Monday, October 24, 2011

When the Dream is Over, Turn on the Light: Part 1 Fundamental Misjudgement

When the Dream is Over, Turn on the Light
Part 1: Fundamental Misjudgement

I had a dream. I would write a novel called Waking Up Pink. It would be based on experiences I had in a strange but wonderful commune back in the early 1980’s. There, in my mid twenties, I struggled to become a man. There, under the most romantic of circumstances, I met and fell in love with the woman who would become my wife and mother to our two children. There I encountered what it was like to be in the Buddhafield of an enlightened master. There I was involved, in however minor a role, in a grand social experiment that ended up going rather hideously wrong.

I worked hard to make that dream come true. I knew that though, along with the vast majority of all sentient beings in the universe, ‘I have always wanted to be a writer’, my writing chops needed serious work. I spent years on writing sites, making poetry, short stories and even writing a haiku-a-day for an entire year. Throughout I wrestled with what kind of novel I wanted to write. Memoir, even fictionalized memoir, was definitely out. Too boring. I was determined not to write another serious, angst-filled Canadian novel. I wanted to entertain. I wanted to share with the reader something of the absurd, transcendent bliss of bliss of being in an anything-can-happen Buddhafield.

A Buddhafied is, as far as I know, a term coined by Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (currently known as Osho) back in the seventies. It refers to the felt aura of bliss that surrounds an enlightened being. When that being attracts other beings (disciples or sannyasins) who also strive for enlightenment, then the effect of the Buddhafield is compounded. Hearts resonate with each other on an energetic level creating a feeling state of endless possibility. It is somewhat akin to a crowd being lifted in spirit by a the performance of great musicians, or even an athletic event where people rejoice mutually in the home team's victory. Hearts are buoyed by the experience of something greater, something transcendent that would not be experienced on one's own.

Then novel called Waking Up Pink was completed back in early 2010. Thanks to feedback, most importantly from Brenda L. Baker www.Bren on and from Kirkus Indies (Brenda charged far far far less for her insights, and more on Kirkus later), I tossed Waking Up Pink in the recycle bin and after more than a year of re-structuring and re-writing, transmogrified it into Waking Up Gilligan. I felt like I had finally succeeded, in a skewed and satiric way, in re-creating the Buddhafield. Feedback from many readers (check out the reviews page in this blog) have convinced me that this feeling is correct. However, in the grander scheme of marketing the book, I've apparently made a fundamental misjudgement, one that depresses the crap out me to the extent that I'm going to address it here at some length.

To be continued...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A note from Louise Lukianchuk

Review of J.R.'s Waking Up Gilligan

An absolutely delightful book! It has everything: humour, suspense, drama, romance, mystery, and social commentary. The dialogue is natural, funny and believable; the plot multi-faceted, and the characters clearly drawn. I miss them.

Not my genre, not a subject I have ever enjoyed delving into, and yet, there I was- enchanted. Thanks J.R.

Blogger's note: Louise is my friend and fellow Canadian Author's Association member. She is the author of The Trail and I Talk to the Animals. She is a senior and not on the internet- yet. She is, as she somewhat mentioned, the antithesis of someone who would run off and join a commune. Yet she told me reading WUG made her wish that she could have been there in Oregon way back when. I'm mentioning this because it is germane to what has been a surprising dichotomy in the response to this book- one that has been gratifying on the one hand and disappointing on the other to the extent that I'm going to reflect on it at some length in upcoming postings.

Monday, October 3, 2011

A note from Cathy Niergarth

Hi J.R.

    Just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your book. I have often thought that a writer is a rather lonely performer that doesn't get to see or hear how his or her audience is reacting. Well, if you could have heard me this week as I read your book you would have heard a lot of laughter. You obviously have a great sense of the ridiculous and an ability to convey it to the reader. Your eye for detail and your use of imagery really create vivid scenes, some of which I know I'll never forget. I had a lot of fun going on this adventure with Gilligan whom I got quite involved with. I was really relieved he came to a happy end. I think you have a gift as a writer and a humourist. Thank-you for writing this book and I look forward to reading your next!

      Cathy Niergarth

Cathy: Thank-you so much. As much as I enjoyed writing it, it was a very lonely and quixotic endeavor. It is very gratifying and inspiring that you would take the time to write me such a kind and sincere note.