Go for Go(l)d

If we worship (acknowledge with awe) what is totally within us, we are also worshipping (acknowledging with awe) what is totally without us. Thus, one side of reaching our fullest development as a creative human must involve developing our wonder /love /self-respect for our gifts, while the other is to develop wonder /love /respect for the unknowable otherness which is integral to such gifts.
This alone sharpens our wits to receive (or recognise) the higher levels of the basic skill-insights given by one's genetic heredity.
Learning to praise this Otherness is indispensible to growth – for it is in giving thanks (even for the little that we have) that we are given thanks. The praise /thanks mechanism is itself an aspect of the organic (yes, orgasmic) pulsing by which all things are conceived and ultimately born. It is our privilege as humans to interact consciously with this process, and we reach our highest evolution when we engage our will in discovering what the truth of this 'otherness' is /means in our lives.

Blessing 2 U O Lord who call me in the early hours.


Running away from school

When I first began to compose, around the age of 12, I received no encouragement. Nevertheless, my voice /idiom developed spontaneously under the influence of Messiaen as I learnt to play his intensely mystical organ music. What I wrote, now lost, aroused no interest either among my peers or teachers, one of whom was Allan Wicks, the organist of Canterbury cathedral and Messiaen's principal British protagonist.
But for me it touched the core of my creative being – & therefore I had the youthful experience that exposing what had meaning for me produced indifference in everyone I knew – including my parents who probably thought that composition was another phase that I would grow out of. This was later to give me a serious compositional block, since the pain of the inability to communicate by means of my music created an effective aversion therapy! [In this picture taken during Choir School scout camp, I am parading beside Oz Clarke, now better known for his oenophilia.]
Eventually this brought me to a crisis, which was essentially a crisis of my own authenticity /self-worth: the more I followed my calling, my creative daemon, the more isolated it made me. Since those sounds that seemed most real & vivid to me aroused to response, except embarrassment, where did reality lie? I was already in a parallel universe with, apparently, no tangent to that of others.
I decided that the only person who could understand me was Messiaen himself; so to Paris I went. I think it was just after Easter term 1963. But then, so alienated did I feel, I dared not speak to him – for to meet rejection from my god would have spelt the extinction of my last remaining beacon of hope. And I couldn't risk that, by the same token that the rules of chess forbid exposing one's king to check. To hazard one's dominant principle-principal is to court annihilation.

Having been to the Trinité twice to hear Messiaen improvise after High Mass -wonderfully- and seen him descend from the organ loft into a small sea of fidgety organophiles I knew I should never be able to approach him. Who was I? A 16 yearold with no credentials, nothing to offer, and unable to give an account of myself. How could tell him -in french- I needed him to save my life? And if my god were to spurn me I must necessarily embrace the devil of suicide with which I had flirted constantly for at least 3 years.
The Australian concierge in the little hotel in the Rue Vaneau (7ème), where I stayed on the recommendation of someone I'd met on the boat train over, suggested I went to Brive la Gaillarde. So why not? There was nothing for me in Paris. 40 years later I felt a savage recognition reading Rilke's account of his experiences in Paris 60 years before mine. All that was light and warm in humanity was a closed book to me. A neat irony, then, to go to a place whose name spoke of gaiety. I wrote poetry there that still exists in some notebooks somewhere.
Eventually I ran out of road. I had no psychic energy to project my consciousness across the void towards that of other people, nor any experience that would predict success. After three and a half weeks I got in touch with my parents, & my father came out to see me.

We had one of the few times of closeness we were ever to enjoy. He was open to me as he was never to be again except when we came to bid farewell to my mother a week before her death. Sadly, it was a measure of his inability to see what I needed that he encouraged me to stay and find work. He meant well, to encourage my independence, but anyone with half an antenna could have seen I was incapable of fending for myself. I accompanied him back to Paris, half thinking to return, half simply wanting his company. The journey, for which we bought first class tickets thinking it would guarantee seats, not understanding the french reservation system, ate up nearly all my remaining funds, as Id bravely insisted on paying my own way. I was left without enough money to return to Brive, let alone to live on. My money would stretch only to a ticket to Orléans, which was not even on the mainline south.
Some memories have stuck with me from my chambre de mansarde (garret room) in the cheapest hotel I could find in Orléans under the distrustful eyes of the flophouse Madame as I awaited a remittance from my parents, which I was sore at having to request. Maybe the mordancy of these memories has stayed with me because of not having eaten for 3 days – seeing prosperous bourgeois avocats spilling out from the courthouse in search of a gallic lunch in the tree-lined cafés around the Palais de Justice, and my having NO idea what life would be like a member of a human race I thought I was never destined to join.
Another was walking aimlessly throu a fair, possibly that evening, under the dusty trees of the market place. I'd found a sou in my pocket & been able to purchase a chew, which served only to madden my hunger. I really didn't know how I could go on living under any circumstances, even with food inside me. The fair was truly charming in those days before amplification with real live accordionists & little bal musette cafés – that I couldn't afford to visit. At one of them a gaggle of jeunes mooched by counter including a really beautiful girl, perhaps no more than 2 years -yet a whole world- older than me, who was evidently bored with being the arm candy of some spotty hoodlum. She turned to follow me as I walked, her eyes a bridge to that other world which I had no idea how to cross.
No woman had ever paid that kind of attention to me, certainly not one with her credentials. I was shocked with delight, yet it only made my isolation more intense – what import could any contact between us possibly have?
The other experience which occupied those 5 hungry days was making friends with the organiste du choeur of Orléans cathedral. A lovely /lonely semi-alcoholic who lived in one room in 18thC squalor in an 18thC apartment house near the cathedral. He had once had a piece played on Radio France by Jean Françaix, & this was his sole topic of conversation! His job was to accompany the choir on the humble organ in the chancel. He had no contact with the titulaire, the capital O-Organist, who played the splendid Cavaillé-Colle grand orgues at the west end, whose duties were merely to play solo pieces at grand liturgical moments, and who disdained his earthly colleag (who had once had a piece played on Radio France by Jean Françaix)!

The end of it was, the money came, I went back to Brive, collected by belongings & came back to England with my tail between my legs.
What I believe sustained me throu this dark period, and indeed brought two remarkable people across my path, were the prayers of my paternal grandmother. My Granny 'Ginger' was a genuinely beautiful woman at every period of her life. Her wedding picture shows her with a butterfly on her hand: she told me it was a real butterfly which had flapt into the photographer's studio at the exact moment he was ready to snap, paused on her hand for the photo, & flown away. To a person with her faith, there was nothing remarkable about this - that was how miracles happened, just everyday occurrences, that we were to be truly grateful for, but not to get particularly excited about.
I've always felt that my meetings, not long after my return, with Jane Clark Dodgson and the other really significant person in helping me back to a halfway normal life, Roger Wild, the vicar whose organist I became at the age of 17, were due to my Granny upholding me in prayer.
Before taking the cloth, Roger had been MD of Wild Aero Engines, a small independent manufacturer with a history going back to Spitfire engines, and he had Lived with a capital L, before experiencing a christian conversion under Billy Graham, and gradually realising he had a vocation as a priest. He was a visionary man of god, who filled what had been an empty church by simply making a space where it was safe for people to find personal answers.

He later married Clancy and me; but was gathered to his fathers not long afterward.



All true art is a gift to the world that is beyond price. Constantly, at least once a year, I play throu Bach's complete 48 preludes & fugues. It brings me infinite & instant 'transport'. Such a thing
is beyond value. It & much other music has, for centuries, been a free gift to tens of millions of musicians.

Nature is full of such gifts. We we are truly awed by the richness that surrounds us then we can begin, but only begin, to understand the true depth of love – & when we have begun to feel the constancy and omnipresence of this love we have begun, but only begun, the process of attuning ourselves to the creator-spirit.

To experience this shower of love, one must cease to conceptualise, to see(k) 'reasons'. Love is - and its heart lies in an invisible cavity between words & wordlessness. To find the way to this is to find not merely 'shower of love' but also the show-er of love. It is both the (self-)discovery and reflexion of a perception of that entity which we can only name 'otherness', the unnameable, the 'not-I /not-us' which nonetheless encompasses the ego/I/us of humanity.


A time to embrace

What a privilege to wake and know that there is a power, a presence enveloping me. To say 'I can't believe my luck' would sum up my feelings. And yet what at last has come to me has been sought throu years of tears – pursued throu wilderness, flood and mud, over trackless wastes, across impassable glaciers, and beyond steep stony mountains. So in a way, the only aspect of 'luck' that comes into it, is the luck I invoked by my heartfelt search for meaning.

During years I could not find a friend I had only the love of my family to sustain me – and how rich that was. Only a very few other people even knew, let alone carred, that I was alive. Yet I felt /feel that the principal value in my time on earth was simply to be a witness to my own life – to make no assumptions about what should happen, but to record simply what I am shown, to accept being 'dumbed down' but to continue to testify even to dumbness and desolation. With the same attention I now record the pleroma, the sense of abundant life &/or stream of living water which now visits me.

I know I don't own this. It has been allowed me, as a harmonic is 'allowed' to a note when the correct physical laws are observed. And this is why the Beatitudes tell us we must hunger and thirst after righteousness. The Bible says 'seek and ye shall find'; but it might be better to express it as 'seek and ye shall be found.' What you thought you were looking for is not what will find you. The function of seeking is to open our selves to Life.

The next step is to trust (in) your inner-life dynamic, to believe that you do indeed contain the latent wisdom you now invoke. By trusting, we become trust-worthy; just as by loving we become love-able. By learning to walk straight in the darkness we attract the light we seek, and make ourselves worthy -indeed make ourselves value- that light, so that when it appears, in the fullness of time, we may handle it as we should. Imagine: if such a gift were given to the without suitable preparation would enlightenment result? The teaching of Maharishi (who died this week) detonated a consciousness-bomb in the 1960s: while a great number undoubtedly gained empowerment to pursue their enlightenment, many more entirely missed the point of departure and remained trapped in their earthbound conception/s.

How many wish to rise above the level of their earthbound neibours? How many wish to shed the veiling flesh and come to see with opened eyes the glorious spirit body each of us has, and to begin inhabiting it during their lifetime? It fascinates me how throuout history such wisdom constantly arises and is as constantly forgotten when fashions and meanings change, only to arise again in new forms in response to new situations and vocabularies.

I believe that Christ released into the atmosphere an original dynamic which can never be extinguished, despite the best efforts of his 'followers'(!) – yet I should not understand the half of his message without the illumination of his fellow light-worker Gautama Buddha or the perceptual-philosophical ground of Vedanta.

There are beautiful things happening all over the world right now. We can choose to side with them, or we can surrender ourselves to the embrace of chaos.