Reimagining Rivervine

As this website approaches its first anniversary, it’s good to look back and see the path we followed up to this point. When we first started out, I didn’t have a clear vision in my head of where I wanted to take us. I just knew I wanted to go in a direction that celebrated wine, books, and esoterica. But I have since found my bearings and now have a better sense of direction.

For the past 20 years, I have fantasized about making the Rivervine utopia a thing in real life. I just didn’t know how to bring it out of my head and into fruition. I thought all I had to do was get the books published and I’d automatically attract a following like a grown-up version of Harry Potter. Doesn’t everyone want to be a Comati? It’s like post-graduate Hogwarts.

Unfortunately, the success wasn’t as sure of a thing as I thought it would be. Zinfandel’s Grimoire was released November 3, 2020. To date, it has sold 56 copies and generated a whopping $27 in royalties. Hardly a best seller, but at least it has three 5-star ratings and one review on Amazon, so it isn’t totally obscure. But it’s still disheartening to not be the phenom I had imagined.

This past year, I have studied, stumbled, and started over numerous times. I’ve lost hope. I’ve given up. I quit dreaming.

But while I was sulking in one of my pity parties recently, I realized what I want more than book sales is to create a new American culture. Actually, it could be anywhere, doesn’t have to be the United States.

It all starts like this:

You as an individual have a unique identity. It doesn’t matter what your race, religion, sex, gender, or social status is. That unique identity has value and deserves respect.

But as individuals, we live in communities and depend on each other to follow rules that prevent us from infringing on each other’s safety and wellbeing.

Each community is unique, with its own needs, values, and abilities. Communities make up cities and towns. From there, we have counties, then states, and finally the nation and the world. All of these different units make up society. And for society to function properly, we have to respect each other as individuals, while realizing we are all connected.

Capitalism focuses on the individual. Socialism focuses on the community. Both are subject to cronyism and corruption. What we need is Comatism.

“Comati” is the Dacian word for peasant. It’s the name I gave to the fictional residents of Old Town Rivervine, stemming from the first Comatis, who were farmers in 17th century Romania—the country formerly known as Dacia.

My Rivervine Trilogy may be fictional, but the Comati culture can be emulated in real life. The espoused virtues include:

• Living a simple, modest lifestyle. Comatis are mindful consumers, choosing to patronize small, local businesses instead of large corporations. Mom-and-pops give each community its unique identity and keep money circulating in the local economy.

• Respecting nature, and striving to cause as little environmental damage as possible, even though sacrificing natural resources is a reality in modern society. Our goal is to be better stewards of the earth than we were the day before. Pick up litter. Try to keep the landfills from overflowing. Don’t drive somewhere if you don’t have to. Be mindful of the products you use in your home and the foods you put in your body.

• Voting politically independent. We believe each issue brought before a governing body should be weighed on the evidence presented, not a preconceived position established by a group of biased idealogues. Critical thinking should dominate the conversation. Logical fallacies are discouraged.

• Respecting spiritual agency as our most sacred human right. Although we celebrate the cross-quarters of the solar year as a group, all religions and faiths are welcome. Ceremony is a time to connect with each other in spirit while enjoying the ecstasy of ritual and pondering things not yet known to mortal humans.

Now that I have the main Comati virtues established, it’s time to take this cultural revolution to the public. Here’s how I’m going to do it:

On February 2, 2021, I will be launching a trailer for the Rivervine YouTube channel. If you subscribe now and hit the bell icon, you’ll be notified when videos are uploaded. The YouTube channel and this blog will serve as my way of communicating Comati news and commentary to the general public.

My Facebook author page will be a place where I discuss all the behind-the-scenes goingson in my fiction-writing universe. Please give the page a Like and make it a Favorite. See this blog post for instructions.

The Rivervine Writing Services Facebook page will be a place where I promote my nonfiction work.

Twitter will have more casual social posts. I’ll share my best photographs on Instagram, and business news on LinkedIn.

My Patreon site will be exclusive to the Comati spiritual community. The current tiers will change as follows:

Comati Level $3 a month. Patrons will receive weekly messages every Tuesday with insights and commentary relative to esoterica and the spiritual relevance of the news of the day.

Protégé Level $9 a month. Patrons will receive the weekly messages mentioned above as well as exclusive content to help you grow as a Comati.

Retainer Level $25 a month. You will receive the above benefits as well as my help writing content for your business or guiding you in your esoteric pursuits.

I DO NOT want to hear anything about “you know, the Bible says not to dabble in the occult!” Yes, I know that. I was a Christian for 30 years. But I had too many doubts, and the more I explored other faiths over the last two decades, I finally found a path I could believe in. I have made my peace with God and will accept whatever spiritual dings Saint Peter has in store for me at the pearly gates. You are welcome to follow me, but I will not be offended if this isn’t for you, and I ask you not to harass me or my friends about it.  

In the meantime, I bid you peace. Have a happy and healthy 2021, and be sure to always Follow Your Path.

Published by Gwen Clayton

Gwen Clayton is a freelance writer living in Ashland, Kentucky. She is the former editor of the Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly, and has written for numerous other publications since 1986. Her first book, the paranormal thriller "Fermata Cellars," was published in 2016, and her Bible-inspired short story, "Purr: A story of love, lions and a Hebrew named Daniel," was released in 2019. She recently finished writing, "Zinfandel’s Grimoire," which is the sequel to 'Fermata;' that book is in the editing and design phase of publication. Her current works in progress include the third book in the Rivervine Trilogy, tentatively titled, "Comatis Unveiled," and the nonfiction, "Dragon's Poker Table: A rocker chick's breast cancer journey." Her books are independently published under the imprint, Rivervine LLC. In addition to writing books, Clayton contracts as a copywriter for local, small businesses.

One thought on “Reimagining Rivervine

  1. I really like this direction, Dear Friend!
    Actually, I want to LIVE in that Community you envision, very much! I think it would be the right place on any earth, for me, and I’d be of use, there, for the people, as an Elder.
    So, let me know when the train schedules there are set, please…I’ll take a one-way ticket!
    Love, Kat ~


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