Monday, January 20, 2014

On the edge.

I have relived this moment so many times, but it comes back in many forms. Here it is again. I am on the edge, exhilarated, terrified, infinitely alive grasping up for an easy hold, and at an instant I am flying through the air downwards...

Oh dear not again!

The final words are always something like:

 "You idiot! with one or two f***s and f****ing as qualification."  

Why didn't you keep your feet on the ground? Why weren't you sensible, like normal people? Easy, life, easy job, easy TV, easy holidays, easy death (not necessarily in that order.)

Here it is again. I was on the edge of saying NO! to #rhizo14, NO! be sensible, no you don't have time, you have real work to do, real projects to lead, you have no time for a bloody course!


I don't know about you but there are many times when I don't have the courage of my convictions. The system, the calendar, the clock, the routine are things which scare me still. I am inevitably off course, off the wall, out to lunch.

It scared me for many years, it scared my parents, it scares people.  However much I try, their order is beyond me. I was and remain the kid with the scuffed shoes, crooked tie, and a mischievous tendency for inappropriate laughter, inappropriate, unwelcome questions.

So what?
I am learning, with the #rhizo14 community that much of my schooling cheated me, I was eager to please; I shouldn't have bothered.  I didn't cheat, I withdrew into graphic reverie, scribble, dream. Drawing, drama, nature, sport, laughter, there was hilarious absurdity when the best laid plans went West.  In fact, #rhizo14 is a rather graphic representation of learning "on the edge of chaos". We are perched uncomfortably stretching out our hands for welcome solace, reassurrance, a firm hold amongst the nonsense flying past our heads.

This is what sport is, this is what teaching is, an opportunity for personal profit, personal glory, good figure, good figures, good job. Pathetic nonsense! They are cheating our kids, they are cheating themselves, they are cheating the goddam world with their paltry body-counts.

Drone on Simon, drone on.
Are you hearing our voices in #rhizo14 the guys in the NSA? Your country is our country, your freedom is our freedom, your children are our children.

Cheat on, idiot!
I have had three or four excellent teachers who understood what learning can be. My art teacher, my English teacher, my first EFL boss, and now, goodness so many others.  I started this blog with a picture. I was 19, I was happy, I had no idea where my path led. Nothing has changed.

You guys in the #rhizo14 community and particularly those in the #rhizo14 #communityofpraxis (you will know who you are even if I don't know you) have given me more time than I feared I didn't have, more energy than I felt I didn't have, more meaningful connections in a week than those made over a number of years.  All this my friends, is because I have simply followed my scribble, been incompetent to resist my instinct, been deaf to fearful good sense.


#Rhizo14 Nomad's Land Refound
This 'course' Mr Cormier is a joyful representation of  my learning path. A path which, I had no idea would lead to this current piece of text. 3 poems, unregulated networking, and lots of 'praxis' later, I have a model for these notes I shared in Plymouth a few years ago. #Rhizomatic learning lies on...

A little while ago, another (yet another) tweet led me back to Manchester circa 1981, about the year that I nearly died hitting the ground with impressive impact from 13 metres off Stanage Edge.

Factory records (a joke name) was flung together by a certain Tony Wilson. Fans of Joy Division will maybe find meaning in his name. My word for the year via @teachnorthern (after glancing vaguely at in a @timbuckteeth article) will be #PRAXIS. Here is what Tony Wilson wrote about it:

Praxis is "doing something, and then only afterwards, finding about why you did it." 

This is the story of my life, this is the story of my learning, this is the story from week 1 of #rhizo14.

Thank you my friends for your company, you make this nonsense more bearable.

After listening to Howard Rheingold speaking on about being 'On the Edge' in Connected Courses last night. I feel that I must repost this piece...not sure why.


  1. Chaos for me is trying to sip from this firehose. Can't shut it off, can't stop...I didn't listen either...good thing we are all in this together. I

  2. Hi Cathleen thanks for dropping in!

    The torrent... sounds like a new blog post is in order.
    My technique is to dive in, climb up and take a few steps back with one or two people to appreciate the view. When it gets too much of a good thing, I head off. Look forward to sharing new adventures.
    See you :-)

  3. Sensemaking in this chaotic cmooc feels like untangling a mass of rhizomes! Hold on to your moocmates coz it's a wild ride :)

  4. As someone who has begun a hobby of growing bamboo, I can tell you that those rhizomes are very tough. When I buy a new bamboo if it is big enough I will get out a saw and just halve it or even quarter it. So sometimes, Simon, the whole rhizomatic mess just needs an ax taken to the Gordian Knot. Don't worry. The pieces do just fine.

  5. Haha, this sounds like what I also thought when I decided to join Rhizo14. I should be focusing on my comprehensive examinations instead but I succumb to it. What's worst is that I think all these Rhizomatic Learning is conflicting with what I'm studying (even though I know there's a link between them somehow). But I must avoid talking about Rhizomatic in my exams! I cannot justify it.

    On a side note, you started your blog when you were 19?

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