Sunday, July 26, 2009

Savvy Auntie's Day

My adopted Aunty Thelma is second from the right. The other people in the photo are, from the left, her eldest brother, Les, her twin, Joan, her mother, Hazel, and on the right, her father, Les Archer.

A few weeks ago I learnt that 26 July is Savvy Auntie's Day - a day when we can show our appreciation to all aunts, great aunts and godmothers. So in honour of all aunts everywhere, whether aunts by blood or by choice, I thought I'd post this poem, which is a tribute to an adopted aunt of mine, who grew up in a motorcycling family and broke a motorcycling record together with her twin, at Brooklands, when she was still just 15. A remarkable achievement at any time, let alone in the 1930s.

My adopted Aunty Thelma on her successful record-breaking attempt at Brooklands in the 1930s

The Adopted Aunt

A dear, old friend of the father,
this adopted Aunty Thelma,
a motorcyling passion combining
and open directness,
dryness of wit and
keen sharpness of mind
subtly enticing.

The surname Archer,
synonymous with motorbikes
in long-lost 1930s England,
inseparable from her sisterly twin,
both perfectly at home on those
roaring two-wheeled machines,
clad in helmet and leathers,
racing round Brooklands
at incredible speed,
models of skill
and consummate ease -
the world record broken,
an awesome feat and
wasn't it a breeze?
Yet she and her sister
still so young and innocent,
world record holders,
though not yet sixteen,
everyone safe, thank God!
And the bikes? Not a dent!

Flouting conventions
and blazing a trail
for the women of tomorrow
to follow and pave -
like beacons shining their lights
to those who are still far away,
yet rolling ever nearer
in wave after wave.
Yet when day turns to night,
this beacon called Thelma
discards the leathers,
the grease and the grime
and in graceful dress of mirrored silk,
moving with curved elegance
to the music of brass and string,
she turns men's heads,
making their hearts gleefully sing.

One she then finds and
married life starts,
house and work,
exercise and travel,
nieces and nephews,
godchildren galore
filling the seconds
and minutes of her days...
Among them two girls,
honorary nieces of
this old friend called Nick,
showered unfailingly
every birthday and Christmas
with cards of delight
and presents of wonder...
Into adulthood and beyond,
for almost half a century,
though bodily ills dissipate
energy and activity,
no birthday or Christmas is forgot.

No blood aunt could have shown
more love or compassion,
greater thoughtfulness or kindness
or heart steadier, more generous.
No relative could have given
greater cheerfulness or warmth
on visits to that cottage of ancient charm,
nestling in Hampshire countryside
of verdant green,
nourishing the soul with beauty,
peace and calm.

Time has now had its final say,
yet memories of a woman
tall and fashionable,
with happiness of heart
and lightness of smile,
of unceasing strength and dignity
as the lengthening years took their toll,
will most surely gladden the heart
in the days that are to come,
filling it with gratitude and thanks
for a wonderful soul,
freed now from physical bonds
and enriching eternity
with its infinite grace
and endless, glowing charity.

Thank you, Aunty Thelma,
for thinking of us so kindly
through all the many, many years,
for touching our hearts
with zest and joy...
You are family, indeed,
the love in our hearts tells us so,
and we will never forget you,
as witnessed by our smiling tears.

Copyright © Helena Harper

(This poem will be added to my other poems in my collection Family and More - Enemies or Friends?, when it is published as a paperback.)

What memories do you have of your aunts - adopted or otherwise? Feel free to share.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Anyone for tennis?

As a long-standing tennis fan and with Wimbledon having given us such great matches during the past two weeks, I'd like to post two poems as a tribute to the game and to the people who help us play it.


Eyes lasering in
on the ball,
top spin,
side spin,
no spin?
Legs running,
feet jumping,
toes tripping,
arms swinging,
heart pumping,
blood rushing,
lungs bursting,
mouth gasping,
cheeks blazing,
sweat pouring,
ball hitting,
ball missing,
ball in,
ball out,
hands clapping,
mouths shouting,
tongues cursing,
lips screaming,
racquets throwing,
movement thrilling,
endorphins fizzing,
exuberance peaking,
exhaustion winning,
eyes glowing.

Copyright © Helena Harper


Not one of your green youngsters this one,
wet behind the ears,
oh no, not he,
the once lithe, young body of twenty or so years
marked now by middle-age spread and dubious knees.
Physically unprepossessing without a doubt,
fitness not what it was,
victim of recurrent infections
and numerous operations
on those annoyingly painful, troublesome knees,
but execution and choice of shot mesmerizing;
years of experience honing his craft
at home and abroad in countless foreign countries,
a teacher par excellence,
able to explain in few words and wise
varying techniques and match-winning strategies,
assessing the pupil with expert eyes,
for effective coaching an essential,
yet a mystery to younger colleagues
who have learnt but one way
and teach from the book
whether suited to pupil or not,
though it’s clear to all
once you know the difference
and properly look.

A tiny detail here,
one word there,
and understanding and game
start to transform,
for it begins to dawn
with ever increasing light
how mental attitudes affect shot selection
and the outcome of the fight,
and finally one comes to know
what “eye on the ball” actually means,
all so totally different
to what happened before
with the other “normal” pros
who coached by rote
and made lessons a bore.

And thus it shows once more
that appearances do indeed often deceive
and one mustn’t judge books by their cover or sleeve,
for if we do we shut out all kinds of possibilities
not thought of and wonderful,
which can lead us to paths
both surprising and joyful.

Copyright © Helena Harper

Friday, July 3, 2009

Owen Fiddler - a morality tale with a difference

Today, in my second post this month about award-winning author and blogger, Marvin D. Wilson, you can learn more about his morality tale Owen Fiddler and his latest book, Between the Storm and the Rainbow, which is an anthology of the best posts from his blog The Old Silly's Free Spirit Blog.

Owen Fiddler is the tale of one man's bad behaviour from his early years as a boy through adulthood. Owen Fiddler is a womanizer, a drunkard and a liar. He behaves horribly toward his mother, stepfather, and brother and he never takes any responsibility for his actions or their consequences because there is always someone else to blame - his brother Paize, his stepfather, his friends and others. There are some unique characters, including Lou Seiffer (Lucifer), a truck driver who lends Owen money, and Kris (Jesus Christ). And there is also Frenda, Owen's daughter, who becomes the light of his life. The story shows how Owen's life goes from bad to worse and how he finally finds salvation. As the book description says, Owen is “no role model for you or your kids, but reading his story will learn ya a thing or two, and that's a fact. This is an entertaining, thought-provoking, humorous and spiritually insightful book which will surely have you thinking about your own life. Hey you – yeah, you! Do you like to dance? Don’t forget to pay the fiddler!”

Owen Fiddler Trailor

Below you can read an excerpt from the novel, Owen Fiddler.

Frenda, Owen and Kris Meet in the Never-World

Frenda turned to Owen. He was kneeling on the floor, hands clasped together over his heart, head down, wide-eyed and shaking. Residual human feelings rose up in her and she again felt the rise and fall of the heart as it went through the emotional gamut of love, anxiety, pity, anger, disappointment and hope. She dispensed with her aura and morphed back into her simple earthly form, dressed in a plain white cotton robe. She dropped to her knees on the floor facing Owen. She felt nothing but affection. She looked him in the eyes and said, “Daddy.”

The stark simplicity of her statement stabbed Owen in his heart and he burst into tears, falling forward into Frenda’s arms. She held him, caressed and stroked his back as he wept. After a long moment, she propped him back up, calmed him with a thought and said, “I have someone I want you to meet.”

Owen knew who it was she spoke of and he was not feeling ready for that meeting. “I’m not worthy,” he whispered, “I’m not worthy of your concern for me.”

“Oh, Daddy, yes, you most surely are.”

“I’ve been a carousing irresponsible drunkard all my life.”

“I don’t care. I forgive you.”

“I cheated on your mother, many times.”

“I forgive you.”

“I’m a sexual predator.”

“Forgiven; that and everything else can all be in the past. I forgive you.”

“I’m a thief, Frenda, you don’t understand. I cheat. I take things I haven’t earned, things that aren’t mine and I never repay my debts.”

“I do understand, Daddy, I can see everything now and I forgive you all your transgressions and misguided deeds.”

Owen paused for a time, trying to raise the courage to put forth his deepest dark secret, the one final damning admission that he knew would end this conversation with a victory in his own personal Hell. “F-F-Frenda,” he said with bowed head, “I … I … it was me who was responsible for your death. I stole the money from your purse, the deed that led to your fatal accident. I killed you, baby girl. Please just go now and leave me to my fate. I am unworthy of your love.”

Frenda laughed.

Startled, Owen looked up, “What’s so funny?”

“Daddy, look at me. Do I look dead to you?”

“Frenda, you know what I mean”

“No, I don’t know or accept what you mean. Life and freedom everlasting are what I know now, and I am growing a bit impatient with your stubborn self-pity. Daddy, are you sorry for all those things you’ve done?”

“Oh yes, baby girl, I am so sorry, so terribly sorry.”

“Then I forgive you. For everything. Now look, Daddy, we don’t have much time. You are due back on earth any minute now. It’s not a good situation for you back there. You are near physical death in a coma. Daddy, look at me. Look me in the eyes. What do you see?”

Owen looked into his daughter’s heavenly hazel eyes. Love and compassion poured into his being, swept over his mind, cascaded down over his heart and broke the dam in his soul. It burst open with the joyous acceptance of forgiveness. He hadn’t known this feeling before, was speechless in a precious moment of rapture.

Frenda sensed the change in him and repeated her request, “Daddy, you must meet with my friend. It is one thing for me to forgive and for you to receive my forgiveness; but ultimately for you to be with me forever, for you to have eternal life and peace, you must meet and reconcile with him. Can we please do this now? Daddy … please?”

Owen couldn’t believe his own voice saying, “Yes.”

Frenda tilted her head back, threw her arms wide open and voiced in a loud beseeching bellow, “KRIS!”

“No need to shout, I’m right here.”

Both startled, Frenda and Owen rose to their feet to the sound of Kris’ happy chortling, only to feel the floor removed from under them and witness the room disappear. They were now held in weightless suspension in the middle of an orb of light. It resembled a cosmic eye that looked inward at them from every direction.

The eye spoke.

“Owen, Owen, my friend, it is good to finally have an audience with you and to have your undivided attention. I have been here all the time. I have witnessed your sincere apology to your daughter and your acceptance of her forgiveness. Now here comes the bigger question. Can you do the same with me? I promise it won’t hurt.”

Owen was thunderstruck. He thought back to all the followers of this god who he had helped into adultery and hypocrisy. He remembered the innocent pastor who had taken the rap and lost his spiritual career over his misdeeds. His heart sank as he recalled all the foul epithets and curses he had thought and said guided toward anyone and anything that represented in anyway a believer in the Way of the Christ. He bowed his head and closed his eyes in an attempt to escape the stare of the inquisitive omnipresent eye.

The eye spoke.

“Owen, I know of all these things you are thinking. They are not you unless you hang on to them in your mind and do not repent of them. I offer you a release. I possess the capacity, with your permission and help, to rid you of your dark clinging to those deeds as if they represent the true and essential you. We are the same, Owen, but you have forsaken me in your deluded sense of self and separation from the All. Listen carefully, my friend. You are not a human being having a spiritual experience. You are a spiritual being having a human experience, the knowledge of good and evil, the temptations of the flesh and free will.

You have not done so well with your choices so far, on that we are agreed. Your basic error has been in not understanding the interconnectedness of all things and beings. Everything is one, Owen. Because of this truth, this basic law of the universe, it is impossible to take from another without taking from yourself. When you harm another, you harm yourself. When you deceive others, you deceive yourself. Conversely, giving to, helping and loving others are none other than loving and helping your self. Do you understand this now, Owen?”

Owen did understand, in a momentous flash of enlightenment. He got it. His eyes went wide open. He felt strange and light. He could scarce believe the calm and happiness in his heart as he said, “Yes … I understand.”

“I can see it is true,” the eye of Kris said, “Now that you know the truth, the truth can set you free. Change is possible. Are you ready to change?”


“Are you sorry for the mistakes you’ve made?”

“Yes, yes!”

“Do you believe in the Truth, and believe that I the One, the Truth, the Light and the Way, can cleanse you of your errant ways?”

“Yes, in Truth, I believe!”

“Good. You are forgiven. Go now, and stop making stupid mistakes.”

Owen disappeared, evaporated into a puff of mist. Kris materialized, smiled at the puff, and motioned it away with a sweep of his arm. A clap of thunder and a silver streak of vapor bolted toward earth.

Owen Fiddler
Retail Price: $16.95
Page Count: 212
ISBN 10: 1594315639
ISBN 13: 978-1594315633
Book Website:
Available for purchase at:
or at your favorite bookstore.

Marvin's latest book, Between the Storm and the Rainbow, is an anthology of the best of the best posts from his award-winning and internationally popular The Old Silly's Free Spirit Blog. It is a book that will inspire you, stimulate deep thoughts and emotions and also give you plenty of laughter. When you read this book, you will see why there is such a global community of readers who count on their daily dose of The Old Silly's Free Spirit Blog.

Accolades for Free Spirit

“I stumbled upon Marvin's blog clearly by accident and found his words to be like verbal magnets pulling me into this world he inhabits. It is a terrain full of wisdom, humor, homespun philosophy, good common sense, a poetic sensibility and uncommon spirituality. Reading this man's work makes it easy to become a confirmed 'Marvaholic!'”
L.M. Ross, poet and author of Manhood and The Moanin' After

“Marvin Wilson's award-winning Free Spirit blog not only surprises and shocks you; it tells it like it is, with a generous dollop of love.”
Jean Henry Mead, author of A Village Shattered and Escape

“I can count on one of three things from my daily visit to Free Spirit … a smile, a feeling of spiritual growth or something to make me think deeply. Many days, they are all rolled into one.”
Joyce A. Anthony, author of Storm

"It's an adventure reading what Marvin Wilson writes on Free Spirit since you never know what to expect from him, other than something that will delight, amuse, enrich or inspire!"
Connie Arnold, author of Beautiful Moments of Joy and Peace and Abiding Hope and Love

Between the Storm and the Rainbow
Retail Price: $18.99
Paperback: 426 pages
Publisher: All Things That Matter Press (February 12, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0982272235
ISBN-13: 978-0982272237

Available for purchase at:

If you wish to contact Marvin, you can email him at:

Please feel free to leave a comment or ask Marvin a question.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Marvin D. Wilson – award winning writer and blogger

I am excited and honored to have Marvin D. Wilson as my guest this month. Marvin is an inspirational and award winning writer and blogger, and he is a fellow member of the yahoo group VBT-Writers on the Move.

Marvin is the author of three published books, I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie), Owen Fiddler - which has been awarded the prestigious AVATAR award for excellence in spiritual books - and Between the Storm and the Rainbow. Marvin has also had articles published in several Ezines, and has been interviewed on hundreds of blogs, radio and TV shows, both over the internet and on the airwaves. A prolific blogger, his internationally popular blog, The Old Silly's Free Spirit Blog, was voted first place in the 2008 Book Blogger Appreciation Week award contest in the Christian/Inspirational Fiction category. His other blog, Tie Dyed Tirades, is also growing in global popularity.

Marvin is a family man, married for thirty three years, with three adult children and six grandchildren. He has been around the block of life several times, through the ups and downs, and has survived in good enough spirits to desire to write about life and about living life on purpose. Marvin is a self-described “non-religious, dogma-free, Maverick spiritualist Christian.” He writes books that deliver spiritual and inspirational messages in an engaging, thought provoking, often times humorous, more than often irreverent, sometimes sexy and even ribald way, through the spinning of an entertaining tale.

Marvin is an editor with All Things That Matter Press and also does freelance editing.

Contact information:
Primary Blog:
Twitter page:

I Romanced the Stone (Memoirs of a Recovering Hippie) was Marvin's first published book and is a must for anyone who wants to know more about the nature of addiction. When you think of a crack-head, what kind of picture comes to mind? A stupid teenager, with little, or no education? A prostitute? A smack-talking, ghetto-born African-American? Or, maybe, a misfit Caucasion dropout, from a broken home, with an alcoholic, abusive, absentee father? Crack-heads are street-walking, panhandling, hustling, poorly dressed, teeth missing, gaunt, thin, useless and dangerous looking kinds of people that you'd never invite over to dinner, right? Well, guess again, because the author of these memoirs is an educated, articulate and thoughtful, formerly successful family and businessman, a grandfather, who owns expensive suits, always knows how to appear well groomed, and knows which fork is used when at the gourmet banquets of the upper middle class.
I Romanced the Stone observes, discusses and exposes fundamental tendencies of addiction in our society, and weaves these general themes throughout the personal story of the author's journey. The reader comes to understand that drug addiction is not some exclusive disease of the poor, or the uneducated, or the social castaways of our world; it is an insatiable and insidious ghost, shadowing anyone, of any walk of life, from any economic or social environment. It can appear as a false god, "the good life", and then devour you as "the grim reaper" is revealed bewilderingly to you, as your new slave master. The book tells how the author was rehabilitated, cured, and had his life and soul spared, through love and help from family, and most significantly, through a powerful spiritual experience. It is an inspiring, yet fearsomely awesome story, sending a message of hope and advisement.

These are just some of the reviews you'll find on Amazon.

5 stars, Raw, down-and-dirty, and unfiltered look at the life of a crackhead!
By Kristie Leigh Maguire "Published Author" (Nevada)

Raw, down-and-dirty, and unfiltered, "I Romanced the Stone" is the story of an aging hippy and his descent into the madness of becoming a crack user. Marvin Wilson had used just about every drug known to man during the Peace and Love Years of the 60s so what would one little experimental hit from the crack pipe hurt? He soon found out that smoking crack cocaine wasn't the same as smoking marijuana, the main drug of choice for the "tune in, turn off, and drop out generation." Marvin is a very lucky man in the fact that he is still alive to tell this compelling story. "I Romanced the Stone" is a must read for all who have even THOUGHT about taking that first hit from the crack pipe.
Kristie Leigh Maguire
Multi-published, award-winning author

5 stars, A Must Read
By Rosa L. Ferguson (memphis, tn usa)

Little did I know when I sat down to read Marvin Wilson's “I Romanced The Stone” I would be reading about myself and my addictions. Different drugs of choice, of course (computer, television and procrastination), but addictions nonetheless. Anything that keeps you from being your true and total self and anything that keeps one from finding their true inner peace is a drug. And just when I had "serious doubts about my ever being whole again", here comes a book so poignant, so deep, and so apropos I now know that healing is possible. To experience the joy of being healed, delivered and set free has to be an awesome feeling. A must read for everyone who is addicted or not!
Rosa Ferguson author of LOVED TO DEATH: A Different Kind of Love Story

5 stars, BRAVE
By Pamela Templin (Marion, Iowa)

Marvin Wilson transports you into the world of a drug addict with the art of a writer. This is a well written book and a testimony to the resiliency of the human spirit in crisis. He lost everything before he was forced to face his demons. He faced them head on and won the fight. This book speaks to everyone who has known his agony or has known someone who has walked the same path as he. This book is a must read.

5 stars, "red-dressed for undressing, dripping with salaciousness"
By Peggy Ullman Bell "Peggy Jay" (Naples, FL)

"From one nightmare to another" in “I Romanced the Stone”, Marvin Wilson carries us through the horrors of addiction to the glory of salvation in a rollicking, sometimes terrifying journey to joy. A great reference book for anyone involved in "The War on Drugs", no matter in what capacity. I plan to obtain a copy for my police officer grandson as well as my eldest son who has overcome his personal addictions [first to drugs and then to “That Old Time Religion”].

5 stars, A Must Buy For Every Educator!
By J.C. Jackson (Michigan, USA)

If you are an educator of our youth then you simply MUST READ this book! Next to going down the lonely and terrible road of crack cocaine addiction yourself, this is the closest you will ever get to a firsthand experience of how devastating this drug can be.

As a public educator of middle school and high school students for 24 years I have seen many children grow from childhood to adolescence and on into adulthood. Over the years I have celebrated as I witnessed dozens of incredible success stories where former students have gone on to do great things with their lives. Conversely though, imagine how difficult it has been for me when I have seen shining-star pupils with the potential to do literally anything with their lives end up jobless, on the streets, or even worse, dead because of an addiction to drugs or alcohol. If only I had a tool such as Marvin D. Wilson's book "I Romanced The Stone" sooner!

Once you start reading this book you won't be able to put it down. You will become totally and fully immersed in the shadowy world from which Wilson almost didn't emerge. You will personally feel the physical and emotional pain that he admittedly caused himself and his family. You will shake your head in disbelief at how a drug could get a hold of an intelligent, educated, talented, and morally upright man and shake him literally to the core of his soul until he had become someone not even his closest family members could recognize. And then, you won't be able to stop smiling as you read the manner in which he, with the help of his God and those who love him the most, picked himself up by his bootstraps and methodically climbed out of the pit into which he had allowed himself to fall.

I will be keeping a few copies of "I Romanced The Stone" around my desk to give to the student who would benefit from reading this incredible story. It just might save a young life. It is hard-hitting, doesn't pull any punches, and has plenty of spicy language, so it probably isn't appropriate for most children under the age of 15 or 16, but it is an invaluable tool for the adolescent who displays the tendencies of addictive and/or self-destructive behavior. I have two children, aged 20 and 22 who don't appear to have any such tendencies, but they will be getting a copy of the book from me as well!

Buy it now, read it, and I'm sure you will agree. "I Romanced The Stone" is a story that everyone should read!

I Romanced the Stone
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Global Authors Publishers
ISBN-10: 0977968030
ISBN-13: 978-0977968039

Marvin will be happy to answer any questions you have. Please just leave a comment - and stop by on Friday to find out more about Marvin's other books, Owen Fiddler and Between the Storm and the Rainbow.