Hello Mary-Lou

Paula Xiberras
28.04.13 6:40 am


Like the eponymous song its hello Mary-Lou to former Hobart girl Mary-Lou Stephen who left and returned to Tasmania on 3 occasions when she was 18, 23, and 28. Mary-Lou started off as an aspiring actress in Tasmania, touring schools as part of a theatre troupe and true to her Renaissance girl nature also formed and performed in a band while she was living in Tasmania. When she did make the move to the mainland Mary-Lou made a successful radio career for herself which she enjoys today, as well as recently making another move, into the world of publishing as author of the memoir ‘Sex, drugs and meditation’.

Mary-Lou was encouraged to write her memoirs at the urging of friend, supporter, fellow author and one time Tasmanian resident Monica McInerney. Mary-Lou’s manuscript was sent to Monica’s literary agent in 2008 and created an instant interest. The publishers couldn’t get enough of Mary-Lou and 10 drafts later Mary-Lou was ready and so committed to the project she took 6 months without leave to bring it to fruition.

In her memoir, Mary-Lou Stephen offers us an honest and truthful account of a young woman that has been hurt by her experiences of romance gone wrong, drug and alcohol addiction, but Mary-Lou also shows us how these problems can be surmounted to enable any of us to take control of our relationships and alienate addictions.

Mary-Lou begins her memoir in her present situation working in radio and dealing with a difficult work situation and relationship woes, addiction to alcohol and food, and not finding the answer in conventional therapy, She decides to try Vipassana meditation, a course which she calls ‘meditation boot camp’. Its a bold move for a girl that makes her living by chatting to find herself in constant, calm, contemplating silence.

There is humour in that the meditation retreat is enlivened by curious and amorous kangaroos,  dealing with uncomfortable sitting positions and guilt over mistreating mosquitoes.

During her stay Mary-Lou discovers that nothing is ever what it seems as her evaluation of her room mate and the elegant lady who she believes must be a model, after the course, confesses clumsiness. The adage Mary-Lou advises, is what others think about you is none of your business and often what you think of them couldn’t be further from the truth and the realisation that no one is perfect and that she has been persecuting herself for not being perfect and worrying what others thought of her instead of taking control of her own path to happiness.

The meditation, Mary-Lou say is on the border of the conscious and subconscious and teaches us to be present in the moment without worry of the past or fear of the future. it involves ‘being equanimous’ ie .of a composed frame of mind. It also involves being responsible and taking care of one’s own stuff without uploading to others

With her success as an author Mary-Lou still wants to keep working on radio where she feels a deep connection to people, completely different to the solitary life of a writer.  Mary-Lou hopes to walk the balance between the two. Mary also recently relaunched her band ‘Chain of Hearts’.

And it would seem the future seems all sunshine for Mary-Lou. ‘Sex, drugs and meditation’ is out now and watch this space for news of more of Mary-Lou’s marvellous memoirs.

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