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The Secret (revealed by Doug Clegg)

Posted on 2007.03.16 at 03:49
Tags: , , , ,
The Secret is larger than yourself, too large in fact to be contained by one book, be it a pop self-help title or the Bible, Koran, or collected Buddhist Scriptures. It is not particular to one people, one culture, or any generation. 

The Secret--who wouldn't give the world for the answer to how to achieve a meaningful life?  Well, it's no news that a dime-store metaphysical diva is dominating the non-fiction best-seller charts with a bit of moldy cotton candy that claims to have all the answers.  In my bookstore alone we've already sold 1400 copies of "The Secret" in a month, and 500 DVDs.  Astonishing sales figures, brought on in large part by the hand of Goddess Oprah blessing the drivel.  And it is drivel, vapid with promises that you can have anything you want in life if you just think happy thoughts.  Tell that to the child with leukemia, the victim of molestation, the soldier coming back from Iraq with severe brain trauma.  The book is the perfect snake oil for the G.W. Bush disease.  The book is a bit of Ayn Rand's philosophy of selfishness, with a sugar-coating of banal platitudes.   And its full of dreadful, insensitive advice such as "If you don't want be fat, don't look at fat people."   Millions of copies of the book have sold, which tells you how many Americans want the illusory American dream, but aren't willing to work for it, unless you count going down to their local brick-and-mortar to lay down twenty bucks.  Worse, many people only want the DVD, because even reading the tripe is too much work, or they want to listen to the audio while driving down the freeway in their SUVs.   But what about finding fulfillment through discipline, dedication to your craft, the sacrifice of blood, sweat, tears and years of your life?  What about defining your own life-philosophy as opposed to swallowing whatever religious and political beliefs you have been spoon-fed?

In another recent post by Doug Clegg, one of my favorite authors (because his writing does have a philosophy, he is a gifted craftsman, and he does the hard work), he hit on something which I think touches on the real secret.  He was kind enough to engage me in a bit of dialog, in which he elaborated on his words of wisdom.  They're worth a once, twice, and thrice-over:   

Doug Clegg:  "I just turned in (last week) the third book of The Vampyricon Trilogy...

The third book of The Vampyricon, The Queen of Wolves, has been the most intricate and difficult of the three to write. It is also the longest of the three novels. Despite how I felt in those interstitial moments when I came up from the depths of writing it, during the writing I felt I had reached a new world that existed -- in my mind -- but also, beyond it.

Thus, the delusions of writing can go. Yet, I felt them, and I stand by what I experienced while writing this book.

Despite the fact that the trilogy is fulfilled in the actions of this novel, I really feel this can expand into a whole new, fourth book. I don't know if it will, but the world in this trilogy just got bigger.  The novel is pure adventure and invention, but the underlying philosophy has to do with the ordination of the world versus the ordaining of self at a deeper level than the judgment of the world."


Rob:  I'm so excited that you've completed the next novel. I think your writing has reached a whole new level with the Vampyricon books. What amazes me is that you can pull off narratives with such distinctive voices; the voice of this trilogy, as opposed to, say, the gritty, edgy voice you used with "The Abandoned" and "Goat Dance," or the in-your-face, EC Comics voice of "The Attraction."

I found your line about the philosophy of the Vampyricon particularly poignant: "...the underlying philosophy has to do with the ordination of the world versus the ordaining of self at a deeper level than the judgment of the world." We understand this war for self-definition in the face of society-imposed preconceptions all too well. The heroic stance of self is to look into the mirror honestly and define our own categories.




"Thanks - and you nailed (in my opinion) those three different kinds of novels I've been doing lately.

I agree with you on self-definition, and I think self-ordination without struggle is emptiness, but once you go on the adventure of your life, your path becomes who you are -- and then you no longer look to the world to ordain you from its position and knowledge (which is often weighted toward the accepted version of what life is, which keeps most people -- in my opinion -- from an expansive life), because you've already created your own reason for living through wisdom and experience.

This is a continuing process, but we live in an age where so many people are looking to someone to ordain them -- to make them significant, rather than for people to, in fact, create their own reasons for being through their commitments, work, creativity, their lives, their paths.

This is the philosophy with which I approached The Vampyricon, and also Mordred -- and I'm glad you've enjoyed them. I think the third book is the strongest of the three Vampyricon novels, particularly with regards to exploring this idea.

In this world, being an outcast of any kind is an honor -- and stepping off a cliff is the way to discover new worlds."


douglas_clegg at 2007-03-16 18:56 (UTC) (Link)
Rob - Thanks for bringing the discussion to your blog, too. I'm just glad we have these blogs for communicating ideas and thoughts.
allaboutm_e at 2007-03-17 14:26 (UTC) (Link)
Thanks for sharing the discussion -- I heart Doug!
bloody_keri at 2007-03-20 21:34 (UTC) (Link)
Hi there! This is OT, but I wandered over and saw that you're a horror writer - very cool! I'm an aspiring, myself. Congrats on completion and hooking an agent - that's terrific! I look forward to reading it and chatting books with you. - Keri
(Anonymous) at 2007-03-21 05:07 (UTC) (Link)

The Secret

Your response to The Secret, "But what about finding fulfillment through discipline, dedication to your craft, the sacrifice of blood, sweat, tears and years of your life? "

Hard work? Sacrifice? DisciPLINNNNE??? Dude, this is America. People want it easy, fast, and convenient......a sad culture's response to its deficiencies.
(Anonymous) at 2007-03-21 05:10 (UTC) (Link)

"The Secret"

Oops, I just posted the response to "The Secret"....forgot to post my name. It's heidi!

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