Tuesday, 24 September 2013




(The image of Kali, above, is an illustration I designed for the book cover. Unfortunately it's the only one I can find at the moment, as this ferocious Goddess only appears briefly within the pages of the book. However, she still has the power to impact the imagination!) 

This takes me back quite a few years - 1999, I think. I bumped into a friend in Town -- Simon. I’d just got out of my car on the way to the Post Office, when he called me and asked if I’d done any more writing since we last met. I told him I‘d just started a new book. Simon had a shop in town; moved into it recently -- branched out from the much smaller one he’d owned before, into this fine, new establishment in the centre of Bath. It had been his dream to have this New Age emporium with all the accoutrements of the time; crystals, Native American incense and pouches, essential oils, beads, bells and smells, downstairs; meditational, spiritual and esoteric-type books, disks and tapes on the upper floor.

Simon had stayed with us for a while during the time he and his partner, Andy occupied Arcania. That was the name they’d given their small shop. Cramped, and crowded though it was,  it already had many customers eager to squeeze into its dim interior and sample its fascinating array of goods. At the end of the Nineties, I was leading workshops, meditation and spiritual awareness groups, some in larger venues, depending on numbers attending, but mostly in my own house. Simon was living with us as a tenant for a while, and he was a regular member of our group. He once asked me if I could contact my Guide and ask if he could tell us about the ancient origins of the City of Bath, where we lived. What came through at first seemed to me like gobble-de-gook. I’d felt somewhat unsure of my channeling abilities at times, but was astounded, a few days later, when I happened upon something in an ancient book which completely backed- up everything I had just been given.

It spoke of a time thousands of years before, and a king who became father of Lear, the ill-fated King Lear dramatised by Shakespeare. But this channelling mentioned that this king (Bladud) had travelled to Greece and taken part in the Olympic Games there. That he’d also learned to fly! All this sounded utterly unbelievable to me -- that is until I later met a fellow author, Moyra Caldecott.  When we got to know each other better, she told me that most of what I’d received from my guide was correct. She had done a of of research herself, and the king in question was Bladud, King of Bath from 863 B.C. (Vis: The Winged Man, by Moyra Caldecott.) I showed her the book in my possession, Camden’s Britannica, printed at the end of the 15th Century, and she was amazed to discover there a passage by Geoffrey of Monmouth, an ancient chronicler of the British Isles. Maybe his was the first mention of the legend of King Bladud, (Welsh version Bladdyd,) and the Pigs. 

This is a long, and fascinating story of itself, and one I shan’t go into in detail here. But there is something further I would like to add: Michael, my husband, a landscape gardener at the time I knew Simon, was commissioned by him to create for his new Arcania store, a living fountain in the shop window, the water for which would be brought from the Chalice Well in Glastonbury, 30 miles away. This water was also legendary for its miraculous properties. So Michael created this fountain or waterfall which constantly gushed, trickling down over specially chosen rocks, into a pool below -- and in fact, attracted many passer’s-by who would not otherwise have entered Arcania’s wonderland.

 However, to return to my meeting with Simon back in1999.

“What’s this new book about” he asked. “What’s its title.”  

“Clea and the Fifth Dimension,” I told him.

“Wow! Great title” he exclaimed. “What’s it about?’

I gave him a bit of a summary, as well as mentioning my subtitle, which was; A Tale of Manifold Realities, explaining that I’d intended to put, A Tale of Co-Existent Realities, but thought most people wouldn’t understand that.

“You know what you’ve got there,” he went on. “That sounds like Visionary Fiction. Let me know as soon as it’s published and we’ll get it on our shelves.”

This was the first time I’d heard the term, Visionary Fiction, but it felt ‘just right’, it fitted me, and I took to it then and there.

At this moment, however, back in the 2013 Now, and having published Dreaming Worlds Awake about 18 months ago, unlike before, when bursting with new ideas and couldn't wait to begin writing them down, I don’t feel I’m about to start a new book. I won’t force it. If it happens, It will happen. But, I have been feeling the urge to design a new cover for my previous book; This Strange and Precious Thing. I seem have done the designs for all of my books to date. Not by ‘design’: I had commissioned other illustrators to do one for me, yet each time I felt they had missed the mark; not understood the book in question well enough, and I ended up doing a design myself. After all, I am art trained as a sculptor, and only came to writing late in life.

Strange and Precious is definitely a work of Visionary Fiction, but  I decided to relaunch it with a new cover, as I wasn’t too enamoured with my last effort. Also, while I’m at it, it presents an opportunity to see if it needs a bit of re-writing. And this is what I’m in the midst of right now, and so far, although I’ve only read the first 60 or so pages, apart from tweeking a word or two here and there, I’ve not discovered anything major I want to change.

So, there we are. This is the project I’m engaged with at this moment.