For me, the genesis of a creative work is both tactile and magical. It involves the urgent desire to touch and caress, and the sense of bringing something into manifestation from the imaginal plane where it already exists. I want to share the feelings, keen as the desire for a perfect lover, that helped to bring one of my most adventurous books (Dreamgates) into my hands, and then into the hands of its readers.
The feeling comes in strong. I want to touch it, stroke it, leaf back and forth through the pages, linger over details of typesetting, the pleasure of rereading an especially felicitous passage. Stroking my previous books, reading over drafts, letters, journal entries, won’t hack it. I want the real thing, the finished thing, bound and sewn.
I know it’s there.
I have known for quite a time (well over a year) that my new book already exists. This is confirmed when I go through my journal and commonplace book. A paragraph here — and here, and here — a page or two there, are leaves from the finished product. Sure, I have recorded them out of sequence and need to figure out how to shuffle them to match the pagination of the actual book. There are big gaps where material had been left out in transmission. But these are not drafts, despite garbles, typos, and screwups by the filing clerk in my brain. They are the book — the actual, finished book — coming through.
I think of a bronze by Ipoustéguy in a sculpture garden in Washington, D.C., that shows a man moving through a solid door. An arm is coming through, up to the elbow. A leg is jutting through, up to the knee. A face bulges round as a moon, penetrating the membrane that only impersonates a solid barrier. My book has been coming through like that.
Now I want its whole body in my hands.
I could pause and give myself a lecture on the laws of manifestation, of bringing things into the surface world from the imaginal realm in which they are born. But I am not in the mood for a dissertation on Platonic forms or the Mundus Imaginalis of the Persian philosophers.
My need lives in my body — in my loins, in my gut, in my nerve endings. I want to cradle and caress, to touch and be touched.
Can I write from this?
I can do better. I can deliver.
My naysayer has nothing to say. My brakeman can’t stop the train. (The brakeman lives in the logical mind, as anyone knows who remembers his Greek; phren, “logic,” is related to phrenon, which means “brakes” — and “damper.”) Coming through!
You could call my condition relaxed attention, or attentive relaxation, as my fingers trip and skirl across the keyboard. I don’t mind what you call it. As the screen fills and refills, as pages spill from the printer, I am simply bringing a book from my dream library into my physical space, to enjoy it with all of my physical senses.
Text adapted from Dreamgates: Exploring the Worlds of Soul, Imagination and Life beyond Death by Robert Moss. Published by New World Library.
Photo at top: "Man Passing through Door" by Jean-RobertIpoustéguy in the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden, Washington D.C.