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singing to the siren

May 18, 2013

Strange yielding edges gave way to illumination during this week’s passage. Strange only because I’m no stranger here.

First, my much-adored friend’s return to her old-home-town meant that together we revisited past haunts. Silver Slipper? Now a backpackers’ hostel. Canterbury Court? Famously imploded. Red Parrot? Well, there was a May 2 reunion I failed to attend.

Red Parrot reunion

Great music; my now-Sydney-centric friend is there on the dancefloor around the 3.08 minute mark. Lots of smiling faces – obviously a touchstone re-visitation. Images reminding me that

Time is not  straight line, it’s more of a labyrinth,

and if you press close to the wall at the right

place you can hear the hurrying steps and voices, you

can hear yourself walking past there on the other side… Thomas Transtromer (Garner, 1996, p. 47).

To offer perspective on the current state of Perth’s cultural orientation, I submit this intriguing artefact:

Love the establishment shots, eclecticism, expressions on faces – some guarded, most hopeful, odd momentary splinters of pain – and, yes, even the banality of a number of those comments. What would you expect on a Saturday morning in a city’s central shopping arena?

According to Carl Rogers:

The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination.

Second, I attended a Wednesday-opening-night revelation at the Heath Ledger State Theatre with Daughter 2.


A review of Goodbye Jamie Boyd can be found here.

For me, this glimpse of pain and redemption filtered through the solo protagonist’s experience of schizophrenia revealed hope:

Things change;

Pain heals;

We outgrow, grow up, move on.

So, too, me and my friend while maintaining warp and weft within our long-practiced friendship:


Image in my journal bottom left taken during the infamous cool of Red Parrot ascendancy. How grateful I am to be me-now and caretaking daughters at that difficult age. Me-then is a work-in-progress, though she does look familiar.

Third, last night I played make-up artiste to Daughter 1 who went to the annual Law ball sheathed in a red satin dress so tight she could barely draw breath once zipped. I am still versed in the arts of eye-liner and false eyelashes, but left the house early to attend a comedy club festival session at the sumptuous Astor theatre. That in itself was strange; me-now out on a Friday night? Daughters impressed.

Taster of  Tom Gleeson’s talent for traumatising those in the front rows:

My takeaways?

  • comedy, like life, can be cruel
  • laughter is cleansing
  • faceache hurts
  • transformation requires risk
  • chance encounters with students-I-have-taught are wonderful
  • NAPLAN is belatedly affixed as peripheral to the-week-that-was context


CC Image Source:

In electing to evoke a song to the siren, I have noticed that learning/praxis emerges from both engagement with events – teaching, meetings, planning, performance management, coaching – and thoughts. Credit is also due to mornings spent reading:

Teachers are more than performers. Teachers are people too. You can’t switch teachers on and off like a computer. You can’t understand the teacher or his or her teaching without understanding the person the teacher is. And you can’t fundamentally change the teacher without changing the person the teacher is, either. This means that meaningful or lasting change will almost inevitably be slower than nonteachers want it to be. Human growth is not like producing hydroponic tomatoes. It can be nurtured and encouraged, but it cannot be forced (Hargreaves & Fullan, 2012, p. 63).

Final words from a real philosopher:

How can one learn the truth by thinking? As one learns to see a face better if one draws it – Ludgwig Wittgenstein (Lehrer, 2007).

And there’s only one song to choose as a coda:

Selected references

Garner, H. (1996). True stories. Melbourne: Text Pubishing.

Hargreaves, A. & Fullan, M. (2012). Professional Capital: Transforming teaching in every school. New York: Teachers College Press.

Lehrer, J. (2007). Proust was a neuroscientist. Melbourne: The Text Publishing Company.

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