The Birth of “What Casts the Shadow?”
“What Casts the Shadow?” was originally born from a series of late night reveries. Sometimes I like to entice the Muse by turning out all the lights in my apartment, pouring music into my ears through headphones and moving about from room to room, in near-complete darkness, just letting my fantasies roam where they will.
Oftentimes those fantasies revolve around music itself. I have some background here: Years of teaching myself guitar, followed by further years of devotion to the craft of songwriting, this finally coming to fruition during a rewarding period of time when I was an active performer on what club circuit there was in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This was all before I realized that writing was my more dominant passion.
Nonetheless, my musically-endowed self lived on from that moment, though he was now relegated to some remote closet of my consciousness. There he became a kind of alter-ego, a character with his own separate life and destiny, his own inclinations and gifts. It was particularly during those moments when I was in the dark, my mind subsumed in the music, that Brandon Chane began to come to life. I’d hear little hints of the life experiences that lay behind his songs, what his Muse spurred him to say when he was onstage before his hungry audiences…
Influenced, no doubt, by the way that I’d spent my adolescence - devouring biographies of such artists as Jim Morrison, Arthur Rimbaud, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, Syd Barrett, etc. - I imagined him both brilliant and doomed.
Or… could he perhaps be saved? In this instance, could the ‘live fast, die young’ rock’n’roll credo (and cliché) be somehow sidestepped? After all, we’ve seen the cycle of frenzied inspiration followed by tragic burnout often enough: The lives of artists who one might compare to shooting stars, to Icarus who flew too high and then crashed back down to earth in flames.
If that fate was to be avoided then Brandon Chane was going to need some guidance. He was living too close to the edge. He couldn’t pull himself back alone.
Thus Saul Mason was born, the man who would become Brandon’s enigmatic mentor. And here was another opportunity for me to draw upon my own personal journey in order to fill out my fiction. All my years of treading the ‘inner way’, of searching whatever practices and philosophies might help me to illuminate life’s deeper significance, found utterance now in Saul’s teachings. He and Brandon had much to learn from each other, actually; and this relationship between young man and mentor was bound to impact upon the wider world, too, as Brandon’s band battled its way to greater and greater prominence within the cutthroat jungle that is the music industry.
From this point, the storyline quickly kindled to bright flame within my mind. I had a core idea that fused two of my deepest passions: Music (and creativity itself, in broader terms) and the exploration of our inner depths. Within this tale, each would feed the other. Self-understanding would lead to further creativity, which in turn would lead to deeper plunges into the unknown. I already had a head full of rock’n’roll mythology and spiritual teachings: It was just a matter, now, of blending those influences in a way that would, hopefully, avoid the clichés that one often encounters on either side. I didn’t want to talk overmuch about the inner way or about the travails of a struggling artist. I desired only to follow, as faithfully as possible, the journey of someone who walked that path and endured those travails – reaping a unique kind of reward, for both himself and his audience, in the end.
What Casts the Shadow?
by Seth Mullins
A troubled young rock musician, a mystic mentor, and a generation of lost souls longing for a new voice to emerge from the wilderness...
When an altercation outside of a performance venue nearly proves fatal, Brandon Chane begins to realize how far his life is spinning out of control. His efforts to channel his pain, frustration and thwarted loves into his music may not suffice to save him. Then he meets Saul, a crisis counselor with the soul of an ancient medicine man, and a far-reaching journey of healing - one that may teach him how to steer away from the very edge of the abyss - begins.
Read an excerpt:
An Air of Pilgrimage
Now it was all deepening. We merged with a river born of magic, myth and the dreams of all those who’d gone before us. I turned to my right and saw some violets casting off glints of tiny light like flecks of stardust. All at once, everything in existence was being created in every moment.
“It’s the light that can’t be extinguished!” I shouted. “I understand now!”
It’s easy to say such things when you feel all of Creation communing with you; easy, too, to assume that the other people around you will understand your sense of euphoria. And yet in actual fact Tommy did shout “Yes!” from his place at the vanguard as if he knew exactly what I was talking about.
And just like that, our whole holy pilgrimage south flashed across my inner eyes: the distances, the pockets of heart warmth and of emptiness, the strangers met and the intimacy of the music that we’d ushered in to their stomping grounds. My imagination deified our trusty travelling van, transforming it into an ancient Egyptian Solar Boat that had borne us across the heavens of Vision so that we could spread our gospel of every human being’s Divinity.
Seth Mullins draws upon the great sweep of human soul-journeying to weave his tales. He's inspired by music, shamanism, dreams and the mysteries and miracles of our inner life. His greatest love as a writer is for fiction that depicts a journey towards self-awareness in the deepest sense.
"Probably the most valuable thing that I learned throughout my spiritual journey in this life is the importance of trusting in one's self. Many of our cultural lessons encourage us to ignore or even fear our inner reality. And yet it is this realm that really does hold the answers to all of our questions, and can point the way towards the most fulfilling life experiences possible for us."
Mr. Mullins has lived in Maine, Connecticut, New Mexico, Oregon and Vermont.
http://www.humanityswayforward.com (Humanity's Way Forward - my website)
http://frontiersofconsciousness.blogspot.com (The Edge of the Known by Seth Mullins - my blog)
"What Casts the Shadow?" (The Edge of the Known) on Amazon: http://amzn.to/1rkhffS
My Amazon author page: amazon.com/author/sethmullins
Prizes for the tour are as follows:
• One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
• One randomly chosen host will receive a $25 Amazon/BN.com gift card.
a Rafflecopter giveaway