A DEAD-END BOOK COVER, A LAPIS LAZULI MOMENT, A SACRED SUNRISEWritten by Rolf Gompertz
A creative dead end can produce wonders.
That was proved to me once again in a most dramatic way. It involved cover design of my new book, a provocative biblical novel, titled, “Abraham, The Dreamer / An Erotic and Sacred Love Story.”
I had submitted my thoughts for cover design to publisher (iUniverse.com). I explained that story is about a love triangle, involving Abraham, his wife Sarah, and her handmaid, Hagar, “the other woman.” I suggested that cover capture that relationship.
Of course, there’s much more to story, and I filled in details at some length. After all, this is not a contemporary novel in a contemporary setting. We are talking about life 4000 years ago, with its many gods and goddesses, its child sacrifices and erotic Sacred Marriage Rites. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, could very well have been, what I portray her to be, a high priestess serving Inanna, great goddess of Love and War. We have Abraham, who turned against his society to follow a new and different God. What made him do that, I wondered, as I tried to recreate his life and tell his story. Furthermore, what made him transfer his love from Sarah to Hagar?
I tried to give designer a sense of individuals and of story that lay hidden in laconic biblical account.
When cover design came back to me I knew I was in trouble. The artwork suggested a knightly romance set in England during Middle Ages. But story is about Sumer, Canaan and Egypt, and nomadic, biblical characters who lived some three thousand years before Middle Ages. How could designers have been so far off mark? I learned, what I had not known before, that design department was not set up to provide original artwork. The designers could only work with existing stock art and clip art. Though plentiful, this art could not produce “look” that I was looking for.
I was now faced with two problems. First, a deadline. I had about two weeks to come up with an idea that could be made to work. Otherwise, book would be canceled and I would have to start with it all over again as a “new” project.
Second, I didn’t know if I could come up with a satisfactory, workable cover idea. I considered hiring an outside graphic artist. A quick check indicated that there would not be enough time for this and that it would be costly, if not prohibitive.
So I did what was only proper under such circumstances: I freaked out! Or, to be perfectly honest, I freaked out — some more! I was desperate. I knew I had to stop thinking about original cover concept. I had to stop my circular thinking, or, to put it another way, I had to start thinking outside box. In short, I had to think creatively.
The creative process itself is elusive. It works in a most mysterious way. It usually consists of stating problem, defining it and turning it over to your mind to think about and solve. I have often found that answer, solution comes to me when mind is relaxed and at rest. Invariably, I wake up at two or three in morning. At first I’m annoyed. I wonder why I woke up. Then I lie quietly. Presently, I become conscious of some answer or solution to a “problem” floating into view.
NDE - Throught the TunnelWritten by Martin Brofman, Ph.D.
Through The Tunnel by Martin Brofman, Ph.D. A Personal Account of NDE by a Walk-In I was at Episcopal Hospital in Philadelphia. I had just been told that I had a "blockage" in my spinal cord, from fourth to seventh cervical vertebrae at level of neck, that had been responsible for symptoms I had been experiencing. My right arm was paralyzed, my legs were spastic, and there were sensations like electric shocks running through my body when I moved my head.
I was told that I had to have an operation immediately, and that if I lived through operation, I might come out of it a quadriplegic. When I asked if I had time for a second opinion, I was told that if I coughed or sneezed at that time, I might die. Naturally, I agreed to have operation in a few hours.
I realized that according to what doctors had said, I might be dead in a few hours. I went through stages that many people go through when they know they are about to die. First, there was sense that this was a movie set, and that these things were not really happening to me. I found myself negotiating with what was happening, bargaining if I could, for something different to happen. Slowly, realization that it was real, and happening to me, came closer and closer, until I had to emotionally accept that I might very soon be dead.
When I accepted unacceptable, my body shook violently as an intensity of energy moved through me. I opened more and more to it, and after one or two very long minutes it was complete. I felt a calm inside that I had not known before. All my senses were sharper. My vision was clearer. Colors were brighter. Hearing was clearer. Sensations were more alive.
I realized that I had released a perceptual filter that had been standing between me and experience of life, and ironically, it had been fear of death. Now that I had released that fear, I was experiencing more of life, more of being alive, even if just for a short while longer.
I thought of life I had lived, and things I could have done but didn't, and I found myself saying to myself, "I wish I had." There were a lot of "I wish I hads." I thought to myself that it was, in fact, a sad way to end a life, and that if I had to do it again, there would be a lot of "I'm glad I dids." I had to decide what I wanted to do with short time I had left. If I spent my remaining time worrying or feeling bad about what was, in fact, inevitable, I would have just wasted rest of my life, thrown it away, and it was too valuable for that.
I decided to spend my remaining time feeling good, and just thinking of things that helped me to feel good - color of paint on walls, smell of flowers in room, anything positive. I knew I could always find something.
Finally, time came. I was taken to operating room, and as I was being given anesthetic, I thought that this might be last experience I would ever have. I had no idea what might come afterwards. I had been agnostic, with no beliefs, believing in nothing that I had not experienced. Perhaps next step after death was just oblivion. I let go.
I began to experience a vertigo, a sense of spinning, and it didn't feel good, so I stabilized myself in center of it until I was still, and everything else was spinning around me. I was moving through spinning scenes, which were memories from life I had lived, memories which were calling for my attention. If I put my attention on them, though, I felt myself "pulled," because I was moving through these spinning memories, like being pulled through a tunnel, or falling down a well, but discovering that half-way down well. Reaching for walls would not work. My only hope would be to aim for water at bottom.
I had to withdraw my attention from these scenes, then, these memories, and put my attention on place to which I was being drawn, aiming for it. I was headed there anyway, but aiming for it gave me more of a sense of being in driver's seat, and that was a lot more comfortable for me. It was a bit like riding a roller coaster in front car, and pretending that you're driving thing along tracks. It gives a totally different ride, I can assure you, than being swept out of control.