As a young girl, I spent most of my time in the inner realm of my Creative Imagination – it was wonderful and I was never lonely. It was a happy enough childhood although I didn’t really have friends until I was in my teens in High School. That is apart from Tom, the boy next door, who I adored.
At High School I gathered up a few other misfits and these became my ‘gang’. The truth is that I was never comfortable in my body and felt somehow alien. Not surprising as I was brought up and dressed as a Viennese girl, speaking German, living in a Catholic street, and being brought up as a Presbyterian, in sectarian Northern Ireland. My Jewish parents had escaped Vienna in early 1939 and amazingly found a home in N. Ireland. Their life was in Vienna, whereas mine was in Ireland. My first day at school brought this confusion into focus as my teacher did not understand me (I was speaking German) and so I just spoke louder thinking she could not hear me. I suppose I just learned to say nothing, but I understood all. On top of that, at home, I had to finish all my meals and was left sitting at table until my plate was clean. This was torture. My mother, who had starved as a child during the 1st WW, wanted to make sure I never went hungry. I was stuffed like the Christmas goose and became an awkward chubby child!
My playmate and friend (apart from Tom) was Peter – a year younger than me, and born of another refugee family. According to my mother, Peter’s mother, on seeing me as a baby, just had to have a baby of her own, so Peter arrived a year later. Until High School, I had no other friends, no voice, but a fabulous inner life.
Near our small terraced house was a great and magical forest (to my mind), where I spent most of my time. It was called the Plantin’ (probably Plantation). It was the backdrop to my inner world. I spent my time swinging from my rope amongst the trees having adventures. I could lasso a branch no problem, and still can! I think.
Story telling is much used in Sufism as a teaching tool – so much can be learned from them. When Nawab (our Sufi Teacher) used an old Chinese Han story to illustrate the concept of Service at a Summer School some years ago, I was completely captivated. It encapsulated ancient mystical ideas which were common to Sufism and this blew me away; I saw the truth that the spiritually behind all belief systems or religions was the same. So began my life’s work. I wrote what was really a Jungian interpretation of five Fairy Tales (given to me by Nawab) from a Sufi perspective. While writing a prologue to these tales, I found myself weaving the stories into a story which uses the truths found in the fairy tales, into a story, which is still totally relevant to our modern lives.
Now that my book is in the process of being published, I just wanted to hide away and work on my next one, but Nawab said, ‘your book will stand for what it is, but it is not separate from you. In the early days, a book (usually) benefits from the parental presence of the author in the public eye. Seeing an author’s picture and hearing her voice can make it easier for people to pick up a book and look in to it.’ Oh dear! He wanted me to set up a Blog and find my Voice. This is hard for me but this is a beginning.