The Mark Hastings Experience Podcast *UPDATED*


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My Poem “Escapism”

Reality is tangible, and yet there are times
when reality can feel absolutely unbelievable…
the real world is sometimes managible,
the real world is sometimes even palatable –
but occasionally the “real world” can
at times feel too much to handle.

Reality is physical and undoubtedly
it can at times feel painful…
the real world, the outside world,
is where things get done,
where progress is made,
where we get to look people in the eye,
where we get to share a smile,
where we get to experience things
that are grounded in nature –
but the real world is also where
the weight of certain things
upon our emotions and upon
our thoughts and upon our dreams
can sometimes make us all feel fragile.

Reality is life – but every so often
everybody needs a dose of something
that they have never seen before,
or perhaps something that they
may have seen over and over again…
everybody needs a vision of a life
and of a world unlike the one
that they are daily familiar with…
everybody needs to have this place,
this time, those moments,
those out of body experiences
when they get let their imagination
run wild so that it can play along with all
of the fantastic possibilities of creativity
that they see – which may not be
a true reflection of the everyday world,
but which are always considered to be
a source of hope to help people cope
and to get some much needed escapism.

Mark The Poet – The Podcast: Episode #70: “Preciousness”

In this episode Mark recites three of the most recent poems that he has written: “Naturally Reflective”, “Every New Someone”, “Loyal Companion”, and he reflects upon who he is, what he misses, and why life and the time that we all have is so precious and should not be wasted.

Mark The Poet – Episode #69: “Life As We Know It”

In this episode Mark reads three of his most recent poems: “It’s A Boy!”, “Frozen Tears”, and “Always”. Mark also attempts to share a message of hope for those who like most of the world are struggling with living their life as best as they can during the challenging times the people of the world are currently facing.

My Poem “Frozen Tears”

The snow fell slowly…
the snow fell deep…
the snow fell quietly…
the snow fell so peacefully
that while I was watching it
I drifted off to sleep.

In the morning, as I looked out
at the blue sky above
and at the white snow below,
I felt like I was a child
and I wanted to go outside
and walk in the snow –
and that is exactly what I did:
I put on my walking boots,
my coat, my scarf, and I threw
my rucksack on to my back
and I set out, one step at a time,
to explore the frozen beauty of nature
and the wonderful sights
that most of the time remain hid
before it was too late –
because even in nature things
are not always meant to last.

The sound of the snow cracking beneath
the soles of my boots was invigorating –
most likely because the sound of my own
footsteps was all that I could hear…
the way that the crystallised snow
sparkled and glistened as the sun
shined upon the pure white path
before me was dreamlike –
untouched, vast, like being within
a moment of time in which
there was no beginning and no end:
like staring at an eternal representation
of life and nature and feeling so moved
by this overwhelming and profound landscape;
and yet, even though I wanted to cry,
I was unable to conjure any tears –
I instead choose to close my eyes,
to breathe in and to breathe out,
to smile from ear to ear,
and to feel more blessed
that I had felt for years.

My Poem “Always”

My heart goes out to everybody
who is having to adapt to doing things
and to living their life as best as they can
in a vastly different way than they had
previously known how to
since all of the restrictions put upon
their interactions, the way that they shop,
how they work, and how they learn
were introduced in order
to combat against an unseen
and an easily transmissible enemy
that has seemingly brought
the modern world to a stand still.

My heart goes out to parents,
because most of them have had
to adapt to becoming not only
their child’s guardian and around
the clock source of entertainment,
but they have also had to become
their child’s tutor and home school teacher –
and in most cases parents are struggling
to be all the things that their child
needs them to be all of the time,
while perhaps also simultaneously
having to juggle the responsibility
of being a supportive partner.

My heart goes out to the children
of this generation who want to learn
and who dream of becoming something
and someone with a calling
and a purpose in life to be fulfilled…
my heart goes out to those families
who are having to share their one
and only means of accessing the Internet
and those who are having to take it in turns
to seek out some kind of escapism
from the stark reality of world events
in any way that they can.

One thing that is undeniable
is that life is hard for people right now,
and the world, unfortunately,
seems more fragmented than ever;
however, whenever I see new art being created,
whenever I hear of new music being shared,
whenever I find out about new
innovations that are being made,
whenever I look beyond the shores
of my island home,
I am reminded of how resilient the human spirit is –
which is why I do not stop myself
from believing that with a little time,
patience, and perseverance
the human race will one day
collectively come out from
the shadow of this dark era
more resolute than ever,
stronger than ever,
consistently riding the waves of change,
because we have always been a species
who no matter what has always found a way.





Rest In Peace, David Bowie (a tribute)

On January 10, 2016, I wrote a poem called “Always the Starman” dedicated to the late great David Bowie who died on that very day in 2016 – and I can still remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard of his untimely passing, and I can still remember being immediately inspired to mark the memory of one of the most famous and celebrated music artists of the 20th Century – and two days later I published the poem that I wrote on my blog for all the world to read so that they may get a sense of just how inspirational David Bowie was and still is.

Not long after David Bowie’s death, I remember that I was writing a new short story called “The Man In Black” about this mysterious character – who I didn’t truly know the identity of, nor why they were so mysterious… all I knew at that point was that whoever they were they dressed all in black, they had mysterious and powerful gifts that enabled them to appear one minute and disappear the next, they could bring animals and perhaps people back to life, and they may or may not be some kind of angel or some other supernatural being. And something else that I knew immediately was that whoever this mysterious “man in black” was he also bore an uncanny resemblance to the late great David Bowie, as some sort of tribute to him. But that was it. I originally intended to include my short story “The Man in Black” in my 2016 short story collection “Too Close To The Sun”, however for some reason I held it back… and to this day I still do not know why, what, or who stopped me from doing so – but I am so glad that they did, because from that first story there followed others that featured the same “Man in Black” who at times was known to white also depending upon when you met him. And slowly but surely I wrote more and more, until I finally found myself with seven short stories that explored who the “Man in Black/Man in White” was and why he did what he did. And to this day the stories of my short story collection “Playing God” still remain close to my heart, because within them are characters who I know and who I recognise: characters in need of being saved by a hero, a friend, a rebel, an angel, a god dressed all in black, and sometimes dressed all in white – someone who we would all wish would pay us a visit and heal the world of the present from what we are currently being plagued by.

I wrote my original poem “Always the Starman” and “The Man in Black”, the first story of my book “Playing God”, as a personal tribute to David Bowie – but the more stories that I wrote about this mysterious man who looked and sounded just like David Bowie, I also found myself uncovering many different sources of inspiration – from ancient Greek mythology to the daily torments that some people have to deal with – and I also found myself learning more about why I love writing so much: that thrill of exploration and discovery that I find every time I embark upon a writing challenge that I know will take me to places that I never imagined I would ever venture to. And that is what it is so enthralling and exciting about being a writer and an author of fiction: you never know where it is going to take you.

I will always be eternally grateful to the late great David Bowie for his music, for his creativity, and for the gift of inspiration that he gave to me – which coalesced over time into becoming a book of stories written in tribute to him, but also a tribute to hope, optimism and the gift of life that we are all blessed with which we all sometimes take for granted.

Rest in peace, David Bowie

“David Bowie” by Derren Brown

8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

My Poem “Unbreakable Bond”

On Christmas evening,
as my family and I gathered together
around the hearth of our burning fire,
while enjoying some family time with one another,
I knew that after this day
nothing would ever be the same again
and we would never again
be able do this in the same way:
enjoy a Christmas meal together,
pull crackers with one another,
sit watching a favourite Christmas film of ours –
because what is going to happen next
will be unlike anything that either of us
have felt, heard, or seen before.

Every moment is unique,
every family has their own story,
every new day is a new dawn,
every time you wake up every day
we all have to reset the clock –
just as every player has to do the same
after they move a piece on a chessboard –
and adapt to whatever life has in store:
all the twists, the turns, the corners,
and the constant lessons that we
have to learn from like the constant
students of life’s school that we are.

Next year will be both the end
of one long chapter as well as
the beginning of another stage in life
that will impact so many peoples’ fate…
very soon there will be a sea change
and all predictions of the future
that have been shared will have to be remade;
however, even though I know
some things will be different,
I know now more than ever
that my family and I will always
have an unbreakable bond between us
that is unlike any other in so many
phenomenal and wonderful ways.

My Poem “There is always hope”

When you are a child
there is no more magical
and joyful moment of your life
than around Christmas time
when you get to write a letter
to a man in a red, with a white beard,
who on Christmas day will deliver
all that you have been asking for
for perhaps all of the previous months of the year –
and under normal circumstances
there is no one more popular
than the ever jovial Father Christmas/
Santa Claus/Saint Nicholas himself
who children dream about, write to,
and draw pictures of, as well as his
ever present reindeer and his trusted elves.

Christmas is for everybody…
Christmas is full of positive, possibilities,
and you truly start to get into the Christmas spirit
as soon as you start to hang the decorations
upon your newly bought or perhaps your
perennially rediscovered Christmas tree…
Christmas is a season for hope,
optimism, friendship and family…
Christmas is when people need
other people more than anything –
and the greatest gift that you can
give anybody is your time,
because not only is time precious
but it is also free.

Christmas time can sometimes be hard –
even when their isn’t a dark cloud
hovering over every one in every country –
and so many people do not have
the opportunity to be with somebody
on December the 25th,
which is why everybody young and old
need to remind themselves why it is
important to be there for those
who we are blessed to know
as well as for those who may now know
and who may live on their own…
Christmas time should be hopeful
and without fears and tears…
Christmas time should be about
showing love, as well as about being
happy and merry while listening
to Christmas songs that have endured for years…
Christmas time is a wonderful time
that is capable of making anybody
of any age feel as if they are a child…
Christmas time is a whirlwind
of emotions at the best of times,
however when people are at their most
in need of something and someone
to believe in they can look no further
than to whomever matters the most to them
to give them the gift of a Christmas star
to enlighten and to signal that
even on the darkest of nights
there is always hope.

Merry Christmas! 🙂🥳🎄🎊🎋

Playing God – “The Man In Red”


Get your copy of my book ‘Playing God’ – featuring the Christmas story “The Man In Red” – online in paperback and as an ebook from Amazon: https://amzn.to/383gsII

Merry Christmas! 😎🎅🎄