Writing adventures are dangerous, but not life-threatening, assuming we never write deeper than we can handle… which maybe isn’t so easy to assess. Of course writing can be life-threatening. Oh, yes, definitely it can be.
Here’s a wild, astral message I got last summer during a five-day memoir workshop which involved deep digging into my subconscious. I was writing furiously, not lifting my pen, trying to channel my shadow self. I tapped into a voice that was the opposite of shadowy. Direct, illuminated, profound: “Darling we’ve been trying to wake you. We are here with you now, and we were here when he was hurting you. We kept you alive. We knew that in millions of years, you would drill down to find us. Stand fast, my girl. God is already in the garden.”
I didn’t freak out too much, but I was surprised. Because even if I’ve been talking regularly to the voice of god or whatever for many years, I had never heard back from it, at least not that clearly. Call it the guides, call it angels, call it inner voices, schizophrenia, ancestral DNA-strand talkie things. This was my first real transmission.
I have since come to believe/realize that the voice of god or whatever is talking to us and even through us at all times if we are able to connect to it, hear it. God or whatever always has encouraging, positive things to say. If an internal message is negative, fear-based, or shows any consciousness of limitation in any form, it’s not god or whatever.
By god or whatever I mean not god. By not god I mean definitely not Jesus. By god or whatever I mean not little you, (oh little you!), not little me, not smooshed me or stupid me or self-hating me. Not professor, not confusing husband, not pill-head mother, not un-individuated, oppressed sex object. By GOD I don’t mean GOD so don’t panic.
I’ve been sort of reading Infinite Jest. Here’s an excerpt. This scene takes place on the podium at an AA meeting when the character Don Gately is sharing.
A theory: the energy/spirit of David Foster Wallace and all other beings alive or dead is one energy and it’s here right now in this very instant, at the point of your being as you read this. We’re all mostly energy, and only a tiny fraction of that energy is sitting watching TV and eating Little Debbies.
This doesn’t mean Dave Wallace wasn’t in terrible psychic pain. Death isn’t real, but life isn’t easy. Then again, easy is just a word. What are we expecting? What are we comparing ourselves to? What have we taught ourselves about easy and hard? What’s been told to us? The reason I’m jazzed up about David Foster Wallace these days is because he was an avowed philosopher, immersed in and dedicated to the truth, to reporting what was going on in his head, and he committed to this bit. He tracked his own thinking so doggedly that his writing is often tedious and smothering, ridiculous, yes, even silly. Trapped in his head … it can really suck. But we can get out by putting down the book. He, presumably, could not.
“To be willing to sort of die in order to move the reader, somehow” … And then …. and he did …
Probably this “sensation” I have, an occasional glimpse into a broader, porous reality … has something to do with the fourth dimension. The three-dimensional world, we can all agree, or we have all agreed, refers to the things and beings we can see, feel, smell, hear, and touch, our “group contractual cooperative concept” of The Real. Any other dimension to which we refer is either the fourth or fifth dimension (also a musical group from the 70s). I’d rather just rest on the concept of dimensionality and not assign numbers.
God or whatever serves as a traditional, non-threatening (to some) entry point into the possibility of other dimensions or entities. There may be giant forces beyond us that are invisible and unknowable (in some ways) yet still important, active, guiding, vital … calling these forces God feels restrictive, prescribed, and OWNED. Owned by religions and sacred texts and doctrines and bible stories that were shoved in my face by all sorts of people who may or may not even have direct access to these so-called “other dimensions.” And yet, I distinctly remember the day in Sunday School when I was introduced to the portrait of Jesus, and an old guy with an acoustic guitar taught me the words to the song “Jesus Loves Me” in a sing-along format.
I was a tiny being ya’ll. But I recognized a profound and powerful truth. I was called back to something that was already there, waiting for the call. The deeper knowledge there is another dimension that had nothing to do with my parents and their giant arms and legs, their engulfing personalities. My mother and father (and older sister) were my whole world at that point in time. But I recognized and energetic link to a self that existed in a broader context, and I knew had been in that dimension endlessly, deeply, long before I was born into the flowered dress, frilly underpants, and popsicle’d world of toddlerhood in Virginia Beach in the 1970s. And yeah, if Jesus represented dimensionality to me at that moment, it was because so many people had psychically agreed that the portrait of Blonde Jesus would serve as a symbol for the realms beyond “reality.”
DFW was hot on the trail of dimensionality in almost everything he wrote. Maybe killing himself didn’t make a dent in his suffering. Maybe he was getting to the most important part of his question mark, but couldn’t find the right teacher at the right time, or maybe he found the right teacher but didn’t pay close enough attention to the teaching . . .or couldn’t hear the voices that were trying to calm him down, guide him . .. darling we’ve been trying to wake you . .
For now, let me go back to my tarot card deck and that clair-audient moment I had in the writing workshop last summer. Who saw that coming? Sure glad I was there for it. So much to live for! Live … just a word but it’s all I have to describe this thing we have agreed to do together. This thing we agree every day together to do. Salute.