Why would anyone call a collection of books 46. Ascending?

I spent most of my free time over the past six years writing a collection of six novels. I’d never written a book before and, now that I’m finishing the last one, I’m starting to puzzle through what possessed me to do such a thing.

It seemed like fun? I’d always wanted to write fiction? Why the hell not?

Part of the answer lies in something I wrote today to put at the end of the sixth book to explain to any curious reader who had stuck with me exactly why I called this collection of books 46. Ascending.

Here is how I explained it.

  1. It is an I Ching hexagram.
  2. It is what I came up with when I decided that my six proposed books could be made into an I Ching hexagram. Those with a female protagonist would have two lines and those with a male protagonist a single line and book one would be at the bottom and book six at the top because I was pretty sure that was how you were supposed to do it. I thought it was a cool idea.
  3. The lines make Sheng, the I Ching hexagram number 46, as I discovered when I looked up the above cool idea.
  4. Sheng answered the question that bothered me most. The question was not “will my books make money?” or “will I sell a lot of books?” It wasn’t even “will these be good books?” or “will I enjoy writing them?” Those would all have been fine questions. But, this I Ching hexagram answered my question “should I do this or not?”
  5. Researching Sheng, I read that “it is a time of development and progress, the direction is correct” and “hexagram 46 shows a time where a steady progression will occur where the predicted outcome is positive  and “keep working on your plans and maintain confidence in their success.” Those all sure sounded good to me.
  6. My research on 46 Ascending also put this quote in front of me. It is always better to fail in doing something than to excel in doing nothing. – Chinese Proverb . It is undoubtedly a good quote for anyone contemplating anything.
  7. I learned that Sheng was also referred to as the Symbol of Rising and Advancing, Ascending, Ascension, Rising, Promotion, Advancement, Sprouting from the Earth, and Organic Growth. Who can argue with all that?
  8. Sheng’s details included “The emphasis is on upward motion, from obscurity to influence, with growth that is supported by adaptability and an absence of obstacles.” and “Make a sincere effort to apply resolute effort against the forces of inertia, bending around obstacles that arise, and good fortune will follow.
  9. In other words, everything I read about the I Ching hexagram told me loud and clear “write the damn books.” So I did.
  10. Was the universe talking to me? Was I talking to myself? Am I lucky I didn’t put the lines in the reverse order? Those are all great questions. But the one I started to consider was how well did the hexagram fit in with the books themselves.
  11. If you asked me what this collection of books was about, from the beginning I would have told you it was about how all humans have so much more potential than they realize. We can improve, we can rise, we can ascend. Climb the mountain. Move towards the light to the south. You know. Grow.
  12. So this collection of books is named after an I Ching hexagram that not only got me off my butt and writing, but just happened to perfectly describe what it was I was trying to say. Go figure. At the least, it seemed reasonable to name the collection of books after it.

What I don’t address at the end of my novel is the question “did writing the books make me happy?” It’s an important question, but it’s important to me, and not really to my readers. That makes it a more appropriate topic for my blog.

Well …

I can tell you that I wrote these books filled with a sense of energy and purpose unlike anything I have ever experienced in my life. Many days, writing wasn’t just what I wanted to do, it was all I wanted to do. It was an addiction, an obsession, and a nepenthe against all the world’s ills. I let it consume me, and I enjoyed the ride.

I emerge at the other end, tireder, older, fifteen pounds heavier and with six years of my life mysteriously gone. But, I was lucky enough to have five people in this world who loved me throughout this process and I was lucky enough to have a way to make a living while I wrote that kept serious worries away. Neither is to be taken lightly and for both I count my blessings.

Everybody always tells you to pursue your passion in life. I don’t think that “everybody” has much of an idea of all that really entails. It changes you in ways you do and don’t like. It’s not always fun. It doesn’t always turn out well, certainly not in the Hollywood kind of way.

But once you’ve done it, you can’t imagine not having done it, if that makes any sense. Like not doing it wasn’t even an option, or at least it shouldn’t have been.

Is that happiness? I’m not sure, but I think it might be something even better.


3 thoughts on “Why would anyone call a collection of books 46. Ascending?

  1. Aloha Sherrie! I think I beta-read one of your first novels, via Brian Rush (who died in Dec., 2015, who like you and I had/have ties to Houston, and who would have been 61 years old today, amazing coincidence!:), back in the first half of your 6 year odyssey … I know I read the first three in some form or another! Okay, so that’s all just to remind you who I am.

    Since then, as you know from following my old blog Farmlet, my husband and I moved from Olalla, Washington to Hawaii in April, 2014. I’ve followed your moves and shakes from reading your always-interesting and thought-provoking blogs. But this one today blew my mind.

    I confess I never really understood the name of your series until this post. It is brilliant. I am gobsmacked. For the past year and a half, I’ve been studying and experimenting with a cosmology called Human Design. Have you heard of it? Here’s a link https://www.humandesignamerica.com/about-the-system/mandala
    that shows the Mandala of the 64 hexagrams of the I Ching, which correspond to the 64 genetic DNA codons. Human Design calls them Gates. The 46th Gate is located in the G-Center of the Body Graph…9 centers (the 7 chakras plus the G-Center and the Ego/Heart Center)….

    omg, I could go on. lol It’s a complicated system, but is basically about learning to make decisions with your body, the magic that is our evolving bodies, just like your characters.

    I’ll be sure to share your blog with my HD teacher and friend, Rebecca. Mahalo for your work. Love, Christi Glover


    • Aloha Christi. You were and remain an inspiration to me — your books, your blog and your adventurous move to Hawaii! Brian was one of my first online writing buddies — a kindred spirit whose work I enjoyed and whom I am happy to salute today. I have not heard of Human Design but will check it out. Kevin immediately saw the connection between 23 chromosomes and 46. Ascending — maybe there is something there in Human Design for me as well, so thank you. I remain fascinated by all the ways we humans create to discover the knowledge that lives within us! I think you share that fascination. It always makes me smile when you like a blog pot of mine. Let me know if you ever feel like reading this last book and I will see that you get a copy, it would be my pleasure. May life continue to amaze you!!


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