Dibber-dobber Cindy

Dibber-dobber Cindy

Dibber-dobber Cindy,
you go to kindy!

Literature is interesting. We can entertain our imaginations with it. Take the above verse. Many readers may recognise it. For those who don’t, it’s something kids in first-grade say, when another kid has dobbed them in to the teacher for something they did.

Now, the question is: what six or seven year old child could have come up with this verse? Look at the meter. Look at the feminine rhyme (double syllable end-of-line rhyme). Look at the consonance (dibber-dobber) and alliteration (you go to). Gadzooks! This child must have been a prodigy. It is old no doubt, and I haven’t researched where it is thought to come from. (Anyone who wants to contribute this here may do so.) But among the old folk strange things are told to have happened. To enter the area of folk-literature is to encounter the magical world of nature and spirit, of ghosts, faerie, local deities, wights, and many strange and interesting tales, legends, and mythic lore. In Western history, all of this mixes here and there with the more formulated waters of Classical, Christian, and Enlightenment civilisation.

So one can imagine there was a great deal of politics involved in all this mixing. One could even entertain the possibility of a conspiracy for political rebellion. I imagine the village cunning man, a kind of folk healer, or wizard, of the English folk traditions, who foresaw the danger of children dobbing one another in to the stoic, authoritarian teacher of, say, Victorian England. This Victorian education, this pre-Freudian preening, was certainly a threat to the way of life for a folk-healer.

In the classroom, the teacher might say, “Children, there will be no climbing in trees during recess,” and peer around to make sure every child was listening. “Do you hear me Robert!” at which Robert would jolt up in his seat with a “yes sir.” And the cunning wizard would duck down from his vantage point of looking through the window, and race off to construct a spell, in perfect classical verse and meter. Then, recess would inevitably come, and the grey mood of the classroom would scatter for a quarter of an hour as the children played. Robert, still shaken by the morning lesson, would go sit by a tree, an oak, let’s say. And he would look up at it and wonder, why can I not climb it?

At this point, our cunning wizard would move in behind the tree, and whisper his magic words: “Dibber-dobber Cindy, you go to kindy.” Robert remembered kindy, that was just last year. He remembered the freedom before the more serious grade one began. In kindy, the kind Mrs Peters would let them climb trees, provided they were safe and not too high. So Robert, in a burst of rebellion set himself up in the tree, like a squirrel did he climb.

Now children do notice things, often much more than even we post-Victorians may think. In the next moment some of them were pointing at Robert up in the tree and laughing. Then came Cindy, the one who fame would soon immortalise. And yes she told the teacher what was happening.

Out stormed the large and lean grey-trousered figure in less than four strides. He pointed at Robert up in the tree. “Boy,” he yelled, “what are you doing in that tree?” At which all Robert could say between pangs of cut-wrenching fear was:

Dibber-dobber Cindy,
You go to kindy!

Paper and rocks

Paper and rocks

I’m very much inspired by the Russian filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky. The other day I was playing, in a very amateur way, with some art cinema production of my own, and came up with this:

“In the near or distant future, in some desperate zone of despair, somewhere, there may be a solar-powered i-device set on repeated auto-play in the midst of the apocalypse: rocks held on sheets of paper, burning, and falling, burning and falling, like life in its brief and vivid colour-ebbing-grey. The immanent decay in this imagery becomes effortlessly eternalised through the preservation-ability of cinema art: an art form able to capture fleeting moments of time and store them for potentially all time. Notions of our concept of time are highlighted: the continual disappearance of experiences in a forever preserved eternity.”

Harry and Technotlcoatl

Harry and Technotlcoatl

Some flash fiction I wrote in 2015.

Harry and Technotlcoatl

Todd William Dearing

It was not the first day that Harry Butler of Terran Creek rode down the stairs on his bicycle, but it would be the last. It was not the last day because of the inherent danger in the stunt – he had performed it daily for an entire week. It was the last day because on that particular Tuesday, he entered the portal to Technotlcoatl, as he had intended.

For Harry Butler was a master shaman with a third degree in Reiki and a seventh dan black belt in Sushi-do. And he had intended to travel to Technotlcoatl because they had free wireless there. It was only by free wireless that he could read up on the latest strategies of the Reptilians and save the world.

Meanwhile, the Reptilians were busy basking on sunny rocks, eating insects, and generally moving about with their usual sensual curviness, often concealed among tufts of grass and rock ledges, and often the object of warning by cautious and caring parents to their youngsters; such as Harry (who was only seven).

But Harry saw these beautiful creatures differently, via the inversions and protrusions and conclusions of popular folk-myth: as having been cursed by God for tricking Eve and condemned to an often disagreeable place in Human myth, cast in the shadow-light projections of people like Harry Butler, whose mythic mask was one of his own power shadowed by envy at the supposed eliteness of these so-called Elites: generally the ongoing retelling of the mythos of Lucifer, the Demi-Urge, Urizen, etc. in one form or another.

But when Harry arrived at Technotlcoatl, he was in for a big surprise. It was a sunny day and every one was playing in the fields and meadows, in the dales and vales, in the ponds and streams, and no one cared about what the Reptilians were doing, and no one cared about wifi, because being outside was so much better – just as Harry’s mum had always said, in a nagging tone, “Harry, why don’t you go and play outside!”

So naturally Harry went back through the portal.

Novel progress

Novel progress

I’ve been working on my first novel. Slowly it progresses, as I tend to it. The draft is written and I’m currently redrafting.

The first question people always ask is: What’s it about? I’m not going to reveal too much, yet… it’s still gestating. It is about Wizards, of course, and their journeys in and across lifetimes and worlds. The genre: a blend of mostly fantasy with some science fiction. That’s all for now.

More updates on this in time.

Dreaming with Open Eyes: The Shamanic Spirit in Twentieth Century Art and Culture by Michael Tucker (Review)

Dreaming with Open Eyes: The Shamanic Spirit in Twentieth Century Art and Culture by Michael Tucker (Review)

Michael Tucker’s brilliant exploration of the connections between Modern Art in the 20th century and traditional shamanic practice lands like a Promethean fire in the hands of the open-eyed and avid reader. This book covers widely the arts, without settling on repetition, dogma, cultural misappropriation, or New Age colloquialisms. Tucker shows how Western culture is closer to our ancient shamanic roots than we may realise.
Dreaming with Open Eyes: The Shamanic Spirit in Twentieth Century Art and Culture begins with an exploration of Romanticism and Primitivism and the traditional shamanic paradigm. It then progresses through a range of 20th Century art movements (such as Dada, Surrealism, Cubism, Feminism, and Nordic art) and includes art forms such as visual art, writing, music, film, sculpture and installation. Tucker explores the mythos of the shamanic calling in connection with Modern Art. He discusses the work of key artists such as Vincent van Gogh, Wassily Kandinsky, Joseph Beuys, Monica Sjöö, Rainer Maria Rilke, Jan Garbarek, Ingmar Bergman, and many others. Tucker effectively dislodges the notion that 20th century culture has been spiritually degrading.
The writing style is both scholarly and visionary, adapting from notable writers such as Joseph Campbell, Mircea Eliade, and C. G. Jung, providing a solid visionary platform for practising artists and researchers. This book will be of special interest to artists and visionaries, literature and art historians, and researchers of culture. Trained as an art historian, though identifying myself with all of these, it certainly sunk deep into my own bones. I would not hesitate to suggest this book as a key for all who are interested in art and culture in general. This work has the effect of revealing what is otherwise hidden-in-plain-sight in recent times: that shamanic practice can be found alive throughout 20th century art – which also continues into much contemporary art.

Absolutely inspiring. Had me en-rapt for weeks and on the edge of my seat in places.

 5 stars

(Artwork: Wassilly Kandinsky, 1913. Composition VI (section). Oil on Canvas, 195cm x 300cm.)

New Publication – Musing the In-Between

New Publication – Musing the In-Between

Front_Cover_sMusing the In-Between is now available!

Musing the In-Between is designed as a coffee-table book for casual reading of deeper themes: ninety-four pages of prose and poetry, in short snippets, with visually appealing full-colour artwork intermixed.

This book showcases a diverse collection of some of my work to date, including writing, painting, digital art, and photography. The title refers to the liminal themes which run through this vivid collection of original short works; an examination of life, art, philosophy, and the sacred.

Available from Lulu.com.

Blake

Blake

I’ve been working on my art history honours dissertation. Amid feelings of not having written enough to date, there his image rests upon the desk. Those eyes casting the glance of Vehement Honesty, his fate.

Spirit-force imbued across the bridge of time; his burin flaming ancient lines even now. The furnace and the anvil all alive with breath, while I sit and forge my own creative arc. This art… this Work is timeless and remains to thrive.

Blake sits there watching with those eyes.

(Artwork: Artist unknown (though may be a self portrait by William Blake), 1802. Portrait of William Blake. Pencil with black, white, and grey washes on wove paper, 24.3cm x 20.1cm.)