A terrific cover photograph and keywords in the title set the tone for Rex Apollo’s personal tips for success. Built more as an autobiographical guide towards positive thinking rather than taking on the masters – Florence Scovel Shin, Neville Goddard, Joseph Smith, Napolean Hill, Reverend Ike and others in the “new-thought” movement – Rex Apollo forges ahead to find his own niche, a bit of a shake-up on the tried and true. It’s kind of hard to call the progressive self-help movement “new-thought” as these ideas are based on the teachings of Jesus – a time period over 2,000 years ago, but we could get really deep digressing on the evolution of mystical thinking so let’s assess the content.
Rex Apollo actually doesn’t follow that traditional path, though people who dwell in that arena will immediately get the impression that he does. As stated, it is the personal reflections of a writer in his mid-thirties telling of his ups and downs, and putting a focus on the ups and how to keep on the bright side. On page 82 he says “Our entire life is a game,” which mirrors the title of Scovel-Shinn’s book: The Game of Life and How to Play It (1925,) Rex’s thoughts coming almost a century later. The author also taps into Claude Bristol’s The Magic of Believing without seemingly ever having encountered the famous writer – said to be a student of Neville Goddard’s. Bristol was a businessman, a police reporter, a journalist – among other titles – and studied a multitude of belief systems before writing his two classics. Where Bristol collected information and formed conclusions, Apollo’s data is empirical, based on his own life experience and ideas.
I find it fascinating that someone not steeped in “the movement” writes so eloquently from that perspective, and his title about “sparking” your “golden age” is a new approach to what are now ancient themes. His life experience noting that you can spark, initiate, engage a period that is more fulfilling and beneficial than down periods you may have experienced. And he labels ‘the good times” as a golden age.
The term “golden age” is what we apply to films like Gone with the Wind, The Bride of Frankenstein, Casablanca, etc, or catalogs of music – The Rolling Stones, for example, from their Beggars Banquet up to Goat’s Head Soup, or the Beatles from Rubber Soul to everything before and after: that magical time, a moment, when musicians, filmmakers, sculptors, cooks find the vibrations all spot-on; on target for those particular events that the world signifies as remarkable. Rex Apollo is basically telling you that everyone can find or “spark” a “golden age” of their own, that sweet spot when everything flows your way, naturally and with much good energy.
The verve and vivacity you seek Apollo believes you can have, as do Shinn and Bristol referenced above, individuals who did so ten decades or so before.
What is also intriguing is that Apollo tucks it all into 99 pages. From a compelling cover title and photo that says it all to a succinct look through his own life, and the instructions he offers about finding and maintaining the place where you want to be – take them or leave them. The shortness of the tome – which you might think is an oxymoron, but it’s not in this context (a tome being a large and scholarly book; I believe the largeness is in the ideas reduced – not to Cliff Notes – but easy handling,) gives the work greater impact. Shinn’s published works are even shorter, and that the author goes there without knowing her is another identifier for the “new thought” crowd to possibly consider giving Rex Apollo, the new kid on the block, their ear.
It’s not what you expect. It is a different kind of writing about positive energy coming from the author’s point of view. You don’t have to take the advice, but if his journey inspires you to seek your own way through time and space, it’s done its job.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.