From Hastings to Green Island
- one man's long and winding road out of the Box
(Updated March 2010, just after my 60th birthday)
No bio here - that's gonna take awhile, with about 20 binders of past stuff gathered and now a lot of stuff on a hard drive and CDs as well, not to mention 50-odd years of stuff in the grey matter hard drive. Brief demographics - born in Toronto in 1950, father, from an Ottawa Valley strict Baptist farming family, about to graduate from medical school, mother, Newfoundland fishing village strict Catholic family, recovering from TB. (I've done quite a lot of work on the family history (starting in the mid-1980s), find that kind of thing interesting and important - better grounding if you know some of this stuff.) I remember nothing of my first few years in Toronto. After my father graduated from U of T, the family made a brief stop in a small town in northern Ontario called Desbarats, and another brief one in Oshawa, before settling in another small town called Hastings in 1956, where the parents (by 1960 with 5 kids, all boys) spent the rest of their lives, dying in 1982 (mother) and 1992 (father), and the rest of us grew up, all the formative years kind of stuff. I remember the Hastings years as mostly good, fairly normal growing up stuff. In the family I was the oldest kid, with four younger brothers, who now live in Ottawa (2), Fredericton NB and Swift Current Sask. Typical sort of 50s, middle-class box pre-teen, top of the class through public school stuff - read a lot, a bit introverted, physically active, pretty good if not a star at any of the sports I participated in.
Then came 64 and the Beatles, just after I started "the change", and my teen years became one long fight with 'authority' (parents, school principals, cops, anyone who thought they had some 'right' to tell me what to do in my own life), starting when I grew about an inch of hair on my head and everyone panicked - kicked out of high school many times, taken out to the edge of town on at least two occasions I recall by the town cop and told not to come back until I got a haircut, held down in the kitchen one day by my father while a local barber gave me a scalping, ongoing threats from local gangs, etc and etc. Seems like small stuff, but it had a big impact on the young brain - from a life of security to a life of ostracism for no other reason than because I refused to cut my hair. I think it was a turning point though - for some reason, the Great Authority Figures demanded my bending of the knee, resigning me to eternal servitude at their pleasure, ask no questions just obey! - at that tender young age before I had a chance to learn what or who they were, or what options there might be, just pledge eternal fealty NOW or face the consequences!!! - and I told em all to go fuck themselves, both literally and figuratively. I've never regretted doing so - it has caused me a lot of grief in many ways, but it also put me on a path to learning things I would probably never have learned otherwise, the path out of the box of modern society, as I have come to think of it. I could have probably had a pretty comfortable middle-class sort of lifestyle, I was smart enough to get to university in any program I would have wanted - but it would have required becoming a company person of sorts, tied to a regular job and timeclock most of my life, and accepting a certain view of things that I know now to be wrong and certainly had suspicions of even then, and accepting a whole lot of lies about the way things are without questioning them in any serious way.
Anyway, that was the first turning point - I was still young and stupid (the brain was and is ok, I've always topped the list on IQ tests - comments about 'crazy ideas' and stuff are opinions, no more - Copernicus was considered a wacko too for refusing to toe the party line, most people who get out ahead of the pack are similarly mocked, so I'm in good company and don't worry about it) but in terms of the "ways of the world" I had no learning, and no (mentor-type) teachers and no advice outside of "cut your hair and get a job and you'll be happy"), and stayed that way for a lot of years following - but I was walking my own path, doing my own learning, and making my own mistakes - a lot of that over the next couple of decades. I spent my late teens and most of my 20s playing music and writing songs - pretty good at it too - and absolutely certain my life would be spent thusly - but the break never came, and somewhere in my mid-20s I realized that making it in music had dick-all to do with the quality of the music, but there was more involved - a willingness once again to bow down to the Man, and be an Entertainer for the Masses. (only recently did I get the Joni Mitchell line "..'I'd be a free man in Paris, if not for the work I've taken on, stokin the star makin machinery behind the popular songs..' (Free Man in Paris - think about it ...) I didn't understand well what all that meant, but it was a piece in the puzzle, a step in the learning process (don't start with the 'yea-buts' - what rock star, from the Beatles to Dylan, has actually led anyone in effecting real political change? None of them - they provide an outlet for a certain kind of feeling, but it's a dead end street - we are not going to change our society by singing songs no matter how good the message is, we are going to change it by taking control of the government - and the only way to do that, outside of bloody revolution which is mostly another dead end street (replacing one set of dictators with another, usually), is the way we do it on Green Island - no leaders, just the people en masse taking over. But that's all another story - you can find more here - Green Island).
By the time I was 30 I was pretty much resigned to the fact I was not likely going to be a rock star, and had better get on with something else, not being independently wealthy, and living in an enclosed society (no American West or wilderness left anymore where you can go and be free somehow, no matter where you go these days the gov is going to want, at least, some kind of taxes, etc), I needed some kind of income, somehow or another (I'd been getting by on some music gigs, some part time jobs, some unemployment insurance, welfare at times, a bit of top up money from my father at times - none of which were very viable as long term future security or anything). By then, through too much beer drinking and a bit of indiscreet buggering about with other women during some of the beer drinking times, I had caused my common-law wife to leave me, with my two kids, and figured that if I was going to make a new start, it was going to have to be somewhere else besides Hastings, where I was unlikely to either find any good opportunities or live my reputation down - I think I was somewhat of a better person than the gossip made me out to be, but you can't really get away from the gossip, and few people look beyond "long hair, no job, drinks beer too much", and the dreaded "womanizer!!!". I liked playing euchre too much too, and poker. So I packed up my stuff and headed for Halifax with a new girlfriend, determined to become a marine biologist - the reasons I wanted to become one of those are lost to me now, but that was the plan. Dalhousie U in Halifax wanted more money and paper than I had, so I went off to Prince Edward Island, and they took me in at the university there, where I spent a very happy 4 years getting a biology degree, graduating "cum laude" in 1985.
During those years I also started my "real" education, getting involved with the so-called "justice system" on PEI a few times, a real eye-opener. I had had dozens of encounters with the police and courts of Ontario before coming to PEI, but the laws were clear enough about booze and driving, and I didn't think much else about it, just developed a life-long pleasure of driving on back roads, and an equally life-long aversion to the sight of flashing red lights in my rear-view mirror. But in PEI I started moving into the bigger world through a number of instances where I felt I was being treated either very unfairly by some part of "the system", or encountering outright corruption in high places, and being brushed off like the annoying ant I eventually came to understand was all I was, all talk of "citizenship" and "equality" in Canada notwithstanding (until that time, I had been a firm follower of the central "democratic Canada" dogma - that Canada was one of the very best, fairest, most equal democratic societies that ever existed in history - really, I was. Like I said - stupid. (Don't misunderstand me, here - Canada may well be one of the most democratic and best etc countries in the world - but there comes a time for thinking people when you come to understand that, at the present time at least, that is not a real high bar to meet, for those who actually understand the real, current situation everywhere)). For example, I've written about The Beer Story elsewhere - not a big deal, the cops took a few pints of beer from I and some friends one day and I got them back, but doing that was a real learning process in the way "justice" actually works in our country - and if you can't trust somebody on the small stuff, you're not very likely to trust em on the big stuff. There was also the matter of CN rail having my car towed, after having given me permission to park it in their lot, which was another eye-opener, as I got all the way to the Supreme Court of PEI on that one - and learned some good lessons about how "judges" conduct themselves once again, covering each other's mistakes, and simply ignoring evidence that undermines whatever it is they want to do in terms of the political decisions concerning who wins legal cases when powerful entities meet powerless entities in PEI (and elsewhere - these days with the internet stories are getting out, stories that would not previously get covered in the mainstream media, which is part of the problem). And then I got involved with mounting legal challenges against the new seat-belt legislation there as well ('Leave me your brief, Mr Patterson, I'll have a look at it later, for now you're found guilty, pay the bailiff on the way out .."), lots of extra-curricular learning about 'justice' in our great democracy. And those were my introductory sessions to how the legal system worked. All during the same time I was studying biology in university and maintaining good marks. (in case you're wondering - the beer drinker was drinking a LOT less beer in those days, beer story notwithstanding...) But if the 'justice' system was as crooked as I was finding it to be - what did that mean about everything else I believed about our great country?
Following graduation from UPEI, I got an Ontario Grad Scholarship to go to Trent University in Peterboro (told you - no dummy), where I took the first year of a two-year program in Watershed Ecosystems. That sort of fizzled out - they wanted me to do some very reductionistic work along the lines of looking at PPM (maybe PPB - same dif to me) of some heavy metals in some beaver ponds, whereas I wanted a more holistic type of experience, the life and times of a beaver pond sort of thing, so that experiment in higher ed ended after one year. But it was a great year for learning in many other ways. I was renting a room at a farm house in the country a few miles away from the university, and had a lot of opportunities to read and study on my own, and walk around the drummonds and streams and cow fields in autumn, winter and spring and think. I also read a lot of scientific stuff around the watershed course, which was interesting and not without value, but more importantly for my overall education I also started a lot of reading about things that were wrong with our society, and others who were trying to do something about it. It seems very strange to say now, but up until that time - 1985, I'm 35 years old - I had known next to nothing of other people in the world who were actually thinking that things were wrong on a big scale, or those who had been so thinking and writing for hundreds of years, and working on ways to make things better - I just had not been exposed to anything along those lines, either in Hastings or in PEI during my university years (I don't want to paint too incorrect a picture here - there was undoubtedly some stuff available during these times, but I was too self-centered to be aware of it, and, as I noted, I had not been lucky enough to meet up with any mentor-type teachers who could have guided my education a bit). It seems very odd indeed to think that, given my earlier years as a "hippie" and musician - but that's the way I recall it - regardless of the potential of my brain, I was locked into a certain lifestyle in Hastings for my early years, and then in PEI I was concentrating on being on my own for the first time in my life, really, and studying science as well (which ate up a lot of time, I had avoided science in high school, so had a lot of catching up to do, aside from being out of school altogether for ~12 years when I started UPEI), without a lot of exposure to new ideas about society, aside from mainly getting involved with the justice system, and starting to understand that the whole society was really a lie, like the justice system. I do recall that the reading I did that summer and fall and winter-spring of 85-6 was like an epiphany, an actual rebirth of my brain, my spirit (my second rebirth, the first being zonked by the Beatles and dealing with the reaction to my hair 20 years earlier), culminating with a book called The Aquarian Conspiracy, by a lady named Marilyn Ferguson. I remember it clearly still, reading that book mostly sitting in the front porch of that old farmhouse, the fields out in front of me beyond the somewhat decrepit barn, the long driveway leading to Hastings and the university and the old world, that summer or early fall of 1985, and being absolutely astounded at the things I was learning about the way our world was run, and about alternative societies past and present, and the other people who had been thinking the same thoughts I had been slowly finding around my brain for the last several years. It was a real eye-opener to understand that not only was I not alone in the world, but there were so many others who had been down this road before, and thus were obviously much, much further along it. And I started reading and reading, following from place to place to place that that book led me to, and have been on the same road ever since.
So I read and read and read. Finished the year at Trent (withdrew in good standing was the official transcript), did a lot of tramping over deep snow that winter, but never got much interest in PPM of cadmium, zinc, lead and copper - but the isolated beaver ponds, frozen in the winter, were something to remember, and the deer that followed me one day, some things like that), and went back to PEI in early summer of 86, full of new ideas and thoughts about our country and society.
And now it was 1986 - the Mulroney years just getting under way with the new panic about the National Debt, and I started doing a whole bunch of reading and studying about what was going on in 'my' country, Canada, following on from the earlier eye-openers of the 'justice' system, and then my readings of the year before about what things were wrong in my world and what people were thinking about it all. During this time I started a long series of "Letters to the Editor", mostly to the local main Island paper, the Guardian, on any number of things I was reading about that I thought were wrong or required some sort of alternative commentary than the paper was giving it, who actually published them for a couple of years - big scrapbook somewhere. I also did a column for a year or so later, nature writing mostly, called "Birds 'n' Stuff" - which met an end around the 88 "free trade" election when the editor informed me that nature writing did not include political commentary - I contended that if a government activity ("free trade") was going to have a major environmental impact, then it certainly was grounds for "nature" commentary. The newspaper, of course, won - another lesson about who runs things and what they require of people. Another voice silenced. But only for awhile. But I had gotten the letter-writing habit, and have been writing them ever since (the great majority of letters to editors since that time have gone unpublished, needless to say - but I can't keep quiet, I just can't!! - and I figure I'll let em know someone is watching, anyway (one small collection on-line here, part of an earlier website. (This may prove to be a bad strategy, as when it comes time to round up the dissidents, I'll be in every file. But I guess one reason I fight, with others, is to try to see to it that that day never gets here.)(minor update July 2011 - actually I don't do much letter-writing anymore, to newspapers or government people, it's finally sunk into my head that it's a complete waste of time - the newspapers aren't going to publish or acknowledge them, and the government people are going to do what they want regardless of public opinion. Also maybe got it out of my system - I tend to do things a bit too enthusiastically for a bit too long, sometimes, and then stop altogether. But I do add some comments to discussions on newspaper stories, sometimes, hoping to steer people to some of my other writing.)
And it was around this time I also started getting more interested in the reality of propaganda in our lives, serious propaganda, 'full spectrum' propaganda, as I have come to think of it, pervading our lives from the time we are born in Canada - the national "debt" was so obviously being "made" into a big issue, with very political realities following, and then shortly thereafter we had the 88 election, the so-called "free trade" election, and the issue of propaganda in our society suddenly became much more obvious (as Big Business in Canada did all they could to influence the vote, along with, I was somewhat surprised to realise, the cooperation of our 'great free Canadian media') - at least to me - and has been one of the main things that has provided background and been considered in my writing since. And once you rise above the central dogma of 'the great free Canadian media', it becomes obvious how the media are obviously a central part of the propaganda, gatekeeping what is given to Canadians to read (or, equally important, what is NOT given to them), and the spin that is put on everything - so I had to start looking at the role of the media in what was wrong with our society, and the role of Big Business (again, I know that nothing I say is "new", people have been writing about this for at least 100 years - but it was new to me, on my voyage of discovery - I have certainly learned a lot, as I have said, from the many who went on this path before me - and now it is my turn to take the things I have learned from those who went before, and see what new things I can see standing on their shoulders ...).
And so it went through the last half of the 1980s. The lady I came to PEI with had found another boyfriend during my last year of university, and I subsequently found another lady friend. "Work"-wise, following university, I spent a year with a Canada Council grant writing a book on the Natural History of PEI (finished but not published), a year (most of it) working in aquaculture on Tracadie Bay (hard at times, and I don't think I will ever be a "get up at 6 am" type of person, but it was a great time being on the Bay so much, I've always loved being around water), some time washing dishes (do all writers do this??) and doing income taxes (leading to the 3rd big legal battle for me of the decade, getting screwed around by UI, and took an appeal right to the Federal Court of Canada (took me over two years, but I actually won that one - talk about vindication! the judge (a lady) actually said, quite indignantly, to the tableful of lawyers sitting across from me "What have you been doing to this man?!?") - a story I should get written down someday). (and no, that's not some kind of contradiction concerning my distrust of the legal system - there are good and bad judges, and I lucked out - but hoping for an honest judge is not a good way to run a justice system, and the few who might actually believe in impartial law are undoubtedly getting weeded out as the neocons become ascendent)
I did my only "officially" published books during this period, 1990-91, a couple of kids books - I was still not sure what I wanted to do with my life - learning about my world was pretty interesting, but in this world we all have to 'make money', but I had (and continue to have) a very serious aversion to selling my body 8-5 five days a week, 50 weeks a year, doing something I really find of little or no interest for no other reason than making money to keep me alive enough to go to work to make money - there's gotta be more to life than this kind of crap. There are better jobs, more interesting, that I could probably get because I can do most anything, but most of them still demand the same kind of time commitment, and mindless, unquestioning obedience to some kind of higher authority, which I really cannot handle and retain any kind of serene mind.
Another failed attempt at "true love" saw me moving to a small cottage in rural PEI in a community called Harrington in 1990, where I spent 4 very happy years, overall, writing and thinking and gardening and walking, and driving around the shore and backroads a few hours each week sipping on beers and thinking and enjoying the beauty of the world, or at least this corner of it, and playing my new (used) piano which I finally got for myself after many years of wanting one (my last one was Mom's old big Martin Orme I had had to let go when I left Hasting for the Maritimes - my brother in Ottawa still has it, great sounding machine ..), and a couple of them with probably the biggest love of my life, some amazing times, with a fall to match when she left. I got my first computer (thanks Mike!), and did the weekly newspaper called the Alternative Voice for a few months until I ran out of money. I got my first 'comprehensive' run of my ideas about how a society ought to be run together in a pamphlet called The Prince Edward Island Revival Plan, and then worked for a year for Mel Hurtig's National Party, a real eye-opener that was in many ways. I ran at the end of the year as a candidate in the 93 federal election, and learned first hand how deep the suspicion of anyone even thinking of politics is among the general population - so many are so cynical and sick of being lied to they just can't bring themselves to trust anyone who promises to try to make things better.
And after that, burned out from the 18-hour days of the election year (my job was basically the "organiser" for the Maritime provinces), heartsick at the latest, and probably biggest, love of my life leaving me, still feeling the effects of my father dying the year before, I joined CUSO in 1994 and came to Thailand, both running from and to something, I think. For the next 3-4 years I did not pay much attention to things in Canada - couldn't, really, as there was no widespread net available (it was still 99% in development on PEI when I left, and just getting to Thailand), and the local newspapers carried about as much news of Canada as Canadian newspapers do of Thailand (one very memorable moment came when Chretien was at a G8 meeting or something in Russia one of those years, and in the picture of the heads of state in the Bangkok Post, he was identified as "unknown" - Canada is a bit of a dream to many people, but they know nothing about us ...). Anyway, I was supposed to be paying attention to things here, and was busy enough learning to live in a new culture, getting by in a new language, and so on. I was working with NGOs, my first direct experience with such a thing, and my education concerning things international got a big boost at this time, and added a whole new dimension to my learning curve, taking me outside of Canada and into the world at large, getting a lot of new stuff (I started with learning about the World Bank at my first NGO job, and carried on from there - there's a lot of stuff to learn!) to put into the equations of what was going on everywhere. And then by 97-98 we were starting to get some net connectivity, and I was starting to find my way around it, and then the MAI campaign got underway, and I (with no arguments I must admit) got sucked right back into caring about what was going on in my country and trying to do something about it - but with the added perspective of some understanding about how Canada was deeply influenced by things in the bigger world - not a deep understanding just yet by any means, but a realisation of how connected things to do with power were all over the world. And the beginning of meeting other people via the internet, a new and much, much faster way of communicating with people than I had ever known before - more communication, more sharing of information. The incoming information stream gets another boost. (people say there is a lot of junk on the net, and that is of course true - what they rarely add, and perhaps do not actually grok, is that we now understand just how much of what we get in the mainstream media is also junk, while they manage to avoid a lot of pretty important stuff 'we the people' should be talking if about, if we want to call these countries 'ours' and 'democratic' ... - you just gotta be an intelligent person and work your way through it all - the junk is usually pretty easy to identify, and there is a great deal of useful stuff on the net that the rulers do NOT want mr and ms average citizen knowing anything about)
I finished with CUSO in 1999, after a couple of renewals, and decided I would rather stay in Thailand than go back to Canada and the brutal winters there (at least in PEI), at least until I saw some hope of some kind of political movement starting that promised some success. I'm still waiting - the NDP or Greens refuse to talk about the key issue of taking control of our money, and almost no Canadians are interested in CAP (Canadian Action Party), the only people who will. I taught English part time for a couple of years at the university in southern Thailand where I had been working with CUSO for the last 3 years of my posting, and then landed a full time job here where I still live - it's not a bad gig, a few hours of teaching and editing a week, and I have the rest of the time to read and think and write, and travel a bit and visit nearby coral reefs a couple of times a year, which I love (here, for example). My first foray into 'serious' web commentary ran for a little over a year, called The Rude Macedon, from which I learned quite a bit, and managed to get a lot of built up bile and frustration released (frustration from having so much I want to say about the way my country is being run, I have always just wanted to contribute my opinions to the public debate, not dominate or anything, just be heard, but no mainstream media will publish anything I write - about half a million words of frustration, altogether on the RM site over that year or so - I'm not a sound bite sort of guy, I write long - but that's the way a thinking mind is, full of caveats, full of explanations, full of words - it's only the modern tv minds who demand simple and simplistic comments to believe, the world in black and white in 10 seconds, fill between the commercials, I suppose, which are, of course, the main reason for modern television (well, along with the propaganda-indoctrination function of course, but they work together) - this is not some natural development of humanity, it is a very intentional policy the rulers are implementing (a la Brave New World or 1984), part of the dumbing down of society, the creation of a nation of people with the intellect of children (apathy, no will to challenge authority, believing what authority tells them, thinking simplistic slogans rather than formulating nuanced, intelligent ideas, being more interested in childish pursuits than adult supervision of their country, and etc), controlled from above, asking no questions, doing as they are told without complaining - scary as hell to see this developing, trying to fight it, and finding almost nobody seems to care, indicating how very successful 100 years of slow but sure indoctrination has been in western 'democracies'...). (You can see a bunch of the unpublished (in the MSM) letters from the Rude Macedon days here - they're mostly still relevant today, well-written commentary from outside the box that is not offered many places, as I tend to not write about smaller things that many others write about, but about things I don't see covered in the MSM - such as questioning the crazy idea that the 'new' Canadian media is 'lefty lib' - what an idiotic idea, yet they keep complaining about it. Anyway, I wasn't getting big readership on the RM site, and decided in the fall of 04 to devote the few 'quality' free hours I had left each week after teaching to finish a book I had started way back in PEI called Greenways, which was planned to be a fictional version of a society as I thought it might be structured to work the best for the most people, and sent RM off to the phoenix fire.
Over the next year or so I finished the first full draft of Greenways, and a big job it was, coming in at something over 350,000 words. I also started a more modest website called From Here to There, which was supposed to be ideas on how to get from the current dystopia called Canada and the World to a more modern society such as I posited on Green Island, the setting of Greenways, and also to give at least some small voice to the occasional letters I was still writing to various parts of the Canadian media when they wrote something that particularly annoyed me - which they managed to do quite regularly, always have, still do - pretty much every day, actually, I read things at which I shake my head, wondering how people can believe such blatant nonsense, or fall prey to such lies. I guess what I overlooked was that if nobody in Canada thinks there is any problem with the way things are, then getting 'from here to there' is not going to catch much attention. So From Here to There did not last long, nor did a couple of other sites I started later (Onward Rocinante, On Green Island) to give me a place to write about what I was seeing and feeling - but again, with essentially no readership, I stopped doing them to devote myself to other writings.
Which led me at some point to start thinking of things in Canada in a kind of box analogy - people believe that their society is fine, but actually they live inside a kind of box created by some rulers behind a curtain, like the wizard of oz and the munchkins. Inside the box there is the appearance of 'freedom', with 'democratic' elections, but it's all a sham, as all major decisions are made behind the scenes, and implemented by whichever of the two main parties are in power - a pretend 'democracy', belief in which is maintained by a pretend 'free' media, which encourages certain beliefs and discourages even thinking about certain very important things - and which most people, after 10-20 years of 'education' in an education system which they trust but which is really a central part of the indoctrination system, all believe with next to no questioning. Which led me to a lot of other thinking, and eventually it all came out in They're Building a Box - and You're In It, which I self-published with a new internet service called Print On Demand (POD) - a great innovation for those of us writing books with things the established publishers were doing their best to keep out of the public eye - of which, it turns out, there has been a great deal over the years. (My first POD book was really a kid's book I had written many years earlier but never interested a publisher in called Aquila - did that as something I wanted to do, and to test out the POD stuff - it turned out to be quite good, and off to the races we were, as they say where I grew up.)
Somewhere during this period they got a kind of broadband service to my university in Thailand, and suddenly, after over 10 years of doing without, I could listen to the CBC radio again. I was pretty excited, as I used to be a real CBC devotee back in Canada, listening all day long when I was not doing something else - Gzowski in the morning, As It Happens and Ideas in the evening, Gabereau in the afternoon, noon and evening local shows if I had time - the CBC was great for people whose interests rose above the sex lives of celebrities or right wing ranting or other stuff common on talk radio, with a generally high standard of guests and intelligent, informed conversation about things happening in our country and world, from various perspectives about anything controversial. But was I to receive a shock in 2007 or thereabouts when I finally got my CBC internet connection more or less running - almost everything that had been good about the CBC 13 years earlier when I left Canada was to be found no longer, it had morphed into just another propaganda organ for the right-wing, corporate-banker, neo-con takeover of our society. No longer was it a 'neutral' sort of broadcaster, giving Canadians both sides of important stories and intelligent commentary from a central sort of perspective, it had become almost entirely right-wing in orientation, focused not on providing intelligent debate about issues, but about creating a national narrative, a national consent with whatever the Bay St government wanted done. Both sides of some of the major stories are given some space in the new CBC, but there is now rarely any doubt about which side the CBC is supporting - it is as if the BCNI (now CCCE) had taken over the management of the CBC, and everything 'good for business' has become the major filter for every CBC show. I finally got some thoughts together about this - Notes on the Creation of the Canadian Narrative 1: The Canadian Media and the 2008 Election: Reporting or Managing? - the specific examples are now a bit dated, but not that much, but the main points are still clear - the entire Canadian media, inclduing, very sadly, the CBC, is involved in creating a 'Canadian narrative', a false version of 'reality' and a certain type of 'citizen' that allows their masters to continue ruling unopposed, and stealing massive amounts of the wealth created by Canadians as a whole.
After over a year of trying to interest a 'real' publisher or agent in Greenways, with no luck, I then embarked on a big rewriting of it, and during the next year or so, incorporating some of the new ideas I had been developing during writing the Box, it grew even larger, and I separated it into two volumes. Again I contacted every agent and publisher in Canada, and many others in the UK and US - and not a whisper of interest (which is going to be, I think, an interesting story about the publishing world some day, how such a great book could be so intentionally ignored whilst so much crap gets published each year - very obviously, it would seem to me, the capitalist publishers are, along with the media, promoting a generally neocon agenda and freezing out anything that might ask some very hard questions about what everyone is up to). But without getting into that, which will deserve an essay of its own someday, by someone, I decided to use Lulu again, the POD place, and Green Island became, finally, reality, with the publication of Greenways, Green Island Vol I in early 2008, followed a few weeks later by A Place to Stand, Green Island Vol II. My children with which I am very well pleased. Its sales figures are still, after two years, in very small digits, but it is waiting, lurking around a corner waiting to pounce on the New World Order when it is called upon to do so, it's time soon to come. (I went through the Cdn university English department websites, and sent a notice of the publication of Green Island to every university English teacher in the coutnry - not a single reply - capitalism really is like a religion, and those who wish to have nice jobs in the capitalist environment know well the boundaries of the box within which their teachings must remain - not unlike the Catholic church in the dark ages.)
Since then life has gone on - Green Island may be the Magnum Opus of my life to date, but I prefer to see it as a plateau reached, from which I will go on to other things, rather than the end of the line. For the last couple of years, I have been thinking more about money and economics, as I have come to understand that the control of money in the modern world is how the real rulers control everything and have been trying to understand it all a bit more. I first described this in some detail in the Box book, and then in 2009 expanded it to a longer essay called Global Financial Meltdown: Forces beyond our control, or the greatest scam ever?, which I then reworked early this year (2010 - my New Year's break project) a bit to feature a Canadian perspective focused on how this explains what has become of Canada over the last 30 years - What Happened?. I remain puzzled at how little interest there is in this essay, or the things I talk about in it, amongst people I try to tell about it - the greatest fraud, and theft, in our history, with our government in the middle of it, and nobody wants to go there. (Brief update July 2011 - What Happened has gotten about 8,000 'hits' since I put it out, still averaging close to 50 a week, so people are reading it - but I have got maybe all of 2-3 emails from people about it.) Says a lot, in a way, about the Box, and how very firmly in control the rulers really are here, and thus how little chance we actually have of saving things. Even people who consider themselves 'progressive' are almost completely controlled by the mainstream media - if the MSM is not talking about it, then the 'alternative' websites, and 'progressives', aren't either. The control couldn't be much better. There is some hope, though, with the web, as out here there's a lot of talk about a lot of things you won't see in the MSM. Has to be getting through to some people.
In early 2010, after finishing my teaching year, I published for the first time a book I wrote back in PEI called A Serpent's Tale, thanks again to Lulu, which I think is another very good book, again trying to get people to wake up from their slumber and take control of 'our' world - the people currently running the place are destroying this planet, and there appears to be little doubt they will take this to the end if they are not stopped - I am pretty sure most people in Canada do not support this kind of thing - but if they, and many others, do not start taking things seriously, the end is clear and certain. A whole lot of people have to get away from the tv and its 'everything's fine folks, just go to work during the week and to the mall on the weekends and watch tv at night, and there's nothing to worry about!' message, if we are to turn things around.
And much else goes on in my life, but it's too soon to write much about it - I feel as I turn 60, finishing my 60th year on this planet, that I have a great deal left to do and see in this lifetime. I have been learning for many, many years, and I think I understand a lot of things now, and can write about them clearly - it is now a matter of trying to figure out how to get people out of the Box, how to get them to pay some attention to the things I (and many others) are trying to say, to alert them to the danger they, and we, are all in, if they don't get away from their televisions and shallow consumer-movie-star-voyeuristic lives and get involved in their own society like engaged adults need to be. Doesn't seem all that hopeful, I must admit, but we must keep trying. Perhaps our world will be like a good story book, which always seems on the verge of disaster before miraculously getting saved.
I think it's almost time to move on from here - it's a bit scary, but I think I've accomplished what I was meant to when I came here - my education has gone about as far as it can from here, I still read a lot on the internet, but I find very little of interest any more, it's almost all 'same old same old' - it's time maybe for me to get the 'Great Green Island Road Show', an idea that first came to me a couple of years ago and I have been toying with off and on since, underway. I am currently sort of consolidating a lot of old writings, getting things tidy, no clear reason in my mind for this, but maybe the muse of my unconscious is getting ready for ??? - the next step, whatever that may be.
Let's see how that all works out the next time I get around to updating this.
Hope to see you on Green Island some day.
July 2011, as I 'launch' The View from Green Island, and the related essays Not austerity looting and We need a revolution, I still wait for something to happen to allow me to get on to the next stage. Need money. Green Island needs to start selling. That is obviously up to me, somehow. Or maybe the 'time' is not yet here, or I have something else to do. Seem to be spinning my wheels a bit in a place I cannot seem to get out of, personally, need to find the final step here ...
(I have a bit more here on 'the past' here, for those not completely satiated yet, of an earlier related thing I don't have time right now to 'consolidate' with this one - Dave Patterson - author info - a bit of different stuff, couple of pics from olden days ... )