Voice from the Cave – a new book
I’ve not written a blog since November last year. Six months of silence. It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say. I have. I kept thinking of all the things I want to say, and the words just drained away like spilled water down a sink. Depression has bitten deep and held on hard. I look at the various news stories, UK and worldwide, and sink further. That carrion comfort, as Hopkins called it, despair, has been my companion. Outwardly I have functioned. I’ve talked with people, done things, smiled, laughed, and inside, there’s still that aching, resonant, black void of everything.
Not, I’ll not, carrion comfort, Despair, not feast on thee;
Not untwist — slack they may be — these last strands of man
In me ór, most weary, cry I can no more. I can;
Can something, hope, wish day come, not choose not to be.
But ah, but O thou terrible, why wouldst thou rude on me
Thy wring-world right foot rock? lay a lionlimb against me? scan
With darksome devouring eyes my bruisèd bones? and fan,
O in turns of tempest, me heaped there; me frantic to avoid thee and flee?
Why? That my chaff might fly; my grain lie, sheer and clear.
Nay in all that toil, that coil, since (seems) I kissed the rod,
Hand rather, my heart lo! lapped strength, stole joy, would laugh, chéer.
Cheer whom though? the hero whose heaven-handling flung me, fóot tród
Me? or me that fought him? O which one? is it each one? That night, that year
Of now done darkness I wretch lay wrestling with (my God!) my God.
There are many good things in my life, without a doubt, things that I am grateful for, but I feel almost nothing. Anger is my go-to emotion, closely followed by resignation and withdrawal. The causes of all this are clear but there is nothing I can do but keep on keeping on. So I have.
Long time readers of this blog will have seen the various posts over ten years, where I have written about a cave, a mythic, mystical location. I have had requests for them to be collected into book form, and with what I can only describe as a gargantuan effort disproportionate to the task as perceived from outside, I have now done so. One of the hardest parts was writing a blurb. Every writer I know loathes doing this. How do you sum something up in a few hundred words? I came across a couple of paragraphs in a book that inspired me and helped find the right words.
“According to the Sufis, there is a human world, and a world of pure spirit and an intermediate world of the imagination in which those two worlds can interact.” Raff, Jung and the Alchemical Imagination p 141
“…there is the normal human world of ordinary reality and there is the divine world that transcends reality as we know it. Between these worlds is the world of the imagination, in which spirits and the divinity Itself may personify themselves as imaginal figures. Since relating to the image is the same as relating to the entity itself, it is through imaginative experiences that the divinity may be known and transformed.” Raff, Jung and the Alchemical Imagination p 144.
The finished blurb is as follows:
“I found the cave high in the mountains by accident, if such things exist, wandering through tunnels of ancient rock, in pitch darkness, feeling my way for miles…” This is a work that hovers between fiction and non-fiction, in that imaginal space that is both and neither. That imaginal world, known to the Sufi mystics, is where the human world of ordinary reality and the world of pure spirit and imagination, meet and interact. Outside of the limitations of linear time and space, I have explored a small segment of my own imaginal world; in it I have met with guides and with challenges that have pushed me to my limits and then beyond. Each fragment is from one of those festivals during which we mark the growing and the waning of the solar year and the passing of the moon cycles within those. Time does not pass as you think it should and nothing is quite as simple as it seems. (This is a shorter work of around 8,500 words) The cover art was done by my friend Bethan Christopher http://www.bethanchristopher.com/ who did the cover for “Ice Cream for Breakfast” and the graphic design by my friend Karl from We Lack Discipline https://welackdiscipline.com/ The book is available through all Amazon channels, in paperback and in kindle form. It’s only a short thing, but the effort of getting all my metaphorical (and metaphysical) ducks in a row was exhausting. I’d strongly urge you to consider reviewing it after reading, because reviews help visibility. I have a small (and I do mean small) stock of my own copies and within the UK I can potentially do signed copies, though if you have a problem with buying anything from the mighty ‘Zon, then be aware my copies are directly from them so I am merely acting as your sin-eater so to speak. I have no other way of getting books out there than using this means. I am proud of this little book, because it is good (putting it simply) but it is also an oddity. It doesn’t fit neatly into any big genre or category. When I got the paperback out, it charted in the category Gaia and in shamanism. I’d love to see it hit number 1 in one or both of those if possible. Anyway, here’s the link to the UK page, and for all others, change the UK part of the URL to whichever store you buy from, or put the title and my name into the search facility. Thank you for reading. I am hoping it won’t be another six months before I write anything here! https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0B14RT5F8/
I heard someone call out to me to purchase this book and I simply “caved in” and bought it. Looking forward to a good read.
Nice to see you blogging again my dear!
Michael J Contos, USA
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Thank you most kindly, dear Michael. x
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Congratulations and well done, Viv. I’m looking forward to reading it very much. I love your other books. May you enjoy the success with this one that you deserve!
Although I don’t normally suffer from that carrion comfort, my last book exhausted me to the point that I had a small taste of it for a while. I send you my sincere sympathy for the bigger portion you’ve been served. It’s a real bear! I’ve also backed off from blogging for a while simply because I’ve felt drained of inspiration and energy. Last Sunday I heard an interview with Garrison Keillor, who has recently turned 80, in which he said, “The good thing about this age is that you lose your ambition and enjoy your work.” As I approach that threshold I feel the same thing happening to me. I love to write and have no intention of stopping, but I’ve lost the motivation to push myself so hard to meet deadlines that my life and body suffer for it.
Much love and best wishes, Jeanie
Thank you so much x