I saw the Magic, but I did not understand it…

I’ve been invited to many book clubs to talk about Chasing Dreamtime. The following are a sampling of often asked questions, along with my abbreviated answers.

Most asked Question: Are you crazy?

Neva: Well, borderline, hopefully, not as crazy as I was then. The story takes place 30 years ago…those years [the ‘60’s and ‘70’s] were wild times.

Q: Weren’t you scared?

Neva: I’ve gotta say, at the time, I was living from moment to moment. I never saw what was coming next. The two scariest scenarios were sailing with the Vietnam Vet who completely lost it at sea and, of course, the snake…

Q: I was worried about your hygiene through the entire book. How did you manage?

Neva: Buckets of saltwater doused over the head after washing with Joy detergent works fine…dries out the hair a bit though.

Q: I don’t get why you would keep going on after all those things happened to you, one after another…what were you thinking?

Neva: Thinking! I was in survival mode, just trying to stay alive…and, I always assumed something good was about to happen.

Q: Why did it take you so long to write this book and how did you remember all the details of the journey?

Neva: I started writing the stories while I was living in Australia and continued through the years, but life always got in the way: having a family, other books, jobs, and it took me a long time to understand exactly what the journey was about.

I used the letters I wrote to my parents as guidelines, but found I left all the good [strange and scary] stuff out because I didn’t want to worry them at the time.

Q: I thought the part about the Aboriginals was fascinating, but I still don’t get the concept of Dreamtime. Can you describe it for us?

Neva: Well, that’s a dicey prospect. As I say in the book: “It’s not for the whitefella ta know.” From my limited understanding, I’d say Dreamtime is the Aboriginal interpretation of how the world came into being and its governing metaphysical principles. Dreamtime is nature and the spirit world deeply entwined. I called my experience of it [in the book] the “seen unseen.”

We are perilously close to losing their ancestral knowledge as their numbers dwindle. Thankfully Aboriginal Dreamtime stories are slowly moving from oral tradition into written form.

Q: Did you ever see any of the characters again?

Neva: Oh yes, Edward remains a close friend to this day.

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