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Wednesday, 31 December 2014

A tribute to Maurice Henry Gamble

36 Exposures and Vibrance Care Homes UK

Two bits of news - 36 Exposures isn't exactly selling in its thousands. BUT, promise kept, a donation to Vibrance Care Homes UK has been made, in part, from the proceeds! That's satisfying and a big thank you to all those who bought a copy.

Maurice! With all our love!
Know that there's a story behind the choice of this: thanks to a lovely aunt (no names, Marilyn), I learnt of the story of Maurice Henry Gamble, recently gone on to green, happy and sunny pastures. Maurice was born with a handicap back in the 1930s and due to a life-threatening illness, his mother was obliged to put him into care at the age of 5. In 1986, Marilyn's mother, Patricia, traced him back with the help of the Salvation Army and, once found, was able to offer Maurice much love and presence during his final years under the devoted and cheerful care of the folk who work for Vibrance. Thank you, Vibrance. And a thought for all those you continue to look after. Tom xxx

From Maurice's eulology:

Maurice flourished, being lovingly cared for by compassionate staff at Glengall Road, where they embraced his determination to keep his mobility despite his disability, endured his stubbornness and understood his funny little ways such as the shake of his head when saying ‘NO’, ‘NO’,  which really, meant ‘Yes’. Many will recall his appreciative smile that said it all, when a pint of beer placed in his hand, was drunk in less than a minute, and his food would disappear pretty quickly as well.

From the dark years spent in institutions, Maurice’s life completely turned for the better, he found happiness and contentment by enjoying many outings with his carers and resident friends, going to workshops, listening to music and many holidays by the sea. What was there not to love about Maurice, he was always ready to give you a cuddle with a cheeky smile on his face. ‘Thank you Maurice’, for touching our lives and leaving us with Happy Memories!


Saturday, 20 December 2014

A Christmas dream come true...

The Dream Machine – STEP 9: LIFT OFF!


So this is it – and just in time for Christmas: the last step before setting out towards the New Year and a glimmer of springtime and the lengthening of days not too far off. Resolute, confident, motivated, the beholder of options should the path become tricky, hopeful, strong and – why not – with just that little pinch of cockiness in your attitude.

This springtime will be yours. And to make it thus, there’s only the last step to cover. Step 9: THE STEP. So as things draw to a close and my mind is filled with images of you all daring to reach your dream, I’m reminded of more than twenty years ago.
I was a hopeful twenty-two year old. At sixteen I’d decided that my life would be an adventure and, having had a fair taste already of what adventure was all about – both very high and very low, I thought I’d just check with someone in the know. Freshly settled in Paris, I’d heard of a bookshop called Shakespeare & Co near the Notre Dame. Running the store was no other than Walt Whitman’s grandson. I decided to go and see him, hopefully impress him, and at least get him to introduce me to someone to get a story I’d just written published.
The question of clothes took some time. I went over and over my speech. I practised smiles and postures in the mirror and readied myself with a sample chapter typed out, spelling mistakes ‘n’ all, on a typewriter that clattered louder than a printing press and which also combined the indirect benefit of muscling those biceps and triceps such was the effort required to bash away on the keys.
When I saw him – magnificently dressed up in waistcoat, paisley cravat and maroon-coloured corduroys and with his white hair and beard flowing very literarily – I was scared. I hadn’t reckoned to come up against such a charismatic figure. Thirty long minutes of following him about the shop at a distance, pretending to peruse the books, posing foppishly by the poetry section, and fighting a terrible inner battle between “make a run for it” and “get in there and ask”, I finally approached him.
“Are you Walt Whitman’s grandson?” I asked.
“Yes. I am,” he replied in a baritone Yankee drawl that made my southern English accent sound like the bleat of a nervous lamb in comparison.
“I’d like to be published,” I continued, calling up my inner reserves. “Can you help me? Give me some tips? Perhaps,” I added, timidly, “someone’s name. Someone who can help?” 
I’m not sure it was a trace of a smile that appeared on his lips. And if it was, it quickly disappeared to be replaced by a frown that in all appearances read, in giant letters in the air above his head, who the hell is this joker?  
“Son,” he said, booming much too loudly across the whole store. “What the hell are you asking me all that for? Goddamit, all you have to do is get out there and write the damn thing!”
That was it. My fifteen seconds of mentoring from the grandson of a literary giant.
“Er – thanks,” I blurted, and headed straight for the exit door wondering whether it was time to plunge into the river Seine and end it all there and then.
“Y’welcome. Have a great day!” he called after me.
It took a few days to get over this truly humiliating experience. Two days of blaming the Yanks for speaking too loud, being too bolshie, reverting to the over-simplistic, being unfeeling and ungrateful. After all, we’d financed the colonies in the first place. And George Washington had been a captain in the British Army trouncing the Native Americans down south before everyone got upset about some spilt tea and decided to boot the British out (read the history books, by the way)!
But gradually, I came to realise he was right. Was there genius in such a short and sharp answer? And why indeed did I actually want to be published? Also, why had I decided to write and not become a City banker, government accountant, brain surgeon, star footballer or take up some other incredibly useful and simpler vocation? I realised. It was so stunningly simple, it was genius. Because in the end, it just boils down (tea again!) to one thing: just do it.  
So…my parting words to you on this eve of Christmas and armed with the 9 steps are just that: DO IT!
Still proudly (best)selling!
A truly Happy Christmas to you all, regardless of skin, religion, capacity, language and nationality. Have fun, embrace your neighbour (literally, if you feel like it), and see you soon.
Tom Gamble xxx
PS: to finish off and coming soon: The 9 Steps in a nutshell and a real and practical example of using them. And remember - buy the books featured on this blog and find a purpose for you, me, and the charities the books support. How? Simple - click on the links! ;-)



Saturday, 13 December 2014

Inspire yourself...and others!

The Dream Machine – Step 8: ready for lift off

A hearty hello to all those connecting to The Dream Machine and Step 8: The Ecosystem and Purpose. Needless to say, if you’re new to all this simply search the blog for Steps 1 to present. All you have to do is… do them to reach your dream!
Click to download
Hmm…. “Ecosystem and Purpose – sounds a bit arty farty to me”, perhaps you’re saying to yourself. Well, maybe arty isn’t the word, and farty even less so. In fact, this is probably THE key step in the process, the journey to reach your dream.

Maybe I can convince you by citing, among many others, Ghandi, Steve Jobs, J.K. Rowling, Nelson Mandela, Simone Veil, Malala Yousafzaï, Churchill, John Steinbeck and lowly Billy Brickworks who at 4.30 every morning, six days a week, polishes the floors on the London Tube. All of them have in common one thing. And that very powerful, very positive and extremely motivating thing is called PURPOSE.

Everything they did or do has an impact. Not only on themselves, but on others and even systems and even the world. Billy knows that by doing a damn good job, because he likes it, and perhaps even more than what he’s actually paid for doing, he’s offering a pristine and comfortable experience not only to the daily crowds of London commuters, but to the millions of tourists too, and in doing so he gives the world a shining example of Cool Britannia – a far cry from the Tube of the mid-80s when with cropped hair and a fishtail parka, I myself roamed the streets and tunnels of ye olde capital (must listen again to that anthem by The Jam – Down in the Tube Station).

All great and positive achievements not only give us what we want, but give benefit to other people, systems, organisations and even the world. And this provides us a VISION of the new world we want to create and which others will want to belong to with us.

A hugely beneficial secondary effect is that it gives us the ultimate motivation to reach our dream. And somehow, without going down the “guru” path and ending up in a loin cloth and tepee in the middle of Spain, it also provides us with some kind of impalpable, spiritual strength too that will accompany us over the times when the journey gets tough. Hey – if it ain’t tough, it ain’t fun!

So follow the step towards your purpose and towards your vision. We’re nearly there. Christmas is a twinkle of a star away and the last step in the Dream Machine will reach you just before the Big Event: a gift that comes just in time for the New Year and a fitting moment to step out towards your dream for 2015 and beyond.
Click to download
Take care all. Don’t forget that you can click on some links featured on the blog to peruse and buy one of the books on sale: an extra Xmas presie that does a whole world of good to me, you, and the charities and people they support!

See you soon.
Tom ;-)    

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Tom Gamble looks at how to be...resourceful!

Step 7 of the dream machine 


Welcome to Step 7 of the “dream machine”, the effective way to identify, analyse, plan, check and reach what you’ve always wanted – your dream! The blog features Steps 1-6 in earlier posts, so all you have to do is search or scroll down this page.

So far, you’ve:
Identified your dream and made a “film” of it
Considered how to start the ball rolling
Determined your motivations
Considered others’ wants and needs as well as your own
Determined when you want it, who with, and the milestones on the way
And last week Step 6 looked at losses, gains and higher motivations.

Step 7 is all about…Resources

This is quite straightforward. And it’s just like when planning a weekend away, an invite to Sunday dinner at the in-laws, or a cycling tour of Transylvania – in short, we need to think about what resources you’ll need (i.e. her favourite flowers, garlic and wooden stake, etc. ).
But because reaching your dream – the new world, that change that you’re aiming for – will be a long haul; and because it’s gonna be tough; and above all because it’s worth it, and we want it, we need to plan carefully and think about the three stages of the journey to get success on our side. Before (you set out). During (the journey to reach it). After (you’ve reached it).

Resources: this was hot
Resources: this was cold
And resources of course can be very varied. We’re not just talking about water supply and tinned sardines. Any great adventure, any change – whether buying a new fitted kitchen or writing a blockbuster movie script – needs emotional, as well as material and financial resources to see you through.Motivation, determination, stamina, hope, love, cheerfulness, a bounce-back mindset and pure true grit are sometimes just as or even more important than anything else. Try writing a book – and you’ll see!  
Resources: and this was just perfect!
In the run up to Christmas we’ll cover the last two steps, the Ecosystem and Purpose and finally The Step. And as an extra presie for the Xmas stocking, sock, slippers or whatever your culture lays at the bottom of the bed for the morning, I’ll add in a few real life examples of how the “Dream Machine” was successfully used.
Take care, keep warm and especially keep on dreaming! Tom xxx  

Click to enlarge, then click right to download

Monday, 1 December 2014

36 Exposures and the harvesters we might just see

36 Exposures

Let’s face it – a plug for 36 Exposures! A collection of poems, ditties and observations that, according to reviewer Paul Raine, editor of Poetic Review, “pick you up and slam you down with just as much enthusiasm”. The perfect companion for the bus or train ride into the smoke or the sticks – or a stolen five minutes on any occasion for a verse chosen by you.  
Have a cuppa, turn on the speakers and chill out for 2 minutes and 7 seconds with the promo video for 36 Exposures:
Here’s one of the more idiosyncratic ditties. Ever been stuck in a traffic jam only to notice...the harvesters?
The Harvesters
Another jammed day in mid-September
And cars like files of blinded soldiers
Head rain-drenched to the fate of the ring-road:
Babel of radio jingles and voices
Sledge-hammer rhythms and synthesised noises
Parps, peeps, blubbers and squeaks
Jettisoned fag-butts, not enough sleep
This great and tragic push to work
The pressed mess.
But there is hope:
For among the road louts, the rain brings out the harvesters
The lost and methodical day-dreamers
The nose-pickers who through frosted windows
Pick, pick, study, observe then flick
Oblivious, occupied, industrious
Somehow happy
Strangely free.

Tom Gamble, 36 Exposures


Saturday, 29 November 2014

You'll lose, you'll win - and why not buy a sandwich while you're at it?

The Dream Machine – the 6th of 9 steps in reaching your dream!


Welcome to Step 6 in the “dream machine”! If you’re new to the blog and you wish to follow a cool and effective coaching tool used to identify, check, plan and reach your dream, then please scroll down or search the blog to begin with Step 1. This will tell you what a dream is all about. Follow through Steps1-5 to come to today’s session:  

Step 6: Losses & Gains (and things…)

Click to enlarge, click right to download
Maybe it’s worth kicking off with a brief discussion on change. Because if you are decided on aiming to reach a dream – be it write a book, move house, get married, start a new job, or expatriate to the country you’ve always dreamt of living and working in – then it's very much a change scenario.
In effect, you’re changing an old world for a new. And with it comes all sorts of things like dealing with emotions, accepting certain things, trusting your motivations, evaporating comfort zones and…losses and gains!

When we’re young (in age, not so much in heart), we don’t think, and we don’t even care much about losses. In fact, the question hardly ever arises. We head for studies or first jobs, fall in love, move into flats, join the army or volunteer for NGOs. And we just do it. And measure things up as we go.

Things get a little trickier if a) you’re a little older and you have more things to lose (comfort, situation, habits, assets, etc.) and b) if you were born into a culture (national or otherwise) that looks at risk and initiative as something to be afraid of (my living example, France, which has for centuries now set up layers and layers of mechanisms to reduce risk in everything from education, to personal enterprise, to buying a sandwich. This said, it does have its benefits. And there are in fact a few super French people who actually defy the general “can’t be bothered / too many problems” attitude and do actually do something).
With this in mind, Step 6 aims at giving both sides to the coin a reasonable say – so that you can objectively assess your dream and make the best decision.
All about losses, gains
and finding a dream
When we change, we will lose things – friends, comfort zone, habits, etc. Now that’s clear, it’s worth mentioning that when we change we will gain things too! But what’s interesting is that changing a life or world doesn’t mean burning every bridge in town as you go! No – in fact, it might be a good idea to actually see what good things of the present we can take with us into the future.

Click to enlarge, click right to download
So follow Step 6 and enjoy. Needless to say, note everything and put it with your other notes from Steps 1-5. With three more left to go, we’ll be finished in beauty for Christmas. Looking forward to seeing you soon for Step 7: Resources. And talking of resources, I think I’ll just nip out, at my risk and peril… for a sandwich.  

Bye for now. Tom ;-)


Saturday, 22 November 2014

Step 5 - From vertical to horizontal...

The Dream Machine – 9 steps to reach your dream! 

Wow – busy week! And we’ve already come to Step 5! If you’re new to the dream machine, then welcome on board. Scroll down or search the blog to begin with Step 1. This will tell you what a dream is all about. Follow through 1-4 to now complete today’s nugget:   
Step 5: Contextualise the dream
So far, you’ve: Identified your dream and made a “film” of it / Considered how to start the ball rolling / Determined your motivations / Considered others’ wants and needs as well as your own.
And now, so obvious and almost always forgotten…the question of your travelling companions (or not) and the all-important issue of timing!  
Click to enlarge, then click
right to download
On that subject, stepping back and looking at life in the early 21st century (free copy of the novel The Kingdom of Emptiness for the first person to find the reference to that on the web – ah-ha…), I notice a major behavioural trait: in this faster than-the-speed-of-light world of communication, there are many of us who have a vertical vision rather than a horizontal vision of things.

Let me explain before you start phoning up the optician’s (or psychologist!). By vertical I mean that we tend to make lists of things – at home, at play, and especially at work. Monday begins by what you didn’t finish off the previous week and before you know it, ten other things have been added to your list. Head bowed, tucking into the wind, you pedal on furiously down the list and just as fast as you tick off the things you’ve completed, even more things replace it. Your sight is vertical – fixed downwards on your list of tasks. We make everything a priority. 

Whereas, I think the trick is to raise your eyes and look horizontally for once. Yep – look out over yonder, across to the horizon, and time seems suddenly more like a friend than a foe. You realise that, by pencilling in finishing off the Excel spreadsheet for Thursday and not today (Tuesday), it won’t really make that much difference – and certainly won’t bring on a cataclysm on a galactic scale. If you’re worried about pressure from others – check it with them. 
What the Dickens is that horizontal look in
his eye? Cheers Chris!

In short, whoever pulled the old adage “don’t put off today what you can do tomorrow” out of his/her hat obviously didn’t live with computers, e-mail, herds of screaming kids, Saturday morning supermarkets and the industrial, not to mention the internet, revolution. Claptrap indeed! DO put off until tomorrow what isn’t required today. Like that, you’ll stay sane and in good health as well as being effective! Think horizontal!

And finally, some things just aren’t meant to happen at certain times. Our civilisation may try to reduce risk and chance to a max, but it still exists and always will do. And that’s good. It keeps us hoping and striving for things. So even if you’ve written the greatest story since Great Expectations and still haven’t been spotted by a publisher, or invented the blueprint for a revolutionary micro-wave quick-freeze machine and can’t find a backer – it will happen. Sometime.  

So consider Step 5 below. And keep all your notes together. When you’ve reached the last step they’ll make interesting and highly motivating reading as you steadily walk towards reaching your dream.

Click to enlarge, then click
right to download
Meet up next weekend (barring mini-posts during the week) for Step 6 and some eye-opening discussion about losses and gains, pain and no pain (or something like that).

Tom ;-)  


Sunday, 16 November 2014

Step 4 in identifying, analysing, checking, planning and reaching what you've always wanted...

The Dream Machine – 9 steps to reach your dream!
If you’re new to the dream machine, then welcome! Scroll down or search the blog to begin with Step 1 posted 3 weeks ago. This will tell you what a dream is all about. For the rest of us, as promised, here’s… Step 4!

Step 4: What about the others?
So you’ve got the dream, you have the motivation, you’ve begun to plan the journey to reach it. Great! Now it’s time to take a step back, have a cup of tea (or a pint of Banks’s bitter), and maybe think about those around you.
Click to enlarge, then click right to download

I once started out hell for leather for a couple of dreams and before I knew it, I’d caused havoc to quite a few people in my entourage, including loved ones. Sometimes our enthusiasm gets the better of us – a cavalry charge when it should be a trot (at least in the early stages) and at the most a canter. It can make you feel quite a twit, and certainly quite guilty.  
It’s worth thinking about them – the others. And by answering the questions to Step 4, you might even find support and partners to join forces with to add value and strength to your efforts. What’s more, you’ll have avoided making enemies by taking into account people’s needs, reassuring them and, if need be, aiming for a win-win without letting go of your dream.  
Remember. Life can be both weird and wonderful. Old flames, school bullies, rotten bosses, old mates and those you upset – they always have a habit of cropping up months, years, or thousands of miles later. You’ll meet them, against all odds, in a bus in Prague or behind a sand dune in the Sahara. Unfinished business, maybe. And best not to have given them reason for a grudge in the past.
Keep on dreaming. Above all, keep a note of everything you’ve written down during the first 4 steps. This is your battle plan: inspiring, daring, ambitious – and also carefully checked and planned!
Rendez-vous next weekend! Step 5 will cover the issue of getting the timing right.
Best, Tom xxx
Click to enlarge, then click right to download


Saturday, 15 November 2014

Add a little Soul to your Life!

"Capricious valentine, you're mine
Ginger kiss that I would miss
Anyway, I say
Your sweet and sour smile
Is a game I love to play"

What Tom does after midnight - when he's not scribbling!  ;-)