Eternal River, Volume III: The Next Thirty Years
They say you need to know what your book is about before you start writing. That helps you make decisions along the way—what to leave out, what to include.
When I started this series, it was about choices. My great grandfather Gong changed hundreds of people’s lives in 1874. When he decided to come to Gum San (Gold Mountain), newspapers were already crying out against the Yellow Horde. Yet he came. He felt he had to. Someone needed to stop the poverty that was killing the clan.
Eternal River I was the joining of the rivers of my parents’ lives. Eternal River II was the choices they made as they reared their children. Eternal River III is thirty years of choices, with the invention and development of microcurrent taking up nearly half the book.
I was happily combing years of interviews and memories into a shared narrative, so glad to be hearing the voices of my parents and husband once more. It has been nearly three years since Dennis and Daddy died just two weeks apart, and over nine that I’ve been without my mom. Writing this book was like having them here with me once more, with all the events of that electrifying adventure fresh in my memory.
I was telling their stories, sharing my insights into who they were and what we did together. I was almost done. I aimed at a publication date of July 22, 2012, my father’s birthday. He would have been ninety-seven. Then my friend Dan decided to digitize some old Hi-8 video tapes for me. To my surprise and delight, among them were seminars with my dad and his friend Dr. Hadden Pace, and interviews with my parents, Dr. Jack Scott, and Daddy’s dear friend, Dr. George J. Goodheart.
I couldn’t leave those out. When Daddy and I worked on this book, he had told me the story of microcurrent, but never even mentioned such things as the Phaser, the Freedom Micro Pro, microcurrent interferential with its brilliant dimensional probes, or even the newer models of the machines. Now here were the exact pieces I needed. Then I set out to find dates, and realized my own compilation of stories was a terrible mess. I received help from the Museum of History and Art in Ontario, and the Pomona Historical Society. Daddy had given them almost all of his memorabilia. They, too, supplied missing pieces. Then I came home and tried to put everything in order.
This is the first book I’ve written without being able to call my dad up and ask him questions. Transcriptions of his lectures and documents left me panting, harkening back to the old days when I struggled with concepts he was trying to share with his readers of professional journals. Somehow I had to make his convoluted thinking straightforward and intelligible to the layman—and he was not here to ask. Though I read and reread his words, I wasn’t certain I knew what he was trying to convey, and I was afraid to change the sentences lest I disturb or destroy their true meaning. I found myself walking around the house saying, “What did you mean, Daddy? I don’t understand.” Since I dare not confuse the meaning in my father’s explanations, I have left them untouched for those who can understand, and thereby benefit from them.
But back to knowing what the book is about.
When Dan found all those tapes, I started seeing the book as an accurate establishment of my dad’s inventions in the historical record. So many people have claimed they invented microcurrent, the “Q” cotton swab electrode, the Tsunami Wave. I wanted to present the chronology and dispel myths, claims, and conjectures. But I am not good in organization. Some of the dates seem contradictory. Some of the accounts appear to be different, but might really be the same incidents with different information about them. There were no records to check, and no one to ask. How could I publish a book that was confusing in just the areas I wanted to make so clear? Alas! I am the disorganized daughter. I was overwhelmed.
Then I realized the truth of the matter. This book is not about microcurrent. I made the decision to forget about trying to prove anything. This is an account of my parents’ choices. I wanted to share who they were at home, at work, in their travels. I wanted to share the strange inevitability of the microcurrent adventure that was such a marvel to my dad as it unfolded in surprising ways. I wanted to share the voices of people who enriched and influenced their lives, and who were influenced and enriched in return. And I wanted to share my daughter-understanding of two human beings who were able to do what they did because of their choices based on who they were, and the Divine Guidance that they came to trust and enjoy.
There was one more missing piece. Me. I was going to make the book all about them, but that would have been an inaccurate presentation of those thirty years. They were the gong, the deep river, but I was their tributary, my waters flowing from their source. What I chose to do affected my interaction with them, and their choices towards me influenced how my tributary ran. We could not have done what we did if we had not had each other.
Finally, this book is about story, and how the hearing and telling can heal and give us the courage to continue on. That’s what I’m praying for all those who read this account of our Eternal River, following its flowing through its next thirty years.
Carolyn Wing Greenlee
August 31, 2013
P.S. Some passages of the book are exceedingly technical. I included them for those who want to experience how my father’s inventive mind worked. If you’re not one of those people, just skip those parts. Or brave them, like rapids in the river that can shake up your brain. That way, you won’t miss any of this remarkable story.