In the spirit of infinite play I am following a recent prompt from Steve Wheeler:
Choose a strange pairing from above (or make up one of your own, the weirder the better). Let your imagination run wild, go very slightly unhinged and dig deep into your knowledge of those characters. Some of the connections may be tenuous. That’s part of the fun. Come up with an inspirational, satirical or thought provoking blog post about teaching and learning. Share it and include the tag #twistedpair. Don’t forget to also challenge at least three other people. If we get enough responses, I will create a page that links them all together.
My twisted pair are Mojo Nixon and Epictetus, the profane rocker and the profound Stoic.
OK, I am feeling resistance here. I have had my fill of writing prompts over the years. They often feel false. Other times I recognize them for what they are–pump priming fuel that gets burned up in order to start the engine. In this case we are asked to play. I like play, but generating inspired, satirical or thought provoking stuff about teaching and learning? This feels like managing chaos and a little forced. Isn’t the nature of the imagination that you don’t so much as give it permission as it seizes it?
It is true that both of these figures taught me something. I learned from both of them. It is also true that I could draw many other connections.
So I get to have cake and eat it and save some for later.
Here’s some Mojo to listen to, his only big hit, “Elvis Is Everywhere”
Here’s some Epictetus to listen to, his biggest hit, “The Enchiridon”
I recommend that you play both at the same time. Twisted, dude, twisted.
I get a daily poem in my email from Poetryfoundation.org. Today’s is by a younger Robert Frost before he became the scary old man of American arts and letters. No, really. If you thought that “The Road Not Taken” was truly suitable for commencement addresses, then you need to dig down into its cruft. Not that nice. I know he must have laughed at the thought that others considered it an ‘optimistic’ poem. In truth it is a devastating one about death and despair. But not this poem, not “October”–I don’ think.
I was struck by the heartbeat of the iambics in it-lubDUB, lubDUB, ad heart-finitum. I wanted to read more and connect more with the poem and I wanted to connect the poem to the world it describes, my world on the farm here in Kentucky in October.
I want to have a date with October today starting with Frost’s poem.
So many approaches, many of them redundant, but in the good way that the walnut tree makes more nuts than the squirrels can ever remember to eat.
This post will be a work in progress as I have lots of little micro dates with October the poem, October the month, October the place. I will return as I add links to this post. Consider them as reports from along the edges, the hedgerows, the bramble tangles, the fallen leaves, the wool and warp and weft of October’s loom and shuttle.
For example, I could go the annotation way:
Or invite others to go the Hackpad route? This is a collaborative path that converges or diverges as much as anyone could wish. Create your own adventure, mild or wild.
Or I could go with a Storify slideshow?
Or maybe Z33ga?
Or Pocket? (The mobile version will read it back to you.)
Or Soundcloud? (Perhaps you would like to read the poem to us and I could put it here or on Hackpad or make a playlist there.)
Many stances. Some analytic. Some juxtaposing. Some emotional. Some analogical. So many stances to choose from, but all arising from the passion that arises from getting to know someone or something more closely.
Perhaps a Youtube feldgang and a Vialogue annotation?
What am I hoping for, what do I expect on this date with October? What is my null hypothesis? Where will this take me?
I know not.
that is OK.