Unlikely 2.0

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Editors' Notes

Maria Damon and Michelle Greenblatt
Jim Leftwich and Michelle Greenblatt
Sheila E. Murphy and Michelle Greenblatt

A Visual Conversation on Michelle Greenblatt's ASHES AND SEEDS with Stephen Harrison, Monika Mori | MOO, Jonathan Penton and Michelle Greenblatt

Letters for Michelle: with work by Jukka-Pekka Kervinen, Jeffrey Side, Larry Goodell, mark hartenbach, Charles J. Butler, Alexandria Bryan and Brian Kovich

Visual Poetry by Reed Altemus
Poetry by Glen Armstrong
Poetry by Lana Bella
A Eulogic Poem by John M. Bennett
Elegic Poetry by John M. Bennett
Poetry by Wendy Taylor Carlisle
A Eulogy by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Vincent A. Cellucci
Poetry by Joel Chace
A Spoken Word Poem and Visual Art by K.R. Copeland
A Eulogy by Alan Fyfe
Poetry by Win Harms
Poetry by Carolyn Hembree
Poetry by Cindy Hochman
A Eulogy by Steffen Horstmann
A Eulogic Poem by Dylan Krieger
An Elegic Poem by Dylan Krieger
Visual Art by Donna Kuhn
Poetry by Louise Landes Levi
Poetry by Jim Lineberger
Poetry by Dennis Mahagin
Poetry by Peter Marra
A Eulogy by Frankie Metro
A Song by Alexis Moon and Jonathan Penton
Poetry by Jay Passer
A Eulogy by Jonathan Penton
Visual Poetry by Anne Elezabeth Pluto and Bryson Dean-Gauthier
Visual Art by Marthe Reed
A Eulogy by Gabriel Ricard
Poetry by Alison Ross
A Short Movie by Bernd Sauermann
Poetry by Christopher Shipman
A Spoken Word Poem by Larissa Shmailo
A Eulogic Poem by Jay Sizemore
Elegic Poetry by Jay Sizemore
Poetry by Felino A. Soriano
Visual Art by Jamie Stoneman
Poetry by Ray Succre
Poetry by Yuriy Tarnawsky
A Song by Marc Vincenz

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Trawling for Lucid Fiction in Recent Issues of Innovative Fiction
by Tantra Bensko

"Leap into the boundless and make it your home!"
—Chuang Tzu1

It is an exciting time for innovative fiction, especially as so many are noting that there are tangible gaps between genres. If literature truly continues moving forward through postmodernism, will it embrace new paradigms that break free more strongly than ever from the encasings of the old ones? How much of the work presented currently as innovative really does move forward our concepts of ourselves, of reality, of the nature of literature?

How many fictions are instead evidence of our addiction to stories, to the illusions, to the adrenalin rush of fight or flight sought out in movies and video games and fights, to the dramas that the ego uses to keep us from expanding beyond it? Can stories be used to help us delve into that dreamlike world and help us rise into lucidity within it? Can they help us deconstruct the dream? Lucid Dreaming helps us merge the levels of ourselves, sometimes accessing the very highest levels of our awareness that are beyond being caught up in the dream of our lives. Our lives can become Lucid Fiction, and stories can help in that process unless they buy that our limited beta brain wave frequency interpretation of reality is accurate.2 Could our limited human perspective really be a dream of our wise spirits? The collective dream of what the world is about is certainly manipulated by those who use our addiction to stories to create mythologies to cover up the truth.

I feel our society has a level of pretense, of burying itself in the dream of this world without also acknowledging that it is a dream, a pretense. And part of the pretense is the mass illusion foisted off on the public from our history and natural sciences texts, regularly falsified so that, for example, the professors can keep on the tenure track by not rocking the boat. Politicians and religious leaders and the mass media and the pharmaceutical industry are giving us propaganda in order to control the population for their own agenda, and people tend to go along with what they see on TV rather than looking below the surface and reading alternative media. So many people are similarly taking for granted their beta brain wave ordinary states of consciousness, telling them that the world is made of discrete, solid objects.

I feel the need to encourage the reading, writing, and publishing of Lucid Fiction just as one would want to become lucid in dreams, to realize it is a dream, and take advantage of that fact. As I look at what writing is currently out there that skirts the edges of Lucid Fiction, I find myself plunged into explorations of the liminal, expanding my ideas of what Lucid Fiction could be. I see what is being presented as the collective dream tosses and turns. And it is fascinating.

I would like to see more fiction that includes characters who have gained siddhas, abilities beyond the norm, attained through disciplined yogic lifestyle. Why should fiction always foster the illusory dream that we are limited beings rather than include more often the more advanced qualities available to us? I want fiction to promote transformation, and to address the new paradigm learned from quantum physics, such as the endless exchange going on in this inseparable field of being.

I would like to gather together up some fiction that moves the traditional plot arc into something more Tantric, or Taoist, paralleling the widespread movement from conventional sex towards the more transformational. I would like to network fiction that goes beyond just one perspective, includes parallel realities, is liminal, exploring the relationship of our waking world with and dream world, including more than the ordinarily featured levels of consciousness.

Do we have to pretend we are living in a world created through its illusory portrayal by mainstream media? Much literary, even experimental, fiction does not acknowledge the fiction we have been presented with by the governments filtered down from people like the Rothschilds; the mythology and wars of religion, "historians," secret societies. We’re living in a manipulated dream and we are being told by numerous researchers, such as Eve Lorgen and James Bartley3 that many people are experiencing dreams which have literally been manipulated by outside forces, whether by state-of-the-art military equipment, or psychically, or by powerful entities. Some of the manipulation is very subversive, covert, sophisticated. Manipulation goes far beyond dreams, especially for those who are taken by the secret government and programmed in order to serve them as couriers, sex slaves, assassins, etc.4 In literature, it’s normally described in Sci Fi, but why not just describe it as it is? There’s a huge gap between Sci Fi and literary fiction which seems somewhat ignorant of such facts. Can we escape the manipulation, and realize how dreamlike it all is anyway, and go past the conditioning, exploring our true history lucidly, and what it is to be a person?

It seems to me our literature should not be going by the old Euclidian sense of impermeable walls between things. Instead can we sometimes see it flow as a whole as we do when we experience theta brain wave frequencies? Can we write about it from not only one character but from the whole, about the flow of the whole, the synchronicities, the love between various manifestations of consciousness, the breathing in and out as from the carbon dioxide of plants and the oxygen of humans. May we write from within that more expansive state of consciousness and let it be contagious, as we describe those perspectives? Or can we calculate how to use our stories to bring the readers into that slower brainwave state which is so healing and expansive and offers more insights? It has been wonderful finding some works out there that do that and take other types of risks with approaches to the very concepts of character and interrelation within the whole.

Possibly the thing that most draws me to want to see literature that addresses real life is that I want to see more written with events occurring synchronistically, since life is such a magical place full of constant amazing coincidences. Each time an amazing, obvious, undeniably weird synchronicity happens, it tells us something about the nature of our universe, makes me happy, or perhaps worries me, but definitely gets my attention.

I like to see writing that is constructed out of poetic motifs, echoes, meanings, resonances. Why not have more characters able to see telepathically, with premonitions, interacting with the elder species, seeing beyond the ordinary story they are told? While I see this as my ideal epitome of Lucid Fiction, to avoid it being too personalized around my own predilections to find a genre out there, I stretch my vision to look at what is really out there, on the forefront of innovative fiction.

An example of familiar literature of Lucid Fiction would be the short stories of Herman Hesse, such as "A Dream Sequence," from Strange News from Another Star:

"There the waves roar around you and you are a wave, the forest rustles and you are the forest, there is no outer, no inner any more, you fly, a bird in the air, you swim, a fish in the sea, you breathe in light and are light, taste darkness and are darkness. We wander, soul, we swim and fly and smile and, with delicate ghostly fingers, we retie the torn filaments and blissfully unite the disjointed harmonies. We no longer seek God. We are god. We are the world. We kill and die along with others, we create and are resurrected with our dreams. Our finest dream, that is the blue sky, our finest dream, that is the sea, our finest dream, that is the starlit night, and is the fish and is the bright happy light and bright happy sounds—everything is our dream, each is our finest dream."5

His stories become portals out of stories, into transcendence. They create other worlds of fiction in order to illuminate this one, from within the dream.

As a seminal example of the tradition of Lucid Fiction thinking, the Taoist anecdotal writer of philosophy, Chuang Tzu, played with time, causality, space, solemnity and absurdity, and the expectations of the reader, which he dashed gleefully. He liked to take people beyond the analytical beta brainwave and into spontaneously channeling the divine spirit of play itself. In "Discussion on Making All Things Equal," as translated by Burton Watson in Basic Writings:

"Only after he wakes does he know it was a dream. And someday there will be a great awakening when we know that this is all a great dream. Yet the stupid people believe they are awake, busily and brightly assuming they understand things, calling this man ruler, that one herdsman—how dense! Confucius and you are both dreaming. I am dreaming too."6

Loosely, I would say that Lucid Fiction is writing that embraces expanded perceptions rather than going along with the limited ones our literature has prolonged by keeping its eyes shut to what is going on in our society, in our sciences and in the expanded experiences that more and more people are having and researching. And when our eyes are shut, and we are dreaming, maybe we can open them within the dream, make it lucid. Much writing out there that isn't Lucid Fiction is brilliant, genius work. I don't ask all writing to become like this, or for people to ever want to give up more escapist entertainment. So please keep in mind that this is not a judgment against it. It is my personal vision of a sub tangent, which I'm happily finding is shared by others. Retort Magazine has printed my call for Lucid Fiction at http://brentley.com/retort/live/?p=40.

1 Chuang Tzu Basic Writings, translated by Burton Watson, Columbia University Press, NY, 1996. Quote at the beginning of page 44.
2 See http://www.hirnwellen-und-bewusstsein.de/brainwaves_1.html
3 See also http://www.alienlovebite.com/bartley1.htm
4 http://www.theforbiddenknowledge.com/hardtruth/illuminati_formula_mind_control.htm is one of many good sources to read about the procedures.
5 Herman Hesse, Strange News from Another Star, translated by Denver Lindley, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, NY, 1973, p87
6 Chuang Tzu Basic Writings, translated by Burton Watson, Columbia University Press, NY, 1996, p43