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California Dreaming – the book

I haven’t written on this blog in a very long time. Academically it is the busy season… strange though, classes end and it gets busy. I haven’t been idle, and have been writing. In fact I have been writing to the tune of 72,300 words that have come together in the form of my first ebook.

Exactly two years ago I was part of an epic journey with five of my students and it is time to share it. …just as soon as I learn about the last little bits of how to upload these files… Scrivener has been an awesome tool. While I get my head around ISBN numbers and the different files I need to upload, have a peek at the cover. Well, the cover so far – it could still change. I am very grateful to the friends and strangers who have given me feedback about the design so far.

Twin Peaks …coming soon!

This is possibly my first really silly, completely non-academic, non-deep thinking post, but Twin Peaks is coming in just over a week, and I really like Twin Peaks. When I was clearing out big files on my computer and came across this recorded skype conversation from the end of last summer that I had with a friend of mine (we were working on another project and happened to chat randomly in the middle…). When I mentioned Twin Peaks, and he had never heard of it, well my disbelief was tangible. My daughter wanted to share it with a couple of people she wanted to introduce to Twin Peaks, so…

Here it is, posted with permission (thanks Pete!)

If you don’t know about Twin Peaks, there is just about enough time for you to watch it before the new series is aired.

The baby on the train

I travelled a lot by train during the past two days as I went from south to north of the country and back again. The six trains were fine, and besides being vehicles of transportation, they were vehicles for a window into humanity. I saw some beautiful people. Actually there were so many beautiful people and kind people, and people loving their special people that I was really struck and pleased to be part of this thing called humanity. It gave me hope in a time when, if allowed or directed in a certain way, there is so much noise and hatred being spewed into the public arena.

I am not advocating hiding one’s head and putting on the headphones to block out the big wide world, but I was reminded of phrases and images, and I’d like you to indulge me in a short story of the people opposite me on the first train.

Firstly, she was a beautiful baby. Full of sunshine and absolutely not demanding anything from anyone else, but sat next to her mother and softly sang. She was singing. My first thought was, oh, how I wish I was so comfortable and felt ‘allowed’ to just sing. They I thought, hey, why can’t people just sing? Society? Convention? Baggage of the past? I still must believe deep down that some of those walls are real. Letting go takes time. Back to the story:

This lovely child sang, and what did the parents do?

They smiled and they joined in. Both of the parents joined in. They sang little nursery rhyme songs and later they softly sang full songs and the baby joined in on long notes when she caught on to the structure of the song. It was absolutely joyful.

I smiled and said she was beautiful and how lucky she was to have a mummy and daddy who sang with her.

The freedom of learning to express with music and to be so supported. There is far deeper meaning and transference than just a baby singing. There is a message about learning, an instrumental or musical vocabulary, about confidence and motivation, and about community.

I am reminded of words and the images they invoke:

We the people

1000 lights

laughter spreads

sing out

We are not without voice, we are not without purpose, people are not without love for one another. For me, part of humanity is celebrating those we spend our time with along the way, in our everyday journeys.

By the third train I saw this sign:

and on the fourth train, when I noticed amazing people I told them so. On the fifth train were two beautiful women. I told them so. When they got off two stops later, they were smiling and laughing and they thanked me again and wished me well. None of the other passengers had spoken, except to check directions with whoever they were already with. On the sixth train I smiled at the baby across the way. He waved back. The man opposite sighed loudly and took two headache pills. The baby and I smiled. The baby gave everyone smiles even though few smiled back.

Be the one who takes the risk to smile back.