Artwork and design by Ben Sullivan.
I haven’t written a blog in a while. Partly because the tragi-comic events playing out on the world stage have kept me glued to CNN and even the lame Fox news. I can’t add any more fuel to this abundantly-stoked fire so instead I will tell you about my very alternate world.
All my life I have lived only partly in this money-driven, war-obsessed, competitive world that humans call REALITY. It has never seemed real to me. It has seemed crazy. As a child I looked out my window at the stars. They seemed at once indifferent and yet familiar. They held their place in the map of infinity with dignity, certainty and harmony. They also held a secret formula for life that humanity could neither grasp nor intuit. For Millenia they had taken their places in a processional that led to neither corruption or destruction. In a world daily changing and flirting with destruction what secret value bound the stars to their perpetual traverse? What did they know that humanity with its endless bickering, murdering, thieving and hoarding of wealth did not know? What purpose kept the stars from colliding?
Years later, as an young adult on a holiday in Crete, I was looking out a similar window at a sky so black and unstained by earthly light that the stars appeared twice their size and crusted with light. Suddenly out of a clear sky a bolt of lightning forked, and hitting the sea, exploded. The sound deafened me for almost a minute. In that ensuing silence I felt intensely the released life force whose energy crackled in the air around me, animating everything it touched. And then I saw it – pure life. The stars were alive, shivering with animation and latent creative energy. They were endorsed by life. And I realised that by comparison the general run of humanity felt poor, cheated, angry, hungry for life. Most of humanity felt impoverished and half-dead despite their wealth in some cases, and so they peddled death, believing it was all there was. The stars orchestrated life, humanity traded in death. The wealthy hoarded gold to perpetuate a feeling of being alive but truly they felt dead and uninspired. The poor struggled to find shelter and food and longed to be rich in the erroneous belief that money would be proof against death. Most of humanity were puzzled about their purpose.
Humanity’s failure is its lack of cooperation and its lack of faith in itself. Forget God or whatever overlord you believe in. The lack is in us. We are part of a great network of interconnected energy available to everyone. Our passion will source it whether or not we sense our souls or believe in God. Life force is freely given. To be a conduit for all this freely-given energy, you must first “plug in” to your passion and develop it. Money is just potential for fuelling projects. It does not value-add to the character.
So, back to my alternate world. The stars showed me that life is a force greater than its opposite – entropy. The entropic are buying the illusion of lack. I live in a world of artists. I love them and draw strength from them, each in her/his own orbit. Occasionally we meet and discuss creating something new.
Recently I met Tish Tindall, a highly-creative, brilliant lady who is doing wonderful things in Scotland. The energy and life-force she exudes is like lightning in her small community. She inspires everyone she meets and people lucky enough to interact with her get swept along in her wake, headed to an abundant sea. Tish had read my novel Catch the Moon, Mary and asked me if she might turn it into a movie, get it to a wider audience. It has been a dream of mine since I wrote it to form such a creative partnership and be part of a processional as heaven-mapping as the stars.
Like minds attract and quickly move to agreement. Tish and I and our broader community: Hayley Hemingway-Hare, Diane Aspinall and Ben Sullivan started work immediately on logo, screenplay and score.
This harmony and energising cooperation should be the model and focus of humanity. I want to say if we can do it then why can’t politicians and nations? Why can’t they harmonise their efforts and finances towards improvement rather than inflating war? Why must NATO spending 2% of each nation’s GDP on something as futile and faithless as weapons of mass destruction? Is it not madness?
In my world the humans and others work in respectful harmony for the production of something greater than ourselves. I am cog in the wheel, even though the book is mine, other creatives are now coming in and adding to the map of infinity. The sky would be a poor place indeed if there was only one star.
I scored ten out ten!
If you’ve read any of my prior posts, you won’t be surprised to know my relationship with writing has been a challenge, not unlike a turbulent romance, an on-again off-again affair, an excruciating part-time obsession. That being said, as I brainstormed this week’s topic, my mind focused on the painful truths and absurdities aspiring writers contend with on a daily basis. There is a commonality with one’s descent into misery, especially amongst like-minded individuals who share a familiar goal. In an ever shrinking global village, our similarities, our passions and dreams often mimic one another. Like a legion of misfit doppelgangers, identical in spirit, we are connected by a common thread of hope, dreams and aspirations.
In the pretext of empathy, and in the context of shared misery, I came up with the compilation below. I realize there’s a high probability a similar post exists on the Web (doppelgangers – remember)…
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Opinions – to have or not to have, that is the question. Whether it is more prudent to shut up or speak up courageously and denounce a group of people you don’t understand.
Courageous? Hmmm. Recently on the evening news, every night in fact for the past week, there has been a huge fuss made over a football player here in Australia who voiced an opinion on social media that homosexuals will burn in hell unless they repent and turn straight. He quotes Bible passages and other opinions to back him up. Some people think he’s very courageous for voicing such a politically incorrect opinion. Others think he’s a bigoted moron. But if we can believe the stats on Twitter and not assume it’s Russian meddling or fake, everybody’s talking about him, about his right to have and express his opinion.
Democracy says he has the right. And there is certainly some value in knowing what idiots think (just my opinion). However when you consider the fact that this guy is a major footie celebrity whom legions of devoted fans listen to and near-worship I have to ask myself whether or not he does have the right to express such a hate-filled and negative opinion, especially when there’s a good chance his opinion will fuel homophobic views in a country that has worked so hard since 1978 to engender acceptance and tolerance of the LGBT community. Australia has only just legalised gay marriage and our famous Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras had a record turn out this year. In 1978 gays were routinely bashed by police and took a risk walking home alone day or night. Gay men were fair game for a certain type of anger. It has taken years to wean the general public off their fear and hatred of homosexuals. So back to democracy and the democratic right to have and express an opinion.
I think (and this is just my opinion) that arriving at a firm opinion about anything at all must be the end result of much investigation and information-gathering. My opinion is that before you express your opinion about anything make sure it is YOUR opinion and not the indoctrination or persuasion of peers or society or religion or family or the reactive product of your own fears. Think about it long and hard and try its opposite on for size. By that I mean examine the opposite side. Sit with it and see how it feels. One of the first rules of debate is a open-minded willingness to argue for both sides. Yes, I was on the school debating team and we often had to argue convincingly against our “opinions”. Stephen Hawking said “question everything” and I could not agree more. That is one opinion I hold very strongly, which brings me to the Facebook debacle and the claims that “fake news” filtered through multiple fake sights influenced the recent election in America. Again I would suggest (my opinion) that a little bit of observation and careful listening to the rhetoric of Donald Trump during the campaign should have been sufficient to inform anyone with an open mind that the man was unfit for the Presidency. What were his policies? What was his history? What was he actually saying apart from spin? What does Make America Great Again actually mean? Broad claims are mere dogma and believing dogma is the same as claiming homosexuals will burn in hell. Based on what history? Supported by what evidence?
So I guess by now you can see that I think all this FB debunking is more of the blame game and sidelining that has been the hallmark of the current POTUS’ time in office. Advertising spin is very effective and if you keep a mantra going long enough it will become a “fact” in the social consciousness.
Be careful what you believe and be super-careful what you express publicly as your opinion. Even the line “everyone has a right to their opinion” was just somebody’s spin at one stage. Now it seems like a social justice. The ancient Greeks had a forum for expressing opinion. It was done on a certain day at a certain hour and you picked up a card at the entry which gave you the right to speak and the right to be heard. Women were banned from the event but hey, justice is a slow-moving behemoth, but that aside, when your card was chosen you took the stage and had a limited time to make your point. And points were made. Ancient Greece was the birthplace of democracy and opinions were valued unless you were Socrates and rocked the boat too much. But even then it’s reasonable to say that Socrates’ opinions had so much value they were considered dangerous and he was silenced with hemlock.
Nobody is silenced with hemlock these days. They may be taken to court. But mostly anybody’s opinion is tolerated when in my OPINION it ought to be debated.
So grateful to #exquisite Jules Mortimer for her support!
It seems this year isn’t showing any signs of slowing down yet, and we’re back round to another Jules Just Read post already!
I had a much more successful reading month in March compared to February. I read 9 books and listened to 3 audiobooks. Rather impressively, 7 out of the 9 books I read were 5 star reads, so my reading hours provided plenty of high quality entertainment 🙂
I even managed my challenge to read 1 paperback a month by reading not 1, but 5 paperbacks, yay! That helps make up for my complete fail in February 😉
I also had rather exciting signed book and Indian gifts post from the wonderfully talented author, Renita D’silva. I absolutely LOVED her new book Beneath an Indian Sky, which actually now has a beautiful new cover, which you can see under my reviews section later ❤
I won a…
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My mother Carmol Scammell is entering a landscape painting in the Wynne Prize this year! I am so proud of her and so relieved she has at last found the courage to put her brilliant work out there where the critics can savage her and the public can enjoy her gift. Criticism is always the risk we take when we give humanity our highest gifts. But what a poor world this would be if our gifts were withheld.
Mum has been painting for over 50 years and has reached a level of mastery few artists ever attain and soon the world will get to see her work.
Here are a few examples of her art.
A magical story about a gifted but vulnerable girl who is both saved and damned by an angel who falls in love with her music and claims it as his own in a Faustian pact. With Mary in his thrall, he ruthlessly kills those who threaten his plan to bring Mary to Carnegie Hall where her talent will be hailed supreme.
Sunday Express, March 2017: ‘Catch the Moon, Mary is one of my six favourite books’ – Amanda Redman, actress/director/arts patron/head of ATS, New Tricks, The Good Karma Hospital, Sexy Beast
‘Beyond beautiful’ – Simon Egerton, singer-songwriter, composer, lyricist
‘Original and scintillating, tantalising and thought-provoking. A novel about the transformative powers of music and beauty’ – Hazel Philips OAM, Gold Logie winner, author of Black River, Bright Star
‘Weaves a singular spell mesmerising the reader on several levels like a fugue. Wendy Waters and her characters believe deeply in…
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