Donald Syme aka Zootalias










The transformative power of art turns life into music and literature.  What music is to the ear, literature is to the brain: they both stir the emotions. And both move me in ways other art cannot. When I first got sober, music was my Higher Power. It was the only thing I could still believe in.  Music told me « what it was like, what happened and what it’s like now ». It made me feel.

Todd Rundgren ‘Healing Parts 1, 2 and 3’ and ‘Compassion’. Also Yes ‘To Be Over’.  And on the literature side: Touch by Elmore Leonard.  I was at the edge, looking into the abyss and music and literature saved my life. They communicated hope to me in a way nothing else could.

And ‘Somewhere to Hide’ comes from that time, near the bottom.







Free to download:




















Born in Sarnia, Ontario in 1954, Donald Syme is the second son of Anne and Albert Syme, Scottish migrants who moved to Canada in 1951.

He graduated from Northern Collegiate in 1973 and holds an Honours English degree (1977) from the University of Guelph.

After working in a plastics factory, as a salesman and on other menial tasks, he was selected out of 200 applicants for an advertising traineeship by George Patterson Advertising in 1984, where he trained as a copywriter. He established Syme Creative Services in Queensland in 1989 and ‘made an awful lot of money’ before burning out. He joined Alcoholics Anonymous and stopped drinking for a couple of years. His first book, ‘Gems of Recovery’ is a book of aphorisms heard in the rooms of AA (available as a free download for iPad in iTunes). It has been reprinted once.

His first album The Timeless Sea with his band Eternity was released in 1997 and sank without a trace except for a YouTube video of ‘Like a Forest Burning’.

He is currently working on his second book, ‘Inspirational Sobriety’ about the life of his recently deceased sponsor, Dr. Richard W. and his second album ‘Life Shadows’ from which ‘Somewhere to Hide’ is taken.

He lives in Lismore NSW and is learning to play the mandolin and ukulele.

He has two sons, Jeremy and Zachary, and three ex-wives, Helen, Vicki and Louise.



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