The process of creation never ends. That’s how my first book’s title, The Becoming, came about. That word represents the creation, the kneading together of what was, what is, and what will be. The Becoming tells the tale of our cosmic and organic origins — of our coming to be. Clear-text accounts of modern science set up my verse, or is it the other way around? The British edition (1998) attracted a foreword by novelist John Fowles:
“Robert Fripp’s ingenious idea, to resurrect Genesis in the light of our present knowledge of evolutionary process, must, I suppose, count as literary curiosity; but I have long been in favour of literary curiosities. They have a perverse habit, very often, of provoking more thought than the orthodox approach. By simplifying the complex and broadening the narrow, they spark the imagination … Our past remains our now; I pray the reader will not forget that, as he or she goes down the vast vistas of these pages.” ~ John Fowles
John Fowles’ foreword passed into the North American edition, but my British title yielded to the American editor at Paulist Press. The Becoming, rewritten and illustrated, came out in North America as Let there be Life (2001). Whatever its title, my book celebrates our coming to be, and our continued being, in a marriage of science and verse.
The force that endows the material world with drive and perfection also brings health to its beings. Long ago, aboriginal societies learned to apply spiritual powers to healing techniques for minds and bodies. Spirit in Health explores shamans’ powers in ancient Animist societies. For thousands of years, shamans on every continent have developed spiritual powers in attempts to heal. Modern medicine is not the sole source of healing.
The designer Will Burtin earned lasting reputation by using design to visualize medical science. Much of his talent as a designer went into illustrating properties of drugs. His large 3D models for The Upjohn Company carried the art and crafts of display to new heights, while Burtin also pioneered the ‘clean’, uncluttered use of sans-serif type. Burtin, known as a pioneer of creative power in product branding, shares the reputation for ‘fathering’ corporate branding with Lester Beall. Design and Science: the life and work of Will Burtin (2007) is published jointly in London and New York.
IBM commissioned me to create and edit IBM Visions, a magazine series covering leading-edge roles for high performance computing in engineering and scientific research.
John Fowles would have styled my Dark Sovereign a ‘literary curiosity’, too. For the first time in four centuries a modern writer challenges William Shakespeare by writing a full-length play in the Bard’s Renaissance English – fluently. Shakespeare wrote The Tragedy of Richard the Third as Tudor propaganda for the Court of Queen Elizabeth I, portraying King Richard III as a killer and sociopath. As the series producer of CBC-TV’s long-running investigative program, the fifth estate, I felt it was time to right a journalistic wrong. Hence Dark Sovereign. It took me four years to write Dark Sovereign. It is a counter-attack on Shakespeare’s play. Dark Sovereign tells a more accurate tale of Richard’s troubled reign. Among other comments, its readers have found it to be ‘An amazing adventure’ and ‘A cultural accomplishment of the highest order’. It is the longest single-part play ever crafted in Renaissance English. Now, if I could find a theatrical producer with the courage it took to write this…
From Richard III to Eleanor of Aquitaine, among the most resilient women in medieval Europe. My Power of a Woman finds Eleanor dictating memoirs to a young secretary. The former queen, first of France, then England, was the widow of two kings: the monkish Louis VII; and the hot-tempered, law-giving warrior, Henry II. With Louis, Eleanor went on Crusade. With Henry, she rebuilt England and the couple’s Angevin empire. Then, after cutting both husbands adrift, she set up her Court of Ladies in Poitiers. Beating back a sea of troubles Eleanor survived to 82. Power of a Woman gives voice to her inmost mind.
Just released: forty new stories in two books under the titles Wessex Tales, Volumes 1, and 2. Thomas Hardy coined the Wessex Tales title in 1888 for short fiction set in England’s county of Dorset. I thought it was time to use that title again for stories set in the county that is also mine. My Wessex Tales move through ‘Eight thousand years in the life of an English village’, from the time a tsunami cut the British islands off from Europe, to the aftermath of the First World War. These two books are dedicated to the men from my home village, Shillingstone, who gave their lives in that war.
Here’s a puzzle. Who commissioned the face of Christ to be laid in the central roundel of a large, opulent Roman mosaic floor? What was the client’s motive? And, who was the master mosaicist who laid this face, and this mosaic floor? Wessex Tales, Volume 1 offers a story, The Face in the Floor, which answer these questions.
You can read nine Wessex Tales stories for free on Smashwords.
One more word: My Wessex Tales are fiction, but some are set in the village which—in fact, not fiction—sent a higher proportion of its young men to the First World War in the early months than any other village in the U.K. The story, A Short Walk in France, drew this 5-star review, the first review for any tale in this series. It reads:
“A harsh, sobering, and completely accurate description of combat that is reminiscent of All’s Quiet on the Western Front. Although set in 1916 France, it could very well have been anywhere from Stalingrad to Inchon, la Drang Valley, Baghdad, or anywhere in Afghanistan…. Five stars without hesitation and highly recommended reading for everyone.” ~ David H. Keith, former U.S. Army combat medic, paramedic.
Readers, thank you for coming this far with me. May something on these pages reward your interest, and may your Fates be kind!