Spirituality, Mysticism and the Worlds At Risk Series

by Grahame R. Smith

18th January 2013

I remember when I saw Ben-Hur how impressed I was by the story of Jesus of Nazareth running quietly alongside the general narrative. Here was an exciting story involving adventure, political intrigue, action, and excitement, yet something came in from different angle, a parallel, transcendent story, a message of peace and hope. Despite the cheesy Hollywood thing, I was moved, not because it was Christian, but because it spoke of another possibility running across the storyline of human suffering and conflict.

I wanted to write a story in which that voice of hope, that non-dualistic vision of love, ran across a narrative of action, adventure, and drama. In At Risk... A Perfect World, the figure of Omigali represents an alternative consciousness that is nevertheless - and this is important - part of the vicissitudes and friendship dynamics of normal life.

One of my favourite writers is Katherine Mansfield. Shortly before her early death in Fontainebleau near Paris, she talked a lot with the writer A. R. Orage and expressed ideas for a new way of approaching writing: to portray virtue and innocence as exciting, daring, attractive, and romantic; and the opposite as dull, conventional and unattractive.

This is what I am after. I do not pretend to be a Katherine Mansfield. All I want to do is to make that vision an ingredient in my own writing, like a secret, background gene that nudges forward and is gently heard.

To do this within a context of high-octane drama is radical. My hope is that there are some with whom it resonates.