I hale from Detroit, Michigan, a symbol of industrialized America’s collapse. Once a thriving manufacturing center, it has now fallen into disrepair. Since 1967’s race riot, the population dropped nearly 50%. Crooked mayors, hardened killers, and racial tension compliment vast tracts of unused land with 33,000 abandoned homes and 90,000 vacant lots adding up to 40 square miles of lost neighborhoods. In 2010, Detroit ranked as America’s most stressful place to live and work with the highest number of murders per capita, robberies, heart attacks, and families in poverty.
I spent my early years in suburbia. After failing at domesticity, I entered the inner city to search for wisdom amongst bohemian culture. While I ventured through a metaphysical crisis, I discovered a deeper relationship with reality. Spiritual emancipation became my obsession as I searched for divinity within literature. Henry Miller, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, and William Blake inspired my transformation as their struggles against bourgeoisie morality resonated with me, greatly influencing my writing identity. In the end, I became a storyteller who drew upon the city’s mysterious energy.
With limited opportunities, I moved to Portland to attend the Oregon College of Art and Craft, an intensive school inspired by William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement. With a book arts concentration, I focused heavily on the book’s physicality through structure, binding, and letterpress printing. Eventually, the content became more important than the vessel as I focused on creative writing. During my thesis, I honed my craft by writing and editing my first novel for publication, The Invisible Histories of the Spiral Mountain; or The Hymns of Melchizedek (the video above details this process). I leave you with an excerpt that shows the beginning of my journey into spirit:
Until I entered the city, I lived life as a somnambulist. I was asleep. I didn’t understand sacred reality. I barely understood the profanities of society, let alone its angelic heights. Now, I want magic. I want proof. The life of a suburbanite won’t satisfy my thirst for experience. In my innocence, I don’t realize three guardians defend the Wall of Being, the barrier between anthropologist/philosopher Mircea Eliade’s concept of sacred and profane space. Systematically, I must face and conquer each one. After I defeat the three guardians, the real test begins.