Bernice Takes a Plunge

“Imagination Saves the Day!”: A review by Joey Madia

Let’s face it: we are all in need of some new and different heroes.

With the recent success of Millie Bobby Brown as Enola Holmes—sister of Sherlock and Mycroft—on Netflix, it could be that the next big thing in inspiring role models is a young girl armed with a keen imagination, broad knowledge, an adventurous spirit, and a flair for story (think Greta Thunberg).

All of these boxes are checked by Ann Harth’s delightful character, Bernice Rose Peppercorn, as they were “back in the day” by Charles Schulz’s Lucy, Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi Longstocking, and Judy Blume’s Sheila the Great.

Bernice, a journaler and fledgling writer, is also a fan of a big-time celebrity who lives near her, Crystal Bell, who makes action adventures with a hint of mystery, with titles like Murder in Mumbai. The inciting incident is when Miss Bell’s house is robbed.

Bernice is armed with her notebook, in which she makes entries—with her Crystal Bell–headed pencil—throughout the story on everything from general observations to fabulously crafted reasons why one of her characters lost her leg, to reminders on the Dos and Don’ts of baking—including reading the instructions.

Being a fan and even a writer of mysteries, Bernice is always on the lookout for suspicious activity. And one thing we all know is that, if you go looking for suspicious activity… it will Abound. Continue reading

Convergence: The Interconnection of Extraordinary Experience

“A New Paradigm for Consciousness Studies”

A review by Joey Madia

Subvert the dominant paradigm. (note hanging in Dr. John Mack’s Harvard office)

Conversations are changing all over the globe. The pandemic, political upheaval, and hard lessons about the dangers of Social Media are driving dialogues in new directions—hopefully giving rise to the resurrection of Complexity, so long the victim of Reductionism—and the study of Consciousness and the survival of Consciousness after death are also front and center.

The pointedly engineered misconception of Spirit being separate from Matter and Spirituality being separate from Science is beginning to know its dying days. An increasing alliance of neuroscientists, psychologists, paranormal researchers and experiencers, philosophers, entrepreneurs, story analysts, and health and wellness practitioners are making a strong case—from a variety of facets of this all-important diamond—that there IS Life after Death, Consciousness is nonlocal, and Materialism is woefully mistaken in rejecting these truths.

Dr. Barbara Mango and Lynn Miller are lifelong experiencers as well as trained scientists. I’ve had the pleasure to speak with them on the podcast Alternate Perceptions they co-host with longtime paranormal investigator and John Keel biographer Brent Raynes, and they’ll be guests the last Thursday in March on the podcast I co-host with my wife (a psychic-medium, Reiki master, and past life regression specialist), Into the Outer Realms. Continue reading

Dreamy Days and Random Naps

“On the Importance of Dreaming”:

A review by Joey Madia

Comprising heartwarming photos of stuffed bears, costumed and posed with fun props and interesting, engaging sets, Dreamy Days and Random Naps recalls the wisdom of JRR Tolkien and Maurice Sendak, who said that they did not write books for children—it was the publisher and others who said they did.

While visually appropriate for children as young as three or four (and, having raised children of my own, that is an interesting time when it comes to the politics of napping), the deep wisdom of this book will be appealing to parents, grandparents, teachers, and others who need a reminder that dreaming and imagination are, as Albert Einstein said, more important than intelligence.

Not that Mawson the bear and his friends are in any way UN-intelligent. Although ready comparisons can be made to the giants of literary beardom, such as Paddington and Winnie the Pooh, Mawson and his companions are more ambitious, curious, and just plain inspiring.

The koan-like opening statement, “Why is it that the best that one can be is always one more nap away… from what one is being?,” cues the reader that this is not your average Teddy Bear. Like The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet, Dreamy Days and Random Naps celebrates the core necessities of a life well lived—Companionship, Vision, and the Will to Make Things Better for yourself and those around you. Continue reading

Ananda: Poetry for the Soul

A review by Joey Madia

Award-winning writer Lali A. Love, who typically writes “visionary fantasy and metaphysical thrillers,” has written an engaging and soul-provoking collection of poems on a number of spiritual and metaphysical themes, each of which is accompanied by a quote from a well-known writer, philosopher, thinker, or spiritualist. In addition to her writing, Love is an “intuitive, alchemist, and energy healer.”

First, the title. Ananda is a Sanskrit word for “extreme happiness” or, as comparative mythologist Joseph Campbell defined it, “bliss.” He was known for promoting the idea of “Follow your bliss,” or Sat chit ananda.

The quotes that open the collection and accompany each poem are far-ranging, coming from the likes of Albert Einstein, Edgar Allen Poe, Carl Jung, Rumi, Swami Vivekanada, Marie Curie, and Joe Dispenza.

The poems themselves are equally far-ranging. The first, “The Rise,” explores other dimensions and magical realms. The next poem, “Loving Fearlessly,” evokes archetypes with its line, “Healing your childhood wounds.”

Advice for how to do so comes in a later poem, “Metamorphosis,” which opens:

                              I AM star dust plucked from the Cosmos,
                      Consciously transforming the realms of my bounds.
                           As I illuminate my divinity to heal old wounds, Continue reading

Möbius: Meditations on Home

A review by Joey Madia

The best books, the ones with deepest meaning—the ones we know upon our first engagement with them that we will go to them over and over again—invariably have an interesting genesis.

Möbius: Meditations on Home, by first-time writer W. David Hubbard, is no exception. Born of a question asked after the celebration of Walt Whitman’s 200th birthday at the Kennedy Center, as a group of participants stopped to look at an exhibit of displaced peoples from around the world, this collection of reflections and meditations on the meaning of home is timely, profound, and, in my case, cause for misty eyes.

I have been a longtime fan of poetry and other writing that functions as a meditation. My longtime friend and subject of several of my reviews, the poet Ed Baker, who left us for the eternal home several years ago, wrote meditations on home restorations, and, even in his more traditional work, there was always a sense of searching for, celebrating, and marking the boundaries of home.

Why Möbius? As the back cover tells us, this is a book of “minimal meditations [that] is a circular quest that seeks to explore the common subject of home.”

Common indeed. Unavoidable. The search, the sense, the unsurety and insecurity for many when it comes to that deceptively simple one-syllable word: home. Continue reading