I read an article the other day that actually made me want to cry a little bit.
It's an old Washington Post article from 2007 about violinist Joshua Bell, who as an experiment/stunt played for 43 minutes in a rush-hour train station for about 1000 people that passed through that morning. He was playing a $3.5 million dollar violin, and the best seats in his performance tonight will set you back $213.61, but on this day he played for free to anyone who stopped to listen. He played Chaconne by Bach, "considered one of the most difficult violin pieces to master".
The sad part is that about five people in 1000 actually bothered to stop and listen. Roughly five people made time in their schedule to stop and pay attention to the fact that this was a master, playing a Stradivarius for free on the street. And I totally get it. One gent had to be at work in five minutes, so he let himself stay and listened for three. Another was a violinist himself and could tell that there was something special about this particular busker. Another was a woman who worked as a shoe-shiner - he was the only performer she didn't complain about to management.
Actually, sadder still was the fact that every child who passed through wanted to stop and listen. And every parent they were with hustled them on without a glance at the violinist.
Saddest yet is that I know that if I had been there, I probably would have done the same. I like to think that I would have been the guy to at least spare a minute. Or maybe the one parent who didn't drag his kid away from the amazing music that neither of us will hear the like of again. I'm afraid that I would miss it completely and be the guy who "had no memory that there had been a musician anywhere in sight".
I knew after reading this that I wanted to be different. I want to notice things that others miss. My sister has a little side-blog where she captures something every day that she loves. I don't want to copy that, and I want to capture more than just pictures, but it certainly inspiring. Then while I thought about it, my 31st birthday came and went, and my sister aagain with the inspiring got me the book above. It's called How to be an Explorer of the World by Keri Smith. While it wouldn't have been my first choice of book, as it doesn't involve space battle or time travel, it fits the bill perfectly for maybe getting me out of my own little head. What I need is something to force me to see things I take for granted, and perhaps over time, I won't need to be forced to do so.
So while the book is about taking notes and writing things down in the moment, I'm going to experiment and learn and explore and as I go, transcribe the things I do and learn and what-have-you onto the net, to share what I'm learning and doing and make myself do it. I will do it over on Explore with screenbeard on tumblr, and when I'm finished fold it back in here.
This post was going to start out negative, calling for nominations for "Unaustralian of the Year". And whilst typically Australian, its not a particularly celebratory way to see the year out.
So instead I want to spend December gathering stories about people who have been exceptional this year. I want to know about the hard working mums who are cooking dinner, washing clothes and potty training a 2 year old all at the same time, every day.
Tell us about the guy at the end of your street who climbed up a tree to save a cat and saw an old lady having a heart attack while crossing the street, so he rushes down and sprints to her side to carry her to safety, call 000 and start resuscitation, all before that lout in the Ute comes this close to driving over her face.
Introduce the people near by you who make your life excellent, or who help people they don't know, or who generally deserve a medal, but medals are expensive and not given out by a General for "Valor in the Face of Interrupted Sleep".
Share with us how people you know have been beautiful, hard working, loyal, brave, inspiring or delicious.
I want you to write a comment to nominate someone you think deserves a mention for being Bloody Good Bloke or a Top Sheila. Tell us why they deserve it. Then, if you read a story from someone that you like, give the comment a thumbs up so I can come back and post about the people you vote for.
Lets end this year on a positive note, giving thanks for the people in our lives who inspire us, make us happy, or put others before themselves.
I'm sitting under a lovely big tree in a park, watching my girl play on a slide with her Grandma nearby. I'm reading feeds on Reeder on my iPhone, and writing this in the WordPress app. I'm wishing this could be my profession. All this iPad chatter has me wishing I had money to squander, to iPad aforgive the pun out my digital lifestyle with all the trimmings and sit in a park and read and write, and never fix another jammed printer or reset another password, and just make giant run-on sentences that would make Zombie_Plan and Rubenerd proud.
I hear talk of mythical beings who enjoy their day jobs. But I'm an atheist, so I don't believe in fairy stories like that.
I do enjoy my life though. My baby girl is spinning on the play equipment now, and a breeze is touching my face and I am content.
Spurred on by the outpouring of comments and (!) blog posts after asking for feedback, I got stuck into a few posts here and on my other site. Thank you everyone who responded and wrote replies - it gave me some much needed confidence and meant the world to me. I was buoyed for days afterwards (and loved the commentfest that followed here and elsewhere).
I officially quit Twitter (with my joshnunn account at least). I was leaving it open ended so I could come back without looking like a fool, but now I'll have to hang my head in shame if I DO return.
I began re-working my portfolio site. I couldn't be bothered installing a test environment on my laptop, so I put it up and started editing it live. It took me a little longer than I expected to make it usable though, as the documentation for MODxaI thought I'd try something new went down just as I started, so I couldn't figure out how to build menus. Eventually I got something I'm happy with up just before...
Lifehacker (!!!) linked to my site! What the F is that about?! I suspect I've stepped into a mirror world where the Joshua Nunn of this world produces things that interest people and that they want to read. I kinda feel sorry for the poor schmuck who got sucked into my universe, but then I remember he probably goes around with a goatee, so it serves him right.
Tonight I published a massive post on First Waves. I suspect that because I'm massively proud of it, it won't be read by anyone and I'll realise that my mirror-self managed to reverse the polarity of the neutron flow and switch us back... bastard. Or I could be pleasantly surprised that I get some people reading it. I've paid for a Clicky account, so now I'll know when YOU are reading this... unless you're using a feed reader... or I'm not on my computer when you do... What was i saying? This point has descended into a Rubenerd-esq sort of ramble. My apologies.