I was interviewing Miranda about writers that inspired her and I guess the ideas that she and Jana bring to their work as ‘integrative therapists’. We had been talking about how symbolism informs the material on their website as well as their practice room.
By the time Miranda was on her second carrot and mango blend I thought we better eat something, so I ordered from a blackboard marked ‘Today’s Specials’ before continuing our conversation.
When the food arrived Miranda laughed.
‘What’s so funny?’ I asked.
‘The presentation reminds me of one of my favourite short stories, “The Revenge of the Lawn” by Richard Brautigan – when his grandmother’s lover drives his truck straight into a pear tree after seeing a flock of live plucked geese staggering drunkenly around the yard.
‘Aah, so you enjoy black comedy!’ I said, observing our plates of poached pears swimming in chocolate sauce.
‘I suppose so, but it’s not only about having a dark sense of humour. I also like writings that influence my awareness to different, alternate ways of thinking.’
‘Can you elaborate? What are you referring to?’ I asked.
‘Well, if I think back on who did have an influence on my awareness I would say that in my early twenties I liked the free verse of Walt Whitman. I also liked the “Beat Generation” poets with their stream of consciousness style of writing. I enjoyed Tom Wolfe, who pioneered the “New Journalism” movement in America. What really resonated with me at the time of the “New Age Movement”, were the writings of Allan Watts. He took a more philosophical stance and presented the ancient philosophy of Zen Buddhism in a new way. I think the Beatles also made a huge impression on me. John Lennon’s songs “Imagine” and “Hey Jude” I still play at full blast today.’
‘Okay, we’ve gone from “Ancient Greeks” to the ‘New Age Movement” during our time here at the restaurant, but let me remind you that the “New Age Movement” was 40 years ago! Not that new, then! What keeps you tuned into current trends? Surely, clients who attend your sessions aren’t particularly interested in that way of thinking?’ I asked, wiping the last remnants of chocolate sauce from my paw.
(Yes, Doc Hollywood pondered while she cleared the table, what about those CPD – Continuing Professional Development points – that all Clinical Psychologists have to keep chalking up…hope they don’t audit me soon…)
‘I think what keeps me in the present loop are my grand-children. My eldest is now 18. He introduced me to “Rap” and “Hip-Hop”. I must admit when I first listened to it I thought it was all about sex and violence but then I realised that although there is that element in the songs, many of them are about social commentary, about what’s happening in their world today and the type of challenges the youth are currently facing. If you peek at the Creative Contributions on our site you will find a poem called In the Doghouse Again (if you’ve ever been there, check it out…) – personally I think that poem has the potential to be turned into a great Rap song,’ Miranda said.
And there and then she stood up, grabbed the microphone from the resident DJ (was it DJ Freud?) and in front of the crowd started belting out the words in a Rap style that got even my hind legs thumping.
(Hmm, mused Doc Hollywood from the kitchen, I see dollar signs.)