Yep...I'm goofing off of tonight's writing a little bit longer, for the sheer joy of posting here about what goes into same. :)
What prompted me to post the "Sword" letter, below (about "Air" energies in the magical sense -- reason, power, all them issues), was the surprise I encountered as I recently began to write the next volume of The Consciousness Cycle, In The Nightmare Village. The book being attributed to the sephira "Hod" on the Qabalistic Tree of Life -- Mercury, reason, etc. -- I had assumed it would be "mind-heavy," and had done some preparatory reading, rereading, and book-buying on that assumption: some eighteenth century stuff, history of science, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions (a reread), even Neal Stephenson's Quicksilver.
Every one of the books I've written has (thankfully!) surprised me, at least some. I don't think I've mentioned before that Occult Forces, which started the series, was originally intended to be a quickie psi-adventure trilogy for tha bucks, not part of the Cycle itself; as I wrote it, I realized I just couldn't wait any longer to get started on the Cycle, unsaleability of "the Thelemic magicians are the Good Guys" novels or no. It ended up, partway through, not only attributed to "Binah" (and the nature of Thelemic "attainment to Mastery"), but plotted in line with the entire Tarot deck, card by card through the whole 78. Volume two, Layton Drive, was a little less surprising to me: I decided before starting to plot it in line with the 64 I Ching hexagrams, which helped focus it considerably, and "Malkuth" energies were fairly straightforward for the purpose; it was the springing-to-life of some of my most fanciful characters there that I found startling. By volume three, Topanga, the main surprise was how many danged pages you are committing yourself to when you decide to "unpack the Collective Unconscious" (you guessed it, "Yesod") -- even if you're focusing on the Western aspects of same (but boy, did I learn a lot about classical antiquity, the Grail cycle, and plenty else I never knew before!). Gods bless self-publishing: I suspect I'll be long gone before any mainstream publisher tackles a 1061-page adventure novel on these topics. :)
But this one (volume four, In The Nightmare Village) is proving perhaps the greatest surprise yet (to its author, anyway). It's plotted in line with AC's "Liber Trigrammaton," by a specific arrangement of the eight trigrams with one another (hence another 64-chapter book, huzzah; having just started it, I'm about to finish chapter two as I write this, on page 26 of a projected 650-700)...but contrary to my expectations, it isn't about the human mind, and the history of its attempts to understand reality.
Instead, it's proving to be about reality itself -- and how the conscious mind is the merest froth, the most delicate gossamer, on top of (and obscuring) that reality. This is making for some slow, and fairly heavy-duty, writing: simpler words, stripped down imagery -- more an extended poem in prose than anything like the expected "science text." (And as always, aiming at smooth readability, chockful of Seventies nostalgia, and solidly in the context of a ripping adventure yarn. Howzat for service? ;) )
I also find myself rereading comic books, no less, for the proper blend of poetry, action, human interest and cosmic scope. Particularly helpful here: old Chris Claremont-John Byrne X-Men (particularly "Days of Future Past"), Byrne's own FF issues (esp. "Terror in a Tiny Town"), and the spectacular work Jim Shooter did in the old Valiant books, above all "Alpha and Omega" in Solar. And running under it all, Philip K. Dick's unique and wonderful novels (the book is dedicated to St. Phil, in fact).
For one of my epigrams, I've turned again to St. Orson Welles (on whose words I'll close here):
"Man is a rational animal who always loses his temper
when called upon to act in accordance with the dictates of reason."
(Back to work, AJ! Okay, I'm goin, I'm goin...)
93 93/93 -- AJ
P.S. Even at that page-count (and, argh, price!), Topanga's first-day-of-issue, 100th anniversary of the New Aeon edition sold out within a matter of weeks; from here on in, it's POD all the way. I'd waste my life doing this even if I weren't being read, but Gods bless you folks, anyway, for caring. :D