I’m in the midst of writing a spiritual sci-fi/psychodrama. I’m drawing a lot of influence from Hinduism, Zen, Gnosticism and the Upanishads. It’s got psychonautics, genre-hopping and Jungian psychoanalysis. It’s like Cloud Atlas meets Valis.
Here is a passage from the book. Working title: ‘The Wheel Stops’.
(For a bit of context, this is from the chapter that takes the form of a journal. The character writing is Sophy, the daughter of a (illicitly) psychonautic psychiatrist who has suffered with psychosis (with strong sci-fi overtones) since the death of her son.
John is her father in law and current psychiatrist, Jim is her estranged husband and her father, Phil, dissapeared after she lost her son. This follows a psychedelic sci-fi chapter from the position of another character who sees Sophy in his dreams.)
“November 12th: John and Jim keep telling me I’m strong and wise, to hold out hope. I don’t feel strong or hopeful, and I have no wisdom. I am not like my Gnostic namesake, Sophia. But my God, my Father, is gone. Like the Deus Absconditus of their myth.
November 14th: These visions. The shadow, the light in my hand, they hold some truth. They hide it, obscure it, occult it from me. But the concealment implies the truth. This place/world/reality does not compute. I am not of this place.
November 20th: Sometimes, when I write, ideas appear to come from nowhere. As if they dropped into my head like rain. I get inebriated on them, giddy on the inspiration. I forget who I am, where I am. My mind wanders into the shadows. Am I the shadow at my hearth?
November 22nd: I read some Alan Watts, and he said “Lunatics frequently resemble saints”. Maybe I’m the patron saint of Lunatics. Maybe it depends on the day of the week which one I am. Later in the book, it said that Satori (“a sudden, intuitive vision”) comes coupled with an ‘overwhelming feeling of doubt’. Maybe I’m not mad. Maybe I’m becoming enlightened. Maybe I have an enlightenmental disorder.
November 23rd: Shamans would be seen as psychotic by men like John. Irrelevant, babbling madmen. Only that which goes through the ‘proper’ channels is valid. What have these ‘proper’ channels ever done for me, or the millions like me? The undulating masses of shamans labelled insane. I’d rather be mad than a one-dimensional, egotistical and shallow academic.
December 1st: John knows about the journals. Jim must have told him. I have been betrayed by every man I have ever known. John tells me I have ‘Hypergraphia’. ‘An obsessive need to write notes and diaries’, he assures me and that my ‘intense emotions and quasi-religious rants’ are indicative of my failing mental health. I wish he’d shut his mouth and open his mind. He says my theories are ‘layered illusions, moving further from truth’, that they’re ‘truisms based on errors, which are based on errors ad infinitum’. He says I’m ‘weaving a veil of illusions’. If so I’d like to throttle him with that veil. He went on (as he does, ad infinitum). I’m failing to ‘filter out all of the data I’m picking up’. This reminded me of a theory my dad had. We filter through reality with out sense of time and space. When we hallucinate, we see unfiltered reality. I’m seeing a truer picture than he ever had. But, if I AM seeing the truth; does that mean I AM an automaton. that the shadow IS there?
December 22nd: I lit a cigarette and became completely engrossed in it. I watched the flame, the curling smoke and felt the regulation of my breath. It felt like the most important thing in the universe. I can’t have a smoke without going nuts. Yet, being immersed in that moment, I felt at peace, like I’d realised something. An intuitive feeling that, like the smoke, everything is ephemeral.”