As part of our exploration of the human body, I selected a lot of materials. Far too many materials, really, but one book I really enjoyed using is called My Bodyworks, which is filled with song lyrics (CD included) for songs about different aspects of the body. Many of these songs encourage movement while singing, and the end of the book has details about the human body as a reminder to the content of the song lyrics. I haven’t played the CD yet (I’m afraid to, given the frequent disappointment or annoyance I have with for-kids music collections), but reading the lyrics to my son as I would poetry, and engaging our bodies in some of them was a lot of fun. We’ll be hanging on to this one for a while.
My new students and I had our second meeting, which involved their first projects and detailed discussions of our readings. The readings were hard, most of them weren’t able to finish “The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas,” and one couldn’t get through “The Lottery.”
I apologized and admitted the selections were a bit of a cruel test. The first four were among some of my absolute favorites. Ones I think everyone should read, and three of them are hard. Emotionally brutal. I shared with them the story of my experience taking a class at university titled “The Anthropology of Rock and Roll.” I didn’t go into too many details, but on the first day, our professor played videos of a particular rock star renowned for his grotesqueries — he was violent, gross, brutal, repugnant, and did vile acts on stage for attention and to cause a visceral response to his art. The professor said, if we could get through the first day and still want to come back, the rest would be easy, and he was right.
While these stories were difficult reads for sensitive souls, my students proved themselves. The projects were insightful, diverse in ideas, and all showed they grasped the readings well. One wrote an essay analyzing their choice in “The Lady or the Tiger?” Another wrote a poem about “The Lottery.” One baked “puppy biscuits” inspired by the grocery list in “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” and related to the main character’s rich imaginative life amidst banality. Another baked a social experiment to life, making one person choose what another would get to eat, knowing one was a “lady,” and another a “tiger.” And the fifth student pulled out a box with two doors. They’d used straws, tape, brads, cardboard, and hand-drawn pictures to create an ever-changing box of chance, since the options could be changed at will by the student before the next person chose a door.
If these kids aren’t amazing, then I must not understand the definition of the word. I love, love, love them, and I can’t wait to see what they come up with at our next meeting after they’ve sunk their minds into some Halloween treats.
Amidst all the chaos, house and car woes, and the endless cycle of chores, Daughter scored well on her first Japanese test, my son is starting to recover from his unexplained viral infection, I started a Patreon account. Come November 1st, I’ll be taking the Flash Dash Challenge again, writing one flash fiction piece a day for thirty days, AND it looks like I’ll be a panelist and presenting my debut novel at Norwescon 40. I’m “nervcited” (my daughter’s term).