A personal letter of thanks to you all in the old fashioned way for joining me in the new fashioned way in the blogosphere. I am writing to you, dearly beloved and dedicated bloggers, who appear in the main 'blog-view' page and who no doubt are responsible for increasing my blogger 'hit-rate'scores to a value, greater than, or equal to 1, on several past occasions. Who knows what interests you specifically, or why you are motivated to take a look at mine when no doubt the total 'blogosphere' to which you are also invited is a universe of unsurpassed wealth and much more thrilling stuff. HOWEVER, not to exclude everyone else who may blog in future, the news is as follows.....'when Birnam Wood came to Dunsinane!':
'It's 4 in the morning' as Leonard Cohen once sang so memorably; I cannot sleep anymore: the clock is actually saying it's 01.26 but I don't believe it!; it's 8pm Vancouver where a part of me still resides; I'm loving being at home in my own bed after a month of hotel beds. I'm also loving a mixture of 'Early Grey'!! (what pun for this time of the morning) and real-tea served from a real tea-pot with accompanying toast and real home-made marmalade, (sadly on this occasion not made by me). I/we are back home after nearly 9 hours in the air, coupled with an 8 hour time-difference...not a pleasant combination. If anyone has any suggestions for making this transition space more pleasant please let me know! I have opened a letter from the Director General of the WCMT asking me for a 'short and punchy draft press release, summarising the purpose, salient points and achievements of my Fellowship'. Feet have not yet properly landed and already I have woken up at this wonderfully creative and also quiet time, to forge a new relationship with you all -
HERE FORTHWITH A CHALLENGE TO THE BLOGOSPHERE
NO, THIS IS NOT THE END, THIS IS MERELY A NEW BLOGGINING! (- YO!)
I INVITE YOU ALL, WHO I'VE MET AND WORKED WITH IN THAT STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL CANADA TO START LETTING ME AND OTHERS KNOW THROUGH THIS BLOG, THE IMPACT OF MY TRIP ON YOU AND ON YOUR WORK.
So, my press release when done will also be 'blog-released' here in the 'blogosphere' and not solely in a regional and UK based newspaper or journal, (which no-one in Canada may probably read anyway!) - how about that for a 4am idea?? I am buzzing with it and shall email you all into it as well, so no escaping the reach of this new 'Bloggining' seeking maximum bloggage and 'dia-bloggage' (not dia-blabbable!) in the blogosphere.
Seriously though, this trip of a lifetime gifted me by the Churchill Memorial Trust in London has been so special that I must take this opportunity to thank Julia, Jamie and all the others involved in granting me this opportunity. I know they would want me to say it is open to all UK citizens and to tell you about it, which a long report and short press release from me will seek to achieve; however, I also know that my work does not stop now that the trip is over. There is much work to be done in improving the lives of all those with a dementing condition, and all those touched directly and indirectly by it, here and in Canada. I have learnt so so much from being with you all; interested, interesting, committed, skilled and special people in Toronto, Vancouver, Penticton and Kamloops, including First Nation Peoples.
I sincerely trust that I can do you all justice for what you have gifted both me and my family, in getting across the message (through the creative and performing arts) that it will always be a myth that people with dementia can no longer communicate; that there is no hope; that they are no longer worth bothering about, or listening to, or learning from. As 'Bear' (Gerald) from Kamloops said, having drummed and sang us ( as a family) onto their territory in Kamloops in the traditional way (an experience I shall never forget), 'if the person has lost their spirit, then through ceremony and the help of our ancestors we will help them recover it'. There is no helplessness, or hopelessness here; instead a firm belief in (and experience of) the power of rhythm, song, music, dance and ceremony (within tradition) to connect with that which gives life, affirms spirit and recovers 'Personhood' in spite of manifold loss.
There is much work to be done, please help me know and share your Canadian stories and experiences of my work with you, and how it relates with and connects to your own; so that we can better understand and grow this work and approach for the betterment of all with the condition.
Yours in profound gratitude,
Churchill Fellow 2010