Here is the beginning of my children’s book (9 to 12-years), The Dividing Line, for the young and their young-at-heart old folk.
I have not written for young people before and so we begin two journeys. One is a journey into The Dividing Line and the other is a journey into writing children’s fiction. I hope we all survive both ventures. The Dividing Line is an imaginary tale. I say it is imaginary but, perhaps, other-worldly is more accurate. People call other-worldly places “imaginary” because they think the place is only in someone’s mind. So is life. In our mind. However, so as to not blur the line of sanity and different ways of seeing, I will concede to imaginary – for the time being, that is.
As you know, I have started a new fiction book called Nanima in the new year of 2022. What you do not know is that I am also starting a children’s book called The Dividing Line. I have not written for children before. The book will be aimed at 9 to 12-year-olds and their parents. Children are the yea or nay of a story, but adults bring books into the home to be yead or nayed. Although middle-aged children are well capable of reading their own stories, what better way to cement a story into the collective unconscious than to have an adult join the adventure? Leaning on the great children’s books of the past which have become part of our psyche, such as Peter Pan by J. M. Barrie (1911), The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (1950 to 1956), and, in more recent times, the Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling (1997 to 2007), I begin a journey hitherto not taken and start a story for young people and their young-at-heart old folk. Chapter 1 coming soon!
Somewhere along the way, there develops within the soul a yearning that can no longer be ignored; a craving for the great Love affair. We feel it drawing ever closer. It is the greatest of them all. It cannot fail. It is all-consuming. It is incomparable. It is the love affair with our own true nature and the source from which it comes. The desire is in all of us but, more often than not, it is ignored for other interests. We wrestle with each interest, trying to make it work, growing with each adventure until the light has grown bright enough for us to reach for it.
Charismatics and Pentecostals generally place their hands on the person’s shoulders. If we add to that the Eastern knowledge of chakras, it becomes a small step for the healer to place the hands directly on the body’s various energy centres, as in Reiki. It goes without saying that the healer must have the capacity to heal or, more precisely, the capacity to let the healing channel flow through them. Otherwise, to the client, it can feel like an invasion of personal boundaries or like nothing.
Before being a full-time author, I had a private practice as a spiritual healer and counsellor, for about ten years, in which I practised, among other things, hands-on healing. Healing is partly a selfish career, as the path must always be. I wanted to learn how to be completely healthy and happy myself. Of course, I also wanted to share what I hopefully found with a world which seemed deeply in need of it. Healer and author, John Hargreaves, who was a spiritual teacher of mine, at that stage, was particularly supportive of me starting a practice as a healer. He said,
I first learned hands-on-healing when I was twenty and belonged to a Catholic Charismatic Community. It was one of my favourite things to do. I never doubted its authenticity because, to me, it seemed obviously real and beneficial.
I remember attending a community conference in a different state. At that stage, I didn’t have any money and was gifted the conference and flight tickets which I was thrilled about. The conference was a large, enthusiastic gathering with many hundreds of young adults fired up with spiritual energy.
Here is one of the chapters from my newly published book, Writing: A Spiritual Voice. The image is the original cover of The Love of Devotion which this article refers to.
A few days before the photo shoot for the book cover of The Love of Devotion (2014), I suddenly had the idea to wear a large, white, silk veil over my body and head. The veil is a universal representation of feminine spiritual devotion. It is ancient and transcultural. It represents the core qualities of spiritual love and inner beauty. It has its own particular manifestations in each religion, but is always equated with humility before God, devotion to goodness, and commitment to the spiritual path. My natural self is highly devotional. As a Westerner, and a raised Catholic, the archetypal symbol was probably arising from the stereotypic Catholic nun.
This is the beginning of Writing: A Spiritual Voice (Book 2 of The Creative Spirit Series).
Chapter 1: Out of the Drawer
Like many people, I have always written. Like most people who write, I had no intention of being an author. I remember, as a young adult, a university friend telling me that my birthday and Christmas cards were so long that they were like a book. Later, in my mid-thirties, another friend told me, several times, that I could write a book about my life. I didn’t think anything of that because everyone’s life is interesting to themselves because they are the star.
People often feel that they have a book inside them. They probably do. However, the effort it takes to write, publish, and sell one is so demanding that few actually do it. If the writing voice is speaking to you, then, in some manner, you should listen. You do not have to become a published author, but all constructive inner drives are calling for action. The fulfilment of anything is in its expression. The joy is in the moment-by-moment attention, the developing ability to reach deeply into the creative centre, and the nurturing of an inherent individual impulse to create.
I began writing my first book, The Love of Being Loving, in 2005. I was in my mid-forties. The book came from decades of spiritual work, and lifetimes before that. It is a small book of 23,000 words, but it took me three years to write because I was a new writer and, true to my writing style ever since, I like to make every word count. After finishing it, I tried to get it accepted by a few publishing companies. As is generally the case, that went nowhere. In fact, I gave up after trying four publishing houses, which isn’t many, but I felt I needed to go a different route. The manuscript sat in my desk drawer for another three years.
Life took a different turn and a long-term friendship turned into a couple relationship. As often happens with the introduction of new people into our life (or old people in a new way), it brought something fresh out of me. The dynamics of our own being and that of a totally other independent being fires up life. As my partner was a caring and intelligent man, also on the spiritual path, it was not perhaps a surprising outcome that I took the dormant book out of the drawer and got the momentum to self-publish it. The whole process of forming the idea, learning about self-publishing, and rewriting the book took another two years. The massive advances in self-publishing, which sprang from the ability to print-on-demand, were very timely for me. Finally, my book was published in 2013, having had an eight-year journey from inception to birth.
All authors know that the birth of a book is a huge milestone, but it also marks the beginning of the equally challenging journey to get it in front of people. That involves the making of oneself as a public persona with a particular voice. It involves marketing and selling. Otherwise, the manuscript might be out of the drawer and into the market, but it will be so invisible that it will not be doing much more than sitting in the drawer. The first of anything is the most difficult. Once that first book is written, edited (a million times if you edit yourself as I have always done), published, and some sort of marketing system is established, then books will have a much easier channel to flow through you.
My book became part of a four-book series, Love and Devotion. Another nonfiction series was also written – The Creative Spirit Series – which includes the gentle offering of a poetry book. Poetry is so private and personal. To my surprise, five years ago, after never having been a fiction reader, I started writing a fiction book, Waldmeer, which turned into a seven-book series.
Now, eight years after the release of my initial book, I have fourteen published books. The output was exponential, rather than being a steady production of books from the beginning. The last two years of COVID-19 have been a particularly valuable opportunity of concentrated time at home, and have seen the release of four nonfiction books and three fiction ones to finish the Waldmeer Series.
Writing is a long-term career. It takes a lot of time, money, perseverance, learning, and soul. Making a mark as a writer and having an influence in the world is a process which generally accelerates slowly.
Trust your instincts.
Go with the flow.
Do your best.
If you know that the spiritual voice is in you, and you would like greater access to it as a writer, then Writing: A Spiritual Voice can help you to develop your capacity to hear and heed that voice.