Dane is a sci-fi-horror author, a composer of experimental soundtrack music, and a writer on the topic of creativity.
My adventure began in the hillbilly city of Roanoke, Virginia on a cold night in October of 1975.
At the age of 9, I started exploring the canyons, vistas, and caves of Los Alamos, NM. I swung out over cliffs on a rope hung from a tree branch. I slid down serpentine water-forged gutters in sandstone slopes along the canyon-sides. I scaled sheer cliffs with no gear. I had close calls, but fortunately, I never plummeted to my death—that I’m aware of.
I played games and read books that moved my imagination to explore my own speculative worlds from the perspectives of various speculative people and other speculative organisms.
As I grew older, my explorations turned further inward as I discovered meditation, yoga, visualization exercises, lucid dreaming, strange music, and self-induced fainting that resulted in strange visions. In my late teens and early twenties, chemicals took me to ethereal, colorful, and unworldly places that have remained visible ever since.
I discovered fiction writing as a pathway to explore my own imagination. I discovered music composition and sound contortion as a way to explore new states of consciousness of my own crafting.
At the age of 13, tragedy compelled me to question everything I thought I knew. The old truths were revealed as frauds, and adults I had trusted for answers were exposed as charlatans, only pretending at knowledge. They had no more answers than I had. And so began my search for truth.
That search has led me only to further disillusionment. Every ideology, cultural convention, and system of belief has collapsed under scrutiny.
As I’ve immersed myself in philosophies, religions, mystical traditions, and meditation, I’ve found a few principles worth striving toward, but no ideology worth believing in.
Liberation as a guide
What I’ve discovered, instead, has ended my search for belief, but has reinvigorated my drive to explore. I’ve discovered something far more beautiful than belief, though it’s far more difficult to explain.
Belief, in fact, seems to be a veil that obscures beauty in life that our language is inadequate to describe. Belief obscures the ecstatic chaos that our senses can reveal when we stop trying to sort, judge, and interpret every impulse we encounter.
Belief is a prison of the mind, and true potential lies outside the prison.
Seeking the others
I see the need for institutions and conventions—common agreements about what constitutes reality and how we agree to define it—but I have no faith in them. This is because any self-sustaining institution or ideology needs the ability to evolve with new ideas, new information, and changing environments.
So I can’t join any clubs. I can’t fight for any isms. That inability makes me lonely, and I want to find the others who, like myself, can’t accept the popular ideologies.
The Creative Manifesto
The Humility Prayer
God, grant me the humility to consider the insights of others, the wisdom to challenge and test their assumptions as well as my own, the courage to act in accord with my values, even when it’s unpopular, and the determination to share my progress with my fellow travelers.
The semi-immutable principle
I submit myself to a single semi-immutable principle: that movement toward growth and learning remains constant and supersedes all other movement. This means constant scrutiny of my own knowledge and opinions, and the willingness to shed old beliefs when I find them lacking.
Rather than beliefs…
Curiosity and creativity are my alternatives to belief. It seems self-evident that so long as I’m exploring, listening, learning, and relearning, I’ll continue to become a better person.
If I’m wrong, I’m listening.
Rather than religion…
A religious practice, I suspect, is anything practiced religiously. Therefore, I’ll approach all that I create with the same reverence with which a mystic approaches God.