Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Bowlhead Boy and the Pot Sticks Stomp


My Grade 5 students recently completed a unit based on Stomp. There is something marvelous about how they are and are not aware of how they appear on stage. They know how it feels to be on stage, they know how to adopt a persona, but they haven't yet got a sense of how they appear to others.

Of course, every now and then I become aware of how I might appear to my kids or my students. Usually a chilling feeling. At the same time, I get the reverse sense: I remember how my parents were when I was a kid and have a sense of how they might have felt from inside their "Dadness" or "Maternity." As a child, I, of course, had no clue that there was even an issue of outside/inside.

We often live so totally inside our lives, inside our sense of our lived experience, our subjectivity, that it is hard to see ourselves from the outside.

My student, pictured above, has a very droll sense of how he appears to others. Even more than the student who taped cutlery to his flip flops and danced his Stomp rhythms while grinding a metal spoon against a cheese grater tied to his chest.

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My wife recently had a client who was robbing a convenience store. He charged in, armed with a knife. He ordered the clerk to get out and wait outside for him. The clerk was able to call the police on his cell phone from outside the store. When the police arrived the would-be robber was eating a submarine. How do we appear from the outside the convenience store of our own selves?

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Johannes Brahms, in a letter to Clara Schumann about Bach's Chaconne (from the Partita #2 for solo violin): "On one stave, for a small instrument, the man writes a whole world of the deepest thoughts and most powerful feelings. If I imagined that I could have created, even conceived the piece, I am quite certain that the excess of excitement and earth-shattering experience would have driven me out of my mind."

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I'm much taller outside this blog.

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