Essai

Lessons from Emilio

In the image, he is on the Inca Trail, alone, a floppy hat and sunglasses, his hands resting on the top of his walking stick as he waits for me to reach him.  I am wheezing from altitude dizziness as we ascend.

Nazgul

After all, I was maybe 15 years old, skinny and pale as pasta, my “Lord of Chaos” badge hanging crookedly from a fading Dragonslayer t-shirt. And there was Gandalf, a 280 pound beer-stinking sasquatch of a man …

The Challenge of Finding Wisdom

I have seen years and scores of students succumb to the allure of Beavis and Butthead and Seattle grunge, Instagram and “What Does the Fox Say?”, never suspecting that Descartes’ dualism or Conrad’s “The horror” could be significant moments for true reflection.

Lessons from Emilio

Lessons from Emilio

In the image, he is on the Inca Trail, alone, a floppy hat and sunglasses, his hands resting on the top of his walking stick as he waits for me to reach him.  I am wheezing from altitude dizziness as we ascend.

Nazgul

Nazgul

After all, I was maybe 15 years old, skinny and pale as pasta, my “Lord of Chaos” badge hanging crookedly from a fading Dragonslayer t-shirt. And there was Gandalf, a 280 pound beer-stinking sasquatch of a man …

The Challenge of Finding Wisdom

The Challenge of Finding Wisdom

I have seen years and scores of students succumb to the allure of Beavis and Butthead and Seattle grunge, Instagram and “What Does the Fox Say?”, never suspecting that Descartes’ dualism or Conrad’s “The horror” could be significant moments for true reflection.

 
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Doing Battell

Doing Battell

I suppose accepting the importance of internal conflict is difficult for any American boy. After all, I was taught to be strong. To write “reflectively” about “feelings” was, in 1978, a girlie thing to do.

Pathos

Pathos

I position my fourth finger on the high Eb just as my 3rd grade self learned from Ms. Schnute, my piano teacher from the 1970s. The damp dusts of her cramped basement studio pass through me; I hear her voice calling down from the kitchen where she does dishes: “Septuple! Septuple! Four and three!”

Savita

Savita

Savita must carefully unpack her single school uniform from her tattered backpack each morning at 5:00 am, one of the only places she may keep the cotton blouse, tie, and gray wool skirt clean after she has scrubbed it and aired it dry each night. She is any student…

Those Who Know Not the Sea

Those Who Know Not the Sea

Most of us understand the term “odyssey” to be a time of adventurous journey, patterned after the classical quest of the Odyssey, the epic by the Greek Homer. Such a definition is hardly revealing, however, and it potentially misses a level of significance for all of us.

Spells of Protection

Spells of Protection

We can read this deliberate ambiguity in a number of ways: the particular puzzled psychoses of repressed females, for instance, or the dysfunctional power relationships within families; the self-struggling identities of adolescent development or even the unreasonable demands of an outside world to extract simple clarity from complex humanity.

Essai – 

After Michel deMontaigne, to essai is to engage in a prose act of skepticism, an exploration of a topic as perceived or understood by the writer. You might think of it as a “testing,” an experiment in idea-making. Alas, our education system long ago turned this critical verb into a static noun scored by rubrics in red ink for purposes political and often crippling. 

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