Friday, October 17, 2008

Of rockstars and heroes and men

It's time to tell my favorite story from the bacon-wrapped James Tour. It's about a pretty perfect ending to a pretty perfect week, and it reaffirms so much of what I believe about the world and the way the Universe works when we let it.

First, a little back story. A long time ago, in a lifetime far, far away, I had a child in school.
It was not a good fit.
It was not a good experience.
It was a struggle from day one and it was affecting us all in so many ways.
I didn't like what our life was becoming.
I didn't like what it was doing to my child and his sense of self.
I didn't like like what it was doing to our relationship.

Take that child and teach him senseless
Damage the dream, damage the dream
~Lullaby by James

I knew we needed something different. I knew big changes had to happen. Change is a funny thing. Even good changes can be so stressful to make. Going from what was to what could be was really hard for me at first. Then I found the welcoming voices of the unschooling community.

Those who feel the breath of sadness
Sit down next to me
Those who find they’re touched by madness
Sit down next to me
Those who find themselves ridiculous
Sit down next to me
~Sit Down by James

I found a better way and I found a tribe who would embrace us for Who We Are in all of our non-conforming, not fitting in, going our own way, freaky glory.

Here we come,
This is our destiny calling,
We're freaks,
This is our destiny calling,
This is our destiny calling now.
~Destiny Calling by James

Much of what makes James so special to me, is the part that their music and Tim Booth's lyrics played during this period of my life. It was music that gave voice to what I was experiencing. And it wasn't only about the the school issue, it was about relationships and love and god and finding a place in this world.

Got to tell the world
we've all been dreaming

This is not the end,
a new beginning

~Ring the Bells by James

Tim wrote about his own dreadful experiences in school and I could relate. He wrote about his search for the divine and I could relate. He wrote about mistakes and betrayals and forgiveness and redemption and I could relate. He wrote, and I could relate. Not only that, I could sing along, dance along and lose myself in the moments when I really needed to.

May your mind set you free
May your heart lead you on
May your eyes be opened by the wonderful
~Waltzing Along by James

So, back to last week. Through a series of odd circumstances (and perfect timing) I got to once again meet Tim Booth. It was after the last concert in Anaheim. We had just, and I mean JUST, parted ways with Craig. I was with Conor and Qacei and we ran into Tim on the way to the parking lot. There were no crowds. It was very relaxed and I had a chance to actually talk with him.

First, I asked him to sign Qacei's RU Fun shirt. (Qacei and I had planned this ahead of time and what I actually said was "Will you sign my daughter?" I had to do it. It got a laugh.)

The shirt (designed in part by Craig, who as we now know was missing this amazing meeting by mere moments) prompted a query from a very pleased Tim about the meaning of "RU" (Radical Unschooling) on the front of the shirt.

Teach him songs of the bees
Double helix and honey comb
Play him wind through the leaves
That’s a whole lot better

Alive, I’m alive…
~Bubbles by James

This started a discussion about unschooling and ultimately about the part that Tim's music and words had played in our lives all those years ago. More conversation led to me telling a very receptive Tim that he did not have to send his 4 year old to school next year.

He was delighted to know that a community of people were out there doing such a thing! He asked for my email so that he could get more info and local resources. (I made sure he knows about the LIFE is Good Conference, believe me.) In that moment it was a connection between parents and not between singer and fan. It was the best meeting I could have hoped for. I felt like I was finally able to return some of what had been given to me all those years back.
Not a bad way to end the tour. Not bad at all.

Laugh of the wonder of it all
Laugh so loud you break your fall
And you hear the gathering sounds

~Sound by James


Ronnie said...

OMG. I am so thrilled for you, but I'm so heartbroken for Craig.

But maybe this means we'll have a little James concert at LiG and make it all better again!

Kim said...

oh, mary!
why am i leaking? i'm all tears and smiles reading and feeling what seems to me as divine/poetic/synchronicity.

i'd not known of james until your postings and for the first time, in this particularly WOW! story i'm fully appreciating the power of his words-thoughts-feelings-music.

thank you for the beginning of a beautiful day...i'm signing off here to go buy james elsewhere. i can't wait to share him with wes, who is opening more and more to the power of music (political, humanitarian, LOVE elements that artists share with us!)

i understand why you chose to wait to post this amazing piece...integrating it, owning it, relishing and basking in the glow before spread'n the james!

love to you,

Deanne said...

I'm glad Kim posted about her "leaking", because I was a little embarassed by my own. I wasn't going to mention it. ;P But now I feel free to tell you that what you shared was so beautiful, it moved me to tears. It IS amazing how it all came together, and now another child is SAVED from the ravages of school! YEAH!

Linda said...

That's awesome. Wow, Mary, just amazing things happening to you. Who could believe it was just all chance?

I love the lyrics, I'm going to have to take a close look at James now. In fact, I've had a kind of miserable last 24 hours and a lovely evening with a friend and now coming across these lyrics have been a balm to that. Funny how you waited to post until just when I needed it. ;) xxoo

FLO said...

You're awesome. Your posse down here has ordered four of Tim's albums- he'll be on heavy rotation. :)

Mrs. G. said...

What an amazing story! Your new header photo is the best.

Beachbum said...

The Cds have arrived! So we will get to share the James down here. Thanks for retelling this story in such an awesome way. I am blown away at the perfectness of it all. It was truly meant to be. Destiny.

We hope he researches it more and realizes there is an unschooling conference in San Diego, too! Sept 10-13, 2009 baby!

Maybe, just maybe we will get to hear/see him at LIFE. Him and Amy all in one weekend? Divine!!

MJ Awesomeness said...

Conor told me he met Tim and I was ready just to kill him for that I was so jealous, but now I'm over here dying of envy.

You should tell Tim about NonCon *nodnod*
How cool would that be? haha

Zenmomma said...

>>We hope he researches it more and realizes there is an unschooling conference in San Diego, too! Sept 10-13, 2009 baby!>>

I told him!

cris said...


Frank said...

Just "Wow!"

Sandy Feet said...

That sounds like a thrilling encounter. Meant to be.

kelli said...

oh my gosh, that's just wonderful, just wonderful

I teared up too. :) so awesome

Ren said...

I've been listening to your "zenmomma" CD mix lately and playing "Sit Down" over and over. I know what you mean about their lyrics just speaking to the depths of your spirit. Very cool.

I'm glad you could spread the Zen/unschooling sunshine. People should know they don't have to blindly follow the drudgery of a schooled path. There is a glorious world out there...full of amazing connections. Thanks for sharing yours! Magic.:)

Mandaroo said...

What an awesome story. I hope we do see him at LIG!