Posted in Essay, General Interest, Guest Writer

RAY BRADBURY: PART II, Flying Up Among the Stars

While there were many salutes to Ray Bradbury upon his death on June 5, 2012, we encountered none with as much warmth, insight and appreciation as this piece by Colin Blundell (colinblundell)Though it is far longer than our current 1,000 word limit ( one lesson experience has taught us is that the Blogosphere is largely a sound-bite world), we thought it was time to bring it out, dust if off and share it again. On reading this essay, you will understand why . . . 

Forty years ago, I began teaching ‘English’ to 11-16 year-olds in a comprehensive school in a suburb of Luton, Bedfordshire UK—Stopsley High School. A class of 4th year boys was well on the way to defeating me till I discovered that reading Ray Bradbury short stories to them was a really good way of keeping them quiet for a whole lesson and even inspiring them to think and write. Ray Bradbury was the key that opened doors for these boys who had mostly been rejected by the system they found themselves enslaved by. Admittedly, by report, some of them later did a stretch in prison but not a few of them went on to get degrees, to become teachers and hold responsible jobs in local industry. I have sadly lost touch with all of them.

The short story that seemed to have the most immediate effect, and the one I always associate with that period of my life, was The Murderer from The Golden Apples of the Sun (1953). It was the story that perhaps meant most to me, one I could put my heart and soul into the reading thereof.

Music moved with him in the white halls. He passed an office door: ‘The Merry Widow Waltz’. Another door: ‘Afternoon of a Faun’. A third: ‘Kiss Me Again’. He turned into a cross corridor: ‘The Sword Dance’ buried him in cymbals, drums, pots, pans, knives, forks, thunder, and tin lightning. All washed away as he hurried through an anteroom where a secretary sat nicely stunned by Beethovens Fifth. He moved himself before her eyes like a hand; she didnt see him. His wrist radio buzzed.
“Yes?”
“This is Lee, Dad. Don’t forget about my allowance.”
“Yes, son, yes. Im busy.”
“Just didnt want you to forget, Dad,” said the wrist radio. Tchaikovsky’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ swarmed about the voice and flushed into the long halls.

Where are we? What’s going on? Forty years back there was no such thing as a mobile phone; the wrist radio is part of Ray Bradbury’s accurately terrifying vision of the future, which is now: the mobile phone is a symbol for the way life for many people seems to be threaded on messages from an imagined other place, messages, usually of no real consequence, that materialise to interrupt life while it is being lived, to divert attention from the concentrated flow of existence.

Once upon a time, you were able to move from experience to experience without the feeling that at any moment your flow was going to be interrupted by messages from an outer space which is not yours; life has changed and with it consciousness—it’s no longer a direct relationship between you and mountain, river, birdsong, zebra, touch of skin, and sensation of wind but something mediated by a mechanical drive to make contact with somebody to express the connection in some dull-witted way, or have it interrupted by somebody else’s account of their own experience of zebras and so on…

I do not remember that piped music was everywhere when I was growing up (I don’t think it was) but it’s more or less impossible to avoid the intrusiveness of the assault on the ears nowadays. The person with the switch assumes that it’s OK to bombard us with Muzak; most people don’t notice that it is washing over them—it’s the mechanical norm.

One might just consider oneself lucky to have Beethoven’s Fifth or L’après-midi d’un faune swarming about the long halls of the supermarket rather than the latest pop-crap but on the whole, instead of having others impose their banal choices on me, I prefer to organise my own listening schedule just when I want it to happen and not otherwise.

Ray Bradbury is simplistically referred to as a Science Fiction writer but it’s more the case that he is of that fraternity that seems to be plugged into the way things are going in fact rather than as fiction—those who are sufficiently tuned into human trends and weaknesses to understand where things are heading. H.G. Wells was another member of the clan.

“Prisoner delivered to Interview Chamber Nine.”
He unlocked the chamber door, stepped in, heard the door lock behind him.
“Go away,” said the prisoner, smiling. The psychiatrist was shocked by that smile. A very sunny, pleasant warm thing, a thing that shed bright light upon the room. Dawn among the dark hills. High noon at midnight, that smile. The blue eyes sparkled serenely above that display of self-assured dentistry.
“I’m here to help you,” said the psychiatrist, frowning. Something was wrong with the room. He had hesitated the moment he entered. He glanced around. The prisoner laughed. “If you’re wondering why it’s so quiet in here, I just kicked the radio to death.”

At length we find that our hero is Mr Albert Brock, who calls himself ‘The Murderer’. The psychiatrist, who intends to put him right, deems him violent, but Brock says that his violence is only towards ‘machines that yak-yak-yak…’

He quickly demonstrates his murderous intentions.

“Before we start…” He moved quietly and quickly to detach the wrist radio from the doctor’s arm. He tucked it in his teeth like a walnut, gritted, heard it crack, handed it back to the appalled psychiatrist as if he had done them both a favour. “That’s better.”

I often feel like doing this to mobile phones and other beeping implements on trains when my quiet reading is interrupted by them.

Deviant Behaviour

The psychiatrist asks Brock to talk about his deviant behaviour.

“Fine. The first victim, or one of the first, was my telephone. Murder most foul. I shoved it in the kitchen Insinkerator! Stopped the disposal unit in mid-swallow. Poor thing strangled to death. After that I shot the television set! … Fired six shots right through the cathode. Made a beautiful tinkling crash, like a dropped chandelier…”
“Suppose you tell me when you first began to hate the telephone.”

Because the telephone used to upset me as a child and because I would still rather not talk over the telephone I used to read the following explanation to my classes with extreme relish and rhetorical gusto, loudly and at increasing speed.

“It frightened me as a child. Uncle of mine called it the Ghost Machine. Voices without bodies. Scared the living hell out of me. Later in life I was never comfortable. Seemed to me a phone was an impersonal instrument. If it felt like it, it let your personality go through its wires. If it didn’t want to, it just drained your personality away until what slipped through at the other end was some cold fish of a voice, all steel, copper, plastic, no warmth, no reality.
It’s easy to say the wrong things on telephones; the telephone changes your meaning on you. First thing you know, you’ve made an enemy. Then, of course, the telephone’s such a convenient thing; it just sits there and demands you call someone who doesn’t want to be called. Friends were always calling, calling, calling me. Hell, I hadn’t any time of my own. When it wasn’t the telephone it was the television, the radio, the phonograph. When it wasn’t the television or radio or the phonograph it was motion pictures at the corner theatre, motion pictures projected, with commercials on low-lying cumulus clouds. It doesn’t rain rain any more, it rains soapsuds. When it wasn’t High-Fly Cloud advertisements, it was music by Mozzek in every restaurant; music and commercials on the buses I rode to work. When it wasn’t music, it was inter-office communications, and my horror chamber of a radio wrist watch on which my friends and my wife phoned every five minutes. What is there about such ‘conveniences’ that makes them so temptingly convenient? The average man thinks, Here I am, time on my hands, and there on my wrist is a wrist telephone, so why not just buzz old Joe up, eh? …I love my friends, my wife, humanity, very much, but when one minute my wife calls to say, “Where are you now, dear?” and a friend calls and says, “Got the best off-colour joke to tell you. Seems there was a guy…”

The climax came when Brock ‘…poured a paper cup of water into the intercommunications system’ at his office which shorted the electrics and had everybody running around not knowing what to do with themselves. Then Brock ‘got the idea at noon of stomping my wrist radio on the sidewalk. A shrill voice was just yelling out of it at me, This is People’s Poll Number Nine. What did you eat for lunch? I kicked the Jesus out of the wrist radio!’

A Solitary Revolution

Brock decided to ‘start a solitary revolution, deliver man from certain ‘conveniences’… Convenient for anybody who, out of boredom or aimlessness wanted a diversion.. “Having a shot of whisky now. Thought you’d want to know…” Convenient for my office, so when I’m in the field with my radio car there’s no moment when I’m not in touch…’

Why on earth should we ever wish to be ‘in touch’ with people, with contacts, with a million or so connections on the Internet, with ‘friends’ on Facebook? Why do we feel a need to communicate our insignificant ideas to anybody who will, we imagine, click in on a regular basis? Why am I writing this?

We are living the Twentieth Century illusion of total connectedness; we imagine an audience; we think we are making something happen. We are not. All that’s happened is that our concept of the world has changed; we like to think that we are all in it together—it could well be that this has affected the shape of ‘consciousness’ itself.

Why is it that the bosses imagine now that they can extend the working day 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by  constantly having workers ‘in touch’? We let them get away with it.

In touch! There’s a slimy phrase. Touch, hell. Gripped! Pawed, rather. Mauled and massaged and pounded by FM voices. You can’t leave your car without checking in: “Have stopped to visit gas-station men’s room.” “Okay, Brock, step on it!” “Brock, what took you so long?” “Sorry, sir.” “Watch it next time, Brock.” “Yes, sir!”

Brock progressed his one-man revolution by spooning a quart of French chocolate ice cream—chosen because it was his favourite flavour— into the car radio transmitter.

The psychiatrist asked what happened next.

Silence

“Silence happened next. God, it was beautiful. That car radio cackling all day, Brock go here, Brock go there, Brock check in, Brock check out, okay Brock, hour lunch, lunch over, Brock, Brock, Brock… I just rode around feeling of the silence. It’s a big bolt of the nicest, softest flannel ever made. Silence. A whole hour of it. I just sat in my car, smiling, feeling of that flannel with my ears. I felt drunk with Freedom!”

Then Brock rented himself a ‘portable diathermy machine’. Now, if ever there was a sensible invention this is one. Often, especially on trains, I’ve thought to myself, “If only I had a  ‘portable diathermy machine’, I could turn it on and silence all the inane chat, all the music blasting out of half-wit headphones, all the tapping and beeping that so disturbs me…”

I’ve even thought of trying to invent something that would do the trick. I once met a man who said he could help though there might be issues of legality. Brock, c’est Moi, I thought.

In the story, the effect of Brock’s murderous impulses was striking.

“There sat all the tired commuters with their wrist radios, talking to their wives, saying, ‘Now I’m at Forty-third, now I’m at Forty-fourth, here I am at Forty-ninth, now turning at Sixty-first.”

“I’m on the train…”

“One husband cursing, ‘Well, get out of that bar, damn it, and get home and get dinner started, I’m at Seventieth!’ And the transit-system radio playing Tales from the Vienna Woods, a canary singing words about a first-rate wheat cereal. Then—I switched on my diathermy! Static! Interference! All wives cut off from husbands grousing about a hard day at the office. All husbands cut off from wives who had just seen their children break a window! The Vienna Woods chopped down, the canary mangled! Silence! A terrible, unexpected silence. The bus inhabitants faced with having to converse with each other. Panic! Sheer, animal panic!”
“The police seized you?”
“The bus had to stop. After all, the music was being scrambled, husbands and wives were out of touch with reality. Pandemonium, riot, and chaos. Squirrels chattering in cages! A trouble unit arrived, triangulated on me instantly, had me reprimanded, fined, and home, minus my diathermy machine, in jig time.”

The psychiatrist, namby-pamby liberal democrat, suggests that Brock could have joined a club for gadget-haters, got up a petition, asked for a change in the law… Brock says he did all these things and more but he still found himself in an undemonstrative minority. The psychiatrist says that the majority rules.

“But they went too far. If a little music and ‘keeping in touch’ was charming, they figured a lot would be ten times as charming. I went wild! I got home to find my wife hysterical. Why ? Because she had been completely out of touch with me for half a day. Remember, I did a dance on my wrist radio? Well, that night I laid plans to murder my house… It’s one of those talking, singing, humming, weather-reporting, poetry-reading, novel-reciting, jingle-jangling, rockaby-crooning-when-you-go-to bed houses. A house that screams opera to you in the shower and teaches you Spanish in your sleep. One of those blathering caves where all kinds of electronic Oracles make you feel a trifle larger than a thimble, with stoves that say, ‘I’m apricot pie, and I’m done,’ or ‘I’m prime roast beef, so baste me!’ and other nursery gibberish like that. With beds that rock you to sleep and shake you awake. A house that barely tolerates humans, I tell you. A front door that barks: ‘You’ve mud on your feet, sir!’ And an electronic vacuum hound that snuffles around after you from room to room, inhaling every fingernail or ash you drop. Jesus God… ”

The psychiatrist suggests he minds his language.

“Next morning early I bought a pistol. I purposely muddied my feet. I stood at our front door. The front door shrilled, ‘Dirty feet, muddy feet! Wipe your feet! Please be neat!’ I shot the damn thing in its keyhole! I ran to the kitchen, where the stove was just whining, ‘Turn me over!’ In the middle of a mechanical omelet I did the stove to death. Oh, how it sizzled and screamed, ‘I’m shorted!’…  Then I went in and shot the television, that insidious beast, that Medusa, which freezes a billion people to stone every night, staring fixedly, that Siren which called and sang and promised so much and gave, after all, so little…”

Having been arrested for destroying other people’s property, Brock was sent to the Office of Mental Health to be straightened out by a psychiatrist. Brock is unrepentant and says he’d do it all over again. The psychiatrist checks that he’s ready to take the consequences

“This is only the beginning,” said Mr. Brock. “I’m the vanguard of the small public which is tired of noise and being taken advantage of and pushed around and yelled at, every moment music, every moment in touch with some voice somewhere, do this, do that, quick, quick, now here, now there. You’ll see. The revolt begins. My name will go down in history!”

He’s prepared to admit that all gadgets were initially dedicated to making life less of a drudgery.

They were almost toys, to be played with, but people got too involved, went too far, and got wrapped up in a pattern of social behaviour and couldn’t get out, couldn’t admit they were in, even.

The gadgets have now become an unquestioned part of life. The next generation grows up with all the e-things and cannot understand old fogies like me wanting to, as they might see it, put the clock back.

Brock points out the irony that he ‘…got world-wide coverage on TV, radio, films… That was five days ago. A billion people know about me now. Check your financial columns. Any day now. Maybe to-day. Watch for a sudden spurt, a rise in sales for French chocolate ice cream!

Brock looks forward to spending six months in jail, free from noise of any kind.

The psychiatrist’s diagnosis announced over the tannoy system is that Brock seemed convivial but ‘…completely disorientated’ refusing ‘… to accept the simplest realities of his environment and work with them…’

A Story to Shape the Soul

Re-reading Ray Bradbury’s brilliant short story on the day I heard of his death at 91, I realise, not for the first time, how much it has shaped my being; my disgust with the way the world is now, my refusal to compromise, my sense of horror at the way people are sucked into A Influences and diverted by gadgetry from the things that really matter: the life of the soul, responses to Nature and all that comes under the heading of Understanding properly nurtured by Knowledge and Being… Indiscriminate working with the realities of one’s environment means giving in to crass stupidity, mass resignation to the way things are fostered by Big Business brain-washing and the endless traps of Capitalism.

Accept nothing unless it nurtures the soul. Verify everything for yourself, says Gurdjieff…

Brock walks cheerfully to prison looking forward to a nice ‘bolt’ of silence. Meanwhile for the psychiatrist normal life resumes…

Three phones rang. A duplicate wrist radio in his desk drawer buzzed like a wounded grasshopper. The intercom flashed a pink light and click-clicked. Three phones rang. The drawer buzzed. Music blew in through the open door. The psychiatrist, humming quietly, fitted the new wrist radio to his wrist, flipped the intercom, talked a moment, picked up one telephone, talked, picked up another telephone, talked, picked up the third telephone, talked, touched the wrist-radio button, talked calmly and quietly, his face cool and serene, in the middle of the music and the lights flashing, the two phones ringing again, and his hands moving, and his wrist radio buzzing, and the intercoms talking, and voices speaking from the ceiling. And he went on quietly this way through the remainder of a cool, air-conditioned, and long afternoon; telephone, wrist radio, intercom, telephone, wrist radio, intercom, telephone, wrist radio, intercom, telephone, wrist radio, intercom, telephone, wrist radio, intercom, telephone, wrist radio…

End of a Story…

What I would dearly love to know is whether The Murderer penetrated the soul’s of the lads I taught all those years ago as much as it has penetrated mine. Amongst others, Paul, Martin Chris, Richard, Stephen, John and also Chris & Pete who went off to swim unwillingly amongst the stars in the 1970’s.

If any of you should chance to read this, please get in touch, as they say…

– Colin Blundell

© 2012, essay and portrait (below), Colin Blundell, All rights reserved

COLIN BLUNDELL (colinblundell) ~ is a generous and informed writer whoand covers the range: poetry, fiction, and philosophical tomes. When he isn’t writing, he is busy making music and hand-made paperback books, painting watercolours, and going on long-distance motorbike treks. He’s left off being a wage-slave in 1991. He is now an independently teaching Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP), Accelerated Learning, Steven Covey’s Seven Habits, Change Management, Problem-solving and Time Management, and the art and practice of the Enneagram.

Posted in Film/Documentaries/Reviews, General Interest, Music, Teachers, Video

Life Lessons from the Oldest Living Pianist, 109 year-old Alice Herz-Sommer

Our thanks to Laurel D. for contributing this film clip.

http://theladyinnumber6.com
https://www.facebook.com/theladyinnum…
The Lady in Number 6 is one of the most inspirational stories ever told. 109 year old, Alice Herz Sommer, the world’s oldest pianist and oldest holocaust survivor, shares her views on how to live a long happy life. She discusses the vital importance of music, laughter and having an optimistic outlook on life. This powerfully inspirational video tells her remarkable story of survival and how she managed to use her time in a Nazi concentration camp to empower herself and others with music. See the entire documentary at:
https://twitter.com/AliceTheFilm

Posted in Essay, Guest Writer, Music, Poems/Poetry, teacher

MY TRUMPET TEACHER IS A POET: Is that cool?

Trumpet_in_c_germanthe work of Kim Moore (Kim Moore, poetry), originally published in Artemis poetry and posted here with Ms. Moore’s permission and that of the publisher

When I was first asked to write an article exploring the links between being a poet and a trumpet teacher, my first reaction was panic. How could I possibly link my poetry life and my teaching/music life together? In my head they occupy two very separate spaces. Whilst pondering this, I grumpily thought of how often they seem to leech time and energy from each other, and it was this thought that made me realise they must be linked in some way and gave me the confidence to start writing.

I’ve only just started telling pupils that I write poetry – they often just look at me strangely. Then they ask what I write about – I usually change the subject and make them play a scale or something – because what poet likes to be asked what they write about? Especially when you are asked by a ten year old who is not going to be impressed by an airy flourish of my hand and a vague reference to gender politics.
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At the beginning of 2012 I told one of my teenage pupils I’d got a job working as a poet in a men’s prison for ten weeks. He looked at me in disbelief, then did that clicking knuckles thing that’s all the rage with young people, before exclaiming with delight ‘You’re gonna get stabbed!’ followed by another click of his knuckles. When I appeared the next week with no puncture wounds, triumphant, he’d forgotten about the conversation already.
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I’ve been working as a full time brass teacher for seven years – but in September 2012 I decided to reduce my contract down to four days a week to give myself more time to write. I teach in about 16 primary schools a week delivering a programme called ‘Wider Opportunities’ where every child in the class gets a brass instrument as well as the teacher and teaching assistants. I also run two brass bands and teach small groups of children as well.
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I think the most important part of my job is to show both adults and children that music is for them. I can relate to thinking that it is not you see – being the only child in the school not allowed in the choir age eleven. The same thing happens in poetry – people think it is not for them – but it is surprising how many people in conversation will admit they have written a poem or ‘always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument’.
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As I’m writing this article, I can see more and more connections. The role of peripatetic teacher is always that of an outsider – I’m not attached to any school and this loneliness is reminiscent of the work of being a poet, or a writer. My two worlds creep closer when I think of the way I had to learn as a new teacher, that my hope of guiding young players who spent every spare minute practising (as I did) off to music college was unlikely. I had to learn to let go of what I wanted, to understand that if my enjoyment of my job, my success, was measured by how much my pupils practised and whether they went off to music college, I would be a Very Miserable Teacher. I had to learn to listen to what my pupils wanted – and this transaction is often non-verbal because sometimes they don’t know either. Doesn’t this sound like poetry? The act of letting go, of relinquishing control is precisely what writing is to me. I learnt as a poet as well, that if I measured success by publication or prizes I would be a Very Miserable Poet.
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Another part of my job is conducting a junior band. This is going to sound harsh, but conducting is all about imposing your will on the group. There is no room for anyone else to be creative. In fact, rehearsing is more like editing a poem – practising the same section over and over again, breaking the band down into parts so you can hear the weakest links – is exactly like reading your own poem over and over again, to find a line that will give way under scrutiny.
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Teaching music and writing poetry are ultimately an act of balance – they both have that feeling of walking a tightrope, of words being vastly important. I often find myself using the same catchphrases when I’m teaching – they almost become your own personal clichés. I made a list of mine and turned it into a poem – it made it into my first pamphlet at the last minute and on the advice of my editor, Ann Sansom rather than any passion for it on my part – maybe it reminded me too much of work – but it is often the poem that people comment on – the most surprising people will confess they used to play a brass instrument or will say ‘I remember my trumpet teacher saying that to me when I was small’. And of course, the lines in my poem are not mine at all, really. They were given to me by my trumpet teacher and I remembered them, and repeated them to my pupils, like a poem, learnt by heart.
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Teaching the Trumpet

I say: imagine you are drinking a glass of air.
Let the coldness hit the back of your throat.

Raise your shoulders to your ears, now let
them be. Get your cheeks to grip your teeth.

Imagine you are spitting tea leaves
from your tongue to start each note

so each one becomes the beginning of a word.
Sing the note inside your head then match it.

At home lie on the floor and pile books
on your stomach to check your breathing.

Or try and pin paper to the wall just by blowing.
I say: remember the man who played so loud

he burst a blood vessel in his eye? This was
because he was drunk, although I don’t tell

them that, I say it was because he was young,
and full of himself, and far away from home.

– Kim Moore

© 2013, essay and poem and portrait (below), Kim Moore, All rights reserved
Photo credit ~ trumpet by Benutzer:Achias under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported license

Society of Authors Awards June 2011 Kim Moore  Eric Gregory AwardsKIM MOORE (Kim Moore, poetry) ~ works as a peripatetic brass teacher in Cumbria. In 2011kim-moore-if-we-could-speak-like-wolves_1 she won an Eric Gregory Award and the Geoffrey Dearmer Prize, and in 2012 her first pamphlet  If We Could Speak Like Wolves was a winner in the Poetry Business Pamphlet competition, judged by Carol Ann Duffy. It was selected as one of the Independent’s ‘Books of the Year’. Kim has been published in various magazines including The Rialto, Poetry Review, The TLS, Magma, and ARTEMISpoetry. She is currently working on her first collection. You can sample more of her poetry on her blog HERE.

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artemis-1ARTEMIS poetry ~  the bi-annual journal (November and May) of the Second Light Network , a professional association of women poets. The journal is published under their Second Light Publications imprint. Members receive a copy as part of their membership benefits. Issues are available to non-members by subscription at £9 p.a. or as a one-off purchase at £5 a copy (plusp&p).

Posted in Buddhism, Guest Writer

A lovely thought for the journey today from Terri Stewart (aka Cloaked Monk). Her blog is worth your visit. Brief and lovely meditative moments. Thank you, Terri!

Posted in meditative, Teachers, Video

YOUR HEART IS THE SIZE OF AN OCEAN

Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Rūmī

Sufi Mystic and Poet (1207 A.D. – 1273 A.D.

Born in what is now Afghanistan, Died in Turkey

Your heart is the size of an ocean.

Go find yourself in its hidden depths.

Rumi


Credit ~ The illustration of Rumi is in the U. S public domain.
Video ~ upload to YouTube by Mevlanaism.

Posted in Guest Writer, Uncategorized

RESPONSIBILITIES – TIME – AND A CUPPA JOE

This is a story that make its point in a charming and memorable way. Its oft told on blogs and in emails, but not always with the charm invested by Kate. J.D.

COFFEE PHILOSOPHY

by

Kate (Subtle Kate)

A professor stood before his philosophy class with a large empty jar and  and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar, of course the sand filled up everything else.
He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous “yes.”

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

“Now,” said the professor, as the laughter subsided, “I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things like your family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favourite passions — things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

“The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car.

The sand is everything else –the small stuff.”

If you put the sand into the jar first,” he continued, “there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you. Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness.

Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner.Play another eighteen holes. There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand.”

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented. The professor smiled. “I’m glad you asked,” he said.
“It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a cup of coffee. “

·

Photo credit ~ Image Chef.com

Kate ~ has been blogging as subtlekate since December of last year and in that time she has garnered an impressive array of awards. She’s a doctor and a mom and says she’s “very much in love with a sexy bald man.” She lives by the sea in Australia. Kate writes quite a bit about writing and reading and is participating in goodreads 2012 reading challenge.

Posted in Jamie Dedes, Poems/Poetry

A MEMORIAL FOR OUR FRIEND …

“We’re all just walking each other home.” Ram Dass

For Trekker …

Ann, Rob, and I attend his memorial today.

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WALKING HOME

by

Jamie Dedes

·

his leathered skin a shroud, crinkled

furrowed from his wild mind and dry

explorations under our California sun

where he wondered with his students

·

and friends, the outdoorsmen stand

by him as he rests dying by an oak

table, a jelly glass, childhood fave

sits with his preferred gin, taking it

·

by the spoonful from the kind hand of

a hospice nurse until he rests, sleeps

then walks on, in the doleful blue of

of our tears: a soft fairwell dear friend

·

© 2012 poem, Jamie Dedes All rights reserved

Photo credit ~ Vera Kratochvil, Public Domain Pictures.net