Category Archives: Writing

Media release!!!

SEX DRUGS AND MEDITATION  Front cover

by Mary-Lou Stephens

Publication date: April 2013

Wickedly humorous and beautifully told, Sex, Drugs and Meditation is Eat Pray Love meets Judith Lucy. 

It is the true story of a woman with a talent for self-sabotage who learns to sit still, shut up and start living – and loving. 

Miraculously, Mary-Lou Stephens has just made it into her forties. With the aid of therapy and NA/AA she has overcome a tricky childhood (youngest of six kids, evangelical parents); drama school; drug and alcohol addiction; the lure of performing in late night gigs; and her spectacularly poor taste in men. She has landed a dream job as a broadcaster for the ABC. Life is looking good. Except that Mary-Lou has a new boss, a psychopath in a suit.

Determined to avoid MORE therapy, and desperate to cope with an increasingly toxic work environment, Mary-Lou signs up for a ten-day meditation retreat that requires total silence, endless hours of sitting cross-legged, and a food-as-fuel kind of a diet (i.e. basic). For a woman who talks for a living, is rarely still and cooks for comfort, this was never going to be an easy ask.

About the author: Mary-Lou was born and raised in Tasmania. She studied acting at The Victorian College of the Arts and played in bands in Melbourne and Sydney before she got a proper job – in radio. Mary-Lou kicked off her radio career at 2TM in Tamworth. She was lured away to help start up a brand new station in Townsville where she was the Breakfast co-host, Music Director, Assistant Program Director and very tired a lot of the time. Since joining the team at ABC Coast FM Mary-Lou has been the Music Director as well as presenting every shift ever invented including, Drive, Afternoons and Evenings. She lives on the Sunshine Coast with her husband, their dog and a hive of killer native bees.

For media enquiries including review copies and interview time please contact Laura Norton / Pan Macmillan Publicity – E: laura.norton@macmillan.com.au P: (02) 9285 9149 M: 0414 832 504

The Australian Good Weekend Magazine

Lost in prayer

Wilderness years … the author, aged eight, with her mother.

Wilderness years … the author, aged eight, with her mother. Photo: courtesy of Mary-Lou Stephens

When seeking her mother’s attention, Mary-Lou Stephens had to compete with five siblings – as well as a higher power.

My mother was an early riser, out of necessity more than desire. With six demanding children, it was the only quiet time she could wrest from her noisy days. No wonder she turned to religion. Sometimes, as a child, I would shuffle sleepily down the hallway, in what seemed the dead of night, and watch her huddled by the heater, a cup of tea by her side and a book of Bible readings in her hand. Her early-morning study. Bathed in the glow of the heater and the shallow light of the standard lamp, it was as if she floated on an island of peace. I would creep back to bed, not wanting to shatter that illusion.

My mother wanted eight children, my father only four. Six was a compromise, I suppose – three boys, three girls – but my mother never liked to compromise. A miscarriage before I was born and another after meant she did conceive eight souls. Perhaps in her early-morning prayers she whispered to the unborn two, her other babies.

The older and more uncontrollable her brood grew, the more radical my mother’s religion became. Not content with the local parish church, Bible study and good works, she became involved with the Charismatic movement. Speaking in tongues, healing, being slain in the spirit – this became the new vocabulary of her religious life.

When I was a child, I told her how I’d dreamt I was on a beach with a group of people. The sea sucked back on itself, exposing miles of ocean floor. Everyone around me began praising the Lord, much like my mother did at any given opportunity. It was the end of the world and they knew it. They embraced it. They were the chosen ones. A huge rumble vibrated through the sand and, on the horizon, a massive wall of water headed towards us. The Lord-praisers danced and sang in happiness.

“That’s all I remember,” I said to my mum.

She stopped getting breakfast ready and, for the first time in a long time, I had her full attention.

“Praise the Lord,” she said. “You’re a prophet.”

It was a vision from God and He had chosen her child. She took me to her strange meetings and told her friends I was a prophet, but when no other dreams emerged and no further prophecies eventuated, she withdrew the bright light of her attention. I was left in the dark again.

One counsellor told me that growing up with a mother like mine was the same as growing up with an alcoholic parent. Never knowing what to expect, too ashamed to bring friends home, knowing that my mother was different but not knowing why.

And then there was my older brother, who spouted Adolf Hitler’s speeches off by heart and had a Nazi flag in his bedroom. He was 10 years older than me, a terrifying stranger. My next oldest brother once tried to hit my mother with a frying pan, and my oldest sister would often take to my mother with flailing hands and scratching nails. I tried to get my mother’s attention but to no avail.

My closest sister in age to me was a chronic asthmatic, and between disease and disarray, there was no time or space for me. But there was time for other people’s babies. My mother took them in and looked after them, even though she showed no interest in looking after me. Why did she stop loving me? Why did she lose all interest in me? I was only eight, I couldn’t work it out. And because I couldn’t work it out, I thought it must have been my fault. I must have been bad.

My mother was obsessed with strangers’ babies once she could have no more of her own, and I was too old to be treated like one. My siblings were totally uninterested in my welfare and battling to survive themselves in a madhouse. I survived the only way I could. Feral and filthy. Stealing and lying. My sister told me my scalp was yellow because my hair was never washed. My teeth were furry from lack of brushing. Food was my only comfort, my only company. I became obese and my parents either didn’t notice or didn’t care.

All the while my mother praised the Lord, babbling in languages no one understood, and reached her arms to the heavens, ignoring what was going on at her feet.

For his part, my father appeared to be the epitome of patience. In reality, however, he would avoid the awkward or confrontational in the hope it would pass by and resolve itself without him having to participate.

Eventually, he realised my mother’s religious zeal was not a temporary situation to be disregarded until it passed, so he went to a Billy Graham Crusade at the North Hobart Football Oval and got himself saved. He was never as enthusiastic about praising the Lord or breaking into tongues at unexpected moments as my mother, but he went with her to the meetings and rallies.

In our teenage years, my asthmatic sister, always Dad’s favourite, joined in, too. She discovered, as did I, that the best chance of any attention from our parents was to play on the same team. Our older brothers and sisters had fled the nest by this stage. That left the four of us, clapping our hands and singing in tongues. My mother would be swept away in religious ecstasy and my sister, father and I went along for the ride.

Naturally, I never told anyone at school that I sang in tongues with thousands of others at pep rallies. I never mentioned the bellowing preacher who put his hands on my head to slay me in the spirit. I fell down because I thought I should, and then lay on the floor, breathing in the dust and the smell of cheap carpet, feeling cheated. Why was everyone else around me feeling the rapture when all I felt was cranky?

I tried my best to fit in but I felt like a hypocrite. I was told to pray harder. If you’re miserable, pray harder. If you’re in pain, pray harder. If you’re sick, pray harder. If you’re unhappy, it’s your own fault – you’re not praying hard enough. There was no room for confusion or doubt. No room for the fat teenager I had become. Everyone was perfect. Everybody was deliriously happy. Praise the Lord.

When I tried to leave the Charismatic church in my late teens, my mother refused to acknowledge it. “You’re a Christian, darling, and you’ll always be a Christian.” She smiled her tight little smile. My mother owned my spirituality, or so she thought. And at the time I thought so, too. It was all I had ever known.


Edited extract from 
Sex, Drugs and Meditation, published by Pan Macmillan.

As voices take flight

photo: joefutrelle
photo: joefutrelle

This time, after the teaching of metta, as the teacher and his wife go singing off into the distance, I smile. No yearning, no bittersweet melancholy. Only happiness. Yes, they are going where I can’t follow, but I am on my own path – it’s under my feet, meandering into the distance, shaded with overhanging trees. It’s solid, welcoming, real. I sense the wonders, awe, troubles and joy ahead. I am on the path. My path. And they are on theirs as their voices grow fainter and fade away until one of the assistant teachers finally switches off the CD.

The assistant teachers sit for a moment longer then make their way from the meditation hall. The new students eagerly head for the door. I know they will be greeted by a sign, in its own frame, hung from the post directly outside. It will tell them that Noble Silence is lifted. After nine and a half days they are free to talk again. I continue to sit in meditation. Smiling. I am in no hurry. I am not in pain. Love, compassion, goodwill to all beings.

When I finally leave the hall the new students, like little birds, have scattered to chirp excitedly to each other, bursting with stories of pain and triumph, hell and freedom. I walk silently to my room. I’m not ready to speak and know the dangers of speaking too much, too soon. Outside my window two old students greet each other. They talk of anxieties, fears, endless running minds, heads aflame with thoughts. They talk of wanting to leave, of not sleeping, of only wanting to sleep, of good days and bad.

And as for me? What will I say when I finally let my voice take flight? Yes, I had pain. Yes, I did endless head miles. Yes, I felt as though there was a tangle of fat pythons inside my head, squirming and pushing against my skull. But in the end, the meditation took over. Eventually my busy, exhausting mind tired of it’s own stories. It would flick through the choices available, like DVDs on a shelf, and realise it had seen them all before, too many times. Then it would slow, let go, and finally, finally, let me do the work I was here to do. Observe the breath, observe sensations, remember the truth of impermanence. Awareness and equanimity. One step on the path and then another, sometimes shuffling, sometimes skipping, and sometimes doing an about-face when the pain bit back.

The teacher’s words still ring in my head; Liberate yourself from the bondages of craving, aversion, delusion, illusion and enjoy real peace, real harmony, real happiness. But now, finally, it’s time to hear words from my own lips. This time I choose the path leading to the dining hall and lunch, to join the other voices; gliding, swooping, diving and soaring.

 

Almost home

With a heavy thud the Express Post bag hit the bottom of the mail box. An Express Post bag I had just hugged and even given a little kiss. My baby.

My baby is finally all grown up. She has gone through many stages and phases over the last edityears and has had many changes of clothes. She’s still a little under dressed, without a definitive title as yet and her cover still to come, but the things that really matter are complete; her heart, her soul, her spelling and punctuation. Her bravery and truth are undeniable and, even if I do say so myself, she is a bloody good read.

My baby is on her way. And as soon as she is christened and has her glad rags on, she will take on the world.

The true meaning of Boxing Day

Did you go shopping today? Did you get more stuff? The shopping centres were packed on Christmas Eve and packed again today. How much stuff do we need?

I’ve heard that we only use 20 per cent of what we own. We could give the other 80 per cent away and never miss it. I kind of think that’s true. I have my favourite clothes, favourite cook books, favourite mug, favourite bowl. There are only so many glasses I can drink of at any one time without making a mess. The rest of my stuff stays in the wardrobe or in the cupboard for most, if not all, of the time.

Instead of going to the Boxing Day sales, something that I’ve only done a couple of times, BoxesThe Hubby and I decided to put things into boxes instead. Things that we didn’t need, things we never used and things we will never use. Tomorrow I will drop these things off at the charity shop. Hopefully someone will need them and make good use them.

I thought we were turning Boxing Day on its head. I thought we were being revolutionary –  getting rid of stuff instead of getting stuff. But no. I looked up the origins of Boxing Day and what do you know? Boxing Day has its roots in ancient Rome and was called Saturnalia. It was a day in which the rich gave gifts to those who were not so rich. Later on the in England and Europe it was a day when the wealthy gave gifts to their servants.

And why is it called Boxing Day? There’s a link to the Feast of Saint Stephen, which falls on Boxing Day. The custom was to put offerings inside metal boxes left outside churches and this money was for the poor. In Britain tradesmen would receive Christmas boxes of money or presents as thanks. And employers would give their servants boxes of leftover food and perhaps gifts and money to take home to their families.

So it turns out that the history of Boxing Day is all about giving to those with less than ourselves. It’s not about receiving. It’s not about shopping. The Hubby and I aren’t being revolutionary at all. We’re keying into the original intention. The true meaning of Boxing Day. Mr & Mrs Stephens are upholding the tradition of the Feast of St Stephen and we did it without even realising. It’s all a bit spooky really.

Looking now at the boxes all packed and ready to be given to charity, at the empty spaces on our shelves, in our cupboards and in our wardrobe, I feel lighter. There’s more space and energy in our home. We were stuffed full of stuff. Now we are freer. It’s true – by giving, we receive.

How Clive saved Christmas

One of our journalists sighed. Loudly.

“What’s up?” I asked

“Clive Palmer’s people want someone from here to go to his Christmas lunch for the photo copy 3needy. I can’t make it. It’s Christmas Day. I’ll be with my family.”

My family consists of The Hubby, The Dog (Maddie) and The Niece, and The Niece had just accepted an invitation to go camping for two weeks including Christmas Day.

“I could possibly go,” I said.

“Great. I’ll forward the email to you.”

The Hubby and I have a Christmas tradition. Breakfast on the beach. We live on the Sunshine Coast in Queensland. It’s summer. Our Christmas breakfast on the beach consists mainly of prawns. People eat lots of prawns in Queensland at Christmas. I’ve queued for hours to buy them in the past; in stinking heat, in pouring rain – until I discovered that the fish shops stayed open all night to cope with the demand. One year I did a late night run and waltzed straight up to the counter, no queue, no crowds. After that our preferred time to buy Christmas prawns is midnight. Easy.

I read through the email. The press conference was at 11.45 am. The lunch started at midday. Our Christmas tradition at the beach would be well over by then. “This sounds like a hoot,” I said. “I’ll call his PR man to RSVP.”

Clive Palmer is the richest man in Queensland, a multi-millionaire by the time he was 27 thanks to real estate. He retired but none of his friends were as rich as him so he got lonely. He went back to work buying up iron ore rights in the Pilbara instead of condos on the Gold Coast. His millions turned to billions and now he was hosting a Christmas lunch for hundreds of needy people at the resort he bought on the Sunshine Coast and is turning into his own playground with vintage cars, Titanic memorabilia and the first of many life-sized dinosaurs. Others in our team had been out to see Jeff the Dinosaur and to cover other head-line grabbing Clive Palmer stunts but I hadn’t been to the resort since he’d bought it. I was curious and The Hubby and I had no lunch plans.

The Hubby was a little harder to convince, he likes a lazy Christmas, but after I told him Clive’s PR man had said we could leave whenever we liked, he acquiesced. And just as well.

The Hubby said he’d look after the late-night prawn run on Christmas Eve. I was dozing when he returned after midnight.

“No luck with the prawns,” he said as he slid into bed.

“Were they sold out? Did you try the other place?”

“I went to both of them. They were both shut. They’d closed at 8pm having done the all night thing last night instead.”

“Just as well we’re going to Clive’s for Christmas.”

“Yes. I was thinking the same thing.”

We both lay in the dark, hoping that Clive would have prawns.

The next day, instead of our traditional Christmas breakfast of prawns on the beach we had Stollen with marzipan (an impulse buy from the Swiss bakery the day before) and a cup of tea on the patio. We gave The Dog her Christmas present which she ate with gusto. She eats everything with gusto. Except, ironically, prawns. The Hubby and I opened the one Christmas present we’d bought for each other (more on that in my next post) and played with it for a while. Then we slipped into our Christmas clothes and went to Clive’s.

Jeff looked magnificent as we drove past him on our way to the car park, even more photo copyimpressive than the photos and videos I’d seen. He was in the swing of the festive spirit with a Christmas bell around his neck.

At the press conference, I asked some questions, took some photos and experienced first-hand that curiously amusing and infuriating Palmer manner. Then The Hubby and I went into Christmas lunch with hundreds of other people bussed from the Gold Coast, Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast and everything provided for free by Professor Palmer. Yes, he’s a professor as well, of sorts.

It was a buffet lunch with roast meats, cold meats, baked fish, salads, roast vegetables, smoked salmon, freshly baked bread rolls and tables laden with all kinds of desserts for later. We pulled crackers and put on silly hats, chatted with our companions on the media table and waited our turn to join the line to pile our plates high with Christmas cheer. My eyes scanned the cold section of the buffet. There, amongst the bowls of lemon wedges, seafood sauce and thinly sliced salmon were those scavengers of the sea. The Christmas delicacy we love to eat all year round.

Later, as he tucked into his second plate of prawns, paper hat at a jaunty angle, The Hubby said, “Well, I guess this is the year that Clive saved Christmas.”

I guess he was right.

 

 

 

 

 

The Next Big Thing

The Next Big Thing is a series of blog posts where authors talk about their work using the IMG_0783same ten questions. At the end of the blog we tag other authors who will do the same thing a week later. So not only do you get to find out more about my book but you also will discover some other interesting writers. The wonderful Ian Irvine tagged me and here are my answers:

1. What is the working title of your next book?

My title is sex, drugs & meditation. Due to my publisher’s concerns this may change. Remember to Breathe is an option.

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

I used to read self-help and personal growth books. They were full of jargon and exercises I was supposed to do – which I never did.  The bits I really liked were the case studies, the stories. When my life was transformed by meditation, and by one ten-day, silent mediation retreat in particular, I decided to write a case study, the story of what happened.

3. What genre does your book fall under?

Non-fiction. It’s my meditation memoir.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?

This book would be hard, but not impossible, to turn into a movie. It’s based within the frame of a ten-day silent meditation retreat – tough to write a screenplay for that! However there are a lot of flashbacks involving sex, drugs and my life playing in bands and working in radio. Charlize Theron would be great to play me especially as she doesn’t mind not looking too pretty if the role demands it. Ben Kingsley could reprise his Gandhi role and play the teacher.

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Mary-Lou does not have it all. Never has. And now the one thing she does have is under threat. (Okay it’s three sentences but they’re very short.)

6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

My publisher is Pan Macmillan. Selwa Anthony is my agent. The book is due to be released in April 2013

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

Oh Lordy, that’s a tough question. I had so many false starts. I had written 50,000 words most of which didn’t work. I started again after I was given some great advice by a literary agent. “If you’re going to write this book you need to be totally honest.” I freaked out, put the project aside and wrote ten drafts of a novel instead (unpublished). When I was ready to be totally honest I started writing again. This process took about six years.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

Teach Us to Sit Still – Tim Parks

Oh and yes, that book, Eat, Pray, Love. I stated writing my memoir way before Elizabeth Gilbert’s book was released, I promise.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

It is an amazing story and it’s all true. When I read my final draft (before the publishing deal) I said to The Hubby, “This is such a great story. I can’t believe everything in it happened to me. I can’t fathom how I went through so much change and transformation and I’m still completely fucked up.”

He was kind enough to agree that it was an amazing story and not agree with the last bit.

10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?

If you’ve ever been in a situation that you’ve found unbearable – with your work, relationship, health, weight, friends, etc – this book is for you.

If you’ve ever been in a state that you wanted to change but didn’t know how – this is the book for you.

If you’ve ever wanted to clear emotional baggage and be free – this book is perfect.

If you’ve ever wondered what being a radio presenter is really like – you’ll love this book.

If you’re wondering how someone who gets paid to talk could stay silent for ten days – this book will interest you.

If you have any curiosity about, or interest in, meditation – this book is a must.

 

So that’s it for me. If you want to discover some other great writers check these out:

Nikki Stern – her memoir Not Your Ordinary Housewife was released this week.

Paul Fogarty – not only a writer of prose but a writer of songs

Taylor Fulks – her book My Prison Without Bars was released this week.

Sean Tretheway  – two novels released so far and many more to come.

 

 

Is there such a thing as bad meditation?

I’ve always thought that any meditation is a good meditation. Sure, some may be better than others – positive and uplifting, rather than ho-hum, or should that be ho-om…

I love my mediation time. It’s time to myself, to be with myself. I watch those thoughts flit by until they calm down and diminish, until I’m left with space and a blue-sky mind. Other times it’s enough just to be able to sit down for a while and have the excuse of “I’m meditating” to keep all those bothersome tasks at bay.

But apparently not all meditation is good meditation. I’ve interviewed two people recently who have said that meditation can keep us in a negative loop. That if it’s done incorrectly it can ingrain harmful thought patterns and behaviors into our psyches.

Gary Little calls himself a wellness navigator and has spent twenty years researching the causes of pain. According to his findings pain is mostly in the mind and yes meditation is a great source of relief but he’s known people who have maintained their negativity with bad meditation practices.

Peter Hoddle is a metaphysical healer. He has spent a lot of time meditating. Although looking back he believes he wasn’t actually meditating at all when he was in his early twenties. He was either asleep or being run ragged by his mad and damaging thoughts.

In meditation our consciousness is heightened, our awareness expands and our thoughts slow down. It doesn’t matter what kind of meditation you do, as long as it works for you. Observe those mad and negative thoughts and let them go, as opposed to getting hooked in by them and letting them run the meditation and be the boss of you.

But I’m a fine one to talk. So many of my mediations have consisted of fighting with my mad monkey mind. It’s exhausting. But it’s also great fodder. The descriptions of just how mad my mind can get are part of my meditation memoir being released in April 2013 by Pan Macmillan. Oh, hang on a sec. Maybe I need to get the release date pushed forward. Isn’t the world ending in a couple of weeks? Now that’s something to meditate on.

Breath. Breath in,observe. Breathe out, observe. Repeat. I’m feeling better already.

 

 

The Rocking Chair

Every family has iconic photographs that tell a far greater story than the dots imprinted on paper or the pixels on the screen. One of my family’s photos is of me, at not much over a year old, wearing a pair of faded red overalls, dirty feet and a cheeky smile. For support I’m clutching the arm of an old rocking chair on the veranda of our shack. The composition of the photograph is perfect; the colours, the lighting and the moment, all captured with the deft hand of a very experienced photographer. Which he was. My grandfather. He left us a legacy of our childhood years in photographs and slides that adorn our walls, mantelpieces and bookshelves and still get shown at the special slide nights my sister arranges so beautifully.

The Rocking Chair, as we call this photo, was amongst the last he ever took.  He and my grandmother were driving back from the shack. There was an accident. He died almost immediately. My grandmother died in hospital not long after. Two more holiday statistics. The photos were developed later, after funerals and wakes and many tears. Over the festive season I wonder how many sons and daughters, or mothers and fathers, will be left with holiday snaps taken by someone they love who has just become a statistic.

Often when I pull onto the Bruce Highway, especially at this time of year, I find myself doing a quick calculation of the odds. I like to think of it as awareness. A momentary lapse in concentration, an unexpected occurrence, that’s all it takes. Some years ago a fellow driver decided they’d merge from a slip road across both lanes of traffic, forcing me onto the meridian strip and straight towards a concrete bridge. I’m still not sure how I managed to safely manoeuvre the car back onto the highway while the idiot sped off in front of me. I was shaking and crying from the near miss but determined not to show the shock and fear to my young niece who was happily strapped into her booster seat in the back. She was not going to be a statistic that day.

Statistics. We hear a lot about them during the holiday season. And those statistics don’t reveal the heartache experienced by those left behind at this time of year, every year, for many years to come. Or the trauma of the survivors who may be left with permanent physical and emotional injuries.

As you strap on your seat belt spare a thought for your friends, your family and the families of those you don’t know and ensure you have a Happy New Year.

*You’ll also find this post in the December issue of Holistic Bliss Magazine.

 

 

 

 

What’s in a Name?

I’m supposed to be doing NaNoWriMo. I was already falling behind when my copy edits came through. It was a simple decision and one that had to be made thanks to the full-time job. New writing, that may or may not be published, or old writing that has already scored itself a deal? As I said – a simple decision.

Once more into the depths of the as-yet-still-to-be-named meditation memoir. Yes, two rounds of edits and still no title. This is starting to remind me of being in bands. Writing the songs, playing the instruments, booking the gigs are the easy part. Well, straight forward at least. But naming a band? That’s tough. The name has to be just right. First impressions and all that. I like my title, sex, drugs & meditation but I understand if it needs to change. After all, it started out as Ten Days to Enlightenment & A Really Sore Bottom and then turned into The Vipassana Diaries. Anything is possible.

I’ve never had to name a child but I’ve heard how fraught it can be. Mind you I did change my name by deed poll when I was about twenty years old proving you don’t have to be stuck with the name your parents have agonised over.* Can a book change its name once it’s been christened? Books do have different titles in different markets. I guess that comes down to the publisher’s choice. When the overseas deals start coming in, will I go through this process all over again? And how does the digital world of ebooks deal with different titles in different markets? This is all ahead of me.

I do wonder about the power of names. We called our second-hand six-year-old dog Maddie, and that is what she has proved to be. Her RSPCA name was Magic. We thought it was a bit naff. We couldn’t see ourselves calling out “Magic, Magic” on the beach. Which is possibly why we can no longer take her there. We called “Maddie, Maddie” and instead of coming to us, she bit a dog. Mad indeed.

But Shakespeare said, “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” What’s in a name indeed? I wonder if he had trouble naming all those plays. That’s just given me some ideas for the title of my meditation memoir. How about Much Ado about Sitting Still and Doing Nothing. Or Taming of the Mary-Lou? Or As You Don’t Like It? Ah the possibilities are endless.

It is just like naming a band. But in the end you need something to put on the CD cover. I wonder what it will be. Has anyone done the self-titled album thing with books? The eponymous approach? Mary-Lou Stephens by Mary-Lou Stephens. You know what, I like it. Now all I need to do is to convince the publisher, the sales team and the book buyers. Wish me luck.

*I changed it back again.