The book you want to write: the life you want to invent

The book you want to write: the life you want to invent

by Jon Rappoport

November 25, 2015

(Jon has a new work of fiction at his other blog, Outside The Reality Machine. If you want to take a wild ride, read it.)

“No one will ever map out a formula for writing a book. The formulas that already exist, and there are many of them, are pale reflections of what occurs in the writing process. They ape, in a maniacal way, what a machine would do if you loaded it up with enough information. Writing taps into, and brings life. Formulas do not. There are mysteries that can only be penetrated by writing a book.” (The Magician Awakes, Jon Rappoport)

I’ve had several clients who are writers. They decided they had a book in them. I’m talking about fiction—as I am in this article.

Tapping the keys for the first few sentences of Chapter One is a momentous event. That’s when you’re pushing the boat out from the shore.

As your imagination swings into gear, you become aware of the space that sits out there, the space you’re going to “fill and shape.”

The world has existed for a long time, but the book is a unique event. It’s the world plus one.

Of course, some people will never finish the work. They’ll bog down in details and plans and structure. They’ll convince themselves there is one prescribed way to do the job, and they’ll decide they just can’t produce that pattern.

Through direct instruction or the “shared wisdom” of writing teachers, they’ve bought a straitjacket. It fits, but it doesn’t fit the writer in them. That’s the sad joke. The straitjacket is for a person who isn’t a writer.

Of course, I’m not talking about spelling, grammar, or syntax. Kids are supposed to master those basics in junior high and high school.

It’s often said the best advice for a student is, “Write about what you know.” Ah yes. The pearl. Well, that certainly works if a person, in fact, wants to write about what he knows. But many other people really want to write about what they don’t know—or more precisely, what they haven’t imagined yet.

And even if you want to write about your life and past, you’re going to find out imagination is a major part of the process (*), because words and sentences and paragraphs don’t fit reality like a glove. Good writers can make you believe their words are exact replications of events, but that’s an illusion. That’s their brand of magic.

(*) [For more on using your imagination in creative writing, see my “A Writer’s Tutorial” in my audio collection Power Outside The Matrix.]

Even the old hard-boiled curmudgeon, Hemingway, was inventing something that looked like realism. He was hammering out sentences that conspired to produce that flat laconic effect. He had his own magic wand.

The ways imagination can operate—that’s what you want to discover and experience.

And hopefully, you’ll come to understand your imagination can move in unique currents.

Then you’ll have the engine and the fuel to start and finish a book.

It’s not a walk in the park; if that’s what you want, just take a walk in a park. Writing a book is the kind of commitment that expands your understanding of what a commitment is. It changes your life.

Fortunately, I had only one writing teacher during my 16 years as a student. He was a well-known poet and translator. He was a decent teacher because he didn’t hand out advice. He just let us work. I don’t recall him ever saying, “Write what you know.”

Good lines of writing stimulate creative adrenaline in the reader. They bypass the usual filters of perception. They awaken the reader to some X quality.

At that moment, he isn’t holding a book in his hands. He’s in an unforeseen space that blots out all other spaces.

Most beginning writers want to communicate big ideas. They conceive of these ideas as generalities. Then they spend page after page piling up more generalities like gooey layers of an ungainly cake. Looking at it sitting on the dinner table, no one is happy.

The solution to this problem isn’t merely substituting details, because details can also make an unfriendly tower.

A book isn’t a mechanical proposition.

When I was 11 years old, in 1949, I read a children’s book that took me away. It said, under the surface, “Do you want to be this? Do you want to be a writer?” Six years later, I said yes. Recently, I went back and read that book. I had to laugh, because I saw how much I had “supplied” to the author, how much I’d given him. I had been writing most of his work in my own mind. But that was all right. He brought me the first wave.

Do you want to write a book?

Don’t build a machine out of a thousand facts. You’ll find ways of folding in details in the caverns of your chapters.

You don’t really have a book in you. You have the capacity to invent a book.

If the prospect of inventing one doesn’t move you, either go on to another line of work or figure out how to find your imagination. You left it somewhere.

Which is like forgetting you’re going to get married. When you walk down the aisle, hopefully you’ll wake up when you say I DO.

If a person recovers his imagination, he can write a book. He can do lots of things. He can do anything.

Through a process no one will ever be able to fathom, he can work his way up the side of a wave while standing on the top, he can lug up and down the wave suitcases of details and sprinkle them where he wants to.

And he’ll write a book.

Over the years, I’ve made several lists of recommended books. This one is for stimulating imagination, and for illustrating vastly different ways of writing brilliantly. In no particular order:

A VOYAGE TO ARCTURUS/David Lindsay

THE MAN WHO WAS THURSDAY/GK Chesterton

RETURN FROM THE STARS/Stanislaw Lem

STEPPENWOLF/Hermann Hesse

THE COLOSSUS OF MAROUSSI/Henry Miller

COLLECTED POEMS/Dylan Thomas

TENDER BUTTONS/Gertrude Stein

MONA LISA OVERDRIVE/William Gibson

EINSTEIN’S DREAMS/Alan P Lightman

If you can read these nine books and say nothing new has entered your bloodstream, you need a serious engine overhaul.

Your book, the one you want to write—you have to find a way in. You have to find a way to speak. Your point of view has to be more than surgical, more than remote observation.

And this is where imagination comes into play.

How, for example, do you describe the wind on a lake when you were five years old? Do you try to recall every detail of its effects? Do you measure, in memory, the width of each ripple?

You think about what you were doing and feeling when you were sitting on the edge of the lake watching the ripples. You write about the “poetics” of the situation. And to make that happen, you invent.

Memory is just the beginning of the process.

Actually, even as you were living your life at five years old, you were imagining. You weren’t just seeing.

At any age, what you perceive, divorced from imagination, is almost nothing. It’s invisible.

As a writer, you need to grasp this. When you were five, perception and imagination mingled into a whole. Now, you’re conscious of something else. Your power of invention.

So invent.

Proliferate.

Then much, much later, edit.

When writers claim they have distilled a memory down to its essence, they’re selling you a bill of goods. It’s their amusing way of masking invention. There is no rock bottom.

Every culture has its creation myths. They purport to describe how the world came into existence. But they’re poems. They were launched out of the wellspring of imagination.

So imagine.

Create.

Improvise.

Making it up will catch far more reality in its net than trying to remember everything.

Yes, the past is real, but as a writer you’re not a devotee of perfect recall. You’re an explorer who has built his own ship and you’re riding it out on to seas you’re creating.

The superhighway of history tells a story of the unshackling of imagination.

By the second half the 20th century, it became clear to many people that imagination had become unhooked from ideologies, metaphysical clap-trap, the pretensions of psychology, and the juvenile materialistic philosophy coming out of science.

Finally, after centuries of work, imagination stood alone for all to see.

But few were ready to look.

Instead, they dove back into a jungle of spiritual symbology. They dove into a hodge-podge of resurrected ethnicity. They grasped at “revivals” of ancient cosmologies. They embraced futile and destructive fundamentalisms.

Nevertheless, IMAGINATION HAD EMERGED AS THE NORTH STAR.

It was apparent that many metaphysical meanderings which had occurred since the dawn of time were CREATIONS OF IMAGINATION, pure and simple.

So why not admit it?

Why not confess that imagination is there for the individual? Infinitely.

Well, people were still obsessed with wrapping the individual in various disguises: “the individual is just one atom in the super-atom of cosmic ding-dong.”

But there it was, imagination, the exposed gold centerpiece of alchemy. Finally. And people said, “Let’s go back to lead.”

But…no matter. Because the mystery is out in the open.

For those who can see it.

They will discover that every longing pointing to cosmos, illumination, enlightenment, transcendence is answered and fulfilled through imagination deployed.

This is a true spiritual tradition of planet Earth. It has been buried, repressed, sidetracked, and misidentified—but now here it is.

In a very real sense, it was always the goal. It was always the thing to be distilled out of the dross of history—and out of the rambling life of an individual.


power outside the matrix


When my publisher, Bonnie Lange, gave me the green light to write The Secret Behind Secret Societies (**), I realized I would have a chance to explore this whole area.

(**) [The Secret Behind Secret Societies is included as a bonus (.pdf file) in my audio collections Exit From The Matrix and Power Outside The Matrix.]

The first part of my work was to strip imagination of useless and distracting accoutrement. The second part of my work was to show people its scope and range and power, and what can happen when you use it intensely, without limits. (***)

(***) [Both parts are presented in full detail in my audio collection Exit From The Matrix.]

And that’s what I’ve been doing for the past 15 years with NoMoreFakeNews and OutsideTheRealityMachine, and what I continue to do, come hell or high water.

It pays homage to untold numbers of artists on this planet who have carried the torch, since the first cave man scratched the first drawing on the wall of a cave and declared: reality is not enough; I make reality.

That’s the secret. It was, then, and it is, now, for those of us willing to know it.

Jon Rappoport

The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world. You can sign up for his free NoMoreFakeNews emails here or his free OutsideTheRealityMachine emails here.

3 comments on “The book you want to write: the life you want to invent

  1. From Québec says:

    I’m surprised that this article didn’t get a lot of comments.

    Jon, I have a new idea:

    You know how much I struggled with my soap opera. Well, the reason why I wanted to stick with a soap, was because it has no ending. But I realized that at 71 years old, it would take me maybe 10 years before I could put it together. And, then, how would I publish it? I have no money, no contact with the television people, no computer skills and I know no artist who could become the characters in my soap. Plus, I wanted to make it an English soap, because there are not enough French speaking people in this world.
    Imagine me writing a scenario in English…lol. If I write it in French, who could translate in English… another problem and time delay. So I am at a dead end street.

    So, I decided to make a comeback, although I haven’t been anywhere yet…lol
    I thought, why not make it a MOVIE instead?

    A movie that would never end in “the people’s mind”.

    My NEW scenario for a MOVIE:

    Would be a similar scenario to the soap. Except, that since it would be a movie, I would speed it up.

    An artist moves to a small district in a big city.

    The opening scene, would be this artist, (sort of a John Q Jones), painting in the street. He is looking at the houses, buildings, trees, etc. and he starts painting. But what he paints is different from what he looks at. And he is constantly looking at the scene and measuring with his brush, but he keeps painting something else.

    What he paints is gorgeous, he really has incredible painting skills. The people are confused. This is definitely a high skill painter, but why isn’t he painting what is in front of him, what he is looking at and measuring all the time?

    So more people come to see this weird artist. After a while, they started questioning him. A very interesting dialogue starts between these people and the artist.

    He starts explaining to them what the Matrix is and how to live outside the Matrix. He talks about the false reality. He tells them that the individual has all the power, trough imagination and creativity. Slowly, but surely, people guided and inspired by the artist started to create all sort of thing. They come to him with their new creation and he encourages them.

    Peoples start painting, writing music, imagining and creating things. A new reality takes place in the city, everybody is creating. Creating all sort or weird things and also ingenious things. It would be awesome, hilarious and inspiring and as contagious as a virus. Then, it would spread to other cities, then to countries, till it reaches the whole wide world. Can you imagine the possibilities? Endless, possibilities!
    The greatest Revolution on planet Earth!

    The public watching the movie would start understanding that the humans have all the power to create a new reality on this planet. And who knows? Maybe they would also wake-up and become creators themselves. This is why this movie would never end in “people’s mind”.

    That would satisfy my love for endless stories.

    But, will I write it? I don’t know. I can’t tell, but I don’t think I will.. Movies have a lot of dialogues. Dialogues are harder to write than a story. I’m not sure if I have the skill to do that. Besides, I think that I prefer to create things in my own mind than to bring them into reality. Maybe I’m just crazy or lazy… or something else. .I don’t know. I’m just happy imaginating things, I don’t really feel the urge to make them come true. It takes too much time and I prefer to imagine another new thing, instead.

    A perfect job for me, would be to be hired to think of new things and ideas.. And, to let other people realized them.

    You, Jon, would be the perfect writer for that movie. After all, you are the mastermind in teaching about imagination and creativity and you write so well.
    So, if you like this scenario, you can take it for yourself if you want. Because if the world is waiting for me to do it, they will have time to die before it comes to fruition, if it ever do it, which I’m quite sure I wont.

  2. From Québec says:

    Hahaha! I guess you are right in a way, I did write it. But it’s only a sketch or and small outline of the story. The script for the dialogues, are the hardest things to do.

    I’m glad you enjoyed it.

    I’m sure it would be the Movie of the Year, if Jon would write it. I hope he does. He’s the man to write that movie. No doubt about that..

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