Happy First Night of the Prophet and his Bride!
Happy Perseid meteor shower!
Happy Twenty-third Anniversary of The Consciousness Institute [TM]!
And mainly, mostly, to take just a personal minute, hyere....
After several years -- then more so several months, and finally a number of intense weeks -- of contemplating such a move, it was twenty years ago this month (Saturday, August 3, 1985 EV (but who's counting?)) that a thirty year old Journal-listed Christian Science practitioner headed out of his C.S. teacher's annual Association meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota at its lunch break...and having finally made up his mind, went back to his hotel room to mail off his prepared stack of resignation letters: from the Association, the practice, the church itself. He -- I -- returned home to Los Angeles to take up his, my, first love: writing fiction.
Twenty years. Two decades. They're not kiddin about that "time flies" deal (whether you're consistently having fun or no, alas ;) ).
I haven't, yet, ended up with fancy hardcovers in stores (entirely my own fault, btw: somewhere in there, partway down the road to a growing "professional career," I became a Thelemite, stopped writing to the demands of others, and ended up self-publishing increasingly huge Thelemic novels -- in the lowest-rent format imaginable -- for a tiny, if devoted, audience); I am neither rich (yet) nor -- thank God -- famous (merci, non). But, keeping it to the ones I'll own up to, I've written:
Carol's Book (a "novel of the new feminism" (cringe), 1985); Freddy! (young adult title, 1989); Pledge of Allegiance (antifascist political thriller, 1989); all of which got into various stages of the mainstream publication process, only to be withdrawn by yours truly (for apparently the gods had something else in mind).
And then, my self-published Thelemic works: the Consciousness Cycle [TM] novels Occult Forces (1994), Layton Drive (1999) and Topanga (2004), and the nonfiction C.'.G.'. Student Handbook: Mysticism, Magick, Thelema (1997). I'm currently at work on volume four (of seven!) of the Cycle, In The Nightmare Village, slated for 2007 release (I hope I hope).
Now, seven books (that I'll own up to) in twenty years is, alas, not a lot of books, and the fact that there are (if I'm spared) at least seven more right behind 'em (counting my three law office mysteries as a single book, though them puppies might just possibly make it as mainstreamy stand-alones one day)...well, helps matters only a little. They ain't hardcovers in stores, and I'm not rich and/or famous.
But I am married to the most wonderful woman in the world (who, unaccountably, appears to love me past all reason); and I am getting to write exactly my books, in exactly my way. And have had a succession of wonderful cats; and some pretty spectacular friends, too, some of the surviving ones of whom are prolly reading this. And practically nobody on earth ever gets all of those things, and over so long a time.
And it's two decades on, and I'm still doing it, with (knock wood!) no end in sight, so far.
Perhaps my most vivid memory of that hot August day in Minneapolis, twenty years ago, is catching sight of my reflection in a department store window as I made my way back to the hotel (and those resignation letters, and phenomenal changes): seeing there, aged thirty, the one thing I had promised myself as a Sixties kid I would never become: a miserable, defeated fat guy in a suit.
I didn't fully understand it, then -- boy, did I not! -- but I had decided not to be a slave any more. How did The Cure put it?: "I left that house on fire, and I never went back."
I got rid of that suit, that fat, that guy. Twenty years on some of the fat is back, alas...but still, I want to hug that poor sumbitch and tell him, You have no idea whatsoever just how cool your life is about to become. You are gonna get to be Dr. Strange and Hugh Hefner all in one...and tell your stories, your way. For at least twenty years, m'man.
And counting. :)
Oh, it won't be easy; some of it will be so goddamned hard you'll look back and not really know how you made it through. But, y'know, buck up, Fatso: you're in for one hell of a ride. :D
Thanking those of you who've read this far for your kind indulgence -- and the universe for its manifold, undeserved gifts to me -- I remain yours most sincerely,
93 93/93 -- "AJ"
22 Leo CI / Twenty years on. And counting. ;)