Posted in Climate Change, Fiction, The Journey

A link to ‘The Journey’ on Amazon US

I’m so sorry that my computer ineptitude has caused problems for people. It’s ironic for one of the subthemes of my novel The Journey is the free sharing of information. Here’s a link to the novel on Amazon US. You click on the words ‘Buy on Amazon’ and hopefully go directly to Amazon site for your country. The ebook costs $1.99. I didn’t know sidebars don’t show up when you visited blogs on your phone. I was doing it that way because I thought it would be more straightforward! Instead it became a major source of consternation. I apologise for the confusion.

Posted in Climate Change, Fiction, The Journey

Another Review!

Kerfe Roig of https://kblog.blog/ sent me a link to a review of my novel The Journey that she posted on Goodreads a while ago. Thank you so much Kerfe. I’m very glad to hear to you enjoyed my novel so much that you wrote this review. To say I appreciate you taking the time to read and review The Journey is an understatement.

Here’s Kerfe’s review:-

Kerfe

Imagine a world that not only survives ecological disaster but learns how to thrive by constructing an entirely new social system, one that does not rely on hierarchy or an elite ruling class with a subservient mass. It does not classify humans as better or worse, or expect more from each one than they are able to give.

It seems too good to be true–yet if we can imagine, as we so often do, what is too horrifying to contemplate, why can we not turn the opposite way and consider the good things that humans might do?

Suzanne Miller doesn’t see this world through rose-colored glasses, but she offers alternatives to our greed-based and destructive economies. In her novel she focuses on a few groups of survivors and describes their different approaches to coping with a world that has been pushed into ecological disaster. Both characters and story are realistic and made me think.

The main characters come from an isolationist, technologically-based, settlement that has a clear hereditary hierarchy with underlings and an increasingly entrenched, inflexible approach to survival. When a group of scientist-explorers goes in search of seeds to replenish their dying food sources, they are overcome by the harsh conditions of the desert they attempt to cross. Two of the members, both outsiders–one an elite, but female, scientist, and one a member of the underclass serving as cook for the expedition–are rescued by a human group on horses who come to warn the explorers of a dangerous storm approaching. The other members of the expedition not only refuse their offers of help, but shoot at the people offering it, driving them away.

The remaining parts of the book deal with how these two outsiders react to encountering a totally different way of life, one that seeks to work with the environment and help it to heal, return to stability, and flourish. There is ambivalence and suspicion present for both, but it’s far easier for Raven, the Mismatch, to abandon a life were he had nothing to lose. For Terran, the daughter of one of her settlement’s founders, it is very difficult to abandon all she has known and been taught about the way to exist and survive in a hostile world–the way of technology first. In the end, though she is aware of the better life she could have inside this alternate way, she feels she must return and try to convince her people of the value of what she has seen.

For all of those remaining after civilization collapses, which includes also a group of Wanderers who reside in what is left of the mountain forests and interact with both the technology and the ecological groups, the way is neither smooth nor easy.

But working together as a community, with continued flexibility that is open to change, is here drawn realistically as a possible path. The author has obviously researched people working on how to achieve this, and includes intriguing ideas for possible action. We don’t even need to wait for the total collapse of all we know to begin to travel in that direction. All we need is to be willing to try.

If you would like to purchase The Journey it is available on Amazon as an ebook for just a couple of dollars (the price varies depending on where you live). The paperback version is a bit more expensive because of the cost of the paper and postage. If you feel motivated to write a review on either Amazon or Goodreads (or both) I would be greatly appreciate it because the reviews help publicize the book and bring it to people’s attention. If you do write a review, please let me know so I can thank you personally. I can always be contacted at
suzanne_593@hotmail.com or via this blog. Thank you for reading.

If you click on BUY below the picture it takes you to book on the Amazon site for your country.

Posted in Climate Change, Fiction, The Journey

A book review!

Bored of searching for a house via online real estate sites I scrolled through my WordPress Reader. I was absolutely stoked to discover Audrey Driscoll wrote a review of my novel The Journey on Goodreads and Amazon. Here’s what she wrote:

Audrey Driscoll‘s review

This is an optimistic post-apocalyptic novel. The two main characters, Terran and Raven, join an expedition to venture beyond the closed community in a failing biodome in search of wheat seeds to replace their diseased stock. The semi-desert landscape the group travels through is heavily affected by climate change, physically harsh and spiritually distressing.
In contrast are two new communities, Jedahra and Saranath, settled by survivors. Architecture, economy, and social organization are described in vivid detail, full of colour. I kept being reminded of hippie communes of the 1960s and ’70s taken to a high degree of success. As I read, I wondered if a total breakdown is necessary before such renewal can take place.
The experiences, thoughts, and emotions of Terran and Raven are described in alternating chapters. There is a certain amount of didactic material, outlining fundamental principles of the new communities and how their holistic approach differs from the failed tech-driven approach of the past, exemplified by the biodome institute from which Terran and Raven came. But this is a novel, and therefore is not heavy or preachy. New technologies are briefly described. To me they sounded plausible. The characters undergo transformations that feel realistic and remain somewhat unresolved but hopeful at the end of the book.
I appreciated the author’s heartfelt descriptions of landscapes and ecosystems, both ruined and thriving. I was especially touched by a scene in which characters dance to express grief at the damage done by humans to the earth. The idea that recovery and restoration could originate from experiencing rather than exploiting nature, and take the form of art, dance, study of past wisdom, and meditation is an appealing one. More than once I found myself wishing I could visit Jedahra and Saranath!
I recommend this book to anyone concerned about climate change, and especially those who may be experiencing anxiety or even despair at the state of the earth.

Thank you so much Audrey. I really appreciate you taking the time to review my novel. If anyone else has posted a review on Goodreads or Amazon it would be wonderful if you could let me know (and provide me with a link to the review) so that I can thank you. You can find a link to my novel in the sidebar of this blog.

(For those interested in my personal housing drama I have no good news to report on the house renting situation though I continue to explore options…)

Posted in Climate Change

On the fringe

Reading the many fine poets on WordPress has convinced me poetry is not my forte at present. Being pre-occupied by my living situation I find the words I write are raw and rough.

Out on the fringes of suburbia
I see a man calmly and carefully
sorting through the bags
left outside the charity shop after hours.
The feather on his hat bobs
and his Nike shoes,
gleaned, I imagine,
from some previous scrounging,
are gleaming in the gloaming.

My head is full of wild notions. I go to rental inspections and stare askance at small old places that don’t even reach the heights of a bathroom basin but instead provide an old laundry tub as the only place where you can brush your teeth. There I see a woman in her forties seething. Some private anger and/or grief disturbs her as she contemplates the kitchen where there is no room for a fridge. Beside her a boy with tatts on his face assures the estate agent he won’t disturb the other tenants and a young single mum peers into the old shower recess and asks her mum (obviously along for support) just how she can bath the baby there.

Back home I watch videos about how to live in a small car. Cooking and peeing at night are major concerns. I move on to a video by an older man well experienced in van living. He’s being doing it for years. It’s harder out there now he says. So many people are travelling since the pandemic. The camp sites and caravan parks are overcrowded. He’s noticed too that the rising cost of fuel means people are staying longer in these places.

My brother confirms this. On a recent campervan holiday to the far north east of Australia he found the roads were clogged with RVs and caravans. Most of the old free campgrounds have been closed. Now you can only stay three nights in overcrowded parking areas that are patrolled and monitored by the authorities.

Crossing living in my car off the list, I consider other options. Either I find a place, hopefully with a wash basin and a stove within five weeks or I shall have to put my furniture in a storage locker and live, for a time, in a tent my daughter’s back yard. Lucky summer’s coming. She’s offered to let me sleep in the lounge but her household is busy and they use every space in their house as it is. I have other similar offers elsewhere.

I consider the wisdom of spending the last of my savings on a whirlwind tour of Iceland or maybe a spiritual pilgrimage to Glastonbury. The problem is I’d have to come back in a couple of weeks or a month and contemplate my diminished bank account as I squat in someone’s lounge or camp in their backyard.

Meanwhile the estate agent selling the house phones and sets up a time for bringing a photographer round to take photos of this place for the billboard they intend to put up out the front. I go out for over hour and come back just as the photographer is leaving. Walking inside I realise he’s been moving my stuff around to take his photos – luckily most of my personal items are already packed – but, all the same, it’s a disconcerting feeling. It is definitely time to go – just where to is the issue.

So, what with one thing and another, the writing is going down the drain. The wisest thing to do would be to delete this blog and pretend I have never attempted to write anything – particularly novels or poetry. However, with what little reason I have left, I realise I might feel the urge to blog again at some point and may even feel my writing is of a quality worth sharing, so, for now, I’ll leave this thing live but will step away from it for the foreseeable.

WordPress tells me I have made 200 posts on this blog. What a fitting place to leave off writing for a while. You are welcome to browse through the 200 posts. Maybe some of the earlier poems are worth reading and there are excerpts from my novel that might entertain you.

Posted in poetry, stream of consciousness

Marching to a different beat

Watching the royal funeral
that solemn march going on and on.
The unspoken tensions,
the deep histories that have divided
and united, chips falling where they may,
reminding of my mother’s funeral
where my sister ‘accidentally’ forgot
we were related and that I cared for her,
fifteen years my junior,
as my mother raved in the psych ward
while I was still in high school.

Water under the bridge now.
Swiftly the currents rage through my present.
I spin in the eddies, white water rafting.

The royal funeral march echoing in my ears
my inner drum beats wildly,
shamanic in its intent –
let go the past, move on, move on.

The swirling currents carry me forward.
To where I do not know.


prompt: For this week’s challenge, provide a map of history’s mysteries.  Sketch a landscape — it can be your personal history, or a place you inhabit now or did once…
https://earthweal.com/2022/09/19/earthweal-weekly-challenge-historys-mysteries/

Posted in art, poetry

Towards the Portal

image credit – Lee Madgwick  leemadgwick.co.uk.

Drifting into the unknown,
the openness of containment
beyond the narrow portal of need.

Unmoored,
cast adrift from my own past,
I can no longer tell,
if my boundaries are self imposed
or if the fates have decreed my course.

Beyond the shadows,
the dark lurking fears,
an empty space stretches.
What will I become, or,
is it that I can become what I choose?

The farther shore some distance off,
home becomes an abstract concept.
Trust is of the essence here.

prompt: https://dversepoets.com/2022/09/13/the-strange-houses-of-lee-madgwick/

Posted in politics

Not a monarchist

Not being a monarchist, I am bemused by the medieval pomp and ceremony surrounding the death of Queen Elizabeth and the ascension of Charles to the throne. My social media feeds are filled with a mixture of posts. Many express deep sadness over the death of the Queen. Others proclaim it’s time we looked at the history of colonialism, slavery and the appropriation of indigenous lands by the Crown. Many suggest this is a perfect time for Australia and other Commonweath countries to move towards becoming republics.

Many are saying that the Queen was a very good person who supported many worthwhile charities. She had very good manners and always remained calm under pressure. Others are saying she never once spoke out about the injustices and exploitative policies that have been perpetuated in the name of the Crown in the past. Both of these positions have their truths.

Not being a monarchist but not being indigenous either, I retreat back into my witness self and observe all this furor going on around me. What comes to me is that the monarchy is a hierarchal system that maintains itself by proclaiming that a small percentage of the population are somehow better and more entitled than the rest of us by reasons of birth. At a time when countless people, myself included, are finding it hard to find an affordable place to live as the cost of living soars, I find the idea of hereditary privilege inimical.

It seems to me that the current version of the British monarchy and capitalism are inextricably linked. Both exploit the masses for the benefit of the few. Land and resources are controlled by those in positions of power. Perhaps the debate about republicanism could be extended to include a debate about capitalism and the exploitation of the many by the few.

Posted in art, photography

Trees on the Cliffs

Wind blown –
I ask myself
why
did I not spend my time
in this town
making lino cut images
of the trees writhing on the cliff tops?

The closest I got was a series of digital images:-

With my stuff in boxes and my head in a whirl there’s no time or inclination now. Just the questions – why do we make the creative choices we make? – are there right and wrong creative choices? – will I ever find the time and inclination to do all the creative ideas that flit across my addled mind?

prompt: https://weeklyprompts.com/2022/09/07/weekly-prompts-wednesday-challenge-trees/

Posted in poetry

Undermining control

The controls of the past two years
– eight lockdowns here in southern Oz –
undermined my
confidence,
courage,
calm

yet now, when I re-assess,
I find it all taught me
self reliance.

At least to some degree
I would have to say,
now that the dust has settled,

I found something there in those long grey days that merged one into the other,
something hard to put into words and not something anyone really talks about,
but the more the authorities sought to control my (and everyone’s) behaviour –
the more I found it undermined my belief in their authority and right to control me.

Struggling a bit still
to make sense of things
now we’re getting back to normal
or is this the new normal?
It seems quite odd to me,
not normal at all,
that people seek to exploit each other,
to throw bombs around,
whether of the Putin kind
or just unnecessary aggression
in personal interactions.

And then there’s the exploitation of the Earth,
the helter skelter race to have the newest, best
of everything
while ignoring the environmental implications.

It all undermines the stability we used to count on
but then maybe it’s all just signs the old system
was fraught with problems and really the control
we need to find comes from within the self.


prompt: https://godoggocafe.com/2022/09/06/tuesday-writing-prompt-challenge-september-6-2022/ The prompts are designed to be quick challenges that can be written in 10 to 15minutes

Posted in photography

Signs of Spring

At the end of a rainy day the clouds parted and the sun sent long beams of light onto the old ash tree in my garden. The new seeds bursting out at the end of branches shone a vibrant green gold – the seeds of new beginnings.