What If, Can Be is a fictional work in process about the growth of sustainability and spirituality in the New Age. It is based on the coastal Oregon community I have been active in since 1978.
I felt a strong call in 2009 to begin to write down my vision in order to help bring the new world into being. The writing of this continues to be a magical act – part remembering, part channeling, part conjuring. I am playing pretend as a child does: “Let’s say…” or “What if….”
Before we moved to the Coast to help make it real in a small rural community, my husband Tom Bender and I were working on these issues via Portland’s Rain Magazine. Knowing that people need images of the new world we were helping birth, we hired Diane Schatz to create poster sized drawings of what things might look like. She went on to create many iterations over the years.
I wanted to create similar images in words. Starhawk does it in The Fifth Sacred Thing (someday to be a motion picture). Before her, Ernest Callenbach did it with Ecotopia. What does it look and feel like to live in such a process? What might the different details be? And – as it became increasingly important to me – how does the spiritual side of all this come into being?
This is all from my vantage point, of course…. There are many other possible versions.
Some parts of the novel already exist in “real life” in our little three village vortex in the Neahkahnie Mountain/Lower Nehalem Valley (I condensed it here into two villages). Some are coming true as i write. In other cases they have happened or will happen in a different town. Yours? The Community section of this site links to and explores some of this. We take seriously the dictum to “Think Globally, Act Locally.”
Some I simply wish were so and can see coming true…. That’s the manifesting part.
The illustrations also have a magical element to them. In some cases, the writing is based consciously on a drawing or a painting that came alive for me. Others were done later to illuminate the writing. However, I recently rediscovered some drawings done before I started writing in 2009 and was amazed to realize that they presaged the content, i.e. I did drawings as they came through having no idea that a book was also brewing.
Locals may recognize incidents, conversations, institutions, ideas, and bits of personalities but hopefully not the fictionalized characters themselves (with one exception explained on the Novel page ). Many of the characters began as chunks of me, though they have taken on lives of their own.
Someday I will also write more of the story as it came to be in our community. And I’d love to add links to the many other places cool things are happening.
It’s an understatement to say that it is a very slow process to bring forth the “reality” in our communities and in this world. Yet I assert that it can be. As the Hopi Prophecy says, “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”
“Inch by inch, row by row, gonna make this garden grow.
Gonna mulch it deep and low, gonna make it fertile ground.
Inch by inch, row by row, please bless these seeds I sow.
Please warm them from below, ’til the rain comes tumbling down.”
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THE ARTWORK – The images and photographs used throughout this site are all by me. Many were done years before I started writing. See lanedemoll.com for the back story and original content for the older paintings as well as other writings.