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Archive for January, 2013

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I was twelve when my class at school began a post Christmas reading of ‘The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty’. Little did I know that it was a quite famous book, and I ran home to tell my mother I had ‘discovered’ the most amazing world of imagination and although I did not use the word deluded, hey I was twelve, I am sure I used something similar to tag onto the imagination of this guy Walter Mitty. 

In fact it made me feel kind of, I don’t know, normal. Here was a man, an adult, who like me traveled off in his head to stories, scenarios and characters and I dived head in, stuck myself into the pages and visions for years. I heard from my Grandmother there was a movie, and indeed there was.

Magical, but alas I got older and the books became darker and more heavy, I blame Jim Morrison and his lizard king antics. I told myself to put away Walter as it was “not for the adult world I was going into!”.

And so it remained, Walter and his incredible world of made up mania and fame was gone forever. Well gone forever until I joined Facebook, and found the world of adults do indeed still write tales of magical made up existence and create a palace from their 6 x 10 bedrooms. I found Walter alive and well and living in social media!

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People who have a part time job cleaning up the local vets have suddenly become international spokesperson for the cause of ……. and as an author I have to say, suddenly we have all become international famous bestsellers.

The share your status request that screams for text on the top of your Facebook page it seems asks you to say “Share your hopes and dreams of who you want to be”.

I have no beef with Facebook, or it’s endless supply of dreaming typists telling me to buy this, ban that, join it or look at. Dreaming and hope is all that some have, allow them to be a Walter because you know what, the only thing stopping them from being what their status is screaming to say is circumstance. And if you follow quantum physics, then circumstances are just an illusion.

So today, revisit your Walter and fill that status bar, post that picture because Walter lives in all of us really!!!!!

I am off to write my next bestseller……

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Choose Your Counsel Well....

Many a battle has been won in the mind of great Generals. Although many have then been lost in the tents of his officers. Choose your company well, select the ear you divulge your plans and dreams to VERY CAREFULLY……..

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Where is Joshua? ~ A story with a question for us all…..

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“Oh, I don’t know Angie,” Rick muttered, slipping her arm off his shoulder with a serpent slick dodge. “I don’t even know the guy. Besides, weddings are a family thing. I will feel out of place.”

Grapping his hand, Angie persisted. “You will love it, and it will do you the power of good. So relax, you will get on great with everyone.” Flirtatious peck on the cheek, and a girlie melt smile later, Angie added. “And anyway, I want to show my catch off!”

Rick was weakening. Velvet lips have that effect on most guys, and these were lipstick coated and bearing whispers and a sure fire winner over Rick’s stubbornness. “Ok, I will meet you at the back of the church”, he replied, flicking his finger at the card twirling between Angie’s salon perfect nails. “You sure he won’t mind?”

Angie giggled, planted a smack on Rick’s lips and thrust the invitation, yellow card and calligraphy writing, into his face. “Sure your name is on the invitation, see!”

“My name?” Rick replied, grabbing at the card in Angie’s hand. So sudden she inspected any potential nail damage. Relieved at the lack of scuffed varnish, she blew air and then scowled at Rick. He gave her a sheepish look and continued. “Let me see. Pretty please.”

“Here, take it easy!”

Reading the card as he took it from Angie, Rick gave an impression of licking his lips with a slice of a grin, mumbling. “So it does, how strange. Hey, the church name is smudged though. Where is it?”

Angie had skipped off ahead of Rick, her floral dress twirling as she looped around dandelions and daisies on the ground, calling back. “Yeah, the name is not so important! 7pm!” Then stalling, tipping her nail on her lip and smirking, added. “Anyway, you won’t miss it. It will be the one with the wedding and loads of people at it. I will be at the back of the church. See you then!”

And that was that, Rick was going and two days later he stood outside a towering grey-bricked building, all suited and booted and then…froze. The noise was deafening and to someone from his family background, unmistakeable.

*****

Through the waves of feathered heads and groomed crew cuts, Rick spotted Angie, and signalled he was heading outside. Quickly she parted the hustle of a crowd and emerged in the tarmac courtyard.

“Why did you leave?” Angie asked, tearing at Rick’s sleeve, twirling him around. “What’s up?”

“Seriously, are you kidding?” Rick replied, rolling his arm toward the bursting at the seams church. “Did you see them; they are tearing each other apart.  Comments so cutting, never mind the shoving for position.”

Dismissive and snorting a forced laugh, Angie grabbed Rick’s clammy temples and looked into his eyes. “Is that all? Honey, we are family, we always fight!”

“Well if you do that to family, what would you do to me, a stranger?” Rick answered, stabbing himself in the chest with Angie’s hand that had wrapped around his fingers as he pulled her from her soft vice grip of his forehead. “I think I will pass!”

“Suit yourself!” Angie stomped and screamed in sync. “Your problem is you can’t just accept things you can’t change. You can’t handle order and authority!”

His jacket tails flapping in the wind, Rick twirled and laughed. “That’s order and authority?” then adding, “if so, keep it!”

Rhyming off an impressive gathering of expletives and accusations Rick stormed down the High St, lost in his annoyance for even showing up, he should have known better. Then suddenly, the calling of his name behind him took him out of his internal rant.

“Rick, hold on!”

“Sorry” Rick replied as he turned around to see a breathless, red-faced guy, clobbered in a pin stripe morning suit chasing after him.

“Man, you walk fast, I kept calling but I could hardly catch up or get your attention. Where are you heading?

“I don’t know, why?” Rick snapped. “And you are?” His abrupt manner made him blush, so Rick adjusted his question. “Sorry, I mean I didn’t get your name.”

“That’s’ cool. I am Joshua, the groom from the wedding. You mind if I tag along to wherever…?”

“No, but should you not be back at the wedding?”

“Them?” Joshua answered, wrapping an arm around Rick’s shoulder. “They won’t even know I am gone! So where we off to?”

Shaking his head, Rick answered. “To my mate’s place. He runs a restaurant in town, Masks, you know it?”

“Heard of it, yeah” Joshua said. “Sounds good to me.”

“Ok then” Rick replied, throwing a curious glance at his companion. “Strange you left your own wedding though man, I mean Joshua.”

Silence in reply, just a look that would cut glass.

“Well, I have to warn you there is no bar. They ran out of stock, so just juice and water I am afraid.” Rick warned through a choked laugh.

“Really?” Joshua asked as his voice pitched excited. “It is years since I done this, but come on..”

“Done what?”

Joshua raced ahead, jumping and twirling like a kid at a sweetshop and overdosed on sugar. “I have something to show you….just water you say?”

“Yeah”

Tugging on his mouse thin goatee, Joshua whispered into Rick’s ear as he headed straight toward the door of Masks. “Interesting.”

*****

Hours must have passed, in what seemed like minutes. Everyone laughing, drinks and chat flowing, and the crowd circling the suited, and looking completely out of place, stranger.

From the corner of the room, Rick saw Joshua was getting ear bashed by Vicky. Two abortions and three failed marriages had turned her into the party nightmare; the amateur psychologist had even learned, the hard way, to avoid her. Rick watched as Joshua did not get to release one word, not one in the five minutes or more he watched him.

“Joshua!” Rick called out, beckoning him over. “Sorry about that” he apologised, as Joshua came over.

Oh Vicky,” Joshua replied. “She is fine.”

Rick laughed. “You never got a word in!”

“Never needed to Rick,” Joshua added, heading off to get some air. “I’m about answers, not circumstance. She knew what she wanted; she did not need me to tell her!”

Joshua was gone only ten minutes tops, when Rick came looking for him. Finding him sitting on his mobile phone out in the terrace.

“You coming back inside?” Rick asked, tipping Joshua on the shoulder. “Everyone is asking about you.”

Waving a finger in the air, Joshua finished his phone call and put away his mobile. “Sorry, it was my dad!”

“Bet he is looking for you at the wedding party, huh?”

Joshua laughed a tickle of a laugh, a chuckle with a hint of pain. “No, they are in full flow. Smoked salmon, silver service and best china, not to mention the best music. They don’t even know I’m gone!”

“But Angie, she invited me. I feel terrible and…..”

Joshua touched his finger on Rick’s lips, a masculine push to silence his words. “I invited you, wrote the invite. Angie just delivered it. There is a huge difference. And besides,” pausing and pulling Rick’s mobile phone out of Rick’s hand as he lit his cigarette. “I am sure you have some more friends on this you can ask down here. I can conjure up a feast out of nearly nothing, you know. Just give them a call!”

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Celebration In Isolation.

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Don’t we all love to party after we have achieved something? Isn’t that moment when you look at yourself in the mirror and say “Well done mate, you have made it!” so exhilarating that you want to share it with the whole world. So why then do we see people isolated as they celebrate?

Simply put, they don’t feel those around them will care for their success as much as they do and so they hold it to their chest tightly, refusing to let it go and let it mix with the greater audience. They refuse entry to their party.

Imagine a new set of parents making slurping ridiculous noises at their new arrival, do they just hand the baby to the first person that says “Ah look, so cute!” No way. They reluctantly even hand it over to family members and even then it is a mix of trepidation and fear, tempered with a burst of pride that lingers as they let their fingers loosen off their new born pride and joy.

We, as humans, often say one thing and think another. You know it is true! How many times has a friend or colleague had a promotion or success of some kind and before the good luck cards are off the mantle piece, you are pulling his achievement to shreds. Or what about the silence that meets an announcement on social media that a friend is now doing x y or z.

We miss the point that the most lonely place of all is often in the spotlight. People who are on the ascendancy need someone to share the highs with, however they MUST trust them with their baby before they will let them into the party.

I see people leave churches, groups and clubs for this very reason. WE DON’T CELEBRATE, WE ISOLATE. Every man has a right to whoop and shout when he is winning, it is his moment. But be warned. If he feels that the comments of “Ah look, so cute!” are hiding a whisper of resentment and resistance then isolation in the middle of his celebration is coming, and it kills.

Loneliness is the greatest illness on this planet, and you would be surprised to see the cheerleader, the quarterback, the singer and the headline act are mostly at the front of the queue of isolation when they are in the midst of celebration.

The bible COMMANDS us to rejoice when others rejoice. Many churches today may need to take a look at their optic of rejoice and carefully watch their pews for the isolated celebrating members within their own church…… and approach them and genuinely ask “May I join your party?”

 

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The native American, a contrast of words to begin with. How could someone be native to a country they did not call ‘America’, but you know what I mean. The tribal Indians, the mix of tribes that have been collectively called the native American nation is somewhat of a mysterious case of frozen time.

The Indian wars up to 1890 were not a unique case.  The Highland clearances in Scotland, the Russian pogroms and most tellingly the Irish land issue, were periods of sustained pressure on a particular people. It is the 400 year Irish question which ironically had so much in common with that of the native American and yet, in turn, became arguably one of the greatest tools of the native American’s final defeat. I use the word defeat here cautiously, and will come back to that at the end.

Imagine a people, living off the land, isolated and self sufficient for centuries with a strong sense of spiritual beliefs that was just too small to defend themselves from the onslaught of commercial and imperialistic fervor.

Starved, banned from practicing their culture and religion, they were rounded up and herded into barren wastelands- too desolate to farm- and left to either submit or die.

The story of the Irish and the native American Indian is so similar it is crushingly heartbreaking. However, it is the next phase of response that strangely sends both peoples into an inadvertent collision. It is a response that still races through to this very day through a modern history of the 1970’s that too looked so strikingly in tandem.

In the 1800’s while the native Indian hung onto his beliefs and land with every drop of his blood, with every fresh child there was a potential new warrior to free his people from the locomotive progress of the ‘white man’, a people across the Atlantic were shipping to America in huge numbers, more intent on individual and family survival than a grouped existence.

For the Irish, community was transferable. Boston or Dublin, they were convinced they could hold together that common Irish bond under the umbrella of the catholic church. They were adapting, and felt they could still be Irish in a different land.

The native Indian felt no such thing, and here came the collision. The army and the power-halls of America became slowly filled with Irish Americans intent on grasping the golden new opportunities with both hands, even if it meant crushing a people that ‘got in the way’. The abused simply, like in any society, became the abuser.

There is no great Indian battle in the 1800’s where you will find no Irish blood. Defeat was inevitable for the Indian and as the Irish thrived, the native struggled. The Indian never assimilated into American society in the way another persecuted people had managed to do. This continued right up to the 1970’s, where the American Indian Movement took Wounded Knee and made a stand with a gun in their hand once more. Fed up with abuse, neglect, government prejudice and a clear lack of hope, the Indian took to arms. Meanwhile back in Ireland, the native Irish once again took a near identical path. Could the IRA and civil unrest really have flourished if it was not for British government prejudice, abuse and a clear lack of hope of the people. I do not think so.

The paths had come together once more.

I suppose what I am trying to say is this.

Had the native Indian migrated, assimilated like the Irish, would they be better off now? Perhaps, individually yes, though would the richness of their heritage still call out for genuine equality and justice for the ills caused to their peoples? I think not. While the 1970’s Wounded Knee stand off never came to a organised campaign, it maybe left their cause more pure. Not tainted with innocent blood like that of the Irish soil. The Indian cause must not be forgotten because it has not gone away and is as pure as it was on the plains when it chased buffalo and stood and died rather than give an inch of soil.

Some fights never die, they just change direction.

 

 

 

 

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