Why write a book

Why the Hell would anyone want to write a book? The average yearly income derived from practising as an author in Australia is a mere $12,900. At $248 a week that is nearly $30 a week less than the dole! For me it is purely selfish reasons. I want to first see if I can, and second, I want to try and better understand the world around me. I also feel that a long form story is a bit like slow food, it goes against the grain of the constant sugar rush of having endless information at our finger tips via mobile devices.

To destroy a man give him everything he wants
Many years ago I took a friend I hadn’t seen for a while to visit another friend in Colac in regional Victoria. This friend had managed to amass quite a collection of fast motorcycles and high performance V8’s. On a shearer’s wage I wasn’t sure how he had managed to do this, but I didn’t ask questions. The friend we were meeting in Colac was a bit of a hippy, a vegan, even back then in the early 1990’s. He has gone on to run a utopian permaculture community in the Noosa hinterland, which I suppose even back then, if I was to imagine his ideal future, this would be it!

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So there was this this guy I went to uni with called Ian. He has 160 acres backing onto a national park. Amazing pristine land, made even more remarkable by the fact he sprays no chemicals and is attempting to set up a permaculture community. At night you can hear the sound of rare frogs crooking with delight. He has a great vision, which is undermined by his inability to say no to any person who turns up here looking for a place to escape. It has a kind of trailer park meets food forest feel. The fascinating thing is how the people politics undermine everything. Can such a community survive when it accepts all – mentally ill, drug addicts, leachers and loafers. It is a telling example how the worst parasite on a system also has the potential to be the best. We are the parasites, always working on self interest. I really don't know the answer. This small microcosm represents the bigger picture. I suppose all we can do is know thyself, and do our best. Has Ian taken the noble path, to accept all comers, and allow them the space to grow? And in the process both heal the earth, and those who visit. The Guru #blackandwhite #portrait #portraitphotography #roughmonochrome #Permaculture design course at #noosaforestretreat #sustainableliving #permaculturedesigncertificate

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Anyway, without revealing too much, the friend with the motorcycles and cars, who I will call ‘Gun Shearer’ asked if we could drive him to another’s friends property to collect some ‘herbal medicine’. So my hippy friend, who I will call ‘The Guru’, started up his old HT Holden ute, and we all slid along the bench seat for a trip into the cold night. Now it surprised me a little bit that ‘Gun Shearer’ even knew anyone down this way as it wasn’t within coo-ee of where he lived, but I didn’t ask questions.

We head down a country lane lined with gum trees, driving slowly, Gun Shearer looking for the driveway of his friend whom he did reveal, rode Harley Davidson’s and was a patched member of a bikie gang. Anyway he finds the right property and asks us to wait for him on the side of the road.
Twenty minutes later, he returns as white as a ghost. His bikie friend had thought he was an intruder and greeted him with a shotgun when his yard dogs had barked in alarm.
When we returned to the Guru’s place, and we discovered how Gun Shearer was making his easy money, The Guru said something that really resonated with Gun Shearer, ‘If you want to destroy a man, give him everything he wants’

Who reads books anymore!

Both George Orwell and Aldous Huxley wrote dystopian novels about a totalitarian future. In Orwell’s 1984, books were banned, people lived in constant fear, deprived of all but the basics, their lives revolving around hate of another tribe.
Huxley on the other hand understood man’s infinite appetite for distractions. He pictured a world where people wouldn’t even read books, a world where they would be given so much information it overwhelmed them, making it harder and harder for them to concentrate or even think for themselves.

“People will come to love their oppression, to adore the technologies that undo their capacities to think.”
Neil Postman

No one seems any smarter!

My father is 81, he has a daily ritual of going to the local pub every afternoon at 5pm, to have four light beers. It is his daily social outing, and of all the regulars, everyone has a nick name; Spocca and Vom, Milky and Bomber. In fact I think if someone was just called by their first name, it would probably mean they are not well liked.

Anyway he has this old Nokia phone and I commented to him recently that it seemed to have lasted him quite a long time. ‘Oh No,’ he said, ‘This is my fourth one!’ I asked him why he didn’t update the phone to a new touch screen model, that can allow him to check the weather and news and google things. He said, ‘I’ve seen people up at the pub with new phones, they can google stuff, tell you anything you want to know. But the thing is, I don’t think it makes them any smarter!’

I feel within myself that I am losing the ability to concentrate. Constantly having a mobile connected to the internet; the ability to chat with anyone, anywhere around the world, at any time; the ability to get instant information on anything, and the time wormholes those research sessions can lead to. It’s like giving a two year old a can of Coke and Mars Bar, my brain feels like it’s climbing the nearest wall with over-stimulation.

“I haven’t had television since 1991, and it definitely influences me. As a child of the 1970s, I couldn’t hold a narrative in my head; I was lucky if I could hold a joke in my head, because every time you turn on television or radio, it wipes the slate clean — at least in my case. After I gave up television, I found I could carry longer and longer stories or ideas in my head and put them together until I was carrying an entire short story. That’s pretty much when I started writing.”
Chuck Palahniuk

The Rhythm of Nature

I feel I need to disconnect for a time, and a pilgrimage is the perfect way to do this. To challenge myself physically with the walk, and mentally with the daily writing and Spanish language learning.

On a recent motorcycle camping trip round Australia, I experienced the different vibration of wilderness areas. I want to experience that rhythm again, and what better way than to walk the earth.

My last Camino was 2004, 15 years ago. The film I made of that experience has inspired a lot of people to do their own pilgrimage. I never thought I’d feel the need to do it again, but there are still a few goals and answers I haven’t achieved or found. So as with my Camino Film, maybe Jung was right, maybe there is a collective unconscious, and one man’s journey can provide revelations to others. I hope you can follow the journey.

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4 thoughts on “Why write a book

  1. Hi
    REAly interesting peice, i think being able to choose/ dip into technology and
    Its advantages gives us so much more, I am 57 and have been brought up on books so feel blessed to have had my early yesrs spenT without the drug induced distractions of the internet. But as you Imply the problem is the younger people who have never had anything else, the analog world is history, that a minority of retro kids dip into, vinyl, film cameras etc.
    Its change, the future and we are trying to make sense of it, and 30 years when we are all but gone no one will remember . But and i Think this is your point, we always want to return to a simpler world, something in us i hope Needs to be nurtured, no ammount of external stimulus caN fill thIs void, so i think there is hope for us becauSe the very insecurity of our being is ouR salvation.
    Thanks for your post as ever thought provoking and appreciated

  2. Thanks Steve

  3. stayed in bckpkrs recently
    expecting the usual chaos & noise of a bunch of unleashed young people but no
    they sat apart in silence

    mesmerised by their tiny screens
    woman running the hostel tries to vibe things up but
    they just return to the other world

    She set WiFi password as
    ” Actually Socialise “

  4. that is funny 🙂

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