About the Author
Though seemingly destined to be an accountant like his grandfather, or a businessman like his father, author Steve B. McGlaughlin instead had the equal shortest prospective career as an accountant in world history. One that reached its practical end the day he limped through the final semester of his Bachelor of Commerce in 1989, but had reached its natural end a term earlier, when he had been sat down by his accounting tutor, and told a simple, but brutal truth, “Steve, you should never be an accountant, you are utterly terrible at it.”
Unshackled from his fate, but having not the slightest clue as to what the alternative career should or might be, Steve did the only thing he could think to do, which was to grow his hair long and travel the world. In retrospect, as though instinctively following Kierkegaard’s maxim that life must be lived forwards but can only be understood backwards, there was clearly some hidden method at work in this meandering adventure.
For it was on it that Steve, quite unexpectedly, found himself busking and living in Prague in the magical, joyful summer the year after the Czech Velvet Revolution. An experience which undoubtedly provided the initial creative spark for his first novel, Robert the Frog, a story which has music and hope at its heart.
Upon returning home, alongside working in market research and as a copywriter, Steve became part of the Australian music and comedy scenes. A career that in summary fittingly sounds like the beginning of a joke: did you hear the one about the guy who wrote years of TV sketch comedy, played guitar in 90s alternative bands, and composed hit songs for Polish, Vietnamese and Korean pop stars?
In 2013, Steve apparently surprised no-one but himself, given his deep interest in Carl Jung and the potential of creativity to act as an agent of healing, undertook a Master of Counselling and Psychotherapy degree. It proved a transformative experience, both on a personal level (which is the topic of his short essay: “The Synchronicity of Robert the Frog”), and on a creative one: providing, as it did, the impetus, experiences and content for Robert the Frog.
Similarly, to the works of his literary guides, C. S. Lewis, Richard Adams and Michael Morpurgo, Robert the Frog, can be read on two distinct levels. Its surface tells a thoughtful, wistful, at times funny, all-ages tale of the adventures of four anthropomorphised animals who embark on a journey of great risk to save a beloved friend.
But its undercurrent is a meditation on, or even an ode to, the belief that even the most seemingly intractable grief and loss can be reached and transformed through the subtle but beautiful arts: creativity, music, connection and hope. Or as the Beethoven quote on Robert the Frog’s cover proclaims, and which the book holds as an inspirational truth: “What I have in my heart and soul must find a way out. That’s the reason for music.”