Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Secret #3: Angels

Back in grade school, we had an activity known as the "telephone game."  The idea was to take a phrase and whisper it in the ear of the person sitting next to you.  Regardless of whether they heard you clearly or not, you could only whisper it once and then that person would whisper what they thought they heard to the next person in line.  Eventually, the phrase would come back to the first person in the line - generally in a completely distorted form.

When the phrase, "Johnny smelled mice baking under there," becomes, "Jimmy smelled my bacon underwear," hilarity ensues.

As I began to write The Awakening, I leaned heavily on the telephone game when approaching the threads of spirituality that are woven into the novel.  Religion was left in-tact and uninterpreted, but core spiritual concepts were reduced to the themes present across cultural boundaries.

For instance, people throughout history have had experiences that neither they nor science can adequately explain.  Life doesn't offer a remote control and there is no way to rewind an experience that occurred once, usually catching us off-guard as it unfolded before us, and accurately view it again.

Communication is an art, not a science.  I may describe seeing a "dark" person, referring to the mood that seemed to travel with them and another person may interpret my statement as describing the color of their hair, skin, or the clothes they were wearing.  As the experience is passed from person to person, the story is unintentionally changed, the new audience hearing the new version  of the tale as the gospel truth before inadvertently reinterpreting it once more.

Every culture has stories of beings that don't fit conveniently into the category of "human."  Judeo-Christians refer to them as angels and demons.  To Native Americans they are Spirits.  Yokai populate the Japanese cultural landscape.  The Celtic peoples know them as faeries and the Norse categorize them as Dökkálfar (dark elves) or Ljósálfar (light elves).  Rather than choosing a single cultural perspective and running with it, I chose to employ the concept of the telephone game when approaching the concept of angels.  I began with stories from around the globe of otherworldly beings and looked for the common ground in those tales.

In The Awakening, angels are simply known as the Old Ones.

They walk among us, indistinguishable from other human beings, but this is not their true form.  Embracing numerous cultural perspectives, the true form of an Old One is directly connected to a concept or an element.  For instance, Alicia isn't simply a creature of light - her inner being is literally composed of a luminous glow.
Taking a deep breath, summoning her courage, Alicia spread her arms wide, the over-sized sweatshirt hanging from her limbs, her lips frowning in concentration.  Drew watched in quiet awe as the glow began to brighten the room, as her features grew soft and indistinct within the haze of light.  Lines began to form across her exposed skin, mottling her flesh, the patterns filling with brilliant colors that reminded him of butterfly wings.  She tilted back her head as the light continued to grow, intensifying to a soft brilliance, and Drew realized that he was seeing her as she truly was, as she existed in her own world, in the realm beyond his own.  Her full lips had faded to nothingness; not even a hint of a mouth drew itself across her face.  Alicia's hair had lengthened into tendrils of illumination that fluttered on an unseen wind, drifting behind her in streamers of golden light.  Her deep brown eyes had grown to an unnatural proportions; each the size of his palm, they somehow held a gentle timidity and fear...
With each new Old One that appears, we find another expression of reality at their core: darkness; light; blood; storm.  As The Awakening unfolds, we discover that not only can each Old One alter their appearance at will, but that the true form of an "angel" may hint at something much deeper than their appearance.

The Awakening (May 13, 2011) sets the stage for A Tide of Shadows (May 2012), which in turn builds to the climax found in Days of the Fallen (May 2013).  You can read the first three chapters online for free.  The Awakening will be published on Friday the 13th in both paperback and ebook formats.

Secret One: Aleph (May 1st)
Secret Two: The End (May 2nd)
Secret Three: Angels (May 3rd)
Secret Four: The Bloodline (May 4th)
Secret Five: Heaven and Hell (May 5th)
Secret Six: What Does God Look Like? (May 6th)
Secret Seven:  Working Miracles (May 7th)
Secret Eight: The Four Horsemen (May 8th)
Secret Nine: Small Town Mysteries (May 9th)
Secret Ten: Photographing the Paranormal (May 10th)
Secret Eleven: Blood on the Threshold (May 11th)
Secret Twelve: Find the Thread (May 12th)
Secret Thirteen: How Does the World End? (May 13th)

4 comments:

  1. Oh oh oh I am so very excited!!! :)))

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  2. Very cool! Although I must admit... that my first thought upon reading Old Ones was: Cthulhu? ;)

    I suspect you've left plenty of room for that sort of Old One as well, though!

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  3. @Lori We're almost there... :)

    @Becky You're a much cooler geek than I am. I always think of the Cthulu mythos as "the elder gods." The phrase "Old Ones" in this particular case came from a creation story that I heard told by an indigenous person. We'll explore that context more as the trilogy unfolds. :)

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  4. Ooo touche, they really are more often called the Elder Gods. Guess it shouldn't really surprise me that Elder would suddenly equal Old in my head, though. ;)

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