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FICTION by John McDonnell Tierney

 

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THE LADY AT THE POST OFFICE
ABOUT: I had just completed my book of “reflections on the education of young human beings” and I was still reflecting on my reflections. One morning, while leaving the Post Office, I nearly collided with an elderly lady. She commented to me that I had “taught her a lesson,” and that reminded me of one of my reflections: “Teaching and Learning can happen anywhere at any time. Teacher and learner have a good chance for success when the teaching and learning are motivated by genuine needs that arise from authentic “real world” situations. The best context for teaching young human beings to live in the world is the world in which they live. It’s not about the teaching! It’s about the learning!”
Reflection #29 from Making Sense

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DOGBOY'S LONG NIGHT MOON
ABOUT: DogBoy’s Long Night Moon came from a night by the fire as a full October moon lit the landscape. My wife Patricia made the comment, “They call it the long night moon.” I had not heard the phrase before and I liked it. I had wanted to write another, contextually richer story around Reflection #29, the one that inspired The Lady at the Post Office. The idea that “Its not about the teaching; its about the learning” has been very powerful in guiding my thinking.

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MY GRANDFATHER'S DINOSAUR
ABOUT: My Grandfather’s Dinosaur came from watching my friend Alvin use his excavator to pull dead trees and stumps from the northwest corner of my property in the North Woods of Heath, Massachusetts. He left the huge machine at my house for a week. I came to call it “Alvin’s Dinosaur.” I was reminded of yet another reflection: “Personal reality is constructed in the mind.It is defined by our on-going experience. It is always under construction. Physical reality exists. It is always changing. All personal realities exist within one physical reality, the field of time and space. There is no single personal reality, when the product of a healthy brain, that is inherently better or more valid than any other.” Reflection #26 from Making Sense.

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HOW FLOWERS TAUGHT THE TWO-LEGGED COWS TO KNOW HER NAME
ABOUT: How Flowers Taught the Two-Legged Cows to Know Her Name came to me after encountering a real cow with the number 81 on her ear tag. I wondered, "What’s her real name, her cow name?" I was sure it was not “81.” I was reminded of another reflection: “Words do not have meaning. Words are no more than collections of sounds, phonemes strung together. Words have no inherent meaning. If they did, if the meaning was in the word, then all people would understand all languages. The meanings of words are constructed in the minds of those who utter them, and in the minds of those who hear them. The meaning intended by the speaker and inferred by the listener may or may not be the same.” Reflection #15 from Making Sense

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THE LEGEND OF THE DREAMSINGER
ABOUT: The Legend of the Dreamsinger is an invented myth created, with respect, in the style of Native American Storytellers: "Great Mystery thought for a while about how to make the Humans special, for Great Mystery created all the Peoples with their own special qualities and tasks. Great Mystery said, “I shall give them a great capacity for knowing. It will be the task of the Humankind to know, respect and care for all I have created. I shall set them to walk freely upon the Paths of Light and they shall sing My Song.”

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THE GHOST DANCE
ABOUT: The Ghost Dance is an invented myth created, with respect, in the style of Traditional Storytellers: “The days passed slowly. The years passed quickly. I knew loneliness, and darkness, and chaos. And then…a LIGHT…a dream, a vision, the memory of a song, vibrations within the imagination, a song of Spirits and Magic Fires; fantasy or another dimension; another reality? Real or not, I am moved to write of these things. So, when I speak of special things and happenings, please allow me some space. When you must choose to accept or reject the light I seek to pass, believe at least that I believe.”

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NON-FICTION by John McDonnell Tierney

 

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For adult thinkers, not kids!

THE HUMAN PIECE: REFLECTIONS FROM THE HEART
On Monday, March 16th, 2009 I entered the hospital for a test; a cardiac catheterization that revealed a 99% blockage in the major artery to the heart. I was days if not hours away from a fatal heart attack. One cardiologist, after looking at the test results, commented, “How is this man still alive?” Well, I am alive and have to believe there is a reason…there must yet be good work for me to do in this world. And so, on this day, April 7, 2009, three weeks into my recovery, I begin this writing, hoping that my experience and what little wisdom I bring to it and from it may be part of the good work I am yet to do.

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