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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org