Transcend Through Story: Unlock Your Imagination

 

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“Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

~ Albert Einstein

Every now and then, I am drawn into another realm, a wonderous and boundless kingdom where the only factor limiting the possibilities is the scope of my thoughts. I don’t need to go anywhere physically to enter this other world. I could be sitting on my outdoor lounge beneath the sun, or at the beach digging in the sand with my children as they play near the shore. I could even be punching the letters on my keyboard, just as I did when producing this article.  It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, I always have access to this rich and magical endowment that I can channel anytime and anywhere I choose – my imagination.

Our imagination is one of the greatest gifts we are given and it is as intertwined with the beautiful mystery of life as the certainty of the sun rising at dawn tomorrow. We can’t touch it or taste it, and we can’t hear it or smell it. There are no scientific analytics or mathematical formulas to support its existence, yet we all know it’s there – the invisible thoughts lifting us up and transporting us to other places.

It is imagination that forms the cornerstone of ingenuity. It is essential for the continued evolution of humanity and it is the foundation of all creation.

In his series of texts in The marriage of Heaven and Hell, the 18th century intuitive poet William Blake made this wry comment: “What is now proved was once only imagin’d.” As you consider the simplicity of these words of wisdom and allow them to seep into your essence, your imagination will begin to kick into action.

Take a look around. Everything you see and all you experience with your physical senses emerged from somebody else’s imagination. For something to exist in this world, it must first be anchored firmly into your imagination. Without this perpetual resource, life becomes stifled and creativity is halted.

During his lifetime, Blake was largely considered an outlier for the mystical undercurrents expressed through his creativity – and that’s a nice way of putting it. Yet Blake is now recognized as a seminal figure in the history of poetry for his rich symbolism that embraces imagination as “human existence itself”.

However, William Blake wasn’t alone in his radically insightful views. Throughout the ages, virtually all spiritual teachings speak of the power of imagination; and that invisible formless realm has been bestowed upon you as your birthright.

Our lives today mostly encompass a combination of fast-moving experiences strung together by a series of innovative moments playing out on the leading edge of existence. These are exciting times where revolution appears commonplace, in the form of the technology infiltrating every field from fast food to finances. We’re closer together yet further apart thanks to the internet, and each generation contends with profound social, economic and technological transformations.

A fast-track life with the world at your fingertips can often mean a ceaseless internal merry-go-round spinning around the edges of your soul. It can be overwhelming and stressful, and sometimes we lose sight of the important stuff like love, sacred connections and that beautiful essence peering out from behind your cagey eyeballs.

So, while you’re taking that look around at everything that was once in someone else’s imagination, ask yourself if you’ve neglected your own. Have you left it at the threshold of adulthood to gather the dust of the passing years? Or perhaps your deadlines have highjacked it along with your mortgage repayments.

Maybe. Maybe not.

No one could blame you if you have temporarily misplaced your wild imagination. We are in an age swamped with selfies and Instagram, little Tweets here, and bigger Tweets there. Did someone mention Snapchat? Yeah, I just heard the teenager throw me some backchat.

What’s new?

Your entire life is probably now chronicled on Facebook and you just must keep up with the latest cat memes and viral diarrhea – right?

You’ll also need to remember to pay your bills on time, feed your kids after dance class, follow the rules, and for heaven’s sake – who let out the damned cat? Catch a little Netflix before bed. You may manage something more, if you last that long, because you’re so tired working your butt off to meet the responsibilities that are mounting up somewhere around your hairline, that you feel like your brain will begin to emulsify through your ears.

Meanwhile, you have convinced yourself that it’s completely normal for your eight-year-old to watch adults play with Kinder Surprise toys and Frozen figurines on YouTube just so you can grab a quick five minutes alone and gather your whirling thoughts.

Okay. I might be exaggerating a little. Maybe that scenario doesn’t exactly apply to all of us, or all the time. The point is, most of us are so busy, our childlike imagery often becomes a distant memory we seldom entertain, excluding those Kinder Surprise-playing-grown-ups on YouTube, of course.

In his wonderful book, Wishes Fulfilled, Wayne Dyer says, “Today, quantum physics confirms the universe is made up of formless (spirit) energy, and that particles (that is, things) do not originate from particles.” Meaning everything springs from something akin to your imagination.

Everything.

Think about that for a moment. I bet while contemplating those words something deep within you recognizes the truth. It certainly gets my inner-bells chiming, especially when considering this observation made by the father of quantum physics, Max Plank: “Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and, therefore, part of the mystery that we are trying to solve.”

I don’t know about you, but when I first read those words something unfurled and soared through my being at the realization that science cannot take us through the doors of the divine, no matter how hard we knock. The truth is we are as mysterious and beautiful as life itself, and the power of creation is within all of us. It’s within the places you choose to take your thoughts, and the ideas that seemingly spring from nowhere. And it lives, thrives and breathes through our stories.

Beneath my author name that appears on the banner on my website is the tagline “stories that transcend”. I chose that phrase because I believe story is the perfect instrument in which to nurture the endless creativity of imagination, and I believe it is through story that we can help make the world a better place.

It is particularly true that through fantasy and paranormal storytelling that authors can transport readers to other worlds brimming with magical wonders and spectacular ideas – stories born through the creative forces of imagination that provide an outlet to escape from the demands of modern life as we begin to consider the “what if?”.

Yet, as we ponder the magnificence of stories and imagination, and the escapism they provide to our busy lives, there’s something more at play here. It’s a golden opportunity to snatch back those moments when you dressed up in your favorite super-hero costume and flung yourself off the garage roof; or to reclaim those times when you lost yourself in a world of make-believe that felt so real, you couldn’t quite figure out the difference between the parallel realities.  Nor did you want to.

So, as you turn the pages of a great fantasy, paranormal romance or sci-fi book and immerse yourself in the characters, a tiny spark ignites the dormant embers of your own imagination, in turn reminding you of your own childlike imagery.

Then something happens – the story ends.

Once you’ve read the last line and your fleeting visit to a fictional world has come to an end, you’re often confronted with the reality of your life. The enchanting tendrils of fantasy begin to fade as the weight of the “real world” sets in. Too soon does the inspiration of a great story merge with the internal merry-go-round until it’s lost somewhere in the gray matter of your brain.

But what if you chose to hold on to that feeling? What if you internalized it just a little longer until you have convinced yourself for a few magnificent moments that anything is possible? And what if you danced with the galaxy twinkling beneath your rational thoughts till your essence soared like the inner-child playing make-believe?

Reading the words strung together to form a story created by someone else’s imagination, unknowingly gives us permission to unleash our own. But it’s when we really take the time to ponder this greatest of gifts that we realize the limitless possibilities that abound in us.

Through the mystical chords of imagination, story will help save the world. It is through transcending beyond your daily responsibilities and releasing your imagination that you will expand and enrich your own life.

Imagine that?

Author on a Train

The night was dark and cold. My eyes burned tired while I flicked through my emails and opened one from Joanna Penn. An unlikely opportunity gazed back at me from the screen. A chance to join J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon on an overnight train journey from Chicago to New Orleans, followed by a week in NOLA learning to collaborate and write with other authors.

Hmm. What did I have to lose?

The notion was like a wildcard to someone like me. Especially since I am based in Australia and new to the wonderful world of publishing and writing. Surely I’d be passed up.

I was wrong. And the rest, as they say went down as history!

Eight authors rendezvoused with our hosts in Chicago having never met before, some of us from other countries. What a fabulous manifestation!  I think back now and the week was like an exquisite silky bubble that burst way too soon. The experience was rich with transparent content, unrestricted shared knowledge and a wealth of information. Exploring New Orleans and learning about the city’s history has captured a part of me I’ll always be fond of recalling. And the company – the people involved made for something truly special. I wouldn’t have changed a single glorious moment.

The end result was published back in January with  Dark Shadows: Vampires and Ghosts of New Orleans (An Authors on a Train Short Story Collection), and some lifelong connections I’ll forever treasure. I can’t thank these two guys enough.

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Me with J. Thorn and Zach Bohannon

Did we actually write on a train?

Indeed we did. A piece of flash fiction you’ll find below if you’re interested enough to keep scrolling.

Want to find out more?

The guys are doing it again in 2018. Check it out here!

Dark Shadows
AMAZON

 

Flash fiction on an Amtrak Train:

The Bronze Statue

Carly’s breath appeared like a puff of smoke as it combined with the chilly air.

‘Here it is!’ She grabbed Helen’s arm and dragged her toward the bronze statue.

‘Finally! I’m over walking this cemetery,’ Helen moaned.

‘Stop whining; this statue is famous. Haven’t you always wondered about your death?’

‘No,’ Helen scowled, pulling her arm free.

They stopped in front of a bronze figure, falling silent and crooking their necks as they took in its inscrutable image. The statue loomed tall. Its moss-cloaked arms almost concealed the hard etch of its face as it peered out gravely.

Carly nudged Helen. ‘Go on, look into its eyes. Tell me what you can see,’ she murmured.

Helen rolled her eyes and buried her chin among the shaggy material of her scarf.

‘Then can we get out of here? It’s cold and I want to warm up at the bonfire party. Besides, I really need to pee.’

Carly grinned. Her brown eyes sparkled as she contemplated the statue.

‘Sure. Let’s just see if anything happens. Legend has it, not only will you see your death in this statue’s eyes, but they say there is an evil entity waiting for the right soul to come along to swap places. That poor person will forever be trapped behind those bronze eyes.’

‘You’d believe it snowed in summer if Ryan Willis told you so,’ Helen sniffed.

‘I’m going to ignore that remark. What do you see?’ Carly said behind her.

She rolled her eyes again. Best get this over with. Her thick boots squished into the soggy grass as she stepped closer to the statue. When her eyes met the inky black wells of the figure, she was overcome with a tide of eeriness. She squirmed, screwing her nose as she scrutinized the dark icon.

She shrugged at her friend.

‘Nothing. Your turn,’ she said, stepping aside. ‘And hurry up, something doesn’t feel right; this thing is funky.’

Carly laughed as she took her place in front of the statue.

‘What did you really think will happen? Now who’s letting all that death and soul-trapping talk spook you,’ she teased.

‘Just hurry up already.’

Helen watched as her friend lifted her chin. She pushed out her chest, and pulled back her shoulders as she stood with her legs apart and gripped her hips. She stared unblinking at the giant statue.

Carly’s focus seemed to deepen as her eyes locked into the figure. A deep silence fell over the cemetery, broken only by the flutter of wings as the birds fled from the trees, and the tiny pattering footsteps of the scurrying squirrels. Helen’s heart began to thump. Her eyes darted wildly about the cemetery. She could feel something shifting. Her tongue clung to the roof of her mouth as a lump wedged in her throat. An ominous suspicion twisted and corrupted through her.

Her ears pricked as Carly’s high-pitched scream reverberated around her. She swung around in alarm as she saw her friend convulsing uncontrollably. Carly’s body was shaking violently, yet her feet were rooted into the earth like an entrenched tree trunk. Her eyes remained wide and spellbound against the soulless face of the statue.

Helen rushed over to quell the fit but was unable to stop her quivering nor move her in any way. Horror coiled around her and through her like a venomous serpent, while her cries for help echoed vainly among the gray tombs that littered the desolate graveyard.

Her fingers twitched as she frantically searched her jacket pocket for her phone. She clasped the phone, and paused as she blinked at her friend. Carly’s convulsions had subsided and her eyes were shut as a quietness permeated her.

Helen frowned and ventured toward her friend. She encircled an arm around her.

‘Carly?’

Carly’s eyes flew open and she turned her head toward Helen. Hollow black eyes pierced her.

Helen gasped and reeled back under her friend’s stare. She clutched at her chest.

‘Carly?’ she asked again. ‘Are you okay?’

A wide smile erupted over ruby lips. ‘Oh, I’ve never been better,’ Carly said.

She tossed her golden hair up and began to flounce away.

‘Are you coming? We have that bonfire party to get to, remember!’

Helen’s brows furrowed as she trailed Carly down the cemetery road toward the entrance. She glanced over her shoulder at the statue, unaware of the wild silent pleas from its freshly bronzed brown eyes.

K. Petersen

***

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Inspired by this spooky thing in a Chicago cemetery.

Meet Tricia Barr

By day, Tricia is a full time mom to two beautiful toddler girls and a wife/business partner to a handsome hard-working husband. By night–and nap times–she writes unique and thrilling young adult fantasies inspired by her vivid, somewhat creepy dreams and her own adventures around the world.

The first book in her series, The Bound Ones is set to release in The Shadow Files Boxed Set, currently up for preorder for just 99 cents! Here Tricia talks about writing, publishing and being an author while meeting the demands of family life …

  1. When did you write your first book and what inspired you to write it?

I actually wrote my first book my first year of college. It was the original version of the vampire romance I just released, The Vampire Secret, but ultimately it sucked and needed several rewrites to make it the masterpiece it is now. The thing that inspired me honestly was that I missed high school. I pretty much was my main character in high school, and I wanted to indulge in a fantasy of what could have happened if I found out my favourite vampire series was real and I fell in love with the main vampire hero (which is the premise of that book). I’ll let you in on a little secret—my favourite vampire series is The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice and my favourite vampire of all time would have to be Lestat 😉

  1. How did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I actually published several books before deciding to publish this one. The first book I published, Ignite, was published through a small press, and I hated the whole experience. I mean, at first, it was a huge ego boost that someone believed in me and my book enough to take a chance on it and give it its chance in the world. But the cover was subpar, the formatting was god-awful, and when they switched distributors and got my name WRONG, that was the last straw. I pulled out of my contract and republished it myself, and it was by far the best decision I’ve made in publishing.

  1. Does writing energize or exhaust you?

Both. During the process, I always feel antsy and drained, but when I’m done for the day and I see my progress, there is no higher feeling of accomplishment!

  1. What is your writing Kryptonite?

If you mean something that hinders my writing, I have three: my two beautiful toddler girls, Tatum and Syrena, to whom I devote twelve hours of my day, and my work-a-holic husband, who believes I should spend every second of my free time to working around the house and the yard rather than writing (just so you know, my house is the cleanest house of any other toddler mom I know, and that’s all me lol). So I pretty much only get to write for an hour or so during nap time and after my kids go to sleep. But I love it, and I love my wonderful, chaotic little family.

  1. What was the best money you ever spent as a writer?

The Butterfly Promotions Masterclass taught by Bobby Kim!!! I can’t stress it enough! Bobby Kim is the publishing world messiah, and I am a devoted disciple!

  1. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

I don’t think I’ve encountered a problem there, actually. I feel just as comfortable writing men as I do women.

  1. Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

That depends on the genre they want to write in. If it’s non-fiction, then yes! But any kind of fiction has to come from a place of deep emotion, or readers won’t invest their own emotions.

  1. What are you working on now?

The sequel to my vampire romance, The Vampire Unleashed, which releases June 15.

 

  1. What is the first book that made you cry?

I don’t think it’s possible to remember that far back lol I’ve read probably a thousand books in my life, and not a clue which was the first.

  1. If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

It would be the launch strategy I have now, and also not to waste my precious free time before I had kids on anything other than writing, because you never get that time back lol

Thanks, Tricia! 🙂

Stalk Tricia:

Website ~ Facebook

About the book: IGNITE

Four strangers. Four powerful elements. To survive a ruthless cult, they’ll have to work together… or die alone…

Phoenyx Blake has just woken up in captivity, but she’s not the only one. The mysterious dungeon holds three other teens who were just as surprised to be imprisoned as she was. Phoenyx and the others discover that they were abducted because their souls are eternally bound by the ancient elemental powers of Fire, Water, Earth, and Air. And their captors have no plans on letting them live through the next solar storm…

But as they consider their circumstances, Phoenyx discovers that her fiery abilities connect her in a timeless courtship dance with Sebastian, a fellow prisoner and a water elemental. Their souls have fallen in love generation after generation. And she can’t help but feel drawn to him in this lifetime as well…

To discover the truth behind their abilities, Phoenyx and the others must escape the dungeon before the cultists can begin a terrifying ritual sacrifice. If Phoenyx can’t master her powers and face up to a painful secret, then they’ll all pay with both their lives and their souls…

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AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER NOW!

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