Dean Inge (professor of divinity at Cambridge) once said: "What is originality? Undetected Plagiarism." Forgive me, professor, but I beg to differ. Nothing brings on originality like writing a book from scratch. Take it from one who knows. I’ve been bowled over by original thoughts more than once and I can tell you—it’s not only a mind-blowing experience, it is head-to-the-floor humbling.
Let me paint you a picture: You start out with a thesis… a question really… or maybe, if you’re lucky, a burning passion to KNOW. And then you get busy reading what’s already been written on your topic. This is sometimes misnamed research; it’s more accurate to call it what it is—a review of the literature. (Although even my blue-collar boyfriend… black rubber boyfriend? he’s a scuba diver… will tell you that much of what’s written these days is hardly literature. More like drivel but then, that’s another blog.)
If you're lucky, somewhere in space and time whilst you’re reading and googling away, the muses will drop in to assist. You’ll know they’ve arrived when coincidences start coming fast and furious. A piece of paper slips out of an old book, for example. That’s what happened when I was writing Svelte & Sexy: The Naughty Girl’s Guide to Lifelong Weight Mastery. And it wasn’t even a book off my shelf; it was a book Barbara Marx Hubbard had lent me that I’d pulled out to pack up and take back to her. The piece of paper that fell out was a flyer about another book titled Three Faces of Mind, which I just so happened to have on my shelf. That book contained information about brain stem parameters that addressed the BIG QUESTION I had been asking for several years: why did my food addiction expire if addictions are supposedly incurable? The other big coincidence that shaped my thesis on that project occurred when my online publisher (Tim Bratton of Personal Life Media) sat down with me to do a search engine optimization session. He did his best geek-imitation (he's quite the master in disguise) looking up all the key words and SEO tags I’d listed for my information product launch. We looked up weight loss, fat reduction, lose fat not muscle, slim down, get thin—you get the picture. Every search we tested showed pretty much the same result: the search engines were saturated. No way would we get a high Google rating if we named the project “Get A Cute Ass in 3 weeks!” for example. Cute ass was a lock-down on Google. But when Tim typed in the word overeating, his eyes lit up. “Put that word in your title and your golden,” he said. "I can get you ranked at #3 or 4 on google in six months. You'll be right up there with Overeaters Anonymous." Ka-ching, ka-ching. I heard my shopping cart cash drawer ring.
It was a blessing in disguise—my favorite kind.
Next thing I know, an e-book I wrote back in 2004—right around the time Oprah did two shows on The Secret in a row—had been resurrected. Simple Food, A Rich Life: The Seven Spiritual Keys to a Svelte Lifestyle, which I wrote in a literal fuge state in direct response to Lisa Nichols' comments about applying The Secret to weight loss, was raised from the dead zone of my documents file as The Overeating Cure. And because Tim’s wife, Susan Pizzazz Bratton, is equally savvy at harvesting ideas from Amazon, the next thing I knew after that, I was enchanted by Dr. Kessler’s seminal summary of the entire food addiction problem: The End of Overeating. Ah-ha moment after ah-ha moment occurred. One insight after another like a long winding string of dominos. By the time I finished the first draft I knew I was onto something BIG. Something unprecedented. Something delivered direct and undeniably from the unseen. I had actually articulated what I didn’t even know I was looking for: A Cure for Overeating. And while I don’t think we sold more than two copies of that information product, the website still exists. Check it out: www.theovereatingcure.com
I have a funny feeling that a similar domino-cascade began two weeks ago. I was doing my thing out at Joy Compound, Stuart Zimmerman’s beautiful spread out in Fairfield. I’m bopping along and minding my own business before a launch pad (that’s what we call the small groups that come to receive initiation as a Universal Being) when a friend I haven’t seen in 25+ years walks through the door. Of course, I don’t recognize her at first. After all, 25 years changes people. But a vague recognition hits me the moment our eyes meet. It’s three hours before the puzzle pieces of my memory rearrange themselves and I say: “I remember where I know you from! Did you work on Union Street in 1984?” Sure enough—it was she. And with that recognition, my memory bank opened an entire vault of associations. Juliette and I had both worked at Hermenet, a spin-off of the EST training. During Werner Erhard’s pre-disappearance heyday, he founded a company along with Fernando Flores, a linguist, philosopher, and dignitary from Chile. The company's primary product was a seminar called Entreprenuerial Tools. Flores’ influence on Werner was considerable. So profound was his recognition of the ontological dimension of being and the importance of declarations of being, that he decided to retire the training. I had attended the last EST Training and went on staff just about the time the first-ever Forum was delivered for the staff and, let me tell you, the man was on fire. I sat in the front row. When I look back on that long endurance-run of a weekend, I can still feel his body heat and the occasional spray of his saliva as he paced back and forth across the stage.
Back to Juliette and our experience in days gone by. It was to be my last 9-5 job, and while WE & A (Werner Erhard and Associates) isn’t exactly the corporate world, my job did require professional duds. That was a real problem for me back in the early 80s. See, at that point in my life, my father was on the slow declining slope of gastro-intestinal cancer and I was addicted to Mrs. Fields. Cookie Lust had my animus by the balls. I weighed 190 pounds. No shit. I have pictures. And I wasn’t pregnant. I don't know what Mrs. Fields put in her mixing bowl, but that stuff was lethal. Actually, that isn't true… thank you, Dr. Kessler… I do know what she put in that bowl. The perfect balance of salt, sugar and fat can turn any unsuspecting 20-something into a cookie monster. Enough for now… it's now 5a and I've reached my daily goal of 1k words. Time to head back to bed for some shut eye.