Hear me, oh Muse, I sing to thee…

A Hand Full of Sand

The original and ONLY manuscript of my first novel, A Hand Full of Sand (1987), typed on a Smith Corona mechanical typewriter when I was 27 while living in my car , a 72′ Newport parked on the beach in the Redwood National Park in northern California, living on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches spread with the handle of my toothbrush.

I am in the mountains in northern Mendocino County, California, a long way from a paved road. As I write this post, I am in a place that is one stone’s throw to the north from the tent site I refer to in High Ground (1995), the story of my “enlightenment”, and one stone’s throw to the south of where once stood a dirty old shack that was the site of the vision from the Lord’s Bedchamber (2002) that revealed the cast of characters of the Peace Story, and the solution to the problem of man’s inhumanity to man. Which led to - 

Hero Nation (2004),
New Atlantis (2009 – video to Governor Schwarzenegger, filmed while living in a tent in the Costa Rica jungle with no money to get home )
Bring on the Hero Show! My change.org petition to Governor Brown (2012)
The  Hero Engine Kickstarter Proposal (2013)
The Hero Engine Diagram, (2013)
A Catholic Hero Engine in my Letter to Pope Francis Re: The Peace Story – Ending War and Poverty (2014)

What I am wondering, oh Muse, is if it would be possible for you to send me just ONE Patron of the Arts ? (Publisher? Producer?) Maybe someone who appreciates what I am trying to do? This would seem ideal, and perhaps, the beginning of a great friendship/partnership.


My Secret Hero Life

The Christopher Sly Story

Contact: Christopher Sly

Stay tuned here for the unbelievable climax – The Crossing of the Return Threshold

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Posted in Letters to a Friend

The Threshold of Uncertainty

Letter to a Friend

To: Pope Francis the First
From: Christopher Sly
Re: The Threshold of Uncertainty – Escaping Anger and the Hero’s Journey back to Peace

Hello again Brother Francis. I hope you received my last letter, and that you don’t mind the informality of this contact, but because I was raised in the Catholic Community, I feel like we are already old friends. I was an alter boy. I attended four Catholic schools -

Saint Anthony’s (El Segundo, CA)
Our Lady Of Malibu (Malibu, CA)
Saint Paschal Baylon (Thousand Oaks, CA)
The University of Notre Dame (South Bend, IN) (with Joe Montana!)

and I love the Hero Jesus story. One of my favorite moments is when he says Let he who is without sin cast the first stone. Like Jesus must have, I have found myself standing with stone in hand boiling with righteous wrath, and escaped by doing the One thing that righteous wrath was there to prevent: to turn and question myself. When we understand how rage overtakes reason, and how righteous wrath is a recoil, an imagined place to hide from a terrifying uncertainty, then we can forgive those who have become trapped in a place that is living hell. This is the Selfish Heart and Knowing Mind of the Monster Punisher. This place  frequently kills you, when the pain drives you insane and death seems the only way out. And there you are, standing in a schoolyard, or on a crowed bus, with a gun, or wearing an exploding vest. Many people end their game when they get trapped inside the Monster, and to shake him, they are driven into a suicide run.

If you are reading this right now and you are trapped inside the Monster, please, set down your stones, Bro, and follow me through the Pass (story, exercise). I am going to try to get you out of here alive.

People Play Characters Playing Roles

The Characters of The Peace Story
Grateful Heart / Seeking Mind (The Hero Problem Solver)
Grateful Heart / Knowing Mind (The Saintly Preacher)
Selfish Heart / Seeking Mind (The Pirate Predator)
Selfish Heart / Knowing Mind (The Monster Punisher)

It is the crippling weakness of the Selfish Heart, that it will perpetrate any atrocity upon any innocent when they become frightened, that is the primary driving force of war and poverty . And though their actions are terrible, we should have compassion for the people who are trapped inside of this mental illlness, and its suffocating perceptual limitations necessary to prevent you from doing the One thing that allows you escape – to turn and question yourself. Selfishness typically has no interest in questioning itself. Anger is a “rush” we can become addicted to, and reason ceases to matter.

Righteous Wrath becomes the certainty inside which we hide from our fears of uncertainty, for which we suffer all of anger’s terrible consequences. Anger has a dirty little secret – anger is a choice we make because it feels much better than the fear which triggered it. Anger is hard to give up, it holds us tight in the fire of its embrace. I see a lot of this in the news. The Monster packs are propagating quickly now as the Peoples’ Fears are manipulated by the lies of the Pirate Lords, and the Pirates are getting richer and more powerful.

It is easy to understand why so many parents use selfish motivation to to gain obedience from their children. To inspire with promises of selfish reward and painful punishment seems the only way to protect them from the real and serious dangers of not obeying rules created to protect them. It is easy to see how nice it would be if you could gain their obedience by promising them heaven and threatening them with hell, but to do that, you need GOD to promise heaven and threaten hell. And here Brother Francis, we come to a place that is very much at the heart of the problem.

To gain their children’s obedience, parents willfully trap their children inside the selfish heart and knowing mind, because that is the only way to motivate their obedience by making promises in the name of God. As you might expect, this produces a child who can not tell the difference between fantasy and reality -

Children Exposed To Religion Have Difficulty Distinguishing Fact From Fiction, Study Finds

and who will now spend a lifetime defending their Programmed Truth by turning their backs to reality, turning their backs to God, their Creator. I think we both know that you have not suddenly become divinely infallible, Brother. The Fruit does not make us divinely infallible, it only makes us believe we have become divinely infallible, and this is the original sin that is destroying us. It is this enduring dishonesty that is at the heart of so many of our enduring problems. You are seducing young hearts and minds into into your True Story with selfish promises of reward, and trapping them in roles obedient to you for their entire life by sealing the only exit, The Threshold of Uncertainty. If they doubt your True Story, they will burn in Hell for all eternity, and they must die within your True Story to receive their reward. The unintended consequences of this educational philosophy are the suppression of the Grateful Seeker, and the spread of war and poverty.

I just want to point out that both the Monster and the Pirate characters are in your church, because the Monster is a true believer, and the Pirate has no problem pretending. Pirates and Monsters frequently clothe themselves in either Hero or Saintly costume. But not you and I,  Brother Francis, we chose a character of the Grateful Heart, we play the Hero and the Saint. Like my parents, though our minds are a universe apart, our Grateful Hearts beat as one. All that stands between us is the Threshold of Uncertainty. If the Hero and the Saint can bridge this threshold, we can unify our mission, the ending of war and poverty. Together, the Hero and the Saint could build a Solution Engine that will accelerate the People into a future of peace and unimaginable prosperity. The Hero Story also ends happily ever after…

What I believe, Brother, is that if the Hero and the Saint can form a partnership around the mission of ending war and poverty, we are going to pull a lot of Players from the ranks of the Selfish Hearts. If the church were to orient its educational pedagogy around the exercise of team problem solving applied to the problems of our most desperate, then you will graduate students with raised awareness of the the problems and mastery of the mechanisms for working together to solve them. You do THAT, and I won’t be the only Grateful Seeker trying to send my kids to Catholic school. You do THAT, and I would be having so much fun I can’t believe I would ever want to leave that community.

I think it was the purity of my mother’s loving heart that most attracted my father.

I want to assure you that my mother was wrong about me being an atheist, but she was right about Ayn Rand -

Atlas did not shrug, Ayn Rand did, and there is nothing heroic about selfishness.

Sincerely yours in Peace,
Christopher Sly

Posted in Letters to a Friend

The Peace Story – Ending War and Poverty

*Note: a hardcopy of this letter has been mailed to Pope Francis

Letter to a Friend

To: Pope Francis the First
From: Christopher Sly
Re: The Peace Story – Ending War and Poverty

When my mother was a little girl her favorite uncle was a Catholic priest named Father John that she believed could heal the sick with his hands. Her given name was Clara, but she chose to go by her middle name, Frances, in honor of her favorite saint. At the age of 18, as she stood in that threshold separating her childhood past from her adult future, she had narrowed down the course she would take with her life to one of two choices: Catholic nun, or Catholic nurse.

Her mother said – “You are going to be a secretary.” So my mother borrowed a $100 from her uncle the farmer, and a $100 from her aunt the family witch, and entered nurses training at Sacred Heart Hospital in Johnstown Pennsylvania. On that night when my parent’s stories first touch she was a 24 year old Registered Nurse who had won a scholarship to a degree program at Duquesne University. She wanted to go rollerskating. Her friends said no, so she went alone.

When my father was a little boy he would spin back and forth for hours upon a twisting rope. He said he thought that if he could figure out the laws of physics that controlled what appeared to be perpetual motion that he could design an engine that would change the world. At the age of 18 he became a mechanical engineering major at Pennsylvania State University, and he told me that when he graduated he took the lowest paying job of anyone in his graduating class, because they gave him exactly what he asked for.

It was the Westinghouse Research Laboratories, and they were going to allow him to rotate through their various laboratories and work with some of the worlds great scientists until he chose his field of research. It was the beginning of a “cold war era” defense industry career during which he would pile up more college credits than if he had received three doctoral degrees, and that would end at Hughes Aircraft, where he became Head of the Missile Propulsion Section, Head of the Secret Analysis Section, and Senior Staff for the Top Secret Analysis of Russian Missile Systems.

But on THAT night, he was a twenty-something, 6 foot tall, blonde haired blue eyed lean roller skater who had a thing for nurses. He said – “I knew that first night.” She said – “I wasn’t so sure.”

“You will convert to Catholicism, be baptized, and attend mass with me.”, she said. He said – “OK.”

“Our 8 children will be baptized and raised Catholic”, she said. He said – “OK.”

“They will attend Catholic schools”, she said. He said – “OK.”

During my mother’s sixth pregnancy she had a miscarriage, a boy child she was going to name John after her favorite uncle, the priest. There were complications, and the doctor warned her it would be dangerous to have any more. Then she bore my sister, and at the age of 43, she bore me. And her heart pumped 30 pints of blood out on to my delivery room floor, as fast as they could pour it into her. And then it stopped, and with it, stopped this story.

Four minutes later God sent her back. She named me John, and she prayed that she had bore the church a priest. I did not become a priest, but when I was a little boy, God was not the only one listening when my mother prayed for peace.

In my version of the Peoples’ Story we are all born into God’s Guessing Game, and every moment of our lives we must answer God’s Question -

What should you do?

When I was six years old my brother told me that there is no Santa Claus. I ran to my mother, who would never lie to me, and she admitted that yes, she had lied to me. In one moment I moved from inside of a story where Santa Clause was absolutely true, out into a story where it was all a vast conspiracy of lies designed to control how I answered God’s Question.

In the flash of epiphany I caught the pattern -

Where I was standing was controlling what I was seeing.
What I was seeing was controlling how I was answering.
How I was answering was controlling my consequences.

In the same flash of epiphany I caught the geometry of motion, from inside of mis-perception, out into a larger reality.

I was baptized. I attended Catholic schools. I was an alter boy. When I was 14, the age of confirmation, a good friend of mine announced that he would be going to seminary school in preparation for entering the priesthood. One day my mother came to me and asked me how old I was when I decided not to believe in God, because she wondered at the wisdom of such a young child. I did not have the words then to tell her that it was not God that I did not believe in.

My God is my Creator, that gifted me this turn upon the field of play, for which I am grateful. My religion is the Grateful Heart and the Seeking Mind of my hero character. I try to remember and give thanks for my great fortune, particularly at those times when I feel least fortunate. I try to remember the wisdom of humility, that I am human, that I am guessing, particularly at those times when I am most certain I am right. How old were YOU, mother, I might ask, when you decided to refuse to play God’s Guessing Game, when you chose to become a “Knower of the Truth”? Is this not the sin of arrogance that separates us from God? Which of us is the Prodigal?

In my version of the Peoples’ Story, God does not speak from man’s mouth or write books with man’s hand. God did not promise me ANYTHING, and I will not kneel in obedience before some false God crafted from some gilded words out of a selfish hunger for heaven, or a selfish fear of burning hell.

All those years ago, when I confirmed myself in the role of secret hero, and set out on my secret hero mission to answer my mother’s prayers for peace, I did not know how much the answer would hurt her. There can be no world peace, or end to poverty, as long as we allow the pretense that God speaks from man’s mouth, or writes words with man’s hand, in order to command obedience by cultivating selfish hungers with promises of heaven, and selfish fears of burning hell.

Mother, I am am not the Antichrist. I am John, your grateful son. Puke up the fruit from the Tree of Arrogance. Submerge yourself in the waters of humility. And return to God’s Guessing Game. Return to God’s Garden where we can join together to help feed the hungry, heal the sick, and shelter the homeless,

My question, Pope Francis – Is it possible for a Grateful Seeker to be a Catholic? Must I believe that God sent his only son to be tortured to death so I can go to heaven? Is it not enough that I choose to be grateful for what I have been given rather than resentful of my limitations; to remember that I am not God, that I am guessing; to try to live a life of courage and compassion in the footsteps of Jesus, and to die without expectations or regrets?

There can never be world peace or an end to poverty as long as our educational systems trap children in their selfish heart and their knowing mind to command their obedience with the words of God promising heaven and threatening hell. If they stand in the grateful seeker they will see nothing worth fighting about, and they will be able to play together solving the problems that are creating poverty.

Pope Francis, I watched my saintly mother dance across death’s threshold, and would not be surprised if it were her that whispered Francis in your ear. I watched my hero father purge his body, clear his mind and charge across death’s threshold into his next adventure. I cannot bring to them the solution I set out so long ago to find. Therefore, I bring it to you -

You are at the head of the largest private educational system in the world. With a wave of your hand you could create a Catholic Hero Engine that could bring world peace, end poverty, and accelerate the people into a future of peace and unimaginable prosperity. But to do this the Catholic church must accept the Grateful Seeker, must propagate the Grateful Seeker. If you propagate selfish hearts filled with a selfish hunger for heaven, and certain minds that claim to know the thoughts of God, you can never end war or poverty. Only the Grateful Seeker can and will solve these problems. Thus I must ask you -

Can I be a Catholic?


Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in Ending War and Poverty

Reader Alert

I am  going to go through all of these posts and delete what I don’t like. Then I am going to delete this post.

Finished for now. I am going to leave this alert in place for a while longer.

Reorganizing now. 5/18/2014

Update (7/22/14) Just deleted the rest of the posts except for the latest. I am going to reorganize this site but try to keep the library page intact so the links are not broken. Downloaded XAMPP and I am going to begin developing the new Bacchus Town offline initially, but I will likely blog the progress of this story here, so stay tuned to the Bacchus Town Blog. Got some help from a friend, so we will survive another month. Big thanks.

Note: You see very little blog content here now, but several times in the past I have published a fair amount of content and then deleted it all, as I just have once more. Much of that content is probably still cached out there somewhere, if you were to look.

Posted in Writer's Workshop

About Bacchus Town

The Bacchus Town Mission -
Ending War and Poverty

The Bacchus Town Method -
Hero Play

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Become a Bacchus Town Patron and be listed on the Patron's Page. This project consumes time, effort, and resources. If you enjoy my work, please support my efforts by sliding me a few hero bucks. I have kids to feed, and even a little means a lot. Thank you.