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  • Writer's pictureElliot Washor

Elliot Washor's TGIF 3.29.2024

“Are you with me now” A J Ryder

Axis Bold As Love – Jimi Hendrix

At the Deeper Learning Conference, I did a Den Talk with Carlos on his book Finding Your Leadership Soul: What Our Students Can Teach Us About Love, Care and Vulnerability. For quite a long time, Carlos and I half joked about doing a way more informal series like this. Turns out from the feedback everyone really enjoyed The Den. The next day, it was this featured podcast.


For the record, Carlos didn’t know what I was going to do for the interview process on his book nor did he see the questions ahead of time. but it really worked seamlessly. What I came up with for the format was to start with a song title to introduce every question starting with A Love Supreme – John Coltrane and moving onto Three Little Words – Nat King Cole, What is This Thing Called Love – Charlie Parker and A Little Learning is a Dangerous Thing – Pearl Bailey. I didn’t know how long we had up there so I didn’t get to all the songs but the last song prompt was going to be Axis Bold As Love – Jimi Hendrix. Axis is a manifestation of the crossroads between the spiritual and real worlds where Axis is now asking our work with youth to be Bold As Love.



This week the NCAA basketball tournaments and Leadership Journeys share something in common and that’s collective effervescence - a collective experience that brings people together.


Leadership Journeys is always filled with cathartic experiences not just for the presenters but also for the audience. This time was no exception. The photo of Tony Simmons and his dad in Prospect Park brought me back to Brooklyn. I have a similar photo taken in almost the same spot. Michelle Pledger’s dad coming up on stage to dance said it all without any words being spoken and Kelly Comak’s photos of her children also told a story without words about who she is through who they are.


Personally, the Den Talk also played out in a cathartic way when Michelle Pledger, The Den’s facilitator asked Carlos and I for any last words. For the first time in my life, I talked about my son’s passing in public using one of my son’s mantras - Give Love First. Carlos chose Give Love First to start his chapter on Love with this quote. It is also inscribed on his tombstone. Here there are no coincidences, Michael (a Met alum). could play like Hendrix and in the end, it all came together as Axis Bold As Love. Thanks, Carlos, for using Mike’s words to start off the chapter.



At any conference one of the best things to do is meet new people one on one.


Here’s my short list:


Antarina is from Indonesia. We met once before in Providence. She has 11 schools in Jakarta and wants to explore being part of our Int’l group.


Eduardo from Portugal is also interested in our work

Jasmine is the Chief of Education and Learning, a digital display of Black and Brown history that I hope we use at Big Bang in Memphis called Kinfolk.


Victor is a physicist working at UCSD in the department of cognitive science. He has two NSF grants to work with youth to make musical instruments. I made the connection to Frank Wilson who had a career as a neurologist working with musicians. Here’s what Frank wrote as an intro to Victor.


Michael Kasha presented his guitar at our 1984 Biology of Music Making in Denver.  He got Segovia to play it.  Michael showed us the note he got back from the great man:  “Dear Dr Kasha:  A dark cloud hangs over your E string.”


Now that’s what I call feedback from a true master. I saw Segovia only once. Amazing.


Last week a few articles caught my eye around a debate about whether the Earth is entering into a new geological era and what to call it. Many are landing on Anthropocene as the name because they view it as “the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment.” I’m more inclined to agree with my trickster ilk calling it, Ravencene. This is in reference to the Raven who figures widely in North Pacific indigenous mythology as a trickster figure, reminding humans to be humble amid our destructive capacity. Here, our impacts have less to do with being human and more to do with ways of being human.


Happy Easter From my favorite rabbit Trickster Bugs


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