From Mr Dickens to The Butcher’s Boy.
Having returned from two weeks work in the North West of Australia where the temperatures were in the high 30’s centigrade, it was heart-warming to read this in a Perth newspaper, as the weather down south was decidedly colder!
As I said in a tweet after reading it, “A butterfly in Perth beats its wings and hopefully there’s a Hurricane in America” ... in a literary fashion of course!
Next day, yesterday in fact, I received three mock ups of the title page for The Butchers Boy which should be released next month. I’d like you to help me choose which one is the ‘winner” by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org: so far from a domestic straw poll, it;s even Stevens.
I can’t tell you how exciting it is for me to share this journey with you all. Life is about connecting with people and sharing their stories. Having lived my life across a couple of centuries now, I like to think that I’ve experienced a great deal, but even more than that, I hope I’m a wiser person for having had those experiences as well. My goal is to share that wisdom with as many people as I can.
It's funny what a word can do - Weinstein, Trump, Iraq, Euthanasia, Abortion .... Headline words that immediately generate tremendous passion in so many people - and dare I also say, stupidity, ill directed venom and outright hate. But I'll leave the philosophers and social engineers to mull through all that.
The reality is that 99.99% of us will never encounter any of these people/issues yet they continue to suck the oxygen out of the airwaves and cyberspace, whilst in our own families, in our own workplace, in our own neighbourhoods, our own families, our own friends and our own neighbours need our friendship, our time and our love.
I'm working for a couple of weeks in an area called the Pilbara in the NW of our great country of Australia.
Here's a few photos to give you an impression of the place - it's ain't New York and it's a long way from Paris!
The challenges in this part of the world are unique to the area, just as any area has it's own unique set of challenges.
Our first Australians who have lived here for 40 to 50,000 years are a displaced people in their own country. Whislt things are slowly improving with education and improving health delivery, these first peoples continue to die far too young of diseases that have been brought about by the western lifestyle. They fill the local prisons and their level of domestic violence is horrendous with alcohol frequently at the root source.
But the newer occupants of the Pilbara face their own challenges. These fine young folk came here to seek jobs and they've found them aplenty during the boom and bust cycles that inevitably follow the mining industry. But for the young Mums with young children who followed their partners here, isolation and the lack of family support have created levels of anxiety and depression that are totally unacceptably as well. Whilst amongst the young men, booze continues to be the bad guy, rapidly followed by Crystal Meth and other recreational drugs.
I paint a morbid scene and yet this is a wonderful community in a beautiful part of the world.
The first Australians are an incredible group of people with astonishing stories to be shared. All our young folk came here full of enthusiasm, and that has largely been fulfilled, but so much more needs to be done.
In future years, I believe that this area will be the centre of great things but we need to recognise the dignity of the people who are already here and help them develop a sense of worth by encouraging support programs focussed on alleviating their sense of isolation, of not being listened to, of not having token institutions built and then underfunded.
In many ways not much has changed over the past millennia. Back then it was plague and poor sanitation, but at least they had the spiritual support of a belief structure. Now we have depression, suicide, drug and alcohol abuse whilst faith has been superseded by cyberspace!
My first book, Mr Dickens, is about changing peoples hearts and minds by caring enough. The Butcher's Boy will be the first in the Renaissance Brothers series and deals with suffering, hope and redemption. Captain Scully follows the real life story of an early settler in Australia and showcases colonial attitudes and racism and how the individual makes the real difference - not Parliaments or Governors.
There ..... I've got that off my chest. The sun is sinking in the West and I feel thirsty. Maybe it's time to take out a good book and have a read. Maybe you might like to do the same? I know a really good author ;)
For the past few months I've been thinking that it would be a really good idea to record a short podcast of an extract from Mr Dickens. Let the "people" know how it sounded in my head I thought to myself! It seemed such a simple thing to do.
Well, simplicity just got a wake up call! It seems there is a gaping gulf between thinking and podcasting! Especially if you add pictures! So, 6 hours later and here I am watching a little blue line crawl across the "uploading" box on my Weebly Journal page. I even went for a 30 minute walk but that didn't help as the laptop went to 'screen saver' mode, causing the uploading to cease! But the good news is, that I've learned that the process far exceed the frustrations.
I hope to have two more books released before Christmas and intend to produce podcasts for them as well. By the time I've finished recording those, my podcasting blisters will have turned into calluses!
I hope you enjoy what you see and hear. Remember, I'm not Clint Eastwood (he's much older than me) but I'd really like to hear back from you with whatever 'creative comments' you might have.
Believe me, it can't be any worse than watching a blue line crawl across an uploading box!
PS - after many hours of frustration attempting to upload, only to discover that I had to re-encode the video, FINALLY I got it to work and here is the video/podcast of me reading a passage from Mr Dickens.
.....then I’ll begin!
Well I did begin yesterday and then things sort of got out of hand!
What I had intended to be a short reading from my book has now reached the stage of an iMovies creation! I’ve spent the day sourcing images and putting them together with me doing a voice over of an extract from Mr Dickens!
I am torn between absolute humility at what experts can do and complete amazement at what is now available for we amateurs to use!
Hopefully tomorrow there will be something for you all to hear and see.
On another note, my new book is confronting me with Father/Son relationships in all their various forms. Having been in the Family Doctor chair for so many decades, I think I have a deep well of experience to draw upon. But you won’t be reading that until 2018!