Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Metaphysical Beatle

William Hammett held fast to his belief that magical realism best described the genre for John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café, although he understood why readers sometimes classified it as belonging to other genres.

Hammett: The email I receive from readers classifies the book in any number of ways. This, in itself, isn’t that unusual. If ten people see a movie, all ten may come away with a different interpretation of what they’ve just seen. Surprisingly, though, a number of readers refer to John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café as metaphysical fiction. It goes without saying that in a book that opens with John Lennon standing in Grand Central Station in 2006, we have an element of the supernatural imposing itself on the narrative from the get-go.

Cat: There are other elements of the supernatural in the book as well, although they never seem to impinge upon the plot, if that makes sense.

Hammett: That’s the beauty of it. Keep a tight rein on plot, character, and theme, and some of the more unusual things that take place simply seem an integral part of the narrative. Actually, I have no problem with anyone labeling the book as metaphysical fiction. The term is being used more frequently, and it’s a niche that’s about to explode.

Cat: Why is that?

Hammett: Because of the enormous interest in quantum physics reflected in movies—What the Bleep Do We Know is a very successful cult movie on quantum reality—and then also on TV and in hundreds of nonfiction titles on creating one’s reality through positive thinking.

Cat: Quantum physics?

Hammett: You have everything from the mega-hit The Secret to the classic The Tau of Physics. The universe is thought-responsive. Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle has proven that matter behaves according to the expectation of an observer.

Cat: Connect this to the book for me.

Hammett: It all goes back to hope. People are searching for ways to make their lives more meaningful. The new physics is now reinforcing ideas of faith as old as the New Testament Gospels or the Tao. As a man thinks, so shall he be. The ideas of intention and manifestation are jumping from nonfiction lists to fiction.

Cat: So is John Lennon and the Mercy Street Café cutting edge metaphysical fiction?

Hammett: (laughs) I’d like to think so, but who knows? Only time will tell. What I do know is that John Lennon was firm in his belief in the ability to change things. He challenges us in “Imagine” to create a different world through the simple thought process of imagination. He was a metaphysical Beatle.

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