Saturday, May 24, 2014

Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: The Death of a Literary Writer

     Yesterday, I think it was yesterday, or last week, last year, whatever, I woke up feeling really low and decided I didn’t care anymore.  I reached for that mythical tether, that thread of sanity so important to steady one’s feet near that perilous edge of the intellectual and emotional abyss called depression; my tether was gone.  Think about it, there are ten thousand reasons to feel hopeless in your God forsaken world, but as I once believed, it takes only one pseudo-sapient purpose to maintain that inane delusion that your life, your talent, your avocation might be a worthwhile pursuit.  I reached and my tether was no longer there.  The curser blinked on a blank screen: no words, no ideas, no meaning, not a single syllable gleaned from all the words of my studied vocabulary would follow my fingers to paper.  I had nothing left to say, and no one seemed willing to listen.  So I quit!

     Yes, I know this alley smells like urine, well, maybe that and rancid garbage; I don’t really care.  I didn’t invite you, if you want to go, go.  I got two bottles and enough change to buy a third if I need it.  This smell isn’t uncomfortable to me.  People, now they are the great offense to my senses.  I hate what I call, regular people.  I hate it when I see them with their shallow laughs and empty smiles.  No depth, no comprehension, no intuition; nothing is worse than an empty skull.  I am talking about illiterate people who think they know about life, but everything they know is external and there is nothing on the inside.  Most people are like poorly written books:  A pretty cover luring your wallet while remunerated blurbs distract the eyes from the vulgar excuse for language inside.  Twain called himself a misanthrope; now that would be a book club I could join.
     I bought this wine at Kenny’s Mart across the way; I didn’t even have to speak to that ugly, pierced, tattooed cashier.  I doubt Mary would remember me; she once was a brief $20.00 date when I needed one.  Now she collects soiled money from soiled bodies that shun orthodox society and bide our time in drunken shadows while our meager insignificance fades to nothing.  This is the caliginous part of town where the morose, cabalistic people come and spend our nights in the sanctity of darkened alleyways.  We are not a lost people; we know where we are and why we are here.  When I handed the cashier my crumpled money, I watched a lucid thought roll across the dimmed horizons of my mind:  Would these two bottles give me any more satisfaction than the old whore’s mouth once did?  I almost smiled.  I collected my change without eye contact and retreated from the harsh light of my reality.
     It’s okay, we can sit here.  This doorway is safe; it’s deserted.  It was once the kitchen entrance to some Italian ristorante or bistro or something, back when this was a better part of town.  I ate here once.  There are no restaurants in this neighborhood anymore.  If your stomach can hold food, there’s a mission up that way about two blocks.  They’ll make you pray for dinner.  I don’t remember how to pray, or who to pray to, so when I get hungry, I just buy more wine.   
     You want some of this?  I don’t mind; I’ll share, but then you are going to have to walk over and get some more from Mother Mary, or whatever she is calling herself these days.  Do me a favor though, don’t shop by price.  Get something with a little palate.  There are some things I miss about my old life.

     What are you doing here anyway?  Are you another writer doing one of those “Where Are They Now” series?  Investigating to see if I’m following in the footsteps of the 20th century masters?  Yeah, well I did; I’m a sot, too, okay? 
     There was a time when people called me an intellectual, but you knew that already.  Did you know there were some who called me professor?  A few even called me a great writer once, but only a few.  Believe me I worked hard at writing.  I wrote stuff that I thought would matter; apparently, it didn’t.  I argued with publishers and the literati that the universal interest in the written word was not dead.  I crusaded for years on campuses and in libraries to start a renaissance of culture and education through literature.  I even tried to pen a new version of The Confidence Man, just to thumb my nose at the snooty readers of pulp.  It worked for me almost as well as it worked for Melville.  I couldn’t bring myself to write the sophomoric crap the public wanted, not for the sake of a paycheck.  I languished in mediocre toils to write while refusing to compromise my education and talent for something as unredeeming as currency.  My riches, I wanted to believe, were banked in the words I wrote. 
     I blame a lot on our television society.  Give the public twenty-two minutes of meaningless dialogue and keep their attention long enough to get to the next commercial break.  No complex plot, no instructive tutelage, no metaphoric allusion, just instant distraction; no mind required.  A pathetic brain-washing, which billions of people are willing to subject themselves to nightly.  And can we blame the emerging writer?  Why spend time honing a craft, studying the greats, embedding thought, acculturation, and morals into a script when a thousand actors and directors, barely competent enough for a community theater, are willing to take anything and put it on film so that advertisers can defile the sensibilities of their mind-numbed consumers.  Who cares if the script is without flavor or substance, the writer has earned a byline.  Some might call that fame, but fame and pride are rarely compatible.
     Please don’t tell me you write for some cheesy e-zine. 
     Yes, then came the web.  The Internet ruined literature.  In the old days, you could walk into any brick-and-mortar book store and find a thousand horribly written books, but at least you could be confident that some talentless editor and desperate publisher read the damn thing before subjecting the public to its content.  Now, any hack with half an imagination can string a few sentences together and quote unquote, publish their tripe to an e-book.  They are today’s published elite.  Ha, some even call themselves authors. 
Jaded?  Yes, I’m jaded.  I’ve lived long enough to have earned that title.  I once had a shoebox with eighteen rejection letters to every piece I ever published.  What do these new writers have?
     Yes, I am sure there are some well written e-books floating around out there, but I would bet you another bottle of wine that you would have better luck winning a million dollars with a scratch-off lottery ticket than finding a masterpiece in the dollar section of e-book titles. 
     There is no intentional mastery anymore.  No one writes in depth and then rereads, revises, edits and rewrites anymore.  In today’s publishing world all that is needed is a cursory spellcheck, format and upload.  I have had the misfortune of reading some that even skipped the spellcheck.  Most of the billions of books out there contain no suggestion of the discipline of writing.  How can an author be an author when they know nothing about syntax, punctuation, allusion, continuity, complementary word choice, symbolism or plot structure?  Conflict, crisis, resolution?  Hell, they would think I was talking about the six o’clock news.  They claim their readers want Middle Earth and sorcery or sex charged characters bent on overly descriptive orgasms and violently jealous passions, but what they really mean is that is what they know how to write and everything else takes too much effort.  Ask today’s writer about man’s inhumanity to man, the consequence of actions, and internal tumult?  You know what they would say, how is it in internet lingo, WTF?  Why struggle with the technical aspects when the goal is to show something written to other people?  Like I said, fame and pride are inherently opposite.
     It’s a shame, but as I have grown old, my world has gone the way of The Langoliers, and it isn’t even Four Past Midnight yet.  Flaubert, Nabokov, and Kafka: they are no longer great teachers or the quintessential paradigm.  Their names are now obscure references in the SparkNotes needed to pass the requisite high school English courses.  It is unfortunate, but if you attempted to strike up a conversation with one of today’s authors on Queequeg’s juxtaposition to Christian hypocrisy, or von Aschenbach’s struggle with gender identity, or Edna Pontellier’s ill-timed advancement of female sexual liberation, you would draw vacuous responses from all but the fewest of those who consider themselves writers.  But ask that same aggregation about The Bachelorette or The Big Bang Theory and you would likely get a diatribe of worthless, non-humanizing episodic recounts.  Television is the new art of storytelling, and that my friend, is sad.
     You are making me sober.  Open another bottle, would you?
     We’ve lost so much since William Faulkner’s time.  How did he so elegantly phrase it back in 1950?  “The young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself, which alone can make good writing, because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.”  Nothing has changed since the mid-century, it has only gotten worse.
     The world of literature has faded like yesterday’s sunset.  Today, writers get criticized for symbolism, multifarious vocabulary and allusions of every ilk.  I once had a student complain that my writing was too complex; it made him have to think!  Oh, my God, what have those study guides done to the classics.  I feel nothing but pity for those who wish to read and write without using their minds.
      A story is not just a story.  There is so much more than a beginning, middle, and an end.  A story is the writer’s antidote to mortality; his chance to exist in perpetuity.  But for a writer to live on, the story must leave the reader with something to ponder after the book is closed, something the reader wishes to share with others, something to learn about himself and about society.  That takes work, that takes discipline, and that takes time.  No one wants to work at writing when they can easily point to their bibliography of unread, self-published titles and proclaim a legacy.
     Yesterday is now a distant past.  I have too much pride to live in this world, to count myself among the self-chosen throngs of penmen.  I don’t know if I will be read after I am gone; I am content to know that while the opportunities still existed, I wrote with the discipline I learned from the masters.  I guess that will be my eulogy.  These young kids today, I don’t know what they’re going to say when it’s time for them to lie in their alleyways. 
     Yesterday, yesterday, yesterday…  The world has changed, my purpose is fading, and I am so very tired from my unappreciated pursuit.  My dying wish is that somewhere, huddled over a desk, there is another young, strong, writer who has learned that writing is more than putting words on paper.  It is building the foundations of society, behavior and truth.  I am spent, but I still have faith.  I let you come here with me tonight because my chase is over.  Maybe this thing you are doing will inspire some scribe to avail themselves of a college course.  Maybe they will be tempted by the glorious words of those who preceded him.  I hope so; just because I have given up, it does not mean society has to lose.
     I never asked you if you read.  Do you?  It will make you a better writer, hell, it will make you a better person.  The world needs more readers.
     If in your travels, you come across some wayward writer full of learned ambition, please don’t let him read your “Where Are They Now” piece.  Let him find his own way, mine didn’t work.
     I’m so tired.  I wish you the best young man.  Find something to believe in and never compromise.  Even now, as the stars begin to alight on my soul, I am proud I never gave in.  For what it is worth, I still believe and I guess I still care after all.
     You should leave now. 
     If you don’t mind, leave that other bottle. 

     It’s going to be cold tonight. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

The Story of Paul Tarsus

     This story is true.  It is a story that I have debated telling for many years and I am not fully convinced that the time is right.  But as my life nears its autumnal years, I have no choice but to put these words on paper.  With all of the modern skepticism, new age beliefs, and false prophets, will the world ever be susceptive to the understanding of a modern miracle from God?  I pray that my words will do justice to the importance of this event and that the message reaches enough receptive ears that it will be preserved for future generations.
      With this daunting task at hand and with years of deliberate, contemplative preparation I will hereby attempt to present this implausible chronology; a factual account of the most remarkable person in our modern history.  This is a story about a child who lived but a scant eleven years; a child whose extraordinary talents and insights gave those of us fortunate enough to have known him, a clearer understanding of the purpose of our lives; a child who both embodied and transcended the heaven and hell of human existence. 

     This is the story of Paul Tarsus as I remember it.  I will endeavor to avoid taking license to embellish his tale with unnecessary implications and assumptions.  There were of course, many people with whom Paul interacted outside of my presence and except where I was reliably informed about those acts, I cannot recount those incidents with integrity and must leave my readers wanting for the truths beyond my memory and experience. 
      In the interest of the unavoidable honesty that is innate in the understanding of Paul and his teachings, I have changed nothing within this report other than the names of those who wished to practice their lives with privacy.  Every included person in this text has been personally contacted for the purpose of both gaining their permission and to forewarn them of this publication.  There are those ancillary characters of whom I have little or no knowledge, that by their own familiarity with Paul and his life, will be able to identify the aliases that I have herein crafted.  To those people I can only ask their kind favor in protecting my friends from untoward incursions into their sequestration. 
     There is one detail that has been omitted from this proclamation.  I have promised Paul's parents to keep secret the burial place of the child.  In addition to the distracted and ignorant souvenir hunters wishing to fill their reliquaries, I know that there are avid and earnest academicians who would relish the revelation of Paul's sepulcher for the sacred purpose of studying the genome that produced this tragic prophet.  I will state this: Paul is interred in a place of his own choosing.  He lies in a simple grave marked only with his Christian name and the dates of his birth and death.  His earthly remains are adorned with a ambrosial garden of azaleas, roses, gardenias and camellias, his spirit, as it did in life, exists in a realm beyond our understanding.  I visit him often, at his grave and in my prayers.

     When I met Paul, I was only 23 and he was a child of four.  He came into my life by the fortunate happenstance of being born to an ex-girlfriend of my older brother.  Sheila Swartz-Tarsus had remained friendly with my family but in my rebellious early adulthood, my familial contact was sporadic at best.  I would occasionally see Sheila and her husband, Gus, around town; I knew they had a son, but my relationship to her family, and likewise with my own, was kept distant to avoid the uncomfortable task of justifying or apologizing for my lifestyle and chosen avocations. It was during a prolonged intoxicated binge that I had the occasion to debate the sectarian and cultural perversion of religious truths with a professor from my seminary days.  He was an Orthodox priest and it was at his insistence that I attended what he referred to as an unvitiated mass at his church.  It was there, in a stupor of religious ambiguity and alcohol withdraw, I reaffirmed my friendship with Sheila and Gus Tarsus, and met their remarkable child, Paul.

     I was ignorant of many things in those youthful days of debauchery.  I blamed my faltering Faith on my studies of the history of sin inspired misinterpretations, inconsistent translations and self-indulgent amalgamations by so-called Christian leaders.  Science and Creationism had each spawned such strong arguments on the fallibility of other, that coexistence seemed possible only after haughty compromise and ideological transmogrification.  From Biblical timelines to Paleolithic fossils, from Heaven and Hell to the expanding universe and theoretical God-particles, from deific miracles to quantum physics, I, like so many theologians and scholars, was in search of a divining or defining truth.  So it happened, without any stability of belief and with no basis of knowledge of empaths, dimensional thoughts, the Universal Mind, or disincarnate intellects, I met Paul; a child with the answers, with teachings, with abilities that defy the current precepts of medical science.  This child, reared simultaneously in the Orthodox and Judaic Faiths, fluent in English, Hebrew and Greek, would fortify my understanding of Faith, science and the undefinable.  Paul Tarsus would change me in ways that I still cannot explain, except to say, he gave me purpose.  

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

It was a dark and stormy night? The economy of wordsmithing.

I have been working with writers (and one talented editor) on eliminating extraneous information and superfluous descriptors.  This is a lesson I teach and reteach often; a lesson that EVERY writer (including me) has to be reminded of all of the time.  

The following is a one paragraph primer based off of that old cliche, "It was a dark and stormy night."

In the hours since the power failed, the ancestral manse was devoid of all light.  The rain outside came steady, not pulsed in sheets or waves, but like a thousand gardeners with hose nozzles set to saturate, not to damage the tender blossoms of youth.  The soft sound of heaven’s cascade proved a needed respite from the incessant torture on the disembodied voices screaming their cruel and inhuman orders.  They wanted more from the wet, frightened girl who cowered between the mildewed sofa and dank floral wallpaper.  He knew she was there, they had him bring her.  She was the purpose for this night and he needed the occasional static flash of lightning to reassure the demons he had completed their first task.  Adrenaline coursed through his blood in desperate anticipation.  It would happen again.  Yes, it was a dark and stormy night.  

I know that many writers that showcase their work here on the Internet are self-taught and virtually innocent of scholarly tutelage, so I thought it might be a welcomed lesson to demonstrate how and why economy works in literature. 

There are no superfluous words or extraneous ideas in my tiny primer.  

In the hours since the power failed: What am I telling my reader?  This place is not without electricity, it had power recently, so the implication is that the "manse" is not deserted or abandoned, but an inhabited place.  The suggestion is that the power will return and so might other people besides the in-scene characters.  This is simple intro that tells more of the story than the seven chosen words.

...the ancestral manse was devoid of all light:  Is this only the "dark" from the cliche?  Look again.  We now know that this is a familial abode with generations of history; the story now spans multiple years with a genesis buried in the inheritance of our protagonist.  I used the word "manse" to imply that although the house is large, it is not the stereotypical Frankenstein's castle.  This gives the reader an environment that can be handled in their imagination; it is an old home, but absent are the passe (often requisite) hidden doors, dungeons and secret passages.  "...devoid of all light."  Dark, right?  Well, how can a house be devoid of ALL light?  No ambient illumination implies relative isolation; no nearby streetlights, storefronts or traffic.  Eight words -- more story.

The rain outside came steady, not pulsed in sheets or waves, but like a thousand gardeners with hose nozzles set to saturate, not to damage the tender blossoms of youth.  Why not a raging driving storm?  This is the kind of question every reader should be asking.  Would the rage be reiterative of another yet undiscovered rage?  Why did the writer use the simile of the gardeners?  The answer, of course, is the portent of "tender blossoms of youth": a metaphoric foreshadowing.  

The soft sound of heaven’s cascade proved a needed respite from the incessant torture on the disembodied voices screaming their cruel and inhuman orders.  This is the first introduction to our main character. There is no name (yet); it is not needed.  So many writers think that a character must be named and physically described before they can make entry into a story.  If stature, cleanliness, clothing or incidental actions are not germane, why burden the reader?  A skilled reader is looking for information they can use to piece the puzzle together.  I don't want (at this point) my reader asking why the blue jeans are important, what the beard has to do with what is going to happen, or why the type and condition of his shirt is relevant.  I want my reader to see the juxtaposition of "heaven" and "disembodied...inhuman...voices."  That is the entire point of the word choices; we now have a conflict of good and evil.

They wanted more from the wet, frightened girl who cowered between the mildewed sofa and dank floral wallpaper.  "They," the disembodied, wanted "more."  What did they get so far?  The frightened girl throws the reader back to the "tender blossoms of youth," dragged unwillingly in from the rain outside, with more foreshadowing from the "cruel...orders."  But wait, why is the sofa mildewed and the wallpaper dank?  We know from the initial sentence this is an inhabited place, why is it seemingly neglected?  Is there more to our unnamed estate's squire or the potential of his ancestral relatives, living or dead.  Obviously we can rule out climate control to hamper the humidity and the rains hint at the possible damp locale in which the house sits.  Many writers would be tempted to go back to the start and paint a picture of a silhouetted structure overlooking a source of the dampness; an angry sea, a craggy cliff, a foreboding lake, or a flooded river, but that would draw the reader away from the victimised female and the possibly psychotic main character.  It would undoubtedly help the writer see his story better, but the writer knows where his story is headed.  To the reader, it would be extraneous distraction leading away from the purpose of the opening paragraph.  

He knew she was there, they had him bring her.  She was the purpose for this night and he needed the occasional static flash of lightning to reassure the demons he had completed their first task.  We now know the MC is male.  We know he is obedient to the demonic voices.  The girl is no longer an implied victim, she is the purpose (of the story).  But why do the demons need reassurance?  There is a definitive implication of discipline, a consequence to the MC's inaction, an inherent aversion to threatened punishment.  The voices are disembodied but capable of retribution.

Adrenaline coursed through his blood in desperate anticipation.  It would happen again.  "...desperate anticipation"?  We now have actions in crisis.  Our MC is acting against his judgment, a fallback to the good and evil revealed a few sentences back.  The governing "voices" ordering the MC with a threat of punishment for failing to obey, yet he is desperate to act, but not desperate enough to defy (yet).  "It would happen again."  There is both a history and a concession that this event will recur. 

Yes, it was a dark and stormy night.  Obviously a reference to the cliche, but why "Yes"?  What is the writer telling you?  Is this an affirmation to the command of the demons?  An affirmation of the dire situation of the young girl?  Or an affirmation of some genetically inherited propensity destined to be play out again in a new generation? 

Writing is not about vivid descriptions of everything and everyone in the entire world created for your story.  Most of that world has no relevance to the crises, conflict and resolution you are employing.  Tell your story while looking at that world through a single slat of a Venetian blind.  Your whole story exists only in that sliver of your imaginary world; stay in that sliver.  A seasoned or educated reader is going to glom onto unneeded facts trying to put the pieces of your puzzle together.  It would be foolhardy to mix multiple jigsaw puzzles together and then hope your reader can sort through the pieces and build the picture you wanted.  There is the possibility they could, but you will have one very fatigued reader at the end.  Have you ever heard the expression "difficult to read"?  That is because there were too many pieces that had nothing to do with the puzzle.

When I am writing, I let my cranial fluids flow.  I pour the words out on paper without worry or discipline.  When I reach a breaking point, the end of an elaborate scene, the conclusion of a chapter, or the denouement of a book, I return to the beginning an start paring away words, sentences, even entire paragraphs that are not needed and possibly distracting.  When I finish that edit, I go back and begin editing again.  This time I start looking for replicated words, idioms that do not fit the timbre of the story, the proper sophistication of word choices, novel construction of ideas (if you've read a descriptive phrase six times in your entire life, that means it's been used 6 million times, find different words!), and finally the continuity of color and emotion.  That would bring me to the end, right?  Nope.  A good piece of writing needs about three more rewrites, edits and proofreadings.  Then it's done.  Nope!  Find an educated reader/writer to proofread, make editorial suggestions, and critique it for all things literature.  Then you edit one more time, and maybe, just maybe, it might be time to submit it to your coach, mentor, professor or even your blog site.

I could take the writings of anyone of you and redline the pollution, the extraneous, the superfluous, circle the thoughts and ideas that need further work, and suggest better word choices.  And you know what, everyone of you could do that to my writing.  But I write in my style and each of you write in your style.  I can't tell you what to write, but writing does have (or should have) a structure and a method.  There is a way to instruct on how to write.  We all know the lessons: avoid the passive voice, be sure sentences have a complete parsable construction, use strong action verbs so you can steer clear of those annoying adverbs (especially anything ending in "Y"), open your story with suggestions that grab and keep the reader interested, create crises that lead to the main conflict, give the reader a workable and believable resolution, and serve them a tasty denouement that leaves them wanting more, either from your story or from your pen.  And last, put your writing on a diet.  Get rid of everything that does move your story along.  Don't worry about the picture in your head, worry about the picture in the reader's head.  They are perfectly capable of inferring the insignificant actions of your characters, but if you feel compelled to write them into every scene, know that they are no longer insignificant and need to be tied into the story or you will tire and confuse your reader.  

So go read the last piece you wrote and pause after each sentence to ask yourself:  What am I saying?  Why am I saying it.  If you cant answer those questions, your DELETE KEY is on the right of your keyboard.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Portal to the Universal Mind

The portal never seemed to open for more than just a few minutes; rarely longer than the time needed to steal a quick touch, a sweet taste or the scent of her hair.   He was practiced in the use of dimensional thinking; it had been the source of his intellectual prowess since he was a child when he himself was taught to use the Mind.  But this woman he had found was something he had never encountered before or even imagined could exist.  Her mind, even untrained, was more powerful than anyone he had ever known.  No, this was not going to be an ordinary student; this was someone he needed; an unpolished crystal of immense importance; a gemstone of power and influence; the foci of global wide dimensional energies.  But this was going to be complicated also, because before he had seen her face, before he had heard her voice, with only shared intuitions as his basis of knowledge, there was a revelation of that ethereal truth behind those fantastical notions of the poets; he discovered an illogical, impossible love.

The teacher had found his new student by accident.  Like all teachers, he had kept his mind clear and attuned to the energies of other minds, not really searching.  Student minds are like tiny candles in a well-lighted room, a teacher instinctively watches not for a glow, but for the flicker.  This new student was an anomaly in the mass chaos of the Collective Consciousness.  Her mind was a lighthouse beacon amid the infinite patterns floating through the dimensional planes.  For her, the portal remained open and she didn’t even know it was there.  Like moths around her light, intellects swarmed her with countless noises and thoughts, racing at the speed of light.  She had the power but not the knowledge to harness and rein individual patterns.  She doubted her sanity.

The teacher opened himself, reaching through the distance that separated them; he knew her before she would know herself.  A social contact and shared interest laid the foundation for a requisite friendship and trust.   Insecure and misanthropic, the teacher maintained a sparse pool of true friendships or intimate relationships.  Acquaintances and associates were easy; there was no need for personal disclosures.  This new student posed an awkward conundrum: to love he needed to be loved, and he felt unworthy of either.  

Most innately talented minds resist learning and understanding their abilities; hers was no different.  The so-called normal population dismisses intuition, foreknowledge and “hunches” as superstition and freak coincidences.  Children are taught from infancy that the mind is enclosed and the only thoughts and ideas residing in the mind are those put there through knowledge and learning.  Psychiatrists pontificate that if someone thinks thoughts that are not their own, then their mind must be broken and in need of psychotropic medication and brain washing therapy.  Students of the Universal Mind and Dimensional Thinking have to unlearn these societal notions of normality and open themselves to a different reality.  Knowledge of the power of the Universal Mind can be both a curse and an asset.   The concept of exploiting the Collective Consciousness for intelligence from both embodied and disembodied intellects is often mistaken for insanity, especially when naively confessed to people ignorant of the conceptual possibilities.  Most “learned” authorities, ignorant of the work by Jung, Freud, Da Vinci, Newton, Emerson and Einstein, assume these ideas must be paranormal, and therefore without sound scientific bases.   Young talent is frequently stifled by the stigma of misdiagnoses.

The new student, like so many students before her, spent her life in disbelief; tending to think only with her local mind, attempting to ignore the invasive ideas and knowledge that to the uneducated, seemed impossible.  She feared her connection to the Mind; she was different and had lived too many years being told that her difference was evidence of a mental malady.  As the inevitable but purposeful friendship grew, she revealed a lifelong torment of familial and relational detraction.  She had come to believe that her difference, her power was some form of defect and something she feared.  The teacher accepted the challenge to appease her fears, cultivate her talents, expand her perceptions and teach her to exploit the Mind, so that she, in turn, could teach him.  A juxtaposed student and teacher, their unlikely acquaintance fated; their impossible love accidental.

The lessons began; his mind reached for her, pulling at the subconscious walls between her inner psyche and the Universal intellect.  She was at once both there and here.