The following is a piece I wrote back in Y2K (2000) when I wasn’t quite ready to really write the novel. I’m posting now for two reasons. 1) Mr. Hand of the Philip K. Dick and Religion blog offered me a guest post (thank you, Teddy!) and 2) I needed to explain what I mean by my PKD Big Bang epiphany. I could probably articulate this better now, that like Phil, I have a million words under my belt that I did not back in 2000. Oh well, this is it. The end is really PhilDickian!!
(I hadn’t read it for a long time.)
I’m not writing a novel about Philip K Dick because I’m a life-long fan of his, or of any science fiction. I didn’t set out to write about this guy, HE came after me – with a vengeance. Phil insinuated himself into MY world, apparently because I would listen. Stop right there. I know you think a line like that means I must be crazy, especially because he had been dead for 14 years when this happened. You could dismiss my whole story right now on that basis– she’s nuts. But, I hope you’ll continue reading because there’s something compelling about my story, mainly that it contains Universal Truth aka Universal Knowledge.
My link to Phil has nothing to do with science fiction, it’s a spiritual story. Or more precisely, a Spiritual Encounter. I could launch into an exhaustive explanation of the series of unusual and bizarre experiences that are my life, but instead I’ll try to sum up that part briefly and get on to the crux of the matter– the part that affects YOU and everyone—our link to What Is.
I grew up surrounded by mysterious Masonic rituals, Pentecostals speaking in tongues, Ouija board contacts, and miraculous healings. My mother and my aunt were steadfast followers of Edgar Cayce and believed Houdini would reappear and confirm the afterlife at any moment in our humble home in the Midwest. None of that seemed ODD when I had no basis for comparison. In fact, when I was seven or eight years old, my best friends thought the stuff going on at my house was really cool. It wasn’t until word spread around school that I learned Ouija board and séance communication was generally frowned upon. I felt embarrassed to learn that I fit right in with the Adams Family and Munsters (remember this was the 1960s), so I stopped communicating with the “intangible” until…
I had a series of “experiences” after my parents died (1976 and 1979.) (2012 NOTE: as it turns out, I actually did insert quite a bit about my life experiences in the novel—especially the transcendental “Encounter” that occurred when my dad died. I did not have any intention of doing that that when I first wrote this piece. I had already written two articles back then: “The Door is Open”– a story about what happened when Dad died and “My Grandmother’s Ring” that explained what happened when Mom died. Those were actually linked in the 2000 version of this piece. That website is no longer accessible. Sorry, back to the article now.)
During the late 1980’s I dabbled in Shamanism and that led to a series of events VERY similar to Phil’s—maybe stranger, if you can imagine. I was involved in automatic writing that culminated in the release of a little booklet called Beyond the GodForce (that’s now available again in eBook form.)
My talents were much sought after in the 80s. I probably could have cashed in on this and hawked my “wares” like JZ did Ramtha on the talk show circuit, but I didn’t. My day job, at the government, would have really frowned on that extra-curricular activity! I did moderate an international New Age conference via computer BBS systems in 1987, but that’s another story. I didn’t make a dime from any of that, because I didn’t think it was right to profit from my “gift.”
I’m sure you are weary of waiting for the PKD BIG BANG. Well, it came in 1996. I was visiting my friends in Denver, Colorado. (This is the story I planned to use for the Intro to AKS)
We were sitting around on a Sunday morning reading the newspaper and drinking coffee. John asked if I had ever read any PK Dick. “No,” I confessed, embarrassed because he had suggested PKD several times over a couple of years. I still recall how he glanced up looking over the top of his half-lens reading glasses. “You really should, you know,” he said with a bit of a disapproving tone. “Okay,” I sighed. “Remind me which one should I start with?” I remembered checking once and discovering that the guy had written a shit-load of sci-fi books.
“Oh, start with the Three Stigmata of Palmer Eldritch or maybe Man in the High Castle,” John said. “Just don’t start with his late stuff because by then he was totally insane.”
Totally insane. That’s what stuck in my mind. What does someone write when they’re totally insane, I wondered. Of course, I went right out and got the late stuff.
That little bit, along with this next very important part is how I always thought I would introduce AKS:
My god, he thought, she was ready… She’s answering questions in advance, questions I haven’t asked. I have to listen to her answers, he thought excitedly, and figure out from them what’s what, what the real situation is.”
‘Man Whose Teeth Were All Exactly Alike’ — PKD
I didn’t intend to write this book. Oh, sure, like a million other wannabe authors, I thought I might write a novel someday. But this book wouldn’t take no for an answer. It HAD to be written. “The story must be told.” That’s the first glimpse I got of the situation.
Of course, now you (Teddy followers) really SEE the situation. But I still haven’t even got to the Big Bang. Here it comes, exactly as written in 2000:
I went right out and got a copy of VALIS, what some would call the craziest of Phil’s novels. And, that’s when the PKD Big Bang occurred. Right smack in the middle of reading it, I knew everything there was to know about Phil. I have never learned one thing since that I didn’t intuitively understand that night. I completely understood his obsession over his mystical experiences and this feed-back loop that I find myself in, remembering and then forgetting my own past insights and experiences.
It’s inherent to any mystical experience, I believe, that you immediately “get it” and then lose it in the process of analysis.
I put that in bold because that sums it up right there. Our rational mind can never comprehend the unfathomable. Obvious, isn’t it? It’s why people can’t explain why they believe in God, or Jesus or Buddha. Zen Buddhists can’t explain Satori and don’t even try. True Zen monastics don’t even speak at all. Why bother?
But the rest of us just can’t leave it alone, can we? We insist upon struggling to explain or justify or understand our experiences, especially those that truly impact us. And if you’ve ever had any type of mystical or religious experience, or even an intense sexual encounter, then you know that it’s a crazy-making process to analyze or try to explain.it. Phil took his obsession to the extreme by writing over a million words trying to deal with it. Did he ever get any closer to the meaning of it than that period when the actual experiences occurred? I doubt it. What you do get is confirmation, over and over again—the feeling of de ja vu or synchronicity.
So, why am I surprised to find that my own recent encounter with Paul Williams (March of 2000) is so remarkably similar to the time when he first met Phil? (Read Chapter One – Vanishing Realities from Paul’s Only Apparently Real.) I think I might really write the novel after all. Paul said, “Phil likes being in your story.” He gets it! Paul understood all the dreams and uber weird experiences I’ve had since I started reading and writing about Phil.
And, Phil, I finally “get it!” The story really will be told. Thanks for the great new title. Should I tell anyone that you sent it to me in a dream? Or is that also part of the story?
When the PKD Big Bang occurred, I understood about Phil, but also that everything would unfold just as it should. Now, I finally believe it really will. Somehow, I just KNEW!
Did I mention the title of my novel-in-progress? Phil says to call it, “A Kindred Spirit.” by ejm, Albuquerque, NM
March 28, 2000
Okay, if you found this on your own, then head over to Ted Hand’s blog — Philip K. Dick and Religion for either the beginning or…
the rest of the story 😉