The story has been with me for quite some time, perhaps as long as fifteen years or since about 2008. In one of the initial plot ideas, I mentioned that I did not have any grandchildren yet, so I can be sure it was before my eldest granddaughter was born in 2010.
I had a kind of vague idea about a group of special children whom I referred to as “Aurora’s Children” at that time, because Aurora was the Roman goddess of the dawn and also of childbirth. In fact, I wrote, “Legend says that every 1000 years, there will appear an ennead of related children with exceptional abilities. These children will change the world.” Interestingly, at that time, I don’t think I was fully aware of the meaning of ennead although I did use it to describe the group of children.
Apparently, I started to revive this idea in about 2013 shortly before my second granddaughter was about to be born. I have looked over what notes I have left, and although there were similarities to the end result, it is apparent that I was still just groping for the final story. I even had character names, but many of those ended up being different in the end.
It was in 2018 that I really got going. By then, my third granddaughter was just over a year old. I started to look for locations for the story and began to do research on animal totems and numerology. The number nine was becoming clearer for me and I had a model within my family. My sons had three children and my brother’s daughter had four while his son had one with another on the way. I would soon have my group of nine all from one generation.
Over the next four years, I played around with biographies of characters but never really got it all together and then in January of 2022, I made a promise to get to work, which I did. Things started to come together, things such as the genders of the nine as well as their names. I decided to take all of the character names from my ancestors. As a result, some of the names are rather old-fashioned, but they mean a great deal to me as several were living during my childhood.
As I wrote the story which took me from early January to the end of August, it continued to evolve. First I had to get to know each of my main characters because I wanted them to speak for themselves. Over those months each character developed his or her own personality, which then showed up as the story moved forward. In addition, relationships developed, teams evolved, and personalities arose. It was very exciting for me. I had a plan for where the story would go, but the route was not always clear. In fact, it changed more than once. Sometimes, I would come to a roadblock and couldn’t figure out the best alternative path, and then I would awaken at four am with the answer, and I would grab some paper and a pen and I write it down while lying on my bed. That was the coolest experience of all and I learned to trust my brain to solve problems while I got some rest.
This book is the sum of what I have learned, over many years as a teacher and parent about how individuals, especially children, function best and achieve their potential most effectively.
A Guiding Principle: As parents and teachers, we need to listen, but also we must heed or pay attention. The messages we receive must register in our consciousness. These messages show us what our children and students need, and those needs must guide our work. As parents and teachers, it is easy to succumb to the wish to be protective or to save time by simply sharing our “vast knowledge” of life. There is so little time, and we are all far too busy, but these reasons are counter-productive; they ignore the reality that each human is unique and thus uniquely different from both a parent and a teacher. In my story, the grandparents and cousin Ethan epitomize this philosophy as a guide for learning.
Young people need to be listened to and to be heard. Ultimately, they need to make choices, and those choices need to be theirs, not choices that are imposed and often forced upon them by those who think they know best.
Neither parenting nor teaching is about filling minds; both are about opening them. Teaching is not about expounding at the front of the room or over the dinner table but about inspiring minds to ask their own questions and to seek their own answers.
Truth is a “pathless land”, and each person must find his or her own path to awareness. Awareness means the perception of truth as it really is and not some exaggerated form found on Facebook or Twitter.
There is no “one path” or “one way.” Each of us must arrive at truth uniquely because each of us is unique. It is not enough to be told the truth; one must find it.
An aside: Perhaps you are asking what is this “truth” of which he speaks? Simply put, it is how I or we fit into this big picture of everything? In The Summer of the Ennead, I define it as having three parts. First to survive; second to bring and protect new life; and the third to maintain the Balance. I believe that this is the purpose of all living things, and that only by carrying it out can we maintain the health of our planet which I refer to as Our Mother Earth.
Education should be about celebrating our uniqueness and not about forcing conformity on those who are most vulnerable which has been, and often still is, what both organized education and parenting tend to be about.
The Summer of the Ennead tells a different tale, a tale of awakening – awakening to one’s potential, awakening to responsibility and to taking leadership, and awakening to the importance of kindness and respect as necessary components of that path.
My story tells how true understanding or awareness must always come from within, as the voice of independence. It can never be imposed because then it becomes one’s prison, from which breaking out becomes a life’s focus. Even if the imposed truths may have some element of truth, they can never be yours if they are imposed.
Humans, especially the young, have great potential to become wise and caring people if they are encouraged and allowed to find their paths. If they are not, they will find themselves at odds with themselves over imposed rules and truths which they will likely never truly understand.
Only if the former occurs, can we hope to save Mother Earth. We need to grasp the truth that continuing down the road of greed and power over things will never save anything, even ourselves. As we destroy our planet, we destroy our potential and we destroy everything good that we might become.
I have decided to start a blog devoted to The Summer of the Ennead. I think it is important to talk about what this book really is because it is not just a juvenile fantasy. It is classified as such because it is mainly about nine grandchildren between the ages of nine and thirteen. They are the stars of the story, and they get to transform into animal beings, but it is not just about them.
It is also about two grandparents, an uncle, and quite a few animal beings, and it is about how all of those characters interact, help each other, work as a team, bring enlightenment, and help point toward a possible way for Mother Earth to survive.
Those are the obvious characteristics of the book, but there is more. For example, the book came from somewhere; how did that happen. Why was it written and where did the story originate?
What is the story about? Outwardly, it appears to be about nine kids who learn how to become animals as well as humans. But are there underlying principles or truths hidden in the story? Are there things we need to think about in terms of the preservation of the earth?
Who should read this story? I knew quite early on that I was not writing just another kids book. It became clear to me that I was also writing for adults. I began to think of The Summer of the Ennead as a children’s book for adults.
Then I realized that it was really a book to be shared by both kids and adults – children and parents, grandchildren and grandparents, students and teachers. It had become a story that could unite generations in the work required to save our planet. And most important, it needed to be advertised as such.
I am the author of The Summer of the Ennead and I want to use this blog to engage readers in a dialogue about what this book means to me and what I think it has to say to others.