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UPDATE: Check out my interview on The Jimmy Dore Show about my book! Jimmy did some beautiful and powerful readings of a few excerpts:

With the help of my generous patrons, my wonderful husband, and copious amounts of caffeine, in between political essays I have managed to write and illustrate a book. It’s called Woke — A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers, and I’m very proud of how it turned out.

Part graphic novel, part poetry, this book is my way of pointing to the course our species must travel more directly than I can in article format. We are at evolve or die time, we must wake up very soon, and this is my very best crack at pointing our deep inner workings onto the path of transformation which leads away from our extinction and towards our utopia.

Here are the reviews that have come in as of this writing from the soft launch, and some photos from the book:

A Stunningly Creative and Incisive Work

What a truly amazing work!

Here we see how the sharp-soft edges of poetry and graphic arts can cut just as deep to the heart of things as passionate debate — a great pleasure coming from one so adept at the latter. Ms. Johnstone is known to many as a sharp and incisive writer at Medium and other open sources, and as an observer of the complicated scene devolving as the neocon-media nexus expands to engulf even many thoughtful voices of resistance. In her other writing Johnstone reminds us that there are — and have been for a long time — other forces at work which are practiced in the arts of manipulating language and minds. I recommend her commentaries to all, but this book provides a refracting glass through which we can see many facets of the beast consuming our culture and certainly eyeing us now.

The poetry in the book reminds me of Ai and Wendell Berry at their sharpest. Here, in “Buy Stuff”, Johnstone commands:

“Beer
drink beer
drink this kind of beer
because you are thirsty
and because it hurts to be a primate
with an overdeveloped cerebral cortex
on a dying world in a sea of blackness
and because these people are playing volleyball in swimsuits
and drinking beer … “

and reminds me of Berry’s “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front” in which we are offered the choice to:

“Love the quick profit, the annual raise,
vacation with pay. Want more
of everything ready-made. Be afraid
to know your neighbors and to die.
And you will have a window in your head.
Not even your future will be a mystery…”

The graphics might have been merely secondary part of the book but instead they manage to tell both a parallel story and something that feels independent. They are amazing. The soft, swirling pastels, like the poetry, cut to the sharp edge of sorrow that lies only just there beneath our cultural skin.

~ Daryl Anderson

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Inspiration for the independent thinker who wants a better world.

This is a wonderful book of poetry and art both. From the piercingly insightful “Welcome” to the haunting and sad “The Letter”, Caitlin reaches for the heart but will get inside your mind as well. If you want a better world, if you’re tired of getting beaten down by corporatism and greed and just plain evil…this book will inspire and inform you. This book is not an attempt to tell anyone what to think or how to feel, but just to do both on your own; don’t let others do it for you.

If our world is going to find its way, it will happen by individuals finding themselves and not giving into the mobspeak. That’s what being ‘woke’ really means. Caitlin is one of the strongest voices I’ve ever heard on this subject, and I can’t recommend this book highly enough.

~ David Hiscox

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Critical Message for Now

I believe that someday we will remember this voice to have been one that saved us from the brink of the death of life on earth. Through her powerful words; connection to truth and source; to the clarity of images in her prose and art expressing the current plight of humanness. Awaken and come to the garden with sword, shield and crown, ready to bring about the great turning. YES! Read and come back again, for inspiration to fuel our hopeful dreams for a future we can live into. More, please!

~ Kristy Trione

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It isn’t everyday you’ll find a book such as this

Great art and great poetry melded perfectly to stimulate the mind while sending an important message.
Highly recommended

~ Stroller

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Wonderful book of poetry

Wonderful book of poetry. I love Caitlin’s writing.

~ mjwing

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Refreshing paint&poetry from the trenches of journo warfare in prose

Caitlin has written far & wide on the ‘real politik’ of the day, mostly as a journo on Medium — like Sarah Kendzior, Greg Pallast etc. she’s the next gen unfettered by paid media — but this is a refreshing break from prose. Poetry & paint draw from her vast experience into sharp witty pieces that cut as deep as much as they elevate… As “Le Cid” said 450 years ago “la valeur n’attend point le nombre d’années” — valour doesn’t come with age — Caitlin does not disappoint.

~ AndrewZ

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Here’s a reading of the first poem in the book, titled “Welcome”.

Welcome

This book is for the ones who look with both eyes.
It is not for the right-eye lookers,
who hide away from the pain of the world using comforting ideas
and philosophical positions and spiritual concepts,
who lean back smugly knowing better while the earth screams,
while men in suits with cannibal brains pave over the forests
and coat everything in oil.
The right-eye lookers have killed off that part of themselves which feels,
which cannot look away, which brings them trembling to their knees
at the wet-faced beauty of each instant,
and the wailing of the ocean angels and the tears of the indigenous.
They deftly slip the punches that life throws at their head as it screams
“Look at me! Feel me! Why did you even come here?”
They have traded the aliveness of their lives to avoid the intensity of living.
This book is not for the right-eye lookers.

This book is for the ones who look with both eyes.
It is not for the left-eye lookers,
who behold the flying robots raining fire upon children,
who hear the cries of the mother clutching bloody shreds of nothing,
who feel the dying gasps of the white deer dreamguides
and stand there transfixed by the horror of it all
until they can hardly see for all the tears.
The left-eye lookers lean into each instant,
but the pain consumes them, takes them over, controls them,
becomes them.
They build a temple to despondency and begin worshipping strange gods.
Their world has gone gray, and their angels are caged,
and they say it’s no good going on.
“We are headed toward doom and so much the better,
for we are all made of poison.”
They do not avoid life, and its suffering withers them.
This book is not for the left-eye lookers.

This book is for the ones who look with both eyes.
It is for the ones who see the bombs and the bastards
and stand shaking with the breath of the beast on their skin.
When you look with both eyes, you feel it all,
but you don’t flee or freeze.
You fight.
You swing your sword with both hands,
tears pouring from both eyes,
and when they try to drive you back,
you advance.
This book is for the ones who see what is happening,
how strong the beast is, how pervasive its grasp,
how merciless its mission, and say “Fuck it,”
and draw their sword.
For the weeping warriors, for the savage saints,
for the bleeding mothers with fire in their eyes,
for the hidden mystics whose prayers keep the earth spinning,
for the buddhas who’ll use their teeth when their blades are broken
and let their evolutionary ancestors howl through them,
this one is for you, my lovelies.
-C

Have a look for yourself here. I dedicated it to my two beautiful kids with the note “Let’s hope this works.”

So — let’s hope this works.

________

Written by

I write about the end of illusions.

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