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Asphalt ballerina

I think it’s fair to say that if Clark gets a good part of the credit for the action-packed western theme in The Cowboy and Vampire Collection, I am responsible for the focus on spiritual components and the Near Death Experience (NDE).

I came very close to dying in a car crash when I was young, closer still to having my leg amputated; even though I didn’t have a classic NDE (that I remember), I wonder sometimes if my brain was reshaped to be more open to that experience.

Whatever the reason, it’s something I have always been curious about. Curious enough to seek out an NDE support group a few years ago. Yes, there are such things as NDE support groups. Ostensibly, they are only for people who have had an NDE. But that’s not the way it turned out.

Most of the people were there because they wanted to talk to a loved one long gone and find some way to deal with their own paralyzing grief. I was especially moved by a large man with a Dutch accent wearing overalls. His name was Oliver and his mother died two years earlier. He shared a poem about his wish to be a necronaut. He told me it was similar to being an astronaut, only traveling between life and the afterlife.

But then Honey stunned all of us NDE groupies into silence when she talked about her own experience. The highway was covered by black ice and after the crash, Honey floated above the accident, experiencing the feelings and sensations of everyone at the crash, and knew, just knew, they all had agreed before on another plane to meet in that moment and in that experience. She felt free, she touched the light and the unity of creation and she pitied the despair of embodied existence, but then she was thrust back into a now-wrecked body.

“I am like a genie sucked back into its bottle, trapped in this imperfect vessel,” she said, looking down at her torso. She lost her right leg and her left eye, along with all patience for the physical world. The trade-off was that she gained luminosity and, she claimed, psychic powers.

We were distracted from Honey’s story by events outside the big window of the community college classroom in a Portland suburb. A blind man walked by with a white cane— tip, tap, tip, tap. Then a leashed Dalmatian the size of a pony galloped by pulling behind him a young man in army fatigues. The sun hit the back window of a pickup truck at just the right angle so that a bright white light bounced into the room. “Go into the light,” I said. Everyone laughed.

We all watched a video about NDEs then returned to our regular lives, trapped inside our bodies. Alone, no matter how much we try not to be.

Once in awhile, maybe not so trapped. I was able to share this experience with Clark as we created The Meta inside our fictional world.