Yesterday, the water pump in our well quit. Died. Crapped out. Over 18 hours later, we have no running water and since it is Sunday, there is no end in sight.
If you follow this blog, you’ll likely know that we heat our house with a fireplace, which means that I am chopping wood and splitting kindling every day. We wake up to 13 degree Celsius mornings throughout winter, and there is a pail of snow gathered last evening for emergency water that didn’t even melt overnight.
In other words, I am one power-outage away from living an authentic Saskatchewan-in-1952 life. If I wear an apron to work tomorrow and have cooked my own supper, someone had better come for an intervention.
Sometimes things end very abruptly. We don’t see it coming, can’t prepare, and after an initial shock of emotions, work our way through the aftermath.
Life before COVID, that’s totally you.
Sometimes things don’t end in any concrete way. They slowly disintegrate, fade, or morph their way into non-existence. I think of waking every morning for weeks last year, trying to decide when it was the day to put our old family dog down. The end was never clear to me, even when the day arrived.
I also suspect that is how COVID will end…not in an armistice day to remember, but an overlapping of life with restrictions and life without, until at one point everything has resumed.
Maybe not as before, but resumed nonetheless.
In visual art, students have been researching an artist as an inquiry project, and realizing that art styles do not have a hard and fast existence. Artists do not appear out of nowhere. Musicians, scientists, architects, writers…all are shaped by what is happening around them, and build on the work of those who have come before.
I was fortunate to listen to an amazing educator, Linda Rief, present this week, and I was thinking about this as she guided us through quick writes with mentor texts. When I was younger, my own writing voice parroted that of Stephen King. I was a huuuuge Stephen King fan and read his books voraciously. It wasn’t until my English teacher in grade 9 had covered one of my pieces with “SF” all over it in red pen, that I learned what it meant. He explained sentence fragments to me, and when I protested (which I often did when given advice I didn’t agree with lol) by telling him that Stephen King used sentence fragments all the time, his response to me was this:
You aren’t Stephen King.
It’s a good thing that he was the best English teacher that I had, or would ever have, as I didn’t hold his criticism against him.
But I think of it often.
When I asked students to respond to the questions, “What criteria can we use to ‘judge’ artwork? What things would you consider important? What does creativity, craftsmanship, and complexity mean for an artwork?” this was one Grade 10 student’s answer:
Linda Rief gave us many multi-modal examples. Let us not be the limiting beliefs on our own students’ creativity as they convey messages of their own.
So this is where an unstructured blog can go wrong lol.
I really WAS thinking about endings. Thinking about how I’ve written this blog for three years as of next week, and maybe it was time to wind it down. Thinking about the end of this quint semester on Wednesday, and reflecting on changes that I need to do to improve the experience for students next time. Thinking about starting my week un-showered and about bringing my toothbrush to work.
But writing, particularly writing quickly like I do with this every week, can go in directions I hadn’t anticipated. To steal a quote from Donald Murray that Linda used in her presentation, “Write fast - write badly - so you will write what you don’t yet know you knew, and so you will outrun the censor within us all.”
Maybe this doesn’t feel like the end quite yet.
Have a great week everyone.
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