The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Fifteen — Steve Jobs


I am walking through the art studio at the far end of the lake. The visual artists love this area. They create freely here from their own inspiration and that of their fellow guests. Picasso is in one corner painting an abstract portrait of his mistress, Adriana. I have never understood his art but I have great respect and admiration for his creativity and imagination. I think he must add a little something to his tea throughout the day to see the world as he does, but that does not matter. He graciously nods at my presence before returning to his task at hand. Unless asked for my opinion, I do not disturbe an artist in the mist of his/her work.

I walk out into the garden. The white Easter Lillys are in full display swaying gently in the warm breeze. The small creek is full of tadpoles anxious to become frogs and turtles who bask in the sun on an old fallen tree branch. I notice Steve Jobs sitting quietly in one of the forest alcoves. He waves for me to come over.

“Good morning Socrates. What a beautiful day.”

Yes it is Steve. How are you doing?

I am well Socrates. Thank you. I have been completely free of any physical pain since my arrival… Socrates. May I ask you a question and will you answer truthfully?

“Yes and yes.”

“I know I did not want to die. No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. “

“That is all true Steve, but what is your question.”

“Socrates. Am I dead?”

I paused for a moment before answering because I realize Steve’s fragility, as he is newly arrived here. “Yes Steve your body is dead.” Before I can explain further, Steve interrupts.

“What of this body?” Steve pounds his chest. “It is solid and healthy. I am pain free for the first time in…” Steve stops in mid sentence. “How long have I been here?”

“Time is not measured here Steve so I am unable to answer your last question. You are in transition. The pain free body you have now is based on the memories of your body from when you were still alive. You are your same consciousness but in a transitional body.”

“The last thing I remember was being surrounded by Laurene and the kids. I tried to remain conscious despite the medications. Remembering that I will be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that I am going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking I had something to lose. There is no reason for one not to follow his own heart.”

“And that is exactly what you did Steve. You changed the world by following your heart. I had a similar experience myself during a recent heart attack. You realize nothing else really matters in the pursuit of your life. Everyone else is a guest in your life. You assign their roles and importance.”

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward but you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

“That simple approach to life is still true here Steve. We can only understand life by looking backwards, through it.”

“Where is here, Socrates?”

“This place is not a location. You are a guest at the Inn of Inspiration so you might continue with your creativity and expand upon your imagination. As you know all of the guests here are very creative in different fields of art, music, literature, politics, and science like yourself.”

“I know creativity is just a matter of connecting things. When you ask creative people how they did something, they feel a little guilty because they didn’t really do it, they just saw something. It seemed obvious to them after a while.”

“You helped many creative individuals realize that truth Steve. You inspired and provided the tools for inspiration to an entire planet of people. You helped connected the citizens of the planet with the same interconnected circuitry you used in the tools you developed.”

“I realized when I got ill how my time on earth is limited so I refused to waste it living someone else’s life. I refused to be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. I refused to let the noise of others’ opinions drown out my own inner voice. And most important, I had the courage to follow my heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”

“Exactly Steve, exactly.”

“One more thing Socrates if you don’t mind. How long can I stay at this beautiful Inn sharing time with so many gifted and talented individuals.”

“As I am the Gate Keeper here at the Inn Steve and you are here at my invitation, you are free to stay until you are ready to transition solely into spirit.”

“Thank you for your time and insights Socrates. I made plans to meet with Picasso and Adriana for tea and I see they are waiting by the lake. I would not like to keep them waiting any longer. Why don’t you join us. I understand Picasso makes a “spirited” cup of tea.

“Thank you Steve. It will be my pleasure.”


fa30726e-80c4-46be-a93b-c86437e7d8e2 The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Sixteen — Mary Oliver will be published on Sunday, February 03, 2019.

Cover Art “Aries” by   Emilee Petersmark.  


The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Fourteen — William Blake

85E45954-28E8-4929-9FA3-F1D1898277AFOne of my everyday joys is walking around the lake. The grey cobblestoned trail is the equivalent of the yellow brick road. It carries my body wherever my thoughts wish to take me. This walking meditation awakens me to the new and unfamiliar parts of my being. I asked the caretaker to extend the trail up to my cave so it might be easier to reach when it rains. This morning I am planning to walk it for the first time. Like my cave, the trail is only visible to me. To other guests it appears as dense undergrowth and forest. However, before reaching the new trail I see William Blake pacing in one of the wooded alcoves. 

“Good Morning William. I hope I am not intruding. I saw you from the path. We have not spoken for a while. How are you my friend?”

“Socrates. No, you are not an intrusion. I am very happy to see you.”

Socrates knows William is an intense personality. It is from this seeming endless energy his creativity is derived. 

William continues, “I am well Socrates. Thank you my friend. And you?”

“I am also well William. From my observation you seem a bit perplexed. Is there anything I might assist you with?”

“Yes, there is Socrates. I was wondering, as usual, about the duality of the body and soul. Although the body is gone after death, I believe the soul continues to live. I know that our deceased friends are more really with us than when they were apparent to our mortal part. Thirteen years ago I lost a brother, and with his spirit I converse daily and hourly in the spirit, and see him in my remembrance, in the region of my imagination. I hear his advice, and even now write from his dictate. People think I am insane.”

“I have had similar experiences following the loss of loved ones. The body is mortal but the soul is eternal. You are not insane William and no one here thinks you are.”

“Thank you Socrates for your support. I cannot help myself. In this mortal life I must create my own system or be enslaved by another man’s. I will not reason and compare, my business is to create. I wish to do nothing for profit. I wish to live for art.”

“And you do William. Everyone here is enamored with your poetry, your painting, and drawings. Your creativity is beyond the realms of mortal man. It comes from your soul.”

“I believe part of the problem is first the notion that man has a body distinct from his soul is to be expunged: this I shall do by printing in the infernal method by corrosives, which in Hell are salutary and medicinal, melting apparent surfaces away and displaying the infinite which was hid.”

“Your poetry does that as well William. It examines the nature of mankind and slowly peels away the layers of his existence until his core, his soul is reached. Your description of heaven and hell were instrumental in my understanding of mankind’s multilevel nature. We are not our bodies and unfortunately most of us lack understanding and appreciation of the soul’s role in our creativity and inspiration.”

“I think that is the problem I have with organized religion. It only examines mankind’s human behaviors and attempts to control his natural desires with outdated rules of morality. Men are admitted into heaven not because they have curbed and governd their passions or have no passions but because they have cultivated their understandings. The treasures of heaven are not negations of passion but realities of intellect from which all the passions emanate uncurbed in their eternal glory.”

“Once again I agree William. Inspiration and creativity come from the soul. You are an example of the creativity which is possible in man once he has discovered and accessed his own soul.”

“You never know what is enough until you know what is too much. I have not reached that point of my soul being one hundred saturated with the spirit of God yet Socrates. My creativity knows no bounds.”

“It is that spirit which is an inspiration to everyone here.”

“Thank you for your time and insights Socrates. I am ready to return to my studio. I am ready to record the undertakings of my soul. I know some think I am foolish but I do not care.”

“No one sees and records the soul’s creative processes better than you William.”

“I must only remember the tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way…A fool sees not the same tree that a wise man sees.”

“True. So very true. My wise friend.”


26d035f1-fb0d-421c-ba53-0d50579fe158 The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Fifteen — Steve Jobs will be published on Sunday, January 20, 2019.

Cover Art “Aries” by   Emilee Petersmark.  


The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Thirteen — Virginia Woolf


William and I are walking toward the massive front doors of the Library when a hand softly grabs my arm from behind.

“Socrates. Might you have a moment?”

I turn to see Virginia Woolf standing stunningly behind me with a stack of books under one arm, but before I can respond, I hear from William.

“Please go ahead Socrates. We can continue our discussion of truth another time. Good evening Virginia. I will see you both later at the evening’s event.”

“Thank you William. Please excuse my interruption.”

“No problem at all my dear lady.” William opens one of the Library’s doors and leaves.

“I so love this Library Socrates. It has every book I will ever want to read and I have all the time there is to read them. This is a book lover’s heaven. I have sometimes dreamt that when the Day of Judgment dawns — the Almighty will turn to Peter and will say when he sees us coming with our books under our arms, ‘Look, these need no reward. We have nothing to give them here. They have loved reading.’”

“I agree Virginia. This is where I come to listen, to connect the silent energy between the word and the brain. The voices here speak in whispers audible only to those who truly listen. The voices of all those who have ever put ink to paper speak to you here and are silent when one does not need their intervention.”

“This is what concerns me Socrates. I do not know my voice. One moment it is this. The next moment it is that. Polar opposites exist in this, my one body.”

“Do you think this tension of opposites is detrimental to your creativity?”

“No I do not. I believe in each of us two powers preside, one male, one female… The androgynous mind is resonant and porous… naturally creative, incandescent and undivided.”

“True Virginia. Then why fear it? Perhaps you should continue with your examination of your own words.”

“I want my writings to be true Socrates, but how much of the truth do I tell? Anyone moderately familiar with the rigours of composition will not need to be told the story in detail; how he wrote and it seemed good; read and it seemed vile; corrected and tore up; cut out; put in; was in ecstasy; in despair; had his good nights and bad mornings; snatched at ideas and lost them; saw his book plain before him and it vanished; acted people’s parts as he ate; mouthed them as he walked; now cried; now laughed; vacillated between this style and that; now preferred the heroic and pompous; next the plain and simple; now the vales of Tempe; then the fields of Kent or Cornwall; and could not decide whether he was the divinest genius or the greatest fool in the world.”

“This again is all true Virginia. So I must ask the question, ‘For whom do you write?’”

“The habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. It loosens the ligaments… What sort of diary should I like mine to be? Something loose knit and yet not slovenly, so elastic that it will embrace anything, solemn, slight or beautiful that comes into my mind. I should like it to resemble some deep old desk, or capacious hold-all, in which one flings a mass of odds and ends without looking them through. I should like to come back, after a year or two, and find that the collection had sorted itself and refined itself and coalesced, as such deposits so mysteriously do, into a mould, transparent enough to reflect the light of our life, and yet steady, tranquil compounds with the aloofness of a work of art. The main requisite, I think on re-reading my old volumes, is not to play the part of censor, but to write as the mood comes or of anything whatever; since I was curious to find how I went for things put in haphazard, and found the significance to lie where I never saw it at the time.”

“Truth is not an absolute Virginia, but please tell me, how would you write about the place where these two energies reside? Your soul?

“One can’t write directly about the soul. Looked at, it vanishes, and yet, how beautiful a street is in winter! It is at once revealed and obscured. Here vaguely one can trace symmetrical straight avenues of doors and windows; here under the lamps are floating islands of pale light through which pass quickly bright men and women, who, for all their poverty and shabbiness, wear a certain look of unreality, an air of triumph, as if they had given life the slip, so that life, deceived of her prey, blunders on without them. But, after all, we are only gliding smoothly on the surface. The eye is not a miner, not a diver, not a seeker after buried treasure. It floats us down a stream; resting, pausing, the brain sleeps perhaps as it looks.”

“And that stream Virginia has brought you here at my request.”

“A moment, once it lodges in the queer element of the human spirit, may be stretched to fifty or a hundred times its clock length my dear friend and I have taken up much of your precious time.”

“You can only receive what I freely give. Time changes everything and we adapt as best we can. You have not taken my time. We are both a part of this shared moment Virginia.”

“Are you saying Socrates that a self that goes on changing is a self that goes on living.”

“Yes Virginia. I am. We are.”

1D1B4FEB-F353-495B-A03F-ED62E5EB2F50.jpeg The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Fourteen — William Blake will be published on Sunday, Jauary 06, 2019.

Cover Art “Aries” by  Emilee Petersmark. 


The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Twelve — William James


I am taking a leisurely stroll through the garden to the west wing of the Inn, still unable to put words to my other worldly dragon experience with Ursula. The morning fog still holds the intoxicating scent of the night blooming cactus as the rays of the sun change the mist into invisible sweet air. I am on my way to the Library to meet with William James. We are both concerned as philosophers and psychologists with the decline of truth as a pillar of leadership in the affairs of states and of the world. 

I begin to cross the walking bridge over the stream and pause midway to stop and listen to the sounds of the water rushing over the rocks. The stream is strong after three nights of rain. It is spawning season for the salmon, and one of the guests favorite activities is witnessing their exhaustive trek each year to their birth place. They swim freely here without threat of capture. They are going home to give birth and to die. Much like the dragon Orm Irian. We must all complete this cycle of life and death. None of us are immune, but here we get to decide how, when we are ready.

I love this wing of the Inn. The Library is designed after the reading room in the New York Public Library only not as large and unlike the reading room, there are many nooks and crannies with a fireplace in each. Guests can arrange for a room and for requested texts or manuscripts to be delivered whenever they wish. There are no out of print books in our Library. Every book  ever written is available upon request. No book, however is permitted to leave the Library. William has asked to meet in Room #3.

I knock on the door.

“Please come in Socrates. I have been expecting you. Thank you for meeting on such short notice. Would you like a brandy?”

“Yes. Of course William. I will be happy to join you in a brandy. I too would like to continue our previous conversation on the subject of truth. Are you interested?”

“Yes. Of course my friend. I agree with you that truth can not be an absolute for as you so rightly argued, an absolutely must be complete in and of itself. Truth in and of itself is not complete. We have the truth, the half truth, the right out lie, the little white lie, the lie of convenience and many more aspects of what we call truth.”

“But William. Is absolute truth even a reasonable thought or condition to strive for? Does truth prevail over lies? Are not both truth and lies equal contenders for human consciousness? The lies of advertisers for so many industries mislead and destroy the health of millions of citizens with no real detriment to their profits and they continue.”

“True Socrates but who controls the truth? Any person at anytime can claim a hold on the truth and later another can also claim he holds the truth. Who determines the truth? What qualifies as truth in a world of lies?”

“When one human is asked to testify against another, he swears ‘to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth,’ so help him God. Is that even possible William? Are our political systems asking for the impossible in the search for truth?”

“There will always be shades of truth Socrates, but as a pragmatist I see a concept like truth as a tool for prediction and problem solving and reject the idea that truth can in any way be used only as a means to describe or mirror a reality. I contend there is no such thing. The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths.”

“Yes, my friend. Truer words have not been spoken.”

The two men then toast each other on their realization as the chimes sound for the evening event.

585DC05E-15F0-4BD2-A6E2-7511152FF190.jpeg The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Thirteen — Virginia Woolf will be published on Sunday, December 16, 2018.

Cover Art “Aries” by  Emilee Petersmark. 


The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Eleven — Ursula K Le Guin

85E45954-28E8-4929-9FA3-F1D1898277AFSometimes in the early hours of the day I like to hike the forest trails surrounding the property. There is something special about watching the sun rising through the branches of trees from the floor of the forest. I see life being regenerated in everything, from the opening blooms of flowers to the hungry sounds of baby robins tormenting their mothers for food. I have been thinking about words today and their power and impact upon society. Up ahead I see the bench where I usually stop to rest is occupied by Ursula K Le Guin. I attempt to back away but I unintentionally cause a break in her meditation and she looks up.

“Good Morning Socrates. I was just enjoying the feel of the sunrise through the trees upon my face. This land reminds me so much of home. I love this magical place you invited me to.”

“Good Morning Ursula. Please excuse my intrusion. I thought I was alone on the trail and I must have been thinking out loud to myself.”

“No apology is necessary Socrates. I welcome your presence.”

“Thank you Ursula. You mentioned home. Did you mean your home in Portland?”

Ursula laughs. “No my masterful friend. I was speaking of our home on The Farthest Shore.”

“The home of dragons?”

“Yes, of course.”

Ursula sees I am confused by her words, but continues. “I believe one of the functions of art is to give people the words to know their own experience.”

“Yes. I agree.”

“It’s one reason why we read poetry, because poets can give us the words we need. When I read good poetry, I often say, ‘Yeah, that’s it. That’s how I feel.’ Poets get the words right!”

Although it was my desire to speak with Ursula about words and storytelling, right now I am at a total loss for any words at all. I am still lost in her words, “The Farthest Shore.” I mange to pull my thoughts together enough to ask, “Is this the reason you started to write Science Fiction? “To give readers the necessary vocabulary for life possibilities beyond this one?”

“Yes, partly. Words do have power. Names have power. Words are events, they do things, change things. They transform both speaker and hearer; they feed energy back and forth and amplify it. They feed understanding or emotion back and forth and amplify it.”

“We are both poets. We know the power of words, but where does the science come in?”

“Science describes accurately from outside, poetry describes accurately from inside. Science explicates, poetry implicates. Both celebrate what they describe. We need the languages of both science and poetry to save us from merely stockpiling endless “information” that fails to inform our ignorance or our irresponsibility.”

“You are a gifted storyteller Ursula. It was your poetic language which led me to read your EarthSea Trilogy. These books were my first reading adventure into science fiction. They changed my life. I began to feel free again.”

Ursula pauses for a moment, then continues, “As a writer, I want the language to be genuinely significant and mean exactly what it says… If you believe that words are acts, as I do, then one must hold writers responsible for what their words do.”

“I know and believe in the power of words. Your words helped me to overcome my fear of dragons which started with a movie I saw around the  age five. Your stories helped me to believe again in magic, in other worlds, worlds within and beyond this orb we live in. Such was the power of your words.”

“Wow! Thank you Socrates. That is quite a compliment.”

“It is true Ursula. I only give compliments when they are so.”

Ursula is momentarily at a loss for words now. 

I continue. “In my later years I had a life changing dream about a dragon and had one tattooed on my chest. I would never have had that done in my youth. I did not trust myself enough and I did not trust the possible consequences of my action if there were to be any.”

“To see that your life is a story while you’re in the middle of living it is a help to living it well.”

“I know. I learned that truth from reading your books, Ursula.”

“There’s a point, around the age of twenty, when you have to choose whether to be like everybody else the rest of your life, or to make a virtue of your peculiarities. When I was young, I had to choose between the life of being and the life of doing. And I leapt at the latter like a trout to a fly. But each deed you do, each act, binds you to itself and to its consequences, and makes you act again and yet again. Then very seldom do you come upon a space, a time like this, between act and act, when you may stop and simply be. Or wonder who, after all, you are.”

“Well, it took me until my mid thirties to come to grips with that choice. After thirty six years of doing, I tried just being. I still sometimes wonder who I am. Being here as you say is ‘between acts.‘ I am here. That I know, but change is certain.”  

“And no matter how much I change there’s something about me that doesn’t change, hasn’t changed, through all the remarkable, exciting, alarming, and disappointing transformations my body has gone through. There is a person there who isn’t only what she looks like, and to find her and know her I have to look through, look in, look deep. Not only in space, but in time.”

“And what do you see when you look deeply into your true self?”

“Dragons. Dragons everywhere… When I die, I can breathe back the breath that made me live. I can give back to the world all that I didn’t do. All that I might have been and couldn’t be. All the choices I didn’t make. All the things I lost and spent and wasted. I can give them back to the world. To the lives that haven’t been lived yet. That will be my gift back to the world that gave me the life I did live, the love I loved, the breath I breathed. The way to see how beautiful the earth is, Socrates, is to see it as the moon sees it. The way to see how beautiful life is, is from the vantage point of death.”

“I understand Ursula. How might I be of service.”

“I would like you to escort me along The Other Wind to our home Socrates. 

“The home you spoke of earlier? The Farthest Shore?

“Yes. Home isn’t where they have to let you in. It’s not a place at all. Home is imaginary. Home, imagined, comes to be. It is one thing to read about dragons and another to meet them. Are you ready Socrates to meet your true self?”

Before I could answer, she brings her palms together and is immediately surrounded with fire. Her body is transforming. I can see the formation of a red head and golden wings. Then horns and huge amber eyes. After a few moments she appears as a beautiful dragon.

“You are The dragon Orm Irian. The sister of Tehanu and called daughter by Kalessin, the oldest of dragons, from your stories.“

“Yes. I am Socrates. You are a dragon too. Your real name is Dragon Tao.”

As if to prove once more the power of words, when Orm Irian speaks my dragon name outloud, I become a ball of fire from which the Dragon Tao emerges. Orm Irian leaps from the trail into the sky as my transformation is completing. I watch her soar a hundred feet above me as I stretch my wings and ready for flight. We climb through the various trade winds until we reach the Other Wind, the one that will take us to the Farthest Shore.

Ursula’s last words to me before she became Orm Irian were these. 

I remember one time while in human form I saw the dragons aloft on the wind at sunset above the western isles; and I would be content. I know it is time to return home now because I am no longer content with just watching. Thank you Socrates for being my guide.” 

“My pleasure Ursula. My pleasure always. We are dragons all.”

EE5C31C3-72F7-464F-9630-CD01018F7A35 The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Twelve — William James will be published on Sunday, December 02, 2018.

Cover Art “Aries” by  Emilee Petersmark. 

The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Ten — May Sarton


85E45954-28E8-4929-9FA3-F1D1898277AFThis morning I am walking along the path around the lake. It is a beautiful Spring day. The sun is already warming the dew air. I see Henry and Jimmy relaxing in the hot springs. They wave me over, but I wave back and keep walking. As exciting and open I know that conversation would be, I need solitude this morning. My responsibilities as gate keeper of the Inn keep me charged with the presence and sharing with those I invited here. This is my world. There is no place else I would rather be. And for me to give all of myself to this garden of inspiration, I need to seek my other reality as Henry Miller puts it. That is time alone. Solitude.

After the roaring ocean sounds of Big Sur and the gentle lapping sounds of the South Pacific (except during hurricane season when the ocean and the wind combine to make nature’s loudest noise) I have come to appreciate the quietness here of the almost still lake, but today I venture upstream to the lake’s source a few miles up the mountain’s side. It is the place I go when I need solitude. It is as vivid a part of the dream that brings you this story as the individuals you meet. The veiled entry opens only to me. It can be observed from the trail, but not entered except by myself. The guests refer to it as Socrates’ Cave. No doubt a pun on my student Plato’s Allegory Of The Cave, but it is not a cave at all. 

My cave is a small alcove open on one side to the stream which intersects a natural hot spring. I collected rocks from the hillside and built a round tub where the streams intersect to make nature’s most inviting hot tub. I know I could have just imagined the hot tub and it would have appeared, but I wanted to create everything in this space with my own hands. The only piece of furniture is a small sitting bench facing the stream. The other three sides of the alcove are vines, flowers, trees, and a family of red foxes who created their burrow here.

I look down toward the lake and I see May Sarton coming up the trail. I walk to my veiled doorway and open it so she knows where to come. I invited her to share tea with me this morning. I wanted her to see my place of solitude.

“Good Morning Socrates. I did not know you invited anyone to share your cave. I feel humbled.”

“You are my first visitor May. I wanted to invite you to my place of solitude because your poetry and journals greatly influenced me and my approach to solitude. Now solitude is as important a part of my life as breathing. I come here at least once every day to reflect and to review the on going events of my life.”

“I know exactly what you mean Socrates. I am alone here for the first time in weeks to take up my “real” life again at last. That is what is strange — that friends, even passionate love, are not my real life, unless there is time alone to explore and to discover what is happening or has happened.”

I added a small table for tea and two chairs in the alcove for May’s visit. The view and sound of running water over the rocks complete the serene setting. We both sit down and admire the moving picture before us.

“O’ Socrates. This is a most beautiful solitude I have ever experienced. Thank you again for sharing your cave with me. Do you come here to write?”

“No. I do not write here May. I come here to clear my mind of thought and to recharge my energy when life uses more than I sometimes have. It is a constant battle of balance. As you can see, the alcove is very sparse in furnishings and yet filled with nature’s abundance and beauty.”

Just then two of the fox cubs come out of their burrow and playfully approach May. She offers each a biscuit. The third climbs up my pant leg and falls asleep in my lap. The mother fox pokes out her head to check on the cubs, sees all is well and returns inside.

“I understand why your cave is invisible to the guests. A place of solitude must be available when needed in the moment. You do not want to schedule a particular time for solitude or have to stand in line for a ticket.”

“Yes May. I know you understand. Your writings, particularly Journal Of Solitude inspired me to carve out a place for it and to incorporate solitude into my life without guilt. I can see from here that all is going well down below without my presence. I also invited you here to share a little more about poetry if you are up for it.”

“Why of course Socrates. I am, I think, more of a poet…, if to be a poet means allowing life to flow through one rather than forcing it into a mold the will has shaped: if it means learning to let the day shape the work, not the work, the day, and so live toward essence as naturally as a bird or a flower.”

“How true. Although I do not write here, this alcove, this nature inspires my creative soul.”

“We are the same Socrates. We both journal our lives but deep inside we are poets. You choose to be a novelist, but you’re chosen to be a poet. This is a gift and it’s a tremendous responsibility. We have to be willing to give something terribly intimate and secret of ourselves to the world and not care, because we have to believe that what we have to say is important enough.”

“I am never quit sure of that last part May. I write for me so I do not know if my words are important to anyone else.”

“Of course they are Socrates. Poets find one another. I find my position as a poet today a curious one… For a long time I have maintained that the poet’s affair was the individual human soul, the story of it in one man, in my case the transforming of personal emotions into written events. I still believe that our job is somehow or other to be above the mêlée, or so deeply in it that one comes through to something else, something universal and timeless. It is only when we can believe that we are creating the soul that life has any meaning, but when we can believe it—and I do and always have—then there is nothing we do that is without meaning and nothing that we suffer that does not hold the seed of creation in it.”

“Yes May. Very true words. Poetry transforms and transports us through the chaos of life and even death to this universal, timeless space we are now in.”

“Solitude itself is a form of poetry. Both wait for the inaudible and the invisible to make themselves felt. And that is why solitude is never static and never hopeless. On the other hand, every friend who comes to stay enriches the solitude forever; presence, if it has been real presence, does not ever leave.”

“I understand May. Your presence here this morning has already greatly enriched this alcove, my place of solitude. You added another layer of inspiration to the running stillness of nature.”

“Thank you Socrates. I believe all art must be nourished by faith, the faith of an equal. We must live our lives burning them up as we go along, so that at the end nothing is left unused, so that every piece of it has been consumed in the work. There is no being sure of anything except that whatever has been created will change in time, and sometimes quite erratically.”

“Yes May. There is no certainty in life, but we are here, now. Poetry, solitude, journals are all necessary elements of the creative lives we live. I too want nothing left of my being unused…but before that happens, I am going to soak in the hot wading tub I built in the stream. Would you care to join me?”

“Yes Socrates! It would be my pleasure.”

BC2D532E-CC4F-40F1-8D15-C56F89FE74FB.jpeg The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Eleven — Ursula K Le Guin will be published on Sunday, November 11, 2018.

Cover Art “Aries” by Emilee Petersmark.


The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Nine — Henry Miller

85E45954-28E8-4929-9FA3-F1D1898277AF“Good evening Henry.”

“Good evening, Socrates. I am looking for June. Have you seen her?”

“We were with each other earlier Henry. She had asked me to assist her in finding you and Anaïs. Then the music started and June wanted to dance. She left after a few dances to look for you. Is everything okay?”

“Socrates, I do not believe you could have any idea how chaotic it feels to be in between two women I love.”

“O’ I think I might,” responds Socrates. “I have had my share of misunderstandings and romanic mixups. You are not alone.”

“I feel as if I am always in two worlds at once, and neither of them is the world of reality. One is the world I think I am in, the other the world I would like to be in.”

“That is a dilemma my friend. What then do you think is the world of reality?”

“I think everyone has his own reality in which, if one is not too cautious, timid or frightened, one swims. This is the only reality there is. If you can get it down on paper, in words, notes, or color, so much the better. The great artists don’t even bother to put it down on paper: they live it silently, they become it. This is the reality I strive for.”

“Is this the reality you found during your years living in Big Sur?

“You know Socrates for some time now I have stressed the fact that whatever “it” is one gets here at Big Sur, one gets it harder, faster, straighter than one would elsewhere. I come back to it again. I say, the people there are fundamentally no different from the people elsewhere. Their problems are basically the same as those who inhabit the cities, the jungles, the desert or the vast steppes. The greatest problem is not how to get along with one’s neighbor but how to get along with one’s self. Trite, you might say. But true, nevertheless.”

“I agree. During my years at Esalen my life expanded in so many directions and areas of self discovery. I began to seen the world and life differently. My senses were put on reboot. I could see perfectly.”

“Things not only look different, they are different, when perfect sight is restored. To see things whole is to be whole. The fellow who is out to burn things up is the counterpart of the fool who thinks he can save the world. The world needs neither to be burned up nor to be saved. The world is, we are. Until we accept the fact that life itself is founded in mystery, we shall learn nothing. By the way Socrates, thank you for the invitation. This is life’s true reality.”

“My pleasure Henry. You know it was your book Big Sur And The Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch that implanted Big Sur into my consciousness. Upon completion of your book, I started looking for a way to get there. It was in Big Sur where I experienced magic again, from start to finish. That place and my experiences there opened my life to the miraculous.”

“The greatest miracle Socrates is the discovery that all is miraculous. And the nature of the miraculous is utter simplicity. The ground for any kind of growth and cultivation is prepared by lying fallow. The nearer I get to the grave the more time I have to lay fallow. Nothing is important now, in the sense it once was. I can lean to the right or left, without danger of capsizing. I can go off the course, too, if I wish, because my destination is no longer a fixed one. As those two delightful bums in Waiting For Godot say time and again:

“Let’s go!”


And no one budges.”

“Perfect my friend! An unfixed destination, that is what I strive to inspire here with my guests. How perfect it is when we realize that the miraculous is everywhere in everything. That the one in all waits patiently for all to be at one with all there is.”

“And you have. My suite is all the places I want to write, the Inn, these garden filled grounds, your guests. This is all part of the miraculous Socrates. You have created this heaven.”

“Yes it is my friend, but the inspiration comes through you and the other writers, poets, philosophers and artists who are here by my invitation. I am merely the facilitator. We all process a certain amount of wisdom and this wisdom needs to be shared with all of life.”

“I agree Socrates. Every great sage has maintained that it is impossible to impart wisdom. And it is wisdom we need, not more knowledge or even “better” knowledge. We need wisdom of life, which is a kind of knowledge that only initiates have thus far been known to possess.”

“Yes Henry and we are the new initiates.”

“I discovered eventually that, after giving time and attention to people, what I said made no difference. I maintain that advice is futile. One must find out for himself. It sounds cruel but it isn’t.”

“No, it is not cruel and it is true,” says Socrates.

“You have to get to the point of no return before coming up again. There’s no God protecting you. In the end you have to come back to yourself. It has got to be you doing something, whatever you decide upon. Do what you think you have to do and don’t try to follow somebody else’s pattern because he was successful. You can’t be that way. You are You. You’re absolutely unique and each one has his own destiny. We can learn as much as we wish, listen to the greatest masters and so on, but what we do, what we become, is determined by our character. The aim of life, Socrates, is to live, and to live means to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware.”

“Spoken like a true man of wisdom and it is that kind of wisdom which infuses the blood and cells of every person here, individually and collectively. That is why I invited you here Henry to share your experience and wisdom with us.”

“I did have diarrhea of the mouth there for a bit. After saying I know longer give advice to people, I proceeded to tell the advice I would give, to the person who has no need of my words.”

“Advice given from our experience and shared with a pure heart is wisdom Henry.”

“Thank you Socrates for that insight. I am overwhelmingly joyful to be invited this this wondrous reality. There is just one other thing to know…when you have expressed yourself to the fullest, then and only then will it dawn upon you that everything has already been expressed, not in words alone but in deed, and that all you need really do is say Amen!”

“I seem to hear that word often of late Henry. Amen!”

At that moment June and Anaïs approach us, arm in arm, laughing like two school girls sharing a secret.

“Back to reality,” says Henry in a whisper. “But what a reality to be in Socrates, I am the happiest man alive.”

3368035B-4D36-4163-8381-8B40940711E1 The Gate Keeper Of Inspiration: Chapter Ten — May Sarton will be published on Sunday, October 28, 2018.

Cover Art “Aries” by Emilee Petersmark.