It’s been too long for me to remember where or when my curiosity about Atlantis began. My clearest recollection of reading about it was when I attended a cast party forty years ago, and my first exposure was a cheesy, worse than B-grade movie from the early sixties.
I had made some comment about Atlantis to the party host, who to this day has a gi-normous book collection. He handed me a book about Edgar Cayce and his readings regarding Atlantis. I hadn’t known anything about the “Sleeping Prophet” until that book. My interest was in Atlantis. From the moment I opened the book, I was lost, sat down, and read throughout the duration of the party.
Cayce is now something of a cult figure, and were he alive today, I would think it would cause him more than a little discomfort. A devoutly religious man, he must have struggled on many levels with his naps when instructors from beyond replied to petitioner questions. Cayce must have found some comfort in helping so many with health issues and that his readings, although often far from conservative Christian doctrines, spoke reverently about God, Christ, and the Bible. The library of his dictated readings is boggling in scope, most of his predictions have happened, and his future predictions are becoming closer to fruition as every day passes.
Since my next WIP will be a return to the YA fantasy series Songs of Atlantis, I keep the Atlantis portions of his readings handy. The plot for the next book is laid out in my head, but scanning his works helps me transfer or articulate those ideas to the page. It used to freak me out when I’d write something I thought was way out there and find out it was being scientifically corroborated.
In the romantic action/adventure The Atlantis Crystal, Phil Hafeldt believes Native Americans are the descendants of Atlantis. DNA studies are starting to point to this as being probable and provable. When I write spooky stuff like that it gives me the willies. Same with this YA fantasy WIP, where red-headed giants play a role. I did research recently—written about in a previous blog post—about giants, but these beings were in my head long before I read about Cayce or went digging around on the web. That’s the fun-freaky thing about being a writer. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Of course, I could have been influenced by the Old Testament’s talk of there being giants in the land. Who knows? I just go where my bean leads me.
I have many writer friends who read fiction to learn from the writing processes of others and activate their creativity. The opposite works for me. When I feel like what I’m putting on the page is getting flat, I pick up a history book, and presto-chango, the creativity section of my brain is energized. The only thing that works better is a movie, an action flick is like a mental fire accelerant.
Another reason for a genre change up is that a character for the next book in the regency series remains elusive. This is really odd for me. My characters come to me whole, born in their completeness—plot is my struggle—but this guy, Lord Carnall, is a mystery. My critique partner, Judith Post, gave me a deserved scolding and told me to move on to something else. So I had to leap over him and move to different characters and story.
No matter what I’m writing, the underlying theme and end result is always the same, the finding of that one person in the world, whether we see them from across the musically proverbial crowded room (this happened to me) or connect with them by accident, and come together to make a hole into a whole. No matter what genre, for most of us, the lifelong search for that one person or thing has no genre.
M.L Rigdon (aka Julia Donner)
Follow on Twitter @RigdonML