We were recently invited to be in a couple of events of the kind we don’t usually participate in. One of them was Comic- Con in San Diego, where Whitley signed and talked about his graphic novel The Nye Incidents. The other was a film about life after death being made by independent filmmaker Nick Mendoza called “Quantum Wisdom.” As usual, I learned something totally unexpected from both experiences.
In order to do the film interview, we went to a studio in Burbank (which is a part of Los Angeles that is filled with TV and movie studios, many of which you can rent by the day). It was the usual scenario: a large dark and dusty room with high ceilings and huge klieg lights everywhere, tape “markers” (in the form of X’s) on the floor in various spots where the previous crew had filmed, craft service (that’s movie talk for “snacks”) laid out on a table in the next room.
Maybe I shouldn’t say that being filmed was an unusual event, since this subject is in the air lately. I say this because this is the THIRD such interview we’ve been asked to do. I helped executive produce the first film, which is being made by Paul Davids (who made the film Jesus in India), and I met the other two filmmakers through our friend, hospice physician John Lerma, whom we have also interviewed on Dreamland.
The English author Rupert Sheldrake has proposed the theory that ideas are “in the air,” which is why so many similar concepts seem to turn up at the same time in books, films and TV series. I think the fascination with this topic can also be attributed to the fact that people are feeling free to search in many different religions and traditions as they seek their own particular spiritual path. This is happening at a time when the new Pope is stressing adherence to traditional dogma, but even Catholics aren’t listening to him anymore. There is wonderful spiritual wisdom out there for the taking and people are grazing on it as if they were at a gourmet craft service table, trying out different ideas and discovering which ones fit them best.
I’m no exception: I call myself a Christian Buddhist with an interest in Wicca (or I could be a Christian Witch with an interest in Buddhism). Why would traditional religious leaders have a problem with this? The answer is simple: it dilutes their power over us. When we start thinking for ourselves, we might notice that sometimes these emperors are wearing no clothes.
One of the things I most enjoyed about the filming was meeting Dr. Jack Turner in person, whom I interviewed for subscribers on Dreamland. I expected to see our old friend John Lerma as well, but he didn’t show up: it turns out he had met the female director of the THIRD (as yet unfilmed) life after death documentary and we suspect that he found her very attractive. Since she had traveled to the US all the way from Australia, I guess there was no time to lose.
The filmmaker was a bit frustrated by all this, but since I’m a big believer in love of ALL kinds, I actually thought it was rather delightful.
The following weekend, we went to Comic-Con in San Diego, where Whitley signed his graphic novel The Nye Incidents, and was on a panel consisting of film directors and graphic novel writers and artists, where they discussed horror films and horror comics. They all took this subject very seriously, which I found amusing at first, but then it got boring: you can’t really equate a horror comic, no matter how good it is, with something like “Gone With the Wind.” I was sitting in the front row and Whitley said to me later, “I thought you were going to fall asleep right in front of the panel.”
One wonderful thing came out of this event, however. When I mentioned this trip to our newest Dreamland host, Marie D. Jones, she said she’d been frustrated because her eight-year- old son had wanted to attend, but there were no tickets left. I told her I couldn’t get her a ticket, but I could send her a copy of “Nye,” and I did. Whitley autographed it “To Max,” and since her son is a bright kid who was born with cerebral palsy and thus walks with a tiny limp, I suspect he gets bullied a bit at school. Possessing a treasure like this should help. Marie wrote back to thank me for it and said, “Max just keeps look at it and saying, over and over, “Wow, this is so cool, Wow, this is so cool.”
There isn’t much else in this world that could have made me happier than that.
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