The All Souls' Waiting Room: A Black Comedy about Karma and Killing Yourself
Why would a gorgeous, smart-mouthed, eighteen-year-old girl -- raised by free-loving followers of the brilliant, controversial psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (inventor of the orgone energy accumulator, the cloud-buster, and a stolen orgone energy motor) -- try to kill herself? What lessons does have to learn about karma and reincarnation? And what are the consequences of suicide? More
Why would a gorgeous, smart-mouthed, eighteen-year-old girl named Johnnine Hapgood -- raised by free-loving followers of the brilliant, controversial psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich (inventor of the orgone energy accumulator, the cloud-buster, and a stolen orgone energy motor) -- try to kill herself? What lessons does she have to learn about karma and reincarnation? And what are the consequences of suicide?
Floating away from her tenement apartment in New York's Greenwich Village -- for which, she knows, new tenants were already lining up -- a near-death, out-of-body experience lands Johnnine in the infinitely vast All Souls' Waiting Room, where all souls go for re-routing in between lives.
Because of her adolescent depression, Johnnine ends up in an All Souls' version of old Vienna -- to face the very things she's been trying to escape from, a hard look at her early life, when she was caught up in a web of adult intrigues and government persecution. Xofia, the gravel-voiced essence of feminine wisdom, chides her. "You think the universe went to all the trouble of creating you just so you could off yourself?"
Johnnine has to confront the querulous shades of Wilhelm Reich, Sigmund Freud, and Carl Jung, who continue their earthly jousting in an attempt to save her. Reich favors sex as a cure-all, Jung favors art, and Freud favors dreams. They try to practice their separate brands of therapy on Johnnine's suicidal ideas but can barely contain their animosity towards each other, especially when they all fall for long-legged Xofia.
The Akashic Recorder tries to teach Johnnine that there is no such thing as death. "You only get one body per life, you know," the Recorder says. "You happen to have a good one, but whatever damage is done to it in a suicide attempt is what you'll have to live with, when or if you return."
Is Johnnine destined to become a teen suicide? Can she find her desire for life after a disastrously chaotic, unloving childhood? Is the world really a safe place for unconventional people? Without love or spirituality, she wonders, what was the "point" of living? Will she get a ticket for a "p.d.," or premature departure, (otherwise known as a youthful suicide attempt) or will she be sent back to her bohemian life in Greenwich Village?
Maybe yes, maybe no, but not without a surprising Life Review, witnessed by Jung, Freud, and Reich -- as well as Xofia, five musical cherubs, and the mysterious, all-knowing Akashic Recorder.