Conducted by William C. Ritchie

Part 1

Q) TIME RISE is something of a revelation. You're describing personal experiences of an extraordinary, transcendental nature, even though the events of TIME RISE happened nearly a quarter-century ago. The back cover blurb quotes your "approximately now." Why approximately? And why now?
BWS: Well, for a start, I was trying to avoid the rampant cliché "A story that could not be told until NOW!" Like as if this precise moment is significant somehow. As far as I'm concerned, I should've written these books years ago.

Q) Why didn't you?
BWS: I wasn't focused. In denial. All sorts of reasons, really. The penny finally dropped around 1994. That's twenty-one years after the fact, it took that long.

Q) Did something significant happen in 1994, then? Can you talk about it?
BWS: No, as a matter of fact I can't. I will eventually - probably by volume 5 of OPUS - but right now anything I say will probably be grossly misunderstood. I need to build up to explaining this stuff, each book will add more to the scenario. There was a twenty-one year disparity between revelation and revelation redux. It's not an easy thing to get into, it will take time to reveal the whole tapestry. I don't want to be misunderstood, here, it's too important to screw up.

Q) You imply as much in your introduction to OPUS 1: Have you received any reactions yet to the first volume?
BWS: Not a great deal, it's only just hitting the bookstores now. I've received a few complimentary letters about the pictures and my design of the book. It's to be expected I guess: OPUS' 1 through 5 will always give the first impression that they're, y'know, "Art Books."

Q) But they are, at least part of them are.
BWS: Yes, of course. Part of me is an artist. The books themselves are unintentional symbols of my dualities: OPUS is part art book, part biography, part mystical revelation, and part philosophical inquiry. But for people to get that richness of content they'll have to read the text. Unfortunately, it's often the case that people don't actually read so-called art books; they just look at the pictures.

Q) That's probably true.
BWS: It's even true of me. I've got piles of art books the text of which I have never thoroughly read. Albrecht Dürer, for instance; I like Dürer's drawings but I don't really want to know about his life and times. But artists who are closer to my own times I do want to know about. Starting around the middle of the last century I read everything I can about the lives of the artists. One can learn so much; get so much perspective on modernity in art, philosophy, politics. . . life in general. It's very important, I think.

Q) Do you feel that your own work is modern? Does it represent our times?
BWS: Well, plainly, I play a great deal upon antiquity. I'm also heavily influenced by 19th Century art like the Pre-Raphaelites, the Symbolists, and all that. But I'm not a copyist nor a follower: Just about everything I've done is entirely from the point of view of a twentieth century mind. The antique trappings are surface details that reflect my influences, and, basically, my preferences. When Alan Aldridge was air-brushing all those bell-bottomed, psychedelic swirly images of the 1960s he was representing modernity: Representing his time period through groovy illustrations. But the pictures were all surface; I never saw anything from Alan that actually got to the heart, or the mind I should say, of psychedelic trans-conscious experience. And, think about it, Alan was a toker, may still be, I dunno. If the dopplegînger images of The Enchantment or The Book of Samothrace don't represent modern humanity there's a strong organic reason for that: what average Joe in the '70s, '80s, or '90s, comprehends the real meaning behind Eternity? The mirroring concept of past-lives? Meeting yourself is coming face to face with your God: Joe Average has yet to realize that potentiality in himself.

Q) You might be stirring the ire of Mr. Average.
BWS: I wish to stir his consciousness, not his animalism.

Q) Meaning?
BWS: Well, the strongest, most positive responses I received about TIME RISE so far have been along the lines "Something like that happened to me once." And, "I always knew something was going on, but I couldn't put my finger on it."

Q) What is going on?
BWS: Oh, hell - gimme a break.

Q) Can you simplify what is obviously very, very complex?
BWS: In a word, what is going on is TRANSFORMATION. I was chatting with two friends yesterday. Rita had only partly read TIME RISE, but she was extremely excited about it. I've known Rita for about ten years, and I had no idea that she had had mystical experiences. The topic had just not come up - you understand? - even though it is a subject that is almost always on my mind. In reading only a part of TIME RISE she was now galvanized to tell me all about her own strange experiences. Among them was a there-and-gone event from a few years ago where she perceived all of the objects, furniture, and walls of her hotel room change from solid matter into energy. Everything became patterns of contained light: coherent energy. It gave me chills to hear this as I'd been working for a few days on describing my own experiences of practically the same phenomenon. In my case, though, perceiving the reality of matter as coherent energy lasted for a few weeks off and on. This was just part of the aftermath of the ENDLESS WAVES OF TIME, as I described the events in OPUS 1. After the ENDLESS WAVES my consciousness was expanded terrifically, all sorts of stuff happened to me that would otherwise seem impossible.

Q) The LIGHT PEOPLE, for instance?
BWS: Yes, the LIGHT PEOPLE. But that's just one of many events. I'm explaining it all as best I can in OPUS 2. That's, y'know, TIME RISE Chapter 2. But, at any rate, what I'm getting at is that Rita was excited about my story, and so felt safe in opening up to me. After ten years of thinking that we knew each other, finally, yesterday, we began to know each other. It's like "Coming Out," y'know. It was a very exciting conversation, I tell you. Her daughter, Jessica, was beside herself for more information as Rita and I exchanged stories of extraordinary experience. She kept interrupting, saying, "What do you mean?" - "Explain that." And I, y'know, I sounded like a pitchman, "Read the book! Thirty nine, ninety five at your local Barnes and Noble bookstore!"

Q) Was Jessica confused? Is she a young person?
BWS: No, no - she's in her mid-twenties. And a stunner, too. No, she just hadn't read the book. But she's had her own experiences with higher consciousness, and was just so excited to hear of other people's stories. That's what I'm getting at - let me get this out: Two words kept flashing back and forth between Rita, Jessica, and myself: TRANSFORMATION and CONFLUENCE. It was like "Wow! Something really is going on!" We were all agreeing that there is a change coming about, a sort of upgrade in consciousness that's been percolating for some years now, maybe since Einstein's time, maybe since the discovery of quantum physics. Perhaps it all started to brew in 1947 at Roswell. Who knows what and when, but the why is that mankind periodically goes through fundamental shifts of consciousness that raise our perceptions notch for notch over the long reach of time. We evolve slowly, sure, but there are quantum leaps, too. Look at the Renaissance, if you want proof. Look at the changeover from Neanderthal to Homo sapien. It didn't happen overnight, of course, but when the change began it was the demarcation point of early man to modern man. We became capable of abstract thought; like the creation of music by imitating natural sounds like bird calls. That was thirty thousand years ago, and now we think of Beethoven as something that happened in the past. I believe our species is in the midst of a revolution, but a lot of us haven't noticed it yet. It's a shift in consciousness, an upgrade to a higher, fuller understanding of ourselves and the cosmos. Our potentiality is finally stirring to life. Actually, I think we are well into it the change, I think the quantum leap is coming sooner than some might think.

Q) Your story, then, reflects this imminent change?
BWS: It reflects my participation in it. I'm just one of thousands, I believe. My participatory involvement includes describing what has been happening to me all of my life long. From the age of 5 years up to the present time, I have been involved in the weaving of the grand design. I'm now compelled to get on with describing my experiences and reflecting upon what I know, what I have learned over these long years. The goal in this is to do my bit in bringing these truths to other people, and in so doing, energize their own self-awareness and the big changes going on around us all: The biological transformation of MIND.

Q) Can we continue this?
BWS: Of course. When?

Q) Can we go into details about TIME RISE?
BWS: I don't want to re-hash the first chapter, that's done with.

Q) A wide-angle overview would be good.
BWS: Sure.

Q) One last question for now. . .
BWS: Okay.

Q) Where does the title TIME RISE come from? What does it mean exactly?
BWS: Well, it has meaning, of course. Time has been a pivotal element in all of my experiences. That's Time with a capital "T", it doesn't really relate to what we think of as clock-time. Time is everything: Eternity, if you will. Time with a capital "T" is all of Time. Everything, everywhere, all at once. I can go into this further, but not here and now, the subject is too enormous to yield any answer to "One last question." It should be the very first question, I think. "Time Rise" as a coupling, refers to the Rise of Consciousness. I nicked it from one of Cat Steven's visionary songs called "TIME." I forget which album it's on.


Click here for Part 2

Copyright © 1999 Barry Windsor-Smith. This document may be downloaded for personal use.
This document may not be disseminated for profit. All rights reserved.

To order OPUS 1 now from or the publisher (Fantagraphics), click on the logo of your choice below: