On the Creation of Symbiosis
Cover Design by Tony Peluce
I’ve never been a patient person. The very nature of writing books requires patience. It is a trait I have had to work to develop. One might say, practicing patience and contentment in non-motion has been my character arc. As I prepare to publish book two after having to wait longer than anticipated, the entire world has been wrapped up in the Covid-19 pandemic for the better part of a year. It has forced all of us to practice patience. I feel like the world finally understands my pain.
I always felt like I could defy the odds with this project because Atlantis is the ultimate curiosity. My writing style suggests cinema, and that is not by accident. I always envisioned it in motion, and even spent a large chunk of my adult life in Los Angeles surrounded by the industry. I’ve met people in the biz, learned to write screenplays and even learned the ins and outs of producing, directing and editing films. That’s been the entire point of it all. But for me, it always circles back to patience.
Why? Because I have always chosen the most difficult paths to goals that perhaps may be too lofty. And let’s face it, I did not create a simple piece of work here. These books fall in the genre of Visionary Fiction. The book industry has broad genres, and I am forced to present it as fantasy. Yes, I am heavily influenced by Fantasy and Sci-Fi. This story has elements of both. There’s also romance, occult philosophy, theology, political allegory, theosophy, psychology, sociology, and above all, a passion for the idea of Atlantis. On top of all that, the thread of inquiry that has driven my creation of this complex world is in questioning the existence of evil.
This shit is deep, and it’s the outlet I need for the many dimensions of my brain. I’d be doing it regardless of how the world receives it. The “industry” of story-making relies on simple and formulaic more than it does deep and unique. That said, my work is a bit intense for the masses. But so was the Matrix. So, in that sense, hope always prevails.
The writing style I created for this story came from reading the vivid narrative of Tolkien. In fact, I feel kindred to that guy in many ways, mostly because this story is my life work. When a person embarks on the journey of writing and publishing, and even screenwriting, it is wise to perhaps follow proven formulas. For one, creating a trade series that constantly cranks out new books is a boon to writers. This story has been far more slow and meticulous in its development. There are many factors to this.
When I was younger, I was that person who always had a new passion driving me forward. One week I would want to be an herbalist. The next, I wanted to fly airplanes or galivant away on boats or some other death-defying adventure. I was a person with many skills. But at one point in my late 30’s I started subscribing to the idea that in order to find “success” I had to specialize in something. Before that, writing was just a hobby. My strange adventures (which figure into this narrative) became all about gathering ideas for my story. After all, the most valuable currency for a writer happens to be experiences. But something yucky started happening. I started caring for what I was doing and how it was being perceived, or how “successful” it was.
Maybe you’ve heard of Alan Watts and his Backwards Law. It basically means that the more you try and grab hold of something, the more it slips through your fingers. He says: “When you try to stay on the surface of water, you sink, but when you try to sink, you float. That insecurity is the result of trying to be secure.” It’s kind of a brain teaser, but ultimately, when I read that I understood my struggle with impatience. The more I pushed at what I was doing, the more it would slip through my fingers. I’ve had to learn to relax into the process and be ok with whatever it becomes. Put in Atlantean terms, I’ve had to follow the Vortex. Much like a certain character who I have based on myself. Can you guess who it is? Here’s a clue, we do not share the same gender.
This book was finished a year before it's time to publish with my new publishing company, Three of Diamonds Media. Had I found a traditional publisher before I went live with Book 1, perhaps everything would have moved quicker on all fronts. Instead, I have overcome obstacles and made many mistakes along the way, partly due to my impatient nature. It makes me think that perhaps I will always be the Tolkien type of writer and work on one giant epic tale all of my days. I am not a trade novelist cranking out words all the time. I have to practice being content with that, which is an important part of anyone’s writing process. We are slaves to the muse. And when the muse doesn’t sing, we don’t hear her.
After a year of sitting on the draft of Book 2, I picked it up again toward the end of 2020. As I read through it, I realized Book 2 is strangely prophetic. It seems like The United States, and perhaps even the world, are suffering from the same Madness epidemic that my Atlantis is facing. It is a splinter in the collective mind that separates us into our own chosen illusions of reality. All of us believe entirely that our individual illusion is the TRUTH. We cannot agree on a consensus anymore or even a compromise. That is collective madness, a cultural wound, if you will. Perhaps it is a symptom of the dark side of Democracy.
This is a bit of a spoiler, but a theme that arises in Book Two is expressed when my two big rival characters, Kyliron and D’Vinid, finally come face to face. Their fame as individuals prevents their meeting to have any sort of personal meaning. They are more embodiments of the various factions of culture. The argument asks about freedom of speech and freedom of expression, freedom of belief, or basically the right to simply BE. But do you have the freedom to impose all your freedoms on others? Does your freedom have to be someone else’s? Does your belief overrule others so that they have to act within the confines of your truth? How does a culture strike a balance where everyone is free within the confines of our responsibility to the collective?
We are going through that same discussion in the U.S. in 2020. I would say that when you impose your freedoms (right to say, do, believe what YOU want) on others, and especially if you hurt them in any way, you engage in evil. That doesn’t mean you ARE evil. You can DO evil deeds and still find some sort of redemption in changing that behavior. There will always be someone fighting you when you try and overpower their freedoms (right to say, do, believe what THEY want). And this is the shadow of democracy, after all. It works until one group’s ideals overpower another’s. Responsibility to the collective is thus betrayed.
The experiment of my Edgar Cayce-esque Atlantis mirrors the experiment of American Democracy. In my books, Atlantis is facing a descent into darkness, unlike us. We have nowhere to go but up. Atlantis has a long way to fall. And when you’re that high, the fall can be devastating.
In my Atlantis research, I have discovered that regardless of whether it is true or not, the myth of its existence is history in and of itself. Humans used to accept Atlantis as a fact, and when Vespucci or Columbus stumbled on the Americas, both of them had set out to find Atlantis. The very idea of an advanced culture falling into ruin has captured our imagination for centuries. Atlantis was the basis for the creation of Utopian Novels all through the history of Europe. Once Plato published the dialogue about Atlantis, a genre was born into the world, that of Utopianism. We long for Utopia, and yet, The Madness that drives us to acts of selfishness always interferes. Utopian Novels of times bygone are the author’s idea of a perfect society mixed with the author’s commentary on the deep wounding of their culture. They often come about when there is anxiety in a society about the state of itself.
One last important point. Before I finished the manuscript in 2019, I had a good friend die suddenly. He was a character in and of himself. Totally unique. Once you met the guy, he always made an impression, and he made sure to use his powers for good. Meeting him was always somehow life changing for people. It’s people like him who are ideal citizens. They make the world better wherever they go. The only way I could fill the giant hole of his absence was to add him to Book 2. The character Verdain is my homage to my buddy, Tomas Verde. He always espoused the use of magic and manifestation by passing out tiny rubber chickens in tiny bottles filled with glitter that served as reminders to remember MAGIC.
Some cool magic that happened for me this year... I never understood why people had cats. Tomas was all into his cats, and I never went over to hang out with him. But that was just because I have been severely allergic to them all my life. When I was reading the manuscript again, I realized that since I started writing about this magical black cat character, an actual black cat showed up in my life. Cats give me severe asthma, and it can be life threatening for me. But not this cat. He and I are boon companions, and he has even claimed my writing loft as his domain.
It’s hard to be a magical thinker in these times. Those who are, seem to have grasped on to stories as their truths. In many ways I have felt disenfranchised in 2020, the year of the apocalypse. Despite needing to have my feet on the ground, I have decided to remain a magical thinker, while also continuing my practice of patience. When you don’t know the truth, it’s best to wait until it reveals itself. Remember the backwards law. If you sit in patience and accept what IS without trying to force any kind of endgame, then magic will happen, and you may even find happiness. I hope you do.
Watch out for the upcoming release of my next book. Shadows of Atlantis: Symbiosis.
Yours in the Vortex,
Mara Powers is an author and free spirit who writes fictional tales about Atlantis. She currently lives in Denver, Colorado with a cat and a good man. Check out her work at
Photo by Mary Christina Brown