Finding Damo

The story of a man, his job, two cats and the meaning of success.

Archive for the category “Love”

Finding Damo

this is inside my skull

My wife and I were having a lazy Sunday, lying in bed and chatting with each other, when she took my hand and concentrated.

“I just had a vision of what’s inside your mind,” she said. “I saw a huge volcano and surrounding it was the entire galaxy.”

This is my mindscape. No compartments, no little boxes, just the entire galaxy and the huge fiery volcano at the centre.

One of my goals has been to try and still my mind a little. Let the waters stop churning and the ripples cease. But when I sit still, thousands of ideas run through my brain; a new story idea, a snippet of a play that would look fantastic on stage, 3D models I want to bring to life and marketing ideas for Dwarves in Space. My mind doesn’t slow to that still point that apparently exists in some people.

The volcano in my mind is a deep rage that I try to keep in check. It is also the fire of creation, adding to the galaxy outside.

I wanted to try something.

“You held my right hand,” I said. “That’s not my dominant hand. That’s not the centre of me.” So she took my left hand in mine and I concentrated with all my mind on a forest – tall trees, peaceful and still. At the centre of that forest was a writing desk, where I could write in peace and quiet.

a peaceful forest

“Ok,” she said. “It’s spreading now. The volcano is still there, but now I can see more. There is mist and a giant forest at the base of the volcano.”

Mind. Blown.

The transfer of energies is a concept that I can quite easily get on board with. There is a heat that you feel when someone touches you. Energy transfer is simple science. I am fully willing to stretch that transfer to a type of mental energy, or spiritual energy that transfers as well. You can tell when you touch someone that doesn’t like you or doesn’t want to be touched, if you are in any way tuned in.

I find it hard to say “I don’t believe in that” about anything. You can’t just dismiss something because your world view doesn’t fit the ideas that someone else takes on board. Well, you can, but you shouldn’t. I wouldn’t stay home from work because my horoscope said that I was going to have a bad day, but I didn’t get my motorcycle license because a psychic told me the day before my test that if I got on a motorcycle I would die.

I have that tape somewhere. I’ll upload it when I’ve got a spare hour or two to cut it together.

Shereen told me more about my inner world.

glowy-me“I wandered in the forest and found a glowing figure standing there. Not scary, not mean, just suggesting that I shouldn’t be there and could I please leave. I could tell by its features that it was you, or an aspect of you. And then I was pulled backwards, lifted out of that space.”

“And finally, I found a room. A room made of clay, and inside it were a group of figures – the Mystics from the Dark Crystal. They were trapped inside the room, talking quietly to each other, but not allowed out. And when I saw them, they started to fade into the walls, disappearing into the clay. One of them had piercing blue eyes, which is how I knew that they were aspects of you as well. They were elements that weren’t ready to come out now.”

mystics

I know there’s a lot going on inside my head. It’s good in some ways, as it means that I’m never short of a creative outlet. But sometimes I miss the stillness that I know other people can find. I am also deathly afraid of what I might find if I let the Mystics out of the box, the glowing figure out of the forest. Even the thought of being that still makes my heart seize up. I don’t want to be self-reflective. I DO want to be self-reflective.

But how do you reflect on the whole galaxy at once?

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Instant offspring

From the last blog:

The other night, I had a dream that my brother was only a child say about ten years old. He had a red parka on with the hood up and I couldnt see his face. He was autistic. He was playing in the playground and fell over. I ran over to help him up and to hug him better and he pushed me away because he didnt like being touched. It broke my heart. I woke up sobbing and it took me a good five minutes before I could wake up enough to realise it was a dream, calm down and go back to sleep. Im not sure what Shereen thought. She was very sympathetic. When we were talking about it the next morning, I said that if we found out she was pregnant any time soon Id be highly nervous following that dream.

And so the dice is thrown again, and another reality is realised in blog form. This is how the blog could have gone.

stork

I was sure that there was more to having a child than this…

I don’t think it’s too much of a spoiler to tell you that Finding Damo is, in part, about my finding out that I have a son. It is the first chapter of the book. The mental challenge has been: how would I react to having a son? How would he react to me being his dad? And what are you meant to do with a teenager when one is dropped on your doorstep?

The dream made me think through this in a lot more detail. How much luckier am I, who has perfectly happy son, who is a stranger to me, than the woman with the autistic child, who is an alien to her? She loves her son with all of her heart, but can’t get inside his head or in many cases understand his motivation.

But how would Damo react to the first fight? What would the major power struggles be? How has he been disciplined by his mother before Damo was on the scene?

I have to believe that being a teacher would give me a bit of an advantage over someone who has never dealt with students before. The “dealing” with teenagers is what I get paid to do. But apparently there’s more to it than that. All of a sudden you are not just responsible for his grades and schoolyard behaviour, but you have to take responsibility for his every action. Some of it I could blame on his mother – her genes and her rearing. But for the most part, all of a sudden, when a teacher complains about his behaviour in class, it’s my fault, at least in part. And I’ve felt it – even with students in my homeroom. I know what they’re made up of. They are so much better than how people see them. And I want to protect them. God knows, if that’s how I respond to students who aren’t genetically related to me, it’s going to be worse for my own son.

On the bright side, now I’d have someone to join in on the destruction of the evil forces of the Horde. Someone to train in the ways of Red Dwarf fandom. I’d have him do drills of Coupling quotes… That brings up another issue.

A student comes up to me and said “hey. I finished GTA IV last night. That last scene was an absolute killer. Blood everywhere!” And I responded: “Are you kidding me? You’re in Year 7!” I’m incredibly strict with anyone I have responsibility for. And totally lax with anybody else. My aim as a child-rearer is to create someone as self-aware and together as I am. Hey, don’t laugh. I wasn’t allowed to watch M-rated movies until I was 15 and it didn’t hurt me. I did, of course, go to my friends’ places for access to anything more adult – Predator and The Toxic Avenger come to mind, not to mention the videos I won’t mention (incredibly educational). More on this in a sec.

Sidebar for teachers: have you ever (and you know you have, don’t deny it) sat in Parent-teacher interviews and seen an attractive parent and thought “hmmm”? And then seen whose parent it is and put all those thoughts out of your mind. Luckily, I found the mother with the most gorgeous child imaginable. And not during parent/teacher interviews…

I try not to talk about my current family too much on Finding Damo. This blog is about a man that I used to be, that never was, but could have been. The person I am now shouldn’t enter into it. That’s spoilers! But in this situation, my current family is relevant.

My two stipulations for dating, two-and-a-half years ago, were:

  1. Must love cats.
  2. No children.

Now, I am married to my lovely wife, who doesn’t like cats and has a seven-year-old daughter. Which means I now have a seven-year-old step-daughter. Voila! Instant parent. And it’s all been very easy. Too easy, he says, eyeing the forest uneasily. I love my wife. I love my step-daughter. They both love me. Shereen’s favourite story is of the time Young Miss O said to her “I love you so much! I love you as much as Damian!”

O’s other major comment on me is “He’s strict. He’s teaching me manners!”

I’m really not. I’m teaching her my manners. The rules of conduct that I was raised with, and that served me well in polite society. I will admit here (and try and dissuade Shereen from reading it) that it might not be the only way of interacting with society. But it worked for me and, like a basic knowledge of Christianity (and Buddhism, and Islam, and SCIENCE!), at least knowing the rules is an invaluable part of getting on with the people she’ll be dealing with. Most of them, anyway.

How is this relevant? Young Miss O has been like research. How would I respond to this situation? Well, that was enlightening? What would she do if I did this? Oh. Well, there you go! Scribble it all down in the little note book and get back to the book.

As for the book, I’m going to start posting a word count at the start of each blog, from next blog onwards. It’s time I start progressing again and get this one finished. I have a clear understanding of everything I want to happen, I have an incredibly detailed plan. I have a multitude of interesting characters, with most of the names changed to protect the guilty, and all I have to do is get it all down on paper. So here we go.

Back from the bliss

Breakfast of champions!

Sorry about the last two weeks. I was on sabbatical. I was on my Honeymoon. I was living it up in the lap of luxury in sunny Queensland, sipping cocktails from the poolside bar and eating altogether too much each morning from the breakfast buffet. It was the most relaxed I’ve been in two years. I left my technological devices behind and that made all of the difference. Of course, that meant that I wasn’t writing blogs.

I know that the ideal way of doing this is to let my readers know that I’m going to be on holidays, but it just popped up on me without warning (you know, apart from the six weeks advance warning I had when booking it).

As per normal, I now owe you two blog posts. So this one is going to be a blatant self-promotion, owing to a number of very exciting things happening at the moment. The second will be one of my ever-exciting, interesting and amusing posts on the nature of life and the universe.

 

But first the blatant self-promotion:

Finding Damo came about as an attempt to get inside the head of my main character Damo. It was meant to be blogs from the actual character and ended up being posts from the increasingly disturbed mind of his author as his random conspiracy theory-addled brain made more and more sense to me.

But it was about making it easier to write the novel, thus getting it finished and published and me becoming the next Nick Earls.

The other thing that helps me get published is having other stories up for sale. Which is what I accomplished just before I went away. Alfie Dog publishing have just accepted a couple of my stories for publication as eBooks.

Be Practical and Ted’s Souls are two short stories that I’ve had accepted for publication in different areas, but for various reasons never saw the light of day. Finally, they are available for your reading pleasure. Apparently the highest purchase of any one story has been 17. I’m thinking my PR machine can beat that.

My stories go live on the 15th July (UK time, so maybe the 16th here in Oz). Put that date in your calendars, although be assured that I’ll be spamming the date once my stories are up and ready to go.

Go to: http://alfiedog.com/products-page/damian-perry/ on the 15th July and feel free to buy the stories at your leisure!

NAIV logoBut it’s not just my own writing that I have come to annoy you about. You know that I am a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, and am currently in the process of organising the Nullus Anxietas IV convention – the Fourth National Discworld Convention in Australia.

I’m in charge of PR – so if you haven’t heard of it by now then I’m not doing my job properly.

You can get access to all of the information on what’s coming up by following these incredibly well-written pages of information:

The Australian Discworld Convention website – currently under the control of our cousins in Adelaide.

The Nullus Anxietas IV Facebook fan page.

The Nullus Anxietas IV Google+ page.

The Nullus Anxietas IV twitter feed.

Do you get yet that the name of the convention is Nullus Anxietas?

The most exciting part of the Nullus Anxietas (IV) experience right now is our involvement in Pratchett-Palooza, being run by Dymocks. They have their own Facebook fan page, but refuse to go to Google+ so I’ve duplicated the various events through our page. You can also access the Dymocks events page.

The most important event on this calendar (quite apart from 3 for 2 Pratchett books) is the Pratchett Promenade. The culmination of a month of Pratchett fun! Involving a fashion catwalk, a talent quest, costumes and merriment. I have a special stake in this one, but you won’t find out until the night.

Finally, thank you to everyone who contributed to the Write a Book in a Day event. The boys completed two books totalling about 20,000 words in the space of a day, with illustrations. And then bound it and sent it off. We are waiting to find out whether they won any of the awards, but we raised over $500 in the attempt, which is fantastic.

And so, it is a busy time. I’m flat out. Now is the time for relaxing, but I don’t think it will happen. Sometimes I look at my life and think: I could really do with some time off.

But, nah! Holidays are exhausting!

First Love

The lost cap, pre-graffiti

I stood on the bridge overlooking the creek in Halls Gap and watched as my cap floated away in the water, gone forever. I could just see, written in black permanent marker on the peak, the letters CE surrounded in a heart. Cap and love heart sank beneath the rushing waters. Gotta love a metaphor.

It was 1985. I was 11 years old. The loss of that cap was one of the most devastating things that happened to me that year. That and the loss of the girl that went along with the letters CE.

People who pooh pooh the love that we feel in those pre-teen years just don’t remember what it was like. That first obsession is everything. Nothing is safe from the permanent marker, the love heart, the initials. Tree trunks, books, clothing, desks, all tattooed with the symbol of young love, usually unrequited.

CE wasn’t my first love. My first love was KK, back in Grade Two, in Heathcote. That was a tragic story. Kathryn was in the grade above me. Pretty and blonde, she let me catch her in kiss chasey and the romance blossomed from there. But it was a romance doomed to fail. We were separated when Mum and Dad took the family to Queensland on a six-week holiday. I don’t know whether she pined for me, but I managed a few illicit holiday romances up north. I remember a curly-headed blonde somewhere around Noosa, who was more interested in kissing than conversation. That was fine by me, although after a couple of days I was a bit tired of it.

When I returned, we tried to continue on the way we were, but something had changed. We both knew it was over, but kept it going for the sake of appearances. We had my father as a teacher that year. He had us create poetry. Hers went something along the lines of:

Kathryn had a little lamb
Damian was its name
And everywhere that Kathryn went
Lambie also came.

Obviously, I was incensed! How could she humiliate me thus! I chased her around the room, trying to get the poem back before she handed it to my father. I got hold of the paper, it ripped. The tearing of the poem mirrored the rending of our little love affair. I don’t even remember speaking to her for the rest of the year.

So, maybe that wasn’t exactly love. It was more involved than my first girlfriend; I met her in kindergarten. I want to say Cindy, but I’m sure Mum has a better idea than I do. Another blonde. My tastes changed. We walked to kinder together, along with our mothers – excellent chaperones. One day, on the way to kinder, we were pretending to be cats. A little bit overzealous, I hissed and swatted Cindy with my claws out, leaving a decent scratch across her cheek. She didn’t forgive me for that, and the relationship was over.

I’m pretty sure that wasn’t love.

But CE, that was love. Unrequited, from start to finish. Starting in Grade 5, I still carried a torch for her in Year 8, but by then we were living in different worlds and didn’t meet very often. By then she’d become an ideal, and when I caught up with her at the Ky Show in 1988 and asked her out, I wasn’t overly worried by the rejection.

Just. Radiant.

CE was beautiful. Her hair was long and brown; her eyes always carried a smile. She had a smattering of freckles across her cheeks and she had a fresh, lively personality. CE played tennis, which showed in her athletic figure. I was smitten from the first time I met her and loved her with a purity only matched by one other person in my life.

Once you hit puberty, even the truest love has an undercurrent of desire. CE was never sullied in my mind by impure thoughts. But she did break my heart, a betrayal that I never quite forgave her for, even while I continued to love her.

She was in my class. I was trying to build up the courage to ask her to go out with me. We were friendly. She melted me with her smile and the focus she gave me when she said hi in the mornings. I have no idea how I responded. I can’t imagine it was overly suave. I worked through my plan with Matt. I’d go in, have Matt distract her friend so that I could get her alone. I’d ask her to be my girlfriend (and what a mammoth undertaking that was at the age of ten!) and I would marry her shortly afterwards, our lives twining together into eternal bliss.

I came into the class early. Matt grabbed her friend with some pretence, I walked straight up to her and asked her out –

“Oh, Damian, I’m sorry. Tim asked me out just a few minutes ago. He’s my boyfriend now!” And, just to stick the jagged knife into my heart: “But, if you’d asked me first I’d have said yes.”

Tim. My nemesis! A loud, boisterous child, more active than intelligent and obviously just a little quicker off the mark. It turns out he wasn’t even really interested in her. He just knew that I wanted to go out with her, so he got in first because he could. Handsome, smarmy, pre-teen git.

And so CE was lost to me forever. I loved her still, but I couldn’t go out with her after she’d been out with Tim. I pined for the rest of the year. Well, obviously I didn’t pine for the entire year. But I kept her on a pedestal, my beautiful CE, with her only flaw being her terrible judgement of character.

I’m pretty sure I didn’t look at the cap floating down the river and think “well, that’s indicative!” but it stuck with me as an image. That heart, scribbled onto my cap with the initials within is burned into my memory.

PS. The adult me is damned ecstatic that the stupid cap floated away. I must have looked like a complete dill wearing a navy blue cap, covered in graffiti. How could my parents allow me to continue to wear it?

PPS. My other pure love lasted from 1986 until, well, let us say well into the new millennium. It took me seven years to ask her out and that rejection put me under for a week. I loved her, I desired her, I lost her and then I found my best friend. She has been my best friend ever since, and means as much to me as family.

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