Your Life is One Big Lie

One of the central themes of all my writings – even the My Haunted Life series – is the nature of reality and the role that we may play in dictating that. Over the last twenty or so years (if not my entire life really), I have read, meditated on, studied and discussed this topic and the process I have come to several conclusions. One of these is that I now believe that much of our world is an illusion.

It’s easy to draw analogies with movies like the Matrix here and I and others often do but what I mean is a lot of what we think we know isn’t real. It isn’t truth nor fact. I once said (and thought it was rather cute) –

The more I think on it the more I realize that certainty is an illusion. History was written by the winner, the news is provided with a spin and other people are opaque. We know nothing for certain. It used to be that the internet might provide information,but it too is now nothing but opinion and scare mongering. Nothing can be relied upon. We have to look inside ourselves for anything of value – anything that can be relied upon – but it too is colored by our ego and personalities.

So in the end, if the past is a colored view and the future a fancy, what do we have left?

Simply to live in the moment…..” (The Mystical Hexagram (Vasey & Vincent, 2012)).

Life is an enigma and I may never actually understand the answers but I do know this. Everything that we take to be true is probably not. Let me give a few examples;

1. History – history is written by the winner and it reflects a perception or view of what happened. There are alternative histories for everything and the sad thing is, they are all colored by the same issue.

2. Education – Education is partly about providing certain tools – reading, writing, critical thinking, analysis – but only in limited degree. The rest of education is essentially to ‘brainwash’ you with cultural normalities, cultural convention and to ensure you don’t actually challenge the system. Most people accept what they are told as the gospel truth and never for a minute stop to think critically or analytically about things. In this way, the illusion is maintained.

3. Religion – While all religions are probably based on wisdom and spiritual truth, they are all and without exception, subverted to match someone’s political or cultural agenda. They become the basis by which people can be manipulated and controlled.

4. On a more mundane level, the music or entertainment industry can be used to prove its all illusion too. Many singers can’t sing (they use computer software now to ensure perfect pitch), many musicians can’t actually play, many live performances are lip synched. It’s all a lie (It didn’t used to be). Actors and actresses public personas are creations and false often nothing like the reality. Show business is really all a show – an illusion – just like everything else in your life.

5. You are bombarded day in and day out with messages – some subliminal and others in your face – buy this, eat this its good for you, holiday here and so on. The marketing machine uses our ability to imagine and visualize – a rudimentary skill though it is in the  majority of us) and uses OUR magic making ability and equipment to have us make THEIR reality. Our magic has been hijacked!

I could go on and on but I won’t. Don’t ask me who the THEY might be. I have no idea and I am not a conspiracy theorist – that’s just another fantastical dead end. That there is a THEY – whether THEY actually know it or not, I am sure.

I also have concluded this. Given everything turns out to be illusion and that I cannot trust anything, then I must turn to the only thing I can rely on – me. Unfortunately, I have to first clear the Me of all the nonsense I have been conditioned with and am bombarded with daily. As Mark Stavish terms it – I must know my own mind. This is far from easy and may not be attainable at all but I can make progress towards it and, in doing so, I can take control of my life and my reality. I can be a true mage and imagine my thoughts into reality. Of course, I also live in other people’s realities too and I must learn how to interact with their parallel universes too.

You know, if the outer world we call life is an illusion while the inner world is real then surely, the Kingdom of heaven truly is within us and faith – well, it can move mountains.

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A Journey to the End of the world

I remember one day deciding with a friend that we would explore the very edge of our world. We jumped on our bicycles and set off resolutely in that general direction. After about 15-minutes, we had already entered an entirely new world about which we knew only rumor. Here, there were supposed to be roaming gangs that if they caught you, would carry you off to their secret lairs in the ‘blackgang’. We felt, well, very brave to have gone so far and to be in someone else’s territory.

Parking our bikes by the side of the street, we entered some gardens discovering a veritable paradise of willow trees and grass surrounding a small private pond. It was magical and it was someone else’s secret garden as we had hauled ourselves over a 6 foot brick wall to get there. To me, this was a secret and deeply mystical world. The grass and the drooping willows gently moving in the breeze stirred my imaginative juices and I recall sitting there savoring the atmosphere.

Of course, we were afraid that whatever Giant owned this garden, they would be miffed to find us trespassing there, so we shortly left taking one last long look back over our shoulders, hopping back on bikes and cycling down the street home just as fast as we could. We half expected to hear the thump of feet as we were chased down the street. We half expected to meet the members of ‘blackgang’ on the trek back. Of course, we arrived home safely and enjoyed a sandwich and fizzy drink in front of the TV.

I recall this expedition with clarity. I recall the feelings and emotions. I recall the secret garden at the end of the world. It was magical day in a magical childhood.

Not so long ago, I had an opportunity to go back to my childhood house in Westlands Rd., Hull. A quick stroll up the street, one block essentially, and I found that ‘blackgang’ was now a sprawling housing estate rather than the square of bomb damaged wasteland it was when I was growing up. Another block and I found a block of flats and peering over the brick wall, I was surprised to find the magical garden. It was much smaller than I recalled and there was just one willow tree there and  a small muddy green pond unkempt and overgrown.

Imagination is an incredible thing. Far better than the reality we surround ourselves with. On the other hand, perhaps that reality is created through our imagination? In which case, we simply need to imagine better just like I did as a boy. Just like we all did when we were kids.

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Poltergeist

In the run up to Halloween, here is another true and strange tale of the paranormal. I will post a new strange true story each day so don’t miss them.

up in my house was on the whole, pretty good. We had great parents, almost every weekend we were gone camping somewhere, we had two proper holidays each year and I have no complaints at all. Just a bunch of heartfelt thanks to my parents and a growing sense of awe as to how they did all that with three small boys and not a lot of money.

When I was eleven, we moved. It was a good move to be honest from a terraced three up, two down in west Hull to a rather nice semi-detached outside of Hull. It meant a better school and a nicer environment back then. It stretched my parents’ finances a bit too. It is funny though that my brothers and I really did not like that house the first time we saw it. It had terrible wallpapers, it was gloomy and ill lit, very cold and damp without central heating. Between the three of us, there was no excitement at moving there.

Of course, within a few months, that house was completely different. Central heating had been installed, old fireplaces blocked up and replaced with modern gas fires, new wallpaper and décor and new curtains. To make it seem more homely, a couple of internal windows had been added letting much more light enter into the rooms as well. It was transformed. All was well in the Vasey household. But it wasn’t to stay that way.

The first incident was the Cavalier ghost and after that, I swapped rooms with my little brother giving me the smallest bedroom at the front of the house but also the privacy of my own room. I gradually came to loath that room. It started with the noises; strange noises at all times of day but mostly in the dead of night. Scrapping sounds and scratching sounds. Dad put it down to maybe a squirrel in the loft. I wasn’t as convinced.

Things would also move around. I would place my watch by the bathroom sink to get washed and find it in the kitchen. At first, I thought it was Dad having fun as he was always a great practical joker but it soon became apparent that it was not him. Keys went missing. Money too. These would then just as mysteriously turn up in the strangest places like on a window ledge or under the sofa cushions.

The next developments though were what eventually had me relieved to leave and go to college. It was what kept me awake at night in total fear. Have you noticed that silence is loud? I mean when you are really really focused on listening to nothing it is very, very loud. I would lie in bed, head under the bedclothes, bedside light on and listen. The scratting sounds, scratching sounds and the sounds of doors opening that I knew were locked, the sounds of footsteps and breathing. It was enough to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck.

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I would actually dread coming home from college for a weekend or the summer because of this. By the way, this only happened when I was there! Just for me apparently. I would literally go out and get drunk to stay there. The best example was one night close to Christmas. I was home from college and had been out with my friend and had a few. I was sleeping on the floor in my brother’s room that night. I lay down hoping to pass right out but instead I was cold stone sober and scared half to death by the sound of the front door opening. Now, the first thing I thought was that somehow I had left the door unlocked but I knew that wasn’t the case as I had checked it on the way up the stairs. The key was in the lock and that door was locked.

The front door opened and closed as I listened sitting half up in bed. There was a deep sigh and a little cough. Ice-cold fear ran through my veins. The silence was so loud it was unbearable. Then, the first foot step and creak of the bottom stair. My heart was beating as if to burst. Another long sigh and another step. And another. I was now fumbling for the light but my hands were shaking so hard I couldn’t find it. By now, the steps seemed to be at the top of the stair and moving along the hallway. The floorboards creaked and there was that sigh again. I was frozen to the spot but what I actually wanted to do was run. Run and anywhere. There was a moment’s silence and then I watched in disbelief and horror as the bedroom door began to slowly swing open.

I screamed. I screamed so loud you probably heard me in London.

A few moments passed by and then the door flew open and there to my utter relief stood my Dad in his pajamas holding a very large spanner in one hand and a flashlight in the other. He switched in the light and my brother looked about him in a state of shock through two sleepy looking eyes.

“It’s OK, I heard that too,” said my Dad. “I heard it too.”

We sat Dad and I and my brother for quite a while but all was quiet. Whatever it was it had gone. I eventually fell asleep and my Dad went back to bed checking the doors in the process.
We didn’t talk much about it the next day. It was simply something that happened in that house when I was home. My Dad said it was poltergeist activity and it was centered around me. I think he was right. We didn’t really know what to do about it but we did discover one thing. If I got angry, the phenomena stopped. So, that is what I would do. I would get angry and shout at whatever it was to get lost or perhaps using even more choice phrases. If a door started to open, instead of screaming, I pulled the door open with a verbal challenge. It had the desired effect.

The activity followed me though. It followed me to Aston University until I met Anantha. But that is another story.

If you enjoyed this story you will also enjoy my novel – The Last Observer – great price on Kindle all winter!

Life is But A Dream

I recall singing that song when I was a small child and wondering what did it mean? – Life is just a dream?

Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream.

But where did this come from and who wrote it? A bit of research suggests that the earliest printing of it was in 1852 but who wrote it and why seems lost in the mists of time. If anyone knows, please let me know…

I thought life a dream when I was a child or rather, I thought it a game that I controlled. It was a sort of virtual reality (as it would be called now) and I was sat in a box connected to a machine that gave me vision and senses. So to be honest, I didn’t puzzle too much over the idea that life might be a dream. I rather accepted that it was.

I have lost so much as I have grown and yet I have gained so much. My imagination as a child was beyond equal. I could create other worlds right there in my head and my dreams and my waking life seemed interconnected and one. I could fly back then. Magic – physical magic was real and so were elves. There was a girl I loved so much trapped on an island of towering cliffs looked after by her wicked witch of an Aunt that I dreamed about over and over again. One dream ran into the next even weeks apart until I finally rescued my love and the wicked witch met her destiny.

There may have unlimited imagination as a child but there was no experience of life. In the Mystical Hexagram, I talk about the hardened horny matter that is built up by life. We talk about the burning away – the transformation through fire – of life’s experience. The breaking down of this hardened horny material that we build up through life.

It’s as if we build ourselves a prison.

It starts early with our parents who, knowing no better, burden us with some of the hardened life material. Next, its other kids (peer pressure) and our teachers (culture, way of seeing things etc.). We lose our ability to just imagine and it is replaced with the straight jacket that is normality and acceptance. We no longer ‘row the boat, gently down the stream’ but rather fight the currents going in God knows which direction and to what end? Oblivion?

Life loses its innocence, its gaiety, it’s merriness. It’s no longer a dream but a nightmare.

That is until you remember how to imagine. How to center yourself and imagine. Learn how to dream again. How to cast off the horny matter and transform the experiences – no matter what they are – into something of eternal value and meaning. Something spiritual and energizing. The combination of childish imagination skills and the adult’s experiences of life to at first remember to row, gently DOWN the stream (with the current – Just as Asteroth said ‘don’t fight, go with the flow merrily understanding, it is YOUR dream and you can create your own reality.

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Originally posted on Asteroth’s Domain.

Ghost Stories

As many of you may already know, I had a strange and psychically troubled childhood some of which is documented in my book Inner Journeys. along the way, I bumped into a few ghosts too….

We lived in a typical semi-detached house on the outskirts of Hull. So far as I know, it was built in the 1920’s and had little history that might make you think it could be haunted. I recall my first impressions of the place though as a young boy. It was cold with no central heating, felt damp and gloomy and the bare floorboards and old wallpaper added a certain creepiness to the place. Of course, my Dad was an amazingly resourceful man and very soon, the entire place was redecorated and central heating added. Still, it always had an atmosphere so far as I was concerned. It wasn’t long after moving in that my worst fears were confirmed. I shared a room with my brother Chris. On the other wall, our father had built fitted cupboards with a desk in between for homework. One night as I peeked out from under the bed clothes, I saw a white outline type figure sat close to where the desk was scribbling away. The figure wore a broad brimmed hat and was dressed like a Cavalier. Not being the bravest of souls, after recovering from the shock, I screamed. Chris awoke or stirred at the sound of that and we both watched as the figure turned its head disturbed, stood up and then glided over and out through the wall. Chris still recalls the incident as well as I.

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A few years later, we were camping in the caravan at Hawkeshead in the Lake District. As we walked back from the town to the campsite a couple of miles away it was already dark. As Dad, his friend Jack, me and my brothers and Jack’s daughters were walking in almost pitch black down a country road, we heard the distant sound of a horse its hoofs thudding along as it ran very quickly from somewhere behind us. I recall watching the horse and its highwayman type rider pass us by as if oblivious of us, the road, the drystone walls, the trees or anything. It simply travelled through things as opposed to around them! The thudding of the horses hoofs got louder as it passed us by but there was no doubting among those of us that had seen it – it was a ghostly rider we had just seen.

Many years later, I was traveling with my consulting job back and forth to quite a posh village near Manchester – I forget its name now. I was doing a project at Barclays bank actually on the very first ATM machines to be deployed around the country by the bank. I stayed at a variety of different hotels but there was one in the center of town that I stayed at a few times that was haunted. It had an original central core and then a newly-built wing. I had no problems at all in the newly-built wing but one night arriving later I was allocated a room in the original part of the hotel. I had no clue as to what was about to happen but the room was oak paneled and I thought it very grand. I got into bed more or less straight away and began to read – I recall it was a book by Israel Regardie. I began to feel watched. Its a very weird feeling but it was as if something was watching me. Little knocks and scrapes started to happen and shadows seemed to move around the room with no origin. I never did see a ghost but the noises, moving shadows got worse and worse and then end for me came when the bed clothes were slowly and deliberately pulled off me and the room became very chilly. I packed my bag and went to the reception to request a room change. The man there didn’t seem at all surprised. I found out the next day that the older part of the hotel was reputed to be haunted.

Over the years, I have become better at blocking out things and it is a rare occurrence now to have such an experience. Despite that, when my brother first moved into his house years ago, I had to tell him after my first visit that that their was a little old man sharing the house with him and it didn’t like him being there. I understand that they did have a few strange experiences there in the first few years.

I have always had a sort of morbid fascination for ghosts and I love a good ghost story. I’d just rather not be in the story.

The Art of Dreaming

For a while this morning I was researching Carlos Castenada. I had read his first four or five books as a teen and was thinking perhaps it was time to refresh my memory as regards their content. Pretty soon, I was reading about the man and how most likely, he was a fraud who rather than sitting in a small room with Don Juan was reading books about the subject at the University Library. I felt a rising sense of disappointment too as I read how he had retreated to a mansion with three female followers who gave up everything to live with and follow him and how he treated his family. All the classic symptoms of ego, sex and cult. Very disappointing.

I read too a summary of the content of the books. Even though Castenada himself may have been suspect, mysterious and perhaps a fraud, for me anyhow the books do contain a synthesis of real wisdom and knowledge. Who knows how he really came by that knowledge and who knows what the truth about him really is perhaps instead what matters is what we make of his books. Castenada himself talked about how reality is described to us and we eventually accept reality as described. From the moment we are born, we are described things and eventually we take on this view of reality. He said that to begin to see one had to stop the world. When you stopped the world or as I understood it, questioned what really was around you, you would begin to learn to see another reality or realities. Though he may use terminology that is different to the words I may use, he is saying what I am coming to accept as well. Any form of occult training essentially has the same objective and that is to break down the reality you were taught and help you to observe your own version of it.

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This in turn naturally leads me to the conclusion that in a way, we all create our own realities. It explains why for example, some people live conspiracy theories or see roadblocks and objections everywhere. They choose to. On the other hand, it can explain why people who can truly visualize success become successful. They create their reality. But before you can do that, you have to know yourself and be aware of what filters you have been given – how the world has been described to you. Hatred, racism, homophobia for examples, are all inherited filters – they are all a description of acceptable reality for a consensus or majority.

So while, Castenada may be a disappointment to me I feel his works are valid. They originated somewhere in his reality and they describe an alternate reality as well as providing a map for getting there. I shall re-read his books…….

A Conversation with G. Michael Vasey by Nick Wale

A Conversation with
G. MICHAEL VASEY

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Author of THE LAST OBSERVER
Expat Brit located in the Czech Republic

G. Michael Vasey is one of those unique writers you come across on a hot summer day. I have marvelled at this interview, and I’ve wondered what I can really say about it. I like this writer—a lot—and I can’t wait for you to like him, too! His book The Last Observer is a bit of everything, and that is the best way to describe this interview. It’s a bit of everything!


Who do you have in mind when you write?

Me. I write about my interests and things that I am passionate about. I trust that the end product is something of interest to others and that I have something unique to offer – my perspective and one that is entertaining and different.

How do you find “inspiration” and where does it live?
Inspiration often comes to me in a semi-meditative state. So listening to music of the right type can start the juices flowing, or sometimes I listen to meditation music on Youtube as I write. It seems to relax me and open a channel to the creative part of me. Other books can also give inspiration too, so when I am reading something it will trigger a series of questions or thoughts and an inner dialogue. I don’t find finding inspiration difficult to be honest. If you look around and pay attention to what is around you, how can you not be inspired? For example, until recently, I lived in Prague. Most people tramp to work, head down, worrying about the day ahead or wishing themselves miles away. As I walked through Prague to work, I looked up – at the glorious architecture and beauty, history and sheer wow of the city I lived in…. that inspires me.

Have you always aspired to be a writer?
No, but writing has always been a key part of what I do for a living, and I have always enjoyed writing. Being an author sort of sprung up on me when I realized what a body of work I had had published as articles, newsletters, book chapters and so on. Once I got comfortable with the idea, I thought – why not give it a proper go?

Tell me about how you became a writer. What was the first step for you?
Having to write so as a part of my job. I must have written well over 500 articles in newsletters and magazines professionally along with 100 white papers and reams of blog articles. So, it is something I do continually. The step you ask about is probably when I first sat down with the objective of writing a book, and I did that because I was told to in meditation…

Do you have a distinctive “voice” as a writer?
I don’t know to be honest, but in poetry I do try to play with words in certain evocative ways.

Do you think anyone can learn to be an effective writer, or is it an unnamed spiritual gift?
I think anyone who really wants to write can learn, but very few writers are true masters. That is a gift that you are born with.

Is there a book you’ve written that you’re most proud of?
No, as I tend to keep looking forward as opposed to backwards. That’s not to say there isn’t a book I am fond of. My novel, The Last Observer, though certainly not perfect, is my favourite book to date; and my last book of poetry – Moon Whispers – I think is my strongest effort yet. I pick the novel because it has the potential to appeal to a broader group of readers, I think.

On average, how long does it take for you to write your ideas down before you start writing a book?
I don’t follow this approach usually. I plan it in my head and then, after it’s going, I start to write down subplots and themes I wish to develop. In the end though, the books have a surprising talent for writing themselves and surprising even me. I suppose it’s because I write in a meditative state usually and it’s as if it’s not me doing the writing anyway.

What would you say is the “defining” factor in your writing? What makes it yours?
Ah, good question! I think it’s my passion for trying to understand the nature of reality and my practise of magic. You see, I think magic (or if you prefer, metaphysics) has already described the Universe, and science is gradually catching up. What fascinates me is how we create our own reality or our own perspective on reality and how imagination and will can make magic. This provides for a never-ending smorgasbord of ideas, plots, endings and concepts to play with.

How do you guard your time to do what’s most important?
I am a multi-tasker and am always engaged in fifteen things at once. I move my focus from one thing to another and that constant variety keeps me engaged and busy.
What are some of the more common distractions you struggle with, and what ways have you found to overcome them?
There are times when I simply do not want to write. So I don’t.

What kind of review do you take to heart?
Oh, I hate bad reviews and take them ever so personally. It seems to me that there are a few people out there that simply get a kick out of writing deeply negative reviews – like trolls on a discussion board. I can’t help being hurt by deeply negative criticism. On the other hand, we only get better through criticism. It is how that criticism is delivered that makes the difference between something we gain from or something we are hurt by.

How do you decide what your next book will be about?
Well, I decide probably in a moment of massive interest in something or an idea, but then I end up writing something else entirely! For example, on my bio it says I am writing a book about the Fool in magic. It’s a great idea, and I have written a few pages, but I keep finding other things to write about, and I make no progress at all on that idea. I keep it in the bio to remind me that I must/should/will write that book.

Was there a link between your childhood and your vocation as a writer?
Yes – imagination. I had and still do have a very well-developed imagination to the point I can really be where I imagine I am. It is this imagination that runs riot and is the creative seed within me.

As a writer, however, you have the opportunity to self-reflect, to revisit experiences. How does that feel?
Sometimes good but not always….often, the worst of life’s experiences are actually the best – at least for writing.

What motivates you to tackle the issues others may avoid, such as nature and spirituality?
I have been interested in such things since I was knee high to a grasshopper as I wrote in my first book – Inner Journeys. Back when I was 12, I was attending meetings of the church for psychical research and reading Blavatsky… So, I am well-grounded in this stuff and a practising magician to boot. As a result, I guess I see the world a bit differently and want to share the idea that the world looks like you want it to.

When you start a new book, do you know how a book will end as you’re writing it? Or does its direction unfold during the writing, research and/or creative process?
The Last Observer wrote itself, I swear. The ending surprised me and still does.

How do you see your role in impacting and influencing society?
I only hope that I can make people think a bit, wake up and look around and see that not everything is how they were taught. If they do that, then I have already succeeded.

If you weren’t a writer, what would you like to do?
Writing is so integral to everything I do, and it’s not possible to answer this question.

What are the things a writer “must not” do?
You know, I don’t like rules. Why should a writer not do anything? I do feel sometimes that we are constrained by success, but real art is breaking all the rules and having the product mean something. This is why I love poetry – there are NO rules. I hear some people criticising Indie writers as if the only people who should write are Shakespeare and his ilk; but this is literary snobbishness, isn’t it? Everyone should be able to write if they so choose, and if they break rules of grammar but people love their stuff, then great….

What are some pieces of advice that you would give someone on writing well?
I would never tell someone how to write – I think people should write as they wish, and some will deem it to be good and some bad.

Young writers often make foolish mistakes. What is a mistake to avoid?

Answering a bad review… don’t do it. Ever. I did and I learned.

What obstacles and opportunities do you see for writers in the years ahead?
The whole industry is in flux with eBooks, Amazon and so on. Trying to keep up with how to market what you write, how to make money, how to find an audience, whether to self-publish or not? It’s knowing how things will fall out that could present either an obstacle or opportunity.

Could you talk about one work of creative art that has powerfully impacted you as a person?
Yes – a CD by Blackfield called Blackfield II. The music on that CD inspires me to write, and it feeds my creative juices. Every single poem in Moon Whispers was written listening to that CD. In fact, music often is the work of creative art that sends me….

What relationship do you see between imagination and creativity, and the real world?
Imagination and creativity are intertwined like lovers – one needs the other, and together they make beautiful music.

For a writer, it is easy to become an elitist. Have you ever (or do you still) struggle with pride as an author?
Not really – I do what I do and lots of people do the same so there is nothing special about me. But let’s see how I behave if I ever have a real best seller, shall we?

With all your success, how do you stay humble?
Age. I am that sort of age where nothing much impresses me anymore, least of all myself.

Have you ever considered writing fiction full time?

I would love to… will you get me a contract?

Visit G. Michael Vasey’s Amazon Author Page and explore your imagination…

Interview by Nick Wale and published in Novel Reads by Novel Ideas June 2014 issues

Republished with permission.