Good Advice

The head of school sent forth the 8th graders with this good advice:

1. Embrace change. Learn to love it.
2. Do good. Keep on doing good. When you see something good that needs doing, do it. Don’t wait for others. Especially do good for strangers.
3. Find your own punctuation. That means: Take moments to stop. Think. Be intentional. Eat. Laugh. Share meals.
4. Don’t be tourists. “Walking is a virtue, tourism is a deadly sin,” Bruce Chatwin said. Yes, walk in the hidden places. Dig in.
5. Be a duck-rabbit. This is from Ludwig Wittgenstein. In other words, be paradoxical; be a mystery. When people try to box you in, resist.

While Dominic A.A. Randolph addressed these remarks to soon-to-be high school students, the advice seems pertinent to creative writers, like me. As a writer, I want to    1. love new ways of writing    2. write to make the world better, kinder    3. find new ways to punctuate sentences (or not punctuate — look no period)    4. engage fully, even subjectively    5. be a writer who is paradoxical, counter-intuitive and funny

Randolph also inspired an earlier post which described 3 aspects of community: 1. Hard work 2. Passion 3. Diversity.

I love learning and learning about learning. Having kids and learning alongside of them (and with them) is like being in grad school and grade school at the same time. A mystery wrapped in a conundrum. A duck-rabbit. Both and.


Two Classes I Can Teach

These are two classes I can teach. I wrote the course descriptions for the Chautauqua Insitution’s Summer Program. but they did not bite. It’s probably just as well since the classrooms do not have internet access and for the first class, you really need access.

So, then I emailed the course descriptions to the wonderful Ecumenical Institute  of Bossey in Geneva, Switzerland. I showed it to my friend, Drew (Giddings), too. He said lots of churches would benefit from the first class idea. Of course, I think lots of people would benefit from the second one too. And odds are that that class would be kind of funny.

1. Beyond Google and Email

 Are you Linked In? Do you blog? Tweet? Tag?  If these terms are foreign to you, it’s time to find out about the internet and social networking. Learn the lingo. Like millions of people, you too can use the internet as a creative, democratic and social force to bring people of faith together. Learn to use Twitter, Facebook, and all the new global communications tools.

2. Writing the Comic Essay

Write about your life from childhood through the present day – the small, quiet moments and the large, public events. With comic insights about your life’s spiritual journey, you will discover a thread of levity and deep meaning. This is a supportive and fun class, intended for the experienced, casual and non-writer. In this class, you will remember and record a humorous experience from childhood. You will transform a recent angry incident into a humorous one. You will write an essay of publishable quality.