Eight-month miracle book launch

An eight-month miracle book went to the printer yesterday, accompanied by alternating flurries on my part of anxiety, excitement and relief. Since last August, I’ve been the leader of a narrative research project for the Spirit of the Streets Inc guiding their book, The Spirit of the Streets: Our Stories, to completion.

Cover of the eight-month miracle book.

This project took just eight months from start to finish. Once, I would have thought that eight months barely allowed time to conceptualise a book, let alone to finish it. This must surely beat some record.

You might expect it would take longer than that for eighty people to write their individual stories, not to mention a 10,000-word history, and for someone to edit and collate that writing.

The enthusiasm of members of the Choir carried the project, and at the same time delighted me. From the Chair of the Board down, people showed touching interest and solicitude. Without exception, they accepted  me as a Choir member and  urged me to sing.  They produced stories, encouraged others to write, and claimed ownership of their book. Photographs flowed into my inbox.

What this eight-month miracle book lacks in polish, it makes up for in the joy of a shared project.

Hiccups occurred along the way, of course. As you would expect, not everything ran smoothly.

Important writing deadlines were not met and last minute major changes were requested. But somehow, we got there as we raced to beat the final deadline,  the tenth anniversary of this amazing Choir in May 2017. Somehow, we did it! My thanks to everyone who helped make this happen, especially Lorraine Frendlin (Assistant Manager of the Choir) with her calming presence, and Peter Stone of Stone’s Publishing.

The miracle book will be launched at the Perth Town Hall on April 12. See below for details and an invitation.

The Spirit of the Streets Choir is no ordinary choir. It is inclusive, which means there are no auditions and anyone can join. Members do not have to be able to read music or even words.

Many members of the Choir are victims of life circumstances which render them vulnerable and often lead to life on the edges of society. They live with mental illness, physical and intellectual disability or drug and alcohol addiction. Some may have experienced imprisonment, homelessness or rehabilitation.

Along with volunteers members from many walks of life, they are required to sing at rehearsals. Because this is a proper working choir, they also sing at concerts and gigs in a variety of settings through the year. For some members, these events are the highlight of their normal week.


About the miracle book

The Spirit of the Streets: Our stories gathers together simple stories which are often breathtaking in their poignancy. The stories tell of alienation and acceptance, of sadness and joy. Some writers talk about the difference that singing in a choir has made, and continues to make, to their lives. They tell, also, about friendship and acceptance, the wonder of belonging and the sense of family that comes from the Choir.  There are stories of struggle and commitment to each other and to the Choir. Over all else, the simple joy of singing pervades this book.

Invitation to the launch

Spirit of the Streets: Our Stories will be launched at the Perth Town Hall on Wednesday, 12 April 2017, at 6.00 pm.  Everyone is invited, and I look forward to seeing lots of my family and friends. The Choir will perform, and there will be a chance to meet them after the launch. For catering purposes, please RSVP by 5 April to info@spiritofthestreets.org.au

14 thoughts on “Eight-month miracle book launch

  1. That is a tight deadline, and a very worthy project—it’s a credit to you all, and especially you, Maureen, for going above and beyond. Well done, and I look forward to reading a copy! x

    • Thanks, Louise. A tight, tight deadline indeed! But such a learning journey, even if the book is a bit rougher than I would have liked. I’ve had an amazing experience, and learned so much about many things. I need time now to sitting back and letting the experience percolate for a while.

    • Christina, I am so sad you are not coming to Perth. I was looking forward to seeing you and hope it won’t be too long until one of us can make it to the other’s place.

      Yes, the book has been a wonderful journey and I am really proud of what we’ve accomplished in the time available. Actually, I’m really proud, anyway! Thank you for your help and support.

  2. This is truly a story that needed to be told, what an amazing achievement Maureen. I am very much looking forward to the book launch, and to reading the journey of the Spirit of the Streets Choir and it’s wonderful participants, past and present. Congratulations indeed.

    • Hello, Pamela, and thank you. Yes, I think it is an amazing story of wonderful people, and I feel blessed to have been involved in this exciting project that resulted in the book. I would love to meet you at the launch next week.

    • Yes, Kathryn, still busy! Things come into my life and before I know where I am, I’m off on some new challenge. This book has been a wonderful experience for me, bringing together so many bits of experience from my working career. Thank you for your comment.

  3. Congratulations Maureen – to you and everyone else involved.

    You must be so thrilled about this particular project, knowing it’s not only your words that will be released into the world, but also the words of people who might never have been able to have their story heard without your assistance.

    I hope the launch is a joyful and successful evening!

    • Thanks, Fiona. Yes, this has been an amazing project, one of the best projects of my varied career. It seemed to bring together many skills and experiences I’ve gathered into one place and the book is an absolute credit to the wonderful men and women of the Spirit of the Streets Choir. They have contributed not only their stories, but also their enthusiasm. I have been delighted to be part of the Choir and to be accepted as a member.

      The launch should be a hit, because the Choir is singing!

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