Life is beautiful . . . and baffling. Any new day may be lit up with beauty and wonder but the next overcast with pain and sadness.
Our time on earth is shot through with questions so vast that we can’t get our minds around them. Humans have always tried to find ways to respond to those questions. It’s usually called ‘wisdom’, and before writing was thought up, it was handed down in stories.
Some of this was bottled in religion and became congealed into creeds and regulations. That’s all right for some, but many of us don’t want to be told what to believe, we’re shy of certainty, suspicious of authority.
We still live with the questions though. Like how the big moments – the birth of a child or the death of a friend – can leave us wondering about how to live in the small moments.
That’s what this book is about. A collection of fieldnotes on how we can live this life, and live it well.
From poets and songwriters, activists and artists, from people with faith, and people without. We’ve nicked their best ideas and added some of our own. Clues and pointers, rather than terms and conditions.
We’re calling it The 95 because 500 years ago, an obscure German monk called Martin Luther came up with his own 95 notes, which he nailed to a church door in Wittenberg. It caused pandemonium at the time but they’re looking pretty tired now. So, we figured it might be time for another 95.
Here’s a sample selection:
The best things in life aren’t things Justice is what love looks like in public If the only prayer you ever pray is ‘Thanks’, that will be enough Good habits are a good habit Do unto those downstream as you’d have those upstream do unto you Life is depth not width Love is a verb Ritual is poetry in action Everybody hurts What you know matters, but who you are matters more
Almost there. A few days back we received the actual real printed proofs of Lifelines, so that we could literally cross the t’s and dot the i’s (well, not strictly literally, though we did put in commas, check spelling, and that). That’s what Malcolm’s doing in the picture. Martin was making the tea.
Suddenly it seems real: something in our grubby little hands, not just on a screen. It’s taken…
‘Listen, there it is…’
We were walking along a country lane in deepest Suffolk when the voice of our guide stopped us in our tracks. Concentrating furiously we strained to hear this obscure creature. Nothing… except for our leader.
‘Oh… listen to that.’
Eventually someone asked him what he was listening to. ‘The silence,’ he said, matter-of-factly. ‘It’s very rare we actually hear…
First, thank you for your patience. Some of you still had hair when you made your pledge to make this book possible and we want you to know that you will get your copy while you can still remember where you put your reading glasses.
And apologies for the radio silence - some of the nuts and bolts of putting this together needed more WD40 than we’d originally anticipated.
But now we’re able…
'We could give you permission to quote those lines from that poem by that poet we publish, but only if you published the entire poem and not just that excerpt.'
Thanks, we could do that. How much would you charge us to publish the entire poem by that poet you publish?
'If you wanted to publish that entire poem by that poet we publish we would need to charge you a thousand pounds.'
Thanks, we could…
Does a million people on a march make any difference? Do two million?
If someone is determined to enact laws which target people for their religious beliefs or their place of birth, will they think twice at seeing TV images of thousands of people taking to the streets to oppose them?
The Women’s March, the day after the Presidential Inauguration, drew record crowds in the US and beyond…
Let’s call him Jack. You pass him most days, propped up against the wall, under the railway bridge. Sitting in a heap of cardboard, plastic sheeting and sleeping bags, encircled by empty takeaway boxes. If he’s awake, he might be tending an upended flat cap, sprinkled with loose change. Perhaps he’s holding it out to you as your eye catches his.
Damn! It’s happened again.
You promised yourself…
What’s a good life and how do you find it?
That’s the substance of what we’re digging into in The 95. Any clues which might light the way to a rewarding existence.
Clues that might be buried in the past or present, obscure sages from far away or soulful people just down your street. Sometimes illumination comes through the eyes of a total newcomer. What would a visitor from somewhere else…
Some days you wake up and it feels like morning hasn’t come. And that it won’t. You reach for the alarm and turn it off and now the alarm’s inside you. Warning you this will be a dark day. And then that thing which is not light dawns on you.
She’s gone. He’s not going to make it. It’s over.
Perhaps it’s less personal, more political.
It really happened. Change was going to come and it…
Greetings, and huge thanks to you who’ve pledged for The 95. Your support means a great deal. Welcome to our shed. Here’s a note and a photo that I’ve tacked to the wall.
I’ve been reading The Barn at the End of the World: The apprenticeship of a Quaker, Buddhist shepherd by Mary Rose O’Reilley. Just the title resonates with me in all sorts of ways. I’m a newbie amateur shepherd in a small local…
One week in and we’re 10% of the way there. As we’ve never done this before we’ve no idea how to measure this but it feels like an achievement. Nearly 50 people like you have already backed us on the basis of a synopsis, some early page layouts and a video which confirms why we should both stick to radio.
Thank you very much!
One of our supporters was in touch to ask whether we had any plans to…
These people are helping to fund Lifelines: Notes on Life & Love, Faith & Doubt.