These Ten Things Will Inspire You

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Renard's World

These Ten Things Will Inspire You

We all need a bit of inspiration in our lives.

Where there is inspiration, you can count on creativity being close by.

A painter might be inspired by the sight of a tree and as a result of their inspiration, they end up creating a painting of the tree.

It is as though inspiration opens the figurative door for creativity to enter.

So, I can clearly understand the reason why most bloggers need to feel that deep sense of inspiration before they go about putting together their blog posts.

Here are some things that inspire me (And, there is a high probability of some of those things inspiring you too).

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Is Failure Genetic?

FRED Cheryl & AlisonOK I know this sounds crazy but I am beginning to wonder if failure is somehow a family trait. Why am I wondering, you ask. Because everyone in my family fails to achieve the goals and dreams they chase. At least so far.

I once knew a lady who became a world-famous author. We used to knock around the same small town in rural NSW. For obvious reasons I won’t say her name. We didn’t like each other much. She recognised my superior talent as a writer almost from the moment we joined the same Book Club. It was easy enough to spot the difference. Her work was tawdry and predictable. Mine was “out there”. It still is. In 2007 I won the Women’s Weekly/Penguin Short Story Contest and was asked by Penguin to present a manuscript for publication. I gave them an 80k word piece about an angel who latches on to a child genius. I called it Catch the Moon, Mary because my character seemed to have the weight of the world on her frail autistic shoulders. My entire Book Club was rooting for me, even the jealous girl who knew she couldn’t hold a candle to me as a writer. Two months later our worlds flipped. Penguin knocked back Catch the Moon, Mary saying it was brilliant but too unusual. Her predictable manuscript set in 20s London was picked up by a major publisher and translated into 35 languages. The lady is now a multi-millionaire living between Europe and Australia while I am struggling to make ends meet.

Her father was a successful businessman. Mine was an alcoholic who lost everything.

Her mother is a art dealer. Mine is a struggling artist.

Is there something in that?

Her family are wealthy hucksters. Mine has a long history of genius and loss. There are so many gifted people in my family who burn out early or turn to the bottle for comfort.

We all know the Kennedys are a tragic family. Tragedy seems to stalk and ambush them. We all know the Rockefellers are a lucky family. Are some families marked out for failure?

I have seen members of my family work hard and long and get nowhere. I have watched them struggle for years but courageously remain determined to make a difference. It is true that the members of my family who never give up, myself included, are working at the high end of the spectrum as far as product is concerned. The lady with the charmed life is peddling palatable dross.

So how to catch this elusive butterfly called success.

Is it simply perseverance or must one sell one’s soul?

The people I admire most: Van Gogh, Oscar Wilde, Virginia Woolf, John Keats, Truman Capote, Leonardo De Vinci, Michelangelo, the Brontës, Austen, never sold their souls and their legacies are gamechangers. For them, success came late or posthumously. Except in Capote’s case where success came far too early to be of much use.

So back to my original question. Is failure genetic? Maybe the attitude towards success is nurture rather than nature. Maybe your parents’ relationship to success is the yardstick by which you measure your own. My parents had dramatic and difficult relationships with success and failed to carve pathways I could follow. The lady I referred to earlier had no doubt at all that success was her right. Her inflated opinion of her work was seasoned in the family home where she was taught that willpower alone is worthy of reward. She certainly has willpower.

Catch the Moon, Mary was eventually signed by a small publisher in Scotland in 2015 but my beautiful book is still struggling to gain recognition. I guess my genetic code is set on making a difference and offering the world the best work I can. I cannot respect or admire people like Dan Brown or E. L. James who feed a starving world literary ectoplasm but bloody hell, they’ve made millions and in all honesty, I wouldn’t mind making a few bucks before I die.Featured Image -- 356

When the New Year’s Resolution is Suicide

FRED 6 The suicide of a beautiful model at the start of 2019 has made me think yet again about what messages the world sends women specifically and men in general. Why would a woman with a perfect body and fashionable lifestyle end it all?

Why indeed. Annalise was 46 years old, had her own apartment in fashionable Bondi, no money worries and a circle of friends. So what happened?

I don’t think it’s such a puzzle. The lady was four years away from 50 and menopause and being childless and recently divorced she had no hope of building a family in the traditional sense of the word and was terrified of an uncharted future. Christmas and super-charged emotions must have been swirling around in that beautiful blonde head of hers. Alone in her flat and wondering what middle age would look like for someone whose career depended on youthful good looks. Sun damage was already leaving an indelible shadow on the backs of her hands and tiny wrinkles were appearing around the corners of her eyes. The mirror must have told her the twenty-something guys in the gym wouldn’t be ogling her much longer. Maybe she dreaded showing her passport at airports and owning her 46 years. Certainly she must have known the flattering  catcalls of workmen were becoming less frequent and fantasies about a family were cakes in the rain (Macarthur’s Park reference for all you millennials).

Women have a use-by date that men escape. It’s biological and that wretched clock is ticking from the moment menses begin. For some reason being fertile makes us feel worthwhile. Of course today with powerful beauties like Jane Fonda, Helen Mirren and Andie McDowell breaking barriers and ground our perception of ourselves is changing…slowly. And with the burgeoning #MeToo movement we are starting to value ourselves enough to say we don’t want or need the objectifying attention of predatory men. But it’s slow to change. Even beautiful Jane says she isn’t brave enough to wear wrinkles like Maggie Smith and Judy Dench, also magnificent and attractive women.

So who shows us the way?

Men also have problems that translate into mental health issues. Men have to be rich or high achievers. They are taught from childhood that they must take care of families and step up when someone is in trouble. They are taught to put their lives on the line for their country. They are sacrificed for the greater good in pointless wars and ridiculous street fights. Masculinity as defined as by the Pocket Oxford dictionary is possessing strength and  courage. Femininity is being instinctive and nurturing.  Both sets of characteristics are service-oriented.

This narrow bullshit doesn’t even touch the sides of what it takes to be human!

Being human or simply, BEING, means serving your soul, finding out who we are and pursuing our soul journey. Every day we are breaking new ground inasmuch as we have never experienced the present moment before. To the soul it doesn’t matter how much money or beauty or power we possess, the experience of life is not a physical one for the soul. We feel life in our minds and somewhere else that is hard to define except in relationship to everything else we can sense. Prof Rupert Sheldrake says it brilliantly when he claims that the stars are inside our skulls. By this he means that the single point of existence for ALL THERE IS belongs inside our own consciousness. Try to imagine that you alone exist in the universe and that the universe exists in you alone. For this is the truth. There will never be another point or moment of existence outside your own awareness. You will carry yourself into eternity and as you expand your awareness and increase your ability to accept new information and new experiences you will dissolve the seeming boundaries and experience an infinite connectedness. How much you can hold inside your skull and soul depends on how willing you are to dissolve prejudice.

Holding God in your mind is your truth.

Being is your reality.

The stars exist inside your skull.

If only Annalise had understood that her potential for life was boundless and not defined solely by her aging, albeit lovely, body she might still be with us. Family isn’t always biological and beauty isn’t always physical and wealth isn’t always financial.

Wealth and beauty are the bounty of connection.

I have stood on a beach at midnight and seen myriad threads of light connecting distant stars. I have heard the cries of unseen whales and translated their song into a map of waters unknown. I have stood under the full moon and felt its light echoing Shakespeare’s praise. I have walked along the Appian Way, my feet polishing ancient footfall and anticipating the quests of future generations. I am more than my flesh and greater than my mind. I AM.

Safe in the universal womb from which all possibilities are born and sharing dominion with the stars inside my skull I AM a soul in evolution.

God speed Annalise and next time remember to be.

me and pigeons

Me in Bath with pigeons!

 

2018 the year that was

cropped-ctmm-sea1.jpgAnd so another year begins with all the promise and peril held in suspension. I love and hate this time of year. Love it because I can hit the psychological reset button and go forward. Hate it because it’s the height of summer and I feel lethargic and irritable and can’t seem to get cool no matter what I do.

But 2019 promises great things or at least the fruition of many works-in-progress.

But back to 2018 for a moment. I had to let go of two people I never thought I would – two ladies who held such a profound psychological place in my life because they could always be counted upon to buoy me up when I slid into despair. So, what happened? Well, at the beginning of 2018, every theatre in Australia rejected my work and when that happened these two women dropped me. It was odd because they had both supported me through years of rejections and successes and I had supported them. But for some reason last year’s early rejections hit them hard, so hard they could no longer weather my storms. One of them actually blamed me for Australia’s failure to recognise my talent and persistence. She said there was something lurking in my mind, or worse, my soul – an unfinished story from a long ago life or a childhood event I wasn’t facing and it was permeating all my relationships and poisoning my professional chances. Sounded like bullshit to me. My feeling was that she couldn’t face doing the hard yards in her own artistic career and was projecting her impatience onto me. The other lady just hit her usual quit-by date and has since demonstrated an equal lack of commitment to other artistic friends.

True, I missed their enthusiasm and the pep-talks and the your-so-brilliant-it’s-just-a-matter-of-time-before-you’re-famous memes, but in truth, I don’t miss them. Their heightened energy and pronouncements of easy success was highly addictive and frankly, unreal, and their promises left me swirling on an unpredictable tide.

I wonder what they would say if they knew that within a month of their leaving my life I received two positive offers? One from a composer who is ready to complete and workshop a musical we almost finished five years ago, the other from a Scottish director asking if she could produce my musical, FRED and direct CATCH THE MOON, MARY  as both a play and a film.

What happened to my lurking karma from a past life and my suppressed childhood memory? Or do these things not apply with international or interstate exchanges?

So, I have let go of two friends who are no longer a good fit. I wish them well and lament that they will learn slowly that success and indeed, life, has no easy roads worth taking. There is always a toll and it’s usually paid later. The hard road is long and steep but oh, the view and the mental fitness achieved through endurance and effort. There is no view on the flat easy road. What people find is it goes nowhere you haven’t already been.

So, 2019. There is a wedding mid-year in Provence and after that two weeks in Paris. I hope to meet up with London friends and consolidate more projects and ideas. By mid-year I should have another musical completed and ready to show my agent and a good portfolio of completed musicals and a new manuscript. So, whilst success is being elusive and drawn-out I will not be caught on the hop when it does arrive, overnight! To support my new-found success I will have five musicals ready for workshop and/or production and to support my debut novel, Catch the Moon, Mary I have Fields of Grace, an elegant and charming novel with sufficient gravitas to delight the readers of Catch the Moon, Mary who loved its vitality and originality. My voice is still there in Fields of Grace albeit singing a different song. I am not one of those writers who could endure writing the same story over and over again to sate the greed of a publisher. My relationship is with my readers, present and future, who will find in my words, emotional resonance and spiritual connection.

They will sigh and know, this is what a life built on faith looks like.CTTM Quote

The Numbers That Are The Shapers Inside A Perfect Universe? — Lucid Being

The Numbers That Are The Shapers Inside A Perfect Universe? The number patterns being discovered or created! Human Smarts versus Artificial Smarts and is it even a question? Cognition of the Human-Kind: created in the image of us, performed by machines and given momentum by us, for us – ‘The Biological Intelligent. Computer algorithms […]

via The Numbers That Are The Shapers Inside A Perfect Universe? — Lucid Being

FRED – A Musical

FRED is my Book Musical. It’s the story of three lonely women living in adjoining apartments in a crowded city. They never open their doors or their hearts to one another until the power in the building fails and an electrician called FRED arrives to fix it.

As Fred fixes the fuses he chats to the women and comes up with a plan that will unite them in friendship and purpose. #heartwarming #redemptive #familyfriendly

https://m.tweeddailynews.com.au/news/fred-is-here-to-lend-an-ear/3434054/

Fred Poster

FRED Poster

 

The musical Premiered on the Gold Coast in July 2018.

Here’s to a long and happy life FRED.

Size Ten is the first song in the show. It is Alison’s I Want song. Alison is a lonely twenty-two year old girl who wishes she could lose weight and get down to a Size 10. If she could only get to that magical size all her problems would be solved, she thinks.

In this song she fantasizes about a gorgeous guy she met at the Mall and subsequently at the cemetery when he was visiting his mother and she was visiting her brother.

SIZE TEN  – ALISON

FRED 2

I WANNA BE SIZE TEN WHEN I SEE DENNIS COOPER AGAIN
AND NEXT TIME HE WON’T SURPRISE ME
AT THE MALL EATING HOT FUDGE WITH CARAMEL TOFFEE
I’LL BE SITTIN’ AT THE BAR IN MY TANK TOP AND JEANS SIPPING VODKA OR COOLING BLACK COFFEE

 

I WANNA BE SIZE TEN    FRED 1
WHEN I SEE DENNIS COOPER AGAIN
WE WERE CRUISING AT THE MALL IT WAS SUNDAY AFTERNOON
WE WERE BORED THERE WAS NOTHING ON TELE
AND HOW COULD HE BE THERE? I MEAN, DOES HE HAVE A LIFE?
THAT’S OF COURSE IF HE BREATHES THE SAME AIR

DENNIS COOPER – HE’S SO PERFECTFRED denis in cafe
NOT LIKE ME – I’M PLAIN FAT
FAT’S A SMALL WORD FOR SUCH A BIG THING
I PREFER SUPERFLUOUS FLESH
OR OBESE

I WANNA BE SIZE TEN – THE SIZE ALL THE MOVIE STARS ARE
NOTHING MOVES WHEN THEY RUN
NOTHING WOBBLES ABOUT
NOTHING BUDGES OR EVER GETS STUCK
NOT LIKE SUNDAY AT THE MALL WITH MY FRIEND CHERYL BLACK
AND THAT MORON IN THE MAKEOVER TRUCK

FRED Cheryl & Alison CHERYL BLACK SHE’S MY BEST FRIEND SINCE GRADE FIVE AND A HALF
SHE’S NOT PERFECT BUT I ASK YOU AN HOUR IN THE MAKEOVER TRUCK
AN HOUR IN THE TRUCK AND WHEN SHE CAME OUT
SHE LOOKED EXACTLY THE SAME EXCEPT SHINY
BUT THE LADY IN THE TRUCK SAID SHE LOOKED LIKE A STAR ANGELINA, SHE CRIED
I SAID BULLSHIT! BULLSHIT!

THAT’S WHEN I SAW DENNIS COOPERFRED 3A

I WANNA BE SIZE TEN
IT’S THE SIZE I MUST BE TO FEEL SAFE
NOTHING EVER GOES WRONG AND NOBODY DIES
IN THE DAYS OF A TEN PERSON’S LIFE
NOT LIKE MY LIFE WHERE PEOPLE GET TOO SICK TO CARE
AND THEY DIE AND THEY DON’T SAY GOODBYE

IT WAS SUNDAY THE LAST DAY I SAW HIMFRED JD
AND HE JOKED AND HE SPARED ME HIS PAIN
WE TALKED ABOUT MEN AND OLD MOVIES
AND THE CONSTANT INCREDIBLE RAIN
HOW COULD SOMEONE LOOK SO GOOD WITH CANCER?
HOW CAN SOMEONE LIKE ME NEVER CRY?
HE WAS BRAVE, HE WAS YOUNG, HE WAS FUNNY
I NEVER TOLD HIM GOODBYE

FRED couple I WANNA BE SIZE TEN
AND I WANNA SEE MY BROTHER AGAIN
AND NEXT TIME I’LL SAY THE THINGS I MEANT TO SAY
AND I’LL ASK HIM IF HE HAS REGRETS
OR DREAMS THAT HE NEVER CAME CLOSE TO
OR PEOPLE HE’LL NEVER FORGET
MOBILE PHONES ARE SO HANDY
IF YOU’RE WAITING FOR BOYFRIENDS TO CALL
BUT THEY’RE A PAIN IN THE ARSE WHEN THEY FIND YOU
EATING FUDGE IN A CONE AT THE MALL
YOUR BROTHER JUST DIED – ARE YOU SITTING?
NO, I THINK I’M BEGINNING TO FALL
BUT CHERYL IS HERE AND SHE’LL GET ME HOME
BY THE WAY, THANKS FOR THE CALL

FRED 7IT RAINED LIKE IT DOES IN THE MOVIES
BUT HIS FUNERAL WENT ON JUST THE SAME
IT WAS SUNDAY THE ROSES HAD FALLENFRED 9
IN THE CONSTANT INCREDIBLE RAIN
CHERYL BOUGHT ME SOME FUDGE
WE WENT WALKING AND I SIGHED BUT HAD NOTHING TO SAY
CHERYL SAID LIFE GOES ON WE SHOULD LIVE IT
BUT MY BROTHER STILL GETS IN THE WAY
DON’T I KNOW YOU? SAID SOMEONE, HIS BACK TO THE SUN
THE GIRL WITH THE FUDGE I RECALL
YEH THAT’S ME, I SAID SOFTLY, THE FAT GIRL IN THONGS,
THE FUDGE, THE SHOUTING, THE MALL
FRED JAMES DeanDENNIS COOPER, HE SAID WITH A GRIN
DENNIS COOPER – THE PERFECT THE COOL
DENNIS COOPER WITH A FLOWER FOR HIS MOTHER
I COME WEEK DAYS, HE SAID, AS A RULE
CAN I SIT? HE SAID GENTLY ‘WHY NOT?’
AND WE STARED AT MY BROTHER’S RED ROSE
WHO WAS HE? HE ASKED WITHOUT BLINKING
MY BROTHER, I SAID, IN REPOSE

DENNIS COOPER, THE PERFECT, WAS CRYING
AND I CRIED FOR THE FIRST TIME MYSELFFRED 3
THEN HE GAVE ME THE FLOWER FOR HIS MOTHER
AND HE SAID DON’T PUT LOVE ON THE SHELF

FRED 10I WANNA BE SIZE TEN
WHEN I VISIT MY BROTHER AGAIN
AND TELL HIM MY LIFE IS IN PROGRESS
AND TELL HIM HIS WASN’T IN VAIN
AND TELL HIM THE SUN STILL HAS MOMENTS
IN THIS CONSTANT INCREDIBLE RAIN
AND TELL HIM THE THINGS I AM PLANNING
AND TELL HIM GOOD LUCK IN THE SKYFRED 2A
AND TELL HIM I’LL SEE HIM IN HEAVEN
BUT FOR NOW I WILL TELL HIM GOODBYEFRED 9

Halloween

Halloween 2Halloween means  “All Hallows’ Eve” Allhallowe’en or All Saints’ Eve celebrated on 31st October, the eve of the Western Christian feast of All Hallows’ Day and for traditionalists it begins a 3-day observance of Allhallowtide or a time of remembering the dead, including saints (hallows), martyrs, and all the loved ones passed over.

It is widely believed that many Halloween traditions originated from ancient Celtic harvest festivals, particularly the Gaelic festival Samhain which was absorbed into Christianity as Halloween by the early Church.

Interesting because when I was living in America and married to a born-again Christian who worried my soul was doomed if I didn’t get “saved” I had to listen to a Pastor rail against Halloween for almost the entire service. He warned us if we participated we would almost certainly risk hell. This sour nonsense was followed by what I can only describe as an episode of truly bone-chilling “talking in tongues” from some woman in the front pew whose entire body arched backwards as she spewed forth this garbled rhetoric that was later translated as a warning from God, you guessed it, dissing Halloween.

But how dangerous can Halloween be with diabolical activities like door-to-door trick-or-treating, carving pumpkins into jack-o’-lanterns, dressing up in costume and watching the umpteenth repeat of The Addams Family Values (my preferred Halloween viewing)?

In answer to the revved up Christian Pastor at that Church in Seattle in 1997 the word Halloween or Hallowe’en dates back to 1745 and is of Christian origin. It means “hallowed evening” or “holy evening” and comes from a Scottish term for All Hallows’ Eve. So it’s a pity the Pastor didn’t do his homework instead of ruining some harmless fun planned by the kids and a few of the big kids like me.

To quote from Wikipedia

“History
Gaelic and Welsh influence

An early 20th-century Irish Halloween mask displayed at the Museum of Country Life.
Today’s Halloween customs are thought to have been influenced by folk customs and beliefs from the Celtic-speaking countries, some of which are believed to have pagan roots. Jack Santino, a folklorist, writes that “there was throughout Ireland an uneasy truce existing between customs and beliefs associated with Christianity and though associated with religions that were Irish before Christianity arrived”. Historian Nicholas Rogers, exploring the origins of Halloween, notes that while “some folklorists have detected its origins in the Roman feast of Pomona, the goddess of fruits and seeds, or in the festival of the dead called Parentalia, it is more typically linked to the Celtic festival of Samhain, which comes from the Old Irish for ‘summer’s end’.”

Samhain was the first and most important of the four quarter days in the medieval Gaelic calendar and was celebrated on 31 October – 1 November in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man. A kindred festival was held at the same time of year by the Brittonic Celts, called Calan Gaeaf in Wales, Kalan Gwav in Cornwall and Kalan Goañv in Brittany; a name meaning “first day of winter”. For the Celts, the day ended and began at sunset; thus the festival began on the evening before 7 November by modern reckoning (the half point between equinox and solstice). Samhain and Calan Gaeaf are mentioned in some of the earliest Irish and Welsh literature. The names have been used by historians to refer to Celtic Halloween customs up until the 19th century, and are still the Gaelic and Welsh names for Halloween. Samhain/Calan Gaeaf marked the end of the harvest season and beginning of winter or the ‘darker half’ of the year. Like Beltane/Calan Mai, it was seen as a liminal time, when the boundary between this world and the Otherworld thinned. This meant the Aos Sí the ‘spirits’ or ‘fairies’, could more easily come into this world and were particularly active. The souls of the dead were also said to revisit their homes seeking hospitality. Places were set at the dinner table and by the fire to welcome them. The belief that the souls of the dead return home on one night of the year seems to have ancient origins and is found in many cultures throughout the world. In 19th century Ireland, “candles would be lit and prayers formally offered for the souls of the dead. After this the eating, drinking, and games would begin”.

Halloween 3

From at least the 16th century, the festival included mumming and guising in Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man and Wales. This involved people going house-to-house in costume (or in disguise), usually reciting verses or songs in exchange for food. Elsewhere in Europe, mumming and hobby horses were part of other yearly festivals. However, in the Celtic-speaking regions they were “particularly appropriate to a night upon which supernatural beings were said to be abroad and could be imitated or warded off by human wanderers”.

On All Hallows’ Eve, Christians in some parts of the world visit cemeteries to pray and place flowers and candles on the graves of their loved ones.

It has been suggested that the carved jack-o’-lantern, a popular symbol of Halloween, originally represented the souls of the dead. On Halloween, in medieval Europe, fires served a dual purpose, being lit to guide returning souls to the homes of their families, as well as to deflect demons. Households in Austria, England and Ireland often had “candles burning in every room to guide the souls back to visit their earthly homes”. These were known as “soul lights”. Many Christians in mainland Europe, especially in France, believed “that once a year, on Hallowe’en, the dead of the churchyards rose for one wild, hideous carnival” known as the danse macabre.

“In Cajun areas, a nocturnal Mass was said in cemeteries on Halloween night. Candles that had been blessed were placed on graves, and families sometimes spent the entire night at the graveside”.

The Church seems to have developed a real fear of this harmless and rather delightful tradition. I think it’s lovely to believe the veil between worlds thins for at least one night of the year and the bonds of love can be acknowledged and forged between the caretakers of the this world and the inevitable next. I will be wearing my usual horns and welcoming all the little ghosts and ghoulies and witches in my neighbourhood with chocolate crackles and mini-flakes.

Happy Halloween All!

Photo1875

Put a spell on you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Can’t Get No Satisfaction

7d782d7193f645b9c94d4ccbed6efbb0Everybody’s angry these days, simmering with prickly discontent or snapping impatiently. And at family gatherings  I see people yawning and sighing over stories of unmet aspirations they’ve heard a million times before. The eyeroll and deep breath signalling to empathic others that here he goes again talking about that tired old dream he’s been chasing for forty years. 

Why doesn’t he give up and let us all get some peace?

In fact, how about we all give up on our dreams and just have fun? Would we be more contented, easy-going and patient as a species? Look at sloths. They don’t bother hurrying for anybody and they seem pretty contented.

The problem is that we are conditioned from birth to expect satisfaction in all areas of our lives, miracles even. Romance will lift our station and complete us. The right job will buy us a nice house, car, lifestyle. Good friends will make weekends fun. It’s all possible of course with education. Education is a magic wand, wave it and you will have choices and ANYTHING YOU WANT.

Really?

When I was out of work and once again burdening Centrelink I was offered a set of courses to make me “work ready”. They included Business, Sales and Hospitality. When I was asked which of these three best aligned with my preferred career I was at a loss to answer. “What would you like to be doing if you had the choice?” they asked patiently.

“I’d like to run my own Musical Theatre Production Company and in conjunction with that I’d like to write more novels and lyrics for the best composers on earth.”

“We can help you get a job in a shoe store in Westfield.”

“Or there’s that new Call Centre opening up,” added someone helpfully.

I ended up doing the Sales Course and when that finished I got a job washing dishes at a local café whilst completing my online Creative Writing Course. When I finished my Writing Course I started writing in the morning before work and in the evening after work. That pattern continued for almost a decade and then in 2007 I won the Women’s Weekly/Penguin Short Story Contest which gave me enough prize money to quit my dishwashing job and stay home and write for almost a year.

I was lucky. I knew what I wanted in life and I took the elementary steps required to prepare myself for the responsibility of realising my dream. Not that I’m there yet but it’s getting closer and when I get there I will be competent enough to handle the challenges. In the meantime, there is the ongoing challenge of being patient, which brings me full circle to my opening statement. Why are so many people prickly and angry?

People feel cheated. They bow to convention, take the jobs that pay well and promise to give them everything money can reasonably buy. They marry the “right” person who not only fulfils their romantic fantasies but also halves the bills or gives them a leg up to a higher social rung. But they’re not satisfied. Something’s missing and when they dare to complain they are told they’re ungrateful or in need of a holiday.

A holiday. Now what the hell does that ever do short of emptying the account? A mindless booze-fest where we attempt water-skiing or paragliding only to end up injured. And has anything changed back home? For a week we feel better but then the old ennui sets in.

An affair. There’s a great solution. Get involved with a pretty stranger who doesn’t find you repetitive and dull. It’s so nice to be appreciated again. But that doesn’t last and when the glitter settles you wake up one day, older and sadder and soiled and wasted and wondering why you screwed up a perfectly OK mediocre marriage.

Now you’re living alone and for a while it’s fun learning how to do things for yourself and not worrying about pleasing someone else. But then it gets lonely and the old dissatisfaction takes hold.

Midlife and you wonder what it was all about. Life. What the hell was it supposed to deliver and how come it didn’t deliver to you? And then one day you remember being fourteen and standing on a beach looking out to sea, the horizon glittering with the promise of adventure. You stood there for ages imagining sailing over that horizon and onwards until, looking back, the shore had slipped away and nothing divided you from acres of blue. You wondered about the night sky at sea, how it would look crusted with stars that reflected in a mirror of ocean. Floating on this star-crusted eternity you felt yourself expand and become one with the universe. Not a sound. A silence so profound it seemed to breathe and you felt alive. ALIVE. And then you remembered you had dreamed of being a sailor but your parents thought there was no future in that and persuaded you to study Law. There was more money in Law, more security. If you still wanted  to sail you could buy a yacht later and make it a weekend hobby.

You never did. Somehow it all just slipped away and you forgot the boy and the sea and the dream and even now when there’s no-one to answer to, no-one who would really care or try to stop you still you don’t bother buying that yacht because something inside has died, a spark has gone out and it can’t be rekindled. And even if it could it’s all too much bother now.

So, why are people so prickly and angry? Because this world encourages and applauds compromise at the expense of LIFE.

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