The idea of humans being modeled after a greater creator, destined to move on to another spiritual plane isn’t exactly new. But, what if Earth is taken out of the picture? Well, not the idea of Earth, so much as the reality.
Carolyn Gervais, author of the new book I Dreamed I Was Human, started her spiritual journey young—really young.
“I was really little, like five years old, trying to find out how I got here and why I was here. It felt really complicated and chaotic and unsafe because there is just so much going on that a child doesn’t understand,” Gervais said.
She kept asking big questions but no one could answer in a way that satisfied her. They told her God didn’t want us to figure it out. That wasn’t quite good enough.
“I was determined for the rest of my life to search for those answers,” Gervais said, “And I did.”
When she became pregnant at 17, Gervais decided it was time to focus on finding answers. She read books—lots of books—eventually finding Eastern philosophy to be the best fit for her.
“I never took anything I read as complete truth because I realized through all my studies that we see things through our filters, through our perceptions, through our beliefs.”
During her research, Gervais would hold on to themes that she found in multiple sources, and meditate on them.
“What I realized after years is that none of it is real, but all of it is real to the five senses,” Gervais said. “What is creation? It’s not something we see, because whatever is created by the creating force—whatever you want to call that—is energy. Energy cannot die, it cannot decay, it cannot do anything like that except change the way it expresses, which means possibly going into another form. I realized that really, if that’s the case, then this is all an illusion that we keep imagining.”
That means Earth, the entire “reality.” From the trees to the Internet, everything.
“We are all aspects of that one soul that God created as a reflection of himself. And I’m not talking about religion here, I’m talking about spirituality as an energy. From that, we were given free will to create whatever we want to create. Whatever kind of life, world, whatever e wanted to create. As that one soul, we decided with our free will to create a physical world that we call real, but that can only be created in thought," Gervais said, adding "It’s only a dream of what’s real. It’s only a thought that we are envisioning as real. That’s what this life is all about."
So, if this isn’t real, what is?
“What I’ve been trying to do my whole life is see beyond that dream and see who I really am which is that energy,” Gervais said. “I wrote the book in order to express that we look at life and crate our life through our perceptions and our beliefs.
Whether you're a hopeless romantic or a history buff, "Finding Frances...Love Letters from a Flight Lieutenant" by Catherine Harris, is sure to spark your interest.
Known as "English Cathy" to most, Harris described her first book as a "labor of love," inspired by her Uncle, Eric Hutchin, a flight lieutenant, who fell in love with 17-year-old Frances McKenzie during World War II.
Hutchin came to America during to train at Falcon Field in Mesa, Ariz., where he met McKenzie, according to Harris. After moving to Tucson in the 1980s, Harris said she thought it would be a good idea to meet McKenzie, having known of her since she was a little girl. Ten years ago, McKenzie gave Harris all of the love letters Hutchin had sent to her during the war.
"I couldn't just put them in a box," Harris said. "You know, I thought, well I should really write a book about this, because it was quite a story."
You might not remember Jonah Lehrer. After all, it's only been ten months or so since he was publicly discredited for recycling his own material, making up quotes and plagarizing others in the midst of a burst of fame as the young, smart guy who creates a strawman declaring that people think one way, when in fact they should really think another. It was a pretty bad situation, not really helped by Lehrer later lying to a Los Angeles magazine writer and taking $20,000 to speak in front of a foundation for journalists in which he bizarrely blamed his own superior intelligence for his downfall.
All the while, you'd hope that Lehrer would at least seem sorry (he doesn't) or have the good sense to disappear from writing for a living for awhile (he isn't).
So, Simon and Schuster have apparently purchased a new book by Lehrer, subtly titled The Book of Love. Daniel Engber of Slate saw the book proposal and it sounds like Lehrer's general pop-science bullshit, but hey, guess what? A significant section of the proposal has remarkable similarity to an essay written by someone else. Quelle surprise!:
There are moments in the proposal...where Lehrer’s language seems caught in a cycle of reappropriation and re-use. A chapter on the secret to having a happy marriage, for example, comes close to copying a recent essay on the same subject by Adam Gopnik, Lehrer’s one-time colleague at The New Yorker. Gopnik wrote:
In 1838, when Darwin was first thinking of marriage, he made an irresistible series of notes on the subject—a scientific-seeming list of marriage pros and cons. … In favor of marriage, he included the acquisition of a “constant companion and friend in old age” and, memorably and conclusively, decided that a wife would be “better than a dog, anyhow.”
Here’s Lehrer’s version, from the proposal:
In July 1838, Charles Darwin considered the possibility of marriage in his scientific notebook. His thoughts quickly took the shape of a list, a balance sheet of reasons to “marry” and “not marry.” The pros of wedlock were straightforward: Darwin cited the possibility of children (“if it please God”), the health benefits of attachment and the pleasure of having a “constant companion (& friend in old age).” A wife, he wrote, was probably “better than a dog anyhow.”
There are three other examples, and this is only ONE PASSAGE OF THE BOOK PROPOSAL. Lehrer seems to be a serial plagiarizer, needing some sort of intervention beyond simple public disgrace, but wouldn't Simon and Schuster Google every single line of the proposal looking to avoid this sort of embarrassment? Lehrer can't help himself (or won't), but that doesn't mean anyone should offer to pay him ever again without fully expecting the same result. There are plenty of smart people out there willing to pontificate in print, throwing together quotes from half-understood research studies without stooping to plagiarism. They might not be as well-known as Lehrer, but at least you might be able to believe for a few moments that a new author might have some integrity.
Send Kore Press your poetry! Your prose! Your fiction! Join 55 emerging writers whose careers were launched after publishing with Kore Press, and send in your manuscripts.
A prize of $1,000 and a chapbook publication is given annually by Kore Press. Kate Bernheimer, author of novels, stories, children's books, and essays, will be the judge for this Short Fiction Award. Tin House, author of The Complete Tales of Lucy Gold, calls Bernheimer "One of the living masters of the fairy tale."
Both the Open Submissions period and Short Fiction award deadlines have almost arrived. Please submit tonight by midnight. Kore's editors provide brief and thorough critiques, and each submission is treated with the utmost respect. Visit www.korepress.org for submissions guidelines and fees.
Local author Michael Frissore, from Oro Valley, has published a collection of strange short stories dating back to the '90s.
Puppet Shows is a collection of thirteen short stories which Frissore called his "babies," which he has written throughout his writing career. The oldest of the stories, "Dinner at Wither Port," was written 20 years ago while Frissore was still in college.
The story is about two brothers who inherited the fictional Wither Port Mental Clinic and are careless with the place and its patients. It tells of an annual honorary dinner held for a State Medical Board representative, in which the two brothers drink, one shoots clinic patients with a tranquilizer gun and the waiters at the dinner dress in ninja suits and speak offensive mock-Chinese.
Like "Dinner at Wither Port," the rest of the stories in the collection don't make much sense, yet they're funny and absurd enough to keep you hooked. Frissore said while some stories just came to him, it took him a while to find a direction for others while trying to limit the story's absurdity.
"It's somewhat surprising that I would have a limit to absurdity based on these stories," Frissore said, "but there is, you know, something of a limit there."
Despite Bradley Sands, author of Sorry I Ruined Your Orgy, calling the short story collection "absurdism at its best," Frissore said he doesn't think of himself as a philosopher. His sense of humor just happens to lend itself to absurdism, he added.
Frissore does however agree with absurdism, the philosophical belief that everything the universe is meaningless and irrational, in a sense.
"It's [the universe] not meaningless but it doesn't necessarily have to have the meaning that everyone kind of sees it as," Frissore said. "But certainly, irrational, I agree with."
A husband, father of two and full-time credentialing specialist at the University of Arizona Health Network, Frissore said his writing career has definitely slowed down. Because most of these stories were written before his children were born, most of the work he put in was in finding a publisher.
"I think every writer would love to be able to do it [be a writer] full-time but there's very few who can make that happen," Frissore said. "I would love to have more time to do it than I do but financially ... I need the nine to five job to kind of balance the writing career."
The book can be found in print for $8.99 and as an eBook for $6.99.
Tucson author Steven Painter is an expert in film studies, and he’s sharing his expertise with his latest book, Take Her For A Ride.
The book, which follows a film producer in 1930s Hollywood as he tries to save his studio from demise during the Great Depression, calls on a number of actual events that Painter said he researched during the course of his writing. A graduate of the University of Arizona’s media arts program, Painter holds a master’s degree, and researched events from the period using the help of a few professors.
Inspiration for the novel’s premise, Painter said, came from a long-standing interest in movies from that era.
“I’ve always been entranced by classic film,” Painter said, adding that the 1942 classic Casablanca, despite being from a later decade, served as a basis for “Take Her For A Ride’s” storyline. Many of the characters, he added, are based on actual Hollywood actors from that time period.
Though Painter decided to take on the challenge of self-publishing the book, it wasn’t quite as difficult as it can be for some authors, he said, adding that his job with a local publisher gave him an inside look at the process. Additionally, Painter added that the story itself is what counts, regardless of who’s behind it.
On Tuesday, April 23, volunteers will give away half a million free books in more than 6,000 locations across the country. Tucson's Antigone Books (411 N. Fourth Ave.) is a partner in World Book Night U.S.
The goal of World Book Night U.S. is to seek out people without the means or access to printed books and give them free, specially printed paperbacks. Thirty specially chosen books have been printed for the giveaway; authors and publishers forgo any royalties. (See the list here.)
Volunteer "book givers" choose a book from the list and get 20 copies of the book to distribute. Antigone serves as a pick up spot for the volunteers. Once a volunteer has the books, he or she decides where to give the books away—at VA hospitals, nursing homes, schools, shelters and so on.
Trudy Mills, co-owner of Antigone Books, says that 45 volunteers signed up and are using her store for their book pickup. She also notes that Tucson ranks 12th in the United States for per capita book givers.
Although it's too late to be a volunteer this year, interested parties can sign up for the World Book Night newsletter for information on World Book Night 2014. Visit www.us.worldbooknight.org for info.
Stephen Chbosky, author and director of Perks of Being a Wallflower, will host a reading, signing and Q&A from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 26, at the Bookmans at Grant and Campbell.
After releasing the novel in 1999, Chbosky went on to write the screenplay and direct the film adaptation, which was released last October. The book had garnered a cult following by the time the film was released.
Though Chbosky began this project as an author, he also has an extensive background in film. A graduate of the University of Southern California's filmic writing program, his first film, The Four Corners of Nowhere, debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in 1995. Chbosky also wrote the screenplay for the film adaptation of Rent, and helped create CBS's Jericho.
The signing is free and open to the public.
An art auction to benefit Bicycle Inter Community Art and Salvage (BICAS) opens with a preview reception… More