PODCAST SHOW NOTES
Join hosts Veronica and Darren as they discuss the existential and philosophical implications of a mouldy coffee cup, and why writing a journal can sometimes soothe and repair the soul. We cover how grief can shape new visions in life and the wonders of taking the time to rest your brain. Not only that, but we have a stunningly insightful and heart warming interview with author Marie Sulda who shares the journey that formed her book 'Travel The Mind' - A Book of Magical Meditation Adventures for Children. Stay tuned at the conclusion of the episode for one of Marie's magical readings from her book and be transported to a place of peace, calm and happiness....
Spotlights: The Helot's Tale Books 1 & 2 by David Cairns of Finavon + The Jade Book by Elizabeth Klein
When did you first admit that you were a writer?
What was your favourite book as a child?
What inspired you to write this book?
My daughter Sienna passed away suddenly from a spontaneous dissection of a brain AVM that began at school one day. This sent me on a journey of grief and in that, I looked back to all of my precious memories of her. One of my favourite memories was lying in between her bed and her sisters bed, holding their hands and taking them on a journey meditation to relax at bedtime. They called them imagination stories. Sometimes they were meditation and sometimes they were adventure stories.
It highlighted, something I already knew to be true, that the most important things in life are the small things, the small moments. In fact, Sienna had written a beautiful poem about those “Small Things” about 6 months before she passed away.
It was this, and also the challenge I was then having with my earth daughter, who had lost her best friend and was already suffering anxiety and now layered with grief. Sometimes, the best thing I could do, to calm her mind at bedtime, was to create one of these spaces.
All of these tendrils came together, and one day when I was lying in a float tank, it just came to me….this is what you have to do. I knew Sienna would want to be honoured for her wisdom and beautiful memories (not her tragic passing), she always wanted to grow up and help anxious children and she wanted to be an author. I wanted to help other parents and give them a tangible tool, and there wasn’t much out there for grieving siblings either. It just all fell into place in my mind….and so it began!
Do you write for yourself or for a particular audience?
I believe I have a few books in me for adults and teens seeking meditation, but for the time being, my focus is on children!
Is there anything specifically Australian about your book?
I feel very connected to where I live, to nature, to the ocean, to the community. My daughter Sienna loved nature and animals and I really want the children of today to feel that connection to the ground they are walking on, to know how healing it is and that we are not external to it, we are a part of it. So there is a special meditation in there teaching the concept of our connectedness to nature and all things.
Are there any secrets hidden in your writing?
I love this question. And yes, there is. My secret is that I hope that by children practicing these meditations they find a deep connection to themselves. I hope that they realise, they are the masters of their own emotions, reality and healing. That they already have all the answers within and in that space, is where the magic happens, there is more than meets the eye.
Why do you think listeners should read your book?
As a Mum, I would say, it gives you a tangible tool if you have an anxious child at bedtime. If you have a grieving child, there is a special meditation in there to connect to a loved one and it makes the bedtime routine magical.
I have had a lot of teachers use this book within their classroom and they tell me stories about the amazing insights the kids have after the meditations and Sienna’s poem often prompts discussion on what “Small Things” they are grateful for.
From a kids perspective, I have had lovely parents email me to say that their children are now looking forward to bedtime and they are already pre-planning which meditation adventure they want to go on that evening.
Is there a message in your book?
The main message is that the small things are the big things. Rather than having a stressful bedtime after a hard day, why not turn it into a magical space where you are all relaxed and calm and can create beautiful memories.
The second message is to teach children to connect to their inner self, their unconscious mind and that all the answers they need are found within this magical space.
What’s the best response you’ve ever had to your writing?
My best response was from a mother who was reading it to her 8 year old daughter and had been for several nights. Her 11 year old son quietly came up to her and said, Mum, could you read those to me too. She thought he may be too old or didn’t’ seem interested, but he loved it and loved the time with his Mum.
What genre/s do you write in?
What genre/s do you mostly read?
Spiritual and Biographical….I am always seeking!!
What book are you reading at the moment?
God Took my Clothes by David Suich.
As a writer, are you a plotter or a pantser or somewhere in between?
I am definitely a panster. I feel like I sat down and channelled this all in.
How much research is involved in your writing?
I was very conscious that what I wrote would be beneficial for children and therefore I did have several specialists in their fields of psychology, meditation, counselling and hypnotherapy look over the book to ensure it was appropriate.
What’s your writing routine if you have one?
When I was in that float tank where it came to me that this book had to be written, I did hear (be it from my subconscious mind or beyond) that….just sit down and it will come to you. So I created a space in my office, lit a candle, did a meditation and then I could see all the dots joining and the words flowed.
Where do you write?
In my office and my daughter’s bedroom
What’s your favourite writing food and drink?
Lemon and Ginger Tea….no food…I would get too distracted….I love food too much.
Who helped you most when you were starting out?
The beautiful illustrator of this book, Youngsun Brown. She is my sister in law and she read my mind on the illustrations. I just said, read it and see what comes and it was like she was inside my brain. The watercolours were perfect!
What’s the most useful writing advice you’ve been given?
Write it all, let it flow and fix and edit later.
What’s your writing goal for the next twelve months?
I have at least four projects in my mind, but I will allow for the one to come forward that needs to be written first. I will know it when I know it. There is a meditation book for classrooms, there is a meditation book for teens, one for adults and a longer term project around the nuggets of gold found in Near Death Experiences.
What inspired your book cover?
It was the beautiful Youngsun Brown creating a magical world.
Who would you most like to read your book as an audiobook?
As in an actual person? I would like Kristen Bell to read it to her two daughters. Me and my daughters watched the “Good Place” she starred in during lockdown (just before Sienna passed) and we had so many laughs, it was a great memory. So I would like to return the favour to her somehow.
What words of advice would you give an aspiring author?
Don’t overthink it, feel it, intuit it.