Category Archives: Coaching
This is the second time Mark David Gerson, screenwriter/author and creator of The Q’ntana Trilogy of fantasy novels and films, has appeared on my blog. The first was back in May 2010, when he shared his “Musings on Inspiration,” discussing his views on the subject of what inspires our creativity–a topic this writing and creativity coach and author of The Voice of The Muse and The MoonQuest certainly knows a great deal about.
Mark David is guest author of Dreamographies this week, sharing excerpts from his award-winning novel and soon to be first feature film in the Q’ntana trilogy, The MoonQuest). In fact, this is an exchange of sorts. Today, as his post appears here, a guest post of mine appears on his blog where I share my musings on the moon as a metaphor for our dreams and also some sample poems from my recently released collection, Tricky Serum: An Elixir of Poems (Lethe Press, 2011). Mark David always has something inspiring to say. Sit back and enjoy!
This is the Q’ntana of The MoonQuest, a land where “once upon at time” is a forbidden phrase and fact the only legal tender…a land whose moon is so saddened by the silence that her tears have extinguished her light…a land where fear rules and storytelling spells death…
Imagine it…if you dare…
First published in 2007, Mark David Gerson‘s The MoonQuest has won multiple awards for both fantasy and visionary fiction and is now on its way to the big screen in a production based on his screenplay and produced by Anvil Springs Entertainment. It’s the first book/movie in a trilogy, The Q’ntana Trilogy.
Dreams and storytelling are, not surprisingly, important elements in a story where both are outlawed. When Toshar, the story’s reluctant hero, is sent out on his MoonQuest, for example, he’s given no concrete goal or direction, other than to journey northward to the mysterious place of the moon’s rising and to let his dreams and stories guide him there. They do, often mystically merging into the journey itself.
In this excerpt, Toshar has fearlessly stood up to his nemesis, Bo’Rà K’n. Immediately afterward, he collapses into a feverish coma…and has a dream…
Wetness touched my lips and dribbled down my chin. Coolness bathed my face. I tried to open my mouth to speak, my eyes to see. They wouldn’t obey. “What are you saying?” I wanted to ask. But I couldn’t feel my tongue in my mouth.
My mouth. I can’t feel my mouth! A flash of panic and then…I feel nothing… hear nothing…know nothing…
I’m falling…sinking…floating…breathing cool, damp air. Now, no air…no sound…no light. Everything is black…dark…empty.
And then, something. The faintest riffle of air. A light, feather touch. It’s there, then gone. There again, enfolding me, cushioning me…embracing me. Am I still falling? Everything is so dark…impenetrably dark. Everything? No, nothing.
And then, something. A distant flicker. It wavers and gutters as it draws closer, grows larger. A hand cups the flame from behind. The light is nearly upon me, dancing atop a yellow taper. No, gold. No, blue. No, red. The colors dance as the flame pirouettes. Now the taper is white, as white as the halo of hair behind it, as white as the robe emerging from shadow.
“Do you know me, Toshar?” a woman’s voice issues gently from the flame. Toshar. I know that name from…from somewhere. Where? “Do you know me?” the flame repeats, now in a man’s voice, equally gentle.
“You are fire,” I say. “But who is Toshar?”
“Who is Toshar?” The voice is male and female, neither and both.
“I can’t remember. Does it matter?”
“You are Toshar.” The hand falls away and, with it, the shadow, revealing an ancient face etched with wrinkles. Candle flames dance in eyes as black as the blackness that surrounds us. It’s a woman, long white hair flowing freely over her naked breasts. No, a man, his chest buried under a snowy beard. The face is male and female, neither and both. “You are Toshar MoonQuester. I am Toshar Ko’lar. We are one, you and I. One out of time.”
It makes no sense, yet I understand in a way that surpasses understanding. I reach out to touch the apparition, but there is nothing to reach out with. I have no body.
“What am I?” I whisper. “Where am I?”
“You are here and not here, everywhere and nowhere. You are dream, you are reality. You are light, you are dark. This place, too, is all that…and none of it.”
“I don’t understand,” I said.
“You will…in time. Why have you summoned me, MoonQuester?”
“I, summoned you?”
“Forgive me. I forget. It was so long ago.”
“This encounter, this marriage of past, present and future into the eternal now.”
“You confuse me.”
“Do you remember nothing? Nothing of Q’ntana? Nothing of M’nor? Nothing of Bo’Rá K’n?”
Memory’s door opens a crack. I pull it shut with a cry of pain.
“Was it truly that bad?” he asks, more to himself than to me, as his image begins to dissolve.
“Where are you going?” I cry.
“If you do not know yourself in me…”
“…then do you know me?” Holding the candle is a wrinkled crone, leaning on a walking stick. Behind her, beyond an archway and through a misty, fluttering light, sits a steaming teapot atop a three-legged table.
“Come,” she says. She releases the candle, which hovers in the air unassisted, and extends her hand to me. I see another hand — mine? — take it and follow her across the threshold. “Perhaps some tea will reawaken your self-fullness.”
“Come,” she says, “sit on your favorite pillow and drink from your favorite mug.”
I cup my hand around the familiar piece of clay. Its green chevron shimmers luminously against my skin. I raise the mug and feel the steam bathe my eyes. As the sweet heat touches my lips and slides down my throat, I remember. I remember it all.
“Oh, Grandmother. I’m so frightened.”
“I know, child.” Her voice is the cool evening breeze that sweeps away a scorching summer day.
“But why? Why did I feel no fear then only to feel it now?” I start to tremble.
Eulisha refills my mug. “Drink this,” she says. “It will restore the balance.” Her eyes never leave me. “Do you understand yet who greeted you when you reached this world between worlds?” I shake my head. “You will be Elderbard, son of my son. What you saw was you, in the time to come.”
“But she…I mean he…that is, both…I mean, which?”
Eulisha’s smile fails to ease my confusion. “He and she,” she explains. “A union of all the qualities, masculine and feminine, resides in the truest of bards.”
“Will I…I mean, how…?”
“No,” she laughs, “you will not appear that way to the world, no more than do I.” Her voice grows serious. “Look at me closely. Look at me with the eyes of a bard, with the eyes of Toshar, Elderbard-to-be.”
I shut my eyes and reopen them. As I stare through the violet of Eulisha’s eyes, her face shifts subtly — a masculine jaw, firmer mouth, cheeks sprinkled with the salt-and-pepper stubble of a day’s growth. It lasts only an instant, then the familiar features return. There is so little difference, and yet…
“And yet we are one, as will you be when your time comes.” She gazes at me, her eyes boring through skin, bone and blood, then smiles. “And come it does. You ask why you fear once the fearful has passed.”
She lifts her mug and takes a first sip of tea. “Know first, child, that you needn’t understand everything, that mystery is among life’s greatest gifts.” Setting her cup on the table, she takes my hands in hers. They are like velour — soft, smooth, warm. “You fear your strength. You fear your power. You fear your fearlessness. You fear the future because you cannot see where it will lead and you fear what you cannot imagine.
“You have glimpsed what may lie ahead. But you are only now building the foundation of that future. If you continue to build, stone by heavy stone, you and that Elderbard will meet again. If you continue to follow the path that is yours alone to follow, you will be that sage, the greatest sage in the time of Q’ntana’s greatest king, under the gaze of a grateful moon. If not… If not, then who can say?” She gestures to the door. “It is time for you to return to your friends. They worry and there is much traveling before you reach The Mir. Much traveling…”
As I stand, Eulisha’s image fades. “Wait,” I cry. I reach out but my hand passes through her as through a cloud. “What of my fear? I’m still frightened.”
Only the candle and Eulisha’s voice remain. “Walk with your fear. Walk through your fear. Walk on…into the promise.”
The candle recedes and darkness returns. Everything is black…dark… empty…
And then, something. Voices. Familiar voices. “…breathing regularly again…skin cooler…” “…more water…raise his head…” “…hear me?…” “…speak…Toshar…one word…?” Slowly, black turns gray turns cloudy and the mist dissipates. Leaves. A thick curtain of leaves, framing a face that peers anxiously into mine.
“Ro’an?” A hand pressed down on my shoulder as I tried to sit up. It was another dream. It had to be.
The MoonQuest: A True Fantasy, the first book in the trilogy, has won multiple national and regional awards, as has his book on writing and creativity, The Voice of the Muse: Answering the Call to Write. Both books, and his The Voice of the Muse Companion: Guided Meditations for Writers CD, are available on his website and on Amazon. Ebooks are also available on Kindle and Kobo and via Apple’s iBook Store; the CD is downloadable from CDbaby.
The MoonQuest, the first feature film in The Q’ntana Trilogy, will be in theaters in 2012.
As a creativity coach and writing-workshop facilitator for nearly 20 years, Mark David has guided writers and non-writers alike to connect with their innate wisdom, open to their creative power and express themselves with ease.
Mark David is currently working on a memoir and on The StarQuest and The SunQuest, the book and screenplay sequels to The MoonQuest. For more information on Mark David, his books and his work, visit his website (http://markdavidgerson.com) and his blog (http://markdavidgersonblog.com
I continue to sit in the middle of questions lately about, for lack of a less over-used term, manifestation. Like most people I talk to about spiritual matters, I seem to be as fixated as the next guru on how to give form to my dreams, how to make them real—that is, how to get the stuff I want.
Clearly I’d never make it as a Buddhist. So as I sit here stewing once again in my impatient wondering about how to get from here to there and how to walk the talk . . . I talked again to The Shower Team about how to live my dream rather than just living with it . . .
What most of you do the moment that you return to conscious awareness every morning is to begin to throw your attention at the things that you remember from the day before that did not please you or to aim your attention at the things you anticipate in the day ahead that will not please you or to scatter your attention among the many things going on in your experience that do not please you . . . . And as a result you immediately begin to pinch off or to disallow the well being that is available to you for that day—even before your feet hit the floor.
Allowing or alignment is not a band-aid you slap on over a cut or scrape. It is not a pill you pop or an ointment you apply or a shot you take in the hopes that your life will immediately or soon thereafter snap back into shape. Allowing is not a step or two (or twelve) that you can follow for a while and then forget about. It is not a process that you can play with for a few days or weeks and then be done with. Allowing and alignment with your desires is a lifestyle—and for most of you, a lifestyle change. It is the difference between a crash diet before a vacation and fundamentally altering the way you approach food for the rest of your physical lifetime. It is a way of being and it is the way that we so want you to choose to be because as you ‘be’ that way, then all the well ‘Be’ing thatabounds can flow so freely to you . . . and all that you desire—that is part of that ever-flowing stream of well ‘Be’ing can flow to you . . . or more specifically, you can flow toward it as you continue to make the choice that “well” is how you are going to be on all fronts.
We really want you to get a sense of the way that your life is a perceptual field of possibilities always competing for your attention. At any given moment there are multiple, countless options available to you in terms of where you beam your focus, what you throw your attention at and therefore, countless options available to you in terms of how you can feel about your life at any given moment. If you understand that how you are perceiving . . . what you are choosing to look at and how you are choosing to respond to the object of your attention is always—ALWAYS—determining how you are feeling—and that what you are thinking and how you are feeling are always a match to what you are experiencing . . . then you begin to understand the critical importance of choosing your focus consciously and deliberately with your sole aim being to feel as good as you possibly can about whatever you are focused upon.
We hear you pooh pooh much of this sort of talk as pollyannaish or as fluffy positive thinking drivel and we hear you offer instead what sounds to us like the real drivel when you go on about the value or importance of being “realistic” or being “practical” or facing what is. And we continue to offer to you the idea that “what is” only is because that’s what you or others have given your attention to and so “it is” because you keep noticing it. As soon as you withdraw your attention from what is, it no longer “is” in the sense that you are no longer noticing or observing or caring or being particularly affected by it.
What we would so much like to see you do is to come to an understanding of the abundance, the wellness, the prosperity, the love, the passion, the satisfaction, the fulfillment, the success—the boundless and infinite joy and possibility that is ALWAYS in front of you if you will just allow yourself to notice it. It is a decision you can make anytime under any conditions—to give your attention to what feels better.
We would love for you to just try—just try—waking up in the morning and instead of letting your thoughts meander toward the least pleasant or most difficult or most worrisome thoughts available to you . . . for you to decide—to make a conscious choice—to flow your thoughts in the direction of anything you can think of that pleases you. We would encourage you, as soon as your eyes flutter open in your bed, to begin to consciously decide the direction of your thoughts.
Consciously throw your attention in the direction of an idea that provokes eagerness or anticipation or joy . . . Begin to wonder what wondrous and satisfying and surprising things might come your way that day. Begin to ponder the fun you could have, the satisfaction you might experience, the pleasure that could be available to you at work or play. Begin to imagine your day going beautifully. Begin to imagine yourself being joyful and content and engaged and satisfied . . . Literally decide as you lay there in your bed, fresh from your dreams, that it WILL be a good day.
You’ve practiced not doing this for most of your physical lifetime and we would, somewhat respectively, ask “How’s that working for you?” And then we would, also somewhat respectively, suggest that you not knock this alternative we are offering until you have tried it. Go to your dreams as frequently and fervently as you’ve gone elsewhere. . . give it a shot. All you’ve really got to lose is your lack of progress toward those dreams, in our admittedly not so humble opinion.
Well somebody thinks pretty highly of Themselves. Is it just me or am I getting wonderfully varied renderings of the same answer to my question? I wonder how many rounds I/We could go and keep getting yet another response that is basically telling me to do what I already know to do but keep hoping I can somehow get a shortcut around.
Somehow the idea to “Go to my dreams” . . . has just a fresh enough feel to it to intrigue me. I don’t have to get hit over the head (much) to get the point. So I will give it a shot and let you know how it goes. Just having that much of a plan feels enough like progress to keep me in the game for another round, and to let me feel, for the moment, playfully complete.