Tuesday, February 25, 2014


"Love has to spring spontaneously from within; it is in no way amenable to any form of inner or outer force. Love and coercion can never go together; but while love cannot be forced upon anyone, it can be awakened through love itself.

Love is essentially self-communicative; those who do not have it catch it from those who have it. Those who receive love from others cannot be its recipients without giving a response that, in itself, is the nature of love.

True love is unconquerable and irresistible. It goes on gathering power and spreading itself until eventually it transforms everyone it touches. Humanity will attain a new mode of being and life through the free and unhampered interplay of pure love from heart to heart."

Avatar Meher Baba


  1. While I'm not a devotee of Meher Baba myself, I'm always moved by how his life & teachings inform your work. You've managed something rare in this regard, as it never comes across as proselytizing or preaching -- the story can always be enjoyed by readers of all (or no) spiritual beliefs, simply as a well-told story, without your own particular spiritual worldview being watered down so much that it's unrecognizable mush.

    I'm sure you're quite familiar with Pete Townsend's solo album "Who Came First" -- quite influenced by Meher baba -- but I wonder if you know of a more obscure album from 1971 by the Australian band Extradition, called "Hush", which also clearly references him? A lovely psych-folk album that really captures the spiritually seeking vibe of those times, which we both remember very well, I'm sure!

    1. Thanks, Tim: I'm glad the work doesn't come across as heavy-handed. I'm not trying to preach or convert, just explore interesting ideas and touch some hearts.

      Yes, I know WHO CAME FIRST very well. Terrific album (which, as you know, features Townshend's musical version of Meher Baba's "Parvardigar" prayer). Never heard of HUSH, though: I'll have to check it out. Thanks.

      Be well!

  2. Rick, here. I just read PS #17, and I think this whole story line is brilliant. While I freely admit a heavy bias towards the PS character, I also think the book is deserving of a lot more attention (and better sales) than it is getting. Some random thoughts:

    1. I thought it interesting that you picked up an old Talmudic concept that the Lord would rather someone follow his words/teachings than his name. PS rejected the directions of the Holy Terrier--his name--and has decided to follow his conscience--the Lord's teachings. Was that deliberate? My guess is yes.

    2. In the beginning of the PS series, PS could not remove the coin necklace. Now, he can. I would guess that it is only a matter of time before he realizes he ought not feel guilty anymore because he acted as he was supposed to act (Pandora's earlier suggestion). No need to respond. I'm not looking for spoilers.

    3. The Holy Terrier ought to be renamed the Holy Manipulator. The first 17 issues of PS now appear to have been a test and lesson to PS to follow his conscience. I guess they are more like a prequel to a rebooted and re-energized version of PS,
    Second Series.

    4. Cassandra Craft. I'm happy I mentioned her to you in one of my earliest posts. I also see she continues to grow. When we first met her, I would say she was an athletic B cup. By the end of 17, I think she was a more shapely C.

    5. If JLA 3000 doesn't work out, I see you now have the makings of a new JLA spin-off--The God Squad. Members include the Spirit of Vengence, the Spirit of Mercy, the Conscience of Mankind (PS), an Angel of the Lord, and God. Not sure who they would fight as a super-villain ("Oh look, it's the Monitor--pfft"). I don't know what Pandora is because I don't follow her book. But, anyone who has the guts to run around half-naked while wearing chicken feathers must be really powerful.

    1. Hey, Rick. Very glad you're still enjoying the series. And thanks again for bringing Cassandra Craft to my attention. She's becoming an important piece in the Stranger Puzzle.

      1) No, it wasn't deliberate. But I'm glad it worked out that way!

      2) No spoilers here!

      3) We're on the same page here for sure.

      4) Again, thanks for bringing her to my attention. Hope you enjoy Cassandra's evolution.

      5) The God Squard, eh? That's a fun idea...and may be a cool thing to do for an issue. As you note, they'd be wayyyy too powerful for it to work in an ongoing series.

      Thanks for checking in, Rick. I always enjoy your insights.

    2. I'm also doing my bit to help sales. My comics dealer was cutting back on PS orders due to unsold issues. So, I gave him $2 per copy for a few of them on condition that he mark them down to $1 from $2.99. I also told him I would do it next month. That way, he makes his money and PS may get some new readers. I just hope he doesn't order an extra hundred or so. I do have my limits.

    3. There was also another part to my interaction with my comics dealer you might find interesting. When I went to pick up my monthly pile (to match the PS publication schedule), the person behind the counter handed me $5. He said that the last time I was there, I had dropped it and he was saving it for me. Honesty is its own reward, but a little extra cash certainly never hurts. So, I made it a point to spend more than the $5 he had given me. I also knew him to be an honest man, so I felt I could give him money in the future which he would use in the way I intended. I hope he takes my gesture as a life lesson that good things generally happen to good people. It will stand him in good stead when he is older.

    4. By the way, I do read the published reports on PS's gross monthly sales, and I think I have an idea which might attract a whole new audience. Admittedly, it is a bit tasteless, but no one ever lost money underestimating the public. Give Cassandra Craft a costume consisting of a G-string and push-up bra. You can even put a letter C under each of the cups. Then, give her a hobby. In her spare time, she likes to wash cars with a big soapy sponge like Cameron Diaz did in "Bad Teacher." She also likes to suck on lollipops. Now that Pandora is about to lose her book, the two of them can become "besties" and share their hobbies. As luck would have it, PS is an amateur photographer, and he likes to take action shots. Waddya think?

    5. That's terrific. I believe that the microcosm is the macrocosm, so "small" acts of goodness really do shake the world.

    6. As for your Cassandra Craft idea...I think I'll just smile and let it go. : )

    7. Well, I did have my doubts about my CC suggestion.

      Going back to the issue of sales, and popularity, I was just wondering if you ever read blogs or forums regarding comments about the books you were writing. And, if you do, take them into consideration when plotting? I do occasionally read them about PS, and among the literate commentators, I have noticed that some readers are so put off by the idea of the character being Judas that they won't give the theme or the content any consideration. That, in my view, is a real shame when the theme is really about redemption, not sin. So, once said, does it really make sense to harp on the details of a claimed particular sin which diminishes a theme and apparently turns off some readers? Or, is that considered an intrusion into the writer's vision and is deliberately ignored?

    8. I see reviews, Rick, but not many forum-type comments. When it comes to plotting, I let my story lead me (which usually means even my OWN ideas get upended by the characters!) and it's very rare when an online suggestion makes its way into a story: Your mention of Cassandra Craft comes to mind—and that wasn't so much a story suggestion as a helpful reminder about an established character who could enrich the Stranger's world. (And has she ever!)