18 October, 2019
Paranormal passages knotted together through time.
Well known locally as a musician and painter, Hauraki resident Susannah MacDonald has put out her first book, bringing together various interests and obsessions. Jodi Yeats reports. Susannah MacDonald’s Hauraki living room is decorated with her own large painting of a petrel, as well as objects expressing her eclectic interests, including a ceramic panther, large shells and vintage lamps. Its been a busy year creatively for MacDonald (67) with a solo exhibitio at the Lake House Arts Centre, a joint art exhibition with husband Allan, and the publication of her first book.
UK Publisher Austin Macauley describes Echoes From a Time Passage as a ‘paranormal urban fantasy’, and it combines many of MacDonald’s long-time fixations, especially the nature of time. “It’s about the idea there’s no such thing as time as we know it – that there are other planes of existence – and about the arts as a conduit for higher consciousness.” MacDonald wears a large seabird necklace and a silver bracelet in the shape of an endless knot, illustrating her belief the time is a loop. She has used petrels and albatrosses in many paintings, as they “seem so ancient and wise”. Tides, tectonic plates and other natural occurances and, how they are reflected in ancient mythologies, underpinned MacDonald’s finearts degree at Unitec, which she undertook with her husband, graduating in 2011.
The pair had been working as note-takers for students with disabilities for almost a decade, giving the couple the opportunity to attend inspiring lectures, including creative writing. Allan MacDonald now works as a graphic artist, artist and musician, playing with the band Vox Nova. The couple also like taking ‘big days out’, leaving the city to be in nature and take photographs. Mostly though, it’s hard graft for MacDonald: managing a kaleidoscopic career of teaching flute at Belmont Intermediate School, painting and drawing at Lake House and Mairangi arts centres, writing, and occasional spiritual counselling. She writes in between her classes for adults and children at Mairangi Arts Centre, and after teaching in Belmont on Saturdays. Echoes From a Time Passage took four years to write and was accepted for publication two years ago. MacDonald has spent the past two years on revision and writing sequels.
The book’s humanoid protagonist, Markas, is a ballet dancer and a priest, which others in his world think is ‘weird’. His father, an ‘inter-plane diplomat’ has disappeared, as has his sister, and he is troubled by a vision of a girl. Markas decides to time-travel through a portal leading to earth in order to search for all three. In one of MacDonald’s nine illustrations in the book, Markas travels through the passages of time, described as like moving through lungs. Austin Macauley has accepted a sequel, leaving MacDonald plenty of scope to make her mark as an author, in addition to her local accomplishments, as a teacher, performer and artist.
This article originally appeared in the October 18 edition of the Devonport Flagstaff. Download PDF.