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Mysticism of the Three TDG Novels

In November 2018, I was trying to promote Tiered Democratic Governance on a G+ (Google’s Facebook clone, which has since been disbanded) political forum. A man named Richard Gillespie suggested that I take this complex idea and put it into a story form. He gave me a great example called “Manna,” a novel that questions where automation is going—and what to do with displaced workers. I did read “Manna” and had to agree: the story format was a better way to teach about societal decisions related to future automation than a philosophical treatise.

Even so, I first thought me writing a novel was a silly idea. I had never written fiction before. I had no desire to write fiction.

But then I recalled a popular novel called “The Celestine Prophecy.” This 1993 novel about new age philosophy had a rather contrived plot and shallow characters. Yet it was on a bestsellers list for a long time. So I could see my foray into TDG fiction need not be perfect to tell the TDG story.

So after several months of thinking, a setting, some characters, and a plot started percolating in my head. The story was coming together before I put any keystrokes into my computer.

Spoiler Alert:

Do not read any more if you want the surprise of the three novels!

A few Medium contributors have deemed my Medium workings as only attempts to sell books. Yes, it is true that I have e-books for sale on Kindle and Kobo.

However, my primary goal is to find workers for Tiered Democratic Governance. I regard this objective as important enough to give my books away. I don’t want a small fee or access to e-readers to be a barrier for people to learn about the TDG and start working toward this new democracy. So these three novels are available for a free read from my website.

Diary of a Future Politician

The main character of “Diary” is Lenard Pash. Len is a middle-aged factory worker who loses his job, a job he thought he could take to retirement.

Len’s fellow worker and neighbor in Riverbend, USA, Rich Riddell, has been a long-serving foot solider in the Republican Party. He realizes the Republicans will not help working people like him. He finds “Tiered Democratic Governance (TDG)” on the internet and transfers his political energy from the Republican Party to the TDG. He gets some neighbors together, including Len.

Len is a reluctant participant in Rich’s experiment in democracy. He is only attending because he needs something to do—and he likes Rich. But Len helps build Northwest Riverbend’s first constitution. He is elected to its first executive committee and serves as treasurer. Len then helps Northeast Riverbend build their first constitution. Then Len helps the Northwest Riverbend TDG and the Northeast Riverbend TDG merge into North Riverbend TDG. Len has gained a lot of experience in TDG governance.

The North Riverbend TDG has some new election rules. These rules led to Len not being elected into the executive committee. While he is trying to be a good sport about his loss, he is hurt. Building the TDG had become important to him. Eventually he reconciles his loss and becomes content to be an ordinary TDG member, doing what he can to help out the TDG of North Riverbend. This means attending general meetings, voting, telling friends, and donating a little money. He neither criticizes the workings of the executive committee of North Riverbend nor campaigns to get his TDG job back.

Then some youth from the Tanksosin Indian Reservation want to build their own TDG. They somehow connect with Len and his wife Jackie, who bring their TDG-building experience to the reservation.

The setting, characters, and plotline of this story were all developed before I started writing it. When I was putting the first draft into my computer, the story almost demanded to be let out. The speed of my keyboarding skills limited the transfer of thought to my hard drive. Writing the first draft was quite mystical.

While the first draft came out fast, it needed reworking. I got a little help from Mark Hunter, a novelist who isn’t quite famous yet. Mark coached me on the importance of good dialogue to tell a story. He worked on the first two drafts with me as I learned these new skills. Then I turned it over to my longtime editor (Cherie Tyers) and longtime friend (Alyce Wickert) for the next four drafts.

Admittedly, Diary of a Future Politician is not exactly entertaining. This novel has four story arcs, each about building a local TDG constitution. And this involves constitutional discussion and writing, not exactly fare to entertain the masses and create a bestseller. But having the reader see someone else build these TDG constitutions is the prime reason for Diary. It shows that average citizens can build their own local TDG. It really is not that difficult.

The first draft of Diary was indeed mystical. But the mysticism did not stop there. After the second draft, I was starting to get a plotline for the second novel "Confessions of a Future Politician" and third novel "Circles of a Future Politician." And these plotlines were interfering with my ability to finish Diary. I had to keep pushing the latter stories away to finish the first story. But the other stories kept coming back.

There really was no writer’s block anywhere in this project for the three stories seemed to come from something outside of myself.

While putting the later drafts of Diary together, a voice came to me: “Dave, you have to kill off Thelma Delgers in the second novel. Her death will lead into the third novel.” And that was that. The first novel was not completed; I had not put one word of the second novel together yet; Thelma’s fate was decided.

Diary was officially finished in April 2020. Then I started writing Confessions and Circles concurrently as my intuition instructed.

Confessions of a Future Politician

Thelma Delgers is the main character of Confessions. She had a minor role in Diary.

Thelma is a young African American woman. Thelma becomes the de facto leader of Riverbend’s TDG—she is an anomaly for such a leadership position in rural America. As her TDG story moves forward, we find her competent for the job. Her fellow TDG members have recognized her talents, abilities, and commitment for TDG governance. She gained these attributes with her previous TDG service, learning from her mentors Rich Riddell and Holger Peters.

Interspersed with Thelma’s TDG story are flashbacks of Thelma’s youth. Typical of many American youth, she adopted a party-party lifestyle as her “pursuit of happiness.” The flashbacks show Thelma’s fall, normalization, questioning, and finally her departure from that lifestyle. Let’s just say the flashbacks show Thelma growing up.

Her departure from “fun” leaves her with many questions as to “why?” She befriends Stacey Mabrall, who has had some education in psychology. Stacey explains to Thelma the psychological forces that shape our values. With this explanation, Thelma comes to a better understanding of the values she had assumed—and her future values.

If there is one lesson I want readers to learn from Confessions, it is that we are all a product of the social and psychological forces around us. We need to be aware of those forces to understand ourselves. We are not the independent thinkers we believe ourselves to be.

I have divided the building of the TDG into four stages: 1) Early, 2) Middle, 3) Maturing, and 4) TDG-in-waiting. Diary is about the constitution building and early mergers which encompass Stage 1.  Confessions sees the Riverbend TDG finishing Stage 1, moving through Stage 2, and just entering Stage 3.

And yes, Thelma is assassinated at the end of this novel. That ending was forced on me. It does lead well into Circles.

Confessions was released in July 2021. The entire plotline was planted in my head before I started writing. It was very easy to get this first draft out. By then, my fiction-writing skills had improved, and the next drafts went fast. Not much was changed or added to that plot of Confessions after I started writing.

Circles of a Future Politician

Eli Weasel is the main character of Circles. Eli was a major character in Chapter 6 of Diary and a very small character in Confessions. In Diary, Eli and four friends from the Tankosin Indian Reservation, with the guidance of Len and Jackie Pash, put together their first constitution.

For the next four years, Tankosin’s TDG does not move very far. While Eli and his friends ensure the organization is following its own rules, there seems to be little interest and energy for this cause.

Thelma’s assassination is a catalyst to get this TDG’s future moving faster. Thelma’s funeral is where Circles starts. Many residents of Tankosin Nation make the connection between Thelma and Eli. While still continuing with their usual life activities, Eli and his friends are spending more time on TDG affairs. Their skills in TDG governance are growing. Membership is growing.

And the Tankosin Tribal Council can see their youthful TDG will eventually be Tankosin’s future. The two institutions start a process of collaboration.

Like Confessions, Circles also moves into Stage 3 of TDG development. And maybe goes a little bit further.

Unlike Diary and Confessions, the plot for Circles was not 100% complete before I started writing. I was not sure how I wanted to end this story. But that ending came as I was writing the first draft. I also wanted a story arc to reflect a non-western, non-linear philosophy. Somehow my Medium feed gave me an article to inspire this arc. That was how the telescope/time-travel arc came into being. But all other arcs came before I started writing Circles. Let’s just say this third novel was only 90% mystical.

Circles was released in January 2022. It is the most entertaining of the three novels.

Wisdom of a Future Politician

The fourth TDG novel has been churning between my ears for a year. Nothing on paper or hard drive yet. I need to get some projects cleared up before I can start writing.

Unlike the other three novels, the plotline for Wisdom has not come mystically to me. I have had to do a lot of thinking and rethinking to put this story together. Even after a year of thinking, I still see too many holes that won’t likely be filled until I start writing.

There will be a new main character. I will say that this main character comes from a minor character in the first three TDG novels. I shall leave you to speculate which character gains a higher profile in this novel.

The main plot of Wisdom is that three TDGs—Riverbend, Battenor County, and Tankosin Nation—are trying to merge into a bigger TDG. This merger brings more lessons on TDG governance in a story format.

The first three novels don’t have a lot of internal conflict in them. The characters get along reasonably well, which is an objective of TDG governance. But Wisdom has enough conflict to make an instructor in a creative writing class happy. The negotiation for the merger brings out this conflict.

In the time of Wisdom, the TDG is starting to get serious attention from the general population. More people join, and some of these new members don’t partake in this new way of consultation, consensus, and cooperative decision making. They bring in the old ways of conflict, contention, and contempt. They are trying to gain control of the TDG.

The main character has a tough balancing act. He/she and the other TDG representatives need to be proactive with the new negative forces trying to shape the TDG. Because the TDG is not about confrontational politics, the protagonists should not directly confront these forces. And this is where wisdom needs to be applied to move the TDG into an even higher level of maturity. It must not resort to the “old ways” to fight the battle, lest it adopt those old ways.

Similar to this novel, I believe many real TDGs in Stage 3 will face a takeover attempt by forces that are not conducive to good TDG governance. While Wisdom will be an even more entertaining novel, my main purpose is to prepare TDGs for Stage 3 times.

I’m predicting completion of Wisdom in late 2023.

The Mysticism of It All

The TDG novels are all about informal lessons on TDG governance. The builders of tomorrow’s world need to hear these lessons.

I’ve been at this TDG project for 25 years. I’ve had no recognition or financial reward. I even stopped mentioning this project to my family, friends, and acquaintances as they were close to sending me to an insane asylum for wasting so much time on this project. 

Despite at least 2,000 TDG interactions on Medium in the past three years, I’m still an echo chamber of one. No TDG workers. Common sense says I should have quit 10 years ago.

Yet something is still driving me. How these three novels came into my head says there is an outside force pushing me.

Addendum 2024

The first draft of Wisdom has been written. Other projects seem to have a higher priority. 

Published on Medium 2022

Building the TDG Culture

To My Lukewarm Supporters