As I sit writing this week’s blog I am preparing to go to Brisbane for the launch of my new book, “Yu, The Dragon Tamer.” The book deals with a man contending with mental illness. It is written in the same Buddhist genre as my previous book, “Augustus Finds Serenity”.
The genesis of this book was an idea Dr Phil Harker put in my mind some time ago. We have often talked about human behaviour and indeed I have frequently used a model explaining human behaviour that Phil has developed. Many years ago he recommended that I should read a great little book by Narcisso and Burkett called “Declare Yourself”.
One of the themes explored by the above book is that human behaviour is often better understood by not looking so much as what preceded it (the cause of the behaviour) but by looking at what occurs after (the purpose of the behaviour). The authors illustrate that much behaviour is learned because it helps us get our way. Typically they instance, suffering, helplessness and anger as strategies we learn from an early age to get others to do what we want.
And even the aberrant behaviour of those with mental illness has a purpose. Generally the purpose has something to do with propping up a dysfunctional world view. And so it is with the unfortunate Yu. Yu, disowned by his father, is beset by guilt because he has not lived up to his father’s expectations. In these debilitating circumstances his mind conjures up a dragon whose task is it is to shelter Yu from a seemingly hostile world.
This story is written against a background of Yu seeking his own spiritual development. The narrative draws strongly from the Buddhist tradition in pursuing this ambition.
Once again I have been fortunate to have had a lot of assistance. The manuscript was read by a number of people in it development including Dr Phil Harker, Dr Cecily Moreton, my daughter Belinda Humphries, Greg Brown and Mark Brookes among others. I benefited by a very detailed edit by Anne Savage who made many helpful suggestions.
When you write you get engaged with your characters. I have a lot of time for this one. Yu is courageous, altruistic and has many great personal qualities. I suspect that that might be true for many we disparagingly call mentally ill, or even worse “insane”. Through no fault of their own, such unfortunate people have come to view the world in a dysfunctional way and have contrived to prop up their erroneous world-views.
Although Yu is assisted to find equanimity by Augustus (the main character in my previous book) there is no doubt in my mind that Yu is the real hero in this story.
The book launch is on Tuesday 12 October and the books should be in bookstores shortly. If you can’t get a copy please e-mail me on email@example.com and I will ensure one is posted to you.