A Change of Scenery

Ruben stood at the top of the mosaic-covered stairs. Before him was the most beautiful garden he had ever seen.

Every day I am here in Paris I realise more and more, just how fortunate I am.

Paris is beautiful and amazing and fascinating and different … and I am so lucky to be here.

But more than the wonders of my surroundings, I am lucky because I have choice and freedom.

I can write or not. Any time I choose, I can go back to my real world, to a life that’s so much easier than what my story characters endure.

Kids entertainment in the park

Beyond Belief is a work of fiction so I get to decide things for Ruben and his friends. I also get to make choices as a writer and a person …. choices about my life.

People living in countries at war don’t have these options. War is relentless and cruel and people suffer through it every day of their lives … and die because of it. People fight to protect their country and their loved ones. They fight to find somewhere to live in peace and without fear. They fight for their lives.

It’s important that we tell their stories.

Father swan protects the family

Yesterday I stepped out of the intense world of my story to regain my perspective. I needed space to think and reflect so that I could tell Ruben’s story with authenticity, but with hope.

I went to the Parc Montsouris, and there amidst the beautiful spring vistas and everyday life, I worked on my far from everyday story.

Spring in Paris

Beyond Belief is a story I am compelled to tell. It’s a relatively untold chapter in history and it’s a tribute to courage and the human spirit, and to people who helped each other in time of need regardless of race or religion.

If you’d like to share your experiences about how you balance life and writing about difficult themes or topics, I’d love to hear from you.

Feel free to share in the comments section of this post.


This project is supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria 


12 thoughts on “A Change of Scenery

  1. Writing is the balance as the reality of our current circumstances are very difficult to comprehend. Growing up in Africa was idyllic, the sunsets, landscapes, opportunity and then came the communist onslaught, funded by Russia and China. For years people were blown to bits by bombs. Young men aged sixteen, were trained and sent to fight the terrorists attacking farmers. It is always the innocent that became the casualties of these wars of idealism.

    I remember as a child forgetting to get milk and going back to the supermarket to find it cordoned off. A bomb had exploded in the trash basket against a pillar. I had parked my bicycle nearby not 20 minutes before.Wars were won and lost, people died, the Marxist idealism ripped and destroyed the countries around us. Mocambique, Zambia, Rhodesia / Zimbabwe reduced to poverty-stricken ruins of their former selves.

    People have moved around the world and many of us found new lives in South Africa. We heralded the birth of new freedom, cherished people like Nelson Mandela who I was privileged to work for.

    Now the truth of the hidden Marxist agenda has come to the fore. A cable of die-hard Marxists have usurped the country in-league, with the most corrupt businessmen. These people are so dishonest, banks have closed their business accounts. The role of Finance Minister is now given to an ex-policeman. They have successfully hijacked the country to divert resources to their own profit. Millions of people live in poverty on grant welfare. Seventeen million people cannot find work, out of fifety six million people and four million foreigners from across the Marxist ideology, raped neighbors..

    Imagine coming a full circle, these people are paying propaganda specialists to sow racial hatred in the country. This sounds like a science fiction movie, but it is the sad and depressing truth. Our education system is producing illeterate, unemployable people. These new youth have taken to support ultra left marxist politicians, who encourage them to squat on land with no facilities.

    We are meant to be in the age of enlightenment. The Age of Aquarius started on the 5th May 2012, and is in the process of the three hundred years it will take to enter the new cycle. You will read tomorrow how thousands of citizens are marching unanimously to object to this mans’ actions. He refuses to step down, and has sent files to the senior management of their dubious past, ensuring complicity in his actions.

    We have forgotten what normal is. People are murdered and shot evryday in crimes for their TV’s and cell phones. In my street alone we have had 4x robberies in the last month all with armed gunmen. They shot a mother, father in their legs, and their daughter in the foot. What barabarism and their is so much of it, it is not even mentioned. It becomes a statistic of crime in the police files.Last friday I hear a neighbour screaming for help, we have armed response they were here in minutes, but the theives ran away with TV and cell phones. They kicked the peoples door in, their is no safety anywhere.

    Our neighbours have left their beautiful home, as he cannot guarantee his wifes’ safety.

    When you see pictures of normalacy like shown here, all I can say is, “Cry my beloved country.” from the immortal work of Alan Paton, Cry , the beloved country.

  2. Thank you Gavin for sharing your heartrending experiences here.

    I can’t begin to imagine what you must be going through.

    I write to bring about understanding and change … but sometimes it seems so hard to make a difference.

    So much sadness … so many heartbreaking and terrible things still happening everywhere.

    I hope you see some peace restored to your world soon.


  3. Yes! Enjoy. There’s something so empowering about walking where your characters walk. Makes me believe in ghosts…or at least in the power of books.

  4. I love that you get to be there and write this compelling story. Your passion shines through your words and your pictures. I thought I might be jealous of you getting to be in Paris, but I’m not. I’m cheering you on from the sidelines.

    I lived through a revolution (a coup) in Ethiopia as a kid. Scary times. I can certainly relate to your Rueben.


  5. What a terrible experience that must have been for you, Deb.

    Have you written about it?

    I am so lucky to be here … and to have people like you cheering me on 🙂


  6. Dee, I have not written about it yet. It was pretty traumatic. I’ve discussed it some with others who were in my boarding school at the time. One day I’ll try to find the words to share it. It takes courage to talk about. I refuse to live in fear so I’m sure I will write about it soon.

    Looking forward to the next part of your journey.


  7. Hi Deb,

    I’m sure it would be a very difficult story to tell and you definitely have to tell it in your own words in your own time. I hope that doing so will bring you peace.

    Dee xx

  8. Thanks. Sometimes those childhood fears stay with you, especially when you are told by the adults you can’t talk about it, as you, a loved one, or a native might die. Somehow it got locked up inside me. I know nothing bad can happen now; the regime is long dead, but it got to be a habit. Interesting. Thanks for asking me about this. I think you just gave me a way out, a way to tell it.

    How are you going there? What causes you joy or fear? You have a wonderful capacity to share with us all. Hugs to you.

  9. What a terrible time you must have gone through Deborah.

    I can see how important your story is to you, and I hope you find a way to tell it.

    I think hope and love bring me joy, Deborah and those are the things I like to bring out in my writing. I think my greatest fear is that something bad will happen to those I love. So I guess this comes out in my writing.

    So glad my journey is resonating with you.

    Hugs to you too.


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