Tuesday, July 9, 2019

audio reading from Hidden Experience, the introduction

The eBook and paperback versions of the book are both avialable. There will be an audiobook too, but the process of recording and editing is excrucaitingly slow. I've been plugging away, and wanted to post a sample here.

There will be more of these as I proceed forward.

Eight minutes and thirty seconds

  Link to the book!  
For the visual types, you can read the the text below.


We must be willing to let go of the life we planned 
so as to have the life that is waiting for us.

—Joseph Campbell

I wrote about the most difficult time of my life as it was happening, and posted it on a blog. 
I just reread that sentence, and I’m astonished I could do something so bold, but I did. I’d been confronted with a chain of strange events that seemed impossible to understand. I tried my best to dismiss what was happening, but that became increasingly difficult. All the clues pointed to one thing, and I was forced to ask myself, “Am I a UFO abductee?” 
My blog was started ten years ago as an attempt to answer that question. I was 46 years old, and had come face to face with something that seemed to want to break me. I was lost in fear, doubt, insecurity, tension and disbelief. Yet at the same time, the power of these events left me in awe. There was a kind of shining wonder mixed in with all the overlapping stresses.
The birth of the blog came at a chaotic time in my life. I was drowning in synchronicities, and they all seemed connected to either UFOs or owls. Trying to process my emotions meant obsessive journaling. Facing up to that kind of self-inquiry rips away a lot of assumptions, not just about who I am, but the meaning of reality itself. 
My fears and emotions were unloaded into the blog, and what emerged was a sort of public diary. It was also my therapy. 

~      ~      ~

I thought about writing a proper memoir and simply using the blog as reference, but there is such a mood of immediacy in these posts. Many were written not as a reminiscence—they were written in the moment, and the urgency is palpable. It would be fair to say I went a little bit mad in the early years of the blog, and that’s not hidden in text, it’s right on the surface. 
As I write this, there are 848 posts on my blog. Creating this book meant going back and carefully rereading my journey, yet the site itself had its own journey. I wrote a lot, but I also did over ninety podcasts in a five year period, and I’m tremendously proud of those interviews. 
The podcasts ended when I began the first owl book. That project was monumental and needed my complete dedication. After that came a second book. I was still posting during these years, but the tenor had changed—my energy was pouring into the books. 
Some blog posts came in a rapid fire outburst, like the series about the lines on the map and Byron, North Dakota. Reading each post in order isn’t easy—my mind was jumping around, and it’s evident in the frantic mood of the text. For this book, I did my best to streamline the narrative so it plays out as a story, yet keeps the anxious vibe of the original writings.
The flow of the blog could get a bit scattered, it was easy to jump around and post diverse items. If I had a new thought or a funny little story, I’d write it up. If it was simple I’d keep it short. But if something seemed important I’d work to explore it from every angle, and this jumbled mix of ideas shows up in the book.
There’s a sense of immediacy in blogging, an implicit kind of pressure to write fast and click the button that puts the post online. I gave myself over to that urgency, and consequently some of the writing was sort of sloppy. Right from the onset, I’d go back in and rework the text of published posts. I’ve been cleaning up typos and clarifying my thoughts right from day one. If something new came up having to do with one of the stories, I’d go back in and add more. Sometimes these addendums ended up longer than the initial post.
I’ve been endlessly tinkering with the content, so it seemed fine to edit the posts for this book. I used a lot of all caps and italic text in my writing, especially in the early years. It was a bit much and most of it was cleaned up, but not all. It felt important to keep the flavor of the blog.
The blog is crammed with hyperlinks, and it was tempting to flood this book with footnotes, but trying to match the online content would be overkill. Same with pictures; they work great in a blog format, but would be distracting here. 
Some of the stories in this book overlap with The Messengers. A lot of my personal experiences were pared down for that book, and many of those stories are told in a more complete form here. 
Red Pill Junkie wrote the foreword for this book. He’s been a dedicated reader right from the very beginning, commenting on the posts with wit and insight. There was a point early on when I included a short anecdote in a post from a UFO book, and I wrote it in a way that made it seem like I’d read the book—which I hadn’t. RPJ was quick to comment that I got the account wrong, and he was stern about it. I went back in and revised the inaccurate sentence. He taught me an important lesson, people were taking my blog seriously. Someone out there was diligently reading my stuff, and wasn’t gonna let me slide on things like the facts. I upped my game because I knew he’d call me out on any slacking, and I’ve been grateful for his vigilant eye.
I’m writing this in 2019, and I’ve watched the online world shift to shorter zippier formats like Instagram and Twitter. It feels the era of the blog has ended, or at least it’s changed—and so have I. 
Creating this book meant reliving a powerful chapter of my life. Some of it was scary and terribly confusing, yet I’m grateful. There’s a haunting drama to what I’ve endured, and it tells a deeper story. Life is a journey, and I got lost while searching along its strange winding path. Maybe I’m still lost, but I’m doing my best to keep pressing on. 

Mike Clelland
March 2019


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