Alan is wrenched from this life by suicide. Dusty, haunted by the loss of the man he thought he knew, must deal with his own regrets before accepting one final task for his friend. Every step takes Dusty further from the friend he remembers and closer to the man he is becoming. Dusty’s outer and inner worlds collide as apathy and depression are challenged by empathy and compassion. Travelling with a backpack heavy with items he must deal with, Dusty must choose between the things that drag him down and the things that bring him life. What will he choose? What would you choose?
“Into the Storyverse” relates the story of us all. Its narration sensitively exposes our tendency to blindly act out of our life scripts, and it offers us the grace to be aware of what it means to be held in Mystery. George Johnston keenly identifies and sensitively describes the human condition in its beauty and its tragedy. He calls us to recognise and acknowledge our addiction to identifying with our life’s circumstances. Through the sisters of poetry and prose, George poetically offers us the chance to fall into a deeper Life which can hold and embrace the paradoxes and ambiguities of what it means to be truly human.
Dr Patrick Oliver, Spiritual Director
George Johnson has crafted something unique within the pages of “Into the Storyverse”. Be prepared to be taken on your own inner journey via the gentle rhythm of interwoven stories that find expression through fiction narrative and poetic verse. I found many evocative reminders of my childhood in the northern bayside suburbs of Brisbane as well as a very significant journey I took with my father through the landscapes of western Victoria many years ago. This book has layers and beneath the surface are themes of love, inclusion, forgiveness, self-care and the understanding that we each have a a special story to tell. Perhaps most importantly, for me at least, is the reminder to leave behind the dualistic notions of “us” and “them” in order to expand into the mystical realm of the eternal present.
Mark Darling, Psychologist
I pick up this book, I hear a mysterious and intriguing invitation, I visit familiar and strange places, doors open, at first slowly, but then more quickly. I travel to the other side of the world as I follow the path of a central character who in many ways resembles me. He, or is it me, is in a valley, on a mountain top. Poetry invites me to linger, reflect along the way, go deeper into my own pain, longing, questioning, and then into my very soul.
Bruce Warwick, Formation Pastor Churches of Christ
I have just taken a journey, one I was not expecting to take me to the places, feelings and thoughts that I encountered. What an amazing use of language and storytelling to create an evocative and thought provoking experience. Thanks George, for allowing me to enter the Storyverse and highlighting the importance of all our stories and the beauty of their interconnections.
Brilliantly written! The book draws you in from the opening line. If you allow – it not only presents an innovative style of writing with insight to the cravings and yearnings of a human soul navigating the often scarred landscape of a fractured world – the author invites the reader to journey alongside Dusty and face our own longings and desires, and examine our response to those around us: our own ‘Alan’s’ and our own ‘stranger in the park.’ Lovingly written and crafted with care. This book is well worth a read!
There are so many things I loved about this book. Nothing is what it appears to be is the phrase that comes to mind. The reader sees life through Dusty’s eyes and we become privy to his most intimate thoughts. At the end of each chapter there is a verse which perfectly encapsulates the chapter’s deeper meaning. These verses helped to take me on my own personal reflective journey. Into the Storyverse is an interesting, memorable and moving read.
Jen Compton, Author of ‘Life’s a Mango’
George Johnston’s Into the Storyverse is a skilfully crafted, hope-filled book that explores the inevitable challenges, exhilaration and sorrows that arise from simply being human. Burdened by feelings of guilt arising from his friend’s suicide, Dusty—a gentle man—invites the reader to accompany him as he travels fire-ravaged Tasmania, mangrove shorelines of Moreton Bay and lochs and mountains of Scotland, on a mission to fulfil his late friend’s wishes. In a way, the weighty backpack Dusty carries is a metaphor for life’s burdens. Similarly, Dusty’s life journey is analogous to exploring nature itself: challenging (yet not insurmountable), never straight forward or easy. Dusty urges us to search deep and far for answers. In a satisfying conclusion, as he fulfils his destiny—now contented, more compassionate, kinder to himself—he is safe in the knowledge that his stories will go on.
George’s work here is intuitive, evocative, inclusive, heart-felt, and positive. An absolute pleasure to read!
Jane Ireland Author of ‘Emigree’