Cool Runnings

Well, what can I say? It REALLY is just like waiting for a bus (see link below). It’s now THREE out-of-body experiences in barely four weeks after not having one for ages.

http://inspirationalstorytellers.com/its-just-like-waiting-for-a-bus/

cool-runningsMy latest astral adventure, like the other two, may not have been that spectacular, but it was equally as significant. It was very short in fact, but it had a lot of meaning for me. I was laying in bed this morning at around 08:10 trying to squeeze the remaining dregs out of a bit of a lie-in, fully awake but with my eyes closed, when all of a sudden my third eye became illuminated. When I say illuminated, I do not mean in the same way as during meditation where it is quite common to see images etc, and I shall explain for the benefit of those reading this who have not read my book  The Amazing Journey.

Since about 1999 I have not only been having the most incredible astral adventures, but I have also been experiencing what I can only describe as an awaking, or illumination, within my third eye. This illumination sometimes occurs as an isolated incident or it may be the forerunner or aftermath to an out-of-body experience. What happens is that my third eye lights up and I see uncannily vivid activity being played out “before my very eye”, if you’ll pardon the pun, rather like a film show. Sometimes these images are very powerful and highly symbolic and sometimes I simply see people whom I do not know. My third eye has also been known to simply light up with the most brilliant and beautiful white light.

So there I was, laying in bed minding my own business, when all of a sudden my third eye became active. I could see quite plainly four young girls, dressed in bright clothes, just standing there doing nothing in particular. Knowing that the time was getting on I was thinking how unusual it was for me to be having a third-eye-experience at this time in the morning. As my mind was daring to think that I might just also be about to be blessed with an astral journey, I felt the familiar feeling of being lifted from my body.

I did not see my companion but the journey was the most smooth and professional yet. That’s not bad considering I have been having these experiences for the last 14 years. As usual we moved at speed through darkness, but I felt fully surrendered to the situation, which is something that does not always happen. After what seemed quite a short time I could see that we were inside a building. Now forgive me for what I’m going to say next, but I don’t know how else to describe it. We appeared to be in an inside-out castle. Yes, you really did read that correctly. But it was a castle that was no longer being used as a castle. The interior reminded me of those grand old buildings that you quite often see in English towns that were obviously fortresses in their day, but in modern times are owned by the local authority and being used as council offices. In the part where we arrived at the corridor was on a bit of a slope and there was a lovely 1960′s style banister rail fixed on one side.

I described the building as an inside-out castle because the walls were black, and they reminded me of the kind of black backdrop you would find on stage in a theatre to depict night-time. The grey outlines of castle battlements and windows were superimposed on the walls; it was indeed a pleasantly strange sight. I had a feeling that this was going to be a short one, and I was right; we did not even land before I found myself drifting back into my body.

It was a very pleasing and significant experience because of the smoothness of the journey; and I hope an indication that life could be about to get very interesting over the coming months.

 

Kindle Editions available for purchase and download. If you click on these links you can select a paperback option if preferred.
Meditation CD’s available from Richard Holmes

 

 

It’s Just Like Waiting For A Bus

This is not the post I was intending to write today; in fact, the post I was going to write was not the one I originally intended either. However, events have dictated that I am now writing about what was a most unexpected and extremely pleasant experience I had this morning. What was it I was saying recently about expecting the unexpected? (See link below).

http://inspirationalstorytellers.com/always-expect-the-unexpected/

jesus_078_smallSo, out-of-body experiences… Just like waiting for a bus really; you wait for ages, seemingly in vain, and then two come along at once. And so it was; I seemed to go for an eternity without having an astral adventure of note, and just when I thought I would never have another one, I have two in the space of a few weeks. This particular one, although not spectacular, was in fact quite significant. I awoke at about 05:50 relishing the fact that I did not need to be up early, and duly turned over and went back to sleep. I don’t know how long I was asleep, but in what seemed like a short space of time, I felt myself being lifted from my body and then the familiar feeling of travelling through the darkness. As usual, I sent out my thoughts of gratitude to whomever my companion was.

After a short journey we landed in a place that I took to be of this earth; for some reason I had a feeling of a town or city in Northern England. I’m not saying that this is so, but that was the feeling I had. We seemed to have landed in some sort of cafe, although we were not actually in the cafe, more like a covered yard to the right of it. I also noticed that my companion was a young man who looked rather like the young soul from my previous adventure.

Although not very communicative he was an enthusiastic participant in whatever it was we were supposed to be doing. There was several people milling around in very close proximity to us but it was obvious that they could not see us. It seemed that the young soul was trying to show me something about his life; it was as though he took me to this place because it was somewhere that he’d visited regularly or even where he’d been an employee. Now the significance of this journey was that from the moment we landed I felt that I was in complete control. I’d never experienced being in control whilst out of my body to this extent before, and I got the impression that even though the young man had brought me there, he was looking to me for guidance. The next bit is not 100% clear but I seem to remember being inside the cafe and it was the kind of place where the waitresses would have worn some sort of traditional dress; rather like a tea rooms. Anyway, just as I was starting to enjoy myself the inevitable happened.

I felt a backward pull and in no time at all I had returned to my body; slightly disappointed that I didn’t get to see more. Yes, it was just like waiting for a bus, but one of these days I hope to do the complete mystery tour; watch this space!

 

Kindle Editions available for purchase and download. If you click on these links you can select a paperback option if preferred.
 
 
 
Meditation CD’s available from Richard Holmes
 

 

 

Always Expect The Unexpected

A ridiculous statement really; how can you expect something that is unexpected? But, the unexpected did happen to me during the early hours of this morning. I call it the unexpected because it was something that I came to expect, as it was a semi-frequent occurrence, but then ended up wondering if it was ever going to happen to me again. Anyway… I’m aware that I’m rambling; I am, of course, talking about an out-of-body experience. Yes, apart from two very short excursions into the astral realms in the past nine months or so, I have been pretty redundant in that department. I chose not to write about the two aforementioned experiences because, aside from being quite short, they were also quite strange and I had a job getting my head around things. So, I took the decision to confine them to the archives of imaginary time.

My experience of this morning was also a little bit of an anti-climax but I am still going to share it with the world. Hey, can you believe that? I went on an astral journey and I’m describing it as an anti-climax. My, how times have changed. I remember how it was when I first started to experience this phenomenon; and now it would appear that I am turning my nose up if I am not suitably stimulated during the proceedings. How ungrateful can a man get? In truth, I have experienced so much over the years that I am fully aware that I have a much different reality to most people. Anyway, on with the story.

As is the case 99% of the time it started with a dream; then all of a sudden I realised I was out of my body, wide awake and on the move. For the first time ever I found myself being carried from the front. I sent out thoughts of gratitude to my companion and waited with bated breath to see what was going to occur. I was aware of entering a very old building and could just about make out some really old brick-work as we entered. I was still very much in the dark at this stage but I got a short but very clear glimpse of a building that would not have been out-of-place in an old black and white horror film. I should add here that this is simply my way of describing it and at no time did I feel that I was going to meet my doom, and I never felt threatened in any way. As we emerged from the darkness my companion set me down in a kind of narrow corridor. It was then that I got a good look at my young friend. In earthly terms I would describe him as being in his late teens to early twenties, he was wearing a yellow top and was quite fresh-faced.

We made our way down the corridor and my friend allowed me to lead the way. To the right I noticed a small room without a door and there was a very strange-looking character in there crouching down as though he was doing some kinds of exercises. I also noticed a rather flat looking dog laying on the floor of the corridor as we continued down. There was another room with no door a little further down on the right where I glimpsed two more strange-looking characters. My first thought was to think that these souls really needed help. But when I pondered this later on I came to the conclusion that I only thought this because in my human-ness I have great difficulty thinking outside the box, and it is a common human failing to believe that something or somebody may not be as it should be simply because it or they do not fit our idea of what is supposedly normal or right.

I continued down and paused to glance back just in time to see my companion disappear down through a bolt hole on the left hand side. This is quite normal; I’m assuming that my astral helpers are only permitted to accompany me so far for “reasons of the soul”. I did however manage to thank him again and say goodbye before he disappeared.

The next bit is quite difficult to describe but I shall do my best. I carried on and soon came to a point where the corridor veered off at a slight angle to the right, and in front of me, up above there was a gap between the wall and ceiling which was covered by a flap that looked like a piece of basic white sheet. I could see through the gap between the wall and sheet and it looked like an old fashioned barrack room on the other side. I now had to make a decision; do I carry on down the corridor or do I float up through the flap and see what’s beyond. Strangely, without making a conscious decision, I simply floated up and through the white sheet. On the other side, immediately on the right, was a couple of old-style army-type bunk beds. I should also add at this point that the whole complex of corridor and barrack room seemed as though it was underground.

I just floated on past the bunk beds and realised that the whole place was open plan and quite huge. There was a lot of souls wearing military-style uniforms, but they did not bat an eyelid as I floated past above their heads. I realised too that the area where the bunk beds were sited was actually quite small; probably a rest area, and as I made my way out into the open space it seemed more like a huge workshop, or even an aircraft hanger. Even though it looked decidedly military I was not surprised to note that there was not a single gun in sight; astral weapons simply don’t exist. Of course, my assuming that this was some kind of military area could also have something to do with not being able to think outside the box; this is simply how it looked to me.

Just as I was really looking forward to exploring I got that all too familiar feeling, and within what seemed like a micro-second, I was back in my body. So, as far as astral adventures goes it wasn’t that eventful. Did I really just say that? You must think I’m REALLY spoiled… well I am… AND extremely lucky.

 

Kindle Editions available for purchase and download. If you click on these links you can select a paperback option if preferred.
 
 
 
Meditation CD’s available from Richard Holmes
 

 

 

Nothing Has Changed

If you take a close look at the statement “Nothing Has Changed” you will see that it is not simply declaring that “nothing has changed”; it actually contains a much deeper and profound message. If you now read the same statement as “nothing HAS changed” you will be well on the way to understanding the hidden meaning.

In the early 1970′s rock guitarist, Pete Townshend penned a song called Let’s See Action. Within that song is the line nothing is everything, everything is nothing is. Pete is a life-long devotee of the guru, Meher Baba and many of his songs over the years have had spiritual overtones; and for me, that lyric in Let’s See Action is one of the most significant lines ever written. You see, everything REALLY is nothing is. The world of form (everything) emerged from the formless (nothing), and will one day merge back, thus completing the cycle. Because all form is ultimately an illusion, all that really exists is nothing (or particles of nothing), hence everything is nothing. Which brings me back to where I started…

Because creation, as particles of nothing, is constantly in motion, its very nature is change. So we can safely say that nothing most certainly HAS changed. In fact, nothing is in a constant state of flux.

Life has a way of being so completely and utterly mind-boggling; but in such a truly wondrous way.

 

 

Image is from the coast of Mandria, Cyprus …. where rumour has it Mr Richard Holmes has been recently seen 😉

 

 

Aum A Bit Confused

The Vedic sound of Om, also known as Aum and Pranava, is considered to be the most powerful and significant of all mantras. It is The Sound Of The Universe, The Holy Spirit of vibration holding the entire creation together. It is pronounced in the same way as the “om” in “from”. Even though it is a single syllable, it has what I can only describe as three sub-syllables; A – U – M. It is for this reason that Om is sometimes incorrectly chanted as “orm” or “awm”. The letters A – U – M are, in fact, highly sacred and symbolic in that they represent the three “states” of being for humans encased in flesh, having a physical experience; namely waking state, dream state and deep-sleep state.

“A” represents waking state; because it is considered in the Vedas to be the first state of consciousness. “U” represents dream state because the “U” is next to the “A” in the order of sounds and dream state is considered to be the second state of consciousness; lying in between being “awake” and “asleep”. “M” represents deep-sleep state because it is the closing sound of the Om and deep-sleep is said to represent the final stage of the mind in rest. When chanting the Om there will inevitably be a slight pause between each single chant, and it is this brief period of silence, known as the “turiya”, that completes the cycle and does itself have a highly sacred and symbolic meaning.

aum_05Om represents the “Self”; encompassing the Self as a whole. The A, U and M represent the realm of the relative, the world of form or the illusion, whilst the turiya represents the formless, The Universal Absolute or God. Because all is God anyway, the Om as a whole represents the totality, the Oneness and the simple truth that “All and Everything is God”. Sound only exists because of silence, so the Om emerges from the silence, moves through the sub-syllables to the M where it reaches its peak. It then subsides into the silence; the state of perfect bliss; thus symbolising the world of form merging once again with the formless.

Since ancient times the Om has been used as an aid to meditation and medium with which to connect the spiritual aspirant to God. It is also called ‘Pranava’, meaning, that it is something that pervades life, or runs through prana or breath. There is a passage in the Vedas that states “In the beginning was the word and the word was Om (Aum)”, thousands of years later this ended up in the Christian Bible as “In the beginning was the word and the word was with God”. Om (Aum) is also the origin of the Christian “Amen”.

 

 

Life After Life

We can never understand life unless we understand death, and we will never understand death until we see it for what it really is. Death is an illusion; only existing within the mind. Like all illusions it will only hang around for as long as we give it credence. The dissolving away of the illusion of death will represent, not a door closing, but a door opening; revealing a previously forgotten truth. The truth that there is indeed no such thing as the afterlife; there is only life itself. Life in all its glory; experienced in one single and equally glorious eternal moment.

 

forest-path-mystical

 

 

Richard’s books can be found in the Inspirational Storyteller Book Store.

 

 

Synchronicities; Don’t you just Love ‘em

Synchronicities never fail to amaze me and I’m going to share with you one such synchronicity that occurred in the last week. I had been visiting a friend in Swindon for a couple of days, and just prior to setting off on the journey home, my friend and I had a brief conversation about my nephew, Steve.  However, before I carry on it will be necessary for me to give you some background information.

Stephen was my older brother’s second child, but the first by his then wife; and also his first and only boy. Steve and I had a magical relationship when he was young.  But for reasons that are not relevant to this story his childhood was neither stable nor happy. We continued to be close and then in 1976 I joined the army.  We saw each other sporadically whilst I was in the army, and it was apparent to me during my visits, that his living conditions were less than ideal.  The army, however, was not for me and having bought myself out just before Christmas in 1979, I went off to work in Germany in March 1980.  By the time I came back to England in 1986 Steve was a teenager and into drugs.  I was quite disturbed by what I saw; mainly the changes in him, but I had no idea back then as to what would eventually transpire.  I had also gone through a drug period but I’d never taken anything serious and I was quite saddened by how my nephew had evolved from a beautiful baby smiling up at me from his pram, into someone I didn’t even recognise.

blackburnNow it is also worth mentioning here that I was always considered to be a bit of an oddball in the family. The Holmes’ have never been that close anyway, and as time has gone by, it’s now reached the stage where I have no contact at all with any remaining family members.  It was difficult enough before, but once I found my spiritual pathway I was considered to be even more of an oddball.  Steve was always my closest ally, but in the mid 1990′s things changed drastically.  He had a promising career as a footballer and was on a Youth Training Scheme at Blackburn Rovers, who at the time were in the second tier of English football.  He even played twice for the first team, but having been caught with drugs outside a night club in Blackburn, they let him go.  He then returned to London where he drifted from club to club in non-league football, playing for some famous old clubs along the way.  Then in an effort to get away from the London drug scene he moved down to Swindon, which is where I was living at the time; my mother was also living there.  It turned out to be a bit of a disaster, because all he did then was swap the London drug scene for the Swindon drug scene.  During this period he was playing for Marlow Town, another famous old non-league club; he even appeared on BBC Match Of The Day once, after Marlow had been drawn against Plymouth Argyle in the FA Cup.  At one point things seemed to be going well.  I thought he was off the drugs; he was getting paid by Marlow and also had a full-time job.  He met a girl and they ended up having a wonderful Christmas baby.  However, things took a dive just prior to the baby being born.

Steve broke his leg playing football and was never the same again.  He did recover but he was not able to play to the same standard.  I had no idea that he was still heavily into drugs until 1996 when things came to a head.  He had a serious mental breakdown and ended up in a place called Seymour Clinic, a well-known Swindon mental institution.  It was an awful depressing place, which I am happy to say no longer exists; in recent years it has been replaced by a more modern facility.  Over the next few years he would periodically find himself in Seymour Clinic and another similar establishment, not always on a voluntary basis.

During this period he fell into the clutches of a Swindon based Christian Fundamentalist group that had a reputation for preying on vulnerable people; with a mental illness Steve was an ideal candidate.  As a few more years passed by Steve relapsed into his illness a number of times.  Also, because of all the medication he was on, his weight ballooned and he became very disheveled; a shadow of the athletic young man he’d been just a few years prior.  Unfortunately, when I found my spiritual pathway he decided that I was “in league with Satan” and we ceased to have regular contact.  In 2003 I moved to Wales, but when my mother became ill in 2005 I moved back to Swindon.  I saw Steve sporadically during this period but since my mother’s funeral in May 2009 I had bumped into him just once, one evening in a shop in Swindon, whilst on a visit to the same friend I mentioned at the beginning of this story.

Steve lives a very short walking distance from my friend, and she was telling me that she had seen him a couple of times recently from a distance, and had indeed seen him that morning whilst on a trip into town.  We both agreed that for all his troubles and faults, he had done a fantastic job with his son.  The relationship with the child’s mother had broken up back in the 1990′s but Steve was a doting father and he made every effort to support his son over the years.  My friend and I agreed that he had learned wisely from his own childhood experiences and had done his son proud.

Soon after we finished our conversation I said my goodbyes and set off on my journey home.  I had only driven a very short distance when I saw an unmistakable figure, yes it was Steve.  My first reaction was just to carry on with my journey, as I had no way of knowing how he would react to me.  But something told me to drive up to the end of the road, go around the roundabout and come back.  This I did, and as I drove past him again I tooted the car horn and noted that he recognised me straight away.  I took the first right and pulled over by a bus stop.  Steve was really glad to see me, he jumped in the car and I drove around to where he lived.  We only had a short chat in the car but during the course of our discussion he told me that he was now working full-time with????  Yes, you’ve guessed it, people with mental health problems.  I was so pleased for him; it’s the first proper full-time job he has had in some years.

I could see the face of a man racked with guilt, pain and sadness because of the past.  He is obviously still in a great deal of pain because of what he experienced when he was growing up, and I’m sure that was behind him going off the rails.  It is also apparent that he feels a lot of guilt for the way he has conducted himself over the years and let his life go the way that it did.  But it was great to chat with him and I felt the connection there once again, albeit briefly, and I was happy to be able to give him encouragement.  He was also pleased for me with what I am doing and he took my telephone number.  I am still waiting for a call, but it has only been just over a week. Synchronicities eh! Don’t you just love ‘em?

 

The Art of Life

 

As an occasional painter, and someone who recently dusted the cobwebs of his oil paints and brushes after what seemed like an eternity, it occurred to me recently that not only is life itself a work of art, but the people in it are also living, breathing Picassos’. Literally everything on the universal canvas that we call life is an intricate work of art; created to perfection by the cosmic artist. It is with this thought in mind that I will share a story with you from my recent past.

 

In the last six years I have on occasion worked with adults and young people with learning disabilities on a part-time basis. Now, people in general have an annoying habit of looking at someone else and forming a judgement based on what they can see; and I believe that to an extent we are all guilty of this. Also, if you were to hang a painting on a wall and ask a cross-section of people what it represented to them it is highly likely that you would get many different interpretations of the same painting. What this shows is that we all view things from our own perspective, and this includes life in general.

 

It is quite uncanny in this day and age that some people still look on those with learning disabilities as “mad”. I, however, have a completely different view. I actually had two stints of employment in one establishment where I worked, and the little story I want to share concerns an incident that took place at the beginning of my final shift at the end of my first stint. I turned up at the required time in the unit where I was due to work, and on finding that the day staff had already gone home, I thought it best to nip downstairs to the office to see if there was any messages for me. I had a quick scan of the kitchen but did not see the keys. What happened next was quite amazing. The kitchen was entered via the lounge, and diagonally and to the right of that door, was another door leading out of the kitchen to a corridor where some of the residents had their rooms. The distance between the two doors was minimal; no more than a metre and a half.

 

In the split second that the thought “I wonder where the keys are” entered my head, one of the residents (I will call him Paul) entered the kitchen en route to his room. Now Paul was a very pleasant and boyish man in his 40′s. Indeed there was something very child-like about him. However, if he did not know you well he was not a good communicator, and given the fact that I was only employed part-time and on a “bank” basis, I had only ever had minimal contact with him. It would be true to say that Paul and I had never had a conversation and that he had never actually spoken to me properly before. So I was astounded when in the very moment that the thought entered my head, Paul walked through the kitchen, paused momentarily, pointed to the worktop and in a voice as crystal clear as a mountain stream said “Richard, keys” and just walked off in the direction of his room. I was left gobsmacked; it all happened in the blink of an eye and all that went through my head was “how did he know I was looking for the keys to the office”. But sure enough, as large as life, there were the office keys sitting on the worktop; my initial scan having somehow missed them.

 

To me people like Paul, indeed all human beings, are works of art, because you can never know their intricacy just by looking at the surface. I have felt for many years that people with learning disabilities are not simply living out their karma. But in many cases I believe them to be highly evolved souls who incarnate into this realm of opposites in an effort to try to educate us and remove our ignorance. Of course, I am not saying that everyone with learning disabilities is a highly evolved soul, but who am I to judge. Regardless, they are all wonderful teachers, because we cannot but have our lives changed in some way by interacting with them; and as we change we also evolve, and as we evolve so does our perspective of the great canvas of life.

 

 

“The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth.”

It seems like a long time since my last blog post, so I thought it was about time I got my fingers tapping again. I have been struggling with my energy levels again lately so it has made concentration difficult, and therefore made writing nigh-on impossible. But I’m here now, and I thought I would use a personal experience from years ago as a kind of parable in order to illustrate a spiritual concept.

I grew up in a place called Harringay in North London and my street was very close to the old Harringay Stadium, where as a kid my older brother would take me to watch Stock Car (Banger) racing. Alas, the old stadium was raised to the ground many years ago and replaced, I believe, by a shopping centre. But I remember one day, many years ago, being down on the High Street and seeing a couple of Red Indians on motor scooters heading along the road and into the stadium. I couldn’t believe it! My tender young mind was telling me that Red Indians didn’t exist today (they had all been butchered by the cowboys) and certainly not in Harringay.

I went running home as fast as my little legs would take me, and burst into the house announcing with great excitement that I had seen Red Indians on motor scooters heading into Harringay Stadium. My heart sank when my dad accused me of making it up, and my mum didn’t believe me either. No matter how vigorously I argued my case, my father especially, was unmoved. I remember being deeply hurt by that because I knew I wasn’t lying.

It later transpired that there was a carnival and that I had indeed seen some men dressed as Red Indians heading into the stadium, albeit that they were not the real thing.

The spiritual message in this little story is that we all view the world from our own eyes, we all see different things; yet we are all always right from our own perspective. I had told the truth, but so had my dad in denying me. Yet not only were we both right, we were both technically wrong.

In the world that we can see, all is nothing but illusion; a play of the mind. Yet at the same time it is a temporary reality that we have created for ourselves; thus seemingly real. Even though I was but a child my senses picked up the information from the external world (the indians on scooters) and fed it to my mind. My mind then drew a series of conclusions from that information. When I was accused of lying after expressing those conclusions my ego then caused me to experience great pain. So I suffered because of something that didn’t really exist. This just about sums up how most people live their lives within this dimension.

Reality can change by the second, but Truth is eternal and changeless. By looking beyond the surface and delving into that great ocean of divinity we will find our truth; that which passes all understanding and delivers to us a state of bliss. Whilst it’s also a fact that reality can be enjoyable and exciting, it can also be very painful; this is the nature of the human experience.

 

 

Showcasing Writer Moyra Irving: Interview with Richard Holmes

Today I am welcoming Writer Moyra Irving to my blog.  Before we have our chat here is a little bit about her.

 

Moyra is a storyteller and artist who has been involved in healing and spiritual growth work for over 30 years. The foundation of all her work, both artistic and practical, is ‘Soul-centred living’ and the recognition that we are all divine. Her stories are modern-day parables, all based on one theme: Coming Home to Your Self.

 

Through personal retreat she has created two sets of Guidance Cards, ‘Take Me to the Mountain’ and ‘Fiery Love,’ and six meditation and healing CDs for those wishing to retreat while living and working in the world. Storytelling provided the inspiration behind her charity The Extra Guest (Food for All), an end-hunger charity that supports food-aid and sustainable living projects around the world. Please contact Moyra on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/moyra.irving  or visit http://www.theextraguest.com/

 

 

Thanks for coming all the way down from Stoke-On-Trent Moyra for tea, twiglets and witty banter…  So, what actually made you start writing; was it some kind of inner pull?

 

My pleasure Richard.  Well, I love reading and I suppose I’ve always been a day-dreamer so ideas for stories come easily. I enjoyed English at school, especially learning about the structure of language. Some people have a natural ‘feel’ for language and write flawlessly without ever having to think whether something sounds right or not. However, for most of us I think it helps to know the basic rules of one’s own language whether writing factually or exercising the imagination. The two go hand in hand for me. Once the ‘rules’ of writing are mastered they can be put aside or skilfully ignored in order to create an effect. Some people think that grammar and spellings don’t matter – but imagine a composer attempting to create a symphony without any knowledge of music or an artist with no knowledge of colour or perspective or basic drawing skills.  With the right tools at our disposal we can eventually go beyond them and allow our imagination full rein. Perhaps only then we begin to create something worth reading.  Oh dear, are you still there? I think I went off on one for a while…

 

 

I haven’t gone anywhere Moyra, I’m hanging on to your every word!  It seems to me that ‘The Extra Guest’ has a hint of autobiography in there, is this true?

 

Ah yes, the story. Thanks for bringing me back! It’s actually based on a novel I began in 1995. The ‘Extra Guest’ excerpt came to me while I was enjoying a bath. Most ideas come to me then – and often while I’m driving, walking in the countryside or, best of all, sitting on a train. Although Myrrnah, the character in the story, is very loosely based on me, she has actually directed the current phase of my life (and not the other way round). It was because of her that I decided to set up a charity similar to her own.

 

 

Tell us about your other projects, including The Extra Guest charity?

 

Other projects?  How much time have you got, Richard? I’m slowly completing a novel, ‘Hunting the Hart,’ which weaves together my interest in art, spirituality and human love, I’m working on two non-fiction pieces too: ‘Take Me to the Mountain’ and ‘Fiery Love.’
Two years ago, with the support of a group of friends, I set up ‘The Extra Guest’ charity: www.theextraguestcom In recognition of the ‘extra guest’ at our table – that is to say, anyone who has little or no access to food – we promote the practice of ‘ethical dining.’ We work with restaurants that are willing to support our cause and diners are encouraged to make a donation at the end of their meal.  All donations go directly to fund food-aid and sustainable living projects around the world and we can proudly claim that nothing whatsoever is lost in administration. People are quite suspicious of charities these days and so we feel it’s important to reassure them that their money (100% of it) goes directly to those most in need. We all work as volunteers, covering overheads ourselves, and in less than two years we have raised over £20,000.

 

I’m also a healer and counsellor and eight years ago I set up (together with a small group of friends) The Centre for Spiritual Growth and Healing in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. As part of this initiative we offer a monthly Free Complementary Healing Clinic for the local community. We run entirely on donations and provide a ‘heart centre’ where people can come for inspiration, spiritual companionship and healing.

 

 

You are also an artist, I understand?  Tell us something about this aspect of your work?

 

321 256 028 081Yes, I almost went to Art School at sixteen to study graphic design but ended up staying at school to finish my A levels in Modern Languages instead. In my first few years as a teacher I taught both art and languages.
Although I always loved to draw as a child – Life Drawing and Portraiture in particular – I am now inclined to more esoteric, abstract work. As a student in Paris I loved  the French Impressionists’ ability to paint ‘light’ and I think this may have influenced my work, although in a more abstract way.

 

 

What are you working on at the moment?

 

In my head, quite a few themes. However, time doesn’t allow me to paint and write so for the moment writing is my focus.

 

 

OK, I am an alien, I’ve just landed on Earth, and you are the first earthling I meet.  What’s my first impression?

 

That’s for you to decide, Richard! (Hmm … do I really want to know your first impression of me?) Actually, I’ve always felt like an alien myself, especially when younger, and my attempts to ‘fit in’ had varying success. Fortunately, the older one gets the easier it is to be oneself. I’m a very friendly alien anyway – like the Space Brothers, just ‘here to help’! (With apologies to Gerard Aartsen, author of a book by the same name).

 

 

What was the first record you ever bought?

 

Bill Haley’s ‘Rock Around the Clock.’ I was very young so can perhaps be forgiven! My taste has changed a lot since those pre-teen days. (Surprised you owned up to that one Moyra! Ed.)

 

 

Who is your favourite band and have you ever seen them in concert?

 

What a difficult question. There are so many – but I definitely can’t leave out The Who. I never tire of hearing them but didn’t get to see them live. However, I did see the Beatles and the Stones (both in Paris during my student days) and later, Leonard Cohen and Eric Clapton whose earlier stuff I like very much. I don’t have a current favourite but enjoy rock music, though not exclusively. Off the top of my head I’d include: The White Stripes, Guns n’ Roses, Florence and the Machine, and Calvin Harris. Please don’t ask me if I like James Blunt or I may have to be rude … (Some great bands there Moyra… and my lips are sealed with regard to James Blunt! Ed.)

 

 

What is your claim to fame?

 

I make no claim to fame – infamy perhaps but not fame. I suppose the sort of answer you might be interested in would be this: Mick Jagger was one of a group of friends and he did my Maths homework for me. He is a few years older than me (we girls weren’t interested in boys of our own age). He used to play tapes of his own music at parties and we’d all shout, ‘Take that rubbish off, Jagger!’ Two years later he was on the radio with a hit single ‘Route 66.’  For some unknown reason he decided to send me his Rugby football shirt for my birthday one year. He was, as you can imagine, very narcissistic, very sure of himself. And I, (very young, very innocent), tried desperately not to feel flattered and therefore sent it back, pretending to be piqued. It was maroon and gold and had his name stitched inside. Shame, it probably would have fitted me perfectly.  Had I only known then – I could have auctioned it and would be a rich woman today.  (Wow!  Sir Mick Rubber Lips himself!  Presumably it was his mum who sewed his name into his rugger shirt so he wouldn’t lose it? Ed.)

 

 

And finally… one more question.  As the world holds its breath… Marmite?  Love it or hate it Moyra?

 

Marmite – definitely a reason to hold one’s breath! Love it,  but don’t indulge.

 

Marmite lovers are always welcome on my blog Moyra!  Thanks once again for joining with us!