GRATEFUL FOR ‘IN GRATITUDE TO PEGASUS’ by Tim Marshall (Compiled by Ruth Marshall) (or ‘Don’t read my book; read THIS one by Tim Marshall’)

Where I am right now, the weather is kind of freaky, with summer storms delivering a deluge of a month’s worth of rain, hail and gusty winds all in one day, with odd temperatures leading to questionable wardrobe choices. In moments like this, I tend to turn my thoughts towards nature and what mystical forces drive its behaviour. These storms, both predicted and unexpected in the height of the Australian summer, create in me ripples of longing for a deeper understanding of the truth about the universe. As I engage in that shameless reflection, my tendency is to pick up a book and savour words and thoughtful passages that it contains.

THIS IS ONE THOSE MOMENTS …

When I decided to finally finish reading the book by the late Tim Marshall (1972-2012), I was not prepared for whatever storms it may create within me. In the end, I could only feel grateful for having read ‘In Gratitude to Pegasus’.

in gratitude to pegasus book

Tim Marshall’s final (and only) collection of creative musings is filled with hope, epiphanies, meditation and spirituality. His introspection on nature (both internal and external), the epiphanies and breakthroughs of ‘self’ and the ‘other’ (which in these musings could only inhabit the elements of nature—the weather, birds, fruits, valleys, roads, mountains, seas, skin, faces) can astound the otherwise unconvinced reader. It is reminiscent of the desires and longings evident in some of the writings of Robert Frost and John Keats, with the underlying themes of searching for truth, beauty and peace beyond mortality, fate and tragedy.

The book reveals the angst of the writer in Marshall in his engagement with the Muse (‘Golden Thought’, ‘Writing’); it propounds on the melancholy of searching for Self (‘The Forgotten King’, ‘Waiting for the Mystical’), on the virtue of homage (‘Mum’), on the raw experience of a bright, weathered day (‘Blue Autumn Day’: ‘there is no thought / no judgement / red berries are glowing / in this blue autumn day’); it precludes one from doubting the value of self love (‘Your No-Face’), effectively infusing the thought process with the all-encompassing acceptance of one’s fate and the gratitude for the capacity to express the desire of being with one’s spiritual (or mystical) kin (‘In Gratitude to Pegasus’).

Marshall’s poetic musings provide deep insight that tends to deliver us from the ‘modern’ human instinct of ignoring the basic but glorious elements of nature. In that sense, the meditations provide us with the raw but powerful desire of living our lives as being one with the universe and on the simplest terms that one could muster amid the noise and chaos of modern life. It lights the way towards a path of self-discovery that never wavers in the storm of personal tragedy and disillusionment brought on by fate or consequence.

Proof of Marshall’s prolific tendencies in his short but eventful life, the book is prefaced by early information about his creative endeavours and spiritual excursions. And like a kid jumping for joy at the prospect of more treasure, I was delighted to find at the end of the book the poems that Marshall had written for his filmmaker friend, John Moran (‘Tapestry’, ‘Safety’, ‘Silence’), all extoling the virtues of meditating on quiet mindfulness and living. It was like finding the bonus track to an already-great track listing.

tim marshall

AND SO NOW …

As the rain and wind outside lash at my windowpane, I find myself thinking of Marshall’s devotion to his quest for the final truth, something that someone in his position could only have embraced more profoundly. I find myself wanting to tell everyone not to read my own previous book, but to absorb instead Marshall’s book for all its values and virtues for living a meaningful life. I find myself wishing Marshall well (paying him gratitude) as he rides above the sky, beyond the deep earth, through the bright stars and into the vast universe, perched on the back of Pegasus, wherever the divine wind takes him.

Like any other creative legacy, ‘In Gratitude to Pegasus’ pays homage to that often-misunderstood (and overlooked) tendency to be in spirit with the Divine—whether in the literal sense or in a more profound awareness that most writers possess—which in more ways than one inform any creative process. Marshall’s tome is a tribute to that lasting creative legacy, something that readers would hold close to their hearts, particularly on oddly described days of storm and wonder.

Time to question with Michael Burge’s ‘Questionable Deeds’

I’ve finished reading Michael Burge’s memoir about his struggle with marriage equality and came out of it wiser. ‘Questionable Deeds’ is deeply personal and is a fascinating read. If you’re looking for a prime reading example of the struggle of Australians towards marriage equality, ‘Questionable Deeds’ should be on top of your list. Here’s my Amazon and Goodreads review …

‘A thoughtful read, with plenty of valuable points to take when advocating for something deep and true. Michael Burge writes provocatively while providing clear insights into the machinations of politics and the dire consequences of prejudice and discrimination, making the reading of his plight more harrowing and poignant than the usual dealings we make about marriage, death, grief, happiness and personal battles against injustice. In sharing his and Jono’s story in ways that are at once accessible and deeply personal, Burge provides us with the ammunition and takes us on a ride in his quest for the all-encompasing clarity and justice of marriage equality. An extremely worthwhile memoir and an illuminating tool for making a stand.’

QD by Michael Burge

What’s in a(n author’s) name?

As an author, putting your name out there is one of the most exciting things that one could anticipate. But to LITERALLY put it out there, particularly if your name is not a common one or is set out in a language other than common English, it could also be one of the most daunting times in an author’s life. What if your name isn’t catchy enough? Or is too difficult to pronounce, much less spell? (I’ve been called ‘Raymond’, ‘Raymon’, ‘Ramond’, ‘Ray’, ‘Rey’ or ‘Raymundo’ before, and I hated it.)

Deciding on a ‘proper’ author name becomes one of the most important decisions an author could make, if a pseudonym is the way to go. I’m only giving this much thought now because a prestigious journalist and writer — Michael Burge (author of ‘Closet His, Closet Hers’, ‘Pluck’ and the brilliant ‘Questionable Deeds’, all found on http://www.burgewords.com) — has mentioned that I’ve got one of the best author names he’s ever heard. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but it gives me more reason to start liking my own name from now on. I don’t despise it but it sometimes makes me think of the possibilities in the literary world if it sounded more Anglicised or common. In any case, I’m happy with what I’ve got — ‘Ramon Loyola, author’. What do you think?

Michael Burge FB post BEST AUTHOR NAME

“Out-of-town Harry”, a single story chapbook from In Short Publishing

Simple comment, biggest thing from author of ‘Out-of-Town Harry’ from in Short Publishing Company about ‘Words That Don’t Mean Anything’. Thanks, Armel Dagorn!

Armel Dagorn

My story “Out-of-town Harry” is just out now from In Short Publishing, a brand-new venture out of Australia that publishes stories as pretty standalone chapbooks.

They have free postage world-wide for order of five chapbooks or more.

I’ve read only one other story so far (out of the first 18 published), Ramon Loyola’s, and it was really good.

Mine has a slight SF slant, going between present-day London and a post shit-storm one,  and features a musical invention/installation I’ve been thinking about for years. There, that’s all I’m gonna tell ye.

16-min

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