Hi. I wrote Threshold. Now I’m writing about writing it and a question often asked in this regard is, “Where did you get the idea for this book?”
Unfortunately, my answer to that question pretty much boils down to ... I really don’t know. And since you can’t say that out loud because it makes you look like an idiot, I usually say, I was working on a nonfiction essay about the environment, got bummed out by the horror of what we’re doing to the natural world, and decided to write something about it that was less dense and more, what you might call, user-friendly.
And that answer is totally true, it actually happened that way, but that was more the motivation for the book rather than the idea itself. The idea came from somewhere else, from a place that’s known to anyone who has ever tried to make something out of air, to make something that wasn’t there before, but then it is. Because they made it ... up.
Trying to answer the question, I thought about this mysterious place, a kind of mist of possibilities, full of ideas vying for attention; a world of concepts and notions looking to become manifest through interaction with a physical being, looking to attract someone who might think, “Hey, that’s a good idea!” and be willing to do the work of bringing it into the material realm.
Okay, so maybe that’s a tad far-fetched but you’ve got to admit, it’s pretty clear human beings don’t know much of anything about much of anything, and there may well be other realms and possibly, in one of them, the ideas float about like pollen in the breeze and if you catch one you wind up sneezing a lot and your eyes itch ... but you get to have an idea. And the particular idea that landed on me was this: Even in the face of potential ecological disaster and a forecast “tipping point,” we might actually save ourselves and the astounding environment in which we live. And this idea got so excited at being manifest it went on to propose a different kind of tipping point, a shift in awareness, one individual at a time, each of us seeing in a new and enlivened way, and each of us knowing ourselves to be held within the marvel of the natural world.
This may seem naïve on the surface but think about it. When our reality changes, it changes because we become aware of something we didn't know before, something we didn't see. When we see in a new way, we act differently. We change. And when enough of us change, things change. "It" changes.
Human progress evolves out of the personal change that happens within individuals. It grows from the inside out, one point of view at a time. Whether it's about civil rights, racial attitudes, sex, or gender roles, we live and we learn.
Of course that kind of transformation takes time. In the case of impending environmental devastation, it might take too long. What if, instead, a wild and wonderfully unexpected change were to occur, something completely different, something so totally revolutionary that everyone will suddenly see all kinds of new possibilities, all kinds of new stories.