We have a graduate

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A minute before I handed S her diploma (TZ was telling me that I was going to burst into a soggy mess. Didn’t happen, at least not publicly. So proud of this kid.)

A long time ago, in a land far away, three-year-old S learned to pick herself up and keep trying. She’ll keep doing that, I think. ūüôā

 

Prom 2018

Almost the whole family attended this year’s prom at Union Station! S with her boyfriend, K with good friends who are graduating this year, B and me as chaperones.

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Because I know so many of the kids graduating this year so well, it was a blast to see them all spiffed up and feeling fancy.

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On the 10:05 boat back, taking some quiet time, the first moment since 3 p.m. Apparently, after all that smiling I like to scowl at spy novels.

The Best Things I’ve Read This Week

1. Last night I entered night owl territory, flying through David Grann’s riveting¬†New Yorker piece on Antarctic journeyer Henry Worsley.

The story of Worsley is likely far more interesting if one has more than a passing familiarity with Ernest Shackleton–I recommend the documentary below, an excellent one that I’ve used to teach my freshmen storytelling techniques as they create their own documentaries.

2. Martha Nussbaum’s lengthy, wide-ranging interview here. Arguably the most important working philosopher today, Nussbaum’s archness here, with her regular precision and humanity, are at once inspiring and delightful. The Emotion Researcher site is having troubles this morning–The Atlantic’s article on her is also good.

3. Deep Work by Cal Newport posits a radical (to me) idea: that our brains don’t need light or shallow activity to recover from deep, focused work, they simply need a change, a switch to a different type of deep, focused activity. I have been guilty of glutting on Twitter at times over the past year, trying to make sense of things far and near, and I have been dogged by an unnerving sense that I’m shifting something fundamental in my brain. My students were often on my mind throughout this book;¬†Deep Work seems to confirm my growing sense that my students likely are having more trouble with diving into deep work (such as timed writes) because of their regular smartphone use.

4. Speaking of timed essays, I read some good stuff this weekend from my smart scribblers:

‚ÄĘ Children fear what they do not know, while adults fear what children should know.

‚ÄĘ In this poem, the speaker pinpoints fear as the child’s biggest attribute to be stamped down by adults. For no one has more fear than an adult who has seen the horrors of reality.

‚ÄĘ Collins indirectly poses the question, are such horrific events inevitable? Or can we change our fate if we change our actions and the way we educate our children?

Early December

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A at his 14th birthday party. I was in anthropologist mode, listening to a complicated trivia game he made up for his partygoers to play.

The mornings lately start like this:

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And get to this:

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The Danish String Quartet is my current favorite group–they’re coming to Seattle in February!

The latest book I’ve read:¬†Radio Free Vermont by Bill McKibben is a short, fun, what-if scenario about seceding from the Union. It references Trump and Tillerson but shies away from any really hard-hitting commentary.

Last, incidental student poetry from the back board:

  1. Seattle-area students getting their grumbles in:

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2. Seniors already chomping at the bit:

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3. But very much still kiddos:

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Prom 2017

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Heading out for BHS prom (K lent me a dress, so even though she wasn’t there, her sparkle was).

Dinner at Cafe Paloma with P and D beforehand was such a treat that I was tempted to stay and talk much longer. We did stay until closing once, with R and her brother J when she was here on a rare visit to Seattle.

I love Seattle in the summer–when we left the restaurant after 8 pm, the light was still glorious against the downtown buildings while we walked north to the art museum. As a prom venue, the Seattle Art Museum has some cons: required catering service so pricey¬†that the food for the evening was ice water; echoing space=few smaller rooms in which to congregate and talk. It also has some pros; the art collections on the third floor are very cool, especially their Northwestern Native American collection.

I was struck by the hi-low atmosphere of young adults in formal dress wandering through the galleries while rock music surged through the museum. It’s representative of late adolescence, which embraces contradictions and is extraordinarily open to multiple ways of seeing things. I’m really going to miss this graduating class–In Don DeLillo’s words, “it is not possible to see too much in them.”