This week I learned that you can make cheese fondue without the wine (and it’s still delicious) and that when dark chocolate fondue is bubbling that’s because it’s hot enough to burn your mouth. I learned to watch out for goggles from mischievous players perched on the top of the bookshelf in the library, where the vantage point is perfect for ambushing unsuspecting humans, and that I like playing the goggles game even when I have to put my shoulder to the ground because it’s still not losing, and that it’s okay if I don’t play werewolves on a day when everyone’s energy is feeling overwhelming (in fact, it’s better to stay away because quiet places pop up all around school while a rowdy game of werewolves is happening). I was reminded that sad frustrated humans are still accountable for their actions and that’s more than okay – it’s important. I learned that variables in Python are more flexible than they are in Java and that talking through the architecture of building a game before writing code is much more comprehensible than just starting with the build. I learned that the pen-pineapple-apple-pen song has it’s own wikipedia page. I learned to knit but not yet to perl, to cast on and trust that at the end of all these stitches I will learn to cast off.
There are ducks at the park, and they don’t run off right away when humans charge at them, even when those humans are small and loud. It’s harder to jump off a swing at 25 than it was when I was 5. The algae bloom is in full swing. Small humans make like excellent billy goats when climbing Central Park boulders. Tire swings are the most fun swings. Bees like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I am made easily nervous but learning to trust small humans when they run off half a block ahead of me (and not dash off after them, because this is not a chase game).
I intend to find all the books and resources that are floating around the community about free schooling and play and kanbans and flat hierarchies and quiet revolutions and learning and childhood and pull them together into a library pool with many jumping in points depending on the human who is interested in taking the plunge. I love to recommend books to other curious humans.
I intend to spend more time in the library here, and find ways of sharing books that I love with other humans who haven’t discovered them yet and discovering books those humans love and share with me.
I intend to be more comfortable sitting in silence with other humans.
I intend to play more games, and let other humans explain the rules to me.
I intend to use the phrase “other humans” more regularly, instead of phrases like “the kids” or “my students” that implicit the age of the humans of whom I am speaking and imply some kind of hierarchical structure.
I intend to do things that scare me and admit to being afraid.
I intend to try many different orientations of my kanban until I find one that fits for me.
I intend to listen more than I explain.
I intend to write every week.
I intend to post even the blog entries that I think are subpar.
I intend to open up with humans of all ages who have welcomed me so generously into their space as a facilitator and I intend to do right by them to the utmost of my ability.
I intend to win Werewolves as a werewolf.
I intend to make music with other humans.
I intend to make music alone.
I intend to figure out a clean up job that works just right for me.
I intend to find non-defensive answers to questions like “but do they actually learn anything?”
I intend to be less guarded.
I intend to make offerings around reading and writing poetry and fantasy football (though I do not necessarily intend those to be the same offering, I do intend to be adaptive).
I intend to use people’s names when I speak to them.
I intend to continue looking forward to coming to ALC in the morning.
I intend to connect with more members of this community.
I intend to wear clothes that are comfortable and don’t inhibit my movement.
I intend to play minecraft.
I intend to doodle more.
I intend to be present.
This is my first blog post and I don’t want to make a bad impression. On the one hand, I am thrilled: as a lifelong journaler (albeit, an erratic one) I have always found joy in reflecting on the inner life of my former self. I am not someone who must be convinced of the value of this reflection — I am an enthusiastic convert to this thoughtful practice. But, in writing, and in writing blogs especially, I struggle with the feeling that there’s a right way to make these first sentences punchy and witty — that I should wait until I’ve mastered my openings before starting on my firsts (an irony that is not lost on me, I promise). Already, I am tempted to erase these sentences and start over. Already, I’ve rearranged them and despaired. Already, I am tempted by more knowledge-gathering before taking the plunge. (It’s funny that while some practices take time to internalize, others are easy – from the instant it was named for me, I cannot help but look for the fingerprints of my Scholar on the notes I’ve been gathering in lieu of beginning my creative endeavors and finding them everywhere.) This has been a rambling, imperfect preamble — I am grateful that here, there is plenty of space for it.
I’ve taken nearly 20 pages of notes in the past four days (and resisting the urge to despair about the lost record Monday’s revelations that I did not write down because I forgot to bring a notebook, though not always succeeding) and reflecting on each page here, though tempting, is not what I will do. My head is swimming with creation myths and organization schema and tools and flat heirarchies and the awareness of formerly-dormant muscles and finite and infinite resources and questions about what it really means to hold power or inhabit an archetype or imprint or trust or make space — it speaks to the pull of the body how easily distracted I can be from all of these things by the twitch of my dry contact lens. Cacti and other hearty succulents hold water in their fleshy leaves for months at a time until there is a deluge of rain and they burst forth in bloom; I’ve never seen the desert but I know it in the space between my ears.
The pages of the notebook I’ve been leaning on are unlined, which is why it was the only unused notebook in my apartment – I am uncomfortable with unlined pages. In the past, I have relied on the gridded moleskine to provide a framework for me to fit my words and doodles into and around, and I imagined that I was unaware of those boundaries while I observed and reflected and supposed. When we learned to multiply double digit numbers in 4th grade we did so on graph paper, and Mr. Immore (who annually demonstrated how to fry a pickle with an electric current, a hat trick for which he was immortally famous at my elementary school) would write the numbers in the boxes to make it easier to keep them straight, to tally them. Today, I copied out Drew’s network fractals onto a blank page in a hand that looks too confident to be my own. Throughout the week, my waving letters meander across the page – the lines are not straight and the layout of the sheets are not deliberately plotted. There are tiny, dense notes where later, my thoughts were amended and expanded. There is more to glom out of my head onto those pages, and this one too, and though they are messy they are dense and also beautiful and I am lucky, today, this week and this year, to be in a space with books and thinkers and the things they attract so, at risk of sounding trite, I will publish this post without editing these last two paragraphs and just count on them to take up space as they are.
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