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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