Micah Thomas is author of the Eudaimonia series – a unique blend of paranormal with literary fiction. In the final interview of our Writers on Lockdown series, he joined me to chat about isolation, spiritual teachers, and layers of meaning.
Hi Micah, welcome to Writers on Lockdown! How are things over there in the US, are you feeling as ‘locked down’ as us?
I have been a shut in for a few years. The isolation certainly has intensified as online friends focus on keeping themselves… I don’t know. Keeping themselves together.
Do you find isolation a help or a hindrance to your creative process?
My creative stages have an isolation mode, where I’m heads down working. The creation place is very private and I don’t like eyes on me. However, my sharing motion needs witnesses and that is tough right now. I’m releasing so much art and writing and it’s really not a good time for it.
So you’ve released two novels so far in the Eudaimonia series, when can we expect the third?
The final novel and the final volume of short stories will both be available in April. I’m formatting Evidence of Changes vol 3 as we speak. The novel will be formatted next month. Then I’m practically done with this Eudaimonia world. Kinda.
For those who aren’t familiar with your work, could you talk a bit about what the Eudaimonia world is?
Eudaimonia is 3 sequential novels, 3 sets of tie in short story anthologies, an art book, a tarot deck, and a companion book to the tarot deck. Someday, could be an album and a graphic novel, but I don’t know. The series, on a straight level, tells the story of our present day where a few bumbling heroes and equally bumbling entities collide. The series is full of collisions. And like a car crash, one car doesn’t know where the other was heading or what their life was about. Maybe it was destiny which brought them together, or a mere accident. The series is accessible. Not too dense, but layered with meaning one can skip or hit depending on who they are. The series is preoccupied with personal meaning to the characters, rather than plot, which is more like weather, a rainy day produces hail on your way to work before your accident. There is something literary about it, but also something pop. The Eudaimonia world is our world and not our world at the same time. An auto antonym of sorts. One might say the paranormal in the series is a proxy to talk about mental states, and that’s not untrue, but not the whole truth. The description of the world, our world, and the supernatural, and veil, and the strata which binds, and the things which move the gears behind the scenes, well, only a reader can tell me if that is factually accurate or a dream within a dream.
One of the many things I love about this series is its exploration of the liminal – not only in terms of overlapping physical dimensions, but also of people who typically fall through the gaps in society. Was this a conscious decision?
Very intentional. The thing works as both metaphor for my psychological states of dissociation and strangeness, but also as my own personal mysticism. The deeper reaches of liminality are only hinted at in the series. You see, and this is a spoiler I rarely share, the characters do meet individuals and entities who position themselves as “knowing” and might even tell a story of how these events set in motion, but all are incomplete. A truth is, from the very first page, and in every story, the world and characters are slipping. Sometimes it is announced. Other times, a tiny little hint. A geography fact is incorrect. Some other statement of pop culture is wrong. This isn’t poor editing. Everything is moving all of the time.
I like that a lot. And I think sometimes it feels like that in real life, that things are slipping, that the mind is fallible. Do you feel, then, that your characters and the situations they find themselves in, are ways of exploring aspects of yourself?
Absolutely. What’s the Watt’s line? Pieces of the universe trying to understand itself? To me, every single thing is connected. These strange lines of force, some weak, some strong, some obvious, some hidden, are always pushing and pulling whether we recognize them or not.
Without giving spoilers, Eudaimonia combines the far reaches of quantum theory with a more spiritual, mythological side reminiscent of writers like Alan Watts or Carlos Castaneda. Have these kind of figures had an influence on your work?
You are absolutely correct. Watts, Ram Das, Leary, Castaneda, anything from the noosphere to spiritualists and Cayce, it’s all in there. Alchemy. Parapsychology. Entheogens. My own anecdotal experiences with psychedelic drug use. Psychotherapy. Trauma impacts on the brain. Internal family system. Empathy scales. Law. Economics. Software development. Lol. Everything I’ve ever consumed in life entered in some way. The seekers of the world go outwards and inwards and there’s almost always an answer. Their epiphany. And there’s usually a teacher. Some guide through the shade lands. I perverted every teacher in the series. Instead, I rested on the notion that if given the opportunity for self discovery, many answers will be personally found and held to be true.
You have also published two short story collections set in the same world as the novels. Did you set out to write those as a separate project or were they a natural byproduct of the central storyline?
I love works with Ēostre eggs in them. I knew the Evidence collections would exist, but the way the stories come together has been more synchronicity than planning. In one case, a substantial plot line from Ghosts simply didn’t fit and became a novella. In a practical sense, which I don’t really love, the collections also exist as a low cost sampler of my writing to entice a potential reader.
It was certainly fun to see some of the incidental characters from the novels featuring in their own short stories. It gives a sense that the puzzle is far larger than Henry and Cassie… On a similar note, I’ve noticed that you produce a lot of artwork to accompany the series. How does visual art interplay with the written word for you?
I write in my head long before typing. Typing is sorta a physical manifestation of the story. The story lives somewhere else. Each drawing, sketch, painting, piece of writing, these are all bites at the apple for me in a never ending communion with the sublime. Hell, there might be an Eudaimonia music album eventually. Each iteration of a character drawing might be a little different from me. As they each represent another universe version. How we could have been. Who we might be.
Are you working on anything else at the moment?
I’ve finished art for a full major arcana and 5 suits tarot deck called The Seekers’ Tarot, built around characters, entities, and scenes from Eudaimonia. I’m assisting my collaborator Lynn-Cee Faulk in editing the companion book to the deck. She provided tarot symbolism and direction through the entire project. I’m also illustrating a children’s book she authored. As for my other writing, 2 new stand alone novels have begun – The Malcontent and The Patricide Club. The Malcontent is getting most of the attention right now. It’s a vampire story.
How does that feel, after spending so much time on Eudaimonia?
I’ve been ready to move on. I think between evidence 3 and ROTA and the tarot deck, I’ve given these stories a good farewell. Fresh material feels fresh. Like that NIN song, nothing quite like the feel of something new.
Finally, a question I’ve been asking everyone. Which three books would you recommend for readers on lockdown?
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden by Hannah Green
Jesus’ Son by Denis Johnson
Almost Transparent Blue by Ryu Murakami
These are rather interesting books to me.
Thank you very much for your time, Micah, that was great.
You can find all of Micah’s Eudaimonia books along with some of his side projects on Amazon.