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October 2018

Narrative Paragraph #1 & the Bus

Doing Something Right

 

 

 “We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work”

Thomas A. Edison

My son EJ has been restoring that old blue bus you might have seen up at Windsor Mountain. He has been at it for a couple of years. We laugh now, because when he started right after high school, he figured six month's work, tops--and a couple of thousand dollars.

Here he is now, more than a year later, and there is still work left to do--and probaby double the two grand he planned to spend. Still, he has never asked for a penny; he does all the work on his own, and he learns to fix things, make things and repair things through learning, figuring out and asking. There is no luck involved. There is no hired help. His parents (cruel things) are not banking him in this adventure. EJ is literally on his own. Just the way he wanted it and just the way it is going to be. He has never called it a "gap year" because there is no gap in it; it is simply time well-spent, and I am sure he has learned more than most college freshman. 

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Reflecting on Literature

Finding Truth in Words   

 

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“If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything.”
Mark Twain
 

     I am constantly asking my students (and myself) to reflect on the literature they, and I, read. As I have grown older—and not necessarily wiser—I find myself only reading literature that I am sure will prod me out of my intellectual and emotional torpor, like a lizard basking in the newfound warmth of spring. Right now it happens to be The Brothers Karamazov, a book I first read as an eighteen-year-old literary newbie. It might have been the first time I didn’t turn away from a book because of the daunting length of the text and the panoramic sweep of life it covers. It is now a completely new experience, though it still resonates with the young and restless soul that even now permeates the fibres and sinews of my aging and ageless self. That book made me think.—and forced me to think beyond and into my myopic experience of life thus far.

 

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The Value of a Classic

Live the Challenge

 

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Classic’ – a book which people praise and don’t read.”

~Mark Twain

 

A note to my 8th grade class:

     All of you are, supposedly, reading The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, a "classic" book, but what Twain says is true: few of us go thirsty to the well and willingly read the greatest works of literature because…well, just because.

The dutiful among you are simply answering the call of an assignment. Some among you are skimming as much as possible to glean just enough to talk or write intelligently about the book, while the laziest among you are putting off reading as long as possible before I ask you to write something meaningful about what you are reading. And then: thank God for Lit Charts. You might even get away with it.

But only for a while.

 

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Back to the Primitive

I thought this essay of mine might be a good way to approach "Tech-Free Day." Though it is somewhat ironic that it is a blog post:)

 

Yes, your parents are petrified…

 

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“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

     They are petrified by the reality that your iPad and phone screens have become the constant and continual portal through which you live your lives. They are petrified that the tether between parent and child is frayed and fraying even more. It is not like the "old days" days that came (with challenges of their own) when parents could look out on the backyard and see with clear eyes exactly what you were doing. When you were in the house, they saw what you watched. When you answered the phone—a clunky box screwed to a wall—they knew who you were talking with; they knew their names and their parent's name and where they lived. They knew what plans were being hatched and where you were going. They knew what book you were reading or what card game or board game you were playing.

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