Copyright- all rights reserved. You are welcome to quote from this site with due acknowledgement and prior consent of the authors.




This blog will still be here but will no longer be active.

The Original "Getting Real"

The Original "Getting Real"
Please click on the picture to order this book.

Hilliard & Croft Books

Welcome to our blog!

Christina is represented by

Leo Media & Entertainment

We have many new projects currently underway and hope that you will enjoy our blog as well as our books and website:

Hilliard & Croft

Friday, 30 October 2009


The night is so dark and misty - the perfect setting for the lead up to Hallowe'en, and what a set of bizarre reactions there are to that night! Here in England, I have heard from several quarters, a strange sort of backlash against this 'American import' this year. A few years ago, I heard a priest raging against it - calling it 'dangerous' like some kind of satanic ritual.

It's true that until maybe five or ten years ago, beyond the scary ghost stories and occasional pumpkin in a window, it seemed to have died out in England. There were no 'trick or treats' - instead there was (on November 4th) Mischief Night - which really meant stealing the wood from other people's bonfires before November 5th. Mischief Night escalated into putting treacle on door knobs, then throw eggs at windows or stealing someone's gates. People said how bad times were - forgetting that right back to the Middle Ages any excuse for disorder was welcomed! Trick or treat is mild in comparison and, personally, I think it's fabulous fun for children and a great American import Thank you, America!

The priest's reaction seems to go back to another era. The era when we didn't all live so indoors, hiding behind central heating and double glazing - when the dark night wasn't scary and the change of seasons was celebrated; when animals were brought indoors and there was no separation between humanity and the other creatures of the earth: the era, perhaps, before Christianity in its impurest sense arrived on these isles. The darkness of the night, the respect of the seasons was not something to be feared, but something to be respected. It spoke of the darkness within us - the fears, the judgements, the bitterness and the need to hide from ourselves. Samhain, like the May time Beltane, simply marked that contrast in Nature, that is reflected within us. It spoke of our fears as surely as springtime speaks of our hope. And here's an interesting thing: in the days and cultures where such things were acknowledged, respect for the wisdom of the elders was profound. Now, in our culture that fears the dark, we treat elderly people badly. We want only spring, only to be insulated from the natural flow of the seasons, and wonder why the world is as it is.

Hallowe'en - All Hallows Night - Hallowed (the same word that appears in The Lord's Prayer to describe God's Name) is not a nasty scary thing of ghouls and vampires and skeletons. It's no less a Feast Day than any other. Unless we face our fears, we are destined to be haunted by them, and it seems to me that our greatest fears are facing up to our own shadows - our own resentments, judgements, unforgiveness.

So...thank you again, America, for reviving our ancient tradition of remembering All Hallows Night - after all, if God/Life is omnipresent, everything is holy!

(Photograph courtesy of Andre Hilliard

Friday, 23 October 2009

All The World Is A Stage

"All the world's a stage," wrote Shakespeare in describing the comings and goings and passing of time in a person's life. It's interesting to consider that in the lives of most of the people that we know, we are all bit-part players. We appear on the periphery of someone's memory or as something like 'serving wench' or 'third gentleman' in someone else's script. At the same time, we constantly appear centre-stage in our own drama.

Hamlet (obviously, from a different play) is a character whom I adored in my youth. His psychological complexity; his contradictions - one moment total inaction and apathy, the next rash action - have such appeal but he was merely the centre of his own play, as we all are, perhaps. And, to quote him, "therein lies the rub." Laertes, on the other hand, was straight to the point - a character who does not inspire such affection because he seems to lack the complexity that makes Hamlet so appealing as he sits hugging the skull of the late jester, or suddenly engaging in a rash sword fight to the death.

Nowadays, I think Hamlet is the epitome of youthful angst and self-centredness. His obsession with the idea that he has been wronged and must, somehow, avenge that wrong, is combined with the idea that his motives are altruistic (on behalf of his dead father). The bit part players in his life mean nothing to him and even as he cradles that skull, he is really thinking of himself and his own mortality.

And maybe that is how most of us view the world. We fight our own imaginary battles, and for our own illusory causes, constantly blaming some outside interference and never realizing that we are creating our own drama. We get to choose if we want to be tragic or comic heroes or heroines. We have the possibility of writing our own scripts; and sometimes it is very interesting to hear the bit-part players in our lives and suddenly realize we are also bit-part players in someone else's play. How fascinatingly we all interact!

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Lady Constance Lytton

The lines we take in as children remain with us forever. One evening when I was a child the BBC series "Shoulder to Shoulder" was on TV. It was the episode about the very courageous Lady Constance Lytton (daughter of the Viceroy of India and Queen Victoria's lady-in-waiting) who, having been arrested several times for protesting in favour of votes for women and receiving preferential treatment on account of her aristocratic background, disguised herself as a poor seamstress and was subsequently arrested, went on hunger strike and was brutally forcibly-fed, without a medical examination which would have revealed her chronic heart complaint which had kept her as a semi-invalid all her life. Gentle animal loving Constance became known as a militant suffragette, when she had never harmed anyone but, against all her upbringing and instincts took a stand for justice. I think, what kept her an invalid and what led to that heart complaint was simply the stifling of who she really was and the smothering of all her talents. She broke out of that in a most courageous way and wrote a book about her experiences - "Prisons & Prisoners" - which is largely forgotten now.

The lines that really stuck with me came from something she quoted:

"Have you seen the locusts, how they cross a stream? First one comes down to the water's edge and is swept away. Then another comes and another, and gradually their bodies pile up and make a bridge for the rest to pass over." She ended by saying, "Well, perhaps I made a track to the water's edge."

It's a beautiful thought when follow our own paths, even when they seem to veer away from what is expected...