Tag Archives: healers

scribbling like mad: an excerpt from my nanowrimo novel

here’s an excerpt from the novel i’m writing for national novel writing month (NaNoWriMo).  it’s raw and unedited, just the way i wrote it.  19,391 words and counting …

“next thing i can recall is a bed, the softest, most comfortable bed i’ve ever slept in. there were blankets all over, so soft and so colourful, there must have been at least 6. all very light and clean-smelling. and the pillows! big and poofy, a whole bunch, and the bed was big but not too big, and there were stuffies all over, my favourite ones, too! all cats and birds. that’s kinda strange, don’t you think, strange and amazing and i loved it. and the room, it was so cute! windows all over and the sun shining in and it was warm and so, so cozy. the person who had picked me up, he came in once in a while, and everytime he did, or she, really, i could never figure it out, this cat came in, too, big and gray and fluffy. always smelling of patchouli. the person, i mean.

there was – love. yes, it’s true, there was love. somewhere. in the house. in the food. i felt it. and the cat, she had love, too. then there was a big bird somewhere, a raven maybe? and a turtle. and love. i’ve often wondered since then, what kind of love was that? i mean, there was no sex. i couldn’t even figure out, ever, whether that person was a guy or a woman. but she kept bringing me food and put stuff on my leg and on my back, and it just didn’t hurt anymore, i have no idea how she did that. pills, too, some pretty potent sleeping pills but not the kind that makes you feel awful when you wake up the next day.

what kind of love was that? it felt big and real, like bread maybe.”

“love like bread?,” asked lu, incredulously. “what happened to the mansion?”

“what mansion?”

“weren’t you in a mansion?”


“well, when you got picked up, weren’t you in a mansion?”

“who said that?”

“robin, i think.”

“robin? what does he know about this?”

“he said burke had told him.”

“burke? that’s not what i told him. he’s full of it. there was no mansion. just this nice person and the rook and the bed and the cat and stuff.”

“and love like bread,” snorted lu.

“you leave her alone!” all of a sudden mohan’s index finger was in lu’s face. “it was love, and it was like bread.”

“yeah, like bread. now that i think of it, that’s what jesus talks about, isn’t it? in the bible? the bread is his body, and that means he loves people. maybe it was like that. i’m not sure what that means. i have to think about it. hey, tomas!”

she waved at a thin, tall man standing at the entrance to the room. “tomas, come over here!”

the man detached himself from the dirty wall – everything was dirty, or at least dirty looking because it was so old and used, the walls, the furniture, the door, the floor, the dishes, and often enough the people – and ambled over to the three of them, gangly, black-clad arms dangling, black hair falling into his hawk-nosed face. big brown eyes. big mouth, big teeth.

“what’s up, ella? hey lu, hey mohan.”

the two others nodded.

“tell me, when jesus broke bread, was that his body, and was that love?”

“absolutely! everything that jesus did was love.”

ella looked at lu with a look that was both confused and triumphant.

“jesus is the embodiment of love. therefore everything he does is love. jesus was born to embody love. love needed to be seen and felt, and jesus came to this earth. that’s why his parents sent him.”

“his parents?” now ella really was confused.

“see, when they say it was his father that sent him, that was because they did not want to tell the truth. but think about it – how can he have a father and not a mother? they made love, like, they MADE it, the way guy over there makes coffee and they gave it to people but often they didn’t understand it, so that’s why they sent jesus. he told me so.”

“right. right.” ella slurped some coffee and said nothing for a while. then, “well, thanks, tomas. you cleared that up for me.”

the four of them were quiet for a while. lu looked around a little lost, wondering what was going to happen next.

“love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. it does not insist on its own way, it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing but rejoices in the truth. it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. love never ends.”

more coffee slurping.

“st. paul, first corinthians”, added tomas with a helpful smile.

“in that way, love is like the bread that jesus keeps breaking with us. it never ends. you don’t see bread being boastful or resentful.”

having given this proof, tomas smiled even more broadly.

mohan didn’t say much but he wasn’t stupid. he liked tomas, everyone did, but – “bread believes all things?” how was tomas going to explain that one?

“well, bread is a metaphor for love. of course, as a metaphor, it can’t cover everything. metaphors are good for illustrating concepts but a metaphor is not the same thing as the thing it illustrates. it is similar to a simile – i know, that sounds a little confusing – in that a simile performs mestoctomal economics that prefer silvicultural anomies. marx said that – ”

that’s where the three saw themselves forced to stop listening. tomas was a wonderful guy, friendly, helpful, well educated, extremely intelligent. the illness had struck him as he was starting his PhD in theology at the tender age of 22. he went in and out of it, from moment to moment, he’d have a clear head for months on end and then one day it would strike him, sometimes in the middle of a sentence, then he might go back and forth a few times within an hour. it was completely unpredictable.

a minute or two into his incomprehensible monologue, tomas stopped talking. he just sat there, looking off into space, his mind occupied by the complicated tangles of his inner world.

“you know, in a way, tomas is right. what he said about love is perfect and kind and refreshing – ”

“not resentful,” that was mohan, back to muttering but still paying attention.

“well, yeah, whatever, not resentful but refreshing, too. what happened there in that room, it refreshed me, that’s for sure. i can’t believe in god the way tomas did and i can’t believe that that guy or woman or whatever he or she was spent a lot of time in church – actually, i was always wondering whether she was some sort of good witch – but what happened there, that was love.

we didn’t talk much, we didn’t talk much at all. i didn’t feel like it at first and by the time i would have liked to we already had some sort of rhythm, the little guy coming in, dressing my back, checking my ankle, bringing me food and something to drink, the cat jumping on my bed, all that, and all we’d say would be how are you, how did you sleep, here, you have to finish this, it’ll help you get better, that’s it. for some reason i never asked for her name. she also put a CD player in my room that played all the music i liked, i don’t know how she, or he, figured that one out. maybe i said something about it at the beginning.”

“so what happened in the end? are you still in touch with, uh, whoever it was?”

“oh no. i have no idea where they live. i don’t think it’s here. for some reason i think it was out on the sunshine coast.”

“sunshine coast? so, how did you get back down here? did you take the ferry?”

“it gets a little fuzzy, i don’t know. remember i was still stoned most of the time back then, really until i met mohan, you know. no it’s just the occasional beer and joint but back then -”

“what? she’d give you stuff? crack?”

“no, no, but still, it’s all a bit fuzzy. really, i think it was on the sunshine coast because it all reminds me of that trip my aunt took me on when i was 9. that was the best trip i ever had, the best summer i ever had, and the place was like that.”

walking through walls: memoir of a psychic

bead curtainsi’ve marked at least 30 pages in walking through walls, the intriguing memoir of lew smith, eccentric husband, exorcist, vegetarian, psychic, healer, lover – and last not least, decorator to the rich and famous, the “king of beads”, the father of the bead curtain.

as well as father of philip smith, loving and perplexed son, and author of this book.

let me randomly pick a few of those pages:

about lew smith’s first encounter with his healing abilities, during a lecture by arthur ford of the spiritual frontiers fellowship:

while ford spoke, my father looked around for an empty seat, a woman sitting off to the side suddenly turned around and motioned my father to come over to her. he thought she was going to point him to a seat, instead she whispered, “i see in your aura that you are a healer. please help me; i can’t stop this terrible cough. place your hands on my shoulders and send me your energy.”

after getting rid of ants by building “a thought-form around the house that was like a natural insecticide”:

there is only one requirement for using any psychic tools or methods. your efforts and intention must be for the highest good. if you use these tools for personal gain, for revenge or for harm, it will come back to you negatively tenfold. you can’t get any with anything in the spirit world. there are no shortcuts, no get-rich-schemes.

about lew smith’s passion for helping:

my father truly wanted to help people and believed that his work could eliminate a lot of physical and mental suffering. everything he did was based on the simple notion that we are all spiritual beings with tremendous powers. until we recognized this, nothing would change – there would continue to be wars, disease, and anger … he dreamed of the day when there would no longer be a need for hospitals, doctors or pharmaceuticals with dangerous side effects.

about creativity and depression:

“isn’t depression good for creating? aren’t artists supposed to be tortured and depressed?” my father laughed. “that is a really stupid idea. i hope you will quickly let go of that thought. art should come from a serene, wise place that is not disturbed by negative ideas.”

philip smith presents all of this without abstract judgment, neither glorifying nor dismissing his father’s unusual goings-about. nor does he normalize or trivialize the spirit guides, far-out yogic practices and stringent eating habits. he tells the tales of his father from the perspective of a loving and baffled son, who is at once intrigued and embarrassed by his dad, who feels both comforted and bothered by the father’s constant psychic intrusions on his life.

like any good biography, this book is also a piece of history. the sleepy old florida of the 50s and 60s, the cocktail party-era of little black dresses and cigarette holders, the awakening of psychedelics and the forerunners of the new age movement – they’re all there.

walking through walls is well written, entertaining and – again, i want to use the word “loving”. there is nothing sentimental about these 329 pages; rather, they seem born from a deeply affectionate (and by no means straightforward) bond between father and son, and from the desire to tell a truth that is curious, important, complex, inexplicable – and just wants to be told.

maybe it’s lew smith speaking from the beyond. who knows. why don’t you check it out for yourself.

philip smith is the former managing editor of GQ and an artist whose works are in the permanent collections of the whitney museum, the dallas museum of art, and the detroit institute of arts, among many others. he lives in miami; one of his virtual homes is at walking through walls – the book. you can find more material about the book here, here and here.

image by jtstrathdee