Now that I've written a few blogs here, I begin to suspect that blogging and fiction writing are opposites. In a blog I'm supposed to just let rip, basically spontaneous short texting-style off the top of my head with no reflection or editing. But as a novelist, I'm supposed to not only spew out inspired words - but also (especially on computer) return to those words again and again until I've shaped and chizelled and sanded and hewed them into something that hopefully approximates lucid clarity and even prose poetry - that's what literature seems to be all about. And because I'm both addicted and trained and infatuated with this literary approach to writing ... forgive me if I edit here and there ... and treat this writing with the same level of attention that I do the first words of a new novel ...
Sometimes a novel takes a very long time to gestate, running around wild and half-formed inside a writer's mind before finally agreeing to settle down, get published and go public. GOOGLE BETA 3 is one of those books - in fact its first rough emanation was published, almost without forethought (by Warner Books as the novel POWERPOINT) way back in 1980. Following my first journey to Guatemala the year before, I'd returned stateside inspired to write a wild yarn about the mythic, even occult practices and stories that I'd encountered down south. And just a couple weeks after returning home, I met an editor who loved the hear the stories and wanted me up to write the novel that was fermenting inside me - and in six months or so, I did.
Several of the characters you'll find in GOOGLE BETA 3 were first introduced in that early story. But something curious happened on the way to publication of POWERPOINT. My editors insisted that I nudge my naturally-esoteric plot strongly into full-blown 'occult-fiction' genre in order to boost sales. I resisted this nudge because I've personally looked hard but never found an external evil occult power in the universe - I tend to see evil as a psychological problem, not at all ontological. But Warner Books threatened not to publish POWERPOINT at all if I didn't make it read like an occult thriller - and so in a month or so, I did as ordered.
I ended up feeling more than a bit peeved at how Warner Books 'ruined' my novel, and put aside commercial fiction-writing for years after that - but in the back of my mind (and in a few seriously non-commercial novels ans screenplays of that time) I continued to experiment with this merger of exciting action adventure and parallel spiritual discovery. Good fiction has always required the portrayal of characters who are moving through intense external or internal transformation and realization - and often loads of unexected physical action is generated by this emotional, atdtitudinal, and spiritual transformation.
The notion of a 'mindful thriller' is my resolution for delivering a heady mix of sex and spirirt, of a character's willingness to leap into action merged with a determination to do so consciously and with a higher purpose in mind. And - for me Mahalena is the character who, front-center in both my Guatemala books, carries the wild free sexy and yet also acutely insightful and ever-mindful torch of a true sponaneous hero. I was priviledged to know the original Mahee in what we call real life, she was a revolutionary leader down at the lake and yes, she did get gunned down one early morning just outside Santiago Atitlan, ending her mortal adventure -
But ever since then, her spirit has literally and literarially lived within me and tends to take over, in many forms, any positive lead female character I work with in both screenplays and novels. As I've matured, if that's the correct word for living longer, she's evolved within me as both an unstoppable romantic/sexual/action bombshell (as she was naturally in real life) and also as a new just-barely-visible mythic vision of a fully-mindful human being who risks her all in order to live her life honestly and fully.
Thus her front-center position in what is hopefully a mindful thriller called GOOGLE BETA 3. But pleaes notice that tdhis novel is not in any way religious, it's not pushing a particular theology or belief system - in fact it's showing characters breaking free from their ingrained religious beliefs based on the past, in order to tap their ability to be heartfully responsive in the present moment. Mahalena and her mentor Abierta show in action what happens when life is lived in this mindful 'a la nueva' way. The result is definitely not boring. Just the opposite - mindful living and mindfully-grounded plots are often unexpected, and sometimes jolting. But something is hopefully learned and gained along the way ...