PORTALS FOR MORTALS

Fiction lies deep in the underworld, plotted on a subconscious map of time tunnels – a network of stories as vast as a rabbit’s warren. Every tunnel is lined with doors. Each door is a portal. Each portal invites you to experience the impossible. This blog is a portal containing a skeleton key to unlock your imagination.

Safe passage through two enchanted doorways. Two chances to touch the extraordinary.

When it comes to reading fiction, entering a door is a big deal. Page one is the threshold where a reader crosses the liminal border of imagination and reality into non-local space. Books are mystical portals behind which anything can and does happen to challenge the bravest of armchair travelers. That said, be forewarned and encouraged… after you open the door to ‘once upon a time’, you’ve entered a dimension that beckoned you for a reason.

THE STORY THAT CALLS IS ACTUALLY ABOUT YOU!

ENTERING A DOOR IS A BIG DEAL

Whether you travel into the unknown via telephone box, armchair, or a silver screen, fictional travel equates to the art of delving. Logic is checked at the door by sluffing off the normal world the way a snake sheds its skin. And in so doing, we gain conscious ‘skin in the game’ we’re about to play. Stories are all about playtime.

Original illustration by E.H. SHEPPARD

DOORS CAN BE WINDOWS

Literary doors are windows of opportunity to role play. We become virtual actors as we understudy the protagonists we admire and test our mettle against the antagonists we choose to despise. And whether we’re aware of the subtle dynamics of reading or not, we have in effect, agreed to be screen tested for the part of a main character. 

At first, we volunteer to participate as obligatory crowd seen extras inherent in every saga, legend, fable, parable, and fairy tale, but if we sign a contract to partake fully, we don armor and silk dresses and dive into character with astonishing ease. We fly with Peter Pan, ride into battle, slay a dragon (real and metaphorical), discover lost treasure (real and metaphorical), and meet the love of our life or the multiple loves of past lives. But now that we’ve jettisoned our twin-skin, we read differently. We read our lines. We stand on our marks. If the story possesses us, we evolve from vicarious interacting at a safe distance to a steadfast symbiotic relationship with fantasy. We act out.

WE HAVE BECOME IMMORTAL!

In the greater sense, we escape into or out of reality for the sole purpose of increasing engagement with our inner selves. We explore the realms of ghosts and mythical creatures where the most mythical creature is ourselves. It is we who fight and love in every story. We face fears and conquer enemies. We grow from cowards to heroes. We’re stalked and haunted. We win and lose and live to tell the tale. And since we learn from antagonists and evildoers as much as fairy godmothers and magic frogs, with each story we’re closer to becoming exemplary expressions of humanity. We often find ourselves after losing ourselves in story.

Whereas a row of ‘trick or treat’ game show doors promise a super-prize if chosen correctly, every fictional story is a gateway that promises a surPRIZE premise behind every portal: the ones left ajar, the ones flung wide open, as well as the closed, locked, or temporarily blocked ones… even a beaded curtain!

The password is SURRENDER! 

ENTER WITH CARE

A door to a spooky haunted house pulls no punches. Right up front, its rusty hinges creak a warning that within lies a story of suspense and horrific ‘can of worms’ tension, that you enter at great risk to your physical survival and emotional stability. Daring to cross such an obvious threshold means we have taken up residence in a realm where deadly deeds transpire, and heroic deeds inspire. The new password is ESCAPE.

Chemical messengers lurk between every line of surrender and escape. Just remember, a ‘brain-body’ cannot distinguish fictional emotions from truth. One’s ‘performer-body’ travels into the imaginary landscapes of fiction for a boost of energy, a romantic fix, a jolt of historical cruelty, inspirational freedom, or to mercifully break free of drudgery. One thing is certain, for the duration of the magic, you are committed to being with or against whatever comes: the next episode, the next page, the next scene, whether there be monsters, opportunities, magic, mayhem, wars of one kind or another, or assaults of pain and pleasure. But no worries… guilty or innocent, on stage, we’re OMNIPOTENT.

Courageously, we pin our best dreams and worse fears onto the coattails of a downtrodden character’s rags-to-riches arc, hoping for a lottery win – the grand prize of a happy ending. Yet even if a protagonist falls short of the good life, or whether we’ve been charmed or tortured along their journey, while visiting altered states in the fictional dimension, it’s perfectly safe to bask in a character’s lifetime dreamed in increments of 90 minutes.

Even so, it’s no wonder we emerge slightly spellbound from behind books or when the telly is silenced with the need to decompress. Our body has endured the vicarious adrenalin rushes and endorphin gushes of an entirely dreamed lifetime without anesthetic.

A looming door marked exit leads to the sanctity of our familiar home world, restored or exhausted, gratified or mortified, crushed and humbled, resolved or shocked, triumphant or defeated, abandoned or accepted, stalked and haunted, healed or wounded, aided and befriended, sympathetic or hardened, flabbergasted or stabilized, but made more authentic from a vicarious understanding of life veering in and out of slow lanes in fast cars.

We can set fizzy drinks and popcorn aside to rest in salads and fresh air, knowing we can return to the land of story whenever we choose to indulge in fictional calories. Humans must continue to learn in harsh flashes of adrenalin driven angst or fogs of feel-good endorphins. Sleep deprived or energized, dizzy from roller-coaster storylines, our psychic equilibrium shaken by frequent plunges into the depths of despair, taken to the brink of failure and the pinnacles of mountaintop success, we emerge from each portal with a fresh take on life.

We arrive home, as T.S. Eliot immortalized: “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”

And when it’s time to ‘wake up’, although we may have grown too big for our old skin, we’re all the more complete for the brief dance with make-believe. We slither and glide home into consciousness, carrying the weights of defeat and the helium of victory with new respect for the characters we played. And hopefully, affection for newfound friends and allies, and perchance a nomination for ‘best new actor in a series’.  

In today’s market, a reader is spoiled for choice. It can be daunting for readers and authors alike. For readers, it’s wise to read a book’s promotional back cover blurb synopsis. Two unlocked synopsis follow. Feel free to enter without knocking.   

THE GHOSTS IN MY NOVELS INVITE READERS TO COME ALIVE

I hereby invite you to enter two portals with themes of haunting dreams and artful forgetfulness. They are portals for IMMORTALS!

DISAPP’EARRING TWICE showcases Vermeer’s famous masterpiece ‘The Girl with a Pearl Earring’, the haunting specter of dementia, a troubled teenager, and a purposeful ghost.

SNOW BEHIND THE DOOR is the memoir of a child ghost with amnesia. Venture into Bede, and welcome. But remember… once through the portal, you may have to stay!

BEHIND DOOR NUMBER 1 – lies a portrait of timeless love

‘DISAPP’EARRING TWICE’ where appearances are deceiving and disappearances are revealing!

While walking her private stretch of island beach, retired Aurelia Marcus, an eccentric recluse haunted by the dispirited-spirit of a teenage girl, finds three sandcastles. Each one is planted with a message addressed to her, embedded within a quote from one of her favorite poems. Strangely, there are no footprints to indicate the sand has been disturbed.

Aurelia must decide if she’s being wooed by a secret admirer, pursued by a dangerous stalker or being visited by the ghost of a boy she knew in high school. Has she been sharing her home with a fifty-year-old hallucination to avoid recalling a mysterious incident she’s repressed since the twelfth grade?

Aurelia’s fast disappearing memories indicate she may be succumbing to the curse of dementia that runs in her family. She may be delusional, drifting in a perpetual dream-state in the care home she’s feared all her life, dreaming of the love she never lived,or the perfectly sane victim of a cruel joke.

The possibility of slowly disappearing into a 350 year-old-painting, one memory at a time is disturbing but there’s a ghost of a chance she’ll remember the way home.

BEHIND DOOR NUMBER 2 – lies the memoir of a child ghost with amnesia

‘Snow Behind the Door’, documents the multiple time-slipped memories of an abandoned ghost-child, named Snow, in search of the family she glimpses in dreams and the dusty mirrors of Bede Hall – a disgruntled sentient stately home with a mind of its own that has sheltered earth’s time portals, guarded by an ancient line of royal Egyptian cats, for thousands of years.

A TRILOGY OF FOUR BOOKS?

NOT A TYPO! Because as I began to write the PREQUEL to the Bede ‘Trilogy’, it became obvious that time travel disallows such things as chronological time. But, even so, Snow had a personal story to tell because she had forgotten the essential details of her haunted life. And when a ghost demands time… I listen.

when a ghost demands time… listen!

After being reunited with her family, Snow, the child ghost of Bede Hall, retreats into her subconscious to escape the terrifying possibility of haunting Bede Hall forever. In order to save herself, Snow must battle her way through memory loss, dream her way through time to reclaim her lost memories, make peace with a past life, and discover if reincarnation is a viable alternative to a fate worse than death.

I invite you to BE a child ghost. BE Snow – an old soul with a new secret.

SHE WILL CHANGE YOU!

A‘stand-alone-prequel-sequel-summary’ to the Bede Series – a middle-grade time-slip adventure for all ages.

MAYBE WHEN ONE DOOR SLAMS SHUT… ANOTHER DOOR CREAKS OPEN!

Until we meet again on my blog’s doorstep, I leave you with these poetic words of wisdom regarding books:

No genuine book has a first page. Like the rustling of the forest, it is begotten God knows where, and it grows and it rolls, arousing the dense wilds of the forest until suddenly . . . it begins to speak with all the treetops at once.” – Boris Pasternak

Silent K Publishing  Vancouver Island   http://www.veronicaknox.com

About Veronica Knox

Veronica Knox has a Fine Arts Degree from the University of Alberta, where she studied Art History, Classical Studies, and Painting. In her career as a graphic designer, illustrator, private art teacher, and ‘fine artist,’ she has also worked with the brain-injured and autistic, developing new theories of hand-to-eye-to-mind connection. Veronica lives on the west coast of Canada, supporting local animal rescue shelters, painting, writing, editing other author’s novels, and championing the conservation of tigers and elephants, and their habitats. Her artwork and visuals to support ‘Second Lisa’ may be viewed on her website - www.veronicaknox.com
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