2017 – a year of endings and beginnings. People I loved left this world and are hopefully finding their wings. I moved from my home of eleven years and relocated to Sydney and in September I went back to glorious London where the streets are paved with gold-dust for me. Some images of my UK visit.
2017 has been a year of changes: endings, beginnings and in some cases, total restarts. In March, I relocated from Mount Tamborine Queensland to Sydney, the city of my childhood and adolescence. Moving to Sydney I discovered a cousin I’d never even heard of living just around the corner. He introduced himself as a composer and asked me if I would listen to his latest CD. I hate it when people ask me to listen to, look at or evaluate their creative work because I am as harsh a critic of their work as I am of mine. The bar is set very high and I won’t give false praise. It’s insulting to say the least and I assume that every artist is like me and wants to produce his/her very best work. Fortunately, Frank Seckold’s music turned out to be superb. He is a master musician and a sensitive, clever composer and arranger. I had already co-written a play based on my novel Catch the Moon, Mary with a very talented playwright Jemina Macedo and the piece needed a musical score. Frank had composed a 14 minute symphonic piece titled Moon Suite which was a perfect fit for the play. Within weeks Frank and I had the piece carved up into tracks to compliment the scenes.
Next big change was my second visit to London in September where I had a reading of the play and my latest musical FRED at the Tristan Bates Theatre Covent Garden. The cast was largely drawn from Amanda Redman’s ATS graduates led by Suzy Davenport and Lawrence Ellis with the addition of the superbly gifted Aidan O’Callaghan and the singers in FRED were Rachel Hynes, Lucy Aley-Parker, Emma Duke and Dom Rogan. It was an incredibly thrilling day and worth all the angst and pent-up hopes it took to get there. I now have a London agent, Ian Taylor, and a London marketing guru, Hayley Hemingway-Hare and some fabulous friends in the UK.
Back home again and Frank Seckold and I completed a new musical, MIRIAM. So that’s my news. Now my take on the global news, fake or otherwise. How did the world become so misled by fools? How did people become so disconnected from reality that Tweeting can be considered political diplomacy? I think our value system has become so distorted because money gives people a disproportionate competency, for instance just because Trump inherited a fortune and went on to scam a whole lot of people into investing in his shonky companies does not mean he is mentally competent to govern America. Money in and of itself means nothing and does not qualify its possessors for anything other than purchase ability. Possessing a fortune is not a great accomplishment. How you earned your fortune very well might be, but probably not. One can supply pegs to the masses and make a fortune but that doesn’t make you a genius or a visionary. All it makes you is rich. The greatest minds this earth has ever known have not always been remunerated accordingly during their lifetimes. It is only the rich who perceive themselves as high achievers because ego demands gratification and the soul demands purpose. But must we be misled into appending unearned attributes to the obscenely wealthy few? Having a great deal of money whether inherited, stolen or earned is simply the reflection of someone’s achievement, not necessarily your own.
Closer to home, another change, an ending. The lady who owns the house I live in died on New Year’s Eve. She was a wealthy lady and at times, a very kind one, but as she lay dying, her only concern was the cost of the hospital car park where she had left her car the day she came in for a routine check-up and never came home. I assured her I’d take care of it but she wouldn’t let it go, she complained that the car park fees were daylight robbery, the hospital itself full of potential thieves. She worried her handbag might be stolen and with it, all her cash and credit cards. Two days away from death she softened and allowed that after all perhaps it didn’t matter, she couldn’t take her money or her possessions with her. Her mind then returned to a family picnic her mother had arranged for her eleventh birthday, the kindness of a former lover, the generosity of friends including my mother, even my kindness in being there at her grim deathbed in that ghastly hospital that smelled of disinfectant and formaldehyde (or so it seemed to me, the morgue was at the end of the hall). But the other thing she began to notice was the angelic ministry of the night nurses, the gentle decency of the tea lady and the sweetness of the Muslim woman who came each day to massage her feet – a woman who spoke little English but had, as my landlady said, the loveliest smile on earth and incredibly, to my landlady anyway, the woman wasn’t being paid to massage her feet, she did it voluntarily. Such kindness for no apparent gain amazed my landlady. Kindness has more currency than money and is only of value when given away.
Over this past year I have become even more convinced that money has no value until it is used to help others and for those of us who possess it to any degree, it offers us an opportunity for kindness when given away, with or without discernment. Money is to be shared like kindness and love and its sole purpose is to improve the quality of life. Money hoarded is kindness withheld. And when a pair of mentally impoverished morons boast about the size of their buttons rather than utilizing their power and money to enhance and improve the lives of the people in their care I am more than ever convinced that the world is tragically dazzled by inanimate objects like weapons, bank accounts and bits of coin and paper with numbers on them. Attributing value to such things is a form of insanity. Ask yourself if they would be of any use to you on a desert island.
Ask yourself if money would feed you on Mars.
It’s very difficult to understand how the world got to a place where validation of the hollow male psyche has become not only Rule but Aspiration. What we are witnessing on this beautiful blue planet right now is the externalizing of the vacuum within the souls of two power-glazed male leaders – Trump and Kim Jong-un – whose mono-dimensional personalities lack the tempering of an intuitive female and the reverence inspired by sincere contemplation of both purpose and eternity. These madmen lionize the temporal without due consideration of the eternal consequences. The intuitive man or woman seeks immortality in the spiritual process attendant upon the pursuit of excellence. The macho male seeks permanence in the physical, either by construction or destruction on a massive scarring scale. His spiritual arteries are blocked and no light can pass through the conduit of the soul to inform both reason and beauty. The sacrifice of the feminine in religion has had a trickle-down effect over the centuries. The quiet respect for and contemplation of nature and the connection with Otherness has been replaced by a soulless unethical pursuit of money at any cost and the fear-based obedience to false power. Real power like real prayer is a sudden rising of wonder in the face of beauty or revealed truth. The world has lost its balance…economic concern has toppled reverence, marshal might has overcome spiritual right. I fear for the future if humanity continues to bend its knees to hollow despots who exhibit a morbid display of deadly toys in the name of protection and the assumption of aggression. People kept in a deliberate state of fear will choose their weapon and exonerate a macho bully. I see both these men and all who follow them as spiritual orphans whose contact with a higher benevolence has left them adrift and ill-informed. To fill the vacuum within they replicate spiritual authority with affluence and pomp but these external featherings do not kindle autonomy. No external posturing, feathering or armoring will ever excite or invite gnosis. To seek excellence is to cultivate the highest and best and most purposeful within ourselves and to invest in it with commitment and faith. The practice of inner cultivation is largely taken in silence and solitude. Even as we tread the lonely higher path the world falls away and fails to applaud the courage of commitment. But one day when you emerge from your self-imposed cocoon winged and stigmatically wounded with realized gifts replete others will notice and hopefully be inspired to fold themselves away from distraction and immediate gratification, ignore the trumpeting of bullies and take the time to evolve from a voracious consumer to an exquisite pollinator and progenitor of a higher order of life.
Dear readers, tonight is another special double interview. With us on the interviews is the archangel Gabriel, as well as the mortal woman he fell in love with, Mary Granger.
They are here to talk about love, light, and music – and how all three are connected.
Tell us a little about where you grew up. What was it like there?
[Gabriel] I’d like to answer this one if you don’t mind, Mary. My name is Gabriel. I’m an angel and have always “been”. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t conscious of myself in relation to all that is and ever will be so I’ve never “grown up” as it were. I don’t remember why I was called Gabriel or who called me that. Eons ago my Father recognised my singular creative genius and 2IC’d me into helping Him create worlds upon worlds, one of which humanity calls…
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There’s an old saying that goes sort of like this “To wake you up God throws a pebble at your window, if you sleep through that He chucks a brick, if you ignore that He drops a boulder on your house.” You may die or you may wake up. Either way the old house is gone and you are contemplating uncharted terrain. Now you can rebuild the old house and retreat to the safety of the known or you can build a symbiotic relationship with the unknown. I think this is where we are all standing now…on the brink of change. For me 2016 has been the year of either burning bridges or burying our collective heads in the sand. We can keep pretending climate change is a fiscally-driven myth as Trump trumpets, we can keep pretending the tsunami tide of refugees is a disbanded group of terrorists seeking European infiltration, we can keep ignoring the rising sea of homeless who shadow our city streets, we can keep justifying corporate greed and the unwieldy balance of wealth and power and opportunity or we can let go of everything we’ve been taught to need, fear and aspire to. We can let go and tune into the universe we inhabit and see if maybe there is a higher way of being, a better paradigm for life and a braver metaphor for success than wealth and title. We can let go of being competitive and explore harmonious nurturing of others and the pooling of resources and opportunities. But we may have to let go of separation to do so. Separation by religion, politics, nation, gender, sexuality, age, wealth etc and recognize the common link of soul, breath and beauty. I asked a friend recently if his religion would be worth defending on another planet…he had been arguing volubly about the true nature of God – his God. He paused his learned rhetoric and considered the possibility that it might be a little pointless. He conceded that aliens may well have sprung from the same God but known by a different name. I asked him what he would have if he landed on a different planet. “My soul,” he said. “It’s all I will have left of my former life on earth. I wouldn’t even have my name because it would mean nothing without my family. No nationality, no wealth, no career, no history, no politics, no religion. Just my soul.” Just the freedom to be himself and nurture a symbiotic relationship with a nameless God – just as sweet, just as mysterious, just as potently available. It’s time to strip away the trappings of centuries of indoctrination and “name-calling” and reclaim the one truly universal identity we possess – our souls. We’ve forgotten to trust ourselves, our instincts, our truths, our opinions and our own version of God because life has been overly-mapped, overly-processed and overly-monitored for far too long. We are neither sheep nor shepherds but souls conjoined to a sky that drops manna if we have faith. We can do better than a divided word threatening each other with nuclear warheads and fiscal sanctions. We can do better than arguing over God instead of emulating Him or Her or IT. We can do better than leaving people lonely at Christmas or indeed any other day of the year. We can do better with no cost to ourselves because the equity of the soul, the only transferable currency we possess, is love and every deposit increases our balance on this or any other planet, in this or any other race, with or without gravity , winged or rooted in the earth, it’s all one ultimately. The point of consciousness, the soul holds the entire universe in suspension and distance is an illusion. From here we journey forth, to here we return only to realize no distance was covered, no separation was possible and all the arguments, wars and loyalties were human constructs created by the faithless to cure their fear of separation and death.
This is a superbly written article.
“The federal government is poised to pursue the most significant cultural policy overhaul in over a decade and Canadian Heritage is holding a consultation on Canadian content in the digital world that will help shape new policy.” – Access Copyright email
It seemed important to me to contribute to this consultation, so I summarized my experience with the extraordinary changes that have hit the publishing industry over the past decade. Many of you who have been following this blog have already heard my story in bits and pieces, but now – thanks to Heritage Canada – I have it all in one place. Last week, I posted it on the department’s site (where there are lots of other interesting contributions which I encourage you to check out). I am reproducing it here:
A Promising Start
In 2000, I was well on my way to becoming at least a mid-list writer when…
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Somewhere, somewhen the celestial gavel came down upon the firmament with an almighty crack. A monstrous voice, its timbre shaped by colliding quasars spoke inescapable judgment.
“Upstart mortal, Wendy Waters, I condemn thee to write. Forever.”
And behold, it was very good.
CATCH THE MOON, MARY
I’ve had soft spot for the Judaeo Christian good vs evil thing. This particular ordained person of virtue going 12 rounds with that particular arch demon, for the soul of humanity, to a backdrop of cosmos spanning God/Satan refereed fireworks and a nifty soundtrack.
What Wendy has done has brought this to a very personal level where an abused and musically gifted child has made a Faustian bargain (not that she had much choice) with an angel, though not Lucifer, may as well be. I was amazed Wendy could get into the mind of child under these circumstances and bring her alive in a character. But if I swap the angel for a parent like figure then I begin to see how.
For not a large book, Wendy fleshed out some interesting characters which initially I started out disliking then grew on me. Or, started out keen to know more and ended up detesting. But that’s the intent of characterization and it worked for me. Even though they had a habit of dying quick.
Some of Wendy’s well rounded creatures such as the brother-in-law I’ve had similar run-ins with, always at my expense. The producer she nailed with a bullseye. The angel, a nasty piece of work. But I assume that is what absolute power does. Especially after Daddy has taken a heavenly sabbatical. Most of the characters had suffered abuse.
Then there’s Mary. I loved her from first keystroke. Putting out dishes of food for the elves was jolly good wheeze. There is music within her. She is a piano whisperer. She is a victim of abuse. She tries to protect those she loves. She has an angel. She is a deal maker and breaker. She has untarnishable hope. She will change the world
I had to itemise that for I find Mary beautifully complex and I can’t get my head around her in one book review session (my first on a fictional work).
Wendy writes of life with abuse. Wendy writes of the life after abuse. Wendy writes of overcoming abuse. Wendy triumphs for all.
The inspiring Sam Missingham. Every publisher, author, would-be literati should read this interview.
Anyone who knows anything about the publishing world know that an interview with Sam Missingham is a Big Deal. Having worked for publishing giants such as the Bookseller, FutureBook and HarperCollins, she has forged an immensely successful and influential career in publishing and marketing within the books industry.
I’ve been an admirer and follower of Sam’s for a while now and I was very excited when she agreed to undertake this interview for my blog.
Can you give my readers a brief overview of your career so far?
I’ve spent the vast amount of my career working in magazine publishing. I started at a very small company that published financial technology titles. I learned a huge amount working in a small business with a very entrepreneurial boss. He taught me a few simple but important things – everyone in the company should be able to…
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One of the joy of being an Indie Author, is discovering the works of fellow indies. These are books you are unlikely to find on the best-seller shelf at your local soulless mega-store. No. These ar…