The Origins and Sources of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy – Pt. 1

Inspiration and the Author

Whatever Inspiration Means

As soon as I input the word inspiration, something inside of me asks, “what?” At once I understand. Inspiration is defined by Google as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”. Does that help? Not for me. Like so many things it raises more questions than answers and the stimulation is not just mental.

A familiar image is of the author sitting before a typewriter (now a computer) waiting for something to stir him or her or give them direction. First off we have to wonder why the author came to sit there if there was no clear inclination of direction or clarity of substance.

Inspiration does seem to have an independent life of its own. Partly because books of fiction have roots inside ourselves. Nonfiction may be simply our need to give clarity to a “real” world subject. But fiction is another matter.

A Process Without Clear Delineation 

At the same time it just may be that we are wasting our time trying to define inspiration because we are led into a cave with a myriad turning points and possibilities. Sometimes it just may be that we have to accept that we are being stirred by something we cannot immediately define. It may be that where we begin may be nowhere near where we end up.

As such it may be best to see what we can do to focus an idea no matter how vague and see if an outline of some sort may emerge. As a psychologist I often come back to the idea that things are often not what they seem. What we call reality has anything but a hard edge and certainly inspiration may be fuzzy. We may have to simply take inspiration off its leash or find a way to do that. 

A Road or An Adventure

In fiction we are certainly looking for a way down a road, an adventure of some sort. The beginning is to simply start down the road. And the road we choose may be very different depending upon the stage of our lives. We may be searching a purpose for ourselves, looking to reveal something to others or even doing an assessment of where we have been and its meaning.

Finding a Beginning Point

Looking back I have to wonder where the beginning of this trilogy really was. There were just two general thoughts. One was that in my life I search for possibilities and that I’m entranced by mythology. The simple explanation was that I found myself focused on the meaning of mermaids. In their own way they are so prominent. As a story began to develop it became clear that women were central.

From there I found an outline was becoming insistent and steadily clarified as it grew and grew and grew. Since I am hardly at the beginning of my life I had to realize I was doing an assessment and was turning pages to think further about what may lie in our collective future. Together we can see where it leads and search out the substance of meanings.

What is inspiration for you?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Fiction Writing Process I – The Birth and Shaping of Fiction

Various Sources and Resources

The writing process is fascinating. There is conventional wisdom about how to do it, but there is considerable variation among those of us who write fiction. Nothing is universal. Clearly we are using our personal resources, but certainly we all need editors and a proofreader at the end. Of course there is the matter of inspiration. For me, I found some surprises. And those surprises came at many levels. First I noticed that I reached a point in the development of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy when I realized that I had been working on it, in what I call the back of my brain, for decades. 

Sources of Inspiration

And I found the source of inspiration was anything but confined. Over my life I’ve worked in a number of environments from medical establishments, helping people with personal conflicts, assisting in vocational choices and addressing inner city poverty. In the latter, our staff had to do battle with entrenched interests among the higher ups. While they were not despoiling the earth, they were working against the development of a rich new way to deliver services. Such opposition can be seen at all levels of our lives and in our societies.

Many Changes and Sources   

And at the time women were becoming more and more central and influential. My mentor was an extraordinarily bright black women. My feminist orientation was born in those days. Later I moved on to dealing with the crisis management of stepfamilies in formation. And through it all I was getting deep into people’s personal lives in psychotherapy and some of it was simply life management. 

From my educational background I had acquired a fascination with mythology and cultural processes. All of these elements coalesced in causing me to watch the world stage and political intrigue as our social life on this planet developed and we descended into environmental and social crises. 

And more recently women rising to power has become more central as they gained control over their fertility and cultural events defined a need for new roles. I won’t try to detail the process because it is complex and is well covered elsewhere. But we can see their rise worldwide and the benefits attached are truly stunning.

Melding Sources and Themes

When I put all these components together a story was taking shape in my brain. It was attuned to feminism, the reality of growing conflicts and portrayed the need for stewardship of all kinds. And, of course, it had to have a mythological context which enhanced its creative shape.

Shaping the Story

At some point the question becomes how to shape the story. The author can simply start writing, can make notes and can also organize. My wife writes screenplays and in her work I saw something fascinating in the form of Dara Marks’ (see www.DaraMarks.com) Transformational Arc. I recognized it immediately. It is apparent at the movies. Specific elements are built including high points and culminations such as “as bad as it gets” which is the crisis that generally comes about three quarters of the way through a movie. The system does a wonderful job of shaping stories so they thrive rather than plod. I also used Carl Jung’s personality typology to help guide me in developing and joining characters. In fact, I present this tool in my book Creating Characters and Plots which is available as an ebook on Amazon.

But there was also the matter of containment when inspiration was truly sparked. The outpouring began which led to three books. I refer to it as coming from the back of my brain, but we know such things are fortified by the contributions of the right brain. And, with my knowledge of Carl Jung’s personality typology I could see that my personality components were making a contribution. My primary function of Intuition was leading me to speculative fiction and my auxiliary function of thinking was saving me from utter disorganization because it forced me toward organization.

In subsequent posts I’ll give more details on various components of what I call the writing process and what aids its organization and development.

What shapes the story of your life?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Choosing a Book Category

 

The First Step – Or So You Thought

What category have you chosen for the type of books you prefer to write?

So, at last your book is nearing completion. The proofreading will come to an end shortly and its time to take a serious look at listing and promotion. Each site, whether for sale or promotion, offers you a list of choices for listing your book under a category.

Now Comes a Question

The first thing is to decide where your book belongs. Of course you love your book and there are some obvious categories that can be discarded. But then comes some more difficult decisions. The largest category, with 70% of books, is romance. But where within this category does your beloved book belong. You may have an opinion, but the public may have a different opinion.

Making a Decision

With Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power I thought to put it under fantasy. Clearly mermaids were not exactly in the center of what we call the real world. And, of course, there was the involvement of our Earth Goddess, Gaia. So, initially I put it under fantasy. But there was one problem. Its setting was in the present day and the characters were living in a contemporary setting—mostly. So there was a reality orientation and what I learned quickly was that there were many fantasy fans who found it not nearly fantastic enough.

I looked at sci-fi but that didn’t work either. Gradually I had to refine my search and when I looked at each type of category I found that my view of the book and description was not necessarily a good fit.

A Strange Choice

At last I had to begin to focus on “fiction”. No kidding. Well, it definitely was fiction but so was anything else for sale—aside from nonfiction. So, I began to scan the offerings in various promotional sites. I found a rather large divergence of offerings which was not surprising. Often I came back to literary fiction. My initial reaction was that it was simply not appropriate. The word literary means to me something carefully composed which uses meaningful turn of phrase. My book did not fit that at all and besides I admire literature but don’t read it. I want an intriguing story that makes me think and consider such carefully constructed stories as composing a field over which I stumble.

What I Came To

In the end I had to select fiction. Sometimes just plain fiction and sometimes literary fiction. In literary fiction I found other books with which I was comfortable. And if it was offered, which it sometimes was not, I selected magical realism. My book had a modern day reality setting with a mythological underpinning. Given my belief as a psychologist that we humans live on the cusp of reality, it was a perfect fit. There are so many ways to discover and describe our personal and collective worlds that magical realism fit my preferences perfectly. Or I simply had to settle for fiction or literary fiction. After that it was up to me to describe and present it. Now I’m more comfortable and it seems I’m beginning to find the audience which works with the book. When writing fiction, this was not a set of choices I had expected.

How clear are you about the proper choice of category for the type of books you prefer or are writing.

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Origins and Sources for The Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy- Part 1

Inspiration and the Author

Whatever That Means

As soon as I input the word inspiration, something inside of me asks, “what?” At once I understand. Inspiration is defined by Google as “the process of being mentally stimulated to do or feel something, especially to do something creative”. Does that help? Not for me. Like so many things, it raises more questions than answers and the stimulation is not just mental.

A familiar image is of the author sitting before a typewriter (now a computer) waiting for something to stir him or her or give them direction. First off we have to wonder why the author came to sit there if there was no clear inclination of direction or clarity of substance.

Inspiration does seem to have an independent life of its own. Partly because books of fiction have roots inside ourselves. Nonfiction may be simply our need to give clarity to a real world subject. But fiction is another matter.

A Process Without Clear Delineation

At the same time it just may be that we are wasting our time trying to define inspiration because we are led into a cave with a myriad turning points and possibilities. Sometimes it just may be that we have to accept that we are being stirred by something we cannot immediately define. It may be that where we begin may be nowhere near where we end up.

As such it may be best to see what we can do to focus an idea no matter how vague and see if an outline of some sort may emerge. As a psychologist I often come back to the idea that things are often not what they seem. What we call reality has anything but a hard edge and certainly inspiration may be fuzzy. We may have to simply take inspiration off its leash or find a way to do that.

A Road or An Adventure

In fiction we are certainly looking for a way down a road, an adventure of some sort. The beginning is to simply start down the road. And the road we choose may be very different depending upon the stage of our lives. We may be searching a purpose for ourselves, looking to reveal something to others or even doing an assessment of where we have been and its meaning.

Finding a Beginning Point

Looking back I have to wonder where the beginning of the Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy really was. There were just two general thoughts. One was that in my life I search for possibilities and that I’m entranced by mythology. The simple explanation was that I found myself focused on the meaning of mermaids. In their own way they are so prominent. As a story began to develop it became clear that women were central and that another root was the matter of the empowerment of women.

From there I found an outline was becoming insistent and steadily clarified as it grew and grew and grew. Since I am hardly at the beginning of my life I had to realize I was doing an assessment and was turning pages to think further about what may lie in our collective future. Together we can see where it leads and search out the substance of meanings.

What is inspiration for you?

Gaia’s Majesty-Mission Called: Women in Power by Roger B. Burt

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt

Stepfamilies: Professionals and Stepcouples in Partnership

Whatever Happened to Community Mental Health by Roger B. Burt

Speculative Fiction

Finding a Category

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What is your favorite category of fiction?

I’m frustrated. My Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy has come to life. The characters have clarified and paraded before me richly displaying themselves. And I can perceive the forces of the universe which drive them and give life to the future of humankind.

But I have to place this work in what is called a real context. That means, in part, I have to say what type of fiction it is. I can tell you what it is not and run into a road block when I must say what it is. A concise description has been alluding me. I want to call it speculative fiction but Amazon has no such category.

Encompassing

It seems that speculative fiction is a broad category with elements, settings and characters which are derived from imagination and speculation. I created the blog cuspofreality.com because I don’t believe in a hard edged reality. Everything is far more nuanced. Evidently speculative fiction encompasses science fiction, horror, fantasy, science fantasy, magic realism and something called alternative history. I have to say that I believe those terms do not well describe Gaia’s Majesty.

My Personality

I know exactly what’s going on and why I’m having trouble with terminology. And it has to do with my personality. Other blog posts on cuspofreality,com will relate to the full array of personality types but I know mine and I know what’s happening. I’m what’s called an introverted intuitive thinking type. That means my perspective comes from deep inside of me (introversion) and my intuition means I’m intrigued by possibilities and forever ask “what if”. Then comes my auxiliary function which is thinking. That means after generating the possibility I turn to refining and organizing.

Possibilities and Our Future

In terms of fiction there are specific consequences. I don’t write literature. I find the turn of the phrase is something I stumble over as if the area in which I’m working is strewn with boulders in my way. I want the image and the possibility.

Out there is a world of changing possibilities and they invite social commentary. Certainly there is a history and what composes the history. For me, under the guidance of Carl Jung, history has deep mythological roots. And then there are the images. One image which has always intrigued me is the image of that darling mermaid. She is not an isolated image, but is found in almost every society which has significant water. Who is she and why does she exist?

Threat and Conflict
I believe she represents the mystery and threat of women. Yes, both of those things. Is love concrete? I think not. Is a man being enraptured by a woman something which can be taken lightly? I think not. The mermaids in myth are beguiling, but also may bring a man to his death. We can see the conflict and the ambivalence. Those things are not fictional. They exist in our world as it is and are often not discussed or recognized.

And then there is the fact of human conflict and what much of the rule of men has brought us. Again there is a reality, but behind it there is the myth and the varying truths. How could I not explore all this. There are deeply hidden elements in humankind which include deeply beguiling forces and fearful destructive forces. But look at the maelstrom in the universe and see the creativity that comes out of the clash of galaxies and forces. Out of it comes new planets, suns, stardust, of which we are made, and all manner of creative life. How can we not explore these things.

An Emerging Future

And then there is the matter of blending history with emerging themes. The power of women is not seen in the image off a women with a sword. It is seen in so many other elements bewitching and beautiful but powerful in their own right as well. And now, in our world we have the movement to empower women. I must wonder at the possibility (that word again) and where it may lead us and what are the deeper meanings.

Realities Budding Before Us

These books are not just adventures. They ask us to look at the possibilities before us and what the stirrings in the world may indicate about our potential and our future.

And so I created a world of speculative fiction which is not full of multi headed creatures or strange science. It is not meant to horrify nor be pure fantasy because there is a reality there. I see human cultures as waves of change and we are in a fundamental one right now I’m convinced. And so—what if—our earth goddess set aside a movement of women to guard our future and they live safely in the sea and are seen from time to time as mermaids. And what if they are now coming to power and the empowerment of women is indicative. And as they come to power they come into true partnership with men. Surely there is a struggle ahead but quite possibly a glorious future.

And suddenly emerges Saturday January 21, 2017 and the Women’s March!

What struggles and futures do you see?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Creating Characters and Plots by Roger B. Burt, Ph.D.

Speculative Fiction

Establishing a Category

dreamstime_m_31016144

What is your favorite category of fiction?

I’m frustrated. My Gaia’s Majesty Trilogy has come to life. The characters have clarified and paraded before me richly displaying themselves. And I can perceive the forces of the universe which drive them and give life to the future of humankind.

But I have to place this work in what is called a real context. That means, in part, I have to say what type of fiction it is. I can tell you what it is not and run into a road block when I must say what it is. A concise description has been alluding me. I want to call it speculative fiction but Amazon has no such category.

Encompassing

It seems that speculative fiction is a broad category with elements, settings and characters which are derived from imagination and speculation. I created the blog cuspofreality.com because I don’t believe in a hard edged reality. Everything is far more nuanced. Evidently speculative fiction encompasses science fiction, horror, fantasy, science fantasy, magic realism and something called alternative history. I have to say that I believe those terms do not well describe Gaia’s Majesty.

My Personality

I know exactly what’s going on and why I’m having trouble with terminology. And it has to do with my personality. Other blog posts on cuspofreality,com will relate to the full array of personality types but I know mine and I know what’s happening. I’m what’s called an introverted intuitive thinking type. That means my perspective comes from deep inside of me (introversion) and my intuition means I’m intrigued by possibilities and forever ask “what if”. Then comes my auxiliary function which is thinking. That means after generating the possibility I turn to refining and organizing.

Possibilities and Our Future

In terms of the fiction there are specific consequences. I don’t write literature. I find the turn of the phrase is something I stumble over as if the area in which I’m working is strewn with boulders in my way. I want the image and the possibility.

Out there is a world of changing possibilities and they invite social commentary. Certainly there is a history and what composes the history. For me, under the guidance of Carl Jung, history has deep mythological roots. And then there are the images. One image which has always intrigued me is the image of that darling mermaid. She is not an isolated image but is found in almost every society which has significant water. Who is she and why does she exist?

Threat and Conflict
I believe she represents the mystery and threat of women. Yes, both of those things. Is love concrete? I think not. Is a man being enraptured by a woman something which can be taken lightly? I think not. The mermaids in myth are beguiling but also may bring a man to his death. We can see the conflict and the ambivalence. Those things are not fictional. They exist in our world as it is and are often not discussed or recognized.

And then there is the fact of human conflict and what much of the rule of men has brought us. Again there is a reality but behind it there is the myth and the varying truths. How could I not explore all this. There are deeply hidden elements in humankind which include deeply beguiling forces and fearful destructive forces. But look at the maelstrom in the universe and see the creativity that comes out of the clash simultaneously. Out of it comes new planets, suns, stardust, of which we are made, and all manner of creative life. How can we not explore these things.

An Emerging Future

And then there is the matter of blending history with emerging themes. The power of women is not seen in the image off a women with a sword. It is seen in so many other elements bewitching and beautiful but powerful in their own right as well. And now, in our world we have the movement to empower women. I must wonder at the possibility (that word again) and where it may lead us and what are the deeper meanings.

Realities Budding Before Us

These books are not just adventures. They ask us to look at the possibilities before us and what the stirrings in the world may indicate about our potential and our future.

And so I created a world of speculative fiction which is not full of multi headed creatures or strange science. It is not meant to horrify nor be pure fantasy because there is a reality there. I see human cultures as waves of change and we are in a fundamental one right now I’m convinced. And so, what if, our earth goddess set aside a movement of women to guard our future and they live safely in the sea and are seen from time to time as mermaids. And what if they are now coming to power and the empowerment of women is indicative. And as they come to power they come into true partnership with men. Surely there is a struggle ahead but quite possibly a glorious future.

What struggles and futures do you see?

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Life Wins Almost Every Time

 

dreamstime_m_53708866

What sudden shifts have you experienced in your life?

Clarity Versus Reality

We may maintain contradictory beliefs at the same time. We often “know” about our future and what we want one moment at a time. But life has a way of having other “thoughts” for us. A trip to Washington, D.C. and the halls of Congress is instructive.

A Political Environment is Almost a Life Form in Itself

There is a class of political beings clearly to be seen. Almost routinely they are clad in dark blue or black suits whether they are men or women. These are the aides and the employees of the members of Congress. Many of them fought hard to get their jobs. Sometimes it wasn’t a matter of simply applying. Often it involved service in successful political campaigns. In some cases they had to serve a number of times before their candidate won and they could join him or her in government. They could then come along for a glorious career.

Except there is a sobering note. There is an age group missing in DC. The dominant age group jumps from twentysomethings to middle age. Why is that?

Along Comes Destiny

The problem is that fabulous face. It is seen across a room at a party or a gathering of some kind. Two people enchant each other and then the most terrible thing happens. They desperately want to be together and that generally leads to a passionate involvement, marriage and children. Setting up the appropriate household and managing the insistent newcomers are all consuming. And so the careers are interrupted or end. The political passions are replaced by the personal passions and associated needs.

It often seems that this almost inevitable human event was not foreseen. The focus was on the moment and the excitement of the career. At some point we once again see the insistence of a reality we live on the edge of. Isn’t it amazing how we can evade the almost certain element of life which is just waiting out there? We do an extraordinary balancing act with these various facets of our lives. The adventure may only be for a time. Or at least that particular adventure. And often the fiction writer plays out the scenarios for us. Perhaps we should pay more attention to fiction.

What is your style in pursuing fiction? Do you consider it or experience it?

Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery Amazon page

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

Inner Life and Dreams

 

dreamstime_m_33128118

Where does fiction lead you?

Life Transitions

Generally we don’t question our relationship to reality. So long as things are going well, we are best engaged in other pursuits. Of course, when we find ourselves in a life transition, we may decide what we saw as reality is open to interpretation. We tend to explore ourselves at times such as when we embark on adulthood, experience a love relationship or enter middle age. We seem to have no trouble with exploration when we are deep in fiction precisely because we call it fiction and it need not be personal. But, in fact, fiction is often a reflection of facets of our personal reality. The fiction which attracts us surely has something to do with our inner lives.

Avenues for Exploration

Inner lives serve purposes. These lives may be numerous and tumultuous but generally are kept in bounds until there is a crisis whether it is something like a job change or a marital failure.

These lives may include quite a number of alter egos with which we flirt.
Perhaps we experience them as moods. They may be defined by our enduring personality. That is not to say they are real and active personalities but we do have a life within in which we cavort and seek alternatives. Certainly they are testing grounds for who we think we might be or who we might want to become. They are probably more publicly visible in childhood but as adults they may become private and secret. Sometimes though, in our later years, we feel the need to assess what we have done and how we leave our life.

Enhancement of Existence

Most of us have some valuable inner lives which enhance our overall existence. Wouldn’t it be unfortunate, even stultifying, if we did not have such richness which we harbor.

And then there is the matter of our dreams. We nurture them through our years and often share them with friends but, it is to be hoped, they are shared and enhanced in our love relationships. It is my suspicion that dreams are much more prevalent in younger people but I suspect that there may be people who maintain rich and active dreams well into late life.

Dreaming of Eternity

We tend to think that people resign themselves to the end of their lives but I doubt it is universal. Who might not dream of an extension of some form. Part of the reason I believe this is that there is almost a universal belief in an afterlife. Isn’t that a dream which is widely harbored? Why would we ever want to give up the precious dreams of what we might become or with whom we might bond some day in a far off future of some sort? We may want to reunite with a current loved one because it is a precious relationship. Or we might know someone we would want a relationship with some day in the future.

Individual to Universal

The point of this exposition is that as individuals we are not static and that at many levels our lives are complex. Each life has a wave pattern in which we experience some form of an upwelling with attendant changes. That period may be followed by a consolidation as a wave subsides. Then comes preparation for the next period. We can see these processes in human development. But we are beginning to see that such processes occur socially, in the life of a nation and even for humankind in general. What fascinates me is that the examination of these waves is becoming more intense and more public. More on this shortly.

Can we truly separate personal development from the development of humankind in general?

Gaia’s Majesty: Discovery Amazon page

Roger B. Burt’s Amazon home page

#speculative fantasy,#dreams and visions,#inspirational and personal growth,#spirit guide