Bobbing Around Volume 20 Number 6

You write in order to change the world knowing perfectly well that you probably can’t, but also knowing that [writing] is indispensable to the world. The world changes according to the way people see it, and if you alter even by a millimeter the way people look at reality, then you can change it.
James Baldwin


While the current decade is the warmest in the last century, it’s likely to be the coolest of the century ahead.
Graham Redfearn


Based on the evidence, society needs to move away from single-use beverage packaging in order to reduce environmental harm and embrace the regular everyday use of reusable containers as standard practice.
Alice Brock and Ian Williams

Bobbing Around

Volume Twenty, Number Six,
December, 2020

Bob Rich’s rave

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* From me to you
Subtitle winners
Thank you for loving wishes
New project: essay writing contest
Guardian Angel is waking again
Yours2Read

 

* New stuff
Responses
Message from a new grandson
Pat Harrison
Environment
Reforming the professional liars
It’s not only pandemic and climate catastrophe
Psychology
A survivor of trauma in infancy
Why don’t I seem to want to live any longer? I don’t even care about other people or the environment anymore, even including my own family.
Deeper Issues
Inspiring Transition: Climate anxiety in kids, by Andrew Gaines
Look over a writer’s shoulder
Grammatical metaphor
I approve of these announcements
Nature based leadership training (Victoria, Australia only)
Owner Builder magazine
Reviews
Ascending Spiral reviewed by Oliver Kollar
Poetry
The Red Horseman by Elizabeth Tindle
Fun
What’s in a name?
* Blog posts during November
RESPONSES
Yvonne Rowan on our times
GOOD NEWS
Europe’s smoggiest city has decided to un-car itself
Undoing some palm oil ecocide
POLITICS
The rage of a punctured empty vessel
INSPIRATION
Simple drawings, wonderful message
The husband-and-wife team who may have saved the world
Three heroes for the environment
DEEPER ISSUES
Wisdom every day
The truth of sacred writings
You CAN do it — the requirement is persistence
TECHNOLOGY
No cars is better than electric cars
HEALTH
Killing our insides?
LOOK OVER A WRITER’S SHOULDER
My best read of the past 10 years: November, 2020 Rhobin’s Rounds


From me to you

Subtitle winners
Thank you for loving wishes
New project: essay writing contest
Guardian Angel is waking again
Yours2Read

 

Subtitle winners

In the October Bobbing Around, I asked for suggestions for a better subtitle for Lifting the Gloom. I have now thought about the multifarious suggestions from my lovely friends, thank you, and have ended up with joint winners.

TADA!

They are Julia Morrissey and Michael Amos.

Henceforth, the working title for the book shall be Lifting the Gloom: An antidepressant primer of writings.

One of my favourite stories in the collection is Eulogy for Paul. Now we know that Kevin, the person grieving for his older brother, is Kevin Morrissey. His wife is not Julie, but Julia.

Now I need to write a story featuring Michael Amos. Sigh. Challenges never end, right?


Thank you for loving wishes

Following my opportunity to die in September I’ve had emails from many beautiful people sending me healing messages. It is working: I am getting stronger every day. My aim is to recover to my previous level by the 31st of December.


New project: essay writing contest

Humanity is divided into two camps: Greenies and Suicides, and the most powerful way to be a Greenie is through politics. In my country, Australia, approximately 90% of citizens are Suicides. The rest give their first vote to the Australian Greens. (We have sensible preferential voting, instead of the unfair “first past the post” system that disenfranchises minority voices.)

As a proud Greens member, I have thought of a way of publicising the values Greens stand for. These are The Four Pillars of the Greens:

  • Ecological sustainability;
  • Grassroots participatory democracy;
  • Social justice;
  • Peace and nonviolence.

So, I am organising an essay-writing contest with that theme.

As soon as they have been worked out, I will post the relevant details here at Bobbing Around.

It is my honour and pleasure that two writers I hugely admire have agreed to be judges with me: Florence Weinberg and Yvonne Rowan.

Because this is an official Greens event, it is governed by laws regulating political parties. There can be no donations to an Australian political party from forriners and aliens and suchlike riffraff. At this stage, I am waiting to hear if we can define entry fees to the contest in a way that doesn’t contravene this law. Otherwise, entry will only be open to Australians. Watch this space! (What a stupid saying! This space will move on, but you know what I mean.)


Guardian Angel is waking again

In July, I reviewed a book sent to me by Sleepy Lion Publishing. The book was remarkable, and matches my beliefs and values, so I was happy to give it a 5-star review. It is Conscious Conversations across the Horizon of Death, by Janice Dolley.

This was a first: authors, publicists and readers have requested me to review a book, but a publisher has never done so before. I was impressed enough to interview the publisher, Michael Amos, and ended up submitting my book, Guardian Angel to him.

Guardian Angel is the only book I self-published in recent years, because I fell for a confidence trick by Amazon. As soon as I could, I withdrew it from KDP despite its success, and the wonderful reviews, because I don’t approve of dishonesty. Michael accepted it, and has impressed me with the enormous amount of creative work he has put into it. I thought the story to be perfect before, but thanks to Michael, it has improved.

We are currently working on a new title, and on cover design. I’d say, “Watch this space!” but I’ve done that already. 🙂


Yours2Read

Yours2Read is a British site that allows you to read short stories on your phone. I now have FOUR stories there. Please visit, and give them a 5-star rating. Naturally, they deserve that.



New in this issue

Responses

Message from a new grandson
Pat Harrison

 

Message from a new grandson

In March I posted on Quora about my depression and friend’s recent suicide, which you gave me an amazing answer. for some reason, I could not reply on Quora but I really wanted to thank you and give you an update so here you go. I took your advice and now have a completely different outlook on life. I know that I control how I view the world and my feelings. I listened to what you said about finding a passion by starting to learn the guitar! As soon as I started playing about 4 months ago I knew everything was about to change. I stopped drinking I have not had a drink since I started playing! Without alcohol, I feel self-empowered and happy as well as healthy and energized. Thank you!


Pat Harrison

Hello Bob,

I greatly enjoy your musings, advice, and humour, and apologize for never
writing and telling you so. This time, though, when I read of your
difficulty in finding the right title, I felt moved to respond. I’m a writer
too, with five Regency era novels and one non-fiction published, and since
finding a title has always been the hardest bit for me, I felt compelled to
get in touch. You may completely ignore my suggestion of course, but I’ve
found that brevity can sometimes be best. Your main title ‘Lifting the
Gloom’ is completely explanatory, so do you need more depression in the sub?
I offer something like: ‘Lifting the Gloom; a Primer of Help (Light)’ or
‘Words to Help’. There’s a rhythm there, when read aloud, and precludes the
necessity of separating essays from stories. If this helps, I’m glad. If
you toss the suggestions completely, that’s fine too. At least I’ve had the
pleasure of finally communicating with you.

My husband, two daughters and I lived in Australia for five years in the
1970s, in Geelong, Melbourne, and Perth. We spent a week in Sydney, and
swam at Manly Beach. We loved Oz, for there were great similarities with
Canada, but family needs took us back home.

I hope your health problems are all far behind you now. You certainly had a
bad go. Take care, and keep your Bobbing Around bobbin’ along.


Environment

Reforming the professional liars
It’s not only pandemic and climate catastrophe

 

Reforming the professional liars

The professional liars are huge PR and ad companies hired by the fossil fuel industry to spread misinformation, induce false debate, and greenwash their clients. Bill McKibben of 350.org is one of several defenders of survivability who has these mobs in his gunsights.

One of these businesses, Porter Novelli, has already buckled, and has announced severing its relationship with the American Public Gas Association.

You can read about the new approach at the website of a new organisation, Clean Creatives.


It’s not only pandemic and climate catastrophe

Destruction of topsoil, and the exhaustion of fresh water are two drivers of suffering, and indeed of extinction that get little mention.

So, I was pleased to pleased to read about a UN report documenting the water issue.

More than 3 billion people are deprived of adequate water supplies. The amount of fresh water available for each person has plunged by a fifth over 20 years.

Again, this is anthropocentric. What about all the suffering animals and plants? When they go, we all go.


Psychology

A survivor of trauma in infancy
Why don’t I seem to want to live any longer? I don’t even care about other people or the environment anymore, even including my own family.

 

A survivor of trauma in infancy

A young man asked for my help to deal with major guilt for actions as a boy and in his early teens.

When he was an infant, he was one of a group in a child-minding centre that were subjected to severe abuse. Later, he was bullied in school, suicidal, then tried to escape the pain through drugs.

When he was about 12, he initiated sexual contact with his little sister, and has been tortured by guilt since.

Here is my first reply to him:

Dear Jim,

First, about the source of your feelings of guilt. Please read my webpage on the issue. It perfectly applies to your situation.

Your sister was not affected, and the two of you have a loving relationship. Because those events occurred, you are now a better person, aware of the consequences of your actions, and will be like that for the rest of your life. You have learned an important lesson that led you to spiritual growth. It would have been better to learn that lesson without risking harm to her, but done is done.

There is no such thing as a mistake, fault or defect. They are all learning opportunities. You have learned, and as a result grown spiritually. Congratulations.

You are 19, the time when you decide how to spend your working years. I recommend you get training in an occupation that allows you to pay restitution for this mistake. Examples are psychologist, social worker, medical doctor, nurse, lawyer who will eventually specialise in a relevant field, youth worker.

I agree with your assessment that you probably experienced sexual molestation in your infancy, before you had sufficient cognitive development to have remembered it. Now, as a young adult, you are making a deliberate choice on how to respond. Instead of giving in to the pattern and repeating it, you are now determined to do the opposite. Excellent.

I am taking the liberty of emailing you a copy of my book, From Depression to Contentment. Please follow the program it sets out. We can keep in correspondence while you do it. When finished, you can ‘pay’ me by writing a review.

You can build a good life for yourself, not despite the traumas of your childhood and your mistakes as a kid, but because of them.

Your grandfather,
Bob


Why don’t I seem to want to live any longer? I don’t even care about other people or the environment anymore, even including my own family.

There is a general and a personal answer.

The general answer is based on the research of John B. Calhoun. Please read this about it: The reason for all the craziness in our world: the work of John B. Calhoun.

He studied population pressure on rats and mice. The same rules apply to us. Understanding this will help you to fight back.

The personal one goes back to the work of Viktor Frankl. Read his “Man’s Search for Meaning,” which was published in 1946, and is still a bestseller now.

From what you write, you lack something, anything, to live FOR. This is the existential crisis Frankl talks about.

To climb out of your terrible pit, ask the question: what is the purpose of life?

It is not money, status, fame, love, health, beauty, even happiness. I am not going to give you an answer, because you need to find it yourself, for yourself. My book, From Depression to Contentment: A self-therapy guide shows you how to generate the answer, among other tools.

While you are at my blog, you are welcome to send me a private message via my contacts form, and I am happy to be here for you.

Bob


Deeper Issues

Inspiring Transition: Climate anxiety in kids, by Andrew Gaines

I received an email requesting information about how various practitioners help kids deal with climate anxiety. Here is how I responded.

What I am about to say is not what you’re looking for, but it is relevant to the climate change and anxiety conversation.

Obviously, the reason kids and adults are anxious about climate because we are in fact destroying our life-support systems. There is a realistic basis for anxiety.

While it may help some people to find ways to connect with their inner wellbeing, connect with nature, be refreshed by time with friends and lovers, or whatever, in addition I think the only appropriate response (there’s a word, ‘only’!) is to proactively aim to change the way our system works.

This cartoon tells the story:

You can continue reading at Andrew’s blog. It’s well worthwhile, and do explore a little while you are there.


Look over a writer’s shoulder

Grammatical metaphor


I’ve learned something new from this article by Vinh To, a Lecturer in English Curriculum at the University of Tasmania.

My attitude to writing has always been, if I can say it in 19 words, I won’t use 20. Vinh shows how turning adjectives and verbs into nouns can shorten, sharpen and clarify writing.


I approve of these announcements

Nature based leadership training (Victoria, Australia only)
Owner Builder magazine

 

Nature based leadership training (Victoria, Australia only)

This feels like a big moment. One of my secret squirrel projects during Melbourne’s long lockdown has been the co-creation of a Nature-Based Leadership Training: a pioneering 10 month immersive program for 2021, in conjunction with CERES new School of Nature and Climate.

The training weaves together six powerful curriculum areas:

  • Tending the Wild
  • Deep Nature Connection
  • The Wider Story: Narratives of our Time
  • Village Building
  • Leadership, Authenticity and Purpose
  • Spirituality and Sacred Activism

This is the program I was looking for and couldn’t find in Australia many years ago. Instead I travelled to the four corners of the world to locate the different threads of my passion. I’ve heard from so many others over the years a yearning to be part of a dynamic cohort engaged in this kind of experiential learning. Here it is woven together!

In this training you will be engaged in everything from making fire without matches, debating the latest narratives of our times, facilitating groups, out in the forest on a 24 hour solo to creating your own visionary project.

Does that sound like you?

With love,

Claire Dunn
Nature’s Apprentice


Owner Builder magazine

When I was a busy mudsmith, OB was one of the magazines I wrote for. Amazingly, it is still in print after over 40 years, and full of good stuff each issue.

Electronic copies are available to anyone, anywhere. You can subscribe for the print issue, or buy it from newsagents in Australia.

If you like to use your hands to create useful objects of beauty people can live in, you can’t go past the OB for inspiration and ideas.

Here is the latest issue.


Reviews

Ascending Spiral reviewed by Oliver Kollar

Ascending Spiral makes you feel like you are literally ascending from this world to another. It opens our eyes to the everyday struggles each and every one of us experience and that however great that might feel to us, we as a race are struggling and if we don’t find a way out we could be lost forever. It is by far one of the best reads and if today’s world has got you in a mix and you want to escape to another for a few days I suggest reading this book.

Oliver contacted me via Facebook after his girlfriend had bought him a copy of Ascending Spiral, and we have become friends since. He has refused the offer of a free e-book because he prefers paper ones, and has insisted on buying Hit and Run.


Poetry

The Red Horseman by Elizabeth Tindle

            Like tumours,
            Growing.
            Cells prickly,
            Unstable,
            Scared.
            Scared of an invading cell,
            A foreign cell
            Which Arrives ‘by hook or by crook’
            And impregnates local cells
            by fair means or foul.
            Fights for rights, recognition,
            Resources …or revenge.
            Angry, aroused.
            Using knives and nonchalance,
            Or dangerous dogs
            For defence from the foe.
            Where/when will it end?
            When cells coalesce
            Into an amorphous mass and a sentinel eruption releases its putrid matter and blood
            Gushing forth into grisly revolution.
            Some cities are so sick.
            BeWARe: Be WARned.


Fun

What’s in a name?

The Australian branch of the villainous Adani empire has changed its name to Bravus. This is more accurate than they intended.


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About Dr Bob Rich

I am a professional grandfather. My main motivation is to transform society to create a sustainable world in which my grandchildren and their grandchildren in perpetuity can have a life, and a life worth living. This means reversing environmental idiocy that's now threatening us with extinction, and replacing culture of greed and conflict with one of compassion and cooperation.
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