did not draw an income, but the proceedings went to benefit a library, or the opening of a clinic or a special charity for children or animals. I went to conferences and learned how to make my stories not just good, but great — I even took a vending table and sold and signed my books there, just to get heard and seen. The object here is not just to be visible, but to make the contacts — those that will bring the author the success we crave.

You may say, how can you keep it up?

I will tell you.

When someone reads your book and tells you how great it was or asks when the next book is due out — that is the fire that ignites the writing. When people who are strangers become lifelong friends who support you in your work, again there is the food that feeds the hunger of a writer. When my second book Excalibur and the Holy Grail was published, those same people were there to purchase a book and told me exactly how they felt. Weather the critique was good or bad, you know you are still being read. You make more contacts. It’s not just the media that recommends a book — it is word of mouth. Make friends with your fans!!!

Two years ago I was an exhibitor at the Book Expo America in New York. I met the chairperson of the Virginia Readers Association and he purchased a set of my books and read some of the story over night. The next day he not only invited me, but also my editor Corey Blake to join him at the conference to talk about our work together. It was my first paid gig and I finally felt like I was accepted. After that I was able to make more contacts and was invited to other conferences and was not only talking about my work at my signing table, I was a speaker at the luncheon — it was a moment in time I will never forget. It is as if I grew wings and I was flying.

Yes, being proactive is so important. After taking tables and vending my work, donating books to charities’ and libraries and being my own publicity manager, I was recently invited to Novel Night at the East Hampton Library here in New York State. The President of the Library and the Chair Honorees (one of them is actor Alec Baldwin) invited me. When I opened the invitation, I felt honored and privileged to be one of the authors who will take part in this wonderful evening of literature. I do however feel that my gift is a privilege, one I take seriously every day of my life.

Being proactive is the game. It takes guts and tenacity, but it pays off in spades. Guess what, I have a third book coming out. Excalibur Reclaims Her King. This one has been four years in the making. I have invested my soul in this book. I am hopeful for a release the end of this year.

© 2008 Angelica Harris. All rights reserved.

For more information visit www.angelicaharris.com or www.writersoftheroundtable.com.

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By Stephen Mead
Stephen Mead is a writer and poet whose work include Selected Works and the novel Hang Onto Your Teeth.  He can be contacted at mead815@yahoo.com.

“A Dollar and A Dream” is the slogan for the NY State Lottery. For all I know this could be the slogan for every lottery across the country. Any time I’ve ever tried to play I had to ask the person handing me the ticket and taking my money for instructions on what I was supposed to do after that. There is a correlation between this fact and my sporadic ventures into the world of commercial publishing, i.e.: some part of my spirit can not help but view it as a crapshoot, and usually an ill-fated one from the start.

There are any number of books and blogs and how-to newsletters which describe the best methods of breaking into print, and even creating a blockbuster best seller. There are a great number of people who promote this subject out of love for the craft, yet, I suspect ,there is an equally great number who make their reputation not by writing literature but selling others on the “how-to” ethic. “How to Write the Perfect Query”. “How to Make the Perfect Sales Pitch”. Traveler’s Advisory, I say. Consider the source with a grain of salt.

In the last twenty years the number of publishers and agents I’ve contacted could fill an intergalactic telephone directory. Beware when Mercury is retrograde and Mars answers back.

This isn’t to say I am not exceedingly grateful to the zines and literary sites which have published my work, both writing and art. This is to say that running concurrent is the underlying message from agents and book publishers that I should not quit my day job. Believe me, I know. I could not afford to, especially with the refrain of pop icon Morrisey’s song running through my head: “You just haven’t earned it yet baby. You just haven’t earned it yet saa—uuu—nn.” I wonder if that’s the chorus playing in the heads of even those publishers and agents who have claimed to find my work “interesting” and “of merit” but “just not right for them”.

Sour grapes on my part, or just an admitting to what is accurate about that particular reality? Either way, so be it. The phrase sour grapes denotes wine which has become vinegar, and it is that astringency that I find cleansing to my own form of persistence. In other words, I roll up my sleeves and get the job done on my own so I can move onto some other project.

Certainly, reading between the lines of every word I put down, you must know of the self-publishing role models I look to whether I deserve to categorize myself in with them or not: Melville, Virginia Woolf, Anais Nin etc. It is knowing such role models have paved a path for their own niche which helps give me the courage to try and do likewise. Furthermore, with the wonders of desktop publishing, e books, computer technology and creating works bought as demand comes up (another “dice under the shell game” there), it is actually easier for us lone wolves to get our writing and art out there today. Yes, whether it gets purchased is another story, but at least the potential remains.

There is pleasure in this fact. There is pleasure in learning how to be one’s own editor, and even marketer, if a person has the stomach for it. The truth is I simply enjoy creating work more than I have any idea of what to do with it except share it where I can. Once it is out there I have the luxury of experimenting with what other ideas have come along in the meanwhile, and this digital century encourages such a sense of play.

Windows Movie Maker, YouTube, Lulu.com, CafePress and the like, show how technology is revolutionizing the ways we can present our writing and art. A person can hook a microphone to his/her computer and learn how to do mp3s, including downloading or adding music and sound effects. A scanner and digital camera can be a gateway to producing work of high quality resolution suitable for mugs, cards, and clothing. Text files can be converted to PDF, which then can be uploaded to certain template designs and then, abracadabra, converted back to a book formed to fit in some reader’s hand.

Magical, isn’t it?

So even if I have currently run into a snag with people trying to buy my work through Amazon only to get the message that Amazon is having trouble with their supplier of my work, Lulu, the fact that I find this situation to be an annoying contractual breakdown is not entirely a reason to be discouraged. It is more a matter of the trial and error which comes with the territory of this technological hammer and thumb. Somewhere in my mid-thirties the light dawned on Marblehead that I wasn’t exactly destined for overnight success anyways. Meanwhile there’s the trick of juggling all of this with a happy relationship and a not-so-happy day job. Finding the energy to be motivated is the hardest part while creativity seeks the flow of its own wellspring whether I can harness it or not.

In my life that is the real lottery, and the richness lies in finally picking up the pen, or the brush, forgetting the ego-ambition aspect, and just shutting up.

© 2008 Stephen Mead. All rights reserved.

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By Tamara Wilhite

Tamara Wilhite  is the author of Humanity's Edge, Geronimo Redux (PDF Edition), Natural Talent (PDF Edition)” and Sirat: Through the Fires of Hell. She is also an engineer and the “IE in IT” blogger for the Institute of Industrial Engineers.

Fiction markets are richly mined, but they are also thoroughly mapped. Yet the path to publishing non-fiction is much more difficult. Where can you find the resources to publish non-fiction works?

  1. Find out if your alma mater has a university press. (Many do.) These academic presses have a preference for publishing academic books, as well as a preference for publishing alumni. Also, being non-profit, they can be cheaper than for-profit publishers if you use them to self-publish.
  2. Join a historical or interest based society of the subject area in which the book is written. Those in that field will know which publishers are publishing books on the topic, who isn’t, what agents are in that field, and perhaps even link you up with the right contacts.
  3. If you are well connected in the industry or can pitch to those who are, then the only issue is getting your ideas into print. Wherever possibly, use traditional publishing, NOT self-publishing or cost-shared publishing. Even if the contract says you get nothing unless the book breaks even, opt for traditional publishing. Cost-shared publishing contracts usually mean the author foots most of the bill and the cost shared publisher doesn’t help market or sell the book unless the author ponies up even more money after the book is printed. Self-publishing is more honest; you pay a publisher to print a few hundred or a few thousand copies of your book. However, self-publishing offers no real help on editing or marketing. Cost-shared publishers can help with this, but most charge a lot of money for nominal services.
     
    1. a. If you want traditional publishing, look for an established publisher of books in the field that is serious. A good list of serious big publishers in the field can be generated by going to that section in the book store and writing down the publishers listed on the books there. If they printed it and got it in the book store (no small feat, given half a million titles published per year and only 10% make it to book stores), then they’re the ones you want to publish your book.
       
    2. b. If you want to self-publish, I recommend lulu.com. They offer low price printing, ship at competitive rates through their website, and don’t advertise for services they don’t do well. (I’ve collaborated on 6 science fiction anthologies that are sold through lulu.com, and they’re the only anthologies except “Humanity’s Edge” that have had any distribution or sales.)
       
    3. c. Avoid cost-shared publishing altogether. There may be legitimate cost-shared publishers out there, but I haven’t seen one contract yet that didn’t have an expensive gotcha in the contract.
      I hope that these tips help you get your ideas into writing and into the lap of those who can make use of them.

    © 2008 Tamara Wilhite. All rights reserved.

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By Tracy B. Evans
Tracy B. Evans is the author of the suspense novel Fatal Kidnapping. Her website is www.tracybevans.com.

Follow your dreams, I did!

As a young child, I dreamed of writing. I started a poetry book. When something touched me, I wrote a poem about it. If someone had a birthday coming up, I made them a special poem. No matter what was going on, I wrote.

Later on in life, I developed a passion for writing. I wrote many stories, some of which are still hand written. I never felt the stories were presentable or interesting. So, I laid the story down, and moved on to the next big idea.

I wrote often. I never felt like any story I came up with, was good. So, I never gave up. I worked as hard as I could. I did much research and strove to accomplish my dream.

I cannot tell you how many times that I would get discouraged. Many times I thought that I was not meant to be a writer. I would later refuse to listen to what my mind was telling me and I followed my heart.

As time passed, I came up with a good story. I worked really hard on it. I changed the plot around many, many times. Finally, I felt that I had it right.

That is when I published Fatal Kidnaping. It was the perfect story. It has mystery, romance, hate, murder, and an abduction. I wanted to make my debut novel, perfect.

In conclusion to this story, I want to say to never give up! Follow your dreams. Believe in yourself! You have to have faith that you can accomplish your dreams.

© 2008 Tracy B. Evans All rights reserved.

Originally published November 07, 2007 as Follow Your Dreams at AuthorsDen.

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A DREAMScene Interview: Nadia Brown

by DREAMWalker Group (Michael Walker)

Michael Walker is the founder and proprietor of DREAMWalker Group.

 

Nadia Brown is the founder of Author-Promotion.com -- a resource directory for authors. The site includes a a featured books section where new and established authors can have their literary works featured on our website.

Unscrambled Eggs has won the Poetry Book of Merit Award from the American Authors Association and has been also nominated for and won additional awards.  Learn more about my work at www.nadiabrown.com.

DREAMWalker Group:  Where are you from?

Nadia Brown:  I was born a New York girl; though, I’ve spent little time there growing up. South Florida is where I currently reside and call home.

DWG:  Tell us your latest news? What are your current projects?

NB:  Well, let’s see: Readers can check out the latest book features on www.author-promotion.com — a website I launched for aspiring and established authors. Aside from that, I am diligently putting a collection together for my next book project. I’ve also been quite busy promoting Unscrambled Eggs and new authors.

DWG:  What is it about this book that would appeal to a reader?

NB:  It informs, offers value, adds depth and give meaning to the daily lives of readers. The book both inspires and entertains. But mostly, it has a universal appeal; it is a book non-poetry lovers will enjoy.

DWG:  How is this work different from other works in the same genre?

NB:  Unscrambled Eggs reads like a nonfiction book; though, there are pieces which are fiction. The poems are eclectic and diverse in subject matter; although, the overall theme is about finding purpose. Most of my writings tend to be imagery conscious. Here is an excerpt from Unscrambled Eggs: taken from the poem, “There Were No Bells” -

“The sirens would not go off
nor did her knees faint
from the tie-dye of bliss.
She felt no quakes,
no bumble bees,
no panic sharks reeling
in the pint of her belly. ”

DWG:  How do your family and/or friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?

NB:  I received tremendous support from my family and friends. They are my biggest fans! I could not have done this, or have come this far, without their words of encouragement and wholehearted support.

DWG:  Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

NB:  Outside of my family, I’ve received a great deal of support from my writer friends. At times they have been like angels. Their friendships have been invaluable.

DWG:  If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything?

NB:  Of course there are things I wish I could change, but I can’t complain much. With every opportunity that I thought I might have missed, I have equally been fortunate to have been blessed along the way. Not many authors can say their books are award-winners. I can. And I’m grateful for that! I’ve accomplished so much in a short span of time, which I see as a blessing.

DWG:  When and why did you begin writing?

NB:  I grew up loving dance, music, and songwriting. But it was not until the fall of 1999 when I attempted to write poems. Many of my favorite songwriters also wrote poetry, and since I had a great deal of admiration for songwriters and love of music, I also wanted to try my hand at writing poems. Once I began writing, it just snowballed from there on. My writings progressed further until my first poem was published.

DWG:  Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your life?

NB:  Unscrambled Eggs is collection of poems that have shaped my life in some form. They range in topics from past errors to slavery to dreams and hopes. I enjoy writing about things I feel strongly or I'm passionate about. Some are personal - based on my own experiences and some are issues I've never experience but greatly empathize with. I like writing mostly about life issue; although, I also write abstract pieces as well.

DWG:  Is there anything additional you would like to share with your readers?

NB:  I would be interested to have readers' comments, feedback, or answer questions they might have about Unscrambled Eggs. I can be reached at Jewelx7@aol.com. My articles and poetry have been published and/or featured in national and international literary journals, magazines in print and online publications. I’m also the founder of www.Author-Promotion.com.

© 2008 DREAMWalker Group. All rights reserved.

***

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A Deliberate Disorientation of the Senses: Filmmaker Antero Alli discusses "The Invisible Forest" with Juanita Benedicto.

By Juanita Benedicto
Juanita Benedicto has worked as a reference librarian for the past 11 years at the University of Oregon and Lane Community College. As a selector in film & media studies, she is familiar with Antero Alli's work and is interested in promoting his message.

A Deliberate Disorientation of the Senses: Filmmaker Antero Alli discusses "The Invisible Forest"
An Interview by Juanita Benedicto; April 29, 2008.

Inspired by the ideas of French Surrealist Antonin Artaud, the Berkeley-based filmmaker's eleventh feature film also borrows from Rimbaud's poetics for the "deliberate disorientation of the senses" to achieve heightened states of consciousness. The films follows a theatre troupe as they camp out in a forest to enact French Surrealist Antonin Artaud's magic theatre of ghosts, gods and spirits. During their forest experiment Alex, their director, is haunted by a reoccurring dream where Artaud appears and mocks his ambitions.

As these strange nightmares persist, Alex's sanity is pushed to its outer limits. He seeks professional help from a psychotherapist who suggests hypnosis to solve his psychic problem. Under hypnotic regression, Alex traverses the internal landscape of the subconscious and enters a labyrinth of dreams and memories that are not entirely his own. In the exchange below Juanita Benedicto, Lane Community College (Eugene, Oregon) Librarian, interviews Antero about the making of the film and its mystical themes.

JB: How does the spirit of Antonin Artaud inform "The Invisible Forest"?

AA: As a theatre artist and filmmaker, I include the writings of French Surrealist playwright Antonin Artaud amongst my very earliest influences and inspirations. I find his ideas for revitalizing the theatre both thrilling and revolutionary. But his ideas are not easy to assimilate as they are often delivered with a great force of disturbance or shock. Though I have always wanted to create a vehicle -- a stageplay or a film -- for his ideas, I could never find any tangible ways to manifest the highly abstract nature of his visions. And then one day, inspiration hit and "The Invisible Forest" was born. I would introduce his ideas in the context of a dream where Artaud appears to a theatre director who, in waking life, is attempting to materialize Artaud's vision. By using the convention of a cinematic dreamscape, I felt I could give form and substance to the spirit of Antonin Artaud.

JB: What does the title, "The Invisible Forest", signify?

AA: "The Invisible Forest" has a literal and a psychological meaning for me. Psychologically it refers to the internal landscape of the subconscious, where all manner of complexes, fantasies and fears feed and thrive. Spiritually, it also represents the home of the soul. Literally, the invisible forest is made up of the civilizations of microbes and other living entities feeding and thriving in and under the bed of any real forest...the subconscious life of the forest.

JB: You took some risks with the making of the movie, didn't you? For instance, there was no script. How did you manage the telling of a story without a script?

AA: As a filmmaker, I was in a rut and it was time to take a risk. I needed to do something I had never done before. So I chose to make this film without the safety net of a script and instead, find the story in the post-production editing process. This is actually common practice in the making of documentaries and though "The Invisible Forest" isn't a straight documentary, there are many journalistic elements in it. For example, in the film I play a theatre director who trains his actors to go out to the forest for certain theatrical experiments. In real life, I am theatre director who trains his actors to go out to the forest for certain theatrical experiments.

All the footage that was shot in the forest was what we also were trained to do. In these forest scenes we also borrowed excerpts from two of Shakespeare's plays, "Romeo and Juliet" and "The Tempest" and Artaud's "New Revelations of Being". I then added fictional scenes where my character visits a hypnotherapist to help him stop the nightmares causing him anxiety. These scenes were also improvised. And so even though there was no actual screenplay, these small script elements and structured improvisations helped to shape the story. The heart and soul of the story emerged visually and musically as I reviewed the twenty-plus hours of footage while listening to the songs my wife Sylvi had created for the soundtrack. The story was embedded in the footage itself, in the very actions we performed.

JB: What other risks did you take?

AA: Maybe the biggest risk for me personally was taking on the lead role of Alex. Though I have played bit parts in the films of others and in my own, I have never taken on the responsibility of carrying a feature until now. Since I was also directing the film, my responsibilities doubled, maybe tripled. I think it was also a big risk to make a feature-length work that was so non-linear and dream-like in its free association of images, sounds and symbols. To me, it comes off as much a dream as it does a film and I think it works as both. Judging from audience response so far, these gambles have paid off.

JB: In one of the scenes, Alex, the main character, announces "My self image is that I am nothing. It's not a problem. I like being nothing." What does he mean by that? Being nothing?

AA: This point of zero self-image is an important one. Alex enters therapy in a delirious state of sleep-deprivation. He is there in the desperate hope that he can get some relief from a reoccurring nightmare. When the therapist asks him to describe his self-image, Alex is genuinely confounded. In his current state, Alex cannot find any one image to describe himself or to identify with. He expresses hostility and defiance to the therapist when he says, "I am nothing. It's not a problem. I like being nothing." He is telling the truth, his truth in that moment, and he has adapted to that truth as a reality. This reminds me of something Phillip K. Dick said about reality, "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." Alex's lack of self-image represents a reality that won't go away and this leaves him with the experience of not being anything, of being nothing. What does it mean to be nothing ? It means that, without any self-imposed images or ideas limiting your experience, you are completely open to the cosmos.

JB: This is your 11th feature-length work. Your work is regarded as avant-garde, certainly not for the masses. How do you find your audiences relate to your films?

AA: I am well aware that maybe only 10% of the populace will show any interest in my films but I don't worry about that. My audience eventually finds me. I have no mainstream ambitions or any Hollywood dreams to fulfill. My aim is to be true to myself, make the best films I want to make and stay close to my deepest sources of inspiration and love. Most of those who see my films in the limited arthouse runs they appear in, or on DVD, have shown genuine interest and warmth. They do not come to my films for sex, car chases or violence but for a more poetic vision of life, the possibility of insight into the human
condition and maybe even something approaching mystical experience.

If you view cinema as a drug, most movies out there act on the audience like tranquilizers or crack cocaine, either lulling them into false comfort or spiking their nerves with fear. My films -- and those by filmmakers I adore -- are 100% organic user-friendly hallucinogens. My favorite filmmakers include Andrei Tarkovsky, David Lynch, Werner Herzog, Alexandro Jodorowsky, Guy Maddin, Wim Wenders, and Lars von Trier.

JB: What do you hope we take from "The Invisible Forest"?

AA: A well-nourished and stimulated imagination.

© 2008 Juanita Benedicto. All rights reserved.

For more information visit "The Invisible Forest" main page at http://www.verticalpool.com/if.html and Antero Alli's, filmography at  http://www.verticalpool.com/filmography.html.

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Classified: Help Offered / Help Wanted

 

Help Wanted

  • FOR A BOOK, Lynda Exley, ambassador, award-winning journalist and editor at the SanTan Sun News, is looking to interview traditionally published writers (not self-published) who were either published younger than 17 years old or they have an inspirational story to tell about how writing as a youth led them to their current writing career. Writes Lynda, "If any of your authors fit this bill and they are interested in being interviewed for the book I'm compiling, please have them email me a brief letter about themselves and include titles of published works."  Lynda can be reached at Exlent@aol.com.
  • Film producer sought by author Tracy B. Evans — to turn Fatal Kidnapping into a horror flick. It's a mystery novel with a twist never seen before.  Email Tracy at tracybevans@gmail.com.

Help Offered

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