I didn’t get the formatting right on my first try with Creation of the New. (My friend Terry’s cover was perfect the first time!) I won’t tell you the details of the frustration this additional round of formatting became, only that I got it done and I sent it off. The second proof was to arrive today and I checked outside my front door more than once as I’d ordered it via special delivery, then left to pick my grandson Henry up at school.
It was at the door when we came back. We’d gone on an after-school trek to the library and were later than usual and hungry. I started supper and then, believe it or not, put on a rubber glove. I’ve got the kind of hands that leave smudges on everything anyway, and I’d been making dinner. I just wanted to crack it open and see if, at a glance, the formatting looked okay. I could only find one glove so I handled the book with the gloved hand and used a towel to hold it. I think I got it right this time. Tomorrow I’ll go through it page by page.
A new book feels like it deserves a sacred ritual. I could recount stories of all my first sightings of books, but I won’t, at least not tonight. I will tell you that none of them were any better than tonight’s look-see, and that is only because what you’ve got to do, soon after the first glance, is sit by yourself and hold your book lovingly, and pat it, and not wear gloves. You have to sit in a chair and read every word. That’s the sacred ritual. It’s not too unlike a new mother counting fingers and toes once she’s out of the delivery room and has her first moment alone with her new baby.
But it’s a little different each time, and the self-publishing takes away some of the anticipation. Each of my traditionally published books were a surprise. The covers were done with someone else’s creative talents. The interior was set-up by another person’s craft. The books arrived in a box the size of a crate – author copies they are called. This one came as a lone book and has the word PROOF stamped on the last page.
There’s something about working with words. My friend Mary was over today, taking a break from the longest video she’s ever been commissioned to create and with as much frustration as I was feeling in the midst of my formatting issues. Her music wasn’t working and she didn’t know what to do to solve the problem. These “technical” things are not so different creative project to creative project, but what is different with a book is the journey that it always is. No matter what the subject matter, and no matter if it’s self-published or traditionally published, there’s a story behind why it was written and there’s another story about the process by which it became manifest and another one that’s totally about the “inside job” it is on your psyche.
At least for me it’s all story, story, story and I’m way too close to that story to stand back and evaluate anything other than formatting. I hold my breath fearing typos and it seems all about the literal written word, which might as well be the alphabet at that point. This is why you have to just read…as soon as you can…and see if it carries you anywhere, because that’s the real test. If you can be reading critically, checking for errors, and still get swept away so that you don’t notice or forget that you’re checking, then you can breath a sigh of relief.
I have no doubt this will happen to me with Creation of the New because the whole thing seems to be intended to sweep you away. It’s that kind of language. It’ll grip you or it won’t. You’ll be stirred up or you won’t. I don’t think there’s any middle ground, and I feel that’s been the way with most everything I’ve written. People really like my writing or they don’t like it at all. It’s easy to forget with a book that it has a quality that is like music, and no matter the content, some people won’t like the “sound.” Our listening, whether it is to the words of a book we’re reading or to a piece of music, is subjective.
I know I’m talking about this stuff that can’t possibly be interesting to very many people because I don’t know what to say. I don’t know what I can tell you about Creation of the New without talking about the last five years of my life, and the state of the world, and of spirituality and of our souls. I call it a “vision” because it felt more like a vision than a book, and the words were simply about expressing the vision. It’s that kind of book. The kind of book a friend of mine suggested that I might now, as I join with others, begin to understand….
I’ll be joining with others at the Institute for Sacred Activism in less than two weeks. I wanted Creation done before I go so I can bring it with me. I know it “fits.” It’s part of the literature for this new time. I may not find the right time or place to bring it up, but I don’t need to talk about it specifically to be in the milieu where my understanding may be enhanced.
But the way it “fits” is why this publication is tied to my decision to attend the Sacred Institute and my desire to hand this book to Andrew Harvey. I want to join with others and understand what it is that I created; what this work says, sort of apart from me. Again, like a child that you someday have to separate from and see for him- or her-self, as she or he is, not as your creation. Not even as your love child. Definitely not as an extension of yourself. And yet at the same time, with no disclaiming. It’s a fine line. I’m still straddling it with A Course of Love. I still find it a fascinating thing to ponder, the kind of thing that’s at the root of so much that’s going haywire today.
This is about our ability (or lack of it) to understand and honor and be with what we’ve created, each and every child of our womb or spirit, and at the same time to stand back with enough perspective to find that transpersonal spot, the place a musician finds when the music takes over and is simply coming through to him the way it is to each person in the room, and hanging in the air, and somehow filling him up so that he is it even while it has its own life.
Art is like that to me, and so are spiritual writings. They’re Art with a capital A. Sweeping you away Art. The kind of Art that makes you wonder what hit you, and to scratch your head or rub your chin or gaze off into space and not understand … but feel. You can understand later. That’s where I’m at with this Creation of the New . . . just approaching the gate of understanding.