Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Applications for the 2018 Oregon Literary Fellowships are available online.


Applications are due on Monday, July 10, 2017, and there is no fee to apply. Writers and publishers who are current, full-time Oregon residents are eligible, and we especially
encourage emerging writers to apply.
 


Click here to learn more about Oregon Literary Fellowships.
  


In 2018, we will award twelve writers and two publishers with fellowships of $3,500 each. This financial support helps working artists develop or complete literary projects, creating opportunity and space for their stories to be written and heard.
  


As part of the application, writers can choose to be considered for the Writers of Color Fellowship. This grant is designed to promote perspectives from a variety of cultural, ethnic,
and racial backgrounds, and encourage diverse writers to apply for Oregon Literary fellowships.  

Friday, June 9, 2017

Visibility and Book Sales: Marketing Your Small Press Book

Tuesday, June 13, 2017
7:00pm - 8:00pm


Lake Oswego Public Library
706 4th St, Lake Oswego, OR 97034


With over 800 books per day published in the US alone, publicity for small press books has never been more necessary...and more difficult.


The goal of "Visibility and Book Sales: Marketing Your Small Press Book" is to provide writers of all genres with the necessary tools, money saving techniques, and networking skills to market their books with maximum effectiveness. Topics include: creating a cohesive business strategy, utilizing traditional and social media, giving readings and other methods of selling books, balancing your marketing budget, and thinking outside the box to find your fans.


John Sibley Williams works as Marketing Director of Portland publisher Inkwater Press and as a small press literary agent, successfully representing dozens of emerging authors. He is the editor of two Northwest literary anthologies and the author of nine poetry collections. A five-time Pushcart nominee and winner of various national awards, John has spent the past six years helping authors navigate the complex worlds of traditional and self-publishing. He lives in Portland, Oregon. You can visit him at https://johnsibleywilliams.wordpress.com/.


This program is sponsored by the Friends of the Lake Oswego Public Library. The library is located at 706 Fourth Street, Lake Oswego. For more information, contact Fawn Dabrowiak at 503-675-3995 or fdabrowiak@ci.oswego.or.us.



For more information, visit: https://www.ci.oswego.or.us/library/visibility-and-book-sales-marketing-your-small-press-book.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Auntie M’s Guide to Greaseless Self-Promotion


  • “Yeah, writing is great, but I tell you what I really love: constantly shilling my book to a crowd of indifferent strangers.” Said no writer, ever. But while marketing yourself is an unavoidable task, it doesn’t have to be an unbearable chore. If you’re disappointed, burned out, or just wondering where to start, this workshop is for you. 

    On June 6th at 6:30PM at the Old Church, we’ll work together to help you find your audience, harness your talents, and rekindle your enthusiasm – one step at a time.

    Arianne “Tex” Thompson is home-grown Texas success story. After earning a bachelor’s degree in history and a master’s in literature, she channeled her passion for exciting, innovative, and inclusive fiction into the Children of the Drought – an internationally-published epic fantasy Western series from Solaris.

    Now a professional speaker and creative writing instructor at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Tex is blazing a trail through writers conferences, workshops, and fan conventions around the country – as an endlessly energetic, relentlessly enthusiastic one-woman stampede. 

    Find her online at www.TheTexFiles.com! http://www.TheTexFiles.com
     
    Details


    Willamette Writers Portland chapter meets on the first Tuesday of the month, 7:00-8:00 pm (doors open at 6:30 pm) at the Historic Old Church in downtown Portland. No meetings August.

    The meeting is free to members of Willamette Writers and full time students under 25; guests, $5.

    Interested? Join us! All writers welcome.

    Click here to learn more about Willamette Writers Portland, http://www.willamettewriters.org.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Write Around Portland 52nd Book Release & Free Public Reading

                                 
Write Around Portland runs community-building creative writing workshops at hospitals, schools, homeless youth shelters, senior centers, low-income housing buildings, prisons, treatment facilities and social service agencies.
 


Write Around Portland releases its 52nd anthology—Illuminated by the Words / Iluminados por las palabras—of community writing by adult and youth participants from our spring 2017 workshops held throughout the Portland metro area. The anthology includes introductions by Putsata Reang, author and international journalist recently honored with an award that recognizes women writing for social change, and Linda Apperson, Write Around Portland volunteer facilitator, drama mentor at Cleveland High School and author of Stage Managing and Theatre Etiquette.
       

                                  
Write Around Portland invites you to attend one or both of our free community readings featuring powerful work written by participants in our spring 2017 writing workshops. Readers will include youth experiencing homelessness; middle school students; high school students in alternative school settings; youth and adults with developmental disabilities; members of low-income housing and assisted living communities and many others.
  



Reading
The Beaverton Round Executive Suites, 12725 SW Millikan Way, Suite 300, Beaverton, OR 97005 located at the Beaverton Central MAX station.

Wednesday, May 24th, 6:30–8:00pm
  


Admission is FREE, but donations of any amount are accepted to support the work of Write Around Portland. We will also be collecting donations of new journals for writers in our fall 2017 workshops. ADA-accessible. Copies of Illuminated by the Words / Iluminados por las palabras will be available for purchase for $12.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Film/TV Offerings for the 2017 Willamette Writers Conference





The Film/TV offerings at this year’s 48th Annual Willamette Writers Conference represent an exciting mix of new faces and courses with conference favorites and opportunities to pitch scripts and books to Hollywood dealmakers. Top Screenwriting Instructors at Willamette Writers Conference With a new book coming out, local screenwriting champion Cynthia Whitcomb will teach “The Heart of the Story” in addition to a class on dialogue. For his first time participating in the conference, Doug Richardson, renowned educator and screenwriter of Hollywood blockbusters such as Die Hard 2, Bad Boys, Money Train, and Hostage will teach classes on “Turning Your Novel Into a 3-Act Structure” as well as how to navigate a career in Hollywood in his class “Swimming with Sharks.”
 
With a new book coming out, local screenwriting champion Cynthia Whitcomb will teach “The Heart of the Story” in addition to a class on dialogue.

Scott MyersWillamette Writers is also thrilled to welcome revered mentor, educator, and screenwriter Scott Myers (official blogger for Go Into The Story at The Black List) to the conference. Scott will be teaching three classes: “Create a Compelling Protagonist,” “Write a Worthy Nemesis,” and “Pixar and the Craft of Storytelling.” About Scott, Black List founder Franklin Leonard stated, “I honestly can’t say enough good things about Scott Myers and the heroic work he does as a resource for screenwriters, both aspiring and professional. If you’re trying to become a good writer and you’re not reading his blog on a regular basis (the volume alone impressive, but the quality that comes along with it is extraordinary), you’re not trying hard enough.”


For more information, visit  http://willamettewriters.org/2017/04/film-tv-offerings-for-the-2017-willamette-writers-conference/

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Writing Voice-Driven Narrative with Suzy Vitello



May 2 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm

It happens in a coffee shop. Or at the gym. Or driving your car in traffic. If you’re a writer, you hear voices. So, how do you mold these voices into stories? What are the elements of a compelling voice on the page?
Join author Suzy Vitello at The Old Church in Portland, Oregon on Tuesday, May 2nd to find out more.

About Suzy Vitello

As the long-time coordinator of a robust weekly writing workshop whose members include Chuck Palahniuk, Cheryl Strayed, Chelsea Cain, Lidia Yuknavitch, Monica Drake and others, Suzy is committed to writing about love in all of its guises, styles and languages. Suzy’s novels include THE MOMENT BEFORE, and THE EMPRESS CHRONICLES, and the second in the Empress Series, THE KEEPSAKE.

Details

Join us at The Old Church in downtown Portland, 1422 SW 11th Ave. on Tuesday, May 2nd to discover more about voice. Doors open at 6:30PM; event begins at 7PM. Willamette Writers members are always free, along with full-time students under the age of 25. Guests are $5.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Bill Johnson's play The True Cost of Heavenly Birth Insurance is being performed in England http://www.thecliffhangercompany.com/mixed-doubles.html


We're back with a brand new
MIXED DOUBLES II
April 18, 19, 20, 21, 22
at 8pm at the Coach House, Rottingdean
Tickets at MadWax on the High St. or online at ticketsource.co.uk/mdr on sale from April 5

This set of five fabulous plays are:
THE CAR IS GONE... by Scott Mullen
THE TRUE COST OF HEAVENLY BIRTH INSURANCE
... by Bill Johnson
SCRIPTED... by Mark Harvey Levine
ALL'S FAIR IN LOVE AND SCIENCE... by CJ Ehrlich
JOY RIDE...by Christine Foster

 

 

 

 



Monday, March 13, 2017

Creating Mythic Characters, Notes on Guardians of the Galaxy


Creating large than life characters in part means giving characters larger than life goals. Guardians of the Galaxy became hugely successful in part because of the spectacle and humor, but also because it's a well told story with clearly dramatically defined characters.

The film starts with a boy, Peter Quill, in a hospital waiting room nervously holding a cassette player playing some early 70's music. His grandfather comes out and wants him to see his dying mother; he is clearly reluctant. When she asks him to take her hand, he refuses, and she dies.

This will haunt Peter for the rest of the film. The audience is allowed to share and experience this moment.

The scene shifts to 26 years later and the now young man sets down on a mysterious moon with a scanner that shows him the inhabitants in the past. He plays some music from his 70's mix tape. He tracks down an orb and manages to escape with it while being chased and fired on.

He tells his pursuers his name is Star Lord.

It's a visually exciting scene, but it comes after introducing Peter and his central issue.

Peter gets a call from his criminal boss who kidnapped him from earth as a boy, who now wants the orb.

This raises a question that plays out through the film, will the boss get the orb? And another question, why did the boss kidnap a young Peter from earth and protect him?

Ronan, a brutal, crazed religious leader of a race called the Kree, wants the orb and sends out Gamora to retrieve it; she's a green-skinned young woman assassin.

The scene shifts to a planet called Xander, where a bounty-hunting raccoon named Rocket and an intelligent tree-like character named Groot have spotted Peter and want to collect on his bounty. Peter tries to cash in the orb, but when he mentions it's going to Ronan, he's turned away.

What follows is everyone trying to get their hands on the orb and everyone finally being arrested and sent to prison.

The question now, who will survive (the assassin Gamora is hated by many prisoners), and how will they escape?

These questions give shape to the next section of the story.

When a muscle-bound brute named the Destroyer tries to kill Gamora, Peter intervenes and saves her life.

Ronan, in turn, seeks the orb for another brutal leader, Thantos.

The wise-cracking Rocket plans and kinda executes a prison escape with Groot's help.

Peter realizes his mix-tape is not with his belongings, so he prolongs the escape to retrieve it.

It turns out Peter still has the unopened present from his mother on his space ship.

This helps the audience to stay in touch with Peter's wound.

Ronan and his followers are on their trail.

Gamora asks Peter why he would risk his life for his mix tape. It turns out his mother gave it to him, and it has her favorite songs.

The group meets with the Collector. He explains that the orb contains an infinity stone, which can be used to destroy an entire world.

A slave girl tries to hold the stone, setting off an explosion. The group now needs to get the orb to some aliens who can contain its power and not allow it to be used by Ronan to destroy the planet Xander.

Now the film has another simple question, can they get this orb to a place of safe keeping?

Possibly, until the Destroyer has called Ronan to the scene just as Peter's boss arrives. The Destroyer wants to kill Ronan to avenge the death of his wife and child

Mayhem ensure.

Ronan gets the orb, and Peter allows himself to be captured by his old boss to save Gamora.

Once in captivity, Peter appeals to his group as losers, those who have all lost family and normal lives, to "not run away" as Peter did as a child and help others.

Again, the audience knows what Peter is speaking about.

Rocket states the obvious, that Peter is asking them to die to help others.

The question of whether they can regain the stone now gives structure to this part of the film.

The group come up with a plan to attack Ronan and regain the infinity stone. They gain access to Ronan's ship.

Someone finally refers to Peter as Star Lord.

The audience knows what this means for Peter. It's another small point carefully fulfilled.

On the ship, mayhem ensues.

The group reaches Ronan, but their main weapon fails to defeat Ronan as long as he holds the infinity stone.

Rocket, the seemingly self-centered raccoon, appears to sacrifice himself to defeat Ronan.

As Ronan's ship is crashing, Groot envelopes the others in a protective ball of limbs, but this will kill Groot.

All the movie, Groot has had one line, "I am Groot." Now he says, "We are Groot."

We hear music play from Peter's mix tape.

And it turns out that Ronan survives and if he touches the planet with the infinity stone, it will destroy this world.

Now the question becomes, can Ronan be stopped?

Note that every section of the film has a simple plot question that allows the audience to assign meaning to the action.

Peter gets his hand on the stone and as he is being destroyed, Gamora asks that he take her hand. Peter sees his mother holding out her hand. As Peter takes Gamora's hand they are joined by the Destroyer and Rocket, and by joining together they are able to destroy Ronan.

Peter's boss then shows up and demands the orb, and Peter gives him a fake orb.

Peter mentions to Gamora that the boss was the only family he had left, but she answers that is not true. He has a new family now.

The Destroyer sits with Rocket, who mourns over a small twig of Groot.

It turns out Peter could hold the infinity stone because he's only half human, that his father was not.

This raises a major question that can be resolved in a sequel.

Peter returns to his shop and the unopened present and card from his mother. She wrote  that he is the 'light of her life' and "my little Star Lord."

Which, considering who Peter's father might be, has a new meaning.

Her final gift to him was another mix tape, Awesome Songs volume 2, which he immediately plugs in and listens to with Gamora.

With Peter piloting his ship and Rocket with a newly coming to life baby Groot, the ship lifts off into the sky for a  new adventure.

For all the action and spectacle and humor, this is a heart-felt story about family. It was hugely successful for a reason.


*************************


To learn about the craft of storytelling, check out my writing workbook, A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling, available on Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook. It includes a meditation technique that can be used to speak to story characters.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I Am Light

A young man drops out of college in a state of exhaustion and comes home to find his apartment burned to ashes. He adopts the mantra I am light to try and create a new life for himself. If he can avoid his old life rising from the ashes at his feet. 

Available on #Amazon #Kindle .99 

https://www.amazon.com/I-Am-Light-BILL-JOHNSON-ebook/dp/B06XCKV388/


Saturday, February 4, 2017

“Our Foremothers’ Voices”, A Celebration of International Women’s Day


You are invited to Soapstone’s third annual International Women’s Day celebration honoring generational legacies of women as we look toward the road ahead. Actors and writers will present dramatic and poetic readings from the work of early Suffragists and 1970s feminists. The program will last approximately 90 minutes.
 
Readers: Judith Arcana, Diane Olson Dieter, Michelle Fujii, Robin Amy Gordon, Michelle Mariana, Emma Oliver, Jamie Rea, Ithica Tell, Kathleen Worley
  
Writers: Susan B. Anthony, Lucille Clifton, Maria Irene Fornes, Judy Grahn, Susan Griffin, Tillie Olsen, Grace Paley, Pat Parker, Adrienne Rich, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and others.
  
Free and open to all genders, races and persuasions.  

Co-sponsored by First Unitarian Church of Portland.   

March 4, 2017

2:00 p.m.
 Eliot Chapel of First Unitarian Church

1011 SW 12th Ave., Portland

Monday, January 30, 2017

Portland writer Stevan Allred joins Timberline Review editorial staff


The Timberline Review is excited to announce that Portland writer Stevan Allred has joined the editorial staff as Fiction Editor for the Summer/Fall 2017 issue (submissions now open through April 30th). Stevan’s masterful debut collection of linked short stories, “A Simplified Map of the Real World,” launched Portland publisher Laura Stanfill’s Forest Avenue Press, back in 2013.

Stevan's fiction has appeared in: Brave on the Page: Oregon Writers on Craft and the Creative Life, Clackamas Literary Review, Bewildering Stories, Real, Windfall, Second Writes, Soundings, Perceptions, The Text, Inkwell, Mississippi Review, Ilya’s Honey, The Iconoclast, Rosebud, I Wanna Be Sedated: Thirty Writers on Parenting Teenagers, Pindledyboz, Beloit Fiction Journal, The Organ, The Cereal Box Review, whatevermom, The Gobshite Quarterly, The Paumanok Review, Berkeley Fiction Review, Contemporary Haibun Online, Lite: Baltimore’s Literary Newspaper, The Portland Mercury, Syzygy, Writers Northwest, Northwest Writers Handbook 1995, Stepfamily Advocate, Fireweed, and Portland Review.

Stevan co-teaches creative writing at the Pinewood Table with Joanna Rose.
The Timberline Review is a semi-annual literary journal publishing new works of short fiction, creative nonfiction, poetry and essays. More details at timberlinereview.com/submissions/


Sunday, January 22, 2017

2017 OREGON BOOK AWARDS FINALISTS


KEN KESEY AWARD FOR FICTION
Judge: Nancy Zafris

Joyce Cherry Cresswell of Portland, A Great Length of Time (Mountain View Press)
Mo Daviau of Portland, Every Anxious Wave (St. Martin's Press)
Mary Emerick of Joseph, The Geography of Water (University of Alaska Press)
Scott Nadelson of Salem, Between You and Me (Engine Books)
Gina Ochsner of Keizer, The Hidden Letters of Velta B. (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

STAFFORD/HALL AWARD FOR POETRY
Judge: Major Jackson

Danielle Cadena Deulen of Salem, Our Emotions Get Carried Away Beyond Us (Barrow Street Press)
Alicia Jo Rabins of Portland, Divinity School (The American Poetry Review)
Jennifer Richter of Corvallis, No Acute Distress (Crab Orchard Review & Southern Illinois University Press)
Floyd Skloot of Portland, Approaching Winter (Louisiana State University Press)
Joe Wilkins of McMinnville, When We Were Birds (University of Arkansas Press)


FRANCES FULLER VICTOR AWARD FOR GENERAL NONFICTION
Judge: Charlotte Gordon

Sue Armitage of Portland, Shaping the Public Good: Women Making History in the Pacific Northwest (OSU Press)
Tracy Daugherty of Corvallis, The Last Love Song: A Biography of Joan Didion (St. Martin's Press)
Bill Lascher of Portland, Eve of a Hundred Midnights (William Morrow)
Kathleen Dean Moore of Corvallis, Great Tide Rising: Towards Clarity and Moral Courage in a Time of Planetary Change (Counterpoint)
Andi Zeisler of Portland, We Were Feminists Once: From Riot Grrrl to CoverGirl©, The Buying and Selling of a Political Movement (PublicAffairs)

SARAH WINNEMUCCA AWARD FOR CREATIVE NONFICTION
Judge: Maggie Nelson

Carrie Brownstein of Portland, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl (Riverhead)
Martha Grover of Portland, The End of My Career (Perfect Day Publishing)
Walidah Imarisha of Portland, Angels With Dirty Faces (AK Press)

ELOISE JARVIS MCGRAW AWARD FOR CHILDREN'S LITERATURE
Judge: Mac Barnett

Kate Berube of Portland, Hannah and Sugar (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
Cathy Camper of Portland, Lowriders to the Center of the Earth (Chronicle Books)
Deborah Hopkinson of Corvallis, Steamboat School (Disney * Hyperion)
Kathleen Lane of Portland, The Best Worst Thing (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
Cynthia Rylant of Portland, The Otter (Beach Lane Books)

LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE
Judge: Malinda Lo

Deborah Hopkinson of Corvallis, Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark (Scholastic)
Amber J. Keyser of Bend, The Way Back from Broken (Carolrhoda LAB)
David Levine of Portland, Arabella of Mars (Tor)
Eliot Treichel of Eugene, A Series of Small Maneuvers (Ooligan Press)

ANGUS BOWMER AWARD FOR DRAMA
Judge: Judge: Edit Villarreal

Cindy Williams GutiƩrrez of Portland, Words That Burn
Sue Mach of Portland, The Yellow Wallpaper
Rich Rubin of Portland, Caesar's Blood
Nancy Moss of Portland, Deception
Andrea Stolowitz of Portland, Berlin Diary

SPECIAL AWARDS:

In addition to recognizing the finest achievements of Oregon authors in several genres, Literary Arts recognizes individual contributions with the Charles Erskine Scott Wood Distinguished Writer Award, Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award, the Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award.

The Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award
Independent Publishing Resource Center of Portland

The Walt Morey Young Readers Literary Legacy Award

S.M.A.R.T. of Portland

The Charles Erskine Scott Wood Distinguished Writer Award
Jarold Ramsey of Madrasstions or to request an accommodation.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Use of the Prologue in Fiction


In writing fiction, one of the guidelines about what to do or not do revolves around the prologue. I've heard agents say they won't read a prologue, they just start with chapter one. I've heard an agent say she'd only accept a prologue if it was separated by time from the opening chapter.

A couple of things add to this understanding of the value (or lack of) a prologue. Many prologues by new writers are incredibly dull and tedious. They operate as an explanation of a story to follow. They are as un-dramatic as listening to someone recite dull facts in a monotone from behind a lectern.

The underlying issue here is that the opening of a story (prologue or chapter one) should draw an audience into a story. A prologue written to explain a story is giving the audience information ahead of drawing in an audience to want to know more. It's a basic mistake in storytelling by struggling authors.

All that said, prologues pop up in popular, traditionally-published fiction, and when they are done well, they are generally accepted.

A mystery by Mary Higgins Clark, Let Me Call You Sweetheart, demonstrates how a short prologue can quickly draw readers into a novel.

First line...

As often as humanly possible he tried to put Suzanne out of his mind.

Some of the questions here, what happened to Suzanne, and how did it involve the narrator? The prime directive of the first sentence of a novel — that the reader must read the second sentence — has been created.

Next line...

Sometimes he achieved peace for a few hours or even managed to sleep through the night.

Whatever happened, it had a major affect on the narrator.

Next line...

It was the only way he could function, go about the daily business of living.

So, not only can the narrator not sleep at night, he can barely function during the day. The question of what happened becomes more powerful.

Next lines and new paragraph...

Did he still love her or only hate her? He could never be sure. She had been so beautiful, with those luminous mocking eyes, that cloud of dark hair, those lips, that could smile so invitingly or pout so easily, like a child being refused a sweet.

Now we know who the narrator can't forget, but who is the narrator? What happened to this woman he loved?

Next lines and new paragraph...

In his mind she was always there, as she had looked in that last moment of her life, taunting him then turning her back on him.

Big question, what did the narrator do when she turned his back? Sounds like he killed her, but we have to keep reading to find out.

Next lines and paragraph...

And now, nearly eleven years later, Kerry McGrath would not let Suzanne rest. Questions and more questions! It could not be tolerated. She had to be stopped.

That this narrator can't sleep eleven years after what happened, and now someone is re-awakening the wound, again pulls a reader forward.

Next lines and paragraph...

Let the dead bury the dead. That's the old saying, he thought, and it's still true. She would be stopped, no matter what.

We end with more questions, who is the narrator? And what does he intend to do with Kerry McGrath.

The first chapter of the novel opens in Kerry's POV. The following chapters are told from different Points of View and bring Kerry into the office of a plastic surgeon who is doing some work on her daughter. Kerry notices something odd about the doctor's young, female patients. They all look, after plastic surgery, like the Suzanne mentioned in the prologue.

Because of the prologue, these chapters create a slow burn of increasing tension that makes the novel a page turner.

When a prologue is written in a way to engage and draw readers into a story, like narration in a well-written screenplay, it will generally be accepted. Just not always by literary agents looking at new work.

*************************


To learn about the craft of storytelling, check out my writing workbook, A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling, available on Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook. It includes a meditation technique that can be used to speak to story characters.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Depression and the Energy Body, by Bill Johnson


This is my response on Quora to a question about depression. The article is addressed to the person who posted the question, but the answer applies to others dealing with depression.

I'm starting this response with the assumption that you've been screened for brain chemistry issues, thyroid problems, or uric acid crystals accumulating in spine (cause of gout in big toe joints).

My response will be esoteric. You want Western medicine, stop reading.

At the end of all this, I'll have some suggestions for you, but it's going to take me a while to get there.

When I was young, until my early twenties, I suffered cycles of a black depression. Numb, feeling completely hopeless, the whole nine yards.

When I moved in with some roommates, I was at a very happy moment during dinner with them and experiencing intense waves of energy coming out of my heart and down my arms. That kind of experience was normal for me.

My roommates noticed something happening, so I told them what I was experiencing. That was the first time I learned that other people didn't experience an awareness of the energy flow in their bodies. I never knew. Not a clue.

Not long afterwards, I was off on my own and decided to practice some yoga, including something called bellows breathing. I soon developed a routine of doing bellows breathing 3-4 hours a day.

I discovered I was on an 11 week cycle. At the high end of the cycle, with each bellows breath, a pathway in my energy body would experience an increase in the energy flow.

What I discovered was that my energy body - head/spine/limbs - was severely restricted. But over several weeks of the high end of my cycle, followed by what I called semi-highs, doing the bellows breathing would pick up the energy flow in a particular part of my body, say the arms, legs, chest, back, or trunk.

Opening up these restrictions would also cause the muscle in that body part to jump, unwind, and release tension.

When you consider the energy body, think of the head and spine as 220 volts, and the major nerves running down the arms and legs as 110 volts. In general, major nerves in the body also reflect major energy passageway. Where major nerves come out of the spine are also major energy centers (also called chakras)).

Over the course of the year I opened up the restrictions in the energy flow all over my body and head.

When I did that, my black depression lifted and went away.

I realized the restrictions in the energy flow in my body caused my depression.

I discovered when I was sick during that year, the aches and pains I experienced were restrictions in the energy flow. When I lifted that, my cold was a slightly runny nose but I felt fine.

Here's the catch. My energy body was a reflection of my thoughts. My patterns of thought created patterns in the energy flow in my body, which fused with my muscles. A feedback loop in a sense, and why it took so much effort to lift the restrictions. My thoughts tended to re-create the restrictions in energy flow again.

At the high end of my cycle, when I did the bellows breathing, pathways of energy would 'light up' part of my body, my back for example. I would experience/see all the energy pathways.

I came to see my mental landscape as like a cloud shot through with constellations of stars. The stars reflected intense thought patterns, with similar patterns creating constellations of stars.

The more powerful the thought, the brighter that star. The brighter the star, the more powerful it broadcast that thought, or patterns of thought.

And since the energy body is a reflection of thoughts, thoughts have a way of fusing into the muscles, holding thought patterns in place.

During one high end of my cycle, I was able to get to a place where I had awareness of the energy behind a particular dark thought star. I was able to drain some of the energy that powered that broadcast. Didn't end it; I thought at the time I could make my way back, but that didn't happen.

The interaction of thoughts/mental landscape, energy body, and physical body are part of what makes us who we are and maintains our personalities into particular patterns.

Exercise can help open up energy channels in the body, which is a reason why exercise can help lift depression.

I'm going to jump ahead, but I'll get to my recommendations for you in just a moment.

20 years later I did therapy and I was advised to do 12 Step Groups. I ended up doing five a week. With plenty of quiet time, I started visualizing a current of energy running from my spiritual eye (central forehead) to my medulla oblongata. Think of the shape of this visualization as like a banana. When I breathed in, I drew a current from my forehead back to my medulla. When I breathed out, I visualized the current going from my medulla to my spiritual eye.

After a time, I could feel the current.

After doing this for six months, one side of the major band of current that runs around the crown rolled, unleashing creative energy and insight. Next cycle, the other side rolled, then energy pathways opened up down my face. I then had higher currents of energy running through my head/brain. A not always enjoyable process until those channels opened.

My suggestion for you is that twice a day, morning and evening, you do bellows breathing for five minutes. This can help settle your body and mind. Then you do five minutes of visualizing that current of energy from the spiritual eye to the medulla, back and forth.

During the day, if you attend a meeting that doesn't require your complete attention, practice visualizing that current, back and forth.

If while during this, you feel a knot developing at the back of your head, that will be a restriction in the energy flow over your medulla.

If you find a knot there, you'll probably have restrictions in the energy flow in the rest your body, and that will be a cause of your depression.

At that point, I suggest you find someone who can guide you through doing energy body work to help you lift the restrictions in your body and spine.

If you discover other sore spots in your spine, those will also be major restrictions.


That's my suggestion for you. This will require you turn some of your attention within.

When you do, you might have unusual experiences. Think of them as information. You also might experience dream like states while conscious. Again, consider it information. You'll be learning about how your mind and body work together.

Also, if you want to talk to someone about your experiences, I suggest you do that with a person who has an interest in inner experiences. I also suggest you don't do this technique around others. Anything with an inward focus can seem uninteresting to a sign of mental derangement to a person with a fixed, outward focus.

This might not be the path for you. I don't know why it was the path for me. I can only suggest it might very well be worth the effort for you to try.

Good luck.

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To learn about the craft of storytelling, check out my writing workbook, A Story is a Promise & The Spirit of Storytelling, available on Amazon's Kindle and Barnes and Noble's Nook. It includes a meditation technique that can be used to speak to story characters.