Portal to Visionary Fiction – Transforming Human Consciousness
Visionary fiction is not magical realism.
Visionary fiction is not religious fiction or sci-fi or fantasy.
What will it take for traditional publishers to make room on the shelf for fiction that “speaks the language of the soul and offers a vision of humanity as we dream it could be?”
In other words, what will it take for visionary fiction to be recognized as a genre?
Though I don’t have a cup of mystic tea to help me see through time, I can come up with a simple – if not easy to accomplish – answer to the above question.
For visionary fiction to be recognized as a genre, it will take:
I was first drawn to Rea Nolan Martin’s novel by the following blurb at Goodreads:
A community of quirky, mismatched, and endearing women struggle to find meaning and purpose on a ramshackle monastery in upstate New York. Having spent their lives in service to a church that seems to no longer serve them, they are confused about their own futures and the future of the entire monastery. Led by Mike, the practical no-nonsense prioress, and Augusta, the grand ancient mystic hermit, they are joined by Gemma, a self-punishing novice, and Arielle, a firebrand jailhouse conversion who was sent there out of rehab by a “sort of angel.” The personalities, commitments, philosophies and beliefs of these and all the characters conflict and converge in ways at once perilous and enlightening. Throughout the tempestuous journey, Augusta’s magical sacred teas draw the inevitable closer and closer. Mystic Tea is a contemporary love story between young and old, franchised and disenfranchised, pedestrian and mystic. Most of all, it is a story of female empowerment as the women find the courage to confront epic challenges, creating a surprising future from the oppressive ashes of the past. It will make you smile as much as it will make you think.
Whoa. Hold it! I thought. A community of quirky, mismatched women on a ramshackle monastery in upstate New York that includes a mystic who brews magical teas and accepts a firebrand jailhouse conversion straight out of jail as a novice?
No, no, no. This didn’t sound like the nuns or convents I experienced as a youth.
The nuns I knew were more like the Sisters of the Crucifixion in the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows as portrayed in Ron Hansen’s visionary novel Mariette in Ecstasy. Whereas the sisters portrayed in Mystic Tea sounded more like the Daughters of Charity in the 1960’s television sitcom, The Flying Nun, where the said novice was a spunky and spirited surfer girl whose cornet enabled her to go airborne
Could transcendentalist fiction in line with philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson and psychiatrist Carl Jung actually be – gasp – fun?
I mean, could visionary fiction inspire AND make you laugh?
Now, this I had to see.
The next thing that drew me to Mystic Tea was its cover – so clean, so appealing, so mystical – which also happened to include a Golden IPPY medallion.
And then I viewed Mystic Tea’s trailer on YouTube:
But what finally inspired me to hit “buy” were the reviews, including:
You may wonder why I shared all the steps that led to my purchase of Mystic Tea?
Well, for one, I did so to emphasize what it takes for a work of visionary fiction to gain the respect and recognition it deserves.
And for another, to make it clear that even when authors do everything right, they can’t take on the task of bringing the genre of visionary fiction into everyday sight alone. In her own words, Nolan Martin tells of some of the difficulties she has faced in this endeavor:
“The spiritual revolution of the ‘90s issued literary accounts of mystical phenomena in the form of non-fiction or memoir. Betty Eadie’s wild bestseller, Embraced by the Light, comes to mind. But the trend came and went. Since that aspect of human experience was what resonated most with me, I held onto it and incorporated it into my fiction. I was productive and satisfied. The only problem was that as fiction, it was genre-less. And void of a genre shelf, unsellable. Over the years my various agents labeled it “metaphysical fiction” or “mystical realism” in attempts to define it for publishers. But the traditional publishing world was not in the business of building new shelves. Some editors tried to convince their various committees that my book fit into the religion genre. It did not. Others tried to sell it as fantasy or magical realism. It was none of these.”
As I mentioned in a previous post, it will take a village to bring the genre of visionary fiction into the mainstream. And that’s our message here at VFA. We’re on it. And we’re in this together.
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