Peter Volkofsky | Author & Life Coach

Peter Volkofsky is an author, spoken word poet and life coach. In 2017, Peter published his thriller Mia's Magic Wand. In 2015 he published Beautiful Quest as an Ark House imprint. Peter has been married to his wife Penelope for thirty-three years and together they have reared seven children.

Catalytic (cat•a•lyt•ic)

(adj.) a process that precipitates an event

The Vision

Individuals and teams reaching their goals.

PETE'S BLOG

0 Comments6 Minutes

Dad Music: River

Waiting for that boy to come for his weekly visit to me: the old family friend bloke. We both need the river today. Me, cause I’ve had enough of all this starting the new work year and having to sort days and times and rooms and zooms. So needing to get out of here. Thinking, as always, that I don’t belong in this world.

It’s different for him: he belongs with the river cause he’s still a boy. And here he comes: my dog barking for joy. He runs at her. She jumps on him and licks him to death.

While we stuff a bag with fishing gear, I’m trying not to talk about my life-long joke: that I’m never able to catch fish. Well, I did twice, but that was with Dad—somehow making it all happen as was his way.

Loading the dog in the seat with the boy, we go for a drive to see what we can find. Something at least, I pray. I’m sure I’ll get what an old man needs but this young fella wants to catch something sharp, slimy and a bit scary.

We gets to the jetty and it’s free of people.

‘Park right across the entrance,’ he says, ‘so no one else can get in.’

‘We can’t do that, mate.’

‘Why not?’

‘We would have to at least let them share it with us.’

This liquid, watery thing is so smooth and cool and caramel—sliding into a mouth somewhere it seems to me. This is where I belong: with this stream: her silence, secrets and lazy contempt for what’s going past on the bridge up there.

Gathering our gear, I ferry it all from the boot to the jetty, which the boy can’t get enough of: a concrete slab that’s a great wobble board, which the boy has set a-wobbling and has the dog concerned. What’s with this solid rock that sways and rolls?

‘If you keep doing that,’ I say, without looking, ‘things will start falling into the river.'

‘What if the dog fell in? She might be good bait.’

‘If something falls in we will be going home—no more fishing.’

‘Okay.’

So, we settle in to the tying of knots and setting of hooks and lines. The boy drops the yabby net in and I get to throw a line in myself. My life long joke is happening, but hey, this watery old place gets me and I’m waking up, warming up and breathing.

And now the dreaming starts. Like the time Dad bought a dinghy. Me and the brothers are home from school holidays. We do the long hot drive to Bre and now we’re in the little boat on that easy brown flow of rippling sun.

I sense that Dad’s gone to a lot of trouble to arrange this: probably even dodging bank repayments and letting a bit of debt blowout, just for all of us to have some fun. He’s smiling like he can’t help himself: a boy again with his boys.

Uh oh! The motor’s cut out and we’re adrift. Without thinking, I stand up and inform Dad that I’ll swim to shore with a line. Great idea! As I dive in, looking down on Dad and my brother—back there with the motor—she upends and capsizes.

That’s the end of that: literally: a fishing trip that never has another chance and neither does Dad—from me anyway. Wasn’t even his fault, but my embarrassed seventeen-year-old pride wasn’t going there.

Would be so nice if Dad was here with us right now. The boy would love him that’s for sure—the two of them would be in heaven.

‘Hey!’ the boy shouts. A turtle! It’s a turtle! Look!’

‘Okay,’ I say, focussed on this bloody knot I’m tying.

And there they all are: two yabbies, a big old turtle and the dog sniffing from a distance: more interested in the chunk of beef-bait than anything. The turtle finds its way back home, the yabbies are bait and baited. The yabby net goes back in, we cast our lines and I’m dreaming again.

Home from Uni this time. It’s another hot summer at Bre: building a river hut with Dad. We set a springer-line on a big slow-moving bend for overnight. Next morning we’ve got ourselves the best ever thirteen pound Murray Cod breakfast you could wish for. Never had a fish so delicious or a father and son moment like it. That moment and this moment here on the jetty, with the boy and the dog, merge: my life-long joke feeling more like a life-long joy.

 

0 Comments1 Minute

Christmas Gauntlet

World soaking through, dreaming, failing loving

Purpose straying, hope betraying

Angering so-over joying

Happiness, pleasing.

 

Agonising, pretending, water off duck's back

Getting over, moving on

Money powering, laughter healing

Silly, stupid-ing: toads of Toad Hall.

 

So are you and you are so, sowing your family—even your mother

Sorry, not my mother of course

Hoping for saning insanity: nihilism in fact...

What else is there?

 

You! The one birthing, always birthing

Gauntlet throwing-down

Pregnant mother-giving-birth-centre stage

Star, animals, baby-watching-family.

 

Street-people-soaking

Dreaming hope-love-joy

'If this doesn't matter, nothing matters!'

0 Comments2 Minutes

Coming Home

‘…Lying down again, he lifts his feet up and tries for another nap. EJ walks over with a cushion. He pushes it behind his neck, closes his eyes and meditates on a passage from the book of Isaiah: ‘Comfort, comfort, O my people—’ but it’s going nowhere. Instead, a statement from Ecclesiastes comes to mind: ‘Though a man lives a thousand years twice over but doesn’t find contentment—well, what’s the use?

A scream is coming, Paddy knows that much, from somewhere deep. What he doesn’t know is when and where it will happen. Now—in the middle of a hospital—is not a good time and place. Mia and Oksy have had their fill of screams.

It will have to wait. He will have to keep the outside part of himself open for business while the inside part is swollen and bleeding, something he’s learned how to do, especially when he’s around the wrong kind of people. Not that there are any of those here.

But some screams need time: months, even years, before they find their way to the surface and are let out through a living, breathing throat. Paddy’s is buried so deep it mightn’t even make it. Most likely it will hang there in the depths, like a pregnancy, and be carried with him to heaven where all un-screamed screams get to bury their faces in the breast of their mother. He can’t believe this—quiet tears are flowing—it’s his mother he wants. He falls asleep.’ (Mia’s Magic Wand p. 418)

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Fatal Shore

A happy marriage
A beautiful beach on a nice day
A death trap for a spectator who knows
Nothing of the rips, sharks, storms, rocks
The necessary woundings that made this dreadful
Wonderfully irresistible, lovely, deadly, unspeakable—song.

0 Comments5 Minutes

Dad Music

I'm six and half years old, a nuggety kid who can ride a bike faster than my brothers, except for my older brother, who sometimes beats me—actually he almost always beats me. But that's okay cause my dad rides a horse in the sunshine. It's a great grey animal that's lean and hard and chomps on swede turnips so loud its teeth echo like a drum, so I keep passing it turnips over the fence. I might as well, cause I hate them, but the horse loves them and I so love that sound.  It's like the music of my dad's deep-set eyes that tell me God is good, even though—and Dad will never live long enough to find this out—I was badly hurt by a stranger a year ago. It happened when Dad was busy praying and trying to get mum healed, which he almost did, I think. He's pretty good, even with things like that.

But more of Dad. He also has a big hat that shades the world; a lean body, a tanned face and a woollen tie, which I love the texture of and always want to touch, but never do. They're so full of happiness, that lean body, tanned face and woollen tie—like all three of them are a trinity that can do anything. Then there's his mischievous grin, which says I'm a great prize he's won— so let's dance a little!

I'm ten now and we're chasing wild sheep in a thing called a Landrover through thousands of acres of scrub: those trees are really flying. The sheep slow down and now it's my turn. Out the door, onto the push bike and into the scrub, bringing the sheep back to the wool-shed. Only one problem: my bike's lost a wheel and Dad's driving off into that ocean seaweed of bush. But it's okay, we've got it sorted, Dad and me can do anything! Even make a bike ride and laugh under a blue sky.

I'm seventeen now and travelling fast in a Belmont ute on a long road of red gravel embedded in bitumen: me, Dad and my two brothers, squeezed across a bench seat in a January cooker for one hundred and sixty kilometres, between the red soil mulga block and the black soil saltbush block. Dad's quieter now. I try not to look into his eyes so much. But he's done pretty good, so far, I think. Like, mum's passing was tough, we all know that, and so was the drought: especially that one where he almost lost everything. I never really knew that; he didn't actually say that to me.

And right now, he's smiling and pointing at a puddle of mud and a green tinge of grass on the side of the road, and laughing at those wedge-tailed eagles at a piece of road-kill, walking awkwardly away to let us pass: as if we are simply a nuisance at their dinner table, which I suppose we are. And we hate and we love this trip—Dad and us like sardines—but it's on the way to becoming one of my forever and ever trips: the famous Byrock to Bre.

Time has passed again and I'm at a big old cathedral talking about Dad. The floodgates of grief are opening. The pall bearers are here. I'm walking out, and on the way, an awe-struck looking man with a weather-beaten face is taking me aside and speaking of Dad like he was the greatest priest he had ever met, like Dad—without even trying—had caused him to think that God loves him and that God is beautiful.