The Art of Magic (and the magic of art)

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” Pablo Picasso

Oekaki, Drawing, Children, GraffitiThat from the artist who also claimed that it took him four years to learn to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to learn to paint like a child.  It’s a perspective that interests me.

About thirty years ago I recall a family picnic on the banks of the River Stour on the Essex-Suffolk border.  My 18 month old son (now a professional graphic artist and illustrator) seized his father’s sketchbook and pencil, stared intently at the reeds and bull rushes growing at the water’s edge, then proceeded to draw a series of vertical and near-vertical lines on the paper.  It took him seconds.  His first representational landscape drawing!  The child moved on to other ways of exploring the environment immediately.  It was as if the drawing was some kind of instinctive yet fleeting need to capture the 3D world in just two dimensions.  He didn’t, as his older siblings might have done, compare it to his father’s sketches or seek anyone’s approval or praise.  In fact he was confused by our excitement and delight.

A tiny child will not seek out the ‘right’ colours or consider shapes and ratios.  What they do, though, when you think about it, is pure magic.  They use their crayons to create the significant people and objects around them at that moment in time.  Their art freezes an aspect of the swirl of life and movement and emotion they find themselves in and places it on a flat sheet of paper.   How very different that is from our own self-conscious attempts to draw a representational image.  We are hung up on how realistic it looks, whether our lines are straight or whether the perspective is right.  Most of all, we are worried about how others will judge it.  That, I suspect, is the ‘problem’ Picasso was referring to.

“That’s a lovely picture.  Would you like to tell me about it?” we were taught to say when I was training to be a teacher.  It avoided the problems of, “What a beautiful picture of Mummy!  Oh, I see – it’s a green tractor with lots of mud, is it?  Right.”

Gradually we ‘help’ the child to fit their depictions to the conventions of art in our world.  In medieval times, drawing the mother or self far larger than other people would have been quite acceptable.  The convention was ‘important people are shown larger than less significant people’.  In our modern world the convention is photographic, so a person shown large is closer in physical space to the artist’s viewpoint than those standing further away.

 

Light, Effect, Light Effect, Magic LightAnd what of magic?  I would argue that this, too, is something a small child experiences and responds to in a very natural, comfortable way and trying to regain that instinctive connection to the magic inherent in their lives takes many years, once the child has been trained to put it aside.

We allow – even encourage – small children to fill their lives with magic.  We tell them of Santa Claus, the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny and read them stories or show them videos of unicorns and dragons, magicians and heroes with fantastic powers.

At some point, though – perhaps around the same time we start insisting that humans should be drawn with bodies, not just a circular head with legs and arms – we begin to teach them what is ‘real’ and what is ‘pretend’.  What many of us don’t recognise is that this is just as arbitrary and incomplete a world view as the one we are asking them to leave behind.

Magic has a strong similarity to art.  When painting and drawing we encapsulate three dimensions in two.  With magic, we bring multiple dimensions into the three that form what current convention sees as our world.  (Again, I suspect our ancestors would have viewed it quite differently.)

In the children’s story book I’ve just published, I made sure enough magic was embedded within it to at least allow my 8-12 year old audience to keep wondering.  My metaphysician (yes, of course there had to be one!) observes three members of a family who find themselves confronted with a magical ‘coincidence’ as follows:

The lady in the blue dress looked from one to the other of them – the mother, who was slowly shaking her head and muttering, “Extraordinary…”, the boy who was now clutching his cheeks and laughing with amazement and pure delight, and the small child beside her who was still young enough to understand how real magic was and therefore not surprised at all.

I’d love to think that a few children reading The Glassmaker’s Children will recognise the magic my young hero Stellan rediscovers and notice how, by using attention and intention, both he and they can find way of surviving and thriving, despite the setbacks and challenges they encounter.

 

Small note:  I originally set up this blog (back in 2012) to publicise my first book.  Since then it’s be come more of a vehicle for my metaphysical ramblings, and I’d like it to stay that way.  For that reason, I’m placing most of my posts about The Glassmaker’s Children on my Open the Box blog.  This one, for example, explains the particular challenges my two young characters face as they battle to cope with a narcissistic parent.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Always End With a Story

Tale, Story, Pirates, Fantasy, TreasureAs a parent and as a teacher, I ended every day with a story.  It felt the right way to finish things off and send my own children off to their dreams or my pupils off to their homes.

As I await the artwork for the cover of my own new story book, I thought I’d share some of my favourite children’s books – the ones that most intrigued and inspired those children I read to.

I grew up reading and adoring the Arthur Ransome Swallows and Amazons tales.  However by the time I’d reached adulthood, having a major character called Titty was a barrier to reading it aloud to kids!  I did try once to read it to a class – attempting to substitute the name with ‘Tammy’, but it didn’t end well.  56 eyes watching intently and 28 mouths sniggering each time I fluffed it or (worse) forgot…  I gave up.

Lewis Carroll was one of my favourites to read aloud, due to the sheer brilliance, audacity and anarchy of his stories and poems, while Philip Pullman’s range and scope always left me and my listeners gasping for more.

I lost count of the times I read Michael Morpurgo’s Kensuke’s Kingdom aloud to classes of 10 and 11 year olds and I still can’t read the final chapter without shedding a few tears.

Some of my favourite children’s books fall into the genre of ‘issues’ stories.  I suppose mine does as well.

On more than one occasion I would hand a copy of Jacqueline Wilson’s The Suitcase Kid to some poor child whose parents had separated and decided it suited them best if their offspring spent a week at a time in each home.  The issues affecting step families were also deftly dealt with by Anne Fine in her wonderfully balanced series of short stories published as Step by Wicked Step.  Both these authors have produced a range of carefully crafted stories to fit many of the challenging issues besetting children and I’ve read many of their tales to those in my care.

Ordinary Jack.jpgPerhaps my favourite – if I had to choose one – though, is not an ‘issues’ book series at all but a set of comedy tales called The Bagthorpe Saga by the brilliant Helen Cresswell.

I adored everything this lady wrote, but was surprised and delighted to discover how the series affected my middle child.

‘Ordinary Jack’ is a thoroughly charming but – as the title suggests – very normal boy who has been born into a family of hilariously dysfunctional, but high-achieving oddballs.  He yearns to have many ‘strings to his bow’, like his siblings and parents.

My son was the only one in our family with dyslexia – a way of being that has served him very well in adulthood, in his profession as a data analyst, but one which caused him huge problems as a schoolboy.  Despite our best efforts, he suffered with a lack of self-esteem, so finding Jack in these stories was, for him, like discovering a soulmate.  He longed for his nightly story session and we worked our way through the entire series.

I suppose if there is one thing I could wish for my book – The Glassmaker’s Children – it is that some child somewhere will discover my Stellan and relate to him, his personality or his situation, so that his or her own life is positively affected.

 

 

The Glassmaker’s Children is available on Amazon at this link for the USA

The Glassmaker’s Children

The Glassmaker's Children by [Jan Stone]Yes – apologies.  This blog has been very quiet in the past few months.  There’s a reason for that, which I’m about to share with you.

Life during lockdown was very different, obviously.  One of the most positive and welcome changes during that time was the opportunity to chat via video link with my grandchildren every day.  Their mother works from home, so I agreed to do some home learning with them each weekday morning, to give her some time to herself.

Every ‘lesson’ ended with a story session and we got through a fair few books during that time – Tales of Mystery and Imagination (my favourite picture book ever), The Arabian Nights, The Firework Maker’s Daughter, Stig of the Dump and much more.  The five year old – quite understandably – drifted away unless there were plenty of pictures, but the eight year old sat and soaked in every word, day after day.

When the summer holidays started, lockdown eased and the lessons ceased, I found that my love of children’s literature had been rekindled (unintentional pun there!)

As a parent, teacher and mentor, I’d often been able to find the perfect book to help a child dealing with family or personal issues – low self-esteem, bullying, family splits and so forth.  The book I’d never been able to find was one that explained – in a child-friendly storybook format – why, if we do indeed at some level choose the family we are born into, this child chose the parents or siblings they did.

That’s why I decided to write it.

I hadn’t been prepared for how much it would consume my life – waking and dreaming.  Stellan and Ruby Rose, my main characters, became utterly real to me.  Perhaps, since they’ve now been created, they really live in some other reality.  I’d like to think so.  At any rate, one night, during a particularly vivid dream, Ruby and I headed off on an adventure quite unrelated to the story I was writing.

Often I suddenly ‘knew’ what would happen to them next, without consciously planning it.  I caught myself thinking, “Oh, yes, clever!  That links well to chapter 14,” although the new idea had suddenly appeared unbidden in my mind.  Maybe I was being helped…

I did become rather obsessed.  There was the day the doorbell rang when I was in full creative flow and I found myself answering the door to the courier there in a Welsh accent, since I’d been writing dialogue between characters in a Welsh village at the time!

 

It’s only available on Kindle so far, but I’m hoping to get it into paperback within the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, if you know any 8-12 year olds who might enjoy a story about sorcery, self-discovery, adventure and the magical chemistry that permeates all of our lives, do send them to hunt it out on Amazon Kindle, where the first few chapters are free to read.

 

 

The Curing

I feel safest with stories.  They soothe me.  And the old stories are the best of all.

Today I want to share an old story with you – one that came to me and was most anxious to be shared.  Even the synchronicities that drew this story to me tell a tale in themselves.

I live in England, where currently entire households in which anyone has a fever or a cough must self-isolate for 14 days.  When my grandchild developed both these symptoms, her mother was faced with trying to work from home and care for both children.  I live far away, but decided to have a daily one hour video talk session with the children, giving my daughter a chance to get some uninterrupted work time.  I’m an ex-teacher, so we play maths games, draw, read, write and learn together.  It’s a delightful time for all of us.

I went to my still fairly extensive children’s book collection (who can throw books away?) looking for stories that would interest a 5 year old and her 8 year old brother.  Almost at once my eyes fell upon Hugh Lipton and Niamh Sharkey’s beautiful ‘Tales of Wisdom & Wonder’.  It’s a glorious collection of folk tales from around the world.

On day 1, we read the first story, a delightfully silly tale of a monkey who demonstrates that we should be very careful what we ask for.

Last night I sat down to read the second story – a Cree tale called The Curing Fox – in order to re-familiarise myself with it.

The first sentence told of a little girl who became desperately ill with a high fever, dreadful cough and breathing difficulties.

Ah.  My initial instinct was to put this one aside.  Who knows what fears and nightmares the children are having as Covid-19 spreads through the world?  Then I thought deeper.  Why, of all the stories in my bookcase, had I been led to this one, at this time?  That almost imperceptible tingling that tells me synchronicity is drawing me in had appeared.  I read the story.

Mr Lipton tells it wonderfully, but here is the briefest summary:

The child’s anxious parents summon an ancient wise woman, who listens very carefully to the rattling in the girl’s chest.  She tells the couple that she hears from it that a small, sickly female fox is undertaking an arduous journey through the snow outside.  When the child coughs, the wise woman hears the sound of the fox’s paws breaking through the crust of the frozen snow.  The father offers to track and bring back the fox.  As he journeys, the wise woman is able to track his progress, and that of the starving fox, by observing the little girl’s illness; when she senses that the hunter has stopped for the night and lit a fire, the girl has a high fever.  Finally he catches the fox, cradles her in his arms and takes her back to the village.  The mother is told to feed the fox.  It then curls up and sleeps.  The child, too, falls into a deep sleep.  Eventually, both fox and girl awake at the same moment.  The parents are asked to feed the fox again and then release it.  The little girl watches from the doorway as the fox runs off.  As it disappears, so does her illness.  The wise woman asks them whether the fox cured the girl or she cured the fox.  The mother replies that the woman cured them both.  The old lady just smiles.

I sat and pondered the wisdom of that story.  Half awake and half asleep, I thought my way back into that First Nation culture and bank of knowledge that showed such subtle yet deep and abiding connectedness.  I wondered at the idea that the symptoms of an illness could, with the right level of focus, lead the wise to find and alleviate suffering elsewhere.  I marvelled that, in taking steps to alleviate that suffering, the illness itself would vanish.  Further and further I meditated my way into the meaning this story held for me.  I thought of the symptoms – the fever, the choking cough, the inability to breathe.  Clearly the girl stands for us in our present crisis.

And the fox?  What does she represent?

The words that floated into my heart were, “Think of the World’s cough.”

 

It was from the Cree that this prophecy came:

 

 

Cosmic Cheating

I felt bad when I got back my physics homework, with phrases like, ‘Good understanding’ or ‘Clearly explained’ written in red pen and random ticks in the margin.  I felt bad because I had cheated.

Science, Class, Blouse, LearningEach week I sat in the school science lab and made some slight effort to understand what the poor man was trying to teach us.  Not one word of it made sense to me.  I diligently copied down the homework assignment and stared at it for a while.  Nothing.  Then I did what I’d always done.  I went to my friend Cathy’s place and asked her older brother what I should write.  He told me, in simple language, and I wrote what he said in my own words.  Then I handed it in and guiltily received the accolades I did not deserve.

As soon as I could, I dropped physics classes and took no further interest in the subject until I was far older and wiser, and by then it was too late to make up all the lost ground by anything approaching conventional means.

For me to sit here now and plan to write about the cosmos and its composition – to explain dark matter, the many worlds interpretation, parallel universes and dark energy, then, would seem to be the height of stupidity.  My ignorance of such matters is palpably clear.  My credentials are non-existent.

Certainly I have worked my way through many a volume of what bookshops call Popular Science, but I’m not foolish enough to believe that this qualifies me to be an expert.  No.  I’ve cheated again.  I’ve done exactly what I did over half a century ago.  I’ve sought out an authority on the subject and written down their wisdom in my own words.  At least this time I’m admitting it up front, though.

So, you are wondering, where would she find such an authority?  Can anyone explain these things?  There are theories, of course, but truth…?  The greatest minds in physics are still arguing and pondering.

 

All that is quite true.  When I was a teacher, I told my classes I was not going to teach them all they needed to know, but I was going to teach them how to find it out.  I did my very best to do that, although I stopped short of teaching them my own particular method – mainly because it would have seen me instantly dismissed from the profession.

Doors, Choices, Choose, Open, DecisionI discovered my method by what I would call ‘chance’ if I believed that anything in life is random.  You may believe me or not as you wish.  I shall simply set down what happened.  In my next post, I’ll share the cosmology and leave you to draw your own conclusions.

 

At the end of the last century a dear friend of mine passed away, leaving me with instructions to watch over her little aspie son who at that time was a pupil of mine.  I did my very best.  The child was at times a true delight: brilliant, fascinating and eloquent.  At other times he was silent, angry, sullen and secretive.  And there were – especially as he reached adolescence – times when he sought to numb his pain and loss by engaging in dangerous and frightening habits.

I knew my feeble efforts weren’t enough.  I needed back up.

I consider myself to be the most fortunate of individuals.  I only have to put out a strong desire for assistance and the Cosmos provides.  It so happened that I was experimenting with dowsing around that time.  I quickly discovered that, with just the right degree of concentration tinged with an ability to relax into whatever came to me, I could pick up rudimentary messages from the child’s departed mother, from spirit guides and even from angels.  The messages from the mother were easy to verify.  Those from spirit less so, but I gradually came to trust them and to rely on the guidance I was given.  By modifying my methods, I learned to pendulum dowse over a computer keyboard so that I could record my questions and the answers.  I began to read White Eagle, Conversations with God, Seth and Jane Roberts and realised that I was doing something called channeling.

Pendulum, Commute, Lot, Cone, ConicalMeanwhile the child had grown into a young man with astonishing insight and an inner knowing quite as profound as the material my guides offered.  When he was inclined to interact with me, he shared his knowledge freely and we experimented fearlessly with metaphysics, wrote books together and pushed the boundaries of our knowledge.

Quite suddenly though – a couple of years ago – he returned to his silent, brooding self.  The conversations ceased and I all but lost touch with the extraordinary young man I’d watched over and learned from for so long.  My guides and angels, too, seemed to withdraw.

As if on cue, the vacuum this left in my life was filled by a family disaster.  Unexpectedly, I found myself whisked across the country to support my child and her children.  For a year my focus was firmly fixed in the physical world of survival, all thoughts of cosmic wonders pushed aside.  It took me the best part of another year to recover from the horrors of that time.  It wasn’t until September of 2019 that I turned once again to my pendulum and sought some guidance from spirit.

I had little idea what I was searching for.  I just had a few questions I wanted answers to.  The answers to one deceptively simple enquiry took me on a wild and wonderful journey, deep into aspects of reality I’d barely dreamed of, although – when I looked back – that very special young man had left me a trail of breadcrumbs to follow.

So finally I’m ready to share some of my new-found discoveries here.  Next time, I’ll explain the cosmology I’ve been given and after that…  Who knows?

It’s good to be back.

The ‘Why?’ is sorted (probably)

BLW The Last Judgement

The Last Judgement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well here’s a start.

Maybe this is the introduction.  Very much a first draft, but feedback would be welcome.

Apologies for the western slant. Perhaps it will not hold so true for readers with other cultural references (but I’d be fascinated to know how much of it does…).

So in place of a proper blog post this week, please accept and comment, if you wish, on this extract, while I get back to the matter of the book.

Why am I writing this book?

Because for many centuries people have been persuaded by religious leaders that, one way and another, they’ve failed miserably at being human, which means that a very nasty afterlife awaits them (unless of course they are either incredibly saintly and prepared to die to prove it, or obscenely rich and able to buy their way into Heaven via generous gifts to said religious leaders).

Because over the last few generations humans have largely stopped believing the Hell story and more-or-less let go of the Heaven one too.  They’ve settled for the RIP version, where we just doze off for eternity.  It doesn’t sound great, but is at least preferable to the Day of Judgement, when all those skeletons in the cupboard could begin rattling nastily.

Because given that there doesn’t seem a lot to look forward to, humans have invested a massive amount of time, energy and money into trying to cling on to life – to staying human for as long as possible.

Because the current attitude towards death is deeply weird.  On the one hand, we fill our television channels with police dramas, hospital dramas, whodunits and tales of autopsies, with news reports of starvation, wars, fatal accidents and murder.  We play video games in which killing is not only commonplace, but usually the entire point.  We conduct wars in which the technology enables ‘push button death’ with any emotional attachment carefully removed; a soldier no longer needs to see the whites of his opponent’s eyes in order to kill him.  WMDs and IEDs abound.  And yet… Death is a taboo.  We avoid discussing it wherever possible. We change the subject with a nervous laugh.  “Yes, well, shall we talk about something a bit more cheerful?”

Because when we hear that someone is terminally ill, we don’t know what to say.  When friends are bereaved, we don’t have ways to comfort them.  We maybe send a card with a bunch of white flowers or a vaguely ecclesiastical-looking gateway on it and tell them we hope they’re getting over it now and that, after all, life must go on.

Because those who feel the need to know that something conscious remains of those they have lost will turn to mediums and spiritualists who, apparently, have polite queues of departed souls waiting to reveal themselves as someone on the mother’s side who had a problem with her knees or a military man who smoked and had breathing problems. Not, please understand, that I’m suggesting the mediums themselves are charlatans.  It just seems strange that Great Uncle Cedric should be hanging about for eternity, waiting to reveal his penchant for growing prize vegetables to a great niece who had been hoping desperately for news of her recently departed mother.

I’m writing this book because none of the above sounds particularly healthy to me.  Death casts a long shadow, and I’d prefer it not to.  I’d prefer ‘life’ to be something wider, richer and stronger than inhabiting a physical body for a while.  I’d like it to encompass what came before and what comes after, with death as simply one of the transitional states that lies within it.

Guidance…

Well that was unexpected.

A request from a potential new Facebook friend.  The name’s distantly familiar.  So is the face, when I take a look at his profile, and those dim bells clanging at the very back of my mind are telling me he’s somehow connected to the school I worked at, before everything changed.  His profile says he’s from my old town.  Slightly bemused and curious, I press the Accept button.

An hour later, the young man messages me.  He’d been a student teacher at the school for a few weeks, it emerges, while I was working there.  We’d chatted several times in the staff room.  I feel slightly less embarrassed now that my recall was somewhat dim.  In the intervening years, he’s moved around the country, married, had children and is now back there and doing my old job – teaching Year 6 at the same Essex school.  Somewhat synchronous…

He tells me about life there these days.  Sounds ghastly – endless new initiatives imposed by clueless, reactionary politicians, ‘special measures’ imposed on the staff, ‘academy status’ whatever that is – more and more control from above, obviously – and packs of disaffected kids prowling the building and contemplating escape.  I suddenly feel very safe and cosseted by my present easy lifestyle.  Also mildly guilty for getting out when I did.

Then he totally amazes me.
“I read your book,” he says.

Available in paperback and Kindle editions

Really?  I can’t imagine anyone in Essex reading my book.  He tells me it inspired him and that he now has a totally new attitude towards education and is considering getting out of the crumbling system and educating in other ways.  He’s been on a Forest Schools course.  He’s thinking about working for a local wildlife trust and using that as a base for educating.

Good grief!  What did I write in that book?  It’s been a long while since I read it, so I take it off the shelf and have another look.

It most certainly isn’t about education, or how to educate.  It does have a rather teacherly style, though.  Re-reading it makes me wince slightly.  Did I really explain a multi-dimensional universe by instructing the reader on how to make a paper model?  It reads like the script of a 1980s episode of Blue Peter, for those who know what that is.  And yet it kind of works…

English: 42, The Answer to the Ultimate Questi...

What I was trying to do, when I put it together, was to write a book about the meaning and purpose of Life, the Universe and Everything which avoided all the wafty new-age psychobabble, mystical ramblings and cliches, (How DO you insert an acute accent on WordPress??) that were so prevalent when it was published in 2012.

The video game analogy is hopelessly overworked; the style (in an attempt to draw in a ‘youth’ audience) veers much closer to patronising than I’d now wish, yet it still has a sort of raw charm and honesty, I suppose, and a few ideas and insights which I haven’t seen expressed anywhere else.  Not a complete waste of time, then.

So how the young man discovered it and chose to read it, I’ll probably never know, but I’m all about encouraging everyone, myself included, to move out of the comfort zone and into newer and greater experience.  That appears to be – so early indications are suggesting – what 2016 is all about.

And what is the message for me?  There definitely is one; it says so in the book:

These synchronicities act like a sort of mental sticking plaster and are strong enough to hold the two of you together; to keep you talking and interacting until you both get the information or experience that you need…

Is this episode telling me to stop faffing about and to get on with writing the next book… and making it better?

Probably.

 

Thinner than Blood 2: Waiting for Proof

That’s what I’m doing – right now.

I’m sitting in my little cottage in sleepy Somerset, waiting for the proof to arrive.

The proof I speak of is a slim, modest paperback proof-copy of William’s words.  It’s travelling from the United States and should – the publishers assure me – be here today.

I’m excited – quite stupidly so.  I know The Words almost by heart now, having formatted and reformatted them so many times.  They are words I collected and saved over nearly twenty years – childhood scribblings and conversations, strange visions and apparent prophecies delivered by a puzzled adolescent boy, emailed articles and comments sent by a young man cut off from most other contact by the anxiety that now surrounds his life.

Formatting

Formatting

As explained in a previous post, I had the idea of collating many of his words and presenting them to him as a birthday present.  Then I asked if he’d like them turned into an e-book and made available to others.  He wasn’t sure.  He needed to think that through.  Did the most private person you can imagine want other eyes poring over his thoughts and ideas?  After what felt to me like an eternity, he decided.  Yes.

Thus the Kindle edition of The Words of William was born.  To begin with, he was cautious about the whole enterprise.  Within a few days, though, my texts telling him another copy or two had sold received an instant response:

“Where?  Which country?”

He became fascinated by the thought that people were buying and borrowing his little book around the world.  He started to keep a tally.
“So that’s 1 in Spain, 4 in the UK, 6 in the US, 1 in Canada..?” he would text.  “Have I got all those right?”  and eventually, “I’m certainly happy with it and thank you for my birthday present.”

Every kind comment and wish from readers of this blog, the five star review on Amazon’s Spanish site, the messages from friends who had enjoyed it were duly passed on to him, and I could feel his confidence, self-esteem and trust in others growing by the day.

Result!

Christmas present wrapped with a gold bow and ...

Now how on Earth was I going to match that success with a Christmas gift?

Then it came to me.  “Would you like your book turned into a paperback for your Christmas present?” I asked.  “Several people have said they’d rather buy it like that than as an e-book.”
The reply was instant: “Yes please.”

Sorted.  I emailed a friend in the States who had recently published a book with Amazon’s Create Space service.  She came back with a host of useful hints and tips.

I can’t pretend it was easy.  The formatting and cover had to be totally redone and there were contentious bits like the ‘About the Author’ page.  William strongly disliked my first attempt at that, but then amazed me by re-drafting much of it himself.

So now, I sit and wait.  Within the next few hours, the proof will arrive – proof that The Words of William are out there in print, and I simply couldn’t be more proud 🙂

 

 

Hopefully, within the next week or so, the paperback edition of The Words of William – Volume One will be available here and on Amazon in the US, UK and Europe.

Free E-Book for five days

I’ve mentioned my full length book, LIFE: A PLAYER’S GUIDE, in several posts recently and sales are jogging along nicely.

But for anyone who would just like to dip a toe in the waters of my philosophies, so to speak, Amazon is givinlifeisagame-coverg away FREE downloads of my mini Kindle book: LIFE IS A GAME: YOU CREATED IT from Monday 1st to Friday 5th June.

Here’s the blurb:

A very short mini E-book to introduce readers to the ideas in Life: A Player’s Guide by Jan Stone.
It looks at questions about ‘Life’ such as ‘Why am I here?’ ‘What’s the point?’ and ‘Why is my life so rubbish so much of the time?’

I hope the promotion works outside of the UK – always struggle to understand the small print on Amazon deals.  If not, it would cost you $0.99 in US, or equivalent.

The price returns to normal from June 6th onwards, so grab it while you can.

If anyone who reads it would like to post a review on Amazon, that would be very welcome, as it doesn’t have any yet, although there are some lovely ones for the full length book on Amazon UK.

Click THIS LINK FOR THE FREE DOWNLOAD on Amazon.com during the next week.

Click THIS LINK FOR THE FREE DOWNLOAD on Amazon.co.uk during the next week.

Otherwise just enter the title on your local Amazon site and it should appear.

Hope you enjoy it.  🙂

Analogy 2

In my last post I compared life to a funfair ride and several people mentioned how that analogy worked for them.

Screenshot of ERD - Estrada Real Digital, A So...

So here’s another…

Imagine our souls/higher selves/eternal beings or whatever you wish to call them as a group of eager adventure gamers.  Maybe it takes a bit of imagination, but bear with me.

These eternal aspects of us are addicted to a game called Life.

It’s not surprising.  The game is a totally immersive experience.  To play it, you put on a skin suit and become a character in a drama that you have helped to script.  That doesn’t mean you know what’s going to happen.  As in most action games, you get to choose your character.  You also select fellow players who will act out the parts of the heroes and villains in your game.  You sort out with them before you start the roles each will play, so that you can all gain the most experience from the game. (And yes, that does mean they are not terrible, bad, unkind people, but eternal souls made of light who have willingly agreed to take on these roles – act out a part – to enable you to have adventure, challenge and gain new experience.)
Your avatar starts off as a very young and inexperienced character, because part of the skin suit’s purpose is to give you temporary amnesia: You forget – or almost forget – that you have a life beyond the game.  You forget all the other versions of the game you’ve played as other characters.  As you work through the levels you gain experience and, if you’re playing mindfully, you start to remember that you’re more than just this game character and find yourself able to draw on advice and inspiration from the ‘real’ you.
Of course (as you’ll have noticed) it’s a hugely complex game and I’ve only scratched the surface of it here.  There’s a far more detailed Player’s Guide available in Kindle or paperback editions, which I try not to plug too often, but maybe once in a while is OK, especially at a time of year when many people are buying gifts or looking for ways to spend vouchers 🙂 .

The Amazon Kindle 2

So, here come the plugs:

The link to my US Amazon page, which has details of how to buy either version, plus the cheaper-than-chips Kindle taster is here.
If you’d like to see the UK version, which also has all my reviews and star ratings (Amazon won’t put UK reviews on their US site, and no one in the US has reviewed it yet) go to this link.
If you’re an Amazon hater and would prefer to buy direct from my publisher, head over here.  Oh, and if you follow this link and leave your name and email, you could even win a free copy of the paperback: http://feedaread.com/p/3493/
Available in paperback and Kindle editions

Available in paperback and Kindle editions