The Broken Path of Diamond Kisses

The Broken Path of Diamond Kisses

Kirsten Macdonald

Kirsten Macdonald

Wordsmith

The Broken Path to Diamond Kisses

by Ponderings Radio

The Broken Path of Diamond Kisses

12 Minute Read

She ran away from the pain her whole life. 

As a small child, she learned very quickly that a gross room torn with old wallpaper and mildew could be quickly transformed with a diamond-infused paintbrush. Diamonds crushed from the ideals of television families and fairy tales could be blended into the bristles of the brush to create alchemy.  

She took a thought gently pulled like fairy floss and moulded it with her hands. Some singing and stamping of feet and a diamond-encrusted paintbrush would appear in its place. She was ready to paint the walls. Anything could be transformed- a yellowed bruise, the words thrown like poisoned darts, the dark looks and the nights of terror. 

 

Surviving was her greatest trick and most sincere gift of distraction. 

Until a battle opened her scars, it seemed her very best tricks trickled out with the blood. Seven years of smiles, prayers, kneeling on cold soothing grass and plenty of dark humour got her to here. This spot. Right now. The running from the pain has bought her full circle. She stands in front of a tsunami rising up to swallow her. It wasn’t going away, and there was no avoiding it. The diamond brushes were ground down to dust. The stories are faded, pulled from pages and now composted in the ground of experience beneath her feet.  It’s just God and her. Time to walk through it.

She tried once before jumping over the forest, running around the forest. She dug for days under the forest. Tears anointed her skin, thoughts of all the loss — the things she could not replace or fix. Her fingernails filled with the dirt of days and gritted teeth determined not to let people see behind the veil. It was time to march through the forest. She knew what waited for her in there. It made her soul wither and want to run, to hide, to drown in the sleep of peace. 

What had she become? Life had not been kind. 

 

She grew wings. 

 

They aren’t pretty. 

 

They have twisted tufts, barely resilient. Once strong and fierce, they’ve seen too many fights. They could have a mind of their own. Each time without fail after a battle, she would feel as though she could not get up from the floor. A cold desolate floor- echoing silence and a lack of hope. Then it would happen, a flutter, a rip and her body would haphazardly rise. Before she could clap her hands, her feet were 20 cm above the ground. Lopsided but up. The wings wanted to make sure her children’s foreheads would be kissed again, and again and again. Her last legs, her broken wings. 

 

She tied a sash of red around her waist; the last strands of faith gripped in her hand and the songs of her women. Her heart is splintering, stripped by bearing the weight of a thousand walks, numb beneath words. Pushing through the bracken and branches, the murky ground sponges beneath her. 

A cabin is in front of her.  She walks inside and waits. She knows he will arrive soon. 

The most grotesque monstrous ogre gnashing and snarling, trauma dripping from its teeth like an ooze. Welcome, she says, her fists daring to take him down and scream her rage at him, but she knows it will infuse him into her skin. She resists with all her might. 

It screams at her; you are a  burden. You will not make old bones. You are lumpy. You are bumpy. Your teeth are too big. Your hair does not cover your scars, who are you fooling?  Who do you think you are? Look at your swollen body and the signs of your scars. Who are you again? The teller of stories? The world is like stale water in a starving dessert of narcissism. What a joke. You are broken. The world is broken. People are like shards of glass in your eyes, and they will never change. 

Your children don’t need you anymore. Blah. That’s your humanity, your silly little ego humanity. Keep trying. Always were, unloved and craving like a dirty little beggar. You will break. Pity pity pity.  Do you remember what you once were? Haha, no longer. 

Reader beware- we should have warned you first. It’s a nasty ogre.  

She crawls in agony from the whips of his words to the bench. She makes tea; her bloodied heart rips open like an old tent door in a storm. The tea is steeped as he yells his profanity at her, she laces it with love, squeezed like a rung towel from her heart. Each drop captured by each glance of her children as they slept. She thinks about God. She thinks of the love for her family. 

The ogre begrudgingly sips the sweet nectared drink, a sly look upon the woman, its bruised and black drooped eyelids closing. Yawning, it falls asleep and starts to shrink.  He hiccups. Snapping and sounds of squeaking, the ogre becomes as tiny as a baby bird. She picks him up and places him in the palm of her hand. 

With a prayer of love, she blows a sweet breath upon his scaly body. He closes in on himself, spinning and turning. Again she prays, sending him love and the feelings of beauty and abundance. He becomes still. Very slowly, a wing unfurls. She smiles. His dark muck glitters and shivers into shimmering light. Another wing unwraps. The summer hue of yellow and forgiveness glints around its small body. The elytra reflect the blue of her eyes and open to taking flight. It opens an eye in surprise. Beauty.  She watches with a smile as it rises up into the sky.  

Time to get the child. 

She walks through the forest, and the small house comes into view. The weatherboards are broken, blistered and puckered from the hot sun. The verandah is still sagging. 

Inside a little girl watches the contorted and angry faces of the grown-ups. Loud voices and smashed glass punctures the air around her. 

A clash,  a bang and fear races through her child heart like unfiltered lightning. Her small hands became fists; her pink fingernails dug into the palms of her hands. She needs paintbrushes now. 

Pianist hands, her grandmother told her many times. They are fighters hands now. 

The woman walks up behind her and quietly places a hand on her shoulder. The girl looks at her with wide, startled eyes. This stranger’s eyes look so familiar. Who is this? 

It’s okay, says she. 

“This all finished a long time ago; you don’t need to be here anymore. You’re okay now. You are safe. 

The little girl takes a breath, calm envelopes her and her fists unclench. 

It’s time to go, says the woman. Are you ready? She removes her sash and lifts her shirt slightly. Gripping the edges of her sides, she rolls back her stomach like a lush velvet curtain. Behind the rubbery sheath is a door. The little girl gasps, but she is fascinated, not frightened. Grained, knotted and scarred with lines, it is tough wood now, this old door. It is built to endure. 

The woman taps twice on the wood and pushes gently. With a small screet, it opens. It looks very dark in there says the child as she glances at the woman with the familiar eyes. 

Of course, says the woman, look closer though, you are safe, I know about the diamonds and the paintbrushes. 

The child is comforted. Who is this person? The woman rubs her hands together and hums a tune. It is harmony and honey whipped together. 

Inside the door, a light grows and pulses, warm and inviting. The child tilts her head and looks closer. 

It looks lovely in there. She can see a chair, a bookshelf, a warm fire and a white cat that looks like it’s fur is velvet. 

Are you ready to hop in? The woman asks. 

The child nods enthusiastically, as the woman kneels down, pulling the door wider. Reaching out, she holds the child’s hand to helps her in. The child ducks her small dark head. 

The child squeezes through, her hand is warm from the wooden door frame, melded to the woman’s skin. She gasps at the vastness of the interior. How did she get so small, or how did this room in this lady become so big? 

I know, right? Says the woman with a smile. Go have a look out the window. Get comfortable. 

The little one runs to the window and looks out. They have the same eyes. She sees what the woman sees. 

The woman closes the door with a click and turns around, walking back through the forest to the new track. 

The little girl smiles and claps her hands, spinning around on one foot. She IS loved. She IS safe. They are going to find some new paintbrushes. 

Can we have some fun now? She calls out to the woman, and her most ubiquitous smile sparkled. 

“Absolutely,” said the woman. I thought you would never ask. 

I’ve missed you so much, said the woman. 

As the sun set on them both, they knew the battle was over, and the fight was over.

The call of her family bought her home, not broken but forged. For no sword is made golden without flame and hammer.

They sensed her wild woman; her walk was a stalk. Her hips were a eurythmic stride founded in a whole lot of don’t mess with me, and I will love you forever. Her once perfect hair now wild and held by a piece of frayed denim, with full lips that were anything but pouted.  A sweaty brow reeked of courage and bloodied determination. No longer owned by the flesh of fear, she was ready to dance, and it would be glorious for the worlds more than these granted her witness to the extraordinary.

To understand and feel the warmth from the sun of God’s grace. This was her Invictus. 

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Follow the Breadcrumbs to Storyville…

Follow the Breadcrumbs to Storyville…

Follow the Breadcrumbs to StoryVille

by Ponderings Radio

Follow the Breadcrumbs to Storyville…

Walking down a small lane on cobblestone streets in the inner belly of Melbourne can always delight and surprise. 

Perhaps like us you find a doorway, decorated with scrolled writing promising to stay a part of you forever. Echoes of childhood mingle with joy and discovery, and you realise you are walking into something exceeding magical. You have entered the realm of Storyville, Melbourne. 

The Enid Blyton inspired tree foyer leads to the Mushroom palace, Tinkerbell’s birdcage, then on upstairs you explore to the giant library and the Chronicles of Narnia corner. This is one joint that has managed to tap into the theatrical drama of Melbourne, and the inner child is awakened fully. Transfixed? You will be!

Our host Alex welcomes us warmly, and our conversation cannot run smoothly because a grown-up- transported into childhood is an excited mess. I order a Goblet of Flames beverage, and we chat. 

With magicians on Thursday nights and drinks to match the experience, Alex tells us Storyville has been an overwhelming success.

 “Melbourne is the city that embraces a late-night culture, everyone supports putting on weird and wonderful things, they turn up.”  Alex’s personal favourite drink is Poly Potion, a Harry Potter-inspired concoction of Gin, Kiwi Fruit and Basil, a sweet and sour sensation. We spotted So long and thanks for all the fish – Tanqueray Gin, Cocci Americano, Dry Vermouth, Lemon, Grapefruit & Orange (The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams 1979 – 2009) We know right? NEXT LEVEL. 

So how long did it take to build this dreamscape? 

Around a year Alex tells us, and when I ask was it difficult to NOT keep adding to it,  he nods enthusiastically. The hospitality aficionado says the launch got put back multiple times with something else to be added. The meaning of scope creep is understated. After admiring the hand-sculpted trees, we can understand why. 

With a giant clock installation on the horizon and a matching food menu, creativity knows no bounds in a place like this. What inspired Storyville? 

“A range of things, we wanted something entirely different, a venue based on multiple stories, and we are all literature fans and had lots of inspiration. We felt like other people would relate to it too. Being able to link the product to the concept, events and the smaller things like the magic shows, comedy shows and literature launches, the reactions to the experience, being able to walk into a wonderland and lose themselves- all of this.” says Alex. 

From the videos on the back of Qantas seats to the thousands taking photos of what is an Instagram dream, Storyville should most certainly be on your Go-To map of Melbourne explorations. You may want to bring breadcrumbs though, you won’t want to leave. 

Check it out for yourself here on Insta- https://www.instagram.com/storyvillemelbourne/ 

Storyville is located just off 185 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000 

We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

Meet The Mother Who Turned Grief Into A Refuge For Kids

Meet The Mother Who Turned Grief Into A Refuge For Kids

Meet The Mother Who Turned Grief Into A Refuge For Kids

Deborah Saunders experienced a mother’s worst nightmare when her son was killed in a tragic car accident at age 17.

She recalls how the press bombarded her family, and mainstream media reported misleading articles. Everyone deserves a chance to tell their story. Here, Deborah explains in her own words how she coped with her son’s death and has healed her broken heart by looking after children.

 

The Barnardo’s Mother of the Year VIC 2019, has raised four children independently and fostered countless teenagers. She has devoted her life to providing young people with a home, a safe space and a chance for a better life. Deborah’s guiding light has saved those who have found themselves travelling down a dark and troubling path. Her home has been a place of protection and nurture.

 

Children, entrenched in a world of drug and alcohol abuse, in an endless cycle of poverty, full of uncertainties such as when or where they will get their next meal, yearn for the love and stability that Deborah provides. The number of children dependent on this support continues to rise. 

 

The latest figures from the Australian Institute of Family Studies have shown that the number of children in care has risen in Australia by 18% from 2013 to 2017.

Winning Mother of the Year has in no way affected her humility. Throughout our small chat, Deborah oozed motherly compassion and a determination to help kids that need it.  

 

What would you say is your biggest passion?

I think the rights of young people. Definitely. The rights of dignity and respect. Some of the young people I work with don’t have housing. They’re living in poverty and experiencing drug and alcohol abuse, childhood abuse. The worst part is it just keeps going. It doesn’t get addressed. There’s no healing, so that’s my job. 

 

Has there been an experience that inspired your passion for helping foster children? 

I think it was my childhood. I didn’t realize it at the time, of course, but it was a bit rough. I think also being a young person growing up in poverty, and then being able to reflect on actually how tough it is for these kids. I was one of the lucky ones because I had a family. Also, my kids would always bring friends home. We ended up with some staying, and these moments would help me reflect on how fortunate I was. 

 

What advice would you give to women who feel inadequate as mothers?

Be kinder to yourself. It’s tough to seek help but don’t be too proud to do it. My mum used to tell me, take it one hour at a time, if you can’t manage a whole day, break it down. 

 

Would you rather live in a treehouse or a cubby house?

A treehouse. 

What is your favourite book?

The Outsiders. It’s an old one, but it’s one of the first books I read.

This book may have shaped Deborah’s passion for the plight of the troubled youth.

The Outsiders is known as being an authentic depiction of teenage struggles since a 15-year-old actually wrote it. It is a story of children deprived of love in the pursuit of redemption. Aiding this pursuit is what provides Deborah with purpose every day.

 

Her daughter refers to her as the strongest woman in the country.

In 2009, her 17-year-old son Jack died instantly in a car accident. 

When asked about Jack, Deborah wants people to know that he was more than just a statistic. He was the glue of the family. He lobbied for his right to wear a mohawk when he was told to get rid of it in year 8. Jack was intelligent but also social and fun. He read a lot, could not abide bullies and questioned everything from the time he was little.

 

“I know all mothers think their kids are special, but Jack had a presence, he was larger than life and had a charisma that attracted all sorts. He could talk to anyone. I miss our long talks the most.”

Jack came to Deborah one Sunday morning and told her of a dream he’d had. The angel Gabriel had come to collect Jack, telling him he needed to go and help him save young people. The two of them laughed it off.

 

Deborah remembers how perfect the weather was the day her son died. Jack entered a car to try and intercept a fight and help a distressed boy. This mistake cost him his life as both boys died instantly. Jack was found to have a low alcohol reading, yet the media went on a rampage reporting a story of “drunken hoons”. It made the agony of losing her boy unimaginable. 

Denied the chance to see her son, Deborah felt she might have been able to save him.

 

“I still feel in my soul, that if they’d let me see Jack, I may have been able to bring him back. I think it’s a mother thing.” 

Deborah still cries. She still feels overwhelmed by grief and misses Jack with every breath. She was not alive or awake for the first twelve months after losing Jack. Losing a child is the loneliest thing on earth. 

“I can’t imagine what Jack would be doing for a living now, or even what he’d look like. It’s too painful. I tried writing to him, but it’s too hard, I talk to him all the time and especially at bedtime. Losing Jack has changed me.” 

 

However, Deborah knew she had to put one foot in front of the other to keep a roof over her other children’s heads.

 When faced with the devastating anguish of losing a child, Deborah has not allowed adversity to trump her soul. 

 

Horrifyingly life-altering and debilitating grief has brought Debra to her knees and yet within this, she has forged healing and a sense of peace through helping other kids and being of service to those that need love and stability in their lives.

She has put the pieces of her heart back together and offered it to those in need.

We salute this beautiful woman and can only ever hope to look to her and her story of her family and her beautiful Jack for inspiration and courage. 

 

 

We acknowledge the people of the Kulin Nation, on whose unceded sovereign land we work. We pay our respects to their Elders, past, present and emerging.

The Barbaric Truth About Hair

The Barbaric Truth About Hair

The Barbaric Truth About Hair

Journalist Jasmin Pedretti

Getting your hair done is one of life’s simple pleasures. It might even cost an arm and a leg, and every other limb for that matter, but who needs limbs when you can experience the hairdressers? 

How delicious is it to be pampered and then leave with a transformed head of hair and a renewed sense of pride. The only flaw to this experience is that the products often used are tried and tested on animals who could not give a damn about your pretty new do. Do we care about their limbs? Their skin or pain? Bear with me here, as we unpack and get educated. Do you dare to read or listen?

The hair industry doesn’t want consumers to know the truth, and many consumers don’t want to know either, because it’s gruesome and distressing. Ignorance is very much bliss. But the truth is what it is.

Getting your hair bleached isn’t the same merry experience when you’re picturing a rat being bleached to death or a rabbit having their eyes painted with dye. Having your scalp massaged isn’t as nice when you’re picturing a confused little mouse forced to endure excruciating pain as he is burned alive. What happens when a mouse is injected with lethal doses of chemicals? Convulsions and seizures, usually a slow death. What happens when toxic substances are slathered onto a baby rabbits raw skin, or poured into her scared little eye? Blindness, swelling, and hemorrhaging.

We don’t know if mammals feel pain the same way humans do, but we do know they experience it. Marc Bekoff, evolutionary biologist, says that mammals share the same nervous system, neurochemicals, perceptions, and emotions, all of which are integrated into the experience of pain.

Killing animals for food is one thing for many, torturing them for beauty is a whole other level of cruelty. Our furry friends have the right to live WITH us, not FOR us. 

How could I leave the salon with pride, knowing what was sacrificed for my silky strands?

If this bothers you too, then there are alternatives. 

Choose Cruelty Free Ltd. provides Australian consumers with a list of companies that are humane and ethical. Consumers have access to the information they need to decide according to their moral standards. The freedom to make this choice is crucial.  

Successful business owner, hairdresser and owner of Jomara Hair Studio, Mariesa Lauder, stocks her salon with a brand that is on this list. De Lorenzo is an Australian-made brand that is organic and most importantly; cruelty-free. 

Mariesa says, “there is no need to torture animals for beauty. We’ve got the technology to test products by other means. Testing on animals for luxury is an unnecessary form of cruelty. DeLorenzo test on humans that volunteer.”

In recent years, the torch has shone on the make-up industry, exposing cosmetics that test on animals; whereas hair products have been left in the dark. Mariesa says that the hair industry needs an urgent shakeup because far too many people are using hair products that contain chemicals tested on animals. 

 

In fact, according to the Humane Society, 500,000 animals suffer and die each year as a result of cosmetic testing, and a Yahoo report says that 80% of countries still allow for it to happen. Clearly, it’s a huge issue that needs urgent attention.

De Lorenzo is also Australian made.

Why is this important? Because quite simply- buying Aussie made products supports local jobs and our economy. 

Ben Lazzaro, the Chief Executive of the Australian Made Campaign Ltd. explains why it is so important to buy Australian made. 

“When you buy Aussie-made and grown products, you know what you are getting—products from our clean, green environment made to the highest of manufacturing standards. At the same time, you are supporting Australian businesses and jobs.”

In an industry that is saturated with products that are made by prodding, poisoning and killing helpless animals, don’t be blind-sided.

The truth is shocking, ugly, and downright distressing, but it’s happening, and you don’t have to support it.

Looking and feeling beautiful doesn’t have to mean sacrificing integrity.

Ultimately, it’s up to you. 

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Melbourne Quirk Scape

Melbourne Quirk Scape

Melbourne Quirk Scape

Kirsten Macdonald – Wordsmith and Quirk Expert

So have you heard?  In a survey conducted by TimeOut, Melbourne had more live music venues per resident than any other city on Earth and is ranked number 2 of the best cities in the world. 

What is going on in Melbourne?  We believe it’s the quirk factor that makes this hub of creativity so inviting. We took a day to explore, bringing you the quirkiest places,  with the vibe of a city that really supports and high fives the passion of those that want to take it to the next level. 

First stop is accommodation. When in Melbourne, your inner wanderer will be inspired for all things vintage glam at caravan oasis- NOTEL. 

 

James Fry took an unused rooftop in Melbourne’s city innards and turned it into something crazy fun- an antithesis to accommodation and a salute to the wanderer within. Using original 1970’s airstream trailers from America, James transformed the space into what we coined Van-Boho heaven.

Notel (No- Hotel) features fake grass and flamingos, a jacuzzi and cacti. You will be enamoured with the bespoke mini bar, and every urge must be taken not to run your hands along with the silver mirror finish of these gorgeous kitsch giants. 

 All the small details are included, and the place is a hive for events and outside the box experience. The word cool doesn’t match the reality- this is the place to be.

 

 

Next stop- Winter Village Federation Square. 

Pop up winter wonderland anyone? If you like fine-dining in an igloo and snow, ice skating and high tea, then you have got to get yourself to the Winter Village. 

Now extended to September this icy wonder will have you clapping your hands and asking- How? With mulled wine and snuggly chairs adorned with fake fur throws and elegant tables, the thoughts of Tumnus float through the air. It’s hard to believe you are in the city. 

 

Time to check out the internet sensation Mork Chocolate in Errol St, North Melbourne

 

When hot chocolate becomes an international viral sensation, you know it’s the place to be. Usually queued to the hilt, Mork knows how to do hot drinks. Luck was on our side and a table awaited along with the iconic campfire hot chocolate. This place oozes silky slippery sensations of hot cocoa and melted decadence. Quitters of Sugar – be WARNED. You will not leave without drinking. 

 

 

Recommended by a friend whose eyes twinkled when they reminisce StoryVille went on the list, and it will stay there forever and become a go-to when visiting. It’s grown-up time. 

 

As you enter the realm of StoryVille Melbourne, you soon realise you have opened the door to more than a bar. Located in a Lonsdale street laneway you are in for a treat. Exceedingly magical, you enter the Faraway Tree inspired foyer, then the Mushroom palace and onward to Tinkerbell’s birdcage (an Instagram dreamscape)

 

There are cocktails named the Goblet of Flames and Poly Juice, or The Secret Garden- well we know right? Next level. Perhaps the giant book library created by movie set designers may tickle your fancy or the Inkwell DJ booth. A schooner in the Narnia corner or the multitude of childhood literature hints around the place will have you all wrapped up in inner child happiness. Check out their Insta legendary status here. 

 

 

We returned home with full bellies and exhausted from a day out, experiencing smiles, joy and the knowledge that we had filled our quirk tanks. 

 

If you have a favourite place in your city you would like us to explore, get in touch! We write for the people, and therefore we believe every person has a right to know about the best places to explore and hang out. Click here to tell us your story! 

 

A Period Through Time

The design of sanitary period items are made to conceal, discretion please! We don’t want everyone knowing our uterine wall is shedding

 

 

 

 

 

The Hot Breath of Humanity and The Art of Growing Up

The Hot Breath of Humanity and The Art of Growing Up

The Hot Breath of Humanity and The Art of Growing Up

The Hot Breath of Humanity and The Art of Growing Up

by Ponderings Radio

by Kirsten Macdonald

Friends, Romans, Countrymen lend me your ears…

 John Marsden has the knowledge, and he’s not afraid to use it.

 John wrote a book, and it comes with a warning tag because in case you haven’t yet heard, The Art of Growing Up is not for the faint of heart. With over 5 million books in circulation and a teaching career spanning more than 3 decades, is this bloke really an expert on young people and humanity? Let’s find out.

Are we going to wax lyrical because we have a fan base here in the Ponderings office? Not on your life. This work deserves more.

It’s a  book that will challenge and create bedlam. On purpose. With purpose.

From the angel brat to parents behaving badly, the educational insights of Bart Simpson to the hero complex; The Art of Growing Up will get you thinking.

 

 

 

 

First-hand accounts will have you gasping, they are frightening accounts if we are honest. 

He takes complex modelling and hypothesis and turns it into a manifesto, not just about parenting but humanity. It’s time for humans to grow up. 

Marie Berg’s description of the umbilical cord pulsating, and the journey of a mother learning her baby’s cries,  skin against skin may bring tears.

His unapologetic compassion for children and understanding with a “we”  and “us” tone gives rise to humour around adaptability and the playful mocking of his beloved dog for the lack of opposable thumbs.

One moment you are reeling from a statistic to visualising a Divi van being rocked from side to side.

Transported to a Dickens novel listening to John take off Mrs Jellybe in raucous female tones,  could leave you with violent belly laughs. (Tip- we couldn’t resist the author’s voice in the audiobook version.) John Marsden certainly has a voice for painting a picture, and he’s not mucking around. 

Exploring the paradox of being human is presented in visions of people carving their initials into beached whales, only to be years later showing compassion.

Does he think we are all idiots? Not quite. Well maybe…

 

Is change possible? Can public opinion be shifted?

 

The irreversible damage to children is likened to climate change and deforestation growing right alongside narcissism. The physical and emotional abuses to kids just needing to be kids may induce either a deeply saddened sigh or a clenched fist or both.

 

Is there hope?

 

 

John’s suggestion that it may be time to honour those with progressive views may be a warning siren at the eleventh hour, and we agree, more than band aids are needed.

 

I can’t help but feel this is a  teachable moment paradoxically intentional. For a moment, you feel like this mentor has lost faith in humanity, and let’s face it,  he would not be alone. The contempt for ignorance is not so subtle.

 

We are seasoned with the reassurance of the evidence of people working tirelessly for a better world and teaching children to defeat the forces of self-interest and ignorance. You get a distinct idea that public opinion can be reversed if not re-engineered.

 

What is the answer? Open minds? Committing Good Deeds?

 

You don’t have to agree with him, but that’s the thing with Progressive thinkers, they aren’t asking you to.

 


Scroll down to read the interview…

 

We interview John Marsden about his new book The Art of Growing Up

John Marsden writer Australian novelist The Art of Growing Up

KM: There are some ideas that say the way the current western world is organised is intentional to keep it turning economically for the powers to be. Russell Brand and Brene Brown talk about the intricate idea- the way to rule the world is clear- you invoke fear, give the masses of the middle class a bully to be fearful about and introduce whatever power you like to control and exhume power. It is quite interesting. Do you think the fear coming through from parents is a post response to this- the need to protect the young? 

 

JM: In general, I agree with Brand and Brown, although of course there are other factors at work, such as the insatiable ambition of sociopaths for power. But a desire to protect the young has been a trait of human parents since time immemorial, in most or all societies… it does, however, seem to be getting too obsessive, partly in response to the realistic fear that the havoc wreaked by humans has reached a stage where we are in considerable danger.

 

KM: So much of the baby boomer era is marked with abuse, the cane, the blackened eyes and physical abuse as well as kids not getting “too ahead of themselves” and the very colonial idea of knowing one’s place, do you think parents now have mistakenly overstepped the balance, going too far the opposite way in an attempt to be better at everything? 

 

JM: Yes, although emotional abuse has also been a factor in previous generations, and physical abuse is still happening today. But it does seem that many of today’s adults and parents are angry at the way they were raised by their parents and angry at the way they were educated by their schools and teachers. This does, almost inevitably, cause a strong swing in the opposite direction.

 

KM: Bravery has been the theme of many of our stories because you don’t just wake up and say I am going to be brave today- bravery is a response to a situation, and you make a choice. You are a brave person in our opinion because, in many instances, you have pushed head-on into the “establishment” for the benefit of children’s education and their fundamental right to be heard and respected. The Alice Miller school’s namesake really explains a lot. What was the tipping point for you when you thought- this needs to be written? 

 

JM: The choice to be brave is usually only possible for people whose lives are built upon strong foundations, although sometimes it can be a reflex response to danger. I’ve written The Art of Growing up because of a growing sense of urgency… my feeling that the lives of many young people nowadays are so lacking in first-hand experiences that solid foundations for adulthood are not being laid. If children know little else than their home, the school campus, the shopping mall and the barren local playground, they enter adult life so lacking in understanding, initiative and imagination that their prospects are about as good as those of a snail on the MCG in the middle of the Grand Final.

 

KM: Courage is not easy for many people because the need to be liked is stronger. How do you forge this tenacity and foster the strength to be true to your ideas?

 

JM: It’s the inner person who matters most. A child subjected to relentless criticism is as badly off as a child subjected to mindless lavish praise. Children who confront plenty of authentic challenges – not fake ones – and are supported to overcome those challenges using their own resources (such as intelligence, creativity and learned skills) are likely to be successful in navigating the challenges of adult life.

 

KM: Do you ever get scared about not being a good enough parent or a teacher? 

 

JM: Sure, of course! But I try to be thoughtful – to draw back from a situation and get as much perspective on it as I can. And I’ll use common sense, instincts and my own life experiences… when they seem to be ringing true notes.

 

KM: Have you witnessed the playing of Fortnite, and what are your thoughts on gaming socially?

 

JM: Yes, most of our boys at home got into Fortnite pretty avidly for a few months, but then they moved on. Gaming can be a very sociable activity, especially when two or more kids are at the computer and there is some collaboration happening (which could be one kid shouting advice and/or criticism at the other of course!). 

I’ve got no problems with people playing computer games quite regularly (I’m pretty good at Crossy Road!) but not every day, not compulsively, not to the detriment of other activities. Essentially, computer games are mindless most of the time and meaningless all the time – but so are a lot of other leisure activities.

 

KM: Do you believe teachers should have to achieve a higher ATAR to get into University to make sure we are getting passionate teachers that really want to teach? In Finland a Masters Degree is required, it’s impressive. Thoughts?

 

JM: In general, yes, we have to do a lot to raise the standards of teachers. Unfortunately, teachers often give their own profession a bad press! For example, they complain to their students about how hard and frustrating and rewarding their job can be. This can result in the best and brightest students – the ones whom we desperately need as teachers – choosing other careers! 

 

KM: What is your favourite part about being a teacher? 

 

JM: I guess two things – one is that it’s a very creative job. Creating a lesson, creating the materials for it, opening metaphorical doors to young people – it’s exhilarating. The other is the opportunity to help children or teenagers who are struggling with their lives. When you see them make some progress, perhaps after a long period of stagnation or worse, you do feel that you’re doing something useful.

 

KM: If you could choose any fictional character from your books to be Prime Minister who would it be? 

 

JM: I’ll give the obvious answer and say, Ellie Linton. I like that she is gutsy, thoughtful and honest. She can look at herself in the mirror and acknowledge that she makes mistakes and has flaws –like every other human in the history of the universe. My second choice would be Lee, who is a complex guy and a deep thinker.

 

KM: What do you think about Ponderings and the telling of stories with an authentic voice rather than “selling a tale that grabs eyes” journalism? 

 

JM: Anything which allows and even encourages the authentic search for understanding and avoids the glib, the superficial, the shouting of slogans: it’s great to see. The shopping recommendations look O.K. too.

The Art of Growing Up Is Available at all good book stores.

We highly recommend the audio book, but we can’t ignore a good traditional book too.

Click the Book of the month link to buy both.

 

A Period Through Time

The design of sanitary period items are made to conceal, discretion please! We don’t want everyone knowing our uterine wall is shedding