These notes are excerpts of correspondence from the winter of 2008. See the referenced fiction piece, “Silence“. It was a classic example of getting “stuck” in the creative writing process.
I wrote “Silence” in about 1984. It was intended as a preface to larger work, but that died on the vine because I had no idea at all where I was headed with it, or how to go about creating the characterizations necessary to support it. I was not aware at the time of any formal distinction between shamanism and animism – I had never thought of it.
I suppose the moral might have been that shamanism and animism ruled a paleolithic world as a form of social and political control, bestowed upon some individuals for reasons into which it was dangerous to inquire.
The problem with “Silence” was that, as an almost perfectly self-contained preface, it committed me irrevocably to a set course of explanation which was beyond my power to dramatize. The vision was there, but the experience to actualize it was not.
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