The rear end of a donkey
If you are going to play ‘pin the tail on the donkey’ with your life, you may wish to peek beneath the blindfold. Otherwise, when you take aim, you have no idea where you might end up. This is not always a bad thing. Some twenty years ago, I did just that. Except, I didn’t cheat and I have consequently spent the past couple of decades in the south of England, while my heart still wanders the moors of north.
We had decided to make a change and headed off to what felt like a new world, where it seldom snows and public transport is a rarity. It wasn’t a bad move; the countryside is beautiful and I raised my two sons away from the city. I also started to write. Properly this time.
There had always been little stories for the boys and the terrible, angst-ridden poetry of extreme youth. I had kept journals. There had eventually been songs, written in France during the Bohemian years. This time, however, it was a book. I also taught myself to paint, learning to catch the fleeting visions of dream on canvas.
There was a reason for it. My partner was dying and the escape into imaginary realms was my way out of the house and back to the moors I love. I started writing Sword of Destiny, a tale that took the legends of the Yorkshire landscape and wove them together with a magical quest and a smattering of merry immortals. The characters came to life for me and like many writers, I found myself taking dictation rather than consciously creating the story myself.
I was about halfway through when my partner died and everything stopped. His encouragement tied the story very much to his presence and I could not face returning to the world within those pages. It was years later when I once more visited the story. For some time I had been teaching esoteric subjects online and had begun to work with Dr Gary Vasey on The Mystical Hexagram. That was a strange meeting … it was to be years before we finally met in person, but we had become friends through one of those odd series’ of coincidences that occasionally happen and which seem to set off a chain reaction that changes the direction of the journey.
The painting had taken off too. I was getting commissions and working on murals at high profile sites after a chance meeting on a doorstep. I had delivered a parcel to a business and chatted to the secretary. Her boss was looking for an artist after theirs had let them down.
“I paint,” I volunteered.
“Murals?” Well, no. Not so far… but why not? If an opportunity is offered, it makes sense to take it. It may never come again. Over the next couple of years that doorstep meeting carried me to the walls of Wembley Stadium.
I had been writing for various places, submitting articles and being published in magazines. I also began writing a column at The Spirit Guides. I won the David Burland International Poetry Prize with my very first, timorous submission. Greatly encouraged, I self-published a little book of poems and articles, Echoes of Light, mainly to see if I could. It seemed things were looking up.
I had finally begun working on Sword of Destiny again when my world fell apart. My son was stabbed through the brain in an unprovoked attack and left for dead in an alley. The next few years were solely focussed on his needs. One day I will write that story too.
Eventually I sat holding a new book with my name on the cover. We had finished The Mystical Hexagram, an exploration of that arcane symbol, and it had been published by Datura Press. Sword of Destiny was complete and for some obscure reason, I thought it would be fun to self-publish and learn the ropes… and anyway, by this time I was sticking pins in the proverbial donkey again.
A proposed artistic venture had me working closely with Steve Tanham, a man for whom I had a great deal of respect. A few months later I found myself director of The Silent Eye and the almost forgotten blog was re-launched to help with the promotion of the new spiritual school. Stuart France, a writer of no mean ability, was part of the initial group who converged on Cumbria for a meeting. We had met before, albeit briefly, at previous workshops, but this time we had chance to talk. The following day I kidnapped him and, instead of a sedate lift to the railway station, we ended up wandering around the Yorkshire Dales, still talking.
A few months later he came to visit and we explored prehistoric sacred sites and stone circles, attended by an unusual number of hawks. We were also intrigued by an odd phenomenon of light in an ancient church. Our curiosity led us to explore other historic places and sure enough, the strange light continued to appear. Threads of myth and legend, ancient texts and spiritual concepts crept into the adventure. It was from that visit that our writing partnership was born and The Initiate begun. When we started we weren’t even sure if we would be able to get a book out of the adventure. We are now working on our sixth together, Scions of Albion, and plans are laid for a further series.
The fascination with our spiritual history has always been there, but while I approach it from a human perspective, Stuart looks at the mythology and symbolism of the traces left behind by ancient cultures. Layers of story weave through the books, reflecting the interleaved levels of consciousness and the worlds through which we walk. Together we explore Albion, the heartland of Britain.
Of course, there have been other books too. The Osiriad, an interpretation of the myths of ancient Egypt exploring the spiritual and psychological concepts they hold which are as relevant to the human condition today as they were five thousand years ago. Life Lines, is a collection of poetry. Even the dog has got in on the act, publishing her own observations of the two-legs with whom she shares her world.
Meanwhile I continue to learn the art of Indie publishing; the more I learn, the more I wonder how I dared to produce those first books and revised editions are underway, along with some new covers! The adventure continues with a bit of visual fun we are working on at present, by way of a change. The rear end of a donkey is always full of surprises.
Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire born writer, painter and award winning poet. She is also known as an esoteric teacher and is one of the Directors of The Silent Eye. Sue now lives in Buckinghamshire, having been stranded there due to an unfortunate incident with a pin, a map and a blindfold; a temporary glitch of twenty years duration. She has a lasting love-affair with the landscape of Albion; that hidden country of the heart that is the backdrop for many of her books, particularly those co-authored with Stuart France. She is currently owned by a small dog who also blogs.
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