Michael Meade aims to unlock inner secrets
By ELIZABETH SHEPHERD
Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Arts Editor
February 22, 2011 · 12:05 PM
Author and mythologist Michael Meade will bring a blend of story-telling, poetry and discussion to Vashon this weekend, in a event that coincides with the release of his most recent book, “Fate and Destiny: The Twin Agreements of the Soul.”
Meade, who lives on Vashon, said the book has received an enthusiastic response.
“It’s about the two arcs of life,” he said in a telephone interview. “The one arc of life is the one everyone is familiar with — you go out into the world and try and make your mark, and you go to school and get married. It’s the story of making one’s way in the world, and as we know, that is getting harder. But the second adventure is of the soul, and it’s the destination — who am I really and why I am here and what am I supposed to do with this life?”
Meade’s new book is part memoir — the first three chapters of the book explore Meade’s own journey to become a poet, mythologist and social activist.
“I was less comfortable writing that part of the book,” he said. “I couldn’t have written those first few chapters until now; I couldn’t see it as clearly until now. It’s taken me some numbers of years, and only in looking back do I see that a story has been trying to unfold through me.”
The book details Meade’s hardscrabble upbringing in a large Irish-Catholic family in New York City’s Hell’s Kitchen, and how his own life was changed at the age of 13 when he received a book about mythology — a birthday gift from an aunt who meant to give him another book but somehow wound up purchasing and wrapping the wrong volume.
Meade, now 67, recalls how he dove into the book, and he said it helped him make sense of the world around him.
“The ancient stories arose from someplace before the march of history, and for me they opened the doors of a mystery,” he wrote. “What I experienced wasn’t an escape from reality; more of a case of finding what reality was to be for me.”
Another chapter in the book tells the story of the first time Meade realized that he was a gifted storyteller, in a frightening incident when he was surrounded by members of a rival street gang. Meade literally talked his way to safety.
Meade said he hopes his journey and his book will inspire others.
“I’ve written the book as a way of saying, ‘OK, the outer world is in trouble, and it’s going to be in trouble for some time, and there are no quick fixes. What does a person do when everything seems so uncertain? Turn to the inner story and find the stability there.’”
Meade’s event on Friday, titled “The Second Adventure of Life: Living with Meaning and Purpose,” will be a “lively and energetic” event, the author promised.
All proceeds from the event will go to Meade’s Mosaic Multicultural Foundation, which is focused on outreach to underserved populations.
The Foundation is currently conducting a program called ‘Voices of Youth,’ which brings at-risk youth into workshops, where they learn to speak about their lives and then present performances in their communities.
Michael Meade will presest “The Second Adventure of Life — Living with Purpose and Meaning,” at 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25, at Vashon United Methodist Church. Tickets, $12, are on sale at www.mosaicvoices.org and at the door. All proceeds will go toward Mosaic Multicultural Foundation’s youth-focused and mentoring projects.Contact Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber Arts Editor Elizabeth Shepherd at firstname.lastname@example.org or 206-463-9195.