There I was, book finished, all ready to put to bed, or send to ed i.e. my editor, when I had the most extraordinary Dream. (I capitalise dream only because Dreaming Worlds Awake is the title and the very essence and being of the project I'd thrown myself into. As it says on the back cover, 'the thread which unites the whole is the magic and transformative power of Dreams.') I had finished the last chapter, illustrated it with my fish drawing complete with Fin, celebrated its completion with a nice glass of red wine - feet up - sigh of relief - when I had this Dream. It had to go in: no question. But how could I get round my Fin, end of tail/tale dilemma? Sleep on it. I did. And then, like the dream itself, it came to me in the night: Coda; a short passage added at the end of a composition to round it off. A tail. My early musical training had supplied the solution. What a wonderful thing is The Unconscious! and this is the essence and being of Dreams.
The dream which precipitated the Lion Story was the heart of the matter, the drama out of which it arose. I wonder how others experience their own dreams? Have you for instance ever woken in the dead of night, your heart thumping in your chest so loud you fear it may have woken neighbouring sleepers? Fear, raw and existential mortal fear! For some time you sit there in the dark, hands pressed to breast, trying to still that lump of biological matter which leaps and kicks against your ribs, and only slowly coming to the realisation that even if that vital organ itself may be signaling immanent arrest, you, your essential self, are safe. All you need do now is stay calm, sit tight and wait - because you are in your own bed, and there’s nothing in the room with you. At least, nothing that's going to do you harm.
The power and magic of dreams, did I say? Running for one's life in mortal terror? Yet -- and yet? Facing our greatest fear there within the darkest place it hides, and making the greatest discovery. What is that quote from Rilke? I forget its exact words, but something like; 'Our fears are like dragons guarding our most precious treasures.' Lion or Dragon; Esdragon or Esme, I discover aspects of my self which, coming to consciousness, become part of the greater whole of who I AM.
P.S. By focusing on the 'fear' element of this particular dream is not to suggest that all dreams are nightmares - nor even, that this one was a nightmare: it wasn't. Dream, rather like the word Film, or Drama is a generic term covering a multitude of possibilities. Rather as in Film or Drama themselves, possibilities and potentials are endless, and just as in these other theatres of human expression, dreams are a vehicle for our creativity. Yet unlike these other areas of artistic endeavour, in our dreams, when properly understood, we get to be director, actor, audience and any other character which our unconscious throws up. The only character that doesn't get to play a part is Ego. Mind. That ever-wakeful, intellectual censor which lies and denies and struts the stage pompous and posturing, quailing and wailing, in every-day life.
THE TALE OF A FISH
Tale - tail? or maybe, in this case Fin. Playing about with words. It was the last tale in the book, or meant to be the last, and the French word for End came into my mind, so I placed the little image of a fish I had drawn, (complete with the word 'Fin' worked into its dorsal er... fin,) as illustration for the story, right at the end -- on the last page in the book. Clever me! Too ***** clever as it turned out. -- But that's another story.
I was playing about with words from the start - 'stream of consciousness'. My first paragraph reflected in some way the sort of prose used by the 'Beat Poets', Jack Kerouac et al. But the story itself stemmed from a dream I'd recently had - a dream which opened up a realisation of an actually experienced shift of reality inside myself -- a consciousness change. And this is why I write about the power and magic of Dreams: They actually have the power to change our reality and the consciousness of the World.
As I've said, all comments, thoughts and question gratefully received.
THE INCIDENT OF THE FLYING CAT. MAY 16th
The second of my stories BLACKBIRD SINGING is also a magical story. I don't mean by that that it is a fantasy or imaginary; it is actual and true, and once again it happened to me - in my garden - at home, this time. Unfortunately I don't have a blackbird picture to hand - I didn't even think of drawing one for my book. After all, I told myself, everyone knows what a blackbird looks like. It's one of the commonest birds in an English garden, (maybe you don't live in England? sorry!) It's also, along with the Thrush and Nightingale, candidate for the most beautiful, sweetest singer.
The magic is, this time, over several Spring days, Mr Blackbird and myself, had a singing competition, and if I had some recording equipment I might have captured my garden blackbird's song. Unfortunately without that for evidence, you'll have to take my word for this unlikely impromptu concert: Mr highly professional songster Blackbird, and myself, the hopelessly incompetent whistling act.
The year moved on into nesting season, and the concerts dwindled and ceased. Mr Blackbird's mind turned to his main motive for his outpourings, courtship. This quickly resulted in him attracting a mate. Nest-building then became top priority, soon to be followed by egg-laying and chick-feeding - the two birds taking equal shares in the later. Little time or energy left for music, now. But then there was another amazing incident. Mr Blackbird got the better of a neighbour's cat who was bent on stealing his chicks. The Incident of the Flying Cat and the Dive-Bombing Bird.
And even more magically, the ascended master, Kuthumi, whose wise, inspirational and humorous words feature strongly in this book, (Dreaming Worlds Awake, as mentioned below,) informed me that in one of his incarnations as St. Francis of Assisi, he had many similar experiences.
(Any comments gratefully received.)
(Any comments gratefully received.)
ANOTHER NEW DAY, MAY 12th
Having decided - more or less - that this (below in blue, previous post,) will be the text for my revised back cover for Dreaming Worlds Awake, and having sent it to my editor for his impressions, I've spent a lot of time these last days in discussions with a group of writers on LinkedIn. Almost all are centred around the various social networking sites, Facebook, Twitter, Blogging and LinkedIn itself, and how effective these are at attracting 'customers,' i.e. Readers. People out there who hopefully will want to read our books. One of the main suggestions to strike me has been the importance of giving our potential customers something to look at, listen to, as well as presenting them with 'blocks of text.' At first I was dismayed: Are people these days so childish they have to have the story-book treatment? Are we incapable of reading and enjoying writing for its own sake? However... on second thoughts, am I being too stuffy and conventional? I certainly dropped a few pictures onto my blog in the past; too many sometimes I feel when indulging my 'show-off' tendency to post the brilliant exploits of my grandchildren.
As a matter of fact I was just about to add a few images of my own to illustrate my text right now. Every picture tells a story, after all, so they say, and I might get as much fun out of the venture as anyone else who happens to alight on my page. And so...
This little creature features already on the back cover. He is the subject of my first story, ABOUT A TORTOISE, and also as an illustration on P33. This chapter begins as a true story, an incident which actually happened to me while on my very first trip to the African continent, North African Morocco, and my very first encounter with Islam on its home territory. I was in for many surprises, not the least of which was the magnificence of our apartments in the Riad we had chosen for our holiday, nor the wonderful attention and curtesy we received from our hosts during our stay.
It is a magical story and told in part to illustrate another of my themes, Synchronicity. And yes, I'm not going to give it all away here and now: You'll have to read it in full in the book. All I'll say now, is, that this particular Tortoise in my illustration is my interpretation of one in a children's book, which our host, Abdel, brought to my attention at one of our illuminating discussions, but which in some very mysterious way connected with me personally.
A NEW DAY - ANOTHER NEW LOOK. WORK IN PROGRESS. April 27th.
What I came up with a few days ago needs further thought. How difficult can it be to succinctly say what your book is about? Such a slim volume; so much varied content. Yet each chapter, each story, each character appearing within it, however disparate each may seem, connects, links and moves the adventure on, so that it is possible to experience a sense of having taken a journey of Self Awakening. (I'll spare you alternative words like 'Enlightenment' to express the same thing!) How then to define such a book was the question I asked myself. I'm still trying to answer it.
My first sentence 'Present-day science largely dismisses the intuitive, visionary, sensual and feeling-based perspective as no longer relevant; it ignores the language by which Dreams communicate - the irrational, beyond-the-mind perceptions which give access, not only to our higher wisdom but connects us with nature and non-human, intelligent beings.' that I feel, is OK - so I'll keep it. But I then go on to introduce the concept of Expanded Consciousness. Too much of a jump. And one I suspect which will leave most potential readers scratching their heads. Yet attempting to define it would mean adding a lot more words, and a book blurb has to be short, pithy and to the point.
Expand - go beyond. In this case, go beyond the mind and connect with your Creative Energy, your Wisdom; letting your mind go free, to go beyond its shackles, connect with that endless, limitless pool of resources that is within you. Some Concept! This is going to scare 'em all off, these potential readers of yours. Better steer clear and keep it simple - most of all, let there be fun. After all, isn't that what Kuthumi, the ascended master, the one who took such a major part in your book, said, right at the start?
Ascended Masters; how will your potential readers react to that? There's quite a market in ascended masters these days, or so I'm told. And having one of your own on tap, so to speak ... can't be all that bad. So that 2nd paragraph could stand as is, perhaps. All I need now is link it with the first para.
DREAMING WORLDS AWAKE celebrates the physical along with science, yet opening its pages is to step through a door into a New World. Consciousness expands; our perceptions become Awakened. We journey through a series of stories about gods and goddesses, beautiful priestesses and wondrous animal beings all drawn from personal experience. We're invited into the studios and minds of the great and renowned, including a master sculptor who died 50 years ago and an ascended master whose last earthly life was in the 19th Century, yet whose humorous and inspirational words come tumbling freshly from the pages today. We discover too if Dreams can actually Awaken us; if visiting the Past could open up vistas into a Future of unlimited potentials and the exciting realisation of who we really are.
Having decided to settle for that, more or less, I'll now add two little reviews which will also go on the back cover.
'What a delightful collection of poems, stories and reflections, all written from the heart. I doubt if anyone could read this and not be touched or have something awakened in some way. To read this now and feel the beauty you allowed yourself to experience is beyond words for me.' Marisa Calvi, author
'Thank heavens for humans like you, Esme! It is one thing to choose to open your heart and creativity - but entirely another to share it with the world. This is the mark of a new energy teacher, and I bow to you! and thanks for letting me be a part of it.' Kuthumi Lal Singh, Ascended Master.
I am about to do a new edition of DREAMING WORLDS AWAKE. Or if not exactly a new edition, a new look. The upside of being your own publisher, and the great thing with the independent publisher LULU, is it allows this freedom. (I could go into the downsides later, at some point!) I like freedom!
(link: www.lulu.com/Esme Ellis/Dreaming Worlds Awake)
So, the reason for a new look? 1/ Although I designed my own cover, (another of the upsides; you can be in charge of the whole show,) the first print-run came out nowhere near the colour of my original design; the background was 'pinkish' rather than russety red and it had other small flaws. So we made an adjustment and tried again. The 2nd try was nearer, but this time rather too dull and browny. So we're having another go. Since this has allowed time for a rethink about the blurb on the back, I've also decided to have another look at that.
My first back cover blurb was aimed at a particular audience - I should say, readership, those who I hoped would respond to the spiritual and artistic masters, who because I had met them personally, I had included in the form of stories in my book; the renowned sculptor, Sir Jacob Epstein; the celebrated Ascended Master Kuthumi Lal Singh, for instance. But their appeal I knew would be limited - a niche market. So a year on, and having received some good advice in the meantime from Terry Whalin, who generously offers from time to time, tutorials and chapters from his own books for free, I began to consider who exactly I was aiming my book at in the first place and if I could extend its appeal to a wider readership. Secondly consider how to go about defining it clearly. And a propo of this Terry had suggested, as an editor and publisher himself, that I should write as if I was composing a book proposal for a publisher. Quite an exercise in itself, and needing quite a lot of thought.
This is what I have come up with: -- Present-day science largely dismisses the intuitive, the visionary, sensual and feeling-based perspective as no longer relevant to our needs; it ignores the language by which Dreams communicate - the irrational, beyond-the-mind perceptions which give access, not only to our higher wisdom but connect us with nature and non-human, intelligent beings. How then to define a book which introduces the concept of Expanded Consciousness?
Opening the pages of DREAMING WORLDS AWAKE is like stepping through a door into a New World. Our perceptions become Awakened as we journey through a series of stories, drawn from personal experience, to meet some amazing real-life characters along with gods and goddesses and wondrous animal beings.
Encounter within it a master sculptor who died 50 years ago; dialogue with an ascended master whose last earthly life was in the 19th Century, yet whose humorous and inspirational words come tumbling freshly from the pages today. Discover if Dreams can actually Awaken us; if visiting the Past could open up vistas into a Future of unlimited potentials and the exciting realisation of who we really are.