Welcome to Elysium’s Passage
It was almost seven years ago while journaling some ideas one evening that I noticed a novel beginning to emerge on the screen of my mind, and then onto the screen of my computer. At the time, I was simply illustrating an idea that came to me, but then the idea turned into an allegory, and then the allegory turned into someone’s dream. It was ALIVE!
Prior to that, I had no thought or intention of writing a novel. And now, as I complete the first book while editing the remaining titles in the series, I find a fifth impinging upon my mind, wishing to tell the full story of this adventure. As its scribe, it seems I can hardly do otherwise, if only to find out what happens next.
Adventure, Fantasy, Philosophy, Spirituality and Romance
It’s all there! It’s hard to know how to categorize these narratives, and so I just call them fantasies with a message; in fact many messages on many levels. An engaging and surreal adventure that involves romance while exploring the mysterious Passage that leads beyond this earthly plane of existence. The novel is rather unique in that it contains hundreds of fascinating footnotes and quotes involving literature, physics and everything else you can imagine. You may read a sample of these posted in ‘Quotes.’
The first book of the Elysium’s Passage series, The Summit, involves a young British philosopher from London named James Philips, who has a near fatal fall while climbing towards the summit of a remote mountain in the Andes.
While his body remains in a coma, he awakens in an altered state of consciousness just before encountering two mysterious beings on the summit who have very different perspectives on the nature of reality. Before returning to his body in London a year later, he is challenged to re-examine his understanding of life’s meaning and purpose, especially when finding the love that has always eluded him. The significance of these and other events continue to astound and even shock him at times, far beyond anything he could have ever dreamed or believed.
I trust there will be many readers who, with me, agree that Elysium’s Passage is replete with meaning and significance. In fact, it seems to me, that after having worked all my life in the world of business, the content has gone well beyond my natural literary abilities. Prior to this I hadn’t written anything of significance since my university term papers (in which I never did all that well).
Though I regard the series to be entertaining, the writing is much more than just entertainment. For that reason, I realize the series may have a less than overwhelming appeal among readers who prefer more action and less intellectual dialogue (such as by one of my professional reviewers suggested). I suspect, however, there still remains a significant audience that prefers to read literature which speaks to the depths of the human spirit.
In the eBook, How it Happened, I’ve endeavoured to relate the events by which the narratives came into existence, even as I continue to be led towards more literary adventures. The first book in the Elysium’s Passage series, The Summit, will be published early in 2018. Over the next few years, it will be followed with Surreal Adventures, Mystical Romance, The Elixir and lastly, The Return.
Like Nothing Else You’ve Ever Read
That’s possibly a bit of an overstatement. But then, for some, maybe not. In fact, that’s what one reviewer told me. Personally, I’ve never seen a book quite like this before, although I’m not sure if that’s a good or bad thing. It’s certainly not what I intended. But then, I didn’t intend anything.
Some early reviews have considered it to be a strange brew of Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Herman Hesse’s Steppenwolf and Carlos Castaneda’s Teachings of Don Juan. My first book’s (premature) professional review compares its style and content to those of these three authors. See the post under ‘Reviews.’ Although there’s plenty of deep discussion, there is also much action and humour throughout the series that may, hopefully, be considered entertaining.
The name Elysium, which I chose, was used by Homer, Hesiod, Virgil and many other poets to mean the paradisiacal afterlife reserved for heroes. But Elysium’s Passage is not just about a hero or a mountain expedition, but a fall into a spiritual dimension that may be described in Latin as the Mysterium Tremendum.
And now I will begin my tale of the peculiar events that gradually led to a story that, unbeknownst me; would soon take form and be released. While this disclosure may seem a bit startling to some, others may consider it the amusing fabrication of a madman. That may well be, still I’m not sure I could have made this up or why I would want to. In fact, I’m not sure which will be regarded as stranger, the non-fictional account of the eBook, or the soon to be released Elysium’s Passage books. If you are skeptical with what I’ve write in this post, likely you will be even more so in the eBook. But then, I would be too if it hadn’t happened to me.
It began In late 2012 when I had a series of extraordinary encounters that led me to write a novel series I hadn’t planned or even thought of before. In fact, I had never seriously considered writing a novel. And yet, within six months I found a novel was being scribed through me. It didn’t stop there; in just over a year from when the story began to happen, I had drafted four novels sequels that somehow flowed onto the computer screen without me having an idea what would happen next. Often I would not be able to go to bed, even after working fourteen or sixteen hours, since I couldn’t wait to find out what might happen next.
What has happened during these five years is truly extraordinary. Perhaps that’s why it’s with some trepidation that I put myself out there, since this is a very personal story and not just a little bizarre. However, it may help future readers of the Elysium’s Passage series understand why the books are so different from ‘normal’ fiction.
Some Hard Times
After completing that glorious first draft of the series, where everything flowed naturally and effortlessly, things got tough, just as in my real life circumstances. By the second year, the four novels had bulked up to several hundred pages, each with footnotes, filled with quotes and references on almost every other page. After I broke the story into four books, the first narrative, doubled in size to 600 pages after undergoing twelve complete, often agonizing redrafts over the last two years. But my commitment to this undertaking didn’t come without a price. I became a bit of social recluse; not entirely, but I seemly preferred the company of my characters to those of many of my acquaintances. (But don’t tell them that)
I found it difficult to focus on my work in commercial real estate, which meant I hardly had any income to live on. To make things worse, my retirement investments in real estate were wiped out due to circumstances beyond my control. With this stress, my health began to deteriorate, resulting in surgery (twice) along with a prolonged attack of shingles that caused inflammation to my posterior area, whereby I could no longer sit or void my bladder without a catheter.
I don’t wish to overstate these troubles. It’s called life and it happens to all of us at various times. My point is that even though these and several other unfortunate circumstances occurred, I couldn’t stop writing. Perhaps writing was my escape into another dimension of exciting characters and adventure. Nietzsche once said, of all that is written, I love only what a man has written with his own blood. Perhaps that’s hyperbole, but considering the intensity of the book, I suspect it probably couldn’t have been written any other way.
It was a beautiful fall morning over five years ago while I was enquiring about storage space in the basement of an older commercial building in central Calgary. I was considering bringing a private book collection back to Canada from the Czech Republic which had belonged to my good friend Dr Jan Merta. Unfortunately, he had passed away in his homeland a couple of years previously in 2010, leaving behind one of the world’s finest private collections of esoteric books; in fact, over six thousand copies, many rare and very valuable. I had seen the collection years ago and was interested in purchasing it.
I knew, however, the library would be expensive, especially after shipping it from Eastern Europe to Calgary. Besides that, I didn’t have sufficient space in my residence for the books. If displayed on shelves, they would have filled the basement of an average house. As interesting as they may be to have, I also recognized it would be difficult to read even a small portion of these books. In spite of all that, I still wanted to bring the books back to Calgary since I knew they were such a literary prize.
After looking at the space, the studio/shop owner, Angel Rogers, and I agreed that for various reasons it probably wasn’t a good place to keep the books. Angel, who is an accomplished lifelong psychic intuitive, was curious to know more about the library. As I was telling her who it had belonged to and the circumstances, she announced to me that Jan was now present with us, wanting to know why I was interested in purchasing the library.
Somehow I wasn’t too surprised that he would make contact with me since, while he was on earth, he was just as interested in understanding the spirit dimension as I was. But suddenly, here he was, now coming to me from that direction.
What made this encounter so interesting was not just that he was a very close friend, but that he had such great ability while on earth; in fact, he was often described as the world’s most accomplished man. I realized that in having this connection with him again, I might be able to gain access to his unique perspectives about the experiences in his new sphere of existence. I couldn’t think of a better contact to have, considering how we already had several discussions over the years on subjects related to our ultimate existence.
In this post, as well as in the subsequent parts in the eBook, I make reference to him. It would take several volumes to properly represent his life’s achievements but this profile listed in a Who’s Who Publication may give you an idea: JAN MERTA de VELEHRAD.pdf What I’ve written about in another post and what you will find in the eBook is that he is very much part of the Elysium’s Passage by somehow managing to help inspire the series into existence from where he now dwells. If you had know him as I did, this may not surprise you.
While on earth, not only did he have unique abilities to demonstrate astonishing psychic/telekinetic feats, he was also a scientist with several registered patents related to deep sea diving. Undoubtedly, these have saved many lives over the years.
Before he retired back to his home country in 2008, I would often meet him for lunch a couple of times each month in downtown Calgary near where he worked as Chief Diver for the National Energy Board of the Government of Canada. Since my academic background and ongoing interest was, and still remains, philosophy, I was fascinated by the depths of his knowledge and the profound writings he introduced me to over the years.
Although I consider myself exceptionally well read in many areas of literature and philosophy, having been educated in these areas, his knowledge went far beyond my conventional knowledge and understanding. During these occasions, I spent a lot of time listening, since there was little for me to say or add, except ask more questions that would open new fields and perspectives.
I remained close to Jan over a period of about fifteen years from the time I met him in the mid 1990s to when he finally retired in the Czech Republic. Over that time, I arranged for him to speak at a series of lectures on a variety of topics I video recorded. (There were twelve of these public presentations).
And so now, as I stood in there, I couldn’t think of a specific reason to give in answering him why I wanted to acquire his library. I just told him that I thought the books were so exceptional the public should have access to them. But with him seeming to be so detached from what he once took such pride in, I wondered if I should spend all that money. His daughter, who lived near Prague, knew the value and so wasn’t about to give the books away, even though she didn’t understand English or have any use for them.
In any case, that was the beginning of my renewed acquaintance with my old friend. I was intrigued with this short conversation and being able to carry on as we had for so many years before. And so I was naturally eager to schedule an appointment to chat with him once again.
As you may imagine, there was far too much to discuss over the one hour session to even begin enquiring into his state of existence. It was him, alright; there was no mistaking his unique wit, humour and demeanor. Later I followed up with another visit about a month later while recording the dialogues on my mobile.
Though I lost my phone along with these conversations I recorded, I had already typed a transcript of the session which is contained in part two of the eBook. It may seem a bit confusing in places, but I think most of it is sufficiently coherent to see how Elysium’s Passage was about to germinate.
And so, in the eBook, I have disclose this astonishing three way conversation. Though I didn’t know it at the time, this was to be the beginning of Elysium’s Passage.