Thursday, June 26, 2008


This poster art image, as well as the statue at the head of this blog, are representations of an Indian deity known as 'Ardhanisvara', who displays features of both genders. As Ardhanishvara, Shiva is androgynous: i.e., half male, half female and yet at the same time one god. Shiva Ardhanisvara is another of Shiva's manifestations in which the symbolism of Tantric opposites is represented as the perfect union of the two primordial principles, Shiva and Parvati (his 'consort'). Note, the figure has one male breast and one female one, and at the figure's feet are two different animal mounts: Shiva's bull and Parvati's lion.

Avalokiteshvara (and Kuan Yin)

Images of this archetypal figure have moved me in recent years.
'Avalokiteshvara', also known as 'Chenrezig' in Tibetan Buddhism, is sometimes shown with one thousand arms. He is the Bodhisattva of compassion, and is said to be acutely sensitive to the suffering of the world.

Kuan Yin (known as Kannon in Japan) is a Mahayana manifestation of the same compassionate figure (in my opinion) and provides an intercessionary exception for the sometimes austere Buddhist precept: Save yourself! This image of Kuan Yin (quite unlike many others) is shown with the many arms you often come across in representations of Avalokiteshvara and Chenrezig...

Beginning at the beginning

One week after my birthday I received news that I had been awarded a mentorship, through the Australian Society of Authors, that would enable me to work with an editor on the manuscript of my memoir The Boy in the Yellow Dress.
I chose an editor as mentor, as the ms was tottering under the weight of 150,000 words! (Most publishers would shrink at the prospect of such a loooong book.) With so much material already 'on the page' as it were, I knew I needed the assistance of an experienced critical eye to decide what to keep and what to discard.
I met Shelly Kenigsberg at LAST year's Byron Writers' Festival and wanted to find a way to finance her professional contribution. Luckily for me, the ASA offers a number of mentorships each year (from 350 applicants, 20 were selected) and a group of writers act as a judging panel to assess the samples sent in to them.
So, now it's time to get serious. Some teaching work lined up for semester two has fallen through, opening up the time to put in some serious work on the ms. (One door closes, another one opens.) Okay, there will be no income, but sometimes time itself is more important than money...