Warm Reception and Synchronicity

As word about my latest novel gets around, the reception gets warmer and warmer.

Everyone involved in the promotion process has been helping spread the word, as have a lot of my friends.  One review has been posted to Goodreads so far, and it’s a five star review.  An online writing circle I’m involved in even named it book of the month for March. Also, I’ve had a number of follows on social media over this.

I don’t think I’ve gotten this much interest in a book since 2010 with the first book I published, and that was pre-transition.  This book is the first thing I’ve published that could finally eclipse my earlier work.

But will it be my big mainstream breakout success?  Probably not.  It might cement my reputation in the niche genre I write in, maybe, but I’m a long way from becoming the next overnight success story.  Still, if I can become a big fish in a small pond, it can only be a step in the right direction (if my previous life’s work is any indication).

On the other hand, it has gotten some very small amount of mainstream attention, and the premise and cover art alone are attractive to readers.  That’s a powerful asset since I suspect my last couple of books lacked that same appeal.  It’s possible this could be a sleeper for a while, then find its second wind as more readers discover it.

By the way, there have been some strange synchronicities going on of late, most of them involving Philip K. Dick.  One of them I can’t explain in detail because it would require telling about my book, but it involved Godric of Finchale in which the word “Valis” appeared in a review for a book about St. Godric.  The other was last night, when I was trying to find a link to the ad bumpers from the beginnings of the chapters in “Ubik” and the first result in my search was a passage from the Bible about Jesus praying at Gethsemane.  I can’t help but think about my last I Ching reading, something about an ablution being made but a sacrifice being yet to come (meaning loosely that preparations had been made but the final important undertaking is not yet fulfilled).  In light of the Gethsemane verses, the imagery of sacrifice and ablution becomes just a bit ominous.

Also, a friend recently had clocks around her house stop working, and I was reminded somewhat of the poltergeist activity after Bishop Pike’s son committed suicide, but I was assured that they weren’t all showing the same time when they froze.  Still, even my fiance had to admit that the synchronicities were starting to get creepy.

No pink beams of light, xenoglossy, or hidden messages in Beatles songs yet though.  I’ll give it the benefit of the doubt that I could be reading too much into this.  On the other hand, part of me worries that by trying to get back to my previous life’s work, I may have inadvertently triggered something really big that I have no way of stopping now that it’s been set in motion.  Time will tell.

Well…

It seems not only has my writing gotten a small but noticeable spike in interest with fans of my previous life’s work, but it’s also attracted the attention of someone I knew in that life.

I should be glad I suppose, and to some measure I am.  But I’m also terrified because the fact that I think I might have been Phil isn’t exactly a well-guarded secret, and the fact that my writing isn’t- nor can it ever be- quite the same as I have another 30 years of living as a completely different person behind it now.  I have to tread very lightly or I’ll risk immense ridicule.  I find that keeping my public persona divorced from my past life claims was a very good decision but I worry that it won’t be enough.

Nonetheless, I take some solace in knowing I can still write things that my previous life’s fans enjoy.  Even if they don’t know it’s me, if I can make them happy then I’ve done what I set out to do.

I’m entering new and uncharted territory here.  There is nothing in my experience- in past lives or in my current one- to prepare me for the extreme positive and negative possibilities that present themselves.

At least I’ve still got the I Ching.  That hasn’t changed, nor will it change in another thousand years I imagine.  I do my readings with three silver half-dollars from the 40s and 50s (two “Walking Liberty” type and one “Ben Franklin” type) and it seems to bring me some direction and stability through that link to an earlier time, even if I’m just tapping into the answers I already knew and engaging in superstitious sympathetic magic.

I’m due for another reading on my current condition tonight, I think.

Latest Reading

After a blitz of promotion for my new book, I did another reading to get a bearing on my current condition.

I got hexagram 58 changing to hexagram 39, which long story short I interpreted to very clearly mean “Well done, now that’s far enough.  Anything more would be too much and would be counter-productive.  Wait a while and watch it grow.”  In particular, the changes in lines 1-4 told of good progress and auspicious circumstances that would be stymied by too much additional effort.

Fair enough.  I can take a hint.  If nothing else the oracle has become a helpful companion for making decisions I’m not sure of, and seems to err on the side of caution while still giving prompts to take risks when the time is right.

I’m still going to print up some business cards and promote my work whenever the chance comes up but the initial rush of “BUY MY BOOK!” promoting and risky decisions is over for now.  I took a big risk, it seems to have had at least a modest payoff, and I’m not about to kill the goose before it even has a chance to lay golden eggs.

So This I Ching thing…

I disregarded my initial interpretation of my reading on the topic of promoting my new book, but made sure to at least adhere to the idea of staying on the side of correctness (both by following rules on the board where I posted and by not stating that I was Phil’s reincarnation) while still taking the risk to move forward and get the attention of those who might appreciate my latest work.

I was initially met with an angry exchange of comments, but it was from someone I had exchanged rash comments with before.  I kept my comments measured and reserved, and refrained from gloating when someone agreed with me.  Soon, the angry exchange from this person actually backfired on them and worked strongly to my favor!

In a roundabout way, I guess the oracle did help since it advised me that I could potentially take some light abuse and still end up better for that.  Still, I can’t say it did anything other than give me a little encouragement to make a bold move when a bold move was needed.

So is there anything special about the I Ching?  I don’t know yet.  I think I’ll keep playing with it for a while though.  This result is intriguing.

Edit: The curmudgeon who gave me a hard time got under the skin of the moderators on this particular board so much that he got himself banned.  Apparently they were none too thrilled about him trashing a book he hadn’t even read and then complaining to them about the content of my post.  I LOL’d.

Academia It Is, Then!

With little else to go on, I decided to ask the I Ching if my upcoming book is the sort of thing my previous life’s fans would like.

The results were interesting and hard to interpret at first.  I got Hexagram 55 changing to Hexagram 45.  After reading through a number of sources, here’s what I gather.

The key is in the lines that change and what they mean.  Lines 1, 3, and 5 change.

The change in line 1 is hard to interpret.  In Hexagram 55 it means the subject and their mate are well-bonded, but in Hexagram 45 it changes to the subject must call upon help to overcome the temporary difficulty in achieving union.  I can only guess that this will mean that my goals will require help.

The change in line 3 doesn’t bring much change.  In Hexagram 55 it means occlusion and a minor injury that is not one’s own fault, and in Hexagram 45 it means there is no harm in going forward but slight embarrassment may follow.  I’m guessing this may mean slight injury, probably to the ego, as part of the process.

The change in line 5 is where it gets interesting.  In Hexagram 55 it means the gathering of men of brilliant ability and a success after perseverance.  In Hexagram 45, it means the union of all in a place of dignity and while not everyone will be in it, being persistent in virtue brings all on board.  I’m guessing I need to get to a place where a number of bright people are willing to look at my work and although not all will be on board, the greater number will respect my work if I am sincere.

The only way I can interpret this is that I will avoid much frustration if I skip going directly to the fans and go instead to academics and be shrewd and upright in my dealings with them.  I think I need to get my book in the hands of anyone on my university faculty who is up for reading the works of student authors regardless of major.  I may still get my ego bruised but it’s a matter of trading broken arms for slight embarrassments, so to speak.  I have a feeling trying to push my work directly to my previous life’s fans without being shrewd about who I show it to would be a bad idea even if I don’t claim I was Phil.

Right then.  Let’s put the oracle to the test.  Stay tuned…

Terence McKenna on Philip K. Dick

A fascinating read:

http://www.sirbacon.org/dick.htm

I’m not sure I completely agree, but I think that McKenna here is right that I probably was mistaken on some level in my efforts to systematize my insights.

I also think he’s absolutely spot on about being clued into the fractal nature of time (I described it in my previous life as “reticulated and arborizing,” being unfamiliar with fractal geometry).  My observations on Count William and John’s lives and their curious similarities across a period of roughly 701 years bears out that the underlying structure of time is essentially unchanging so I am willing to believe that wholeheartedly.

Also, the overwhelming sense that I get is that I didn’t expect to reincarnate after my experience.  As a result of systematizing it too much and relying perhaps too slavishly on antique explanations, I honestly thought I had broken the cycle and would not be back.  I think if anything discovering a past life as Phil is proof that I miscalculated on some level even if I may have had the gist of things right.

What I’m skeptical of is McKenna’s insistence that he knows exactly what I went through and moreover, I’m entirely uncertain about his insistence that the truth is in the King Wen sequence of the I Ching.  Admittedly, I haven’t looked into the I Ching in this life but perhaps I should if for no other reason than I think I ought to have a more informed opinion on this.

Sadly, Terence McKenna died when I was in high school in this life so trying to get in contact to get more insight into his thinking isn’t really a practical option.