“Where do you go for research?”

While I may be only beginning my book publishing journey, I’ve been publishing posts and articles on other blogs and websites since 1996. I retired as a content writer for my last employer’s company and his main concern was summed up thus: “Where do you go for research?”

imagescalo7bjd

My final employment was with a telemedical services company. The owner eventually approached me to work with his social media manager to learn to write content for our company web and blog sites. He also requested that I post original content about the subject of telemedicine on two of my own blogs.

I learned a lot working under ‘Shell (the social media coordinator). She was a brilliant teacher and mentor and not only understood exactly what content was needed, but suggested professional websites that would help insure the accuracy of my posts. Ultimately, my preferred research sites were under thimagesca94x3kne auspices of John’s Hopkins Hospital and University, the Mayo Clinic, JAMA (the Journal of the American Medical Association, NIHL (National Institute of Health Library) and the research libraries that Duke University, Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Oxford make available to the general public.

When I began to evolve my book, Folded Dreams – the Beginning, into novel form, I made full use of the experiences I’ve had with these online resources. Beyond having used these resources for research on previous site content, however, I have learned a good bit more about using my favourite search engine, Google, to research such subjects as physics, theology and religion, neurology, psychology and history (both social and geographical). And of course, I still research the old school way.

Go old school: read a book!

        Go old school: read a book!

From the results of my searches, I have come in contact with writers and authors, individuals who are experienced in the publishing world, whether as lay or professional persons, physics professors and students, clerics – including priests, rabbi’s and teachers of eastern mystical religions – and a number of other writer’s resource materials.

When I have completed Folded Dreams, the novel, rest assured that, while what is written may not be factual, it is done so purposefully. It is, as I have many times stated, a work of fiction after all.

I hope this post as to where I go for research helps those who are not yet familiar with my work, whether as an author or a site administrator/content writer, to understand that I take authorship very, very seriously. Let it not be said that amateurs can be spotted a mile away!

Speaking of which, there are only 15 days left to enter my Goodreads Giveaway, where you can win 1 of 10 print copies of my precursor book, “Folded Dreams – the Beginning”!

Advertisements

A Folded Dreams Primer (Part 2)

a-post-header

In my previous post, Folded Dreams: A Primer – Part I (renamed “A Folded Dreams Primer”) I hinted at part of the basis for the novel’s main character, Ginevra’s, uncommon abilities of comprehension as though she was a ‘savant-in-the-making’…which she is, although not because of any bio-neurological anomaly. Her story touches on a number of sciences (always subject to poetic license because, after all, this is a work of fiction), including religion and philosophy, psi and physics and…well…”life out there”! In this post, I speak of a deeper understanding of the basic premise from which I weave my tale.

A Folded Dreams Primer – Part II

When I made the decision to expand the original story of Folded Dreams – the Beginning into novel form, it became incumbent upon me to do more than rely on my own beliefs. For lack of any truly honest guidance, I was presented with the opportunity for a fair bit of in-depth research into the witherto’s and whyfore’s of religion, theology and the sciences, beginning in childhood and continuing to this day.

It is somewhat fortuitous that my belief system – formed in the course of a lifetime of experience and ‘gut feelings’ – sprang from too many questions and not enough logical answers. As ‘the powers that be’ seemed to have their noses stuck pretty far up their own…self-importance….I was left with reliance on my own independent studies, discernment and intuition, so the idea of digging deep was not a new concept.

(Probably not the most notable of backgrounds upon which to base a book that I want to be taken seriously, fiction or not. Still, the older I’ve become, the more content I am with those beliefs.)

The Veil of Forgetfulness

In preparation for trying to shape a decent work, I decided to categorize the different elements that touched the protagonist, Ginevra’s, life. The first and main element is the timelessness of spirit and the so-called ‘Veil of Forgetfulness’, which is actually a term I learned via the Mormon† religion.

This same concept is referred within Judaism, relating to the fully aware state of Spirit in our pre-birth “life” – which state becomes hidden from us when we are born into this physical world and the ‘veil’ drops over us as a separation from ‘then’ and ‘now’.

Just a note: the whole “a baby having that level of cognizance is completely unbelievable” idea has apparently been the biggest sticking point regarding the preview chapters of the novel by enough readers, that I felt compelled to even tackle this so-called “Primer”.

A Foray into Judaism:

I have always enjoyed the blessing of a really good memory. In my later years, that memory has, unfortunately, been affected by a series of mini-strokes which were triggered by personal losses suffered over the course of a very short time. Now, while those strokes may have cost me no small amount of neurological function (at least as viewed within the context of my chosen ‘old age career’ as a writer), the need to continuously study and read in order to hang on to what is left of my ragged brain, has been a wonderful perquisite‡ (ha! how many of you knew?!! ). It is a ‘perk’ to have the need to study so that I might remember why I believe what I believe!

The idea of life in the pre-birth state has been with me since childhood. I can’t say what initiated that belief, but as an adult, the sheer logic of it seems immutable – at least to me – precisely because there are so many unknown quantities in the studies of neurological processes. Those unknowns prompt a plethora of questions regarding the so-called ‘Mysteries’ of life.

I recognized early on that certain books in the Old Testament (King James Version) which dealt with health, could be proven with today’s science, beginning with cautionaries about pork (I won’t go into it here, but I trust that everyone is familiar with what can happen if you eat under-cooked pork)! It took millennia for science to catch up to the reasoning behind all that. What’s to say the Bible has the answers (if not the explanations) behind other ‘theories’ as well?

With a background in Mormonism when I was a teenager, and a real thirst for finding the truths in the Bible, it was only a matter of time that I would look for the original texts from which this book is based: the Judaic sacred texts. And it was there that I came to a deeper perception of that spiritual existence.

Let me just share the notes that I made (copy/pasted from my text doc notes):

NOTE TO SELF: KEEP IT TECHNICAL AND VERIFIABLE

There is an article, What Happens After We Die?,  which explains the belief that (and this is found in the Talmud, Niddah 30b): “The fetus in its mother’s womb is taught the entire Torah . . . When its time comes to emerge into the atmosphere of the world, an angel comes and slaps it on its mouth, making it forget everything.” :O ).

(Sounds a bit mean, but hey, who am I to disagree with a multi-thousand year old text?)

The ‘person’ is more than just a physical body of flesh, blood and bone. It is within the fleshly body that is housed the spirit and that part which returns to The Source and The Creator, respectively, upon the death of the physical body. The fleshly body, the spirit and the soul…all connected, yet all separate.

We breathe, swallow, blink, maintain our standing, sitting, walking, running balance, our hearts beat…all as a matter of physiological instinct or neurological automation, so to speak. Synapses fire, triggering these automatic actions over which we have no conscious control, at least not in the long run. But none of this can explain thought. We can map the action of thought, but not the origin of thinking. Face it, one can be taught to analyze, but you cannot learn to think!

TRYING TO GET THESE TERMS STRAIGHT IN MY HEAD!

(nucleus: soul – – – – encased in moving parts: spirit – – – – encased in earth bound: body???? sheeesh!!!)

THE SOUL:

  • Neshamah – eternal soul which returns to G-d upon physical death?
  • Nefesh – physical, life-force? Body? Biological?
  • Ruach – self-awareness?
  • Yechidah connotes the essence of the soul–its unity with its source, the singular essence of G‑d. For the essence of the soul of man is “literally a part of G‑d above”–a piece of G‑d in us, so to speak.

(mercy…it’s confusing. contact rabbi b for clarification)

CROSS REF:  Upon death the “spirit returns back to God who gave it” (Ecclesiastes 12:7 KJV)

* * * * * * *

There’s more, but that’s it in a nutshell.

My poetically licensed take on it all

So, this will be my take on all of this, after a good bit of poetic license has been taken, and this is only as I am applying it to the Folded Dreams novel:

  • Pre-birth, we exist on a spiritual level. Imagine, if you will, a massive beach (The Source) made up of every grain of silica that exists on every single shoreline…all the sands both above and beneath the waters. Each individual grain represents that spark of energy (life spark) that is distributed to every single person who has ever been or will ever be born into physical life…then, once that energy is no longer needed to animate the human husk, or body, it is gathered back and re-integrated into the whole. This spark is not just mindless energy, though. It’s that sentience that makes human-kind self-aware, with intellect, intelligence and deep knowledge.
  • The soul is what makes a person an individual. This is a completely different spark…it is that which consciously analyzes life and makes decisions. The personality. The ‘choice’. The ‘free will’. The Person…that part of us which is most closely attached to God.
  • The body is a husk – or a biological machine which relies on input, whether physical (tactile, environmental) or abstract (thought process whether purposeful or instinctual).

Both the body and the soul have a final destination: death and decay for the one, the end of opportunity to affect change on the physical plane for the other.

The spirit, however, is pure energy. It cannot be destroyed, only re-routed. It cannot ‘stop’, only be recycled.

In Folded Dreams, Ginevra is one of those for whom the Veil of Forgetfulness is only temporary. She is destined to ‘make a difference’ in life. She is empathetic. Her influence on the world around her is, to all outward appearance, of the subtlest nature. The impact she eventually has on those who know her, however, is tangible. In the end, they will be able to say, “If it wasn’t for her, there’s no telling where my life might have led.”

(Coming: “A Folded Dreams Primer – Part III)

__________________________________________________

† Mormon: Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (LDS)

‡ per·qui·site – /ˈpərkwəzət/ noun formal

  1. another term for perk2.
    • a thing regarded as a special right or privilege enjoyed as a result of one’s position.
      noun: perquisite; plural noun: perquisites
      “the wife of a president has all the perquisites of stardom”
    • historical
      a thing that has served its primary use and is then given to a subordinate or employee as a customary right.