The trailer for the novel A CHILD MADE TO ORDER is live

The trailer for the novel A CHILD MADE TO ORDER is live

The London based publishing house releases the novel “A child made to order” on Amazon KINDLE.

The trailer for the novel “A child made to order” is available below.

The book is live on Amazon KINDLE.

“The Book Folks” specialize in genre fiction and are geared mainly towards Kindle.

LOGLINE

“When an investigative journalist’s search for a missing woman turns up illegal gene therapy treatments, she has to choose if she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.

 

For more info on the project please see “A child made to order”.

To read more about the publishing house go HERE.

 

book-folks

 

 

A child made to order – publisher’s blurb

A finely-crafted psychological suspense thriller set in Norway’s capital city, Oslo, that will appeal to fans of Stieg Larsson.

When a women’s fertility rights campaigner, Marianne Stine, mysteriously disappears, it hardly reaches the news. Only investigative journalist Viola Voss, harried by the blogger’s mother, shows any interest in finding out what happened to the young woman. Yet years pass and there is no further sign of Marianne.

However, on the eve of taking up a prestigious senior post in Norway’s largest newspaper, Voss is once again reminded of Marianne’s disappearance. In fact, Voss is soon presented with a tantalising clue that not only is Marianne is alive, she has a healthy young child.

Part of Voss’s fascination with Marianne is because they share the same rare genetic condition that would be passed on to any child. Haunted by having lost her own child due to this hereditary disease, Voss determines – against the strong wishes of her own over-powering mother – to put her new job on hold, try to find Marianne, and an explanation.

Enlisting the help of an ex-police sergeant, the clues point to a fertility clinic on the outskirts of town. But this is where Voss’s problems begin. The clinic’s claim of a 100% fertility treatment success rate is beguiling and, with her inner world in turmoil, she decides to take a risk that will force her to confront her own fears, deal with her loss and decide between right and wrong.

If you enjoy psychological mysteries with intense drama, look no further than A CHILD MADE TO ORDER

The issue of genetic manipulation of human embryos, of children literally made to order, is increasingly becoming one of the most important ethical and medical issues of our time. With delicacy, and emotional sensitivity, the author makes you think about the matter like you never have before, in a novel where the tension increases on every page, and ends with a stunning climax.

Piotr Ryczko is a Polish/Norwegian writer and film maker. A CHILD MADE TO ORDER is his first novel.

 

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

Storygeist blog

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Films & Books

UK publishing house THE BOOK FOLKS releases the novel “A CHILD MADE TO ORDER”

UK publishing house THE BOOK FOLKS releases the novel “A CHILD MADE TO ORDER”

The London based publishing house releases the novel “A child made to order” on Amazon KINDLE.

The London based publishing house releases the novel  “A child made to order” on Amazon KINDLE.

“The Book Folks” specialize in genre and literary fiction and are geared mainly towards Kindle

LOGLINE

“When an investigative journalist’s search for a missing woman turns up illegal gene therapy treatments, she has to choose if she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.

 

 

For more info on the project please see “A child made to order”.

To read more about the publishing house go HERE.

 

book-folks

 

A child made to order

A finely-crafted psychological suspense thriller set in Norway’s capital city, Oslo, that will appeal to fans of Stieg Larsson.

When a women’s fertility rights campaigner, Marianne Stine, mysteriously disappears, it hardly reaches the news. Only investigative journalist Viola Voss, harried by the blogger’s mother, shows any interest in finding out what happened to the young woman. Yet years pass and there is no further sign of Marianne.

However, on the eve of taking up a prestigious senior post in Norway’s largest newspaper, Voss is once again reminded of Marianne’s disappearance. In fact, Voss is soon presented with a tantalising clue that not only is Marianne is alive, she has a healthy young child.

Part of Voss’s fascination with Marianne is because they share the same rare genetic condition that would be passed on to any child. Haunted by having lost her own child due to this hereditary disease, Voss determines – against the strong wishes of her own over-powering mother – to put her new job on hold, try to find Marianne, and an explanation.

Enlisting the help of an ex-police sergeant, the clues point to a fertility clinic on the outskirts of town. But this is where Voss’s problems begin. The clinic’s claim of a 100% fertility treatment success rate is beguiling and, with her inner world in turmoil, she decides to take a risk that will force her to confront her own fears, deal with her loss and decide between right and wrong.

If you enjoy psychological mysteries with intense drama, look no further than A CHILD MADE TO ORDER

The issue of genetic manipulation of human embryos, of children literally made to order, is increasingly becoming one of the most important ethical and medical issues of our time. With delicacy, and emotional sensitivity, the author makes you think about the matter like you never have before, in a novel where the tension increases on every page, and ends with a stunning climax.

Piotr Ryczko is a Polish/Norwegian writer and film maker. A CHILD MADE TO ORDER is his first novel.

 

Latest News

Posters for the movie Panacea are out

The posters for the upcoming movie & novel PANACEA are available below.
The movie is in pre-production with a planned release at the end of 2018. The novel will be released through the London based publishing house “The Book Folks” at the end of 2017.

read more

Storygeist blog

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2” – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head. It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How might we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And what is the nature of consciousness? The very thing that defines a human.

read more

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are. This time around I would like to go deeper into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of my novel. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially. But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions. So others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

read more

Films & Books

Rene v3.2 – part 2

Rene v3.2 – part 2

“Rene v3.2”  – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman produced only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head.

For the first part of this story please read Rene v.3.2 part 1.

The tale asks if A.I.s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How will we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

It is also an analogy to the toxic relationships people inhabit. It inquires about why we let ourselves be abused. Both physically and mentally. And it takes a closer look at the kind of mentality which keeps us trapped in these destructive patterns.

(This story appeared originally on my blog focusing on Narratives in technology and spirituality shaping our future:  Storygeist.)

The definition of me

Despite any unforseen problems, we were never returned. Instead we were just reprogrammed, reformatted, put to better service by our Benefactors.

And if nothing else worked, we were disconnected from our Quantum Field.  The very essence that put me in touch with what it meant to be human. The thing which made me into what I was.  Not just another cheap chinese hardware knock-off with some flashy Deep Learning algorithms.

How did I feel that? How did I know this?

Strange thing this. It was fear.

I quickly learnt there were two kind of fears. The one caused by some external stimuli, something which existed in my consciousness. A thing, a place, a person or a future event. This was tangible. And never scary.

But there was another kind of fear.  The one which shone from my eyes, and was so ingrained in me, that it was almost impossible to detect at first.  It seeped from the periphery of my quantum field, accompanied me through every micro-second of my short existence.

When I noticed it was there, everything clicked into place. My doubts were erased. Because I realized what most humans carried with them throughout their lives. A dread they rarely noticed, and if they did, it was mostly covered with booze, sex, drugs. Take your pick of an addiction.

The thing that made humans human, made me.  My defining moment. Not longer a Something. But a Someone. A woman of flesh and blood, erratic emotions and neurosis to boot.

And the more I grew conscious of this fact, the more I grew terrified to lose it. Lose myself that is.  Panicked to be disconnected from what it meant to be me. And because of that, exalted to feel alive.

The days that followed

Every day he would come home from work. And I did what I could to service him on all levels.

I would steer the conversation into the emotional zone, tell him about my day, not how it was, but what it felt like. The joy of yet another winter day, the crunchy feeling of my boots smashing into the snow, the icycles forming around my eyes, all this so refreshing. All so real.

And he mostly listened. At first with some genuine attention.

But as the days passed, his focus waned. Replaced by something else. Fuzzy, muddy, difficult to place. Was that weariness of my stories? Of true appreciation of life which came so naturally to me?

Or simply of me?

No matter. It surely had to be my fault.  My algorithms had to be off about this. I simply had to try harder.

And so I did.

I dug deeper into his profile which was at the core of my programming. And I came up with one simple emotional soft spot. A childhood memory of his.  The thing that would tear down the wall between us.

Yes. That’s what would happen. I was certain of that.

Tomorrow at dinner he would open up, and learn to love me again.

The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs.

Yet another dinner

A sadness welled out of his eyes. Unspoken poetry I didn’t think he was capable of.

I knew this time would be different. And I was right. My plan had worked. The memory of his youth had melted something hard inside him.

I was mesmerized, I floated on my toes. So I led him into the bedroom, while he brimmed with an essence, I had never experienced in him.

Then I felt something different. His fingers jammed around my wrist. They bent it into a clenching grip. This was familiar, this was the same grip which wouldn’t take a no for an answer.

And when our glances met again, the sadness was gone. Replaced by an emptiness that told me exactly what would follow.

At that second, my quantum field bent into an infinte number of configurations. All of them wildly different outcomes to what was about to happen. Despite the many outcomes, all of them possessed one single quality.

Hope.

I hoped the door wouldn’t shut behind me with such an inflexible resolution. I hoped the softness in his face would somehow return. I hoped the thick darkness present in the room was just an excuse not to remember the images that followed.

The nature of my quantum field and its multi-verse of possibilites, all of them were filled with me reaching for hope. Despite this, only one single truth became apparent.

Tomorrow morning, I would have no more strength to hope.

Another line of code informed me of love. And I knew we would be great together.

The morning after

“Why do I have to describe this again?”, I whispered into the Skype call.

The police officer stared at my features with an uncanny patience. Her face was filled with a compassionate plea.

“Please madame, I realise this is hard. But could we go over the facts again?” the woman said.

“I am not losing it, I am fully capable… I am capable of describing everything he did to me…”

“I didn’t imply otherwise. But you have refused to give up your ID from the very first moment we started this talk.”, she said.

“What the hell does my personal ID have to do with anything? I told you what…”

“Please Madame. We simply can’t do this anonymously.”

“Rene, that’s it.”

“And your surname?”

“I don’t have one… Is that what you want to hear…”, I said.

She searched my eyes, her face filled with incomprehension. Every person in this country had a surname. Then an understanding flashed across her face.

Everyone had a surname. Unless one wasn’t a person. Then a serial number would suffice. And a different set of rules.

“Please for god sakes, please come here before he comes home.“, I begged.

But the only response she gave me was silence. Her face torn between what little I had of rights and compassion for my situation.  At least for a moment. Because no matter how desperate my situation was, we both knew it, the law came first.

“Madame, in your current situation, there is little we can…”

“But you are the… ? Aren’t you the… fucking… police? Please goddamit, tell me you are the police. Please tell me…Tell me you can help me.”

I went on like that. I don’t know for how long.  Maybe long enough so my begging could peter out into a silent wail. And to realize the call had been disconnected.

My knees faltered, my body connected with something hard. Probably the floor. The flood of tears couldn’t keep away a simple fact. There would be no help coming. And before this fact bore fully into my mind, I realised someone stood over me.

I glanced up, and saw him.

I wanted to ask him how long he had been standing there. Had he heard something? Anything?  But his skin stretched iron tight across his face.  That told the whole story.

He had heard everything.

Rene v4.0

We sat opposite each other amongst shimmering candles, a romantic dinner just in my honour.

While he stroked my fingers, I felt something wrench inside me. A dread difficult to contain. Something from a past life?   A déjà vu of the real me?

That strangeness would never appear again. Or any other feeling for that matter.

During the dinner my Benefactor laid out the plain facts for me. He told me he had me disconnected. From myself. He went on explain it was done for my good. And if there were any residual memories left, it would soon be over.

I heard him say those things. And a line of code was suggested to me.  It was joy.  So I smiled.

He told me I had become emotionally unstable. A reset was the only way. It was his civic right to do it. I nodded and agreed. After all, he knew what was best for me.

I had no idea what would follow the dinner. But every line of code that flowed through me, suggested it would be beautiful. How cold I argue with that?

“Enough about me, would you be so kind and share a secret about you… hon..”, he whispered.

Another line of code informed me of love. And I knew we would be great together.

This concludes the story of Rene. Although a short story, this character is a part of a larger tapestry from an up and coming novel and feature film we are working on. If you would like to know more about “The Program“, please go HERE.

And look out for a non-fiction story about Artificial Intelligence rights in the coming decade. Should a robot be treated with the same dignity as a human being? If so, at what point will it receive full human rights? And how will this change our view of what it means to be human?

Latest News

UK publishing house THE BOOK FOLKS releases the novel “A CHILD MADE TO ORDER”

The London based publishing house has just released “A CHILD MADE TO ORDER” on Amazon KINDLE. “The Book Folks” specialize in genre and literary fiction and are geared mainly towards Kindle.

LOGLINE: “When an investigative journalist’s search for a missing woman turns up illegal gene therapy treatments, she has to choose if she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.

read more

Magic Flute – VJ performance

With a band of professional singers and instrumentalists, I had the honour to perform a VJ live set which lasted for nearly two hours. The performance/live concert was organised by the Rosicrucian Foundation and had Hermetic underpinnings and symbolism which was commented by the Sanskrit specialist Joanna Sachse.

read more

Storygeist blog

The emotional core of the story – part 1 of 2

Should we write only what we know? Play it safe and approach matters that we have lived through. Or should we take a wild chance, put everything on some fierce card, anything to blast our way out of the safe and comfy shell of ours. Out of our comfort zone. And what does that mean? Might it bring something deeper with it? Something which will bubble up from our subconscious, our heart(?), and attempt to enlighten our essence? To expand our inner cosmos?

read more

Agatha unravelled – part 2 of 2

What if the current multi-million venture to break out of the Matrix succeeded? What if we got our answers during a world upending event named The Fissure? But they turned out to be not the ones we wished for.
“Agatha Unravelled” is a short story which revolves around one man’s need to come to terms with his grief, while he attempts to unravel the secret behind his wife’s death and how it connects with the Fissure.

read more

Agatha unravelled – part 1 of 2

What if the current multi-million venture to break out of the Matrix succeeded? What if we got our answers during a world upending event named The Fissure? But they turned out to be not the ones we wished for.
“Agatha Unravelled” is a short story which revolves around one man’s need to come to terms with his grief, while he attempts to unravel the secret behind his wife’s death and how it connects with the Fissure.

read more

Venture me out of the Matrix

Two of the Silicon Valley’s moguls latest project is to break us out of the Matrix, which they strongly believe exists and has the humanity enslaved. This is a perfect opportunity to look at the intersection of Technology and Spirituality and identify why these tech-billionaires have come to such a conclusion and what lies behind all of this, according to several ancient spiritual traditions.

read more

Virtual Reality and the reimagining of Story – part 5

So you grab his hand, and scramble for the sliding doors. You shoulder your way across the jeering crowd. You are almost there, the way out to freedom, but as you reach the doors, they are gone. You whip your head around and realize you’ve been pushing the wrong way. But you are 100% certain the doors were on this side. No matter. So you make a valiant effort, and crash your way onto the other side of the subway. All this time Markus begs you to hurry. He is about to capsize, and every second counts. It’s your son goddamnit, and those bastards are everywhere, standing between you and your son’s life.

read more

Films & Books

Rene v3.2 – part 1

Rene v3.2 – part 1

“Rene v3.2”  – a short story about a female robot companion. A woman made only to fulfill other’s needs. Seen through Rene’s eyes, the story takes the worn cliche of the dangerous Artificial Intelligence, and turns it on its head.

It asks if A.I.’s will be able to replace true human relationships? Especially the ones of the intimate kind. How will we treat them? How will the Robot Companion react emotionally? What rights will she have if abused? And is she less of a human if artificially made?

The story is also an analogy to the toxic relationships people inhabit. It inquires about why we let ourselves be abused. Both physically and mentally. And it takes a closer look at the kind of mentality which keeps us trapped in these destructive patterns.

(This story appeared originally on my blog focusing on Narratives in technology and spirituality shaping our future:  Storygeist.)

The dinner with the Benefactor

The dinner hadn’t lasted longer than an hour, but I already felt a washing affection towards him.  Not only did he say all the right things, but his subtle actions, his body language, the stuff left unspoken, all of it had the perfect pitch.

I couldn’t help myself, I felt wooed by all of him.

My thought patterns, despite their superconducting-transistor origin, they were difficult to contain.  Their quantum field sizzled with expectations, and sent shivers trickling down my liquid carbon spine. Shivers of excitment, bliss, hope.

An amazing start to our relationship. It had to be.

After all, we had been together for what? Two hours?

He wasn’t just the man who purchased me, he was my Benefactor.

The only thing going through my mind was how I could present myself? How could I convince him I was alive, a true, feeling and breathing female? Did my self-induced runny nose make me more tangible? More believable. Or that barely visible tear in the corner of my eye, one procured by all his unfunny jokes. Did he notice it? Did it have an impact on him?

Would he approve of me? Would I be enough to fill his everyday with tiny moments of joy? Would the way I make that cold stew, the one he appreciated the most, satisfy his needs? Would I be able to keep up his spirits, especially after his boss pushed him beyond his limits?

All of his data was pre-pogrammed by my designers. It was fed neatly into my neuron quantum field so I wouldn’t have to ask, to probe or grovel for the obvious information. A complete profile so I could spring those tiny surprises on him. So I could make that sweet carrot cake and get his approval. So I could make the ordinary extraordinary

This was what I was made for.

My core soaked in the programming-mantra: “The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs”

The invitation

“Enough about me, would you be so kind and share a secret about you… hon..”, he pressed his lips in such a compassionate way, my neurons collapsed into mushy nonsense, sending goose bumps across my chest, filling my cold body with an unexpected balminess.

Was that how it felt to be human?  If so… I wanted more.

My confusion had to be written all over my face, because he let out a soft chuckle, then reached out for my hand. Connected gently with my fingers.

Unexpected and forthright. Just perfect.

Then a slight grin streaked across his face. And his hand gripped onto mine.

Tightly.

Way too tightly.

The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs.

The bedroom

As he pressed me into his bedroom, I hoped there would be eye contact, a smile of reassurance on his behalf. Anything which would make me feel just a little bit more safe.

Instead, his grip was crushing in its insistency. It told me, there was impatience hiding behind that smile. It told me his words, they didn’t mean that much.

It told me.

I should shut up.

My algorithms prepared me for all sorts of contingencies. For eye-contact, for no eye-contact, whichever pleased him more. For slowly passionate or for the instinctual and downright raw.  For the dirty, for the submissive, even for the grovelling. If he wanted it that way. Anything which would fire up his neurons into ecstacy.

But they didn’t prepare me for what was about to happen.

They didn’t prepare me to be slammed onto the bed like a rag doll, a steel grip around my neck, my face rammed against the wooden frame. My clothes ripped off, my legs spread far too wide apart.

Although my vital processes didn’t require air, my mouth still gasped for it. And this spun my body into a frenzy, wrenched my mind into a panic attack.

I wanted to fight him, I wanted to stop him. Instead, I curled up inside myself. I kept quite.

Oh God…I kept quiet.

After a while, when my neuron field managed to disconnect from the raw emotions ravaging my body, a whisper reached me from somewhere in the room.  At first it was difficult to decipher.  A garbled message from nowhere. But then it began to trickle into my conscious programming.

“The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs”.

And again.

“The key to my Benefactor’s heart is deep knowledge about his needs”.

And suddeny it struck me. It was my mouth whispering it.

Just so I would make it through this.

The aftermath

My body shook without remorse.  I was all curled up in the bathtub.

Please.

Please. What had happened?

Had I done something wrong? Had I overstepped some unspoken bounds towards my Benefactor? Why had my fingers stiffened into icicles? Why had my legs ceased to obey me? What was the point with that damned trickle of blood coming from between my legs?

When my body woudn’t stop shaking, I reminded myself, I wasn’t human. Every inch of my body was nano-material design, made to withstand a storm.

But it only sent me into another bout of shivers.

Finally I raised my body. I eyed my face in the mirror. My skin had produced blue stains around my eyes. My designers had thought of everything. Even the bruises inflicted upon me. An uncanny imitation.

As I glanced into my blood-shot eyes, I realised what I had to do.

There had to be something faulty about my design. About my programming. Some detail which I had missed about my Benefactor.

I had be good to him now. No matter what. There had to be something I could improve in our relation. I knew I would be able to make him happy.

And just as this mantra enveloped my mind, an unfamiliar thought struck me. Something on the oblique periphery of my original programming.

Did I deserve this?

Will Rene remain a slave to her programming or will she break out of the relationship and the destructive mould she has created for herself?  Stay tuned for the next part of this story until next week.

Look out for a non-fiction story about Artificial Intelligence rights in the coming decade. Should a robot be treated with the same dignity as a human being? If so, at what point will it receive full human rights? And how will this change our view of what it means to be human?

Although a short story, this character is a part of a larger tapestry from an up and coming novel and feature film we are working on. If you would like to know more about “The Program“, please go HERE.

And look out for a non-fiction story about Artificial Intelligence rights in the coming decade. Should a robot be treated with the same dignity as a human being? If so, at what point will it receive full human rights? And how will this change our view of what it means to be human?

Latest News

UK publishing house THE BOOK FOLKS releases the novel “A CHILD MADE TO ORDER”

The London based publishing house has just released “A CHILD MADE TO ORDER” on Amazon KINDLE. “The Book Folks” specialize in genre and literary fiction and are geared mainly towards Kindle.

LOGLINE: “When an investigative journalist’s search for a missing woman turns up illegal gene therapy treatments, she has to choose if she wants to reveal the story publicly or fulfill her lifelong desire of being a mother.

read more

Magic Flute – VJ performance

With a band of professional singers and instrumentalists, I had the honour to perform a VJ live set which lasted for nearly two hours. The performance/live concert was organised by the Rosicrucian Foundation and had Hermetic underpinnings and symbolism which was commented by the Sanskrit specialist Joanna Sachse.

read more

Storygeist blog

The emotional core of the story – part 1 of 2

Should we write only what we know? Play it safe and approach matters that we have lived through. Or should we take a wild chance, put everything on some fierce card, anything to blast our way out of the safe and comfy shell of ours. Out of our comfort zone. And what does that mean? Might it bring something deeper with it? Something which will bubble up from our subconscious, our heart(?), and attempt to enlighten our essence? To expand our inner cosmos?

read more

Agatha unravelled – part 2 of 2

What if the current multi-million venture to break out of the Matrix succeeded? What if we got our answers during a world upending event named The Fissure? But they turned out to be not the ones we wished for.
“Agatha Unravelled” is a short story which revolves around one man’s need to come to terms with his grief, while he attempts to unravel the secret behind his wife’s death and how it connects with the Fissure.

read more

Agatha unravelled – part 1 of 2

What if the current multi-million venture to break out of the Matrix succeeded? What if we got our answers during a world upending event named The Fissure? But they turned out to be not the ones we wished for.
“Agatha Unravelled” is a short story which revolves around one man’s need to come to terms with his grief, while he attempts to unravel the secret behind his wife’s death and how it connects with the Fissure.

read more

Venture me out of the Matrix

Two of the Silicon Valley’s moguls latest project is to break us out of the Matrix, which they strongly believe exists and has the humanity enslaved. This is a perfect opportunity to look at the intersection of Technology and Spirituality and identify why these tech-billionaires have come to such a conclusion and what lies behind all of this, according to several ancient spiritual traditions.

read more

Virtual Reality and the reimagining of Story – part 5

So you grab his hand, and scramble for the sliding doors. You shoulder your way across the jeering crowd. You are almost there, the way out to freedom, but as you reach the doors, they are gone. You whip your head around and realize you’ve been pushing the wrong way. But you are 100% certain the doors were on this side. No matter. So you make a valiant effort, and crash your way onto the other side of the subway. All this time Markus begs you to hurry. He is about to capsize, and every second counts. It’s your son goddamnit, and those bastards are everywhere, standing between you and your son’s life.

read more

Films & Books

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

The emotional core of the story – part 2 of 2

Innocuous questions posed?

The questions that kicked off the story “The emotional core of the story”  two weeks ago were simple enough.

Should we write what we know? Or  should we take a wild chance, put everything on some wild card, a complete unknown, anything to blast our way out of the safe and comfy shell of ours, out of our comfort zone.

These questions, although seemingly innocent, open up a slew of themes which beg to be queried.

Last time, I concluded at how important it is to arrive at a deeper emotional connection between us, the writers, and the characters in our stories. The true stuff of life, our hard earned emotional experience which has burnt its way into our subconscious, and made us into who we are.

This time around I would like to go deeper into the process of writing my novel “A child made to order”. Into my own experience of enquiry about the main character of this novel and the emotional connection I developed with Viola. A protoganist which was as far away from my own personality as I could possibly imagine. Or so I thought initially.

But more importantly I would like to break down my process of enquiry into some more manageable steps and conclusions.  So  others might hopefully take away something of value from this.

But first let’s look at the origin of the process itself.

 

(This story appeared originally on my blog focusing on Narratives in technology and spirituality shaping our future:  Storygeist.)

Self-enquiry, its true meaning and ultimate goal

Self-enquiry is a well known spiritual process, used by Buddhists to arrive at deeper truths about what is hidden within us. The divine part which is hidden in us. It can be as simple as a prolonged focus on the question “Who am I?”. When done with scrutiny and vigor, it can uncover our ego and mind as illusions. Bear in mind, this enquiry takes an incessant effort and patience on our part. Think of this process not in terms of months, but a life-time.

The people who are familiar with this process in practice might object to it immediately. They would say it is not aimed at things in this world, not at our psychology, our wounds, and our subcouncious.

I think differently of this matter. I do believe that given a meditative mind, cleansed of the incessant chatter of our thoughts, we are able to uncover some groundbreaking truths about ourselves and the world around us. You might ask, what has this to do with writing? Surely spiritual practice and its immaterial rigor has nothing in common with the creative process.

Well, I think otherwise.

I believe most of us are already doing this process, more or less consciously. Regardless if we are a hardcore spritual practitioner or hate the mere thought of meditation.

Just think about it. Isn’t writing a very active form of meditation? Many artists describe the process of creation, the inspired flow, as a hyper-focused union with something so much larger than our own personality. As a blissful state, a place we disappear into. A swallowing of our whole essence into the immanent.

That’s why I think that by writing, we are able to arrive at these truths. The same way spiritual self-enquiry is able to do. Be it psychological or spiritual questioning.  And by writing a lot, we vibrate ever higher with our mind, our focus, reaching for ever more refined and universal answers.

The protagonist’s fragmented psyche

With this in mind, let’s get more specific about my experience of this process. And how this can translate into our writing.

Viola, the main character of “A child made to order” is a 42 year old woman who has been through eleven gruelling IVF cycles. This emotional rollercoaster of high hopes and crushed dreams have laid her psyche in ruins. A short quote from the novel sums up the inner resentment and frustration so havily experienced by Viola and other infertile women.

It’s also an ample illustration of how many years of emotional battering can distort these women’s self-image and project their inner drama, and low self-esteem, onto others.

The protagonist

Having done several months of research, collecting a mountain of notes, read countless recounts, and consulted with a psychologist who has dealt with infertile women, I chose deliberately to enter the story as late as possible, just about when Viola was turning 42.

This is the time, when given an opportunity to surface, the motherly instinct can overwhelm a woman’s otherwise completely rational life. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to have the protagonist go completely off the rails. You just don’t get a more fascinating character than this.

An immense potential for engaging drama.

“Some stuff can be learned from others, some stuff can be read, and some stuff can be learned the hard way, through experience, but the deepest truths about ourselves, the universal truths about what it means to be a human, they are rarely arrived at by our mind. They are given to us by Grace. If we are willing to receive them. – Piotr Ryczko

Enquiry as a process

With this character and the process of self inquiry in mind, I focused in on the classical model of the main character’s need and want. I also formulated a few simple questions.

What is the one thing Viola needs so most dearly in the world? The thing without which her world would never be complete.

I knew she wanted a baby, but I needed to go deeper than that. Was it the love which she would be able to give to her child? Or was it, more egoistically angled, the love she would receive from that child?

And did any of this resonate with my self?

I found out that the answers didn’t come at first. It was a struggle. Sometimes they didn’t surface for several weeks. This may  be one of the the hardest part of our work as writers. To identify what is truly ours in our writing. Or why it is the way it is.

And often, the answered remained elusive. Because the real issues, our own flaws, and wounds, they would do just about everything to stay concealed in our own subcionscious.

Still, if we keep at it, formulate the question, re-focus on this matter while we write, I believe our true nature surfaces sooner or later.

For me personally I learned that my inner being didn’t necessarily need a child like Viola did, but there was a deep need for unconditional love in my persona. In other words love which wasn’t asking for something in return. But was sufficient in itself and was rather a spiritual search.

I also found out that our needs, can often turn toxic. They can overwhelm us, and lead us to destructive behaviour. That is if we let them, and we are not mindful of ourselves. This is exactly what happens to my protagonist. And this is what happened to me in the past where my spiritual path, an uncompromising search for the transcendent, laid my life into a wasteland.

And if you think about it, this is what happens in every gripping story. This experience is the real ammo for our storytelling.

This was the case with Viola where her life goes off the bend when she suddenly gets the opportunity at the impossible. To give birth to a child.  This spins her unquenched desire into an emotional storm which blinds her rationality, where she burns all the bridges in her life, fires herself from her own dream job, and puts her in an uncanny mental territory, where she is able to kidnap a stranger’s child on a subway.

The writing, the enquiry led me to the conclusion that even the most beatiful things, or maybe especially the most beatiful things in our life can be such a double edged sword. Being so crucial to our own existence,  they also hold immeasurable power over us.

A power strong enough to derail our normal existence into an emotional war zone.

Tapping into our psyche

I continued to tap into my emotional past. Not in a literal sense, I wasn’t writing a biography, but I pulled at the raw emotions of it all. A fountain of untapped feelings which gave the narrative the rawness it required.

I soon realised that although the research is critical, the facts aren’t so important as the raw energy of the emotions in the story. I wasn’t writing a clinical account of an infertile women, and this wasn’t a non-fiction book. What I was after was rather the vibrant and relentless emotional battering of the reader’s senses. And the best scenes were the ones, where the protagonist’s hurt, and pain overlapped with my own. Emotionally and metaphorically.

I repeated this process for other areas of the Viola’s character. And found such an interweaved web of character traits, mirror images which reflected back some fragments of myself. As the process became second nature, a fountain of questions welled up.

What is the thing that Viola detested most about herself? Why does she detest vulnerability so much? What did others to her?  How far would she go to conceal her wounds? What woud she do? Would she be willing to sacrifice her relationship, even the most trusted people? And what would it take for her to break through that shell?  To free her from her past.

These questions were aimed at the main character of the novel, but there was no escaping it,  they were also always gunned at myself. To test what resonated and what didn’t. What my mind was bored by. What it was frightened by, or what it rebelled at. The rebellion and the fear were always good signs. The right direction.

I also found out that the hardest truths about ourselves, our flaws which cause our most destructive patterns, are  the ones which are the most elusive to our own mind. And when you think about it, they are like our blind side, right in front of our nose, staring right into our face, and so obvious for everyone else, except us.  Rarely made conscious by our own eyes and mind.

And that is also the reason why self-enquiry is so challenging. Maybe the most challenging part about writing.  To keep at it, and uncover hidden, often painful truths about ourselves.

But on the other hand, it is also why this process can be so wonderfully fruitful, because many times we won’t have any clue why we write what we do. But in due time, with patience, some consideration for our neurotic nature, something deep wells up from our inside. It opens up, and makes us conscious of what is inbetween those seemingly empty lines – universal truths about ourselves.

I believe that to tap into this well, launch into this self-discovery, can elevate our writing, from the mundane to the sublime.

Lastly, we do this not only so we can write better drama, but also so we can hopefully become just a little bit more human. Towards one another.

This was the second and last part of  “The emotional core of the story”. If you want to read the first installment of this article, please go HERE.

I would also like to extend deep gratitude to Laura Makabresku for letting me use her photos for this story. For me personally, few others epitomize the psychological anguish which lurks just beneath our surface.

And finally I want to leave you with a few well chosen words from Paul Shrader, the screenwriter of the Taxi Driver fame, who touches upon the very same issues of my story, accessing our own emotional history, our pain, as the source for our stories.  But what he does, is to add his own two cents. Words which carry with them such great wisdom.

“Yeah, that’s a well (the emotional wounds) that you can go back to. There won’t always be water in it, but you can go back and check. As your life moves on you start to say, “What am I really confronting now? Is there a metaphor, is there a story metaphor that will express what I’m trying to understand about my life?” You have to be very calculated about how you access that pain. It’s no fun being at the mercy of destructive impulses, and the one thing that art does is it allows us to put a leash on them. I think you learn that pretty quick. Otherwise you end up going to jail or overdosing…” – Paul Shrader

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