From a young age books and stories were the magical garden of my imagination.
As a child in the soulless Melbourne suburban landscape of the sixties they provided seeds of new thinking planted deep into the textures of lives and times beyond my physical realm.
And roam them I did with a hunger for a breadth of life understanding, seeking in their words and worlds, substance and meaning that would make sense of the seemingly random chaos of life.
Steinbeck and other masterful writers awakened my compassion, brought me the depths and height, of the powerful courage through struggle, that are the stories of so many lives.
Yet…there was more I sought.
I consumed story after story of trials and triumphs, wept for their despair, marvelled at the tenacity of the spirit but always it was as though I wanted to get in behind the words, behind the action that the character had taken to change their plight.
I wanted to know how it was they felt as they transited.
What was the inner process that impelled the action, or even the non action?
What drove them to reach beyond all they knew of themselves and be more?
Reflecting on the contained, pragmatic values of our culture I realised that often this expression of the emotional and inner journey was considered of little value, even banal.
But this is not how I know the world.
I experience life firstly with the full gamut of my senses then use my mind to articulate and hone the thinking that comes from this experiential immersion.
And so if I am to trust my experience as valid and of worth, despite the literary world view, then this is how I must write.
Gone are the days of heroic quests, of uncharted lands, and unlimited adventure.
Most of us are ordinary folk, living in a world urging sameness and mediocrity, minimalism and repetition, incessantly pummelled from the outside by sound-bites of experience delivered from afar. Overstimulated yet undernourished.
So it is, in this current age, that the inner adventure beckons as the last unexplored frontier.
In telling Dru’s story I wanted to share my sense that it is life itself that is the adventure.
I wanted to tell a story of our intrinsic right to seek within these realms.
That in sharing Dru’s quest we may value our own.
That in celebrating her personal triumph, through archetypal journeys and innate elemental connections, we too would know unity in our deepest links.
That in the use of metaphor and landscape we would begin to trust the process beyond any particular setting.
That we might feel, as Dru does, that in the full sway of the senses, intimacy is ours at every level.
That the pathway to the sacred was not something given from another but available through the simplest conscious creative act.
So what is it we seek in today’s novel?
In a society tending towards alienation and isolation, even those looking for escape are still hungering to find in their reading something that rings of truth, of the profound, that offers a reflection of self and reminds us we are not alone.
We are used to being handed well-crafted works, reworked and remastered yet still we seek new truths, new stories. Perhaps hoping to expand our sense of the possible within the ordinary context of our ordinary lives.
So I wrote what I sought.
And discovered what it was to be a writer.
That in propelling my characters forward into a fuller life presence it gave me opportunity and permission to unpack folded places of my own.
And that in the pressure of creation the unexpected would be born.
That in writing a story that evolved, and was then related experientially, the process and the outcome would be so much more than the original intellectual conception.
Art can often appear a harsh mistress because it demands vulnerability and exposure of the artist. Yet, in many ways, this is the very thing that offers the greatest gift.
It is that expression of the deepest, often rawest places that touch us on the outside so markedly.
And so what of the weaving of poetry through prose? Another traditional frown.
Yet regardless of the story it was always the poetry in the telling that most reached me.
More than straight descriptive writing, poetry offers a pathway that brings us the ineffable, the magic, the life force that enlivens even the most inanimate.
Accustomed as we are as a society, to a hectic pace of action and movement outside of ourselves, some of the challenge is to hold the reader in the moment.
And this is what poetry does. It holds us.
You can liken it to walking the streets at dawn, awakening to the smallest details such as a misted light in a window or the first cherry blossom of spring.
And for that one magical moment it lifts us beyond the mundane.
Drawing From the Well is a contemplative book, an experiential journey of rediscovery.
Through the poetic language I hope to set a pace that will allow the reader to take the time to savour each moment and find their own intimate connection.
To appreciate the reflection of these moments in their own world.
For me, new writing needs a wholistic voice, that weaves all aspects of experience in a way that inherently challenges the norm, yet exposes the norm for the very richness that waits just beyond the mundane, needing only our recognition and awareness.
Afterall the only things we remember as significant experiences are those which touch our deepest soul consciousness.
One pathway is through the eyes of the poet.
The search for meaning is the greatest dilemma of Western culture. And the greatest gift we can give each other is permission.
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