No. 33, October 1976
The changes at NHQ have meant that the number of people working to produce The Golden Age has gone down quite considerably. Felicity, who used to stick down the copy, and Graeme the photographer are off to Melbourne; Kerry the typesetter and John who once organised the printing and collation are out hunting for jobs. Which leaves the editor and the artist, Tony and me, staring out the window of the almost-deserted second floor, at the grey and yellow parking station across the road. I'm learning to typeset, and have recently rediscovered the pleasures of a Sunday afternoon spent in the depths of Wentworth Avenue folding and stapling. Tony is learning some of Graeme's darkroom tricks. But he's got a family to support now, and that's keeping him busy, running around town all day drumming up free-lance design work. Here he comes now. "My legs are bloody killing me, "he mutters, "have you got any lunch I could have? " "No, I'm afraid not," I reply, "and I'm broke too. I found some Arnotts biscuits and cheese upstairs, but; maybe there's some of that left."
Yes indeed, a sorry story. Of course, We've Got Meditation, so it's all really all right. However, there is something you can do. To keep the Golden Age up to standard and to make it improve, we need your help. For a start, we won't have as much time as we used to have to chase up material for the paper. And also, it isn't just Tony and my Golden Age, it's everybody's.
So the first thing we could use is constructive feedback. We get a wide variety of comments on the Age, some are positive and some are negative, but not many people really take the time to tell us why they feel the way they do, and how they see we could improve. So if you have objections or suggestions, please write to us. Let us know, too, if there are aspects of the contents or the design which you particularly like, so that we can continue them.
At present, the plan is to simplify the whole thing: cut out the bi-monthly satsang (a step necessary partly for financial reasons), and run two of Guru Maharaj Ji's satsangs in each issue of the Golden Age, along with national and international news plus any additional bits of information or satsang that arrive at NHQ and look like they might be interesting for everybody. In one way, I like this idea – it will make it easy to produce, and uncontroversial. However, I feel it may lose something. The articles and interviews with Australian premies which have made up much of the paper in the past, have, I feel, added colour and interest. And although local satsang may not have the universal appeal that Guru Maharaj Ji's has, people quite often tell me how much they related to and enjoyed something someone Australian wrote or said. In other words, I feel that there is room for us – the 1,000-odd members of DIM in this country – to use the Golden Age to communicate with each other, to share our understandings and our inspiration.
At the same time, I realise that if we're going to use Australian material in the paper, it's got to be good. And so, we need contributions. One complaint we sometimes get is that the paper is dominated by articles by and photographs of the NHQ staff But what can we do ?At least they're willing to contribute. To try to balance this out, we have had "State News"articles written by correspondents in each centre. But again, we get quite a few complaints about these articles–people say they're boring, and unrepresentative. Personally, I think the State News has been improving steadily. But I also feel that the correspondents have an almost impossible job. How can one person really represent a whole community?
So if you've got something to say, get a pen and some paper and say it. In a letter, in an essay, in a drawing or a cartoon, through a story or a photograph – we don't mind. If you think there is some aspect of your personal experience or of your household or your community that might interest people elsewhere, try to express it. If you feel that the premie who lives down the street has at least as good an understanding of Knowledge as the people who normally star in the Age, get a tape-recorder and interview him. We can't promise to use everything, but we will use as much as we can.
So next time you feel like doing something, try doing it through The Golden Age. Your page is waiting.