First of all, I love your writing. Second, I so wish I had the time to participate more fully in your brilliant project. As you know, it’s a process I’ve been experimenting with myself. Unfortunately, less is more for me in 2023 in terms of projects and collaborations.

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I get it, Chad. Thanks for your ongoing encouragement. It means a lot. Feel free to tune out as needed ;) And tune in when you feel! I love your perspective. I actually did not know you had been experimenting with a similar process. Curious about that when you have time.

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I will definitely tune in from time to time. :) Yes, my substack newsletter is about me revisiting my unpublished novel about spiritual crisis, love, and masculinity, and slowly turning it into a screenplay.

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Seems like I’m writing the feminine counterpart :) 🙌🏻

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Jan 14, 2023Liked by Schuyler Brown

I've just read both of these pieces you posted Schuyler, only this morning.

Upon finishing the first one (with the background on this project you're inviting us to collaborate with you about), I found myself quite interested, but not all that "stimulated" nor feeling a tremendous amount of resonance.

However, opening up this substack webpage, and realizing when your story "started" (in early 2009), i suddenly found myself electrified!

And the fact that this first "chapter" took place in NYC also generated a tremendous "pull" for me.

i'm still very much in processing mode however, so it may be that what i have to offer (so immediately after having been exposed to so much, and finding the complexity and layering of all that would seem to be contained in both what you've already done in regard to all this, and where i sense you want (us?) to go, to be so rich that i've not yet really managed to wrap my mind around all of the threads) isn't all that valuable. But whether my mind is able to "grasp" what's being offered, my soul is now fully captivated, so i am going to do my best to share what i *feel* about all this. Again though, take heed, it may be that the feedback coming from me is way too much about me.... Forwarned is forearmed.

Beyond the timing detail that "hooked me" (which i'll not go into right now), what i find so damn compelling is the dynamic which exists around *connection*. Specifically (as this has been an issue for me my whole life, but mainly many decades ago, before i found my wonderful partner) in the ways i myself have not understood "boundaries". And even more specifically, how, when i was young, that i may have been seeking something that i lacked, and yet believing what i was seeking was romantic love and/or a sexual relationship (or relationships?). So yeah, what i'm interested in has to do with the prior history (before 2009) you brought with you around this dimension: how sexuality, romantic desire, and a seeking of perhaps a connection that might be completely orthogonal to those things, but likely far deeper than what most modern humans are willing to admit we want. Whether we find that in a lover, a partner, a spouse, a friend, or, for those luckiest among us, in many of those "categories" and/or others, and for the truly blessed, not just in a single person, but in several.

With the benefit of hindsight (and perhaps through the lens of probing your earlier relationships and how "deep" some/many of them might have been, though this doesn't have to be explicitly written as part of the story you/we are trying to build about Katherine), my invitation would be to try to figure out where you were in 2009 with respect to seeking that "depth" (as my intuition tells me that is key here!), and a desire (whether you were confused as I was when i was young about believing that the "way" to get there was via romantic love and/or a relationship with a sexual "energy" to it) to "bond at the level of souls" (i.e. in a way that goes beyond what most ever attain) with a person or persons who might have been spiritually, emotionally, intellectually, constitutionally, and/or behaviorally "compatible" with you.

But again, please feel free to disregard my own "response" and/or advice if it doesn't resonate. It may very well be that what has come up for me is "my own" stuff to work through as best i can, rather than anything that might provide helpful guidance in terms of where this project "wants to go"...


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Charlie, I am taking in your comments and smiling because I am so grateful you decided to jump in with me :) And of course, there's no commitment and no way of doing this right or wrong (as far as I can see right now). I am reading your comment and will read other comments and will let them alchemize within the container I am for these stories (mine and Katherine's). Your reading and what it brings up for you about your own experience is absolutely critical. And what I love about the potential of this process is the transparency and dialogue of it. In a traditional writing format/dynamic, the writer rarely hears what it brings up in the readers. And the fact is...I am holding this story as a personal and universal story at the same time so your experience is baked in :) And we will bake it in :)

I really resonate with your intuition (YAY for intuitive hits!) to ask where I was in 2009 with regards to the depth of relating I was capable of, seeking, and maybe idealizing. Also what my previous experience had been. I mention marital trouble briefly and your comment makes me think it might be worth giving a little more on that in the coming chapters.

My first reflection (which might be a little evasive) is that this meeting with H knocked me out of my stupor and was completely out of left field - seemingly. I'd never known anything like it. In this life anyway. So in a sense it doesn't have a precedent. BUT, I can sense there was a longing that he answered and that will be important to investigate.

I have a sense that you know something personally about the nature of the Eros and relating that is about to unfold here :) Reading between the lines of your comment.

Thank you and I hope the story keeps engaging you. And if it doesn't you can also let me know that. So grateful for you.

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I am reading this again from scratch as this incipit was no longer fresh.

I pick up the following:

The fear the narrator is feeling is also there to protect her. And that can only come from previous experiences the body had with men with a certain power and charisma. I am curious what trauma had been awaken that triggered that freezing then flight response.

Glad you survived the creepy hypnotic gaze.

The next is, if that ever makes it into a revised novel, H deserves a proper first name. I think it helps with generating more empathy for the character, or simply trying to understand him more. With just a letter I feel more detached and judgemental, which is likely not healthy, no matter how badly he behaves.

I agree with Jessica that a larger introduction about your daily life, routine would help us to settle in your NY world before meeting your destiny.

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Andredge, your reading is close and accurate. Yes, there was fear...it's hard to say at that time "why" or "where" it came from. Trauma can be so old, so deep in the body. I sense (now) there were many things at play including a real instinct about the imbalance of power from the start and maybe even the way he was inhabiting his power from the start. Also, generalized and collective trauma of the feminine is present. This all happens early in my journey. Much later (after H) I came face-to-face with a lot of "persecution" fears and ancestral fears and collective fears and anger and grief. The history of women in spirituality--especially up against the power of men--is a long and rough road. As I am sure you know. Anyway...I can now see that the re-collection of the feminine and the preservation/remembering of feminine wisdom and power IS my dharma...so there was also probably a pre-sentiment of that...oh, shit, here we go! Probably I knew what was coming on a soul-level. Not just with H...but with others after him. It's been a long slog :)

Yes - I like your suggestion to give H a name. I think it helped me initially to write in this way because his name is so tied to him (or was) and I needed to evoke it in my mind when I referred to him. Giving him a pseudonym seemed impossible to me as I embarked on the writing. But, now I think I could. I will consider it!

Yes, I agree we want to know more about my life. I wrote some in based on Jessica's comment, but could do more.

Thank you! Love your insights.

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I'm fascinated by your project, Schuyler and happy that I now have some time to devote to reading these pages. I hope to be able to participate the way you intend. The undertaking feels a little scary, even to me (including posting these initial reactions publicly.)

In your writing, there's a palpable air of mystery about H (including the narrator's own push/pull feelings about him) and I could feel how startled and exposed she became when her connection to H was made apparent. I had a sense of her "spiritual age" (young) and I wondered about her chronological age. I guessed maybe late twenties or early thirties. There might be room for a bit more detail in the section the begins "As I trudged down Broadway, my mind was still on my clients, marital problems..." just a few crumbs to ground the reader in what her normal life was like before the initiation began.

I have one deeper wonder, about whether the identity of H will ever be revealed to the reader. I may understand some of the reasons that an initial is used in place of a name, but it's a pointer to a swirl of curiosity in my belly, about what power that name still holds in the narrator's life.

Thanks for sharing. I look forward to reading more.

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HI Jessica, thank you for your comment. This question of how much to reveal and what to reveal is so significant. It's very present for me each week and I am happy when a reader comments that they need a little more. If you've read the next installments, I did try to give a few more details and I will get more into my own married life and what that time of life was like for me. I was 35 at the time of this scene. Interesting that you experience me as "young" spiritually. In a sense you are right...I was new to the truly transformational mystical work I was about to embark on, but at that point I had been doing yoga and meditation for a decade pretty "religiously." I had seen many gurus and sat with many teachers. I like to think all of that study and preliminary work prepared me to some degree. I'd never met a teacher outside of the purely "spiritual" context, as H was (I now find this to be a meaningless distinction). He wasn't a monk or yogi or really even tied to any lineage. This was unusual for me. As I respond I also can sense that there was also something "young" about me because I was in recovery. I was newly finding and integrating parts of myself after years of oblivion. Kind of like being reborn...

I will continue to try to represent H as a full human being in his own right and as a character in my imagination/consciousness as he was for me then. You're right about the power of a name. But, I have changed all of the names of real people in my own story. I am trying to find a way to respect privacy while telling my story. Tricky for a writer! I have wondered about this over the years when I have read memoirs. I'd be open to any advice here from other writers!

Thank you for your embodied reading and for following those swirls of feeling!

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Hi Schuyler, thanks for your reply. Yes, that recovery thing makes so much sense. What I meant by young wasn't at all immature or even naive. I really trusted both narrators (i.e. "then you" and "now you") What I meant was something more akin to beginner's mind. So what you've explained here really clicks because at that life juncture a lot of people become jaded, so I probably associated the absence of cynicism (in the tone) as youthful, when it could more likely be attributed to your devotion and practise of keeping your heart open.

And yes, the question of privacy vs truth-telling at the intersection of our stories is a big and complex one. I'm with you in that evolving process.

Looking forward to catching up on the rest this weekend. You're a great writer!

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Jan 20, 2023Liked by Schuyler Brown

Schuyler, I love your writing style - it's truly exquisite - and the story in itself really moved me. It brought up for me a profound remembrance of meeting a man in 2002 who played a similar role in my awakening at a pivotal time. My life and consciousness took a major turn (the beginning of a major unravelling) after crossing path with an ordinary man who showed up from the left field with a gaze that stayed with me to this day. His embodied still presence that locked our gaze for a timeless short moment was so profound, it broke me wide open. It wasn't about words he said nor his status. I just knew he knew something I was hungry for. He met something in my soul I was ready to know intimately and yet felt bewildered to be met at that level in the moment. In your story I see my story. I feel the universality and profundity in it. Thank you for sharing. Is this a chapter in a book you're writing? You inspire me to write. Continue. Thank you for involving us in the process. You inspire me in all that you offer so generously, again and again.

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Dearest Magalie, I received your encouragement this morning just when I needed it. You say, "Continue." And so I did. Thank you XO Yes, yes, yes! It is a universal story and I hope it will continue to resonate on that level with many women (and men) because I want and need to understand this story together. On my own it's been too private and too limited. I want to share. I hope that will happen as I write and women come forward with their stories.

Yes, this is a story I began writing in 2017 but never finished. I have decided to release it as a serial and work with reader comments to shape it emergently as we go. There is a whole other dimension to the story that will emerge week after next that involves the writer, Katherine Mansfield, from the 1920s. I will share her story here, too. Stay tuned!

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