Letter to Bob in the past

Writers Victoria has a regular online exercise. Noè Harsel, who organises and leads it, gives the 20 to 30 participants a prompt. We then need to write something during a 25-minute period. Here is the result of mine.

PROMPT: Write a letter to your past self, or to your future self, giving yourself a gift — a piece of wisdom, a secret, anything.

Sorry, I can’t help it: I needed to be speedy about writing this, having been given a prompt.

Target: Bob Rich, 1987 vintage

Bob, my dear young self,

You are facing so many positive challenges! At last, at long last, you and Jolanda are realising your dream of moving to Moora Moora, where you will build your earth-walled home with your own hands. Let me tell you, despite the doubts, you will succeed, and live in that house for 37 years. You will think of it as the centre of the Universe.

And there are your young children, the smallest still a baby. Having researched it all since 1972, you know they are heading into a horrid future. Unless the whole world order can be changed, it will be a future of catastrophic climate change, overpopulation with its corollaries of stress-related diseases, plummeting mental health, suicidal depression and murderous aggression, as John B. Calhoun’s research has shown. And you want to be an agent for stopping it.

Wonderful. I do, too. Nowadays, I call myself a Professional Grandfather because I am still an idealist like you are.

I know you are about to join the Army Reserve; the Monash University Regiment. You will learn lots during your brief sojourn as a recruit, then a private, and no learning is ever wasted. Your motivation, however, is something I have long outgrown.

You see Moora Moora as the seed of a survivable, cooperative, sustainable lifestyle. You want your community to be a demonstration experiment to inspire the rest of the world. This is all very commendable. However, you have visions of nearby Melbourne and its even nearer eastern suburbs as places of death where the petrol has stopped flowing in the bowsers, supermarket shelves are empty, and the grid is devoid of electricity. And you see people desperate to prolong their lives raiding nearby country areas for food.

If they overrun Moora Moora, the seed of the new society will be destroyed. So, you are joining the army to learn fighting skills, to defend the seed from the ravaging hordes.

As you grow spiritually, you will change this attitude. Today, if anyone invaded my home demanding food, and I had the last potato in the world, I’d give it to him with my blessing.

But also, research since your time has shown that people don’t typically react to catastrophe like that, but that acts of cooperation, generosity and compassion flourish during the hardest times.

All the same, do become a temporary soldier. The insights, knowledge and skills you learn will often inform your writing when you become a fiction writer.

Oh… of course you don’t know about that joy yet.

No worries!

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.
This entry was posted in fun, Inspiration, philosophy, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Letter to Bob in the past

  1. Don Lubov says:

    Well done, as usual. Great prompt. I’m going to try it with my own writing group.
    Thanks, and stay well,


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