S E A R C H ... S I F T ... S Y N T H E S I Z E ... R E P E A T.
Well this is simply breathtaking. With photos like this, I so often wonder how much time the photographer took waiting for this shot, and how many shots of this bear weren’t used or that led to this perfect one. When you try to imagine the demand of immediate, unconditional, professionalism while gazing at an image, it’s a small taste of that person’s artistry coming to life, almost as if you get to hold your breath along with the photographer.
I want to cup her articulation of the word in my hands and place it in my pocket. She scribbles the definition on a coffee-stained napkin, presses the corner, spins it around and bites the end of her pen, indicating my input with a nod.
Blue words shape to the top of a flowering coffee blotch, and again, I see a trait of hers sketched in commonplace, this time her trademark eye shadow adorning a hazel iris.
A look shared by two people, each wishing that the other suggest something they both desire but are unwilling to initiate themselves.
She tells me how the word comes from the lost Yaghan language of Tierra Del Fuego and continues on about its profound concision.
I can’t concentrate. The waters of romanticism are simply too inviting, just high enough to wade comfortably. I will keep the napkin un-creased until the day my nerve, evolved to the point of adaptation, will no longer be the excuse but the cause of what I’ve incurred. I will hand over the napkin, explaining how long overdue my words are and how I could no longer keep them swallowed, and she will wear the smile she’s wearing now, and she will be uncharacteristically speechless with foreseen affection shattering a glass cage of what-ifs.
“Wanna know why I love that word?” she says, leaning over the table. Her eyes are sure to elicit all of me if I don’t look away.
I link my hands, look to the napkin and feign a witty insight. “It’s—fun to say.”
She leans even closer.
“It means we’re not alone.”
“You and me?”
“No, everyone.” She pulls away and sighs, and I want to pinch her lips to preserve the buoyancy of her words, to make her feel as though her breaths are not wasted. Sometimes I try so hard to understand her it hurts.
“Right,” I say, “because—if there is everyone, then—then how can anyone really be alone?” I have no idea what I’m talking about, but it gets her to lean forward again.
“Yes,” she says. “Even if that word exists in some far off place in some dead language we don’t understand, it means that people everywhere can understand anyone anywhere.” She cups her fingers around her mug and stares out the café window into the rain. “We just choose not to.”
I wait to nod until she looks back at me. “Even you and me?”
“We’re part of everyone.”
“You’re not everyone,” I say. “You’re different,” and I’m surprised at my own words, wondering, like I so often do, if they too clearly reveal my wants.
“And what’s that supposed to mean?” she says, a playful tilt to her head. She knows what it means. And she knows that I know that she knows what it means—maybe.
I have built my confidence with moments like this, collected each and every encounter as material for construction. But it seems I can’t build enough.
So I say, “You always just get it,” aware I’ve only torn a scrap from the truth, refining self-delusion with dull banalities incapable of sculpting me into a man of charm.
“What’s it?” she says.
I re-read the definition on the napkin: A look shared by two people, each wishing that the other suggest something they both desire but are unwilling to initiate themselves.
Since the first time I saw her, I have wanted to believe that her eyes, looking into mine, have been waiting for me to initiate a mutual desire.
This is our shared look, I want to say. It is you and me. How you’re looking at me now. How I’ve always looked at you.
“Come on, what do you mean?” she says.
But I’ve never been one to say the unsaid, so I tell her, “I don’t know.”
She smiles, takes a sip, stares back into the rain.
"I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten […] even so, they have made me."
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson (via writersbloqinc) This is so lovely, honest, and human. Coming from someone who teaches high schoolers, I think this quotation could be used for teaching students why we read. It’s experiential, like remembering a really good day, or something about someone that’s gone, or something about how it felt when a realization made you feel new. We tend to test students on the tiny details as if that’s how our brains work. No. We remember the details that matter to us individually. And that’s what matters. Even if a student believes a story to mean nothing and have no impact, that is still a valuable revelation, for they are still made by the things they don’t believe they ought to be.
Ralph Waldo Emerson (via writersbloqinc)
This is so lovely, honest, and human. Coming from someone who teaches high schoolers, I think this quotation could be used for teaching students why we read. It’s experiential, like remembering a really good day, or something about someone that’s gone, or something about how it felt when a realization made you feel new. We tend to test students on the tiny details as if that’s how our brains work. No. We remember the details that matter to us individually. And that’s what matters. Even if a student believes a story to mean nothing and have no impact, that is still a valuable revelation, for they are still made by the things they don’t believe they ought to be.
CAN WE TALK ABOUT THIS?
I mean, can we just talk about how this parallels the actual education system? Where they’re so concerned about teaching us things like logarithms and graphing that we don’t know shit about what’s actually out there in the adult world, like doing taxes or writing checks or anything? I mean, “It is the view of the Ministry that a theoretical knowledge will be sufficient to get you through your examinations, which after all, is what school is all about.” School children are often under the impression that getting A’s in all their classes ensures a successful future, but really, it’s so ignorant because the real world isn’t just one big question-and-answer paper. There is so much more to the world than being able to give back information like some kind of super-computer, and brainwashing children into thinking that theory is key is just going to lead to a bunch of children falling flat on their faces when they’re pushed into the adult world and feel as if everything new they try to do is wrong because it wasn’t taught to them step-by-step. I just really love Harry’s line, “And how is theory supposed to prepare us for what’s out there?” because I feel as if sometimes we just learn things for the sake of knowing them, despite whether it is actually useful. Yes, school is important, and getting bad grades isn’t a good way to start your future, but it’s so much more than that, you see.
this sounds a lot like something Hermione would say
I think that’s the reason why everyone has such strong negative feelings toward Umbridge (as a person, not a character). I can’t tell you how many times I heard people say that they wanted Umbridge to die more than Voldemort. And I must say that I feel the same.
Voldemort is a racist dictator. While these have existed, and still do, the majority of us don’t live under such a tyrant. We’ve heard about them in history books and on the news- but they’re already dead or on the other side of the world. While we can be horrified at the terror such a person can spread and how, well, evil they can be, a character of this archetype doesn’t strike a personal chord with most of us.
But Umbridge does. As stated before, she represents everything that we hate about the public school system. Most of us know or have a teacher, professor, principal, or school administrator who, to probably a lesser degree, personifies what Umbridge is saying. They teach only to the test, or tell teachers to do so, they insist on including useless things in their curriculums, they PASS LAWS SO THAT SUCH A SCHOOL SYSTEM CAN CONTINUE. This is something that affects nearly every public school in the US, (and I’m guessing the UK as well). Nearly every student has to go through school learning things that they will never use in real life and that in no way prepare them for the real world, just so the various boards of education can use the higher test scores as ‘proof’ that we’re ‘smarter’ than other states, countries, etc., and therefore deserve more funding.
We hate Umbridge so much (again, as a person, not a character) because she represents a villain we all have in our own lives. Possibly every single person who has read this book can connect with the frustration Harry and the other students feel.
We hate Umbridge so much because everything she is, everything she represents, is very real and very personal to every single one of us.
Nothing gets a high school teacher, like myself, in the mood for Colorado testing (tomorrow) like a solid, literary-induced commentary on the public school system. I just finished a test-prep unit in which I stated the obvious and ridiculous standards held to teachers and students, BUT (and more importantly) how their scores—often boycotted due to an understandable inability to see the bigger picture—need to be good, or to the best of their ability. With progressive scores, teachers then have a voice that says, “Screw this bullshit. Let’s do something else.” Without good scores, unfortunately, teachers don’t have a resounding say in what happens next. As a representative of a new generation of teachers, I can say that scores have never been more important. Not for students. Not for schools. But for teachers. Teachers need support in order to be able to protest the system. If we keep showing how “dumb” kids are by way of testing (even if it be by the TESTERS’ standards), we have no weight on our side of the curricular scale. So, the best way is to prepare them for how to stick it to the man by giving their best (but shit, still find ways to teach the way YOU want to teach. If you ONLY teach to the test, like Umbridge, you are a lazy teacher, and get out of the profession—we have to be a collaborative, determined, creative field of professionals in order to change things for the better).
A “doctor,” by definition, can be (as the more obvious description) a practitioner of medicine—in Seuss’s case, laughter is that medicine—and can also be defined as a person who gives advice and makes improvements. It’s imperative that we see the substantiality of his words as two kinds of essentiality: simple medicine—its effect unrealized—during our youth, and as improvements and advice when we are adults. It’s funny, but I’ve never really thought too much about the formality of “Dr.,” but he truly is a doctor of literature: He helped us when we didn’t realize we needed it, and he helps us when the need for help is realized.
Let a story take you over. Allow it to be the source to which you refer everything else. Grant it life and use it as a lens for the world. Otherwise, how lazy it is to assume that others will do the looking. If you didn’t, why should they?
Love seeing good musicians, and people, receive the credit they’ve worked so hard for. Looking forward for Glowing House to release their EP come mid-March.
A very nice and warranted review from Ultra5280.