Tuesday, December 05, 2006

AN ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER:

ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER: Here is a dilemma. What would you do if, as a writer, you stumbled on a real life story experienced by another person that was so extraordinary, so potentially world changing, and had been instructed by 'angels' to be written? You would have to write it, wouldn't you? And what if you realised as you were doing so that some of the very language, words and descriptions you were using that were true and essential to the veracity of the story were by their very nature misleading and would reinforce preconceived beliefs?

The very word 'angels' is one - real existences to some, fantasies and delusional emotional crutches to others.

And if the story explained how scientific thought, from natural selection to quantum mechanics, was simply another aspect of its 'apparent' opposite - universal consciousness, timelessness and the continuation of the life force then it really would be something, wouldn't it?

And then, if it is posited that there is on Earth a person whom religions would call 'Messiah' (Christian); Mahdi (Islam) or Krishna (Hinduism) and would be the essence of every other belief on the planet, who will emerge into the world and prepare it and all life in existence to shift to a new evolutionary state (meaning all religions, politics and human organisation would dissolve and change), then that would be the biggest story around.

Especially as this person cannot read or write.

Which is why the book 'Angel On My Shoulder' had to be written.

Publishers and editors, however, will probably be unable to grasp the reality of the book and the story. So much so that I have to describe it as fiction. It may not fit in to a publishing market. There must be a brave and heroic publisher out there somewhere.

Even if cynical, just think of the PR spin - a book that angels prophesied would be written.
THIS MONTH'S RANT: In the UK Big Brother has truly arrived. Someone should count the sheer number of oppressive rules, regulations, taxes, surveillance techniques and control freakery that is being imposed on the people who 'never shall be slaves'. Check out the Bilderberger Society where the 'New World Order' is being plotted. Britons are fleeing the country and 'illegals' are pouring in on forged passports to do all the jobs the Brits don't want and learn to binge drink. I am not sure what multiculturalism is, except for those who sit around in 'ism' meetings. We are human beings - we don't need any more 'isms'. No go areas are now a reality; integration a quango's pipe dream and the true nature of our 'spirituality' lost in translation. Even the word has lost its real meaning, as has 'God', 'destiny', 'faith' and 'reality'. We are truly in the Sanskrit days of Kali Yuga.

Employers are terrified to put up tinsel and decorations at Christmas (or even call it Christmas) in case they upset non-Christians. Pathetic! No sign of Divali (wonderful event) being emasculated or Hannukah or any other festival. Whatever you believe, the time is coming when another kind of new order will begin.

Read my next blog about the nature of 'angels' and 'the second coming'.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Monday, October 23, 2006

Motivational guru

MOTIVATIONAL GURU: Check out www.buffin.com if you are interested in a new generation of motivational leadership information.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

FACE LIFT:

My new novel FACE LIFT is published this week by Ocean House Press. Now begins the painstaking business of promotion, promotion, promotion. My new home page should be up shortly: www.david-callinan.com. Meanwhile I am waiting for my next book BODYSWITCH to be proofed.

In FACE LIFT I explore the power of beauty and its ability to transfix and obsess. It is also a story of the ultimate revenge - taking over someone else's complete life and fortune.

I am still waiting hopefully for my US literary agent to interest a publisher in another and potentially disturbingly controversial book, AN ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER. Problem is, this is based on a true story where I am the observer and writer of another's quite terrifying but uplifing experience.

A man is visited by angels and told he has been chosen to write a book dictated by a person he describes as the new Messiah (Christian) or Mahdi (Islam) who cannot read or write. This person is destined to transform all religions, beliefs and value systems and set mankind on the path of transformation to a higher plane of existence. This is why, in today's climate, this book could be a hot potato or tomale.

Can an editor divorce themselves long enough from a knee-jerk reaction to really look at this story and face its implications head on? If true, and I am just a fascinated observer, it could be the biggest story in the world. This is said in all humility and has nothing to do with a kind of subliminal promotion (if that's what your'e thinking). It will need a brave editor to take it on. There must be some brave editors out there somewhere.

Friday, September 01, 2006

TRAVEL:

PERU - THE TALE OF A SECRET VALLEY AND
THE CREDIT CARD AT THE BOTTOM OF LAKE TITICACA

by David Callinan

If you care to slip into a wet suit and dive to the bottom of icy Lake Titicaca, somewhere between the island of Taquile and the Peruvian mainland, you may discover the highest navigable, or should that be negotiable, credit card in the world - with not a mermaid or an ATM in sight.

I was fairly relaxed about losing a brand new credit card overboard the cruiser that took my wife and I from the remarkable Isla Taquile back past the inhabited floating reed islands of Uros to the port of Puna because the lake is non-tidal so I didn’t expect the card to be washed up on a remote island or on the even loftier shores of Bolivia. In any case, I cancelled it.

The trouble with Peru is that firstly, there is so much of it and secondly, you have to battle against your preconceptions about the Incas, Machu Picchu, the Amazon rain forest, the high alto-plano of the Andean mountains and, almost everyone’s ultimate concern, soroché or altitude sickness.

On a group package deal, my wife and I were whisked from misty Lima with its ‘garden of love’, Gold Museum and smart Miraflores houses imprisoned by impressive security systems and barbed wire; to elegant Arequipa with its Santa Caterina monastery and some good restaurants then to buzzing Cuzco thronged by organised street touting children and home of the lucrative Inca industry.

I had a secret motive for visiting Peru. Yes, I was fascinated by the Inca civilisation but now realise that it was a mere blip on the patchwork quilt of Peru’s bloody history and yes, Machu Picchu is a ‘must see’ visit but which, unlike many intensely hyped locations, actually does have a genuine presence that transcends all the brouhaha. Iwas also seeking background and 'colour' for a very special book project knowing that I would probably have to return here again in the future.

I had been fascinated by a story told to me by someone I was working with on a very special book (ANGEL ON MY SHOULDER) which tells a very different story about Peru. It claimed that there was a secret brotherhood living in an even more secret valley with a perfect micro-climate which was guarding secrets of man’s evolution and spiritual destiny. The brotherhood was being aided by a giant sun disc made of ‘transmuted’ gold which had special powers, including the power of healing and, it seems, tele-transportation.

This story described the location of the secret valley as being north of Lake Titicaca in a region which is, to this day, largely unexplored. On the package trip we never got there although I asked people whom I thought might have an inkling about this brotherhood, valley and wondrous golden disc but no one seemed to know. Maybe that’s because it is a pretty good secret. The nearest I came to discovering the possible location of this valley was somewhere in the Madre de Dios mountain region where there are Christmas island-type human figures carved from stone. This area can only be approached at certain times of the year and, I was told, by donkey or llama train. The story maintained that when these giant stone figures were photographed and viewed as negatives, they showed clearly blond cyclopean giants purporting to be a race of beings which inhabited the Earth before the dawn of man. The missing link perhaps?

The golden sun disc, however, was a reality. In fact, there were quite a few of them but none as glorious as the one at Coricancha, the ancient Inca temple at Cuzco which is now the site of the church of Santa Dominga. Imagine my anticipation when this was on the tour itinerary.

Here is where the mystery deepens. We were shown the chamber in which the disc had been suspended, or what is left of the chamber - it is now a tiny annexe on the outer rim of the church - and I saw the marks where the disc was held (as the book described). The disc had, apparently, been rescued by the brotherhood and hidden in the secret valley until the world, and mankind, was ready to experience its transcendental power. The official story is that when the Spanish conquistadors arrived in Cuzco, the Inca capital, to supervise the final bloody overthrow of a remarkable people, a Greek mercenary won the disc in game of cards and disappeared with it, never to be seen again. Perhaps he was teleported back to Athens? Remarkably, this story has been recorded and recounted in intimate detail when very few tales survive that give such a blow-by-blow account of any similar events. Could this be an example of Inca spin doctoring - of a story planted deliberately? Will the secret ever be discovered?

Group travel can be risky if you find yourself in the wrong group. Ours was a mixed bunch, some fairly youngish, but the rest enjoying comfortable middle age. Everyone got on well together and there some good group meals organised by the personable and efficient tour guide. We were up at two o’clock in the morning to take a six hour trip to the Colca Canyon, second in size and scale to the Grand Canyon but claimed to be deeper, to await the arrival of the biggest birds in the world - the Andean Condors.

We perched ourselves with other tourists on the lip of the canyon as the Flying Fortresses of the ornithological world made their languid appearance. A pair wafted into view drifting on the rising air currents they rely on to take off from their eyries. They gracefully ignored the whirring and flashing of countless cameras and glided effortlessly supported by their eleven feet wing spans.
After ogling the condors, some of us, like Doreen from Edinburgh, headed off to the nearby Quechua Indian stalls in search of a bargain.

“Look, an alpaca scarf for two pounds,” she cooed. But Doreen was intent on sniffing out bigger alpaca bargains, an elegant white alpaca full length coat she would later find in a smart shop in Puna which would have set her back £80. “It would double, triple that in Edinburgh, “ she enthused, rubbing her Visa card like a talisman.

The group trudged up hills gasping for air to view ancient burial monuments or chullpas at Sillustani and listened to a lonely Peruvian busker, strangely at odds in these surroundings, serenading us with pipes and guitar, before selling his CD very cheap, really very cheap! We dined on ceviché, a kind of fish extravaganza, and hearty stews of alpaca (but never llama for some reason). My wife just had to try guinea pig, or cuy, and was not put off, as others decidedly were, by the request: “Would you like the head on or off madam?” She had the head removed for the sake of the vegetarians in the group. I tried some of hers, and found it all right, but nothing to write home about.

We took the boat from Puna across Lake Titicaca to the reed islands of Uros where Indian families still live, literally constructing their own environment and houses from reeds, known as totora and building intricately carved reed boats to paddle tourists around in.

Then on to the island of Taquile, a place that time has forgotten, where the men walk around all day knitting hats and the women and girls spend the day spinning wool on hand reels. The islanders are quiet, muttering in the soft Aymaran language, friendly but distant, a race apart from the modern world. There are no motor vehicles on the island and a idiosyncratic power supply. We stayed with families in simple accommodation, reading by candlelight and gazing through our window at one of the highest sunsets in the world - over Lake Titicaca with the coast of Bolivia shimmering into the night. Next day the group struggled up to the top of the island, panting to over 4,000 metres above sea level.

“This is higher than some planes fly,” someone remarked before slumping against a rock to ‘check out the view’. Everyone agreed that the most staggering aspect of the island, apart from the sheer altitude and clean air, was the panoply of the night sky. Wherever you have been in the world, in whichever hemisphere and on whatever island or in whatever country, it is doubtful if you will see anything like the night sky over the centre of Lake Titicaca with no light pollution to corrupt its absolute perfection. It is easy to see why this is a mystical place and why, if you were planning to live and meditate in a secret valley, you would choose a place where the sun dominates the world and the night opens a highway to heaven.

The high point, in more ways than one, of a trip to southern Peru is, of course, a visit to Machu Pichhu. First however came one of the great train journeys in the world - the switchback line from Puna to Cuzco which takes you from the arid landscape of the alto-plano to the lusher climate of the sacred valley of the Incas.

Cuzco itself is an elegant and magical place and was the centre of the Inca empire. Our first sighting of their remarkable architectural skills came at Sacsayhumán - a mighty city of stone which demonstrates the extraordinary precision of these great builders.

Close to the end of a six hour journey, some of the younger and more intrepid of our group got of the train at Qorihuayrachina for a six hour hike to Machu Picchu to arriv at the Intipunku, or sun gate. The rest of us arrived at Aguas Calientes, in the valley of the churning Urubamba river and came upon Machu Picchu in a morning mist. The architectural genius of the Incas is the most obvious here with tour guides asking how they managed to fit such huge and complex stone structures together so that no even a thin blade could pass between them. I was curious to know what tools they used and it took a long time to find out. I had to wait until our return to Lima and the Gold Museum before it became clear. They worked with implements made of bronze and wood.

Like the Stonehenge mystery, how did the Incas move such massive stones when they didn’t have wheeled transport? The Incas had no written language, so did they build models? It appears that they developed primitive ball races with ball bearings made of carved stone. A very elegant solution. What would they done if had discovered wheels?

The most remarkable thing about Inca lore and myth is that when I asked our group at which period in history the Incas lived and died, nearly everyone had them down as maybe an eleventh or twelfth century race which conquered and reigned undiscovered and immune from the outside world with their vast horde of gold and precious stones for generations. In fact, they were a sixteenth century people who came and went in a blood bath caused by Catholic zeal and royal Spanish greed in just one hundred years. When you think what was happening in the rest of the world in the sixteenth century it does bring the Incas and their achievements into sharper focus and you can see why the Spaniards licked their lips at the prospect of an easy conquest.

Enjoying an illegal sandwich on one of the Machu Picchu terraces (food is prohibited inside the precinct) my wife and I marvelled at the towering location of the place and the surrounding mountains. Then, down below in the centre under the only tree in Machu Picchu, a group of Western Buddhists stood in a circle and began to chant. The sound drifted up into the Andes somehow in keeping with the spirits and ghosts of this place.

We trudged up from Machu Picchu to the sun gate amid a forest of flowers, stopping to admire the stunning view whenever we ran out of breath, and watched as some hikers arrived after trekking along the Inca trail. The only word any of them appear able to utter as they dropped their sweat soaked back packs was wow! That’s about the only word that describes it. When we got back to Lima my wife and I pledged we would one day come back to Peru - a country with a bloody and volatile history - but one of those archetypal places that never leave you once you’ve been. We fancy going north up to the Amazon basin or maybe on a llama trek see to seek out any secret valleys waiting to be discovered.