ABOUT THE NOVEL:
A Blend of Fantasy, Mystery – and Herstory

Radical young archaeologist Olimnia Goodlass is attacked after witnessing the murder of her university tutor. Left with amnesia, she loses sense of herself, recalling these events and their aftermath only through her extraordinary dreams and diary entries. At first, her diary entries alternate between a day recording a reality that feels confusing to her, and a day recording her dream life that feels real to her. With the help of friends and colleagues, and the characters who inhabit her dreams, she stumbles upon a conspiracy linked to oil reserves in the little-known desert kingdom of Amberia.

She travels there in search of women's ancient writings that could help expose the conspirators, restore her memory and change history or rather, 'herstory'. Gaining help from an unexpected source, the traumas and mysteries that led to the attack are revealed to her, leading her to discover an ancient bronze disc inscribed with the first written language and some universal truths – created by women.

Olimnia’s Last Term is an allegorical tale of a young woman’s search for her True Self. After losing her sense of identity triggered by the personal attack she embarks on a dream-laden journey into the interior of both the desert kingdom and her own mind. The story reveals how Olimnia’s recovery comes from learning the symbolic language of her unconscious mind, helping her to restore life to her free spirit, her True Self.

The novel is illustrated with some of my own line drawings and Bronze Age alphabetic script

Huge thanks to artist and dreamworker Barbara Herbin who,
over the years, has regularly urged me to publish!


A Note about Part 1: Confusion
Just to clarify some initial confusion that may arise in Part 1 of the book.

In Part 1 of the book, Olimnia has lost touch with reality following a car accident on the motorway. The accident was caused by the man who had just murdered Olimnia’s tutor. He had suddenly realised that Olimnia herself had actually witnessed him committing the murder.

Despite her amnesia, Olimnia still manages to write in her diary every day. On the first day of her diary (Sat 16th Sept) she describes the real events and her real experiences from that day – although to her they seem dreamlike, confusing and unreal. On the second day (Sun 17th Sept) she writes about her dreamworld, although to her it all seems real.

From then on, until the end of Part 1, 'real' days (which seem dreamlike to Olimnia) alternate with 'dream' days (which seem real to Olimnia)! A novel paradox indeed!

Normal diary entries proceed from the beginning of Part 2: Revelation, which starts on Fri 24th November.

If you’re still feeling confused, it may be helpful to add a notation to each day in Part 1 of the diary, recording R for ‘real’ days and alternating with D for ‘dream’ days!


ABOUT
JUDITH MAIZELS

I'm a feminist writer, artist, former earth scientist and, more recently, a neurosomatic therapist supporting those with chronic illnesses to recover their full health. I am fascinated by the origins of language and writing, and especially the symbolic language of the unconscious mind and its expression in imagery and the body. I believe we are all on a spiritual journey, being guided to come home to our True Self – if only we can open our hearts and minds to listen to the messages our soul is carrying.

After keeping the script on my old computers for about 25 years, I'm now very happy to announce that I've finally (self-)published my novel, OLIMNIA'S Last Term. It's a dream-based, feminist thriller, symbolising my departure from academia all those years ago and my shift from exploring outer worlds (as a geologist) to delving into inner worlds. I'm so happy that the book is finally seeing the light of day, and maybe it's just as timely now as it was back in the 1990s! It includes some of my own illustrations. The novel is fairly bonkers in parts and perhaps even confusing at first, but things do become clearer and make more sense as the mystery unfolds!

REVIEWS of

OLIMNIA'S LAST TERM

A murder mystery like no other. This is a story about psychic murder, and subsequent dissociation and reconciliation – a true re-membering of the whole being. In this highly original and ground-breaking novel Judith Maizels brilliantly describes the effect of trauma upon the mind and how it can be healed. Although a fantasy and written like a dream, this novel will lead the reader to a deeper experience of reality and an awarenessof the importance of listening to the messages from the unconscious mind.
Barbara Herbin, Artist and Dream Worker

I absolutely loved the book, and the way all the strands came together. I couldn’t put it down at the end!
Katherine Williams, Editor

A beautiful and original novel

This novel is so incredibly original and clever in the way the story weaves between dreams and reality, consciousness and unconsciousness. In places like a beautifully comforting dream and in others like the most exciting thriller! I love the idea of the dream friends being visionary versions of the real friends and the way that their names are ingeniously disguised. The creation of the Bekkharan alphabet and scripts and the beautiful drawings are an incredible feat of imagination and scholarship.

Olimnia's journey was so moving and powerful and I found the beautiful ending with the ship ready to sail for one last voyage to Amberia very affecting. I found it inspiring and uplifting to think of the possibility of a 'peace-loving society governed by female positive and creative forces'. It will stay with me and was the perfect novel to read during lockdown!
– Frances


'
Olimnia’s Last Term is a literary jewel waiting to be discovered.'

Maizels’ first novel is a murder mystery that invites the reader to join archaeologist and academic, Olimnia Goodlass, on her epic journey in solving a series of crimes, including a traumatic attack on her life that left her suffering from psychogenic amnesia. It is a journey like no other, travelling to distant lands and unearthing treasures from a lost matriarchal civilisation. All the while, a group of men attempt to sabotage the discovery in favour of pursuing more lucrative ventures of excavating oil from the same land. Pitching the ancient divine feminine with her nurturing and healing qualities against masculine greed and aggression is just one of the many appealing themes that Maizels successfully weaves into the fabric of the story. 

The reader pulls other narrative threads together by delving deep into Olimnia’s subconscious through a portal consisting of a series of her diary entries. Here, Olimnia is able to circumvent her conscious mind that is thwarted by her amnesia and continue with her quest to find out more about the murder. Maizels’ imagination runs free with evocative dream imagery that acts as a parallel story to the events on the physical plane and tests the reader’s ability to decipher vital clues about the murder. The introduction of Olimnia’s dramatic psychological journey not only adds another dimension to the story, but also cleverly demonstrates the
healing role of a person’s psyche when recovering from trauma. The story gathers pace entwining the physical and the psychological until, like all good murder mysteries, it ends with the big reveal.

Olimnia’s Last Term is a literary jewel waiting to be discovered. It celebrates the roles of women, in history and now, and will inspire its reader to delve into their own subconscious and see what treasures can be found.
- Vivienne Roberts,
Curator, College of Psychic Studies


'Gripping and Inventive'

This really interesting and unusual first novel had me gripped, trying to understand and connect the many threads that run through it. The time narrative shifts from the present back to ancient cultures in a matriarchal society, with Jungian-like threads of the collective unconscious that bind us together. I have recommended it to many friends as I found it fascinating, energizing and fulfilling. It is a title that will lead to very interesting discussions for book groups.
- Alyson

MORE ABOUT
JUDITH MAIZELS –

and Olimnia Goodlass

Reproduced from the Appendix of OLIMNIA's Last Term


As a child, I (not Olimnia) longed to be an explorer. I later became an earth scientist, travelling widely to complete field research, often in remote, unmapped areas of the world. Whilst starting off with a passion for the emotionally safe world of rocks, desert sands, ice and ancient rivers, these travels further awakened my sense of being on a spiritual inner journey.

Eventually, I had a dramatic epiphany in which I questioned my passion for understanding the outside world, when it was my inner world that was calling for my attention. While rocks held the key to the geological past, only through personal self-exploration could I begin to understand my own past and its influence on who I had become.

Thankfully, illness (M.E.) then forced me to free myself from the constraints of institutional life, giving me the opportunity to explore my inner path and why I had become so ill. In doing so, I found myself embarking on a creative inner quest to discover more about myself. Through writing and art I began invoking some of the places and experiences that had touched me most deeply.

Olimnia Goodlass came to life at that time, while I was still unwell. In writing about Olimnia’s journey, I realised the power of symbolic meanings that emerge unbidden from our unconscious. Exploration of earliest, matriarchal societies symbolised my search for my own identity, personal language, authentic relationships and wellbeing, all these nourishing the growth of my spiritual, feminist, gay and mind-body consciousness.

It was through Olimnia (and my previous novel The Quest for Humsight, not yet publd) that I was awakened to my different inner selves. I discovered how learning to accept and love them all with compassion can support our emotional and physical wellbeing. So, Olimnia Goodlass helped me to put into words the emotions, experiences and realisations that marked my inner journey towards my True Self, leading not only to my final release from academia, but eventually to my complete recovery from chronic illness.

As I escaped the world of academia, I also found myself becoming an artist, naming myself Judith McNicol (a family name). I used my geologist’s pen, and working in black and white, created intuitive, free flowing ‘maps of my unconscious’. You can see some of these 'drawinks' and other artworks at www.inkywings.me.uk. Together with other like-minded self-taught, visionary and outsider artists, we set up an arts charity, Artesian Arts, supporting us to exhibit our artworks and have our voices heard. We organised exhibitions and published an international magazine of ‘Upwelling Art’.

My writings also included reflections on my own illness. The latter formed the basis of my subsequent research into M.E. (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome), which I then combined with training and now working as a neurosomatic therapist. To learn more about the therapy work go to www.wellwise4me.com and www.proactive-neurosomatic-therapy.com.

As well as publishing my book of ‘drawinks’ ('Mapping the Inner Universe', Bumblebee Press, 1994), I have written about art and illness, and about the origins of, and paths to recovery from, early trauma and neurosomatic illness. As recounted in Olimnia’s story, our response to trauma can reflect our disconnection and exile from our True Self. Recovery and wellbeing arrive when we embrace and express who we truly are, fully, deeply and joyously.

Although I originally wrote this novel in 1996, no publishers were able to add it to their lists. It therefore remained dormant on my successive computers for almost 25 years, even after I made a full recovery from my illness in 2004, and long after I had left my academic University post in 1995. In 2018, I suddenly felt the time was right for the book to come back to life and finally have its voice heard in the world.

I hope you enjoy(ed) reading the words of my younger self – in the guise of Olimnia Goodlass.

I live near London with my wife of over 30 years, Fiona, and a menagerie of garden wildlife.

Judith Maizels
Autumn 2019