Thursday, May 1, 2014

Bones to Pick

May 2nd 2014

Here I am in Boston (down at sea level drunk on oxygen!) on the brink of starting my weekend at Muse and The Marketplace. This is a huge writer's conference in Bean Town put on by The Grub Street creative writing center which offers year round classes and once a year a conference with a big faculty of authors, agents and editors. Authors like myself give lectures, as I shall be doing in two short days. My talk is entitled "Art From the Heart. How to get out of the way of your own writing." I have to speak for about half an hour, which is many pages of type, let me tell you. I drew up a draft last week and sat some friends down to hear it. Well, the consensus was that it was a bit too much like a university thesis, so I had to go back to the drawing board and come up with something more accessible, which I think I have done. I am a tad nervous that no one will ask a question, and then my audience will have to go out and drink coffee to fill up the time. By next week's blog I will be able to tell you how it went over. It's my first foray into lecturing, and I am sure this will get easier as I go along.
One of my duties today is to have lunch with some conference attendees, which isn't much of a chore.  Free lunch, talking about my craft, who can complain? This evening there is a party for the faculty sponsored by my own agency, Zachary, Shuster, Harmsworth. Tomorrow morning I have a reading up in Exeter New Hampshire, stomping ground of Dan Brown. Sunday afternoon after my talk, I am going to the beach to commune with the ocean. Monday night my agent Esmond Harmsworth is putting on a literary soiree for me and another of his clients, Elisabeth Elo. We are going to be interviewing each other and talking about writing popular fiction in a literary way. Elisabeth's book, "North of Boston," was published in January of this year, and is one of the best written books I have read in a while. It's a mystery and a compelling read. So, I am looking forward to meeting her.
Meanwhile, if you are in the vicinity, Grub Street is putting on a fabulous weekend of activities - Come on down!
Last week I had a comment on one of my blogs from someone who wished not to be identified that said they had really enjoyed my book but it disturbed them that all the villains were Christians.  I know I am going to come up against this a lot ( not so much from "Christian Britain" so sayeth Prime Minister Cameron, but from Christian America.) No doubt the Christian right wing nuts will be gathering my books and flinging them on fiery heaps just like the religious right wing nuts always have - especially when the offensive subjects in question are women and especially wise women or witches. Historical fact.
So I want to state my position on this now: I have no problem with individuals and their simple faith. We are all struggling one way or another to feel connected to something larger than ourselves. Therein lies our humanity. I only have an argument with the Christian establishment with its hierarchies of men and its terrible history of demeaning women and of shaming in general. (Just for the record, I am against any male hierarchies, because men were not supposed ever to be given this much power - it's dangerous. Look at the world today - that's what you get. (Just for the record, I am also against Pitkin County Open Space and Trails which is another of these male hierarchies which demean and shoot down opposition. Fear not - I will exact my revenge!! Next book, all the villains will be on the Pitkin County Open Space and Trails board.)
What my book does is raise the question of what we lost when the Christian patriarchal system took over the pagan religions. Christianity demonised the pagan right from the start to insure that it got its start. But here's what we lost: seeing divinity in every aspect of life, a healthy humility in the face of nature, a healthy attitude towards our sexuality, a healthy sense of wonder. In short what we lost was the Sacred Feminine. That's why in my book there are villainous monks trying to drive out my good druidess Sula. That's why they are Christian. Because that's the way it happened.

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