Good Reading : October 2015
GOOD READING OCTOBER 2015 55 Originally I was planning to write a collection of short stories. My intention was overturned three months into the wr iting process when I found myself writing a full-length book. It was as though I was no longer in control of the creative process but rather the creative process was in control of me. The title of the book came from an experience in Costa Rica, where a deer actually kissed me after I had undertaken a power animal mandala workshop in California. The mythology associated with deer in different cultures and religions is threaded throughout the book, which is written on four levels: mythological, political, relational and personal. I am grateful to have lived the story in Kissed by a Deer; my hope is that readers will, with me, wonder at the mysterious experience of being alive. Kissed by a Deer: A Tibetan odyssey by Margi Gibb is published by Transit Lounge, rrp $29.95. Clockwise from top of opposite page: Thomaky (Yonten’s bride) Stupa in Rebgong View of Dharamsala At Yonten’s and Thomaky’s wedding on the plains of Amdo BEHIND THE BOOK weavers, running a music program in which I taught vocals and guitar, and hosting the open mic night at one of the local cafés. Every week I met someone new and interesting: a French filmmaker, an Amer ican artist who lived in the valley, world musicians and – most extraordinary of all – I met Tenzin Palmo. Raised in London, she was one of the first Western women to be ordained as a Tibetan Buddhist nun. As part of her practice she lived in a cave in the Himalayas for 12 years. As remarkable as these people were, they didn’t have the same impact on my life as did two young Tibetan men:Yonten and Tenzin. Both were refugees living in exile and both touched my life in different ways – Tenzin with his mysticism and intrigue, and Yonten with his simple, honest, open heart. It was my relationship with them that eventually led me to travel to Tibet, where I attended a nomad wedding, rode a horse across the plains in Amdo (one of the three traditional regions of Tibet), observed a shaman body piercing festival, visited ancient monasteries, caught the train across the Tibetan Plateau to Lhasa, stood in awe outside the Potala Palace, and witnessed firsthand the oppression of the Tibetan people. Kissed by a Deer is not so much an answer to the question ‘How did I get here?’ as an attempt to make sense of the search.