Q&A with Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, authors of The Voice

Q&A with Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, authors of The Voice. For more information please visit www.grailwerk.com. The Voice is available here.

Why did you write the novel, The Voice? How is this book related to the script that Oliver Stone hired you to write?

We started out as a husband and wife journalist team. In 1981 we gained access to Afghanistan through diplomatic channels at the UN following the expulsion of 1135 western journalists one month after the Soviet invasion. What we discovered there was in sharp contrast to the “official” narrative playing on the evening news. Following our story for the CBS, we produced a PBS documentary and returned to Afghanistan for ABC Nightline. To our dismay, after seven years we were so frustrated with our inability to affect the “official” narrative, we began to look at what motivated us to take on this story in the first place. That led to an experience through dreams and synchronicities that was so powerful it triggered a shift in our consciousness and we decided to write scripts.

Authors Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould with Oliver Stone at his office in Los Angeles.

That’s when we saw Oliver Stone’s 1991 film, JFK. It was Oliver’s decision to include secret society elements with deeper motives that resonated with us. In our research into the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1170, an enterprise largely run by Paul’s Fitzgerald family, we had discovered historical reasons why members of some secret societies might have wanted to kill JFK as retribution for past “crimes” in the modern era.

The Voice was to be our novelized attempt to lay out those motives when our ten year old daughter Alissa told us about her dream where she was visited by Paul’s deceased father accompanied by a man wearing a Scottish plaid suit with bell-bottom trousers and a matching hat. The man told Alissa he was 800 years old. We decided Alissa’s dream was a sign to look more deeply into Paul’s personal family history. Paul already knew his Fitzgerald family had come to Ireland as mercenaries 800 years ago and wondered if this dream could be a mystical connection to his own past.

We then developed The Voice research paper with the hope that Oliver would become interested in our Fitzgerald narrative too, but he wanted the Afghanistan story instead. As we began the research for the script, we came upon a book written by an ex-CIA agent about British efforts in Afghanistan in the 19th century. In the book was a photo of an American who’d played a prominent role. To our shock he was dressed wearing a Scottish plaid suit with bell-bottomed trousers and a matching turban. Alissa confirmed that day when she came home from school that Alexander Gardner, an Irish-American mercenary wearing a clan uniform of his own design, was the man from her dream two years earlier.

When Oliver asked us to connect the esoteric background from The Voice with the fact-based Afghanistan script we found ourselves thinking and dreaming about merging the past, present and future. In writing the script, the Peter Larkin character (the CBS News editor who hired us in 1981) emerged as a tragic archetype: an angry, wounded Vietnam veteran who was determined to twist the Afghanistan story to get back at the Soviets for what he believed they did to him in Vietnam. His part was demanding towards us, but in The Voice novel Larkin’s character had matured as a victim of his own propaganda. Through that narrative the character of Alissa, as Paul’s daughter, resolves the conflict between Larkin and Paul. The weaving back and forth of the screenplay and the novel had become a way of understanding the multi-dimensional.

Now we’ll jump forward to our home outside Boston, the afternoon of December 23, 2011. Our daughter Alissa tells us her friend from San Francisco is coming to our holiday party with her father.  When she tells us their last name is Larkin, Liz mentions that the only Larkin we’d ever met was Peter Larkin, who worked at CBS News, was wounded in Vietnam and hired us to go to Afghanistan in 1981. Alissa tells us he retired from CBS and still suffers from shrapnel wounds acquired in Vietnam.

Having the man who launched us into our 30 year saga, walk through the front door of our home that evening was beyond surreal. It was as if a dream had materialized before our eyes. How that came to be is connected to a series of synchronicities and dreams that goes back to 1981 when Peter hired us to go to Kabul for CBS. It then expands into the script for Oliver and the novel which both feature a character that embodies our encounters with Peter. The novelized encounter between Paul and Peter through Alissa (which had been foreshadowed in The Voice in 2001) had been delivered right into our home. The reality of the script we tried to write for Oliver 20 years ago had written its self. It was an astonishing Alpha and omega moment produced by our two daughters that unexpectedly completed a journey begun 30 years ago between two competing storytellers.

We finally had a way to explain how dreams, synchronicities and intuition towards action weave a fabric of reality over time that was not possible before Peter’s arrival. We titled our writing –the weaving together of the threads of a mythological storyline with the chronological timeline through history – as Archeo-mythology (the personalized, historical, archeology of digging into our own subconscious).

  1. Can you give us specific examples of synchronicity and intuition that has played a role in your lives and in The Voice?

Example 1–During a trip to Ireland in 1997 to research the history behind our novel about the Fitzgerald history and their role in the Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169, we discovered Newgrange, the fifty five hundred year old UNESCO World Heritage Site north of Dublin. As we stepped off the plane at Dublin Airport, a baggage assistant (upon seeing our luggage) asked Paul who the Fitzgerald was. He was a Fitzgerald too and by serendipity his father had come from the same little village that Paul’s grandfather had come from. He then directed us to visit Newgrange telling us that if we did nothing else when in Ireland we must go there. We had never heard of Newgrange until that moment. But within the week we arrived at the mansion on the river Boyne and were swept away by its Neolithic technological majesty.  According to Masonic lore, Newgrange’s unique history and mythology is central to the biblical Enoch, grandfather of Noah, who is found in all three Abrahamic religions. The structure is central to pre-Christian Irish mythology having been built by the Dagda, the father of the Tuatha de Danaan, who was known as the Good Father, for his role as a benefactor to all the people. According to Joseph Campbell “…the Grail has been identified with the Dagda’s caldron of plenty, the begging bowl of the Buddha in which four bowls, from four quarters were united, the Kaaba of the Great Mosque of Mecca, and the ultimate talismanic symbol of some sort of Gnostic-Manichaean rite of spiritual initiation, practiced possibly by the Knights Templar.”  We came to see the shining quartz-clad Newgrange as a mythological beacon from the mysterious past that was anchored in the present. It reconnected us to our original motivation to write the novel and Newgrange became an important part of The Voice.

Example 2–In a nutshell, The Voice is a semi-autobiographical historical novel in which the primary character, Paul Fitzgerald, realizes his fulfillment at the dawn of the 21st century. In our writing we had created a mythic character known as the Black Knight which had been inspired by a dream. It is the Black Knight, Paul’s alter ego and mythical guide, who calls to him in his dreams to revisit the past as a Geraldine to remember his deeper purpose. 

On a visit to Ireland, years after we had created the Black Knight character, we were surprised to meet Desmond Fitzgerald, the Knight of Glin and discover that Desmond was the actual Black Knight of our Fitzgerald family.

 3. How did your spiritual growth change the way you view reality now?

Our work as mystical investigators for over 30 years had led us to a startling realization about how the metaphysical dimension of thoughts and dreams infused itself into our physical reality. With no background in physics we found a connection to explain our thesis in string theory. It was when we read an interview with theoretical physicist Juan Maldacena we recognized that the language he used to describe string theory had intriguing similarities to our theories about the right brain/left brain schism. Maldacena has been credited with solving the inconsistencies between quantum physics and the theory of relativity by creating a ‘mathematical Rosetta stone,  a  ‘duality’, that allowed them [scientists] to translate back and forth between the two languages, and solve problems in one model that seemed intractable in the other and vice versa.” Maldacena’s success suggested to us that the dilemma between those who are rigidly biased towards rational thinking versus those who are rigidly biased towards metaphysical thinking display the same kind of irreconcilable clash that his theory resolved. Since he resolved the tension between general relativity and quantum mechanics, we decided it might be possible to build a more substantial thought bridge that could explain how dreams become real through synchronicities that eventually DO infuse into our personal lives in actual concrete ways. We incorporated our esoteric experience into a geo-political analysis of Afghanistan in a talk that laid out those steps and can be viewed here: Afghanistan and Mystical Imperialism .

4.What sort of spiritual or psychological growth do you believe readers will experience as they read your book?

We developed a narrative creation process that resulted from our work first as investigative journalists focusing on the geopolitical and then using the same investigative journalists approach, we focused on the mystical. We consider The Voice to be the “proof,” in the scientific sense, of the validity of our process.

The novel, including the preface and epilogue, takes the reader through every step of our experience. Although it reads like a multidimensional action thriller, which reaches back to Medieval Ireland, the core of our work is about regaining control of our personal narrative and to recover our authentic selves from all of the competing narratives we are surrounded by, especially by the MSM. Technology attempts to seduce us away from what is genuinely new; but when we take back the authority over our own state of mind, the mind control can’t work anymore. As the big narrative collapses all around us, we need not get lost in the collapse but can instead realize that the power lies in being the authors of our own narrative. It’s a genuinely positive message for people who are exhausted by the endlessly negative environment in which we are surrounded. Simply put, it’s about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat by ending the mentality of revenge and retribution.

An inspiring response about our process: The interview touched me on so many levels. What struck me the most is that your concepts are just as valuable on a personal level rather than trying to deal with geopolitical issues that are so difficult to figure out and drive us crazy.

Your ideas about accepting the limits of what you could do to affect the macro narrative by focusing on the personal where you have real power aligns with my experience regarding alcoholism.  To reclaim my own narrative, it required me to do what you lay out, such as; taking a STAND, owning your narrative and having a RIGHT and a RESPONSIBILITY to do so. Most important, you are explaining what YOU did when confronted with your own limitations affecting the macro narrative.

Alcoholics Anonymous became a spiritual pillar that I drew upon after drinking destructively since I was about 18 years old. Some of your themes are right at the core of AA’s message. And what is interesting is that the medical community admits that AA is the only long-term treatment for addressing alcoholism.

At some point in the recovery process the alcoholic has to TAKE A STAND and control his narrative by understanding what is controllable in the first place. You mention that retribution is a CHILD-LIKE way of dealing with a serious problem and that goes for many other destructive emotions and acts. I came to understand through this experience that finding and controlling my own narrative can feel like a spiritual experiences – it can be a healing, redemptive and life-changing process. When you said that people play a ROLE instead of developing their own identity, “There’s no one home” is a great way to describe role players. One final thought- the mystical/spiritual is really a major part of curing maladies like alcoholism.  Carl Jung wrote a letter to AA founder Bill Wilson giving his opinion on the root problem of alcoholics. Jung wrote Wilson because Jung had tried to cure an alcoholic named Rowland H. for two years using all types of psychoanalysis – to no avail. Jung thought he now knew why he failed — after seeing AA’s success

January 30, 1961 

Dear Mr. Wilson,

Your letter has been very welcome indeed.

I had no news from Rowland H. anymore and often wondered what has been his fate. Our conversation which he has adequately reported to you had an aspect of which he did not know. The reason that I could not tell him everything was that those days I had to be exceedingly careful of what I said. I had found out that I was misunderstood in every possible way. Thus I was very careful when I talked to Rowland H. But what I really thought about was the result of many experiences with men of his kind.

His [Rowland H.’s] craving for alcohol was the equivalent, on a low level, of the spiritual thirst of our being for wholeness, expressed in medieval language: the union with God.

How could one formulate such an insight in a language that is not misunderstood in our days?

The only right and legitimate way to such an experience is that it happens to you in reality and it can only happen to you when you walk on a path which leads you to higher understanding.You might be led to that goal by an act of grace or through a personal and honest contact with friends, or through a higher education of the mind beyond the confines of mere rationalism.I see from your letter that Rowland H. has chosen the second way, which was, under the circumstances, obviously the best one.

I am strongly convinced that the evil principle prevailing in this world leads the unrecognized spiritual need into perdition, if it is not counteracted either by real religious insight or by the protective wall of human community. An ordinary man, not protected by an action from above and isolated in society, cannot resist the power of evil, which is called very aptly the Devil. But the use of such words arouses so many mistakes that one can only keep aloof from them as much as possible.

These are the reasons why I could not give a full and sufficient explanation to Rowland H., but I am risking it with you because I conclude from your very decent and honest letter that you have acquired a point of view above the misleading platitudes one usually hears about alcoholism.   You see, “alcohol” in Latin is “spiritus” and you use the same word for the highest religious experience as well as for the most depraving poison. The helpful formula therefore is: spiritus contra spiritum.

Thanking you again for your kind letter                               

I remain  Yours

sincerely C. G. Jung”


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