What if the entire human body could be altered by its environment, namely, its thought environment? A little too much like Frankenstein for your taste? Read on.

new science of thought controlAnd here is the beautiful thing, we are not tied to our genes, our genetic code does not necessarily determine our whole life pathway. Bruce Lipton, internationally recognised bio-scientist and best selling author of ‘The Biology of Belief’, contends that by changing our thinking, we can effect change at the subterranean level of the cell membrane. Like many thinkers and philosophers today, Lipton is of the opinion that we are approaching a revolutionary stage in our human evolution and that radical self empowerment is firmly on the cards. This is the new science of thought control.

Talking about genetics sends off alarm bells at dinner parties, many people feel out of their depth when it comes to discussing this topic. Lipton simplifies it by giving an example from his early research. In 1967, Lipton was busy cloning stem cells in a petri dish. In the course of two or three weeks, as each cell divided, the laboratory had thousands of cells, which Lipton placed into three separate dishes.

Each cell was genetically identical but the culture medium had a slightly different chemistry in each dish. This relative change of environment brought about a change in cell structure, so that from starting out identical the cells underwent variation, changing into fat, muscle and bone. How did this come about? Lipton surmises that the environmental atmosphere altered the cell’s genetic code. From this he concludes that environment can control genetics, and not vice versa as was previously thought. Lipton’s dramatic reversal of genetic determinism leads us to even more startling and exciting ideas.

As Lipton puts it, we are little more than a collection of cells contained in a skin-covered petri dish. By changing our environment, (our thoughts) can we change our actual bodies? The chemistry and environment of our trillions of cells is controlled within the blood system. The fate of each cell depends upon the health and well-being of the blood, which is the carrier and with it, the brain, which is the controller.  The brain releases chemicals into the blood stream that control the genetic activity of each cell. These three are interlinked, blood, brain, and cell.

Lipton’s claim is that when you change your perception of the world, you change the chemistry of your blood. The body receives the signals and the human being feels the sensation in the body, for instance anger produces one type of sensation, and love produces another. The mind’s perception of emotion, whether it be fear, love or anger, determines the chemical injected into the bloodstream.

For instance, Dopamine the pleasure chemical is experienced when one perceives love. Oxytocin, the bonding chemical is experienced when one perceives attachment. As Lipton puts it, if those same ingredients were introduced to the cells in the petri dish, those cells would react, causing such things as growth, expansion, contraction etc depending on the chemical involved.

So, again, what produces the chemicals? Our thoughts and perceptions. Lipton’s research as a medical school professor caused him to abandon genetic determinism, a theory that seemed logical at that time. He figured out that genes do not – of themselves – control our human traits. Rather our genes contain the blueprint of our physical make up, but environment is vital in producing the chemistry which controls our genes, and perception is the big daddy of them all.

Lipton says; ‘you can change the chemistry when you change your perceptions, and when you change your perceptions you change your genetic activity.’ Lipton goes further saying that the chemistry of the environment can ‘modify the readout of the gene and even alter the blueprint’. The way you respond to your environment determines the chemistry in your blood, which in turn can alter the genetic blueprint of a cell by creating thousands of variations.

So the new science is ‘mastery’ of your biology (or body) through thought control. Turning now to Graham Hancock, author of best selling book, ‘In Search of the Lost Civilisation’, the new science is really an old science, (shamans have been practicing various forms of thought control for thousands upon thousands of years), but the origins of bio-shifting go back to our distant ancestors, who according to Professor Williams at the University of Witwaterstrand South Africa, may have uncovered mind-altering states of consciousness through the discovery of hallucinogenic plants.

Incredible rock and cave art from around the world, dating back to the paleolithic era, bears testimony to the visionary capabilities of pre-historic humans. Perhaps among the most known hallucinogenic plants today is Ayahuasca, used by shamans in the Amazon basin. This herb – which is taken in liquid form – induces a four-hour journey into radically altered states of consciousness, and even, some say, supernatural realms. It is said to inspire creativity, by introducing the user to the cosmogonic impulse in the form of mother nature herself.

Following their trance state, many people have turned to art, specifically painting. One such artist is Pablo Amaringo of Peru who paints vibrant spirals not unlike the energy spiral of the human cell. Moving from the purely scientific approach concerning the effects on the cells themselves, Hancock speaks of the experiential nature of altered states. The spin off is the merging of consciousness with supra human entities like mother Ayahuasca (or mother nature) who is said to be angry at the way her rainforests are being destroyed by powerful people on earth.

new science of thought controlHancock describes one such fearsome encounter where he was shown the gates of hell and given a warning about possible human annihilation in the world beyond death. You might think that Graham Hancock has the missionary zeal of the prophet-like, eco-crusader, you might prefer the cooler approach of the bio-scientist, but essentially the message is the same.

We human beings have the power to control and/or alter our energy matrix to a far greater extent than conventional thought would allow. At the moment, we are doing this negatively. Our ordinary Western consciousness, is, according to the shamans of the Amazon, severed from spirit, thereby endangering our survival as a species.

Whether you regard thought control as a facet of chemistry or spirituality, or both, the fact remains that many of us are no longer content to remain within the bounds of our every day consciousness. Those boundaries are being pushed back, and the new science of thought control is here to stay.


grace metalious victim of peyton placeAt the time of writing her best-selling novel ‘Peyton Place’  Grace Metalious, a New Hampshire, housewife, lived in a dilapidated bungalow she’d wryly nicknamed “It’ll Do.” Her three kids were existing on lettuce-and-tomato sandwiches. At 30 years old she was poverty-stricken, parched, depleted, and frantic.

At last, she’d composed a book. She titled it ‘The Tree and the Blossom’ full of insider secrets, deceitful morality, petty mindedness, and vicious town gossip in a narrative about a fictional New Hampshire town much the same as her own town of Gilmanton.

Though ruthlessly and effortlessly exposing the human failings of the denizens of a typical New England town, Metalious’ work is not lacking in compassion for the colourful inhabitants of her world.  Much of this compact universe is seen through a kind of shimmering emotional lens, the vehicle for this lens being Alison Mackenzie, the sixteen year old ‘illegitimate’ child of one of the town’s most respected citizens, Constance Mackenzie.

On publication, critics and reviewers honed in on the ‘scandalous’ sex, and torrid episodes, ignoring Metalious’ powerful social commentary. Much of this was achieved via her characters, for instance the tragic figure Nellie Cross, a shack dweller and half-crazed wife of abusive drunk, Lucas Cross.  Metalious wastes no time either in exposing the hypocrisy of the Congregationalist church minister, Fitzgerald, a closet Catholic who refuses to bury suicide victim Nellie on ‘consecrated ground’.

The book caused a stir for its expose of small town New England, not quite the quaint historic idyll that many imagine it to be. Metalious was loathed by the very people whose lives she manifested so unerringly in her book.

Upon her death, she was given neither accolade, or memorial. Indeed, for many years this astonishingly raw, beautiful and vivid book was out of print.

Yet this novel has sold over 10 million copies in 10 languages, making it one of the 100 best sellers of all time. It immediately broke new ground and opened the door to writing about subjects like incest, illegitimacy and domestic abuse.

It is a wonderfully written book, and comparisons have been made to Faulkner, Upton Sinclair, (and others). Yet however skilful the writer’s rendering of small town New England, and however subtle the use of the vernacular, the book was reviled and Metalious scorned as a ‘tawdry housewife’ by many elements of the press.

Also by the outraged people of Gilmanton, who felt badly exposed in the novel.

One reviewer wrote to Grace;

“For you or any responsible person to advocate the reading of your material in my opinion represents low spiritual morals.”

Another editor recommended placing the book on a bonfire, or keeping it “under lock and key”, the very attitude of secrecy Metalious highlighted so well in her novel.

On the other hand the Times critic begrudgingly noted “her ear for local speech is unflinching, down to the last four letter word”.

Grace Metalious received death threats until her sad passing at the age of 39, hounded by alcoholism and the after effects of her success. She remains unforgiven by the Gilmanton residents who would prefer to wipe the book and its author from memory.

While indignant about the “obscenity” shown in the work, many failed to see Metalious’ depiction of community friendship, and the quiet courage evident in these hardy New Englanders.

When the young Selena Cross is on trial for the murder of her incestuous tormentor, Lucas Cross, the townspeople, along with prosecutor Charles Partridge, see to it that she goes free. Doc Swain, who carried out an illegal abortion on Selena, testifies against Lucas, implicating himself and jeopardising his medical licence.

The judge turns to the jury;

“There’s not one of you on the jury who don’t know Matt Swain. I’ve known him all my life, same as you, and I say that Matt Swain is no liar. Go into the other room and make up your minds.”

The other aspect of the book often overlooked is the writer’s affection for New England. In a rapturous last passage the young Allison is reminded of her abiding love for the environment in which she was raised.

“Alison looked up at the sky, blue, with the blueness peculiar to the deep blue of an Indian Summer and thought of it as a cup, inverted over her alone.”

Later;

“Oh, I love you, she cried silently, I love every part of you. Your beauty and your cruelty, your kindness and ugliness.”

It is a democratic book, offering multiple viewpoints, and giving weight to the voices of the powerless and the oppressed. It is a liberating book, speaking openly and honestly about sex. It is a timeless book, given its power to move and entertain readers of any generation.

Metalious was a precursor of the hippy movement, paving the way for ‘literary journalist’ Tom Wolfe and that other social chronicler,  Armistead Maupin; writers who dig down into the lives of their characters and expose them to our imaginations as vividly and personally as if those lives were our own.

In 2007 Manchester NH, in alliance with the University of New Hampshire, finally honoured Grace Metalious with a searching retrospective of her work and ideas.  It was New England’s first public acknowledgement of its native daughter.


Grace Metalious died aged 39. She was deeply in debt having been fleeced of her wealth by numerous individuals over the years following the publication of her novel.  She is buried in a modest cemetery in Gilmanton, where a single white headstone reads “Metalious, Grace, 1924 – 1964.”

 


chocolates for breakfastTouted as a very grown up novel by 18 year old American writer, Pamela Moore, and published during the repressive post war era, Courtney – the protagonist of the novel – exists in a world of shallow euphoria. Yet by the end of the book, you hope that the character (by now firmly imprinted on your psyche) grows up and figures out how to break through the cycle of alcohol addiction and bad company.  The writer, Moore, produced a remarkably astute novel with suspiciously mature observations, and it’s easy to imagine that her mother, the writer Isabel Moore (or another interested adult) may have had a hand in constructing some of the more corruscating passages about coastal American society.

At the time of publication by Rinehart Press, issued for the princely sum of $3, and selling over a million copies, Pamela was hailed as an American Francoise Sagan, though ‘hailed’ is possibly not the correct word.  Though popular her book was panned by critics,  who compared her unfavourably with Sagan.  Critics saw Sagan’s easy fluidity with sex as more skilful than Moore’s ‘attempt to shock.’  It was said of Moore that she deliberately set out to depict a decadent lifestyle of pre-marital sex, incessant boozing, cigarettes and partying et al.  All very torrid at the time, though hardly blink worthy now.

Riding on the wave of publicity surrounding ‘Petyon Place’, another ‘scandalous’ novel by Grace Metalious, Moore’s short novel also enjoyed the notoriety of the classic myth buster, giving the inside scoop, not on a small New England town, but on the licentious activities of a privileged sorority girl from an upper middle class background.

By the time she is 17 years of age, the protagonist Courtney, has whisked her way through Hollywood, had an affair with a leading gigolo, slashed her wrists and boozed her way through NY with her cannibalistic Ivy League companions.  Courtney’s best and only friend, Janet, is on a booze-fuelled spiral to disaster, which by the end of the book, you hope the narrator manages to escape.

The novel was reprinted by Harper Perennial last year, and given the fate of the author, along with the underlying themes of addiction, loss and depression, the book is more bitter than sweet.

Her mother, Isabel Moore went on to write the scandalous novel of the decade called ‘The Sex Cure’, Beacon, 1962, (now out of print) which shook another small New England town to its roots. Tragically, Pamela Moore died of a gunshot wound in 1964, which was presumed to be suicide, though no note was left.  She was 27 years old.

THE CYNIC’S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING

Posted: July 19, 2014 by Di van der Westhuizen in blog tips, Comment
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Written a book have you? Your first, I hear you say? Well done you! No, truly, congratulations. You’ve spent long, lonely hours banging away on your computer with only your cat (or dog, if you’re of the canine persuasion) for company. Your friends and family think: (a) you’ve emigrated to Outer Borneo; (b) you’re dead; or (c) lost your wifi and/or phone connection (which is as good as being dead anyway). You’ve survived on more caffeine than is healthy for your liver (and other soft tissue organs), nicotine (if you weren’t a smoker before, you’ve most probably flirted with the idea) and dreary ready meals (by the way, how is it that microwaved food can singe the roof of your mouth and freeze your tongue simultaneously?).

Now, if you will, cast your mind back. To the day that you first, (perhaps misguidedly), decided to write the book you always said you would. You thought of an ingenious title and proudly opened a file on your computer. You hunted dementedly online for a cover picture, and then typed those magic words that were going to reinvent your life as an author: “Chapter One”. Your initial enthusiasm may have been somewhat dampened when, diddling around on the internet, you stumbled upon the fact that you needed to write at least 80 000 words to publish a credible novel. However, determined to follow your calling (an overrated idea, if you ask me) you toiled on and on. Word followed word, sentence followed sentence, paragraph followed paragraph etc. (you know the drill) until (after dawdling around a tad aimlessly mid-plot), you typed those words that filled you with unrivaled joy: “The End”. You felt like Cathleen Turner in Romancing the Stone. Remember how she typed those words with great satisfaction, then opened a celebratory can of tuna for her cat (and topped it with a spring of parsley, yet?). That feeling.

Aaw bless. Now you’re envisioning thousands of copies of your novel in its snappy cover gracing the shelves of the most illustrious book shops throughout the world – it will, naturally, be translated into 50 languages, including Tagalog (Google that, I had to). You’ve practiced your signature for book signings for your adoring fans, and maybe even dared to go so far as mentally choosing a designer gown/suit for the red carpet on your way to collect your Pulitzer or Oscar (oh, and you’re also eagerly awaiting that call from Steven Spielberg offering you a movie deal). In other words, you’re on the cusp of literary uber-stardom. Step aside Ms Rowling and Mr Ludlum, your successor has been born! Read the rest of this entry »


confederacy of duncesJohn Kennedy Toole was craftsman who comprehended the unreasonable nature of things and through his Pulitzer prize-winning novel uncovered the very essence of New Orleans. He depicted its characters, its corners, its mysteries, and feeling of rot, that wanton flavor that he knew so well. This is a standout novel amongst modern American writing and the story of how it came into existence is as disturbing as the untimely death of the author.
Toole was an insider and captured dialect like no other, none could match his remarkable gift for voice, for character, not Sherwood Anderson, Tennessee Williams, nor Faulkner, as these writers were all writing from outside, whereas Toole was New Orleans through and through, he was part of the fabric, and he depicted it in a way that nobody else ever has.
In letters he showed that he was constantly planning books, writing characters, imagining scenes. He had an extremely sharp eye and an exceptional gift for comedy that helped him to reproduce New Orleans in the zaniest and funniest of ways.
His Southern gothic novel, a grand comic fugue, features a wonderfully offbeat cast of insane characters.
Sadly, the book almost never made it into print. Suffering constant rejection by New Yorker editor, Robert Gottlieb, (initially enthusiastic) who tragically lost interest in the novel, calling it pointless. Gottlieb insisted that the book had no meaning, and essentially, no plot. This verdict from a major publishing house (Gottlieb worked for Simon and Schuster at the time) caused J K Toole finally to give up on his masterpiece and stash it away.
Luckily, after his death, his mother, Thelma Toole resurrected the original manuscript, and Toole went on to win the Pulitzer Prize For Fiction.
RIP JK Toole.


Richard Hilton

Photo taken by Glenn Bracke

WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT WORKING WITH CHIC

The best things about playing in CHIC include getting to make music with some of the finest musicians I’ve ever known, including the band we’ve had for the past five years, and getting the opportunity to share in the happiness of the audience. I’ve also gotten to see a lot of really amazing places that I’d likely never have seen otherwise.

WHAT DO YOU FIND THE MOST CHALLENGING?

The rigors of travel, which are at an all-time high these days.

WHEN DID YOU START WORKING WITH CHIC/NILES? AND HOW DID THAT COME ABOUT?

I started working with Nile in March of 1988. I had been interviewing for about two years for a number of different jobs with a company called “New England Digital” that made a proprietary computer music instrument called the Synclavier. They never did hire me, but when Nile Rodgers called them (being a user of their instrument) asking about a qualified programmer who could play keyboards, they kindly recommended me and that was it, I was in.

IF YOU WEREN’T WORKING WITH CHIC, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?

When I started with Nile, I was teaching at a small college and going back to grad school to get a master’s degree. I hope to get back to teaching someday. I’m very keen to work with young people.

CHIC ARE ALWAYS A JOY TO WATCH, WHAT’S THE SECRET?

A tireless dedication to delivering the best possible show every night. There’s a lot of trust and love on the stage, and it seems to translate to the audience, based on the things they say to me. One cannot underestimate the value of the amazing repertoire we’ve given to play as a major contributing factor to making all this possible.

RUMOUR HAS IT CHIC ARE WORKING ON BRINGING OUT AN ALBUM IN COLLABORATION WITH DAFT PUNK? IS THIS TRUE?

I can’t talk about projects in progress.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR TECHNIQUE?

Adequate, but not great. I do a lot of things pretty well, but maybe none of them “great”. The players in CHIC are all far more accomplished than I. My abilities are spread across a number of different disciplines in my job, so my playing technique sometimes doesn’t get the attention it might otherwise deserve. I’m lucky in that music has always come pretty easily to me.

YOU ALWAYS LOOK SO HAPPY AND UPBEAT ON STAGE! WHY IS THAT?

Because I find the privilege of playing this music and sharing in the audience’s happiness to be quite overwhelming. Playing this music in CHIC is a pretty amazing thing, and I try to let that wash over me as much as possible while we’re doing it.

IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU DO DIFFERENTLY?

I’d try to tap less into anger and more into the love that I feel. There are a few other things specific to my relationships that I wish I’d done better.

IF YOU HADN’T BEEN BORN IN THIS CENTURY, WHEN AND WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO HAVE LIVED?

I’m happy to be here now. I don’t think in terms of “what if” very much. That said, getting to hear Art Tatum, Beethoven, and Chopin play would’ve been very nice.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE ARTISTS/MUSICIANS AND WHY? Read the rest of this entry »


Listen To Mikey Flynn reading about Jojo Ruocco the Queen of The Funkin Drums, this piece features Ronnie Wood Ronnie At The Rah

Audio  —  Posted: June 23, 2014 by Alice Frances in Comedy/Farce/Skit/Pastiche, Podcast
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I’ve sure you’ve seen the advertisements of the small worm burrowing into an eyeball. These days when I think of eyeballs, I think of two things:  “The Twilight Zone” and “Lost”. Only one of them makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside. Also brought to you by the letter “eye”  and coming soon to a network near you, is “The Strain”. “The Strain” is a revision on the age old vampire tale and is scheduled to premiere on FX July 13, 2014. It is a collaborative effort, written by Guilermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan based on their somewhat obscure vampire novel trilogy. Del Toro pitched the idea as a series some time ago and apparently somebody caught it.  But there is another “eye” connection here. Read the rest of this entry »


Old Man Winter Gives Control To Son Biff

New London Writers Literary Agency Seeks Writers

Old Man Winter has reportedly turned over operational control of the winter season to his son, Biff according to sources close to the personification of nature.

Citing health issues, Old Man Winter made the announcement in late November and his overly ambitious son has wasted no time in establishing complete control over the frigid manifestation.

After first declaring himself president and CEO of Winter, Inc. Biff Winter called a news conference early this morning to confirm that he indeed has the reins of all daily operations.

And he intends to manage the season in his own style.

“I don’t plan on running winter the same way my Old Man did,” Biff remarked after slamming the continental United States with ice and frigid temperatures as far south as Texas and California three weeks ahead of the scheduled arrival of winter.

“Obviously, my new business model is a lot more efficient than the previous one,” Biff noted when asked about the recent arctic blast.

“The next thing I plan to focus on is re-branding the entire winter season. The image of an old man blowing cold winds is not an archetype that appeals to a 21st century demographics. Besides, who says winter HAS to start or end on any particular day?”

Biff Winter also presented a five year plan that includes the hostile take-over of both Fall and Spring, a few weeks at a time. By creating a general climate of seasonal business chaos, Biff Winter proposes taking advantage of the fact that these seasons have no established personifications associated with them.

“Clearly there is no identifiable leadership in the top ranks of these seasonal allocations, therefore, some of their time can be better managed by my organization,” said Biff, sending a chill through the Press Corps.

“There are still some economic hurdles and barriers to market entry into the summer business sector, but these will be addressed in time,” he added. Biff went on to subtly accuse summer of improper business practices and collusion with the global warming industry.

Biff also plans to modernize the functioning of winter through technology and software innovations.

“My father has been operating winter the same way he has since the Ice Age: arriving in a predictable fashion, manifesting in the an archaic form of an old man blowing cold winds. That superstitious mumbo-jumbo is so Middle Ages, an outdated relic soon to be replaced by modern data-mining and HAARP technology,” he said.

“After looking at economic projections based on the last 10,000 years of data, winter’s market share has steadily eroded as a result of new entrants into the seasonal market such as El Niño, aberrant solar cycles, and global warming. There is no way in hell that I’m going to let a start up venture like Green House Gases (GHG) cut into the bottom line of an old established business like winter,” Biff remarked.

Promising a new, improved winter roll-out by the first of the year, Biff also has plans for an extended season in an effort to encroach on summer’s consumer base. “Our long term strategy is to be the dominant seasonal force all year round.

“We are streamlining our ability to deliver the core product line of snow, ice and freezing temperatures across a wider distribution network, and our business plan reflects exploiting that advantage. By being able to efficiently project winter weather anywhere, anytime, we’ll be the primary player in the seasonal market all year long,” Biff remarked confidently before calling the press conference to an end with a sudden blizzard.

In a related story, an inebriated Old Man Winter was spotted on a beach in Hawaii this week. When asked why he chose to relinquish all control of winter, he remarked angrily, “I’ve been busting my ass since the Cretaceous-Tertiary period. I’m retired!”


I mean what is going ON with Amanda Knox, there I was thinking she’s so sweet and innocent, those big, baby doll blue eyes, no wonder the TV networks had her on the airwaves, all of America is rootin for the gal with no pal, but hey … what if she’s guilty? What if she’s pullin’ the wool over our eyes.

She and Meredith fell out over the flush of the toilet, sounds minor but is it? How annoying when someone leaves evidence in the bowl … can’t blame Meredith for having a go, but is it enough to KILL for? I mean if someone says, hey you! Flush the goddamn loo! Are you gonna get a knife and slash their throat? No, I don’t thinks so.

Now the prosecutors are saying she’s connected to the the local coke dealers, not good for the CV. The official knight in shining amour, Sollecito, 30, has turned his back on his lady friend citing “peculiarities” in her version of events.

This is just not going away. Let’s hope justice is done for Meredith Kercher whose memory is getting lost in all of this Amanda Knox publicity.

Oilsome Seagull

Posted: July 5, 2014 by Di van der Westhuizen in Blog
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oilsome seagullSeagulls – beautiful yet wild, mischievous yet fierce, aggressive yet comical, omnipresent yet barely noticed by humans. And when we do notice them it’s normally for the wrong reasons – stealing food, dive-bombing anyone who gets too close to their young, or generally squabbling amongst themselves and making a racket. In short, being a nuisance, one we could do without.

However, while their absence may make our days at the beach more peaceful, their link in the ecological food chain is irreplaceable. They act as invaluable vacuum cleaners for the environment, both on land and at sea – they clean beaches by scavenging for carrion and offal but, being opportunistic feeders, they also eat rats and other small pests. Without them, we would be knee deep in dead fish and other garbage.
Sadly, their numbers are not as great as we perceive them to be. Many are being wiped out by oil spills, a slow, painful way for them to die.

Oil in the feathers mat them and expose the seagull to temperatures and weather conditions that can be fatal. They also lose their natural buoyancy from air pockets created by proper feather alignment, and they can sink and drown in polluted waters. But the tragedy doesn’t stop there. An area subjected to an oil spill becomes uninhabitable for the gulls as food supplies are gradually killed off from the toxic poisons, and oil coating nesting areas destroys critical habitat. If birds are already nesting at the time of the pollution, oil that coats the eggs will suffocate the unhatched chicks, decimating the birds’ population.

If eggs have not been laid but female adults ingest the oil, the pollution can cause thinner shells that are more subject to being crushed and causing malformed chicks that will not survive. Over time, small amounts of oil in the birds’ ecosystem can be absorbed into food supplies, gradually building to deadly concentrations in birds that eat that food, whether it is plant life, insects, fish or other food sources.

The seagull, like any species on earth, forms an indispensable link in a chain that binds us all together. And a chain is, after all, only as strong as its weakest link. But, remove that link completely, and the entire becomes chain is useless. So, the next time a seagull snatches a sandwich from your fingers, try and remember that he is just as important as any other creature on our blue planet.

Conservation can be a heavy topic so, to lift your spirits, click on the link below and listen to a 1960’s folk song about an ‘oilsome seagull’ by a South African duo, Des and Dawn Lindberg:

New Writers Comin’ Up

Posted: July 4, 2014 by Alice Frances in Blog, NLW News
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It’s a tough for a new or new-ish writer.  He or she must keep going against all the odds in the hopes of finding a publisher.  The writer faces the possibility that he or she may never get published, but in today’s marketplace, getting published is not the issue. Many writers choose to self-publish (and I’ll be putting an article up soon on that topic), others go with small press or start up publishing houses.

If you have a good story to tell you will always find readers.  Okay, it may be tough getting the word around, but with dedication and effort you’ll find your niche. Tenacity is the name of the game folks. Remember, it’s easy to get lost in your own little world, writing away and expressing your thoughts yet forgetting to share those thoughts.  I have had marvellous material sent from writers who then disappear into the ether, not following up on their initial enquiry, and that’s a real shame.

So do keep the flow of communications going. It’s important to email the potential editor or agent with a gentle nudge or query if you haven’t heard back. Also, keep sending your work around to magazines, publishers, especially small press publishers starting out like you. From tiny acorns and all.

Above all, if someone shows interest don’t abandon that interest.  Never let the ball drop.

Polonius’ advice to Laertes;

Those friends thou hast, and their adoption tried,
Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel

In the meantime, submissions have been pouring in. We have some really interesting new writers on board.  One of these is a truly tenacious and talented writer called Diane Van Der Westhuizen from South Africa. Diane is a hard working girl, if she’s says she’s sending you work, she’s sending you work!

Diane is passionate about conservation and animal welfare and this passion is reflected in her work, which is mighty entertaining by the way. She is able to take the plight of a single bird and turn it into a joyful narrative.

Diane’s new book about Nelson the seagull is around half-way through. Diane works at a tremendous pace, she tells me that she fuels up on coffee and cigarettes and keeps going through the night.  That’s dedication!  (By the way, I’m not promoting cigarettes but each to their own!)

So, well done Diane, keep those chapters coming girl.

Read Diane’s article on endangered seagulls here