The Point of Vanishing & Other Dreams


In my blog, I explore the themes that weave through my stories and dreams:

the need to belong, and the fear of loss; the longing for family and home and love; loneliness and the extraordinary power of the human spirit; depression - and hope; the clarifying presence of the natural world, and ways of being awake and alive in the only moment we really have: this one.

I hope you'll follow me beyond the storytelling, and join me on this very human journey....


"Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world." ~Oscar Wilde

‘I dream my paintings and then I paint my dreams’. ~Vincent Van Gogh

The following little creations are taken from recent dreams, rough hewn and unpolished, mined directly from the unconscious. They are the raw material for future Wishing Tree tales, and they are very, very short .

Friday, 25 March 2016

In Unexpected Places

The other night I watched 'Wasteland'.  It was one of those films which, especially once you know it's a documentary, feels a bit like having to eat all your vegetables before leaving the table.  I make myself watch 'educational' documentaries' quite regularly, not purely for the sake of my edification, but because I know that if it's about something I'm interested in - however mildly - I will usually be glad that I did.  It's also a bit like doing daily exercise in the rain. You always feel better for it afterwards but it's not much fun at the time.
     'Wasteland' was set on the largest landfill in the world, Jardim Gramacho&nbspin Rio de Janeiro), so I thought there wasn't going to be a lot of beauty in it.  Hardship, yes, tears, yes, things that are too awful to look at, yes - but not beauty.  I also thought there would probably be some moral message by the end that would make me feel terribly guilty and helpless at the same time.

     The good news was that there wasn't either of these things, and there was beauty all the way through it, in the most unexpected places: the communal spirit of the 'pickers' who spend 16 hours a day finding recyclable materials which they then sell to a large number of recycling companies; the individual spirit of those who had fallen on hard times but were not beaten into depression or drugs or suicide; and the fact that they were not self-pitying in any way, repeatedly displaying terrific senses of humour.  The artist who conceived of the idea to get them to create giant pieces of art from recyclable material, then auction them in London (as a very well-known artist Vik Muniz was assured of good prices) so that all the money went back into their Pickers' Association to help educate their children and themselves and create a better life - even he admitted that he had gone into the project with all the arrogance of 'I am going to help these people and make their lives better' and did not anticipate becoming so involved in their lives and forming such close friendships with so many of the pickers.  He said with heartfelt conviction that they had changed his life more than he had changed theirs, and immeasurably for the better.

     The heartbreaking moment came when some bastard stole $6,000 from the person returning from the bank with everyone's wages - that was the total sum.

     I wondered whether they would all become filled with dissatisfaction after seeing the possibilities in the world outside, and hate their jobs, or become dispirited and want to give up.  That did almost happen, and a few of them did leave, using the money to train so they could get jobs elsewhere.  But the majority had huge pride about the project they had taken part in, and one women in particular said she was no longer ashamed to be a 'picker' (she had avoided telling her own family for years) but proud of it, and would tell people so.
     I tell you what, the love those people showed one another, and their resilience and humour and hope and creativity, made such a lie out of  'people will be happy when they have all they want'.

     I've been pondering this ever since.  If we recognise what we most need is a sense of deep connection and belonging within a caring community, whatever form that takes, then happiness is sure to follow.

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