D.E. Lamont Interviewed as Visionary Fiction Author

Dreams – Random Imaginings or Gateway to our Spiritual Selves?

Little-Understood and Mysterious, but Part of Us All

Everyone
has their own ideas of what dreams are, and what they mean – if
anything! Dreams might be the most often discussed yet little understood
phenomenon common to all humans – though animals also dream. Certain
professions claim dreams as their exclusive turf to define and label –
but seem to want to insist that dreams are always symbolic. That is
nonsense.

What Are Dreams?

Though
superficially dreams seem similar one to the next, not all are of the
same character. Dreams can actually be many different things, from a
random creation out of imagination and experience with no additional
significance, to a spiritual experience that is actual. At times they
seem to offer a door into an unexplored and supernatural realm;
sometimes they offer a glimpse of incredible beauty. While most seem to
be happenstance, some appear not to be. Here are some of the things
dreams can be:

  • Random creations of a person’s mind, recombining experience and imagination.
    This may be the most common type of dream. When remembered after
    awakening, often the events, objects and concepts make no sense at all,
    even though they made perfect sense in the dream. Some concepts can’t
    even be expressed! This is a fascinating aspect of dreams. The way I
    figure it out is this: if you suppose that each human being has his or
    her very own self-created spiritual universe, completely apart from the
    physical universe we all interact in, composed of the mind and anything
    else the person has put there, then it is possible to see that events,
    ideas, and objects can be created within that universe which bear no relation to our own, and can’t even be expressed in physical universe terms.
  • A
    reflection of troubling or threatening events or ideas, or of
    delightful, pleasant or exhilarating events or thoughts, changed, mixed
    and magnified in the mind
  • A reflection or elaboration of some actual incident or thought the person had while awake
  • A
    response to a person’s conscious desire to dream about something
    specific, such as the creative development of a storyline that a writer
    wishes to explore.
    When I am in the frame of mind of creating
    stories, I sometimes dream a story. Sometimes I am viewing it as an
    outsider, and sometimes I am participating in the story!
  • A
    recollection of an intense or beautiful experience or ability from the
    person’s distant past – even a past he doesn’t know he has, such as
    past-life existences
    . Over my lifetime, I’ve had vivid dreams
    in which I had the ability to create in art forms I didn’t know in real
    life. I have vividly dreamed of singing improvisationally in an
    intensely beautiful, otherworldly manner; I’ve improvised beautiful
    music on the piano; I’ve danced in a medieval castle with such grace and
    power that I literally flew; I’ve felt love as a spirit in an amazingly
    intense manner never felt while awake. From all of these dreams I
    gained a new reality: a wonderful sense that, having had these dream
    abilities and experiences, I had the potential to experience these sensations and abilities for real.
  • A perception of one’s own spiritual universe, or those of others. When
    a person sleeps, it’s possible that his/her abilities, normally limited
    to those of their body’s senses  when awake, can expand unfettered. In
    such a state, we can be in someone else’s presence, and perhaps share
    the thoughts and images of their own mind/universe.
  • A trip to another place as a spirit during sleep (out of body, or through viewing at a distance).
    A couple of times, with my body asleep, I have found myself
    inadvertently in someone’s private space where I shouldn’t have been
    (OK, someone’s bedroom!). In one instance, the person became aware of me
    and demanded to know what I was doing there! It sounded like they were
    yelling, though it had to be thought transference.) I hightailed it out
    of there and awoke in my own bedroom! I have also felt myself (as a
    separate awareness) floating distinctly above my sleeping body that was
    lying in the bed – a most wonderful sensation.
  • A
    communication from another person to the sleeper via the thought
    wavelength, where the recipient receives the communication in thoughts
    and images during sleep.
    A type of this kind of dream is a
    lesson sent from a spiritually aware person or teacher to the sleeper,
    in moving, living images in the dream, such as in story form. Such
    experiences can be interactive, containing 2-way communication, with
    both the teacher and the recipient affecting and changing the images in
    the dream.
  • A dream foretelling events in the future. I
    believe it is true that some people have the ability to foretell the
    future. But I am personally not interested in this ability, because I
    also believe we all have the ability, even if not always realized, to
    change and direct our futures in directions we determine. We need not
    fear the future, because it is ours to create. 
  • A symbol of some existing condition or omen of a future event in the dreamer’s awake life.
    Here we get to symbols – things in dreams that stand for or mean
    something else. For example, different cultures or groups may have
    traditional understandings about dreams and what they mean. These
    understandings, being widely agreed upon in the group, therefore do
    prove true among their members, even if untrue beyond that culture. An
    example is one group’s belief, told to me by one of its members, that if
    a woman dreams about fish, it means she is pregnant. She related
    several personal experiences in which that actually had occurred. Her
    comments were a revelation to me, because it showed that the nature of
    dreams varied widely from person to person and group to group, and may
    indeed be carried along with a person’s culture.

As you can
see, dreams can be useful and revelatory. They can provide us clues to
our own spiritual natures that might otherwise be difficult to
experience on our own. All that said, I have realized something very
important about this subject.

We shouldn’t let ourselves become
too caught up in thinking about dreams, introverting into them or our
own minds, and in trying to understand them or assign meaning to them.
We should always prefer the real world by doing our best to
live a vital, full, rich existence in it, filled with actual
communication, face-to-face with other people and facing the real
environment around us. We should live and love in the real world. We
should put away the smartphones whenever we can and develop interest in
and relationships with the real people around us. Therein lies the real
satisfaction and happiness of a life well-lived.

All the best!

D.E. Lamont

Please share this post on your favorite social media sites if you enjoyed it!

Also check out my illustrated novella, The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening. Winner of two national awards!

Copyright 2012 by D.E. Lamont. All Rights Reserved.

 

The Way of the Eagle Named Medal-winning Finalist in 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards!

I’m proud to announce that The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening was named a Medal-Winning Finalist in the Novella category of the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. 

Meet Our Release Experts

The competition is the largest not-for-profit awards program for independent publishers and is presented by Independent Book Publishing Professionals Group (www.IBPPG.com) in cooperation with the Allen O’Shea Literary Agency.

The 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards is the second national award for The Way of the Eagle. In November 2011 the book was honored as a Finalist in USA Book News’s “Best Books 2011,” Visionary Fiction category. The Way of the Eagle has also been nominated for a 2012 Global Ebook Award.

The original peoples of the entire Los Angeles area, from the San Fernando Valley on the north to Orange County on the south, were a culturally rich tribe called the Gabrielino-Tongva (after their close association with the San Gabriel Mission during the Spanish Mission Era), or simply the Tongva, which means “People of the Earth” Their indigenous Southern California heritage outstrips the Spanish period by thousands of years, as it has been their homeland for at least 2500 years, and some sources say 5000.

Various Tongva tribal groups have organized and been recognized by local governments. More than 300 enrolled members of the Gabrielino-Tongva San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians, and an estimated 2,000 or more descendants of the tribe, live throughout the Los Angeles-Orange County area. Individual bands of the Tongva have different names, such as the Fernandeño, and the Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.

Relatively few people are aware of this tribe because they were nearly exterminated in the period between the Spanish Mission Era and the nineteenth century. It was so close, in fact, and their numbers and culture were so decimated by missionization, disease and persecution, that some historians mistakenly believed they were extinct.

While there is no tribally owned land or reservation and the Tongva Nation has yet to be federally recognized, the tribe still exists and its families do work to preserve and restore their culture and important sites. An interesting place to visit is the Rancho Los Encinos Adobe. Stepping onto its grounds is like stepping back several centuries in time. It is not a Tongva village, but the buildings and artifacts show what the site looked like in the Spanish mission era. Its website states:

     “The site that is now known as Los Encinos was a “rancheria” (the Spanish term for an Indian village) of the tribe now called “Fernandeño”, “Gabrielino” or “Tongva,” for several thousand years. In 1797, when the San Fernando Mission was completed, the site was largely evacuated” (Los Encinos State Historic Park website).

D.E. Lamont’s book, The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening, is set in the pre-1542 San Fernando Valley – that is to say, before any Europeans or Spanish explorers arrived and the indigenous inhabitants’ culture was still undisturbed. A historical fantasy, the book portrays a young Tongva brave’s misadventures in surviving the baffling and dangerous tasks assigned him by his mysterious spiritual mentor. Through these adventures and encounters, he gradually comes to know his own capabilities and spiritual identity.

While the story is a historical fantasy with much of the action from the author’s imagination, the settings as well as tools and implements of daily existence in this early period give readers the feel for what life for the Tongva in pre-European Southern California could have been like.

Reviews have been very complimentary. Kirkus, which selected the book as a Weekly Pick, wrote in its review:

     “There is hardly a word out of place … what is most commendable is the precision and unpretentiousness of the prose while still managing to invoke the intense quality of Tacu’s visionary quest and moving nature of his movement.”

Earlier in 2012, a judge in the 19th Annual Writer’s Digest Self-Published Book Awards, commented:

     “I found this ‘journey’ easy to follow, easy to enter into with Tacu, easy to rejoice, hurt, and cry with him on his path to maturity. … This book is nearly flawless and I found few areas, if any, that I could comment on in the area of improvements. It was very inspirational.”

The author, D.E. Lamont, was raised in several different towns in the booming San Fernando Valley during the 50s and 60s, including Encino, but was never taught that Native Americans had lived there originally. When she and her brothers found arrowheads, an ancient cave, and the vestiges of a native village site in the wild chaparral-covered hills and canyons surrounding the Valley, she wasn’t sure if these artifacts were real indications of original Native American inhabitants.

Later, as an adult, Ms. Lamont felt that it was ironic that thousands of years before the Hollywood film colony took root, a creative, resourceful and fun-loving people lived a rich, bountiful life in the same location.

The Way of the Eagle is available in quality softcover at Amazon.com, in illustrated ebook format at Smashwords.com and in the Kindle store at Amazon.com. The book contains five beautiful original black and white illustrations by J.H. Soeder, a California artist and environmentalist.

D.E. Lamont’s author website is located here. She can also be followed at Facebook, and at Twitter @DELamont1.

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Visionary and Spiritual Fiction: From Thrillers to Fantasy to Historical Stories

I wanted to say a bit about a category of fiction sometimes called “visionary fiction” and sometimes “spiritual fiction.” There are also other variations such as “inspirational fiction” and “metaphysical fiction.” My novella, The Way of the Eagle: An Early California Journey of Awakening, takes place in a historical Native American setting in Southern California and could be described as a “spiritual adventure.”

I used to think of spiritual or visionary fiction as being just one type of book – a rather esoteric, philosophical, even wimpy type of genre! Without any criticism intended, I would think of Jonathan Livingston Seagull or The Alchemist. But I’ve been enlightened through the discussions in the Visionary Fiction group on Goodreads.com and some recent reading.  The brief description at the top of our Goodreads Visionary Fiction group page describes it this way:

“It differs from Science Fiction and Fantasy in that it explores human potential through philosophy and metaphysics. It lies within the broad boundaries of Speculative Fiction.”

But here’s the big revelation: visionary fiction can actually consist of or fall into almost any genre, as well as mainstream fiction, as its themes and subjects can be made part of virtually every type of story.  These stories can be thrillers, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, romance, futuristic, historical fiction, mythical, and on and on. They can be great page-turners.

I just finished an amazing visionary fiction novel called The Angel and the Brown-Eyed Boy, by Sandy Nathan. I would call it a supernatural dystopian thriller. What a great story and page-turner! Its themes are universal and deep and very satisfyingly realized. I normally hate dystopian novels because they are often so very down and dismal. This book is just the opposite, it transmits a theme of hope and beauty in a very real and down to earth manner, while including ethereal beings not from Earth. The story is expertly paced and written.

Another novel I loved is a thoroughly researched historical Native American saga about great spiritual powers, human greed, ultimate hope – and yes, aliens from outer space. It is A Whisper from Eden, A Historical Fantasy, by Phoenix, recently released. Fantastic, great story!

The authors in our Goodreads visionary fiction group have banded together to help each other promote their visionary books. Check out the visionary fiction links in the lower left sidebar if you’d like to explore this genre further. You can also learn more about it and communicate with visionary fiction authors in the Visionary Fiction group on Goodreads.com.

Good reading and remember to share this post on your favorite social media pages if you like it!

D.E. Lamont

Love of Fantasy and Magic as an Expression of our Longing for Something More

Novels about magic, wizards, giants, vampires and other strange creatures, and the amazing worlds they all inhabit, are very popular these days, and their popularity has been growing for at least the last 3 or 4 decades, in my own observation.  I have long believed that a part of this popularity is due to people’s innate longing for and seeking of the spiritual truth about the universe and themselves.  I believe many long to recover this reality and know and experience their own spiritual nature, and their own special qualities, and their own greatness. 

Now I know a lot of “experts” say it’s all about escaping a mundane or boring life, and people should just “grow up” and adjust to their surroundings, and get a real life!  But I dispute that.  First of all, I don’t think there is anything wrong with pure escapism.  I think it can be good for us as long as we don’t get completely addicted to it to the point where we reject our families and friends for those other worlds. 

Secondly, it may also be true that people’s innate desire to discover more about the worlds of magic, one’s spiritual nature, and what the universe and life are really all about, can cause them to seek these realities in fantasy novels.  That’s okay too.   

But this post is about something more.  Something More.   

I believe, and have experienced, that there is Something More.  You can know your own true spiritual nature and abilities.  You can know your own aesthetic nature and creative abilities.  You can invent art forms!  You can communicate to others and know things via your spiritual ability, not only your physical senses.  You can dream up and bring to reality the most wonderful and amazing things.  And you can know your own beautiful, ethical, powerful free nature in the most intense, real manner.  These things are your spiritual birthright; they are already part of you, and they can be brought to fruition.  And I am not talking about the “dark arts” or anything evil. 

Seek, and you shall find it! 

Please feel free to email me via TheWayoftheEagle.com “contact” tab about any of my posts.

Recent Praise for The Way of the Eagle

    I was gratified to find a thoughtful review of my book on the Goodreads.com website written by Beth, an historian in England whose avocation is reviewing historical fiction and other genres. As a new fiction author, I very much appreciate Beth taking the time to formulate this review. I have excerpted some of the comments from her long piece:

        “….The story reminded me strongly of the Native American myths and legends I read as a child, it manages to capture the same spirit and essence, but the characters and the plot are all new, and Lamont adds a fresh twist to the tale by including elements of the modern … Whilst the story implies that Europeans don’t arrive in the Tongva’s lands during Tacu’s lifetime, these little hints convey perfectly the steady encroachment into the Tongva’s consciousness, and later way of life, and best of all it’s done so subtly and without drawing undue attention to itself – for that is not the plot here, only the background setting…. [I]t is a joy to come across an author who draws such implications deftly and without breaking stride from the main plot of the novel, and Lamont implies more changes to come than sweeping doom and gloom.

    “Tacu’s story is reminiscent of the classic coming-of-age tales which have a popular place in Native American legend, and although it has a fresh twist to it, its foundation is grounded in the timeless story of a character in that awkward, transitional phase of life, struggling to find his or her place in the world…. 

    “It’s very clear that Lamont has done her research and knows her stuff, but as a writer she also knows how to employ it. Authentic details are used to garnish the setting and the plot, but Lamont does not allow them to distract from the plot or become the novella’s heart. The characters and the storyline are what bring The Way of the Eagle to life.
                                                
-Beth, Goodreads.com”

                                                                        

Update – Book Now Available on Nook and Kindle!

Great news!  The Way of the Eagle is now available at the Barnes and Noble website for Nook e-readers, and on Amazon.com for Kindles, both priced very low to give you a great value and illustrated with six original pieces of artwork!  Here are the links: 

Buy at Amazon.com for your Kindle

Buy at Barnes and Noble for your Nook

Also look in the app stores on your Sony and Apple mobile devices to purchase it there!

Good reading!  D.E. Lamont

A Little More About “The Way of the Eagle”

I know it can be hard to know whether a story will interest you and decide whether or not to read it. I thought I’d let you know a little more of this story’s “inside story.” 

The thing that I believe is most unusual about my story is first, that it concerns a time period in the history of the west coast of North America (before the European explorers arrived), and an entire culture (that of the Tongva), which have been almost entirely omitted from literature.  To the best of my knowledge, very little has been written about Southern California’s original peoples. 

Because my book is about a culture which was all but wiped out, relatively little has generally been known about the Tongva as they existed then. Yet some of their place names have survived right up to the present in the names of streets and locations I heard all my life.  Cahuenga (Blvd.) came from Kawengna, Tujunga Canyon from Tuhungna, and Topanga Canyon from Topangna. There are many others.  I really wanted to bring back the reality of this rich original culture to people through my story, and bring some of its people – even though imaginary – alive. 

To help you envision the details better, I took care to describe the locations, natural plant life, and wildlife accurately.  Most of the locales in the story are real, because they are the places I frequented as I grew up. The final scene in the book takes place at an actual place high in the Santa Monica Mountains – which is a coastal range just north and west of Los Angeles. I won’t reveal where it is – but I am sure that some of you may be able to figure that out. It is a indeed a magical place. I went back there over the years a number of times to show it to special friends.  (The last time I was up there, I took a boyfriend to impress him – but afterward I scared the living daylights out of him by zooming down the winding canyon roads too fast in my VW bug. I had thought all men liked speed – I was wrong!)

The story, seen from Tacu’s viewpoint, is about many things, one of which is learning from your environment and what you see and encounter around you. It is also about becoming aware of more than just the physical objects, and about being able to take what life brings you and turn it to the best. I think you could say that Tacu learns to live life as a Tongva brave in a better, fuller, and more courageous way than he previously was able. 

Lastly, the book is a 136-page novelette – longer than most short stories, but not nearly as long as a novel.  I do hope you will get it and let me know what you think.

Incidentally, The Way of the Eagle is now available both on Kindle and in softcover – priced low to enable more people to be able to get it.  All versions, including the e-books, contain beautiful illustrations to help you enjoy Tacu’s journey and see a little of what he saw, all those centuries ago.  I’m very happy at the appearance of both the softcover and the Kindle versions.  In the Kindle e-book, the illustrations are big enough to see, and the cover is too!  The book will also soon be available for Apple mobile devices, Sony, Kobo, and others.

Have a great day – see if you can make it more and better!    D.E. Lamont

The Birth of a Story

Each writer is different, and each writer finds his/her own way to come up with a story. For me the process is not at all mechanical or subject to a formula. And it changes a little with each new story. 

I only discovered what I wanted to write when I realized I had some things I wanted to say, and express, through fiction.  I’ve always loved writing, but unlike some others, I didn’t want to write until I had something I believed in to put down.  And then I discovered that my fiction would only work and  would only live in the reader’s mind when I wrote about something I cared about – or had an intense interest in. 

But fiction is tricky… a story really needs to have its own integrity, and value just as a story. It can’t just be a transparent vehicle for some political or social message to ride on.  A story needs to grip the reader and take them on a journey in which they do not know what is around the next corner – but really want to find out.  Story – STORY – is sacred.  It’s how the First Peoples passed on the events of their lives and generations.  And today, it’s how I create a world and get you to come into it.  And for all the eons we’ve been around as humanity, stories have been important to us. 

So, as I describe on my bio page, as a kid I loved to explore the hills and canyons surrounding the San Fernando Valley. I actually had a very strong desire to discover things different from my ordinary everyday surroundings.  And, having found a few Native American artifacts virtually in my own back yard, I wondered – could these be real, are they really what they appear to be?  As I got older and was able to drive myself around to explore the hills even further, I started to sense another presence in the open fields and places off the beaten track that the ever-spreading development hadn’t yet covered over.  And this feeling, this ephemeral sense of something, would periodically haunt me.  It was a deep feeling that there was something here that needed saying or writing about. 

A couple of decades and many interesting experiences passed.  From the late 70’s through the mid-80’s, I had had a series of about 7-8 very unusual dreams, which appeared to be lessons – some simple and some profound, some momentary and others longer – usually consisting of a spiritual or philosophical lesson presented as a living, 3D, color, interactive experience. Near the end of these dream experiences, and sometimes after I awoke, I had to discover the moral or the point, if it wasn’t obvious.  During the dreams, I always felt as if someone was communicating to me very deliberately. 

In one of these dreams, I was following an older Native American on horseback through a steep canyon.  Something happened, and our experience together taught me a profound lesson in a very beautiful way.  I awoke very moved by it. I immediately thought about putting it in a story. But I didn’t – for a long time.  

By the mid-90’s I was thinking of stories and ideas for stories a lot. My mind was working on ideas even when I wasn’t at a desk or computer. And in this frame of mind I had another dream, and when I awoke I was very excited, and knew I wanted to create a story out of what I had dreamed about, because it was true to what I cared about in many ways, and it could be set in the hills and oak woodlands of the western San Fernando Valley – the Tongva’s home territory for thousands of years before we got there.  And I realized also that I could finally incorporate what I had learned in my dream of six or eight years before, when I “rode” the dream landscape with a Siksika companion and teacher. 

So that was how and when this story was born – a bit unusual, and a bit ephemeral in nature – which is appropriate, I think.  What do you think?  I’d love to hear your comments and your own experiences.