Anti-climatic but deeply meaningful: that’s how I recently viewed the slowly moving “…% complete” Norton Antivirus indicator as my rather large (2 mb) Return to the One file passed into cyberspace on its way to Charles King, the book designer who works with Unlimited Publishing—with whom I’m co-publishing the book, under the guise of Adrasteia Publishing, my newly established (and largely illusory) publishing identity.
So now the book is out of my hands, though it will return to me, certainly, for review, proof-reading, and (ugh…) preparation of an index after the interior design is complete. After years of work on this philosophical labor of love, it’s hard to believe that all that labor is soon going to result in a delivery—a baby book!, so adorable, so hard to resist, I certainly hope.
But as I told Charles at the end of my cover-email message, it hardly matters to me how many copies of Return to the One are sold. And that, really, is the truth. As is true of so much else in life, in writing the process is the main product. Why else would writers write? It can’t be for the money—picayune—or for the fame, usually equally negligible. No, it has to be because writing is its own reward. After all these years I still haven’t figured out what that reward consists of, for it is almost impossible to describe, or define. But I feel the satisfaction inside me with every word that passes from my mind to screen, or paper.
Taking a Plotinian, or Platonic, perspective, seemingly what is going on with writing is somehow connected with the mysterious interface between the ineffable, intuitive, inner World of Forms, and the obvious, objective, outward sensible world, where what is within the psyche is transferred, via the medium of matter, to what is without. According to Plotinus, this microcosmic creative process mirrors the macrocosmic creation—in which the all-powerful Soul of the All, source of the laws of nature, transfers the spiritual logos into this material realm.
Well, if that last paragraph didn’t make sense to you, you’ll just have to buy the book. Which, the gods of publishing willing, should be available in the spring. I also told Charles that even if I hadn’t written this book, it still would be one of my favorite metaphysical/philosophical books. And I’m confident this will be true for other like-minded people also. Not so much because of my writing, though, in my unhumble opinion the writing is quite good, but because Plotinus is such a marvelous thinker and sage. Non-religious yet deeply spiritual; highly rational yet deeply mystical. What’s not to like about him? Answer: his often exceedingly dense and confusing prose.
Thus I’m both pleased and proud to be, to my knowledge, the first person in some seventeen hundred years (Plotinus died in 270, and his writings were edited into their present form soon thereafter) to write a truly popular book about his teachings. Maybe someone else has done so, but their work isn’t evident on Amazon.com, whereas fairly soon Return to the One will be. I don’t want to get too worked up about finishing this book—Howard Dean just showed us the drawbacks of expressing too much outward emotion—yet every time I read through the manuscript (and that is lots of times), I feel like I’m touching the edges of the truth about our cosmos, and the way the world works.
That is, the truth isn’t being expressed by Plotinus, or, even more so, by me. But Plotinus, is equal to the greatest mystical writers of all time in being able to point the reader toward the capital T Truth that lies within every human soul. So I feel extraordinarily fortunate to have been able to tag along, so to speak, on the coattails of Plotinus during all the time I’ve been working on this book. I almost feel like I know the guy, I’ve spent so many hours, days, and months inside his head, via his writings. I never get tired of hearing him speak of the One that we seek, but never find, in outward pursuits, but who constitutes the core of our innermost being—and indeed can be said to be us, when we’ve let go of all that is not truly us.
Anyway, it’s great to have taken another significant step on the publishing road. I never tire of going to the Unlimited Publishing web site page where I can read that Return to the One is “coming soon.” Inward. Outward. Whatever. I look forward to it happening.